CHOIKE - http://www.choike.org
A Portal on Southern Civil Societies - Thu Feb 14 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
->World Social Forum global day of action - 26th January 2008
A Global Call for Action promoted by many international networks joined
social movements and civil society worldwide to mobilize together in the
week culminating on January 26, 2008.
2. IN-DEPTH REPORTS
Climate change is widely considered to be one of the gravest threats to
the sustainability of the planet.
All in-depth reports
Paving the way for agrofuels: the EU climate change calculations
In the face of the climate change threat and the increasing scarcity of
fossil fuels, agrofuels are being heavily promoted as a means to reduce
carbon dioxide emissions. The European Union (EU) is proposing a 10 per
cent mandatory target for agrofuel use in transport by 2020. Yet there
is strong and growing evidence that, far from reducing emissions, the
rush to agrofuels will significantly accelerate climate change, as well
as contributing to a range of other social and environmental problems.
More information in "Climate change":
Stolen generations: Australia apologizes to indigenous population
The Australian government has made a formal apology for the past wrongs
caused by successive governments on the indigenous Aboriginal
population. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised in parliament to all
Aborigines for laws and policies that "inflicted profound grief,
suffering and loss". From 1910 to the early 1980s, somewhere between one
in three and one in ten Aboriginal children in Australia were removed
from their families under State-based forced removal policies.
Fighting FTAs: the growing resistance to bilateral free trade and
While global trade talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) stagnate,
governments and corporations are busy spinning a complex web of
bilateral free trade and investment agreements (FTAs). "Fighting FTAs"
looks at what this FTA frenzy is really about, how social movements are
fighting back and strategic learnings emerging from these struggles.
"Fighting FTAs" is a collaborative publication by bilaterals.org, GRAIN
Source: Fighting FTAs
More information in "Free Trade Agreements - FTAs":
The Paris Declaration and the Right to Development
The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PD), as a non-binding
document on ways to disburse and manage Official Development Assistance
more effectively, does not deal with any of the commitments spelled out
in Millennium Development Goal 8 (trade, finance, debt, increased aid)
but it can be deemed to indirectly contribute to them if its goal of
making aid more efficient is actually achieved. However, while
relatively minor gains in efficiency could be obtained from avoiding
duplications in delivery and simplifying reporting, the main causes of
aid inefficiency (i.e. tied aid and unpredictability of aid income) are
not properly addressed. There is a danger that the political momentum
around the PD might deviate attention from the need of building global
development partnerships around the still largely unmet commitments of MDG8.
More information in "Financing for Development":
Food's failed estates = Paris's hot cuisine... Food sovereignty – à la
Food Sovereignty, the political philosophy introduced by Via Campesina,
has become a hot geopolitical topic. For the first time in decades, food
issues are rising high on the international agenda, pushed there by
alarm over climate chaos; booming population growth; the fast-growing
appetite for meat and dairy products; and, the land and price pressures
imposed by agrofuels. All of this at a time when the major multilateral
food and agricultural institutions are reverberating from tough
performance reviews and as new philanthro-capitalists ramp up their
influence over agriculture and rural development.
Source: ETC Group
More information in "Agriculture and food sovereignty":
The militarization of the world's urban peripheries
Urban peripheries in Third World countries have become war zones where
states attempt to maintain order based on the establishment of a sort of
"sanitary cordon" to keep the poor isolated from "normal" society. A
study by the United Nations estimates that one billion people live in
peripheral neighborhoods outside Third World cities and that the poor in
the largest cities in the world number some two billion, that is, a
third of all human beings. These statistics will double within the next
15 or 20 years, and "all future growth of the world's population will
occur in cities, 95% of it in cities of the Global South and the
majority in slums."
