Choike Newsletter - 3 March 2009

A Portal on Southern Civil Societies - Tue Mar 03 2009

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-> World Social Forum 2009 - Belém, Brazil
The World Social Forum 2009 took place from January 27 to February 1 in
the Brazilian city of Belém, the capital of Pará state and the
northeastern gateway to the Amazon jungle region.

-> Events

-> The global financial crisis: implications for the South
The second half of 2008 saw unfold one of the most significant financial
crises in history that started in the United States and then spread to
Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. The response was just as historic.

All in-depth reports

Assessing damage, urging action: report of the Eminent Jurists Panel on
terrorism, counter-terrorism and human rights
In one of the most extensive studies of counter-terrorism and human
rights yet undertaken, an independent panel of eminent judges and
lawyers today presents alarming findings about the impact of
counter-terrorism policies worldwide and calls for remedial action. The
Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights,
established by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), has based
its report "Assessing Damage, Urging Action" on sixteen hearings
covering more than forty countries in all regions of the world.
Source: International Commission of Jurists
More information in "The war on terror: a war on human rights":

Civil Society position paper on Israel's barbaric aggression on the Gaza
On 27 December 2008, Israeli occupying forces launched a full-scale
military offensive on the Gaza Strip from the sea, land and air. For 22
days the Israeli military indiscriminately shelled homes, mosques and
schools, leaving no area of Gazan society untouched. During Israel's
barbaric military campaign, approximately 1300 Palestinians were killed.
According to Al-Mezan for Human Rights almost 4 of every 5 persons
killed was a civilian. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health,
more than 1 of every 3 fatalities was a child . Practices and tactics
adopted by the Israeli military during its offensive, which included
bombing and shelling densely populated areas, strongly indicate that
civilians were deliberately targeted.
Source: The Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
More information in "Israeli-Palestinian conflict":

NGOs submit proposals to the UN special commission on global crisis
Several organizations have submitted their proposals to the Commission
of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the
International Monetary and Financial System whose mandate includes
putting forward “credible and feasible proposals for reforming the
international monetary and financial system in the best interest of the
international community”. The commission will present its final report
in early April 2009 taking in to account the input of civil society
Source: Choike

10 measures to fight global recession and bail out the poor
Social Watch, a network of citizen coalitions in over 70 countries
monitoring the commitments of governments and international
organizations to eradicate poverty and achieve gender equality, has
submitted 10 measures to fight global recession and bail out the poor to
the UN Commission on Reforms to the Global Economic and Financial
System, which is headed by economist Josepth Stiglitz.
Source: Social Watch
More information in "The global financial crisis: implications for the

Engendering aid: analysis of the Accra outcomes
The Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) does not go far enough, because it
fails to indentify mechanisms to monitor
to what extent the allocation of aid corresponds to national priorities
and people’s needs, and whether it contributes or not in terms of a
positive impact on the agenda of gender equality, human rights and
sustainable development. The obligations based on regional and
international agreements on development, gender and development and
human rights should be the normative and organisational framework of
accountability in the aid system, but the AAA language is very vague in
that sense.
Source: FRIDE - Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el
Diálogo Exterior
More information in "Gender in economics":

Women exploiting women
Women in the U.S. are purchasing clothing sewn by women who are
exploited in Guatemala. The Nicotex sweatshop produces clothing for
Briggs New York and Lane Bryant. The U.S. Free Trade Agreement with
Central America continues to fail, undermined by corruption and a total
lack of enforcement of labor laws.
Source: National Labor Committee
More information in "Global labour rights":

A gender-equitable public policy
Defining gender equitable public policy raises questions on the extent
to which gender mainstreaming continues to be a useful strategy. There
is no debate as to whether or not there is any need to address
discrimination. However, we need to be able to go beyond these
approaches in order to deal with the "systemic issues" on the
appropriate role of various social institutions in provisioning for the
improvement of well-being. Public policy must change the incentive
structures in society so that the responsibilities for provisioning and
care are more evenly carried among states, markets, and households or
communities. In doing so, genderequitable public policy contributes to
social transformation.
Source: DAWN Informs

