Choike Newsletter - 13 March 2008

A Portal on Southern Civil Societies - Thu Mar 13 2008


-> 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


->52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women - Feb. 25 - March 7
The theme of CSW 2008 was financing for gender equality, the empowerment
of women and the emerging issue was gender perspectives on climate change.

-> Events

->Children's rights
Since its adoption in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child
stated the principle of ‘all children, all rights’. Today, that is still
much too far from being a reality.

All in-depth reports

Little progress in reducing global hunger says UN
Despite real advances in China, India, South Africa, and several Latin
American and Caribbean countries, overall there has been little progress
in reducing the number of victims of hunger and malnutrition around the
world, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food Jean Ziegler said
in a report presented to the UN Human Rights Council, which is holding
its substantive seventh session from 3-28 March 2008.
Source: Third World Network

Minority and indigenous groups are the silent victims of climate change
Minority and indigenous groups across the world are among the hardest
hit by climate change and often disproportionately affected by
climate-related disasters but their plight has yet to be recognised by
the international community. Furthermore, indigenous and minority
communities across the world are also hurt by the planting of biofuel
crops championed as a solution to climate change, says a new report by
Minority Rights Group International.
Source: Minority Rights Group International
More information in "Climate change":

Women must participate in all aspects of climate change debate
With women making up the majority of the poor in developing countries
and in communities that are highly dependent on natural resources,
experts participating in the work of the Commission on the Status of
Women, meeting from February 25 to March 7 in New York, argued that
practical solutions to the escalating global warming crisis hinge on
women's participation in all aspects of the climate change debate,
including mitigation and adaptation.
Source: Relief Web
More information in "Climate change":

New gender equity index 2008
The economic dimension is the next challenge towards global gender
equity. More than half the women in the world live in countries that
have made no progress towards gender equity in recent years. That is one
of the findings of the Gender Equity Index (GEI) 2008 that Social Watch
launched at the UN headquarters in New York as a contribution to the
52nd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women that will end
next March 8, the International Women’s Day.
Source: Social Watch
More information in "Gender in economics":

Contributing to ‘development’: money made selling sex
Money that migrants send home is called remittances, and in some
countries they are a major source of income. Records of these payments,
through banks and
services like Western Union, show which country the remittances come
from but not what kind of work produced them. Given the enormous
difference between wages for selling sex and most other jobs, it’s
obvious that a large proportion of remittances must come from sex work.
Source: L.. Agustín Web-page
More information in "Migrant sex work":

The war against women in Africa
Ann Jones is writing from the heart of the war against women and
children: "In recent years, every kind of horror has been inflicted on
girls and women in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Côte d'Ivoire because they
are female. If females were a particular ethnic group -Albanians, let's
say, or Tutsis- or if they espoused a particular religion, as did
Bosnian Muslims, we could recognize what goes on as a kind of "gender
cleansing" or mass femicide. But we don't speak of crimes against women
in that way. When did you last hear someone speak of "crimes against
women" at all?"
Source: Pambazuka

UN: Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has in a new report called on the
Security Council to impose sanctions on armies and groups that make use
of child soldiers in at least a dozen countries. Recruitment of children
in armed conflicts was happening mainly in African and Asian countries,
ranging from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda to Myanmar and
Sri Lanka, he said in the report. Those responsible were rebel groups
but included government forces in countries like Chad, Somalia and
Sudan, Ban said. Some were guilty of killing and sexually abusing
children. The Security Council should consider penalising those
responsible by banning arms and military aid and slapping travel and
financial restrictions on leaders, Ban said.
Source: United Nations
More information in "Child soldiers":

United Nations: Root cause of Palestinian violence is Israeli occupation
Israel must address the occupation and violation of human rights and
international humanitarian law it engenders in the Occupied Palestinian
Territories and "not invoke the justification of terrorism as a
distraction, as a pretext for failure to confront the root cause of
Palestinian violence: the occupation". This message was highlighted by
United Nations Special Rapporteur John Dugard in his latest report on
the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied
since 1967.
Source: South-North Development Monitor - SUNS

