Hivos aims to contribute to open, fair and inclusive societies with equal rights and opportunities for all citizens, which is why we support progressive and critical civil society organisations in the fields of human rights and women’s empowerment, sexual minorities rights, freedom of expression and citizen’s engagement.
Important preconditions for such societies are that authorities show respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as agreed internationally, and that people are free and able to take informed decisions about their own lives.
While the Arab Spring seemed to offer openings for this in some countries in the MENA region, in others – such as Syria - the situation has become much worse. And everywhere in the region there still remain enormous challenges to overcome. The strength of courageous popular masses has been proven during the Arab Spring, but pioneers with a certain expertise and clear-cut democratic goals need to take the lead in transition processes.
As civil society is relatively young in the MENA region, Hivos believes it can become a potential countervailing power to authoritarianism and dogmatic fundamentalism if supported sufficiently and in a timely fashion. Because we have been working in this region for nearly a decade, we feel the responsibility to continue our work and expand it with new priorities. We can build on our many existing partnerships and networks, as well as new contacts, and on our solid reputation as a reliable partner.