The gender dimensions of post-conflict reconstruction: The challenges in
development aid
Based on analyzing World Bank and other donor post-conflict
reconstruction loans and grants from rights-based, macroeconomic and
microeconomic perspectives, The Gender Dimensions of Post-Conflict
Reconstruction: The Challenges in Development Aid concludes that few
donor post-conflict reconstruction projects identify or address gender
discrimination issues. World Bank PCR investments hardly reflect Bank
research recognizing that gender inequality increases the likelihood of
conflict and gender equality is central to development and peace.
Source: Gender Action
More information in "Financing for Development":

Home truths: facing the facts on children, AIDS, and poverty
The global response to HIV and AIDS must be significantly reoriented to
address the unmet needs of millions of children and their families in
the worst affected countries, according to a new report by the
independent Joint Learning Initiative on Children and HIV/AIDS (JLICA).
The report summarises two years of research and analysis of AIDS-
related policies, programmes and funding and their effectiveness in
addressing the needs of children.
Source: Joint Learning Initiative on Children and HIV/AIDS
More information in "Children's rights":

Global Information Society Watch 2008
How do we ensure access to the internet is a human right enjoyed by
everyone? This is one of the critical questions asked by an annual
publication that highlights the importance of people's access to
information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure. Global
Information Society Watch 2008 (or GISWatch), published in print and
online by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the
Third World Institute (ITeM), and Dutch development organisation Hivos,
collects the perspectives of ICT academics, analysts, activists and
civil society organisations from across the globe in over 50 reports.
Source: GISWatch
More information in "World Summit on the Information Society - WSIS":

Accelerating into disaster – when banks manage the food crisis
The High Level Conference on Food Security in Madrid on the 26th and
27th of January excluded the main stakeholders in the debate on the food
crisis from meaningful participation. It was a forum dominated by the
World Bank, IMF and WTO, as well as transnational companies such as
Monsanto, and it was an outrage that they were given space on the panels
of discussion while representatives of small farmers - who produce 80%
of the world's food – were left only a few minutes on the floor to give
their position.
Source: Food Sovereignty
More information in "Agriculture and food sovereignty":

That other world
In Belém, the World Social Forum experienced a seismic internal shift.
There was a clear and categorical debate on organizational methodology
and strategic objectives. The debate was healthy, and shows that the
Forum is dynamic and understands when it needs to reconsider its
opinions. The locations being put forward for the next meeting in 2011
are the United States, Senegal, and South Africa. But in Brazil, a
positive precedent has been set, which is even more significant if we
recall that at the same time, on the other side of the world, the former
superpowers have been rendered impotent and nervous as they become
entangled in a crisis of their own making.
Source: Americas Program
More information in "World Social Forum (WSF)":

Killer law and persecution in Nicaragua
It became a crime for a woman to have an abortion in Nicaragua, even if
her life was in mortal danger. So far it has resulted in the death of at
least 90 women. Women who become pregnant after being raped, or whose
lives are endangered by their pregnancy, are banned from having an
abortions in Nicaragua. "This new law intentionally denies women access
to health services essential to saving their lives, and is thus
inconsistent with Nicaragua's obligations under international human
rights law," says Human Rights Watch.
Source: Choike

Present status on abortion legislation of Latin American and Caribbean
The prohibition or severe restriction of abortion has not hindered its
practice but instead it has forced high risk abortions that hit poor
women harder. Large part of the legislations in Latin America have tried
to solve the problem of abortion through prohibition, meaning grave
economic, social, health and social justice consequences for the women
living in these countries while there is no fall in the high abortion
rate that exists in the region. Because of this, it is essential to
review the laws that regulate induced abortion.
Source: Choike

African immigrants in the United States
The top individual countries of origin of the African born are Nigeria,
Egypt, and Ethiopia. "Compared to other immigrants, the African born
tend to be highly educated and speak English well. However, they are
also more likely not to be naturalized US citizens than other immigrants".
Source: Migration Policy Institute
More information in "Migrations":

GM crops feed biotech giants only
The biotechnology industry has aggressively touted genetically modified
(GM) crops as a solution to hunger and the global food crisis. Their
arguments have been accepted by many politicians. A new report by
Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) part of a series named "who
benefits from gm crops?" looks behind the spin and exposes the reasons
why GM crops cannot, and are unlikely to ever, contribute to poverty
reduction, global food security or sustainable farming.
Source: Friends of the Earth
More information in "GM food":

