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Places in the world where people have successfully changed their societies by taking action
LGBTI activists parade

When people take action they can change the societies that they live in!

To foster a participatory society, we have to stand up and take action. See below for some success stories of people who took action towards inclusive societies.

Demand for free and fair elections in Azerbaijan

In June 2011, a protest was held by the opposition group Ictimai Palata in Baku, Azerbaijan to demand democratic reforms and freedom of peaceful assembly. The group was denied permission to demonstrate in one place and decided to hold the protest in another central location. One of the protestors arrested took the case to the European Court alleging that the dispersal of the demonstration and his subsequent arrest and conviction violated his right to freedom of peaceful assembly among others. In 2015, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that there was a violation to the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association in Azerbaijan.

Women allowed to vote and stand for elections in Kuwait

In 2005, the Kuwaiti parliament voted to give women full political rights, and for the first time, women could vote and stand in parliamentary and local elections. The amendment was passed by 35 votes for, 23 against and one abstention.

Six years earlier, in 1999, the then Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Jabir al-Ahmad al-Sabah had issued a decree giving women full political rights. However, it was blocked by a majority of tribal and Islamist members of parliament who argued that Islamic law prohibited women from positions of leadership. Six years of successful campaigning by those in favor of the right to participation for all of us, without discrimination, was in the end successful.

Ireland votes to lift ban on abortion

In May 2018, people in the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to overturn it’s countries abortion ban 66.4% to 33.6%. The law only allowed abortions when the woman’s life was at risk but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality

The long fought-for referendum gave Irish people a chance to vote on removing a constitutional provision which bans abortion in all circumstances other than where there is a risk to the life of the pregnant woman. The provision, known as the Eighth Amendment, has meant that Ireland’s abortion law was amongst the most restrictive in the world, denying women’s right to health and other human rights.

A new era for LGBTI rights in India

In September 2018, India’s supreme court decriminalised consensual same-sex relations between adults. This judgement is a remarkable victory that has been achieved after three decades of struggle by LGBTI activists and their allies in India. This opens a new door where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and the millions of people who have been fighting this battle can enjoy equality and justice.


What other inspiring stories do you know of where people took action towards a participatory society?

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This article is from the free online course:

Defending Dignity: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Amnesty International