CHOIKE - http://www.choike.org
A Portal on Southern Civil Societies - Tue Jan 22 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 is
asking social movements and civil society worldwide to mobilize together
in the week culminating on January 26, 2008.
2. IN-DEPTH REPORTS
->World Social Forum (WSF)
The World Social Forum (WSF) was created to provide an open platform to
discuss strategies of resistance to the globalization model proposed at
the annual World Economic Forum at Davos.
-> All in-depth reports
Deaths in Iraq: the numbers game, revisited
A third assessment of post-invasion violent deaths in Iraq was published
on 9 January 2008 by the New England Journal of Medicine, a prestigious
platform for medical research and scientific debates edited in Boston,
Massachusetts. The lead article in the journal ("Violence-Related
Mortality in Iraq from 2002 to 2006") reports the results of an inquiry
by the Iraq Family Health Survey Study Group (IFHS), involving
collaboration between national and regional ministers in Iraq and the
World Health Organisation (WHO). It finds that 151,000 (between 104,000
and 220,000) people died from violence in Iraq between March 2003 and
More information in "Iraq: the war and occupation":
Civilians in danger
During the war between Israel and Hizbullah in the summer of 2006,
military installations were positioned by the Israeli army in proximity
to Arab civilian locales. On the basis of the investigation undertaken
by the Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA), it emerges that
temporary military installations from which missiles were fired into
Lebanon during the war were indeed positioned in very close proximity to
the Arab locales that suffered the gravest attacks during the war. This
is in addition to permanent military installations in existence prior to
the war. In some cases, the military installations were established
inside the Arab locales.
Source: Arab Association for Human Rights
More information in "The war on Lebanon":
African and European LGBT organizations call on all States to fight
homophobia and to adopt the Yogyakarta Principles
Homophobic laws are still in place in many African states, violating the
fundamental rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI)
people. On the occasion of the Europe-Africa meeting in Lisbon (December
2007), Pan Africa ILGA, (African region of the International Lesbian and
Gay Association), ILGA-Europe and ILGA together with a number of human
rights organizations call on European and African governments to clearly
state that LGBT rights are human rights and to adopt the Yogyakarta
Principles, which are an authoritative compilation of those fundamental
Source: International Lesbian and Gay Association
More information in "Homophobia":
Nepal Supreme Court case on relief for sexual and gender minorities:
Four LGBTI organizations including Blue Diamond Society had filed a writ
petition in last April 2007 demanding to defend and protect equal rights
of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexed (LGBTI) people of
Nepal. After having heard three times over the last few months, on 21
December the Supreme Court of Nepal had issued directive orders to the
government to end discrimination against LGBTI and ensure equal rights
as heterosexual men and women in the country.
Source: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
More information in "Sexual diversity and the law":
Western humanitarianism or neo-slavery?
On balance, a review of the attitudes and operations of Western
humanitarian organizations in Africa indicates that little has changed
since the mid nineteenth century. It is doubtful that Western
humanitarian work in Africa can have enduring positive impact unless
Euro-Americans discard paternalistic racist attitude towards Africans.
Unless humanitarianism is informed by a sense of respect of and identity
with the rights and aspirations of Africans and conducted on the basis
of reciprocal consultation and transparency, it will be simply a placebo.
Source: Black Star News
More information in "Poverty":
Fourteen years of NAFTA and the tortilla crisis
In January 2008, agricultural trade between Mexico, the United States,
and Canada will become completely free, with the end of the
implementation period of the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA). All U.S. and most Canadian products will be able to enter
Mexico without any duties. The same will occur with Mexico's exports to
the other two countries. NAFTA's agricultural agreement (Chapter VII)
promotes the total liberalization of agriculture and forestry in the region.
Source: Americas Program, Center for International Policy
More information in "Free Trade Agreements - FTAs":
Accountability and aid effectiveness
Aid has a critical role to play in the attainment of the Millennium
Development Goals in many developing countries, especially when it is
deployed effectively in an accountable manner as part of a wider
development strategy; it makes a lasting difference in helping people to
lift themselves out of poverty. Of key importance to aid delivery and
management has been the issues of accountability and policy dialogue.
