CHOIKE - http://www.choike.org
A Portal on Southern Civil Societies - Tue Jul 15 2008
IN THIS EDITION:
-> 1. Events
-> 2. In-depth reports
-> 3. Updates
-> 4. Latest additions: Southern NGOs and other resources
-> 5. News
-> 6. Campaigns
-> 7. IFIs Latin American Monitor
->G8 Summit 2008 – 7-9 July, Hokkaido, Japan
The leaders of the world's most industrialised nations gathered in Japan
for the Group of Eight (G8) Summit, on 7-9 July 2008.
2. IN-DEPTH REPORTS
->Agriculture and food sovereignty
Farmers could produce enough food to eradicate world hunger. So, why
won’t they let them?
All in-depth reports
Collective report on business and human rights
Prepared in collaboration with 40 civil society organizations around the
world, a collective report surveys 159 cases of alleged human rights
abuses by, or involving, companies in order to illuminate the scope of
these incidents, analyze existing gaps in the protection of human rights
in the context of business, and offer recommendations to the United
Nations on how to strengthen business accountability to human rights.
More information in "Corporate accountability":
Sudan and the International Criminal Court: a guide to the controversy
On Monday 14 July 2008, the chief prosecutor of the International
Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked the court to indict the
president of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, on charges of genocide,
crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur. The request
is a historic moment in international justice. But is it wise, and will
it bring peace in Sudan nearer or destabilise the country further?
More information in "International Criminal Court":
Seventh Report of the UN Secretary General on the Implementation of
The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, says in a new report
to the Security Council that Israel continues to violate Resolution
1701. The resolution, which ended hostilities between Lebanon and Israel
in 2006, demands that all Israeli military forces pull back to the
UN-demarcated blue line. But Israel still controls territory north of
the blue line, including part of the town of Ghajar. The Secretary
General warns that Israel’s violation may escalate tensions between the
Source: Global Policy Forum
More information in "The war on Lebanon":
Steadfast in protest: Annual Report 2007 of the Observatory for the
Protection of Human Rights Defenders
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders which
supports, monitors and protects human rights defenders throughout the
year, is publishing its 2007 Annual Report. The report focuses on the
year-round fight for human rights and includes contributions from Hina
Jilani, Desmond Tutu, Barbara Hendricks, José Ramos Horta, Adolfo Perez
Esquivel and Wei Jingsheng. It celebrates the steadfast protest of all
human rights defenders.
Source: International Federation of Human Rights
More information in "Civil and political rights":
The role of the Yogyakarta Principles
The United Nations is a large and complex set of institutions. It has
three great mandates: peace and security, development and human rights.
On the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex
people (LGBTI) the UN is divided. In the political bodies many States
oppose recognition, but the ground is shifting, if slowly, underneath
their feet. In the meantime progress has been occurring in two other
parts of the UN system – the treaty bodies and the special procedures.
Source: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
More information in "Sexual diversity and the law":
Doha Round will not solve global food crisis, say NGOs
Some 237 major NGOs, trade unions, farmers' organizations and social
movements from nearly fifty countries have said that the Doha Round, as
is currently envisioned, will further intensify the global food crisis
by making food prices more volatile, increase dependence of developing
countries on imports and strengthen the power of multinational
agribusiness in food and agricultural markets.
Source: Third World Network
More information in "World Trade Organization - WTO":
The perils of a Doha deal on services
Desperate to clinch a new global trade deal, World Trade Organization
chief Pascal Lamy is planning to convene a “mini-ministerial” meeting in
the third week of July. The aim of the meeting is to come up with
agreements on trade in agriculture, industry, and services which have
been the focus of the so-called Doha Round of WTO negotiations that have
dragged on since 2001.
More information in "GATS - trade in services":
Colombia's horrific labor abuses are among a long list of reasons to
oppose the Colombia FTA
In 2008, Colombia remains the most dangerous country in the world in
which to be a trade unionist. The government has not been a neutral or
benevolent actor in Colombia’s human rights nightmare. A short paper by
Public Citizen outlines key talking points surrounding the Colombia Free
Trade Agreement (FTA) and labour rights abuses. The Colombia FTA
investment rules replicate the extreme investor privileges and
investor-state private enforcement found in NAFTA and CAFTA.