Landmine Monitor Report 2007: toward a mine-free world
Time is running short for 29 countries with treaty-mandated clearance
deadlines in 2009 or 2010. Despite a treaty provision allowing 10 years
to complete mine clearance, 14 states are almost certain not meet their
2009 deadlines: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Croatia,
Mozambique, Niger, Peru, Senegal, Tajikistan, Thailand, the United
Kingdom (for clearance of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas), Venezuela,
Yemen, and Zimbabwe. Even more seriously, despite having almost eight
years to initiate clearance, France, Niger, the United Kingdom and
Venezuela have failed to even begin clearance operations.
Source: International Campaign to Ban Landmines
More information in "The landmine problem":

United States - Mexico: walls, abuses, and deaths at the borders
This new report by the International Federation for Human rights (FIDH)
is the result of an investigation conducted through 2007 from the
southern borders of Mexico to the U.S. states of Arizona and Texas,
investigating the rights of undocumented Central American and Mexican
migrants traveling to the United States. The report denounces the human
rights violations perpetrated against migrants by both the Mexican and
the U.S. authorities, in complete impunity. It criticizes both States
for enforcing incoherent national migration policies which openly
disregard their human rights obligations under national and
international law, including the right to life.
Source: International Federation of Human Rights
More information in "Migrations":

Repositioning family planning on the development agenda
Family planning is a central component of reproductive health as defined
by the 1994 International Conference on Population and evelopment
(ICPD). But the Conference gave reproductive health a broad-based
character by linking family planning with the treatment and prevention
of sexually transmitted diseases, the reduction of maternal mortality
and the promotion of maternal health and sexual and reproductive health
of both men and women. March 2008
Source: IPS News

Safe schools: every girl's right
A new report by Amnesty International shows how violence in and around
educational institutions remains pervasive. From Mexico to China, girls
continuously face the risk of being sexually assaulted, harassed or
intimidated on their way to school or once inside school premises. Not
only do girls suffer from the impact of violence on their physical and
mental health, but in the context of education, the violence may cause
girls to drop out and lose any hope of escaping poverty and political
Source: Amnesty International
More information in "The gender gap in education":

How donors are failing children in conflict-affected fragile states
Today 77 million children are out of school; over half of them, 39
million, live in conflict affected fragile states (CAFS). Although
universal primary education is a Millennium Development Goal to be
reached by 2015, at the current rate of progress the goal will not be
met. One of the key reasons this goal will not be met is that the
financing of education in conflict affected fragile states is extremely
low: only 18 per cent of all education aid is given to CAFS despite them
being home to over 50 per cent of children out of school.
Source: International Save the Children Alliance
More information in "Children's rights":

The future control of food
In today's world, access to food is highly, and unacceptably, uneven.
There is massive overproduction and over-consumption, and yet millions
experience scarcity and hunger. <i>The Future Control of Food: a guide
to international negotiations and rules on intellectual property,
biodiversity and food security</i> looks at some of the forces and rules
shaping the food system and who has control over it. In particular, it
focuses on rules on intellectual property (for example patents, plant
breeders' rights, trademarks and copyright) and their relations to other
rules on biodiversity, an essential requirement for food security.
Source: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
More information in "Agriculture and food sovereignty":

Biotech companies fuel GM contamination spread
In a new report tracking genetically modified contamination worldwide,
Greenpeace International and GeneWatch found 39 new instances of crop
contamination in 23 countries over the past year. Most of the
contamination incidences involved staple crops such as rice and maize,
but also included soy, cotton, canola, papaya and fish. The ‘next
generation’ of GM crops, designed to produce drugs or industrial
products such as plastics, are now being widely grown in experimental
trials, with possible serious implications for human health should they
contaminate the food chain.
Source: Greenpeace International
More information in "GM food":

GM trees concerns at the Convention on Biological Diversity
Genetically modified (GM) trees are mostly planned for large-scale
commercial purposes and their impact would be similar to the current
industrial tree monocultures and more. The issue of GM trees in relation
to forest biodiversity is on the agenda of the current meeting of the
Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the
Convention on Biological Diversity in Rome that takes place from 18 to
22 February 2008.
Source: TWN,WRM

It's time for the UN to make water a human right
All over the world, groups who are fighting for local water rights are
championing an international instrument on the right to water. Due to
over-development and climate change, fresh water is becoming
increasingly scarce. In addition, in many communities across the globe,
people cannot get access to whatever clean water does exist without
paying private corporations. The global water crisis is evident. We need
a global solution in form of a United Nation Covenant on water.
Source: AlterNet
More information in "Water in private hands":