More information in "Financing for Development":
Security Council reform: a transitional approach
Most Member States agree on expanding the membership of the Council, but
they are sharply divided on the category in which the increase should
take place and by how many. During a plenary meeting of the General
Assembly, the current president, Srgjan Kerim, reiterated the importance
and complexity inherent to the reform process, which world leaders had
stressed during the 2005 World Summit. During a press conference on 15
June 2007, Mr. Kerim supported the view that the Security Council should
be more representative, more efficient and transparent in order to
strengthen the legitimacy of its decisions.
Source: UN Chronicle
More information in "UN reform":
Let the women speak! and listen
The idea conveyed when "tradition" is blamed for African women's
economic predicament is that African beliefs and practices constitute
part of an ancient, unchanging way of life, not easily amenable to
change. The reality too often is that aid and development workers assume
that the existence of "tradition" makes African women incapable of
acting as authors of their own lives. What is considered "traditional"
in African communities is often of relatively recent vintage and was
colonially-generated. Foreign aid workers and African men are too eager
to point to "tradition" when excluding women from development projects.
More information in "The UN reform... and women?":
U.N. Reform and the 52nd. Session of the Commission on the Status of Women
The U.N. still lacks an effective mechanism to deliver on many of the
essential commitments made. It has several small under-resourced
agencies focused exclusively on women’s issues and other larger agencies
make critical contributions to women’s human rights and gender equality,
but it is usually a small part of their mandate, and often receives low
priority. The campaign for Gender Equality Architecture Reform therefore
calls on member states of the UN, with the support of the women’s
movement, to act now to create a stronger United Nations entity for women.
Integrating development in climate change
The development of a comprehensive and integrated post-2012 global
policy framework is clearly needed. This should be one that reflects
both the concerns of developing countries to place their economies on a
sustained and sustainable development path and the global concern to
substantially reduce greenhouse gases emissions and mitigate and adapt
to global warming.
Source: South Centre
More information in "Climate change":
Is tourism helping to alleviate poverty in the poor southern hemisphere
The majority of international tourism activity is conducted in the
Northern hemisphere. Further investigation also indicates that tourism
is similar to any other global industry. It takes place in the regions
of international airline routes and shipping ports as well as other
"hubs" which are rich in technology and human resources. Tourism has
often been referred to as a North /South industry, in that it is
predominantly the rich Northern hemisphere tourists visiting the poor
Southern countries in an unequal exchange. Is tourism helping to
alleviate poverty in the poor southern hemisphere countries?
More information in "Tourism":
Economic, social and cultural rights: an online manual
Today, the issue is no longer whether ESC rights are valid human rights
but rather how they may be usefully, effectively and practically
translated to the benefit of humankind, particularly those that are
worse off socially and economically. This is the ultimate justification
for the online manual prepared by FronLine (an organizations working for
the protection of human rights defenders) which is offered as a
contribution to the sharing, learning and doing now underway around the
world in pursuit of the full realization of ESC rights.
More information in "Economic, social and cultural rights - ESCR":
A review of the situation of indigenous peoples 2007
>From oil spills in Ogoniland, land expropriation in Mapuche
territories, desertification of Ahwaz land, to the melting of Tibet’s
icecaps, the local impact of environmental change and degradation caused
by development plans, mostly driven by westernised countries, dominant
communities and governments around the world, are directly affecting
isolated territories and their populations.
More information in "Indigenous peoples and globalization":
The Southern Bank: the struggle of the big ones against the small ones
After the launching of the Southern Bank in Buenos Aires the countries
had to reach an agreement on the contribution that experts considered
would be made in equal parts. Argentina, with the support of Brazil,
said that this was unreasonable; that the contribution of the larger
countries should be greater, and their power within the Bank should
therefore also be greater. Naturally this distorts the idea of a
democratic Bank with a board composed by seven equal associates in which
each country would have a vote.
