News Bulletin December 2011 PDF Print E-mail




Dignity News | Other News | Action Appeals | Announcements |
Events | Publications


Dignity News

* Forum: A Reality Check for the Right to Development

* Dignity International at Busan Civil Society Forum “Human Rights and Development Cooperation: From Commitment to Reality”


Other News

* US "Occupy Wall Street" Movement Besieged but Defiant

* Declaration of Jurists and other human rights experts on the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

* Human Rights Day 2011

* UN meeting hears call for greater Asia-Pacific cooperation on development goals


Action Appeals

* Better Aid for the World We Want

* Honduras: Extreme violence against peasant communities in Bajo Aguán



* 2012 Declared "International Year of Cooperatives"



* A Day of Global Action Against Racism and for the Rights of Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People

* Paris Conference on Poverty



* Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community

* International Legal Protection of Human Rights in Armed Conflict





*** Forum: A Reality Check for the Right to Development - 14 Nov 2011, Geneva, UN Palais des Nations 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development. The economic, social, cultural, civil and political reality of the world today suggests that potential of the Declaration remained unrealised and its ideals detached from the grassroots – those who need it most. We need to ask how the Declaration has translated into practical terms in the past 25 years. And what potential could its realisation have?




A test-case using the current “Right to Development Criteria and operational sub-criteria” to evaluate the ground reality of the right to development may be a good way of seeking a concrete response to this question in a practical way. This side event jointly co-organised by Dignity International and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Geneva in conjunction with the 12th Session of the UN Intergovernmental open-ended Working Group on the Right to Development.

This forum was aimed to:

  • Assess the essential features and implementation of the right to development using the “Right to Development Criteria and Operational Sub-criteria,”
  • Evaluate the criteria and operational sub-criteria
  • Present grassroots reality on economic, social, and cultural rights.


The event was attended by about 50 people comprising governments, NGOs and UN staff. The Panelist that spoke were :

  • Felix Kirchmeier, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Geneva Office
  • Jerald Joseph, Executive Director, Dignity International, Malaysia
  • Sitaram Shelar, Coordinator Right To Water, Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), India
  • Ibrahim Salama, Director, Human Rights Treaties Division, OHCHR


The discussion was a refreshing look at the context of the discourse on human rights and development as it gave the perspective of the grassroots group. The reality with the urban poor communities in Mumbai and La Paz struggle with the real impact of development on their lives. Questions were posed on when these communities will benefit from the promised goodness that development was supposed to bring. Privatisation has increased the cost of public utilities, including water in Mumbai and electricity in La Paz” and has burdened the public more then before. Is this development?

The Pastoralist community of Kenya is also struggling to be active meaningful partners in the development process with regards to their rights to land in Kenya. As land is becoming such an important commodity, these communities get pushed out of it in the name of development.


Three papers were prepared by Dignity international partners from YUVA, India; UNITAS, Bolivia and Pastoralists Development Network of Kenya (PDNK), Kenya. This 1 st draft was a good effort on documenting grassroots reality in the context of the draft “Right to Development Criteria and Operational Sub-criteria. They will continue to update these papers.





*** Dignity International at Busan Civil Society Forum “Human Rights and Development Cooperation: From Commitment to Reality” - 26 November 2011, Busan, Republic of Korea. Dignity International and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) jointly organised this forum in conjunction with 4 th OECD High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in with the aim of discussing concrete human rights-centred suggestions can guide the discourse and action of States for strengthening the impact of international development cooperation.

The workshop was also co-organised by the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), Korea Civil Society Forum on International Development Forum (KoFID) Working Group on Human Rights, and KoFID Working Group on Environment


This workshop was an important discussion point to bring the human rights framework as the core in the development discourse. Jerald Joseph, Executive Director of Dignity International spoke about the existing framework of the international human rights discourse that already has a strong state-centred obligation mechanism that must be reasserted.


In December 2011, the UN General Assembly celebrated the 25 th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development (1986), which enshrines development as “an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural, and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realised”. In the context of the 4 th OECD High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (29 November - 1 December 2011, Busan, Republic of Korea), the human rights NGOs were keen to revisit the State responsibility to collectively and individually take steps to establish, promote and sustain national and international arrangements that create an enabling environment for the realisation of the right to development.