Debt sustainability in emerging markets: A critical appraisal
The framework applied by the BWIs for assessing the sustainability of
low-income countries’ external debt has been subject to an intense
debate in the context of official debt initiatives in recent years. A
critical assesses to this framework focuses on complementarities and
trade-offs between fiscal and external sustainability, and interactions
and feedbacks among policy and endogenous variables affecting debt
ratios. This paper examines current fragilities in emerging markets and
notes that domestic debt is of concern.
Source: Third World Network
More information in "External debt":

Conditionality in Latin America
In Latin America, since the end of the 1980s, the IMF and the World Bank
imposed conditionality directly linked to the launching of structural
adjustment programs, more commonly known as the Washington Consensus.
After the failure of these policies, strong political trends arose in
the region, presenting different economic policy alternatives, aimed at
a new equation for state and market relations together with deepening,
and in some cases, construction, of democratic institutions and measures
of governability, which grant long term viability to the countries'
economies and societies. February, 2008
Source: Forum on the Future of Aid
More information in "World Bank":

Preparations for the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for
In a letter of 10 January 2008 addressed to all States, the President of
the UN General Assembly, Dr. Srgjan Kerim, emphasized the importance of
a successful outcome to the Review Conference and proposed a work
programme for the preparatory process. The programme includes review
sessions on the thematic areas of the Monterrey Consensus and
interactive hearings with representatives of civil society and the
business sector, to be held at UN Headquarters in New York during the
period from February to June 2008. In addition, UN regional commissions,
with the support of regional development banks and other relevant
entities, will hold regional consultations during the first half of 2008.
Source: United Nations
More information in "Financing for Development":

The WTO's Doha negotiations: an assessment
The negotiations are comprehensive and complex. The aggressive interest
of the major developed countries in expanding their economic space
clashes with the vital developmental priorities and survival concerns of
the developing countries. All this calls for deliberation and
interaction among the participants in a cool atmosphere. The strategy of
assembling them in small groups in an atmosphere charged with tension
and clashing their heads together to hammer out agreements has not
worked. Setting artificial deadlines to hasten the process has failed
repeatedly. There is a need for cool thinking at this stage.
Source: Third World Network
More information in "World Trade Organization - WTO":

The world wide web of desire: content regulation on the internet
The internet is often described as the last frontier for free speech and
expression, an anarchic and chaotic space for irrepressible political,
sexual and personal expression. However, the last decade has seen an
increase in the confidence of States to govern the internet, and
simultaneously the crackdown on spaces on the internet. What are the
processes by which people will participate in deciding how the internet
will be governed? How participatory are these processes and do they give
adequate representation to all voices? and in the context of content
regulation specifically, who decides what is "harmful content" – the
State, international bodies, the law or people/end-users?
Source: APC Women's Networking Support Programme
More information in "Internet governance":

Telecentres for universal access: engendered policy options
While telecentres are not an entirely new idea, the strong emphasis on
this new policy option offers an intriguing and encouraging approach to
overcoming the wide disparities of access in the global information
society, and as such, provide opportunities for developing societies and
historically disadvantaged regions and populations to participate in the
newly emerging social and economic orders.
Source: Women in Action
More information in "Telecentres":

4. LATEST ADDITIONS: Southern NGOs and other resources

Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism - IPCB
The IPCB is organized to assist indigenous peoples in the protection of
their genetic resources, indigenous knowledge, cultural and human rights
from the negative effects of biotechnology. The IPCB provides
educational and technical support to indigenous peoples in the
protection of their biological resources, cultural integrity, knowledge
and collective rights.

Sexuality Policy Watch - SPW
Global forum composed of researchers and activists from a wide range of
countries and regions of the world. The SPW's mandate is twofold: to
contribute to sexuality related global policy debates through strategic
policy-oriented research and analysis projects, and to promote more
effective linkages between local, regional and global initiatives.

Sonke Gender Justice Network
The Sonke Gender Justice project tries to address the social aspects of
the HIV epidemic, with a particular focus on gender issues. South Africa.

Tujifunze - Centre for Information Technology
The organization is committed to uplifting and empowering communities,
especially disadvantaged groups, such as orphans/children, women and the
elderly, through the use of information and communication technologies.
"Tujifunze" in Swahili means "learning". Tanzania.