Source: Public Citizen
More information in "Bilateral trade agreements":
The principles of food sovereignty
A proper analysis of the food crisis is a matter that cannot be left
with trade negotiators, investment experts, or agricultural engineers,
writes Yash Tandon. It is essentially a matter of political economy. A
crisis for some is an opportunity for others. Any analysis of the
present food crisis carries with it its own prescription, and these
prescriptions have the potential to bring benefits for some and losses
More information in "Agriculture and food sovereignty":
A look at the transitional approach to Security Council reform
In the context of Security Council reform, the concept of a transitional
approach (sometimes also referred to as “an intermediate model,” “an
interim solution” or as in the Task Force report, “a timeline
perspective”) was first floated by Germany in the mid-1990s in an
attempt to entice skeptical states to begin direct negotiations. Most
such proposals included “transitional” permanent seats for Germany and
their partners in the Group of Four (G4): Brazil, Japan and India.
Although India often notes their preference for a comprehensive and
permanent settlement, in reality they appear to accept the idea of a
“transitional approach” as well.
Source: Center for UN Reform Education
More information in "UN reform":
Problematic pragmatism - The Ruggie Report 2008: background, analysis
Global Policy Forum’s Jens Martens gives a critical analysis of the 2008
report by UN Special Representative for Business and Human Rights John
Ruggie – “Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and
Human Rights.” Martens calls the report “a description of the status
quo” that does not leave the door open for developing new ideas on
international law and corporate responsibility. Martens offers concrete
steps, based on Ruggie’s recommendations, towards increasing corporate
accountability, such as creating an International Advisory Center, using
Security Council sanctions and strengthening national complaints mechanisms.
Source: Global Policy Forum Europe
More information in "Corporate accountability":
Food safety: rigging the game
Food safety is becoming an important lever to further restructure the
rules of international agricultural trade. This is especially so as
governments have already agreed to lower tariffs under the World Trade
Organisation and are now turning to so-called "non-tariff barriers".
South Korea is one country that has recently been hit hard by the US
strategy of using food safety policies to assert US corporate control
where it can. In March 2007, a secret bilateral deal on genetically
modified organisms (GMOs) was signed on the sidelines of the final round
of US–Korea FTA negotiations.
More information in "GM food":
African 'wall of trees' gets underway
Three years after it was first proposed, preparations for an African
'wall of trees' to slow down the southwards spread of the Sahara desert
are finally getting underway. The 'Great Green Wall' will involve
several stretches of trees from Mauritania in the west to Djibouti in
the east, to protect the semi-arid savannah region of the Sahel (and its
agricultural land) from desertification.
More information in "Desertification":
G8 and G5 leaders issue different climate messages
Significant differences emerged in the positions on climate change of
the G8 and G5 leaders at the summit meetings held in Japan in the past
few days. The differences also reflect the positions that the developed
and developing countries in general have been making in the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The leaders of the G5 (comprising
China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa) issued their own
political declaration stressing that a shared vision including on
long-term global goal for emissions reduction "must be based on an
equitable burden sharing paradigm".
Source: Third World Network
More information in "Climate change":
Global standard for intellectual property rights sought at G8
A new global standard for intellectual property rights enforcement
called the "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement" (ACTA) is being
promoted by the United States, the European Community, Switzerland and
Japan at the G8 summit. The treaty poses threats to consumers' privacy
and civil liberties, innovation, free flow of information on the
Internet and developing countries' ability to choose their own policies.
Women, slums and urbanisation: examining the causes and consequences
Urbanisation is not a gender neutral phenomenon. The gender dimension of
urbanisation involves and affects hundreds of millions of women in very
particular ways, which must be urgently addressed in the battle against
global poverty. These are some of the key findings of Women, Slums and
Urbanisation: Examining the Causes and Consequences, a new report by the
Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE).
More information in "The right to adequate housing":
The people of Nigeria versus Shell
For many years oil leakage's have caused/created vast environmental and
heath problems/hazards in the Niger delta in Nigeria. Oil companies such
as Shell, amongst others, are responsible for this. Friends of the Earth
Netherlands (Milieudefensie), its nigerian sister organisation
Environmental Rights Action and four nigerian fishermen and farmers are
holding Shell headquarters in The Netherlands liable for the massive
damage that oil spills cause in villages in the Niger delta of Nigeria –
because a Dutch company with a 7 billion dollar annual profi t cannot
walk away from the consequences of its activities.
Source: Friends of the Earth International
More information in "Oil companies in developing countries":
Advocacy spaces for the women's movement: A speech by Gita Sen
In the international seminar "Women in motion for the right to
education" organized by the Gender and Education Office (GEO) of the
International Council for Adult Education (ICAE), feminist activist and
scholar Dr. Gita Sen gave a speech on advocacy spaces for the women's
movement based on her experience at DAWN (Development Alternatives with
Women for a New Era). The new changes in the political and economic
global context as well as the new spaces for advocay within the changing
UN structure, namely the Human Rights Council, were among the points
New Security Council resolution on sexual violence in conflict
On June 19, 2008 the United Nations Security Council adopted a
Resolution to end sexual violence in conflict. The Resolution is not a
comprehensive instrument for addressing sexual violence; It is however,
a step in the right direction provided that it will complement and not
distract from Resolution 1325, which is still the definitive standard so
far for incorporating women's rights perspectives into conflict
prevention and resolution, and peace building.