Source: Americas Program - Center for International Policy (CIP)
More informatioon in "Disarmament":
Reporting on violence against children: a thematic guide for
Most NGOs working on issues related to child rights are familiar with
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the United
Nations General Assembly on 20 November 1989 and which came into force
on 2 September 1990. Since that time the NGO community has been actively
participating in the monitoring of the Convention by providing reports
and oral presentations to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
which meets in Geneva three times a year. A number of guidelines and
implementation handbooks have been produced to provide detailed
information on the Convention, its optional protocols, the role of the
Committee, the obligations of States party to the Convention and the
part that can be played by the NGO community.
More information in "Civil and political rights":
Access to safe abortion is a human right
A woman's ability to exercise her rights to control her body, to
self-determination, and to health depends, in part, on her right to
determine whether to carry a pregnancy to term. Abortion is legal in
almost all countries to save a woman's life, and approximately 30% of
the world's women may seek abortions. Too often, though, safe abortion
services are not provided by public health systems, are of poor quality,
or are not accessible. This is true even where abortion laws are liberal
as in India. Evidence from countries including the United States,
Romania, and South Africa demonstrates that abortion-related deaths and
injuries can be virtually eliminated with appropriate laws, policies,
Source: International Women's Health Coalition - IWHC
More information in "Sexual and reproductive rights":
The Gaza wall comes tumbling down
The breaching of the Israeli-built wall dividing the Gaza Strip from
Egypt brought some critical relief for the population of 1.5 million
Palestinians whom Israel had kept locked into a kind of prison since
January 2006. That lock-down was tightened in June 2007, and by the end
of this January it had created a rising humanitarian crisis as Israel
completely cut off access into and out of a walled-off Gaza, and halted
crucial supplies of fuel, food, and already scarce medicines and medical
Source: Transnational Institute - Institute for Policy Studies
More information in "Israeli-Palestinian conflict":
Assessing China’s role in Africa: a search for a new perspective
Open any newspaper and you would get the impression that the African
continent, and much of the rest of the world, is in the process of being
‘devoured’ by China. Phrases such as the ‘new scramble for Africa’,
‘voracious’, ‘ravenous’ or ‘insatiable’ ‘appetite for natural resources’
are typical descriptors used to characterise China’s engagement with
Africa. In contrast, the operations of western capital for the same
activities are described with anodyne phrases such as ‘development’,
‘investment’, ‘employment generation’ (Mawdsely, 2008). Is China indeed
the voracious tiger it is so often portrayed as?
Is what is good for "sealing" Doha talks good for the trading system?
As key trade negotiators and diplomats, suitably "advised" or
"instructed" by their ministers who last week had foregathered at the
annual Davos World Economic Forum with leaders of business and industry
and heads of some international institutions, return to Geneva and the
"Doha talks" at the World Trade Organization, they face an existential
situation. A commentary by Chakravarthi Raghavan, Editor Emeritus of the
SUNS, on the current situation on the Doha negotiations in the WTO.
Source: Third World Network
More information in "World Trade Organization - WTO":
A guide to cluster munitions
The international community has become increasingly aware of the need to
deal with the hazards that all explosive remnants of war (ERW) pose to
civilian populations. The recent entry into force of Protocol V on ERW
of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, on 12 November 2006,
and the worldwide expansion of explosive ordinance disposal (EOD)
projects are indicative of this concern. Cluster munitions, which by
design deliver submunitions over a wide area, are a specific and often
significant post-conflict hazard to settled communities and returnees alike.
Source: Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)
More information in "The landmine problem":
Manual on the Right to Water and Sanitation
There is growing interest in the contributions of human rights to
efforts to extend access to water and sanitation, but little practical
information is available at present on how this can be achieved. The
Manual on the Right to Water and Sanitation is designed to assist policy
makers and practitioners in implementing the human right to water and
sanitation. The Manual addresses issues common to most economic, social
and cultural rights, including how to operationalise the requirements of
non-discrimination and attention to vulnerable and marginalised groups,
participation, international cooperation and affordability within
More iformation in "The water crisis":
Call to action of the third Africa conference on sexual health and rights
Participants at the third Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights,
held 4-7 February 2008 in Nigeria, affirm that Sexual Rights are an
integral and inalienable part of basic Human Rights. This requires that
African states be accountable to their citizens for their sexual health
and rights. Participants also called for increased accountability across
the African continent at all levels – governments, institutions, civil
society, communities, families and individuals.
