C20 Defends Human Rights: Enough with Wrongful and Arbitrary Detention!

The Civil Society 20 observes with great alarm and concern the deteriorating situation of human rights globally. Civil liberties and civic spaces are restricted in different countries of the world. The C20 as the premier voice of civil society in the G20 process, calls on all G20 nations to respect the human rights of dissidents, defenders, activists, journalists, researchers and civil society organizations; for it is the diversity of approaches and opinions that strengthens the social fabric of societies.

Civic space is not only shrinking. It is under attack. According to civil society independent estimates, 40% of the world’s population was living under repression at the end of 2019, as compared to 19% in 2018. The C20 continues to call on governments to recognize that human rights and freedoms are a cornerstone for sustainable development and prosperity. Through freedoms of expression and assembly, societies realize their potential and capacity, and citizens are empowered to become active protagonists for sustainable development and democracy in their own communities.

Increased repression through state security apparatus is both a cause and a result of growing inequalities of opportunity. The responsibility to govern justly lies with the governments of the world and we call on them to wield this power with wisdom.

The increasing rate of systematic arbitrary and unlawful detentions are matters of deep concern amongst global civil society organizations. The C20 is aware of the unlawful human rights violations against peaceful activists, including: arbitrary arrests and detentions based on false allegations, unfair trials, restrictions and threats to activists’ families and friends, and torture while in confinement. We call for the immediate release of all citizens and peaceful activists who have been wrongfully detained.


This year’s C20 is committed to ensuring that global human rights concerns are raised to G20 leaders together with the call for improving processes of peace and fulfilling the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. As such, the C20 leadership is calling on the G20 and other countries to fully respect human rights: they must try these detainees fairly or release them immediately. In many instances, allegations and arrest warrants are forged and laws are being used as a tool to stifle dissent. We remind G20 leaders that fair trials, through transparent courts and justice systems, is a basic human right that needs to be upheld; it is the only way to ensure just and prosperous societies.


Human rights are at the core of the work of the C20 and we ask governments to respect the work of civil society and its experience in this area, and attend to cases of unjust detention as a matter of urgency.


Notes to editors

The C20 is an independent voice of the global civil society to the G20 countries; it is in no way affiliated with any government or business interest. It is a global platform for all civil society to contribute their views, policy suggestions and analysis to build a shared voice for the sector.

More information on our work as an independent Engagement Group can be found here: https://civil-20.org/c20-faqs/ Our international leadership structure can be viewed here: https://civil-20.org/c20-structure/

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2020-02-21T14:59:37+06:00 February 21st, 2020|