Girls in mining
Development programmes and efforts on behalf of workers and children's
rights in small-scale mining communities must pay attention to gender.
The hazards and risks of the work of women and girls must be granted the
same recognition as those of men and boys. The studies have shown that
the problem of double burden, dangerous work exists; it is time now to
give it double attention.
Source: International Labour Organization - ILO
More information in "Mining":
Nicaragua: "The women’s movement is in opposition"
"Here is harassment of civil society organisations, especially those
involved in the struggle for human rights. But we particularly protest
the accusation against nine women activists, relating to the case of a
nine-year-old girl who became pregnant after she was raped by her
Source: IPS News
More information in "Abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean":
Women’s Consultation on Financing for Development (FfD)
The Women’s Working Group on the FfD commits itself to keep fully
engaged in all follow-up processes and to build bridges between
commitments and actions on development, trade, finance, debt and
systemic issues and women’s rights and gender equality commitment and
goals which are consistent with the holistic agenda of the Monterrey
Dormant IMF fails to heed wake-up calls for democratization
The last spring meetings of the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) brought to conclusion the debate on reforms of the
governance of the IMF. The reforms were a response to the Monterrey
Summit agreement to call on the World Bank and the IMF to enhance the
participation of developing countries and countries in transition in
their governance. Unfortunately, in spite of legitimacy, credibility and
an effectiveness crisis that saw two Managing Directors pass, and at
some point raised hopes of a wake up call for the institution, the
reforms were meagre and unsatisfactory.
Source: South Center
More information in "International Monetary Fund - IMF":
4. LATEST ADDITIONS: Southern NGOs and other resources
Arab Info Mall
This project is a tri-lingual website (Arabic, English, and French),
through which Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society
Organizations (CSOs) are represented as a kiosk inside the mall.
International Gender Policy Network - IGPN
IGPN advocates for the inclusion of women’s human rights into the
national, regional and global policy agenda. It is situated all over
Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.
Project for Conflict Resolution and Development (PCRD)
Development organisation working primarily in the Eastern Cape Province
of South Africa, that researches, designs, trains and facilitates
processes that enable disadvantaged and/or at- risk communities and
organisations to positively deal with conflict and transformation. South
Water Remunicipalisation Tracker
This site presents a compilation of examples of how communities in
different parts of the world are moving from failed privatised water
management to successful publicly managed water and wastewater services.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
Not for profit human rights organization whose core objective is to
foster a culture of human rights in Zimbabwe.
The purpose of ZimRights is to ensure that the Zimbabwean citizens are
informed about their human rights and are empowered to defend their own
-> NGO directory
->UN Human Rights Council approves Optional Protocol to the ICESCR
The United Nations Human Rights Council approved by consensus an
Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The momentous decision brings one step closer
the possibility of an international remedy mechanism for violations of
the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
->10-year-old subjected to torture by Israeli soldiers
A 10-year-old boy was subjected to physical abuse amounting to torture
for 2.5 hours by Israeli soldiers who stormed his family's shop on 11
June, denounces Defence for Children International.
Source: Defence for Children International - Palestine Section
->Iran: appeal to spare the lives of four youths
24 international and regional human rights organisations called on
Iranian authorities to spare four youths facing execution and to stop
imposing the death penalty for crimes committed by juvenile offenders
under the age of 18.
->Report: 348 Palestinians extra-judicially executed since 2000
PCHR published a new report titled "Extra-judicial executions… Official,
Declared Israeli Policy" covering Israeli extra-judicial executions
against Palestinians during the period from 1 August 2006 till 30 June 2008.
Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
->Pan-African Campaign of Solidarity for Zimbabwe
The campaign will be launched on Saturday 12 July 2008, following a call
by CIVICUS, Amnesty International and the Global Call for Action Against
Poverty (GCAP). Pdf version.
->Destruction at Dam Village, Nairobi – call for action
On 9 May 2008, in the middle of the night, a demolition force entered
the Dam village in Nairobi, Kenya and without any warning, forced people
out of their homes, destroyed community buildings and homes, thus
rendering 300 women, children and men homeless.
Source: Dignity International
->New Security Council resolution on sexual violence in conflict
In June 2008, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution
1820 of 2008, which addresses sexual violence in situations of conflict.