Source: 3rd Africa conference on sexual health and rights
More information in "AIDS: wealth before health":
Enough of this educational apartheid
"It is not right for any longer for independent private schools to cream
off the best pupils, the best teachers, the best facilities, the best
results and the best university places, thereby perpetuating the
apartheid which has so dogged education and national life in Britain
since the Second World War" warns a College headmaster in the midst of
new landmark rulings on the role of public schools in Britain. The
warning comes in times of global cutbacks on public education, as
countries rich and poor look to the private sector to share the load.
Source: The Independent
More information in "Education on the market":
You can have the money on one condition...
Many non-governmental organizations have been campaigning for years to
persuade the World Bank to stop imposing free-trade conditions on
cash-strapped borrower nations. This process is, prosaically, known as
'conditionality', and the struggle over it has been a long one. But the
problems caused by inappropriate conditions being forced on poor
countries have not ended. On the contrary, the World Bank continues to
promote reforms such as privatisations - a problem highlighted by events
Source: Third World Network
More information in "International Monetary Fund - IMF":
4. LATEST ADDITIONS: Southern NGOs and other resources
Bunyad is an organization from Pakistan that aims to empower under
privileged, marginalized groups particularly rural women and children
through literacy, education and economic empowerment.
Just Associates - JASS
Network of justice activists, scholars and popular educators in 13
countries worldwide committed to increasing women’s voice, visibility
and collective organizational power to advance a more just, equitable
and sustainable world.
National Garifuna Council of Belize - NGC
They work to preserve, strengthen and develop their culture as well as
promote economic development of the Garifuna people.
Organizzazione dei Popoli Indigeni delle Suriname - OIS
-> NGO directory
->Potential Guantánamo executions after torture and unfair trials is not
The Pentagon’s announcement that it has charged six "high-value"
detainees at Guantánamo Bay raises yet more questions about the USA’s
conduct in the "war on terror".
Source: Amnesty International
->2008 Report: democracy charade undermines rights
In its new annual report, Human Rights Watch highlights abuses in
Pakistan, Kenya, China, Somalia. The World Report 2008 surveys the human
rights situation in more than 75 countries.
Source: Human Rigths Watch
->New Arab Charter deviates from the Convention on the Rights of the Child
The Arab Charter on Human Rights contains provisions that do not meet
international norms and standards, including the application of the
death penalty for children, the United Nations human rights chief said.
Human Rights - Media
->Afghan reporter sentenced to death for blasphemy
A young journalist in the north of Afghanistan faces the death penalty
in what observers say is a well-orchestrated campaign of intimidation
against the media.
Source: Institute for War & Peace Reporting
Human Rights - World Peace and Security
->British-Iraqi survey confirms one million deaths as a result of US
The British polling agency ORB (Opinion Research Business) issued survey
results January 28 that confirm its earlier estimate that more than one
million Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the American-led
invasion and occupation.
Source: World Socialist Web Site
Gender - World Peace and Security
->Kenya: Women's Memorandum to the Mediation Team
A comprehensive memorandum developed through a consultative process by
Kenyan women, this document emphasis the crucial role women must play in
rebuilding the country.
->South Africa: 07-07-07 Campaign launch hailed as a huge success
The 07-07-07-Campaign to end hate against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
Transgendered and Intersexed (LGBTI) persons was launched in Cape Town
on the 2nd anniversary commemorating the violent and brutal death of 19
year old Zoliswa Nkonyana.
->Outrage and concern after arrests of gay men in Senegal
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and
PAN-Africa ILGA have demanded the immediate and unconditional release of
up to 20 gay men believed to have been arrested on suspicion of
homosexuality in Senegal.
Trade and Regional Integration - Economy and Financial Affairs
->AU takes decision on EPAs
Executive Council of the African Union has approved that no African
region should be allowed to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements
(EPAs) with the European Union "as long as the draft agreement is not
submitted and discussed at the continental level."
