NOVACT: Barcelona hosts The Nonviolence Factory

29 November 2023 | Members' Corner

Novact, in collaboration with Suds and Irídia, hosted The Nonviolence Factory (TNF), an international training school for human rights defenders. TNF aimed to bring together representatives of opposition movements, threatened communities and citizens who organize to defend democracy, rights and justice in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The first edition of The Nonviolence Factory took place on 6th, 7th and 8th November in Prat de Llobregat (Barcelona, Spain).

Civil resistance movements have been one of the main drivers of democratic and social change. Authoritarian regimes deeply fear them and over the past decades have made a sustained effort to repress them, setting new legal markers to limit civic space and sharing technologies of mass control. The reality is that the opportunity to work for successful political change is at risk and needs to be redefined and build a common struggle in the Euro-Mediterranean region against authoritarianism.

TNF brought together more than 50 representatives of the main human rights, democracy and civil resistance organizations in the Euro-Mediterranean region from Algeria, Tunisia, Palestine, Western Sahara, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Spain, Italy, and Belgium to train and share knowledge about civil resistance. Through study dialogues, the participants delved into local issues on both shores of the Mediterranean, both the defense of the territory against the ecosocial crisis, and the battle for the rights of all led by the feminist and anti-racist movements.

Through safe meeting spaces, human rights defenders from the Euro-Mediterranean region had the opportunity to identify and share the threats, the escalation of violence and authoritarianism to which they are subjected, as well as the new repressive methodologies that hinder and persecute the defense of rights in their context. Furthermore, The Nonviolence Factory aimed to approach their struggles and establish alliances across the Mediterranean. In this context, The Nonviolence Factory aimed to be a point of reference for presenting alternatives based on the defense of democratic values, nonviolence, respect for all life and the protection of Human Rights.

This event, a pioneer in the city of Barcelona, started as a meeting point for people who are leaders in the defense of human rights in the Euro-Mediterranean region with the aim of exchanging, generating alliances to strengthen the network of civil society to fight authoritarianism and promote the defense of human rights in a collective way.  This region, which continues to become a hostile environment for freedom and fundamental rights, where the political and social groups that support authoritarianism support each other, coordinate strategies and spread their ideology.