More information in "Southern Bank: A road towards a new financial
Lending policies of the IMF: HIPC and debt relief in Africa
As the issue of aid effectiveness takes centre stage in the context of
the looming deadline of the Millennium Development Goals, a spotlight
shines on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lending practices to
low-income countries; particularly those in Africa. The IMF’s Poverty
Reduction and Growth Strategy (PRGF) and the Highly Indebted Poor
Countries (HIPC) initiative have been the two ways used by the IMF, the
first one is a requirement of the second.
More information in "International Monetary Fund - IMF":
4. LATEST ADDITIONS: Southern NGOs and other resources
Association of Media Women in Kenya - AMWIK
The Association uses the media as a tool to advance issues that affect
women. It also recognizes that gender inequality and inequity undermines
the effectiveness of development, that media is a powerful tool for
social change and agenda setting.
Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA)
Its vision is to create a child friendly society, where all children are
free from exploitation and receive free and quality education. India.
Celsias is a blog that aims to help people discuss climate change, then
create and manage projects to reduce global warming.
Dramatool is a web-based meeting place for drama/theatre education. The
website encourages networking among drama and theatre folk in Amharic,
Chinese, English, French, Kiswahili, and Spanish.
Front Line is the International Foundation for the Protection of Human
Rights Defenders that seeks to provide rapid and practical support to
at-risk human rights defenders.
Media Accuracy on Latin America
Media Accuracy on Latin America is a project of the North American
Congress on Latin America (NACLA), an independent nonprofit organization
and publisher of the NACLA Report on the Americas. It is a new
initiative that seeks to foster public discourse by offering more
pluralistic views on events unfolding throughout the hemisphere.
-> NGO directory
->Rights org: Gaza situation potentially disastrous
The closure of the Gaza power plant, in addition to Israel's continued,
tightened siege on the Gaza Strip, will have a catastrophic effect on
the 1.5 million residents of Gaza, who are already suffering chronic
shortages of fuel, medicine and some basic food stuffs.
Source: Electronic Intifada
->The Arab Coalition urges the international community to cooperate with
the ICC on the handing over of suspects
The Arab Coalition for an International Criminal Court is concerned by
the obstacles the International Criminal Court (ICC) is facing in the
exercise of its duties.
->131 Palestinians killed by Israel's security forces in 2007
According to B'Tselem data, the number of Israelis and Palestinians
killed in clashes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip dropped. However,
there has been deterioration in many other measures of the human rights
situation in the Occupied Territories.
World Peace and Security
->Kenya: Let us not find revolutionaries where there are none
A whole nation, where ethnic cleansing has already started, is at stake.
International solidarity should be with the Kenyan people and not with
Source: Pambazuka News
->Bush's "vision" is Palestine's nightmare
Much more important issues than the siege on Gaza were on Bush's agenda.
The need to realize and work on a "vision" for the future was in the
forefront of Bush's mind.
Source: Electronic Intifada
->U.S. seen in policy retreat
Recent months have witnessed several notable political reorientations in
the Middle East, involving Iran, the Gulf states, Egypt and Lebanon.
Several experts say the changes reflect a shift in Washington's regional
strategy following recent U.S. policy setbacks.
Source: Inter Press Service (IPS)
Trade and Regional Integration
->Doha round stuck on issues of development (again)
African negotiators are concerned that their development concerns have
been sidelined in the much vaunted Doha Development Round of
negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Source: Inter Press Service (IPS)
->Deadline for participation at UNCTAD XII
UNCTAD XII and its accompanying Civil Society Forum in Accra is
scheduled to take place from 20-25 April, but the deadline for
non-accredited organisations to apply for accreditation is 31 January.
->Gabon suspends 'political' NGOs
Gabon has temporarily banned the activities of up to 20 non-governmental
organisations for their alleged interference in politics.
Source: BBC News
Environment - Globalization - People - Society
->Atlas of radical cartography
It is an important contribution to a growing cultural movement that
traverses the boundaries between art, cartography, geography and activism.