The World Bank and climate change: sustainability or exploitation?
While the World Bank pays constant lip service to the importance of
sustainability and poverty alleviation in the Clean Development
Mechanism, it continually fails to deliver positive results for either
the environment or disadvantaged communities in the developing world. In
reality, the global carbon market is proving to be simply another weapon
used by multinational corporations to accelerate their incursion on the
rights of indigenous peoples and small-scale landholders in Latin America.
Source: Upside Down World
More information in "Climate change":

4. LATEST ADDITIONS: Southern NGOs and other resources

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Donor Working Group
The Donors Working Group on FGM/C (DWG) has reached a consensus on a
common programmatic approach to support the abandonment of the practice
of female genital mutilation.

GAPAFOT - Groupe d'Action de Paix et de Formation pour la Transformation
Central African NGO working for poor people in various activities.

HAQ: Centre for Child Rights
HAQ works towards the recognition, promotion and protection of rights of
all children. India.

International Forum on Globalization - IFG

Latin American Center on Sexuality and Human Rights
Its main purpose is to produce, organize, and disseminate knowledge
about sexuality from a human rights perspective, in order to help fight
gender inequality and to contribute to the struggle against the
discrimination of sexual minorities in the region.

Sexuality, Health and Society
This on-line journal is a project by the Latin American Center on
Sexuality and Human Rights (CLAM-IMS/UERJ), seeking to promote the
exchange of Latin American scholarly production and its dissemination
among researchers, activists and policymakers.

Society for Women's Education and Awareness Development (SWEAD)
SWEAD aims to help The most marginalised and oppressed sections of the
Indian society, in particular tribal Dalits (untouchables), scheduled
casts, rural migratory women and their children, and those who live
below the poverty line. India.

The Right to Education Project
The Right to Education Project aims to promote social mobilisation and
legal accountability, looking to focus on the legal challenges to the
right to education.

A community directory and networking forum that maps and connects
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses, governments, and
individuals addressing the central issues of our day: climate change,
poverty, the environment, peace, water, hunger, social justice,
conservation, human rights and more.

-> NGO directory

Social Forum 2009

->AWID's experiences at this year’s World Social Forum
AWID was represented at this year’s World Social Forum by two staff
members: Cecilia Alemany (Manager of AWID’s Influencing Development
Actors and Practices Strategic Initiative) and Sanushka Mudaliar
(Manager of AWID’s Young Feminist Activism Programme). In this interview
they give a snapshot of their participation and experiences.
Source: AWID


->Commission on the Status of Women 2009
The Commission on the Status of Women will consider the theme: “The
equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including
caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS” at its 53rd session.
Source: DAW

->Bolivia: Constitution extends new protections for women
Following a referendum in 2009, Bolivia has a new constitution that
extends new protections for the rights of women. Pro-choice advocates
are working on including reforms to the abortion sections of the
Criminal Code.
Source: RH Reality Check

Human Rights

->The government war on women's rights in Nicaragua
Feminists stand up against anti-abortion crusade and Daniel Ortega's
rightward turn.
Source: Freedom Socialist

->South-east Asia: plans for regional rights body hit realities
Plans to create a regional human rights body for the ten-nation
South-east Asian bloc are threatening to expose the gulf that separates
countries that seek to respect political and civil liberties and the
notorious violators.
Source: IPS

->Workshop: Justiciability of human rights and democratization of justice
Within the framework of the World Social Forum, social movements debated
on strengthening human rights through concrete actions with lawyers and
other judicial officers who use law as a tool for ensuring human rights.
Source: ICAE

->ICC investigating Israel war crimes charges
The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague announced a
preliminary analysis into whether Israel committed war crimes during the
recent Gaza war, following the Palestinian National Authority's (PNA)
move to recognise the ICC's authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Source: IPS

Human Rights - Sexual diversity

->Burundi: Senate upholds human rights principles
In an overwhelmingly positive vote for lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) people in the Central African nation of Burundi, the
country's Senate has rejected a provision that would have criminalized
consensual same-sex activity.
Source: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Trade and Regional Integration