Meanwhile, since the UN Programme of Reform was launched in 1997 which entrenched human rights mainstreaming into the policy and practice of the UN system, a human rights-based approach (HRBA) to development work has evolved towards a common understanding and attracted the overwhelming attention of development actors and practitioners as an effective framework towards sustainable and just human development. In this light, the actual experiences of applying a HRBA to development programmes as well as the reflections from the struggling communities in development are essential when States evaluate the implementation of their commitments on aid and development effectiveness, including the Paris Declaration (2005) and the Accra Agenda for Action (2008).


The speakers that took the floor and contributed an array of interesting perspective about the Human Rights based approach to development were:


  • Jerald Joseph (Dignity International) -Thrust for a Human Rights-Based Approach
  • Irving Larios Sanchez (NGO Federation, Nicaragua) -Approach to Development Cooperation
  • Prerequisites for People Centred Participatory Processes
  • Paul Quintos (IBON International)-Key Concerns on Development Cooperation in the 25 Years of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development
  • Giyoun Kim (FORUM- ASIA)-Operational Criteria and Indicators for the Realisation of the Right to Development
  • Jung-eun Park (PSPD, South Korea)-Militarisation of Aid and the Right to Development







*** US "Occupy Wall Street" Movement Besieged but Defiant - Following last week's raid on Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco police evicted Occupy SF from their last camp, in front of the Federal Reserve, at 4am this morning. 55 people were arrested. Occupy Pittsburgh is also facing an eviction deadline today, continuing an escalating trend of harassment and eviction of nonviolent protesters across the country and the world.

To the 1%'s pundits who claim Occupy is over: We are still here. Even as the agents of the 1% evict our communities and eviscerate our rights, we are evolving. What we have set in motion cannot be stopped with tear gas, bulldozers, rubber bullets, or metal barricades.

Occupations across the country have found creative ways to persist, resist, and rebuild. We aren't giving up our public spaces. Last we checked, tents still stand in DC, Chicago, Boise, Oklahoma City, Buffalo, Miami, Chapel Hill, Cleveland, Providence, Baltimore, Orlando, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Pensacola, Lexington, Newark, Gainesville, Peoria, Eugene, Rochester, Orlando, Tacoma, Reno, Charlotte, Raleigh, New Haven, Houston, Austin, Tampa, Louisville, and elsewhere. In Anchorage, they even have igloos. On their two month anniversary, Occupy Minnesota will gather at The People's Plaza to reclaim their space and continue the fight for equality and justice. Occupiers in cities like Atlanta, Oakland, Fort Worth, Jackson, and Phoenix have cleverly responded to evictions by staying in the parks during the day and moving to the sidewalk at night. In Los Angeles, Toronto, San Diego, Portland, Tulsa, San Jose, Dayton, Tucson, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Sacramento, Hartford, Charlottesville, Denver, Dallas, Norfolk, Richmond, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and New York, evicted Occupations continue to hold General Assemblies and maintain busy calendars with daily meetings, events, workshops, teach-ins, marches, direct actions, and demonstrations at their local city hall, bank branch, corporate office, and courts.

The Occupy movement is also disrupting business-as-usual from Wall Street to K Street. We have brought the festivity of Broadway into the streets. We mic check corrupt politicians and 1%ers everywhere they go. We have moved homeless families into empty foreclosed homes. We have spread our message by occupying the highway. In DC, Oakland, Santa Cruz, London, and Seattle we have liberated buildings from the banks and greedy corporations and begun to turn them into vibrant community centers.

While maintaining our nonpartisan focus on economic inequality and connecting a diversity of issues that impact the 99%, Occupations have begun to refine and hone our messaging around the big banks, foreclosures, evictions, and housing. Foreclosure auctions have been disrupted in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Bremerton, Reno, and New Orleans. Occupiers foreclosed on bank offices in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Buffalo and elsewhere. Today, a few weeks after Occupiers took over the Washington State Capital, Occupy Providence is marching on their State house to "ask this house for homes!" After the recent Day of Action to Occupy Our Homes, many cities continue to support families, especially in communities of color, as they fight back against unfair evictions. In Atlanta, Cleveland, Oakland, Chicago, Rochester, New York, and Oakland, Occupiers are helping homeless families find shelter and resist eviction.

In solidarity with all oppressed communities, we are actively supporting the many social movements that comprise the global revolution. We have marched on U.S.-companies that supply teargas to the Egyptian government to support our comrades in Tahir Square; with immigrants rights activists against deportation, detention and wage-theft in Birmingham and New York; with seniors to advocate for social services; with students against tuition-hikes, with workers and unions for jobs, better working conditions, and fair wages; and with farmers fighting for food justice. Occupations in solidarity with OWS have arisen in Manila, Auckland, London, Amsterdam, South Africa and beyond. We've marched to draw attention to the connections between the corrupt banking system and issues like the prison industrial complex and climate change.

