Society Without Borders: Drive for active citizens

Society Without Borders is a pilot project of CIVIL – Center for Freedom for promoting and educating citizens about the Civic Charter, social justice and environment. The project strives to connect these three extensive areas. At the same time, CIVIL is trying to investigate the possibilities for establishing communication and cooperation in the civil sector that deals with these issues.

The pilot project is implemented with the support of the German Heinrich Bὅll Foundation and is a complex undertaking that includes preparation of analyses, media production, networking, field activities, civic education and organization of a final conference where relevant decision-makers and representatives of stakeholders will be invited. Project activities are maximally transparent, and each one of them is presented through the extensive media platform of CIVIL and the social networks, through CIVIL’s main Facebook Page, as well as Social Justice Now! and Free Elections for the referendums in Gevgelija and Bogdanci, during the implementation of the project, and in Dojran, beyond implementation of the project (July, 2017). Accordingly, the Green CIVIL website publishes media contents relevant to this project in Macedonian, Albanian and English. Furthermore, the websites of CIVIL, in Macedonian, Albanian and English, publish interviews, analyses and other media articles related to this project.

The Civic Charter is a global document for promoting human rights and active participation of citizens in decision-making processes. The Charter emerges at a time when politics and business offensively violate human rights and freedoms and shrink the space for civil action. CIVIL is one of the first 50 organizations – signatories of the Charter worldwide, which was promoted last year at the World Conference on Global Perspectives that was held in Berlin, at the initiative of the International Civil Society Center and several renown civil society organizations.

CIVIL, as carrier of promotional and educational activities in Macedonia, is organizing 12 outdoor events, with info stands where citizens can learn about the Civic Charter, can sign a statement for support to the Charter or participate in a photo or video petition, as well as share proposals, recommendations, comments and testimonies with CIVIL’s team.

Multimedia events have been held in GostivarVelesBitolaТetovoStipОhrid, Struga and in the center of Skopje. With little less activities, CIVIL’s team also visited the municipalities of Resen, Probistip, Gevgelia and other municipalities. More events are planned to be organized in Skopje and one in Каvadarci until the end of the month, as well as a conference in mid-June.

Gostivar, 20 April 2017

So far, over 250 citizens have supported the Civic Charter with their signatures at the info stands. CIVIL Media’s news team carried out a survey on the topic social justice and environment in all the municipalities that CIVIL visited. Ten surveys have been conducted until now, as follows: “What social justice? The city is dead!” in Gostivar, "Poor workers!" in Bitola, "People are afraid to fight for their rights!" in Stip, "Hate speech is created by politicians" in Ohrid, "With the salaries in Macedonia you can only drink water and wait to die!" in Skopje, "Categorically NO for construction of a mine" in Gevgelija, "There is no social justice, and neither will there be any!" in Struga, "The government is violating workers’ rights!" in Veles, "People are afraid to fight for their rights!" in Stip and "You cannot live with 50 euros!  Disgraceful!" in Tetovo.

CIVIL’s monitoring team, based on the ideas related to the project, on a voluntary basis, monitored the implementation of the Referendum in Gevgelia on April 23 (Sunday). The Referendum question to which citizens of Gevgelia voted on was: “Should mines be allowed to be opened in the Municipality of Gevgelia?”. The civil initiative “Save Gevgelia” previously carried out a campaign stressing the environmental damages that would result from the opening of mines. Mines of Death is the publicly adopted calling for this project of the Gruevski led government.

Referendum in Gevgelia, April 23, 2017

CIVIL also had a series of meetings with prominent activists and organizations in the region that it visited fir developing mutual cooperation and providing support for civil activism in the spirit of the Charter.

A series of interviews with representatives of civil society organizations, experts on social and environmental issues and union leaders, were part of the activities related to the project Society Without Borders.

CIVIL has produced numerous interviews with a large variety of representatives of institutions and government, civil society and experts. Some of them are: Dr.Branko BlazevskiBekim AsaniVojo MancevskiGoran TrajkovIlco ZaharievZizo LjamkovskiDanica PavlovskaIlija BaltovskiMila CarovskaBranimir Jovanovik, Risto AjtovNikola SlavevskiNenad Kocik Sonja StojadinovikМuhamed TociЈакоv Poposki, Маrko GucevskiSvetlana StanojkovskaDusko Gruevski,  Аrianit XhaferiIgor Smilev about social justice, workers’ rights, environment, usurpation of public space, health care and many other issues related to the project.

A lot more media contents, such as press releases, news, field reports and other types of media production, were posted on web pages, social media, or were disseminated to other media outlets, under the Creative Commons license. Re-publicizing of our media contents was very difficult to track, because of the quantity. However, the project was very visible, and the Civic Charter has become relatively well known to the public, through direct contents explaining this international document, and through specific media contents that illustrated the issues tackled by the Charter.

Igor Smilev, representative of Green Power, Veles, April 26

There were numerous events, each announced by press release and social media events. After each event, the team has produced reports and analysis, as well as photo albums on CIVIL’s Facebook Page.

The Citizen’s Charter has been translated in Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Roma, Serbian and Vlach language.

Biljana Jordanovska

 

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