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Focus Areas
Focus Areas

FICS’ analysis of what is driving the attacks on civic space has led us to focus on exploring three key areas in more depth: counter-terrorism laws and policies; narratives of hate and narratives of hope; and unaccountable economic power.

  • Counter-terrorism and civic space

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  • New narratives for better futures

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  • Unaccountable economic power

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  • Counter-terrorism and civic space

    Civic space has been severely constricted over the last two decades as counter-terrorism laws and policies have proliferated. Governments have been able to cynically exploit ‘keeping people safe’ to crackdown on rights to assemble, to organise and to protest. FICS is working with those on the receiving end of this repression and those taking a bird’s eye view at transnational level. We believe it can be disrupted.
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  • New narratives for better futures

    In a world beset with economic and environmental fragility, populist narratives and far right agitators are making enormous gains in many countries. They are often well resourced and join with repressive governments in attacking progressive movements and activists. FICS is working with social movements so that they can develop narratives and captivating stories about a free and fair future for all, which can counter narratives of hate and fear.
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  • Unaccountable economic power

    In Rethinking Civic Space, FICS found that increasingly concentrated economic power is a direct driver of shrinking civic space. Multinational companies and super wealthy individuals are not simply hoarding resources, but are buying access to government, profiting from the repression of civic space, and positioning themselves as go to partners for government in place of civil society actors (for example, in fora which review digital rights). FICS intends to work with partners to examine more closely how this specifically impacts civic space and to strategise responses.
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News & Resources
Source: Shutterstock, Alexandros Michailidis, Flags of UN and EU stand in European council Building, Belgium, May 15, 2018
Counter-terrorism policies are cutting off civil society’s access to resources

Expert Submission to UN Special Rapporteur, based on new research with funders and Civil Society Organisations, finds counter-terrorism ...
Source: Shutterstock, 100 Words, Anti government protestors push shields of riot police, Bangkok, Thailand, November 24 2012
FICS report reveals proliferation of agencies influencing counter-terrorism

Expert authors pinpoint drivers of human rights violations and call for radical change in funder approaches.
Source: Shutterstock, Lynsey Weatherspoon, Black Lives Matter March, New York, July 26 2020
Trends impacting civic space: “anti-rights groups”

In late 2021, FICS Director Poonam Joshi co-convened the annual International Civic Forum meeting, which brings together people ...
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