Petitioning is a long-established fundamental right of the citizen and the only direct means by which an individual or group can ask governments to take action. Petitions enable the general public to participate in governance by mobilizing mass democratic support for a particular policy or action.
A petition is a request for action addressed to a governmental authority or public office holder that originates from one or more concerned members of the public. It enables citizens to bring their concerns to the attention of their government officials and representatives and to participate in the management of public affairs.
Democracy is based on accountability and citizen participation. In truly democratic societies, citizens have the right to access information on government activities, petition the government, and seek redress through impartial administrative and judicial mechanisms. The petitions provide citizens with an open, democratic, and transparent mechanism to direct issues of concern to their government policymakers.
Change calls for civil action. The success of civil action depends on the effective mobilization of the public through petitions. Making your cause public and getting broad-based support can only help you in motivating governments into action and getting courts to take your case.
The terms of a petition must include the reasons for petitioning and a request for action. Petitions may ask to introduce legislation, repeal or change existing legislation, take action for a certain purpose or benefit of particular people, or to correct an administrative error.
Government bodies and institutions have procedures to be followed and rules about what can be included in a petition and its form and content. Petitions must use appropriate language and contain clear reasons and a request that can be actioned. The procedures and rules of the respective jurisdiction and the governing body must be followed for petitions to be formally addressed.