Organized citizenship meets to discuss the challenges and care that civic space in Mexico should have – Consejo Cívico

Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, September 21, 2022. Validating our right to organize, express ourselves freely and act as a society without any type of discrimination, ForoMtyX summoned the public in its Volume 3 “Meeting of CSOs from Nuevo León to talk about civic space”, with the participation of Sandrine Molinard as moderator and the panelists Ricardo Bucio, Director of CEMEFI; Héctor Castañón, activist and Coordinator of Collectives; and Rogelio Gómez Hermosillo, Coordinator of Citizen Action against Poverty, who answered three questions regarding the current context, risks, challenges and care that civic space presents in different regions of Mexico.

Sandrine Molinard defined civic space as the right to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly of citizens; this right opens the possibility of accessing other rights and freedoms that are essential for human life.

Currently, thanks to the Development Law approved in Nuevo León in 2021, citizens can fight for a different future, however, conditions are necessary for citizens to participate. The panelists concluded that there is a situation of weakening of the democratic expectation at a national and global level, which is why the space for collaboration in public affairs and communication is being reduced and repressed. “It is the obligation of democratic states to promote citizen participation,” assured Rogelio Hermosillo.

“Civic space is not going to disappear, because it is society and it is much bigger than the government, the problem is the conditions in which we can exercise that right.”
Hector Castanon

On the other hand, regarding the risks and red flags that we can observe from other countries to protect the Mexican civic space, Castañón commented that the civic space can not only be repressed by the government, but also by the media that play an important role in the position of rejection, and also by drug trafficking. On the other hand, Bucio shared that there are different difficulties and obstacles when receiving donations, which is why public participation is being criminalized.

To end this edition, the possible activities to be carried out to take care of civic space were addressed, within which Hermosillo recommended the connection between civil society organizations that share the same agenda, so that in this way there is mutual defense against aggressions and defamation of them. For his part, Bucio suggested improving the attention and professionalization mechanisms of CSOs and creating spaces for dialogue with monitoring of what is happening in the current context; Finally, Castañón added that the best way to expand and take care of civic space is by exercising the right to participate.

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«Caring for civic space is not only caring for the uninhabited house from the outside, it is inhabiting the house. Living civic space is the best way to take care of it. Follow up on a topic and give it that constant dose of energy to follow up on the topic and get the job done.”
Hector Castanon