Whither EC Aid? (WECA)
The main objective of this joint ECDPM-ActionAid project is to
re-position the debate on monitoring the effectiveness of European
Commission development cooperation.

Women´s Media Watch
Organization comprising a core volunteer membership of women and a
network of male and female associates to promote a gendered analysis of
the media in order to increase awareness of the influence of the media
in our lives. Jamaica.

-> NGO directory

Human Rights

->African NGO calls for new millennium development goal on internal
Speaking ahead of the World Bank/ IMF 2008 meeting in Washington in
April 2008, Africa IDP Voice, says it is now vital to introduce another
UN Millennium Development Goal that requires governments to prevent the
prevalence of internal displacement and put policy and institutional
frameworks in place that protect and assist the internally displaced.
Source: AfricaFiles

->Shared memories for the future of the housing right with no boundaries
Some fifty marches, squatts, debates and assemblies simultaneously
brought together, for the first time in history, tens of thousands of
people in demanding the housing right with no boundaries, in rich
countries as well as poor ones, north and south, east and west.The topic
at hand was the suitable conclusion to the global campaign "Act together
- housing for all!".
Source: IAI

->NGO strategic meeting to the 7th session of the Human Rights Council
The Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the UN and the
Special Committee of NGOs on Human Rights will convene an NGO Strategic
Meeting, open to all NGOs accredited to the 7th session of the Human
Rights Council.
Source: CONGO

Human Rights - World Peace and Security

->Uganda: new accord provides for war crimes trials
The agreement announced between the Ugandan government and the Lord’s
Resistance Army is a major step, but provisions on war crimes trials
must be effectively put into practice, Human Rights Watch said.
Source: Human Rigths Watch

->White House, justice won't renounce waterboarding
U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused to open a criminal
investigation into the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) use of
waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques".
Source: Inter Press Service (IPS)

World Peace and Security

->Palestine: nowhere to run to
The United Nations defines 'massacre' as the death of 50 or more
civilians. Operation Hot Winter claimed 60 lives on its first day, and
so far at least 126 killed, among them 39 children and babies, and 12
women, and 380 injured. Hundreds of houses have been destroyed.
Source: IPS

Sustainable Development

->Market is heating up the globe
One way to look at the climate problem is through the lens of the
market. If you do, only one conclusion is possible - the climate change
problem is a massive market failure, a failure of market mechanisms to
factor in future costs of a change in climate in real time prices.
Source: IPS

->Security Council urged to punish CO2 offenders
The world's small island nations are calling for the UN Security Council
to help protect their lands and resources by using its authority to
demand reductions of carbon dioxide emissions, and to penalise those
nations that fail to comply.
Source: IPS


->Faults in the vault: not everyone is celebrating Svalbard
Nestled inside a mountain, the "Global Seed Vault" is basically a giant
icebox able to hold 4.5 million seed samples in cold storage for
humanity's future needs located on an island in Svalbard, Norway.
However, this "ultimate safety net" for the biodiversity that world
farming depends on is sadly just the latest move in a wider strategy to
make ex situ (off site) storage in seed banks the only approach to crop
diversity conservation.
Source: GRAIN

->Warmer world may mean less fish
Climate change is emerging as the latest threat to the world's dwindling
fish stocks a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) suggests.
Source: UNEP


->NGOs call to end HIV AIDS and violence against women and girls. NOW!
Just a year ago a group of organizations and networks working around HIV
AIDS, Sexual and Reproductive rights and health and violence launched
the Women Won’t Wait Campaign in NY in the framework of CSW and its
discussions around violence against women and girls. This year they're
back to call for more allocation of resources to fight HIV AIDS and
Source: Women Won't Wait Campaign

->1000 telemedicine units for Africa
The Global Digital Solidarity Fund (DFS), established after the World
Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in 2005 is to launch a new
project to enable 1,000 African district hospitals to update their
knowledge and practice telemedicine.
Source: DFS


->U.N.'s main women's body remains leaderless
When women activists lash out against gender discrimination, one of
their longstanding complaints is also directed at the U.N. Secretariat,
where senior level posts are still largely a virtual monopoly of men.
Source: IPS News

->International Women’s Day: 8 March 2008
The international women's day, celebrated internationally each year on 8
March, has for a theme this year "investing in women and girls". See a
complete review on how the different UN bodies and special agencies will
mark the day prepared by the UN-non-governmental liaison service.
Source: UN Non-Govermmental Liaison Service (NGLS)