->G7 commits to free trade
The Group of 7 (G7) industrial powers will do all they can to combat
recession and avoid distorting free trade in the process as fears of
protectionism continue to rise.
Source: Tralac

Economy and Financial Affairs

->Is the G20 willing to deliver?
With bleak economic news dominating the headlines, the IFIs are gaining
prominence but also attracting renewed criticism. The next G20 leaders’
summit, a grouping of roughly the largest 20 economies in the world, is
planned for 2 April 2009 in London.
Source: Bretton Woods Project

->"50 years financing inequality"
Under the motto "50 years financing inequality" a group of civil society
organisations, networks and movements are working on a campaign on
occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Inter-American Development Bank
(IDB), to be celebrated during the next Meeting of the Board of IDB
Source: IFIs Latin American Monitor


->Revised laws 'could promote biopiracy' in Peru
Modifications to intellectual property laws that the Peruvian government
"rushed through" to enable the go-ahead of a free trade agreement (FTA)
between Peru and the US could facilitate biopiracy and hamper Peru's
position as a protector of traditional knowledge.

->Tropical forests fight for survival
Current rates of deforestation suggest there will hardly be any tropical
forests left in 20 years. Sixty percent of the rainforests, which
survived for 50 million consecutive years, are already gone.
Source: IPS

->WSF 2009: workshop on plantations
Friends of the Earth International was one of organizations present at
the World Social Forum in Belem. The federation organized a seminar on
Plantations, REDD and Privatization at the Federal University of Para
(UFPA). Listen to the audio.
Source: Real World Radio

Human Rights - Education

->Education for All (EFA) - Global Monitoring Report 2009
Despite much progress since 2000, millions of children, youth and adults
still lack access to good quality education and the benefits it brings.
Source: UNESCO

->Civil society debates the funds for education in Brazil
In a crowded room with an intense participation of the public, the National
Campaign for the Right to Education launched the publication "Funding
education within the government Lula".
Source: Wsf2009 Blog


->The People’s Health Movement: progress in Africa
This movement is firmly committed to expanding the Right to Health and
Health Care Campaign (RTHHC) in Africa.
Source: Pambazuka News


->Guatemala: widespread violent repression against workers
A new ITUC report on core labour standards in Guatemala demonstrates how
trade unionists are being discriminated against, threatened and even
murdered as a result of their trade union activities.
Source: ITUC

-> All news

****** For a new economic and social model ******
****** Let’s put finance in its place! ******
Call for the signature of NGOs, trade unions and social movements

->GEAR UP - Gender Equality Architecture Reform
Campaign for stronger gender equality architecture reform at the United

->Appeal for the Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples
Campaign for the Ratification of the 1989 ILO Convention concerning
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries.
Source: UNPO

->All People's India Manifesto
Local groups and national networks are joining hands to develop the All
India People's Manifesto in 300+ parliamentary constituencies, making it
the most extensive effort to establish a grassroots driven, people's
development agenda in recent times.
Source: Wada Na Todo - GCAP India

->Join the Global BDS Action Day, March 30th!
Global Day of Action in Solidarity with the Palestinian people and for
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel on March 30th, 2009.
Source: Global BDS Movement

->Mexico: support the repeal of discriminatory regulations in Puerto
In the city of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Article 40, Section XIV of the
misdemeanors code stipulates that immorality includes "public practices
that indicate the development of an abnormal sexual life."
Source: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

->Take action to help children living with HIV
The vast majority of children living with HIV around the world lack
access to HIV testing and treatment. We can do something about that.
Source: e-Alliance

->Sri Lanka not forgotten
Trapped in a deadly conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the
Tamil rebels, an estimated 250,000 innocent civilians are in desperate
need of help.

->ICC Universal Ratification Campaign: Turkey
The Coalition for the International Criminal Court is calling on Turkey
to take the necessary steps to accede to the Rome Statute of the
International Criminal Court (ICC).
Source: CICC

->Demand that killers of human rights defenders in Russia be brought to
The Russian authorities must conduct a prompt, thorough, and transparent
investigation, identify those responsible, and bring them to justice.
Source: Human Rights First

-> 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.

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