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edition of the WCF would happen in Italy – a founding member of the European Union with a robust civil society and a deep attachment to a set of rights gained by way of a few years of struggle – analysts started watching the events with nice interest. However, I don’t suppose anyone anticipated such an enormous response – not even our flesh pressers attending the Congress. The World Congress of Families is the biggest ‘pro-family’ gathering on the earth. The Human Rights Campaign, the most important LGBTQI+ advocacy group and political lobbying organisation in the USA, has defined it as “the most important and most influential group involved in anti-LGBT insurance policies worldwide.” It was established by an American and a Russian in Moscow in 99, and right now it gathers together many associations, religious teams, scholars and political activists based in various nations, primarily belonging to Christian denominations. Among them, the Russian branch is particularly robust and acts with the open support of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin. Following our 9 special report on anti-rights groups and civil society responses, we are interviewing civil society activists and leaders about their experiences of backlash from anti-rights teams and their strategies to strengthen progressive narratives and civil society responses. CIVICUS speaks about civil society protests against the World Congress of Families held in Verona, Italy, with Asia Leofreddi, a PhD Candidate at the Antonio Papisca Human Rights Centre of the University of Padua and a journalist with Confronti, a think tank and magazine devoted to the research of the relationships between faith, politics and society. Based on the values of memory, hospitality, solidarity and pluralism, Confronti promotes dialogue amongst Christians of various denominations, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and lay folks involved on the earth of faiths, with the aim of breaking down misunderstandings and fundamentalism and helping to construct an intercultural democratic society. CIVICUS speaks concerning the 9 protests and elections in Bolivia with Eliana Quiroz, Executive Director of Fundación Internet Bolivia , an organisation dedicated to strengthening free and safe entry to the web.
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