Source: Radical Cartography
->United Nations World Youth Report 2007
The World Youth Report 2007 examines the challenges and opportunities
existing for the roughly 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15
and 24 in the world.
Source: Youth at the United Nations
->Great victory of Nepalese LGBTI!
Supreme Court of Nepal issued directive orders to the Government of
Nepal to end discrimination against LGBTI and ensure equal rights as
heterosexual men and women in Nepal.
Source: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
->51 Egypt websites escape ban
A court in Egypt recognised the importance of freedom of expression in a
civilised society and as such the websites should operate as long as
they do not undermine fundamental beliefs or public order.
Source: Afrol News
->Killings of journalists in 2007 maintain record levels
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said that violence
against journalists has reached extreme levels for the third year in
succession with 171 confirmed deaths, just below the record set a year ago.
Source: International Federation of Journalists
->Tourism at the end of the world
"Hurry! Hurry! See the polar bears, penguins, Arctic glaciers, small
pacific islands before they disappear forever due to global warming"
Tourism companies are now using climate change as a marketing tool.
->Bali: a missed opportunity
The UN climate conference in Bali was a missed opportunity to act on the
greatest challenge in our generation, with a 'road map' agreed. The
sketchy Bali Roadmap was the result of getting the US on board at any
cost. By Walden Bello.
->Zambia: abuses against women obstruct HIV treatment
The Zambian government is failing to address the life-threatening
obstacles facing Zambian women living with HIV who experience domestic
and gender-based violence, Human Rights Watch said in a report.
Source: Human Rights Watch
->Experts call for the protection of sexual and reproductive health of
person with disabilities
The Global Expert Group Meeting on Sexual and Reproductive Health and
Persons with Disabilities discussed in Brasilia ways to promote the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that was adopted
by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006.
->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 - calls 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.
->Conference statement and report on the right to education in the
context of migration and integration
More than two hundred participants from about fifty countries came
together in Bonn from 15 to 16 November 2007 to inform each other and
search for ways to cooperate closer in the future in the complex and
diverse field of migration and integration through adult education.
Economy and Financial Affairs
->863 NGOs petition World Bank Chief against investment tribunal
863 citizens groups from 59 countries have sent a petition to World Bank
President Robert B. Zoellick, expressing concerns about the
International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID),
whose Administrative Council Mr. Zoellick chairs.
Source: Third World Network
->Watchdog faults IMF loan conditions
"Progress had been made in better aligning IMF conditionality to its
core areas of responsibility and expertise, but about one-third of
conditions continued to reach outside these areas", said Tom Bernes,
director of the fund's Independent Evaluation Office.
->BNDES opens office in Uruguay
The National Economic and Social Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES)
announced it would open an office in Montevideo, Uruguay. The bank would
"provide financing on a large scale for exports and imports, foreign
trade and business transactions that will take place in Uruguay".
Brazilian CSOs are looking into the impact of the bank's financing and
query the bank's information policy.
Source: IFIs Latin American Monitor
-> All news
->Bahrain: Torture and ill-treatment of human rights defenders in detention
Please take action on behalf of human rights defenders in detention in
Bahrain who are at risk of torture and ill-treatment.
Source: Front Line
->Against every-day barbarism in Colombia
A call by Colombian and European progressist intellectuals to the
international community to put an end to military and social violence in
->CPI Universal Ratification Campaign: Turkey
Write a letter to the Prime Minister of Turkey to encourage him to
accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Source: Coalition for the International Criminal Court
->Kenya: Call for urgent resolution of electoral crisis
The undersigned call on the ODM and PNU leaders to urgently seek a
resolution to the current electoral crisis in the country and restore
peace and harmony in the country through leadership.
Source: Petition online
->CIADI/Telecom Italia: ¡hands off Bolivia!
When Bolivia suggested that Telecom Italia has provided faulty service,
has not reinvested profits from Bolivia to benefit Bolivians, and then
set up a commission to explore recovering control of the once-public
company, Telecom went to the World Bank to sue Bolivia. Join in calling
on World Bank and Telecom Italia to back off.
-> 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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