Source: afrol News
->Congress on communication
Communicators and media activists committed to promoting a culture of
peace are invited to participate in Congress 2008 on communication
organized by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC).
This Congress is scheduled to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, 6-10
Source: Wacc Global
->Human rights accountability and the environment
The Human Dignity and Human Rights Caucus demands that States and
Corporations close human rights accountability gaps.
Source: International Federation for Human Rights
->EU renewables policy: doubts and flaws
The European Commission’s draft EU Renewable Energy Directive ignores
numerous recent warnings on the environmental and social damage of its
proposed 10 per cent target for agrofuel use in the transport sector by
->EU persists with biofuels
The European Union has decided to maintain a target for increasing the
use of biofuels despite mounting concerns that its strategy could worsen
->REDD: Growing money on trees
Deforestation is responsible for one-fifth of annual carbon emissions –
more than the entire transport sector. Yet a new global scheme to
‘reduce deforestation’ could end up rewarding the companies and
governments that cause it.
->Brazil unable to curb Amazon destruction
Brazil's government is unwilling and unable to halt destruction in the
Amazon rainforest despite emergency measures it announced last week to
curb rising deforestation, environmental experts say.
Source: Environmental News Network
->Coca-Cola asked to shut plant in India
In a major blow to the Coca-Cola company in India, a report by its ally,
the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), has called for the closure of
one of its bottling plants in India - in the village of Kala Dera in the
state of Rajasthan citing the widespread water shortages being
experienced by villages around Coca-Cola's bottling plant.
Source: India Resource Center
->Global campaign for education's 3rd World Assembly comes to a close
The Global Campaign for Education's (GCE) Third World Assembly united
civil society and campaigners from 85 countries, and 31 international
organisations, to reflect on the progress made by the campaign and to
determine the campaigns future direction.
->World Social Forum mobilization day: a call for education
As member of the World Social Forum International Council, ICAE - the
International Council for Adult Education - called for action within the
framework of the WSF Global Day of Action, on 26th January 2008, by
inviting social movements and NGOs working in the education field, to
draw the attention of governments, on the fulfilment of the right to
education for all as a universal human right.
->WHO Board debates "global health security", climate, IPRs
The meaning of the term "global health security" has been a significant
subject of discussion at the 122nd session of the Executive Board of the
World Health Organisation taking place this week in Geneva.
->No sex, please - you're HIV-positive
HIV/AIDS policies and programmes disregard the sexual needs of people
living with the virus, claim a number of HIV-positive women who attended
the third Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights held 4-7
February 2008 in Nigeria.
Economy and Financial Affairs
->Economic turbulence could reate 5 million more unemployed
Economic turbulence, mainly stemming from the credit crisis in
industrialized countries and rising oil prices, could spur an increase
in global unemployment by an estimated 5 million persons in 2008, the
International Labour Office (ILO) has warned.
Source: Third World Network
-> IMF presence in Nicaragua
Nicaragua has an extant agreement with the IMF since October 2007, and
at a moment when the Congress is debating the national budget 2008, the
institution is making its opinion felt in questions of distribution of
the public expenditure.
Source: IFIs Latin American Monitor
-> Staff in black - IMF faces structural adjustment
Thanks to pressure from the major shareholders the IMF’s new managing
director Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being forced to cut the IMF’s budget.
Internal documents reveal some details of the restructuring, but fail to
shed light on whether the Fund will shift away from dictating to poor
countries and towards overseeing global markets.
-> All news
->Domestic workers need special protection from the ILO - support the call
At its 31st Session (1948), the International Labour Conference adopted
a resolution concerning the conditions of employment of domestic workers
- what happened since?...action is needed!
->Time to drop Suharto's arms debt
Source: Anti Debt Coalition Indonesia
->Gaza: stop blockade and war
The years-old blockade of Gaza is at crisis point: with the humanitarian
crisis growing, the southern border has been breached and 350,000
Palestinians are pouring across.
-> 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.
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