->Global employment trends for women 2008
More women are working than ever before, but they are also more likely
than men to get low-productivity, low-paid and vulnerable jobs, with no
social protection, basic rights nor voice at work according to a new
report by the International Labour Office (ILO) issued for International
Women’s Day.
Source: ILO

Sexual diversity

->IGLHRC announces 2008 Felipa de Souza award winners
This year's honours went to the Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO) and
Chilean trans activist Andrés Ignacio Rivera Duarte.
Source: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)

->LGBT groups: gaining the right to speak in our own name at the UN
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups still face discrimination
in accessing United Nations consultative status.
Source: International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)

->Book: SexPolitics - Reports from the Front Lines
This book is an understanding that sexual politics are always on some
level about power and that attempts to destabilize traditional gender
and sexual relations will threaten established political, religious and
familial hierarchies.
Source: SPW


->World Social Forum strategy debate: open consultation
In late March, the WSF International Council will meet in Nigeria.
Contributions to this debate must be sent up to the deadline of February
29th 2008.
Source: WSF

Trade and Regional Integration

->African Civil society groups urge a stop to EPAs
A group of over fifty civil society and social movements from Africa
have called for a stop to the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)
between Europe and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
Source: Third World Network

Economy and Financial Affairs

->Launch of Independent Citizens’ Debt Audit Commission in the Philippines
Created in response to a petition initiated by the People Against
Illegitimate Debt (PAID!) movement, the Commission was launched three
days after the mammoth interfaith rally in Makati City against the
alleged role of the First Family and corruption in the overpriced ZTE
national broadband network deal.
Source: Freedom from Debt Coalition

->NGOs pull out of ADB's Mekong safeguards consultations
Groups from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma have refused to
attend the Asian Development Bank's safeguard policy update
consultations held in Hanoi, citing weakness of the draft. As a result,
only three NGOs attended the consultation adding another blow to ADB's
beleaguered efforts to pass off the consultation process as credible.
Source: Bank Information Center

->The IDB prepares its Annual Governors' Meeting in Miami
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is preparing its 49th Annual
Meeting of the Board of Governors, from April 4 to 8, in Miami, USA.
Civil Society Organizations will bring their queries about the
Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA)
initiative, biofuels and the carbon trade markets, among others.
Source: IFIs Latin American Monitor

Information and Communication Technologies

->Net neutrality bill is introduced in U.S. Congress
The "Internet Freedom Preservation Act", introduced by Democrat
Representative Edward Markey, would amend the Communications Act of
1934, American telecommunications' defining legal framework.
Source: ALAI

-> All news

->Help save Mehdi Kazemi in UK
A gay Iranian teenager faces deportation from Britain and execution in
his home country after a Dutch court refused to hear his asylum claim.
Source: iPetitions

->Don't burn food: biofuels standards now!
Send leaders of the twenty biggest economies a messages urging the
adoption of global standards for biofuels.
Source: Avaaz

->Support the petition for safe school for girls
Violence leads to countless girls being kept out of school, dropping
out, or not fully participating in school life.
Source: Amnesty International

->Sign in support for an effective Optional Protocol
As one of the most important moments in the fight for a strong Optional
Protocol on economic, social and cultural rights approaches,
organizations are looking for support.
Source: ESCR-net

->ICC Universal Ratification Campaign: Egypt
Write a letter to the President of Egypt to encourage him to ratify the
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Source: Coalition for the International Criminal Court

->For a stronger gender equality architecture reform (GEAR) at the UN
Strengthening the UN’s gender equality machinery is a crucial part of
financing for development. Join your organization to this campaign.

->Save the Internet: act now
You can help make the internet faster, more open and accessible to all.

->An African call for a moratorium on agrofuel developments
The call for a moratorium on new biofuel developments in Africa is in
line with warnings from the main UN agencies involved in agriculture and
food aid, WFP and FAO, registering that the increased acreage used for
biofuels is already contributing to higher food prices and may lead to
more hunger in the world.
Source: GRAIN

->One Man Can Campaign
The One Man Can Campaign supports men and boys to take action to end
domestic and sexual violence and to promote healthy, equitable
relationships between men and women.
Source: Sonke Gender Justice

-> 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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