How significant is this new Resolution?
->Migrants in the European Union
This newsletter focuses on news items and policy developments concerning
the basic social rights of
undocumented migrants in Europe and USA. (pdf)
->The world is an unkind place for gay refugees
Commemorating June 20, World Refugee Day. Tragically, there is no
organization that attends to the needs of gay and lesbian refugees
Source: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
Trade and Regional Integration
->Pouring fuel on the food
Though the agrofuels boom may have created the spark that ignited the
food price inflation, the food crisis did not begin with recent food
riots writes Eric Holt-Giménez, executive director of Food First.
Source: Food First
Economy and Financial Affairs
->Civil society groups propose change in annual IDB-civil society meeting
Senior IDB officials have made it a practice to meet with civil society
representatives in a special meeting once per year then again during the
Bank’s Board of Governors meeting. A letter sent to President Moreno
lays out a series of arguments suggesting greater control by civil
society organizations in a change that would mark a dramatic shift in
the Bank designed meetings of the past.
->G8 fiddles while world burns
"This Summit has been another betrayal of the poor and citizens of G8
countries", said Kumi Naidoo, Co-chair of the Global Call to Action
Against Poverty (GCAP).
->More debt relief in sight for poorest nations
Anti-debt campaigners say legislation passed by a U.S. Congressional
committee this week that would expand debt cancellations to an
additional 25 poor nations could prove effective in fighting poverty,
stopping environmental degradation and easing the traditional strict
economic conditions that accompanied loans and often led to economic chaos.
->Towards a new green deal
Local activism is an important contribution to a struggle for a just and
sustainable planet, but the scale of the climate crisis is such that
only long-term, legally binding commitments can make a change. We need a
new Keynesianism for the environment, writes Susan George.
->Mexicans protest Canadian mining company
Residents and activists from the central Mexican state of San Luis
Potosí travelled to Toronto to tell the shareholders of a Canadian
mining company that their investments are at risk because the
billion-dollar Cerro San Pedro gold and silver mine is illegal and
->Kerala IPRs policy proposes 'knowledge commons'
The Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) Policy for Kerala, released a
policy that all traditional knowledge, including traditional medicine,
must belong to the domain of "knowledge commons" and not to public domain.
->Alternative climate change conference
The Climate Justice Now! Network emerged from the Bali meeting when a
number of organizations came together to denounce the absence of a
justice dimension in the climate change negotiations. They are meeting
now in Bangkok, Thailand from 12-14 July 2008 to discuss and promote the
climate justice agenda.
Source: Focus on the Global South
->G8 2008 futile rhetoric on climate
Reacting to the statement released by the G8 in Hokkaido, Friends of the
Earth International said that G8 leaders spewed futile rhetoric that
will do nothing to stop the toll that global warming is taking on people
and the planet.
->Indians close ranks against dams in the Amazon
Between Bolivia's uncertainty and Brazil's haste, the Madera River
Hydroelectric Complex is advancing -- and the alarm is sounding among
indigenous communities and environmental activists in the two countries.
->G8: 'investment in health is effective aid'
Japan wants next week's summit of seven major western industrial nations
and Russia (G8) to urge the international community to push towards
combating HIV/AIDS. Interview with Jon Lidén of the Global Fund To Fight
AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
Source: Inter Press Service (IPS)
->South Africa: Refugees denied access to health care
Refugees and migrants do not have adequate access to health care
services in South Africa, aid organisations and NGOs say. This is
particularly detrimental for those who are HIV-positive and in need of
continuous antiretroviral (ARV) medication.
-> All news
->Call to action to stop the WTO Doha Round
If concluded, the expansion of the WTO will benefit large corporations –
but will have profoundly negative impacts on workers, farmers, women,
consumers, and the environment.
Source: Center for Economic and Policy Research
->Red Hand Campaign
The aim of the Red Hand Campaign in to collect one million red hands to
be presented to the United Nations on 12 February 2009 (Red Hand Day).
Source: Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
->Brazil: Increasing repression and criminalization against Landless
People Movement (MST)
It is the first time since the end of the military dictatorship in
Brazil that a systematic attempt to disarticulate and criminalize
movements of social protest like MST is registered.
Source: FIAN International
-> All campaigns
7. IFIs Latin American Monitor
-> This initiative aims at contributing to the Latin American and global
IFI campaigns for reform of the Bretton Woods institutions by
translating key information, producing and disseminating news and
analysis, thus promoting dialogue and collaboration between key actors.
This project is possible thanks to the support of Mott Foundation.
*** IFIs Monitor is an active member of IFIwatchnet. See
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