This is merely a sketch of the ongoing work of the Occupy Wall Street movement. It would be nearly impossible to compile a comprehensive list of the brave actions that are happening all across the United States and the world. And we're just getting started.

For more up-to-the-hour reports from the Occupy Movement across the North America and beyond, CLICK HERE>>>


Source: Occupy Wall Street



*** Declaration of Jurists and other human rights experts on the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - We, the undersigned, call on States to become party to the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Optional Protocol will allow groups and individuals alleging violations of their economic, social and cultural rights and who have exhausted any effective remedies in their own countries, or where such remedies are unavailable, to have their cases heard by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

We consider that the operation of the Optional Protocol, after it enters into force upon the 10th State ratification, will constitute a critical step towards the achievement of greater social justice and universal human rights protection. Today, this objective should be at the core of States' priorities and policies at national and international levels.

During the first two years after the opening for signature and ratification or accession of the Optional Protocol on 24 September 2009, thirty-nine States signed and five States ratified the Optional Protocol. These first ratifications show that States from various regions of the world, with different legal systems, are committed to affording the same level of legal protection to economic, social and cultural rights as to other human rights. We also warmly welcome these and other steps taken by a number of other States around the world to proceed with the necessary national processes in order ultimately to become party to the Optional Protocol.

One hundred and sixty States have committed themselves to guaranteeing the rights under the ICESCR in good faith and to the maximum of their available resources, taking the necessary measures to realize those rights. We strongly reaffirm that the right to an effective remedy under human rights law and of the rule of law in a democratic society requires that all victims of violations must have access to legal remedies. The full realization of economic, social and cultural rights requires political will to ensure the conformity of domestic law and practices with international human rights law and standards.

To ensure access to justice for all people, we urge all States to become party to the Optional Protocol as expeditiously as possible. We also call on States when becoming party to the Protocol to ensure the greatest protection possible by accepting the inquiry and inter-state procedures under the Optional Protocol. Finally, we urge those States that are not yet party to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to ratify or accede to that instrument along with the Optional Protocol.

By becoming party to the Optional Protocol, States would help send a signal globally that access to justice is essential for economic, social and cultural rights. They would make tangible the commitment by 170 States at the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights that "All human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated. The international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis."

We reaffirm the justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights and recall the wealth of adjudicatory experiences pertaining to these human rights in various regions and legal systems over the world.
As legal academics, legal practitioners, human rights lawyers and UN experts, we emphasize that access to international justice for economic, social and cultural rights has been long overdue. Forty-five years after the adoption of the ICESCR, States must take the opportunity to close the unjustifiable gap in human rights protection and bring into force the Optional Protocol.

For more information
Read about the Ratification Campaign for the Optional Protocol in Mexico (in Spanish)


Source: ESCR-Net



*** Human Rights Day 2011 - Millions of the world's citizens engaged in protests, strikes and manifestations against the economic and social disparities in South and North, West and East. This year thousands of people decided the time had come to claim their rights. They took to the streets and demanded change. Many found their voices using the internet and instant messaging to inform, inspire and mobilise supporters to seek their basic human rights.

Social media helped activists organize peaceful protest movements in cities across the globe-in Tunis, in Cairo, in Madrid, in New York, and in cities and towns across the globe-at times in the face of violent repression.
It has been a year like no other for human rights. Human rights activism has never been more topical or more vital. And through the transforming power of social media, ordinary people have become human rights activists.

Human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values. As a global community we all share a day in common: Human Rights Day on 10 December, when we remember the creation 63 years ago of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For more information on events, statements and actions this year, CLICK HERE>>>


Source: OHCHR



*** UN meeting hears call for greater Asia-Pacific cooperation on development goals - Asia-Pacific countries need to boost their cooperation with each other if the region is to achieve the series of social and economic targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by their 2015 deadline, a United Nations meeting heard today. Ambassador Abulkalam Abdul Momen of Bangladesh, the Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, told a regional ECOSOC meeting, held in Kyoto, Japan, that the "very diversity" of countries in Asia and the Pacific should be turned into an asset. FULL ARTICLE


Source: ECOSOC





*** Better Aid for the World We Want - Hundreds of billions of aid dollars are used each year for poverty eradication. With the current global finance, climate change and food crises hitting the poorest hardest, there is an even greater need for this aid to work. Governments committing to using this money more wisely could help to do this by making every aid dollar spent count.

Their cooperation with civil society organisations that represent the very people that aid is meant to support, is vital for effective development.
Yet an important recent study shows that over the past decade, governments have made very little progress on previous commitments to make aid effective. Moreover, these commitments made so far were not sufficient for making effective development possible in the first place, and many other government policies beyond those on aid are holding back aid's effectiveness and stopping it really working to end global poverty. There is even a risk that governments are now abandoning their promises to make aid work for development.

To take action and sign the petition, CLICK HERE>>>


Source: GCAP



*** Honduras: Extreme violence against peasant communities in Bajo Aguán - The Bajo Aguán valley is witnessing an alarming situation of violence and repression against peasant communities: between January 2010 and early October 2011, 40 people involved in peasant organisations in the region were murdered. For several years, approximately 3,500 peasant families have claimed their right to food and access to agricultural lands in an environment infused with rural conflicts with the principal palm oil producers in the region. National and international human rights organisations have monitored the situation and concluded that the peasant communities are completely defenseless and unprotected against the authorities´ actions and omissions. Testimonies from the victims, their families and witnesses point to the private and public security forces as those responsible for the deaths, torture, threats and harassment of the peasant communities. For more information and to take action CLICK HERE>>>


Source: FIAN






*** 2012 Declared "International Year of Cooperatives" - International years are declared by the United Nations to draw attention to and encourage action on major issues. The International Year of Cooperatives is intended to raise public awareness of the invaluable contributions of cooperative enterprises to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The Year will also highlight the strengths of the cooperative business model as an alternative means of doing business and furthering socioeconomic development.

Cooperatives account for 100 million jobs worldwide and serve 1 billion members, putting people before profit. "Cooperatives contribute to food security, rural development, and other social services," said General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, as the International Year of Cooperatives was launched on 31 October.

Owned by people and democratically run, cooperatives improve livelihoods and strengthen economies worldwide. During 2012, their contribution to societies and development will be in the spotlight under the theme "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World".

For more information:

International Year of Cooperatives (IYC): UN launches Year of Cooperatives with spotlight on development:







*** A Day of Global Action Against Racism and for the Rights of Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People - The World Social Forum held in Dakar, according to the proposals approved at the Quito's World Social Forum on Migration 2010, as well as those of the Dakar World Social Forum meetings and those included in the Chart of Migrants signed in Gorée, Senegal, on February 4, 2011.

A global day of action on December 18, 2011 against racism, for the rights, equality and dignity of migrants, refugees and displaced people

for the ratification and implementation of The United Nation Convention for the rights of Migrants workers and the members of their families, the freedom of movement and the right to stay, the closure of migrants detention centers and the revocation of all the agreements and programmes concerning states' borders which offend human rights.

The negative consequences of neo-colonial and neo-liberal policies.

The fundamental role of migrants as political and social actors to build a universal citizenship system.


Source: Statement of the Dakar World Social Forum - February 2011



*** Paris Conference on Poverty - In the presence of several European personalities, this second conference will be the occasion to discover the first projects supported by GDF SUEZ Rassembleurs d'Énergies and the many initiatives undertaken to combat energy and water scarcity. The day will include round tables, testimonials and discussions with the different speakers. For more information CLICK HERE>>>


Source: GDF Suez





*** Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community - With increasing hunger globally, people are resisting the industrialised food system and returning control to small farmers. This radical food sovereignty movement leads to increased production, safe food and agricultural practices that respect the earth. To learn more and/or purchase this book, CLICK HERE>>>


Source: Pambazuka Press



*** International Legal Protection of Human Rights in Armed Conflict - Published by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, This publication provides a thorough legal analysis and guidance to State authorities, human rights and humanitarian actors and others on the application of international human rights law and international humanitarian law for the protection of persons in armed conflict. It addresses, in particular, the complementary application of these two bodies of law. It does not aim to cover all relevant aspects, but seeks instead to provide an overview of their concurrent application. It provides the necessary legal background and analysis of the relevant notions, in order for the reader to better understand the relationship between both bodies of law, as well as the implications of their complementary application in situations of armed conflict. To read more about this publication and/or access a free copy (PDF) CLICK HERE>>>


Source: OHCHR



This is a monthly electronic news bulletin of 'Dignity International: All Human Rights for All'. Dignity International does not accredit, validate or substantiate any information posted by members to this news bulletin. The validity and accuracy of any information is the responsibility of the originator.

If you are working in the area of human rights with a special attention to different aspects of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, we would love to hear from you. To contribute, email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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