News Bulletin August 2011 PDF Print E-mail



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


Dignity News

* Call for Submission - National Training Workshop on Human Rights in Development: MAKING ESCR WORK IN MALAYSIA

* Dignity International on Facebook

* Gearing up for Rio+20

* Ambassador of Czech Republic at Dignity


Dignity Partner News

* People Empowerment


Other News

* Global BERSIH 2.0 - Awakening of the Malaysian Diaspora

* Protecting the Human Rights of Older People

* Documenting and Challenging Human Rights Abuses by Business

* The Sanctity of Life: Norway and Somalia – A Study in Contrast

* Making the Right to Development a Reality for All


Action Appeals

* Brazil: Return Traditional Lands to the Indigenous Quilomboals

* Famine in Somalia: What Needs to be Done



* New Video on Securing ESCR Rights from Below!

* “Women for Women International” Seeks Economic Development Manager



* CIVICUS World Assembly

* International Mobilisation Conference on the Right to Land and Livelihood

* Intersections of Law and Culture - Human Rights

* 2nd International Conference on Human Rights Education



* NIGERIA: COHRE Launches Community Guide

* Toolkit for Indigenous Women’s Rights in Africa

* Booklet: The Right to Development at 25





*** Call for Submission - National Training Workshop on Human Rights in Development: MAKING ESCR WORK IN MALAYSIA - Dignity International will be conducting a national training programme for the first time in Malaysia from the 11th to 15th of September 2011. The programme is geared towards development actors from grassroots communities based organisations (CBOs) and NGOs in Malaysia who are beginning to integrate human rights in development work and would also like to gain a deeper understanding and the utility of international human rights instruments.


For more information about the programme and to register yourself as a participant, CLICK HERE>>>


Application deadline: 30th August 2011




*** Dignity International on Facebook - If you are a member of the world’s fastest-growing social network, we would like to inform you that Dignity International is on Facebook too!

Do join us to receive updates, share your stories/experiences, and even communicate with us at Dignity; at the same time invite your friends to be a part of our expanding network.

Dignity International's Facebook Page>>>




*** Gearing up for Rio+20 - The ‘High-Level Dialogue on the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD)’ was organized by the Government of Indonesia and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), in Solo, Indonesia from the 19th to 21st July 2011. Jerald Joseph, the executive director of Dignity International was a part of this inter-governmental meeting in preparation for the Rio+20.

The meeting brought together ministers, ambassadors, high level officials and NGOs to discuss the importance of the IFSD in the forthcoming Rio+20 meet in June 2012.


Photo from UN DESA

However, there was minimal presence from human rights organizations throughout the meeting. Dignity International realized that it is of vital importance that we start integrating human rights into sustainable development works and vice versa. Due to the lack of a sustainable development framework by governments in place, communities on the ground continue to suffer human rights violations such as housing, water, and land grabbing.

On the last day, a document termed the “Solo Messages” was presented to those present at the meeting. According to UN DESA News,”Solo Messages” focuses on two main points, to integrate the three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – and to effectively implement political commitments for sustainable development.

Dignity International looks forward to an active involvement with other NGOs from the sustainable development field in a more concerted way towards the Rio+20. The Rio+20 summit is a huge watershed event as the world struggles with the environmental damage and climate change, directly impacting the lives of mankind, especially the poor.




*** Ambassador of Czech Republic at Dignity - Dignity International (D.I) was honored to have the ambassador of Czech Republic Kuala Lumpur, H.E. Mr. Jan Füry, at our secretariat on the 13th of July. This working visit by the Ambassador was reciprocal to director of D.I, Jerald Joseph’s, invite as one of the juries during the annual One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Prague early this year.


L to R: Adrian Pereira, Program Coordinator at D.I, H.E. Mr. Jan Füry,
and Executive Director of D.I, Jerald Joseph

The meeting focused on the possibilities of future collaborations between D.I and the Embassy of Czech Republic, specifically to bring the One World film festival to the South East Asian region. Currently the region is emphasizing on the usage of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to promote human rights; hence D.I feels that the One World film festival is a crucial platform to highlight human rights abuses and advocacy focusing on Economic Social Cultural Rights. The proposed collaboration between D.I, the People in Need Foundation and the Embassy of the Czech Republic would result in new human rights advocacy programmes, some preliminary ideas include networking with the Asian Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the One World Film Festival in the South East Asian region.

D.I would like to thank Mr. Jan Füry for the discussion, and is looking forward to great collaborations in the near future.






*** People Empowerment - In 2010, Mr. Hossein Jalily represented the Isfahan Association for Protection of Human Rights at Dignity International’s 9th Annual Global Linking and Learning Programme on Human Rights and Development in Malaysia. Upon his return from the 10-day workshop, Mr. Jalily has been imparting the tools he learned from the training in four workshops organized by Isfahan Association for Protection of Human Rights.

The first workshop called “What are Human Rights?” guided participants to familiarize themselves with different types of human rights such as civil and political rights, and economical social and cultural rights. Group discussions on the aforementioned rights were held, integrating the UDHR, followed by presentations by the participants.

Another workshop conducted by the Association focused on women’s rights. During this workshop, participants had the opportunity to discuss and compare the rights and also discrimination between women and men in both rural and urban communities. Some of the topics of discussion include the daily roles and responsibilities of a spouse, comparing the rights and obligations of a spouse in urban communities, and the effects of human and women rights movements on the shifting status of women’s conditions from a rural to urban lifestyle, plus measures to be taken in order to improve the fulfillment of women’s rights in the country.


Group discussion during the workshop on
"Effective Elements on Human Rights"


Besides that, a workshop was conducted on the “Effective Elements on Human Rights” where role playing was used to understand, review and criticize certain situations based on real issues. Through the concept of role play, participants discovered the importance of human rights actors and their roles in the field.

Last but not least, a workshop on workers’ rights was held to address the benefits and obstacles of a workers’ union in a private corporation.


Workshop on Women's Rights - Discussing about the role
and responsibilities of women in rural communities in Iran


The Isfahan Association for Protection of Human Rights is a non-governmental and non-profit organization, focusing on the protection and promotion of human rights. Within the NGO, there are three committees and one Public Relations & Information Center. Each committee is designated to specific responsibilities, for example, the Monitoring Committee keeps an eye on the status of human rights, not only in the Isfahan Province but also across Iran. On the other hand, the Legal Committee works at defending individuals who are victims to violation of rights, in accordance with reports by the Monitoring Committee. In addition to that, the Educational & Research Committee promotes human rights by conducting meetings, seminars, workshops, and the likes of it. The Association was formed in 2005, and it is the only active human rights NGO in Isfahan today.


Source: The Isfahan Association for Protection of Human Rights





***Global BERSIH 2.0 - Awakening of the Malaysian Diaspora - Starting from spontaneous expressions of patriotism at a few international locations where Malaysians were residents in fairly significant numbers, the desire to show support for the Bersih 2.0 ‘Walk for Electoral Reform’ in Kuala Lumpur sprouted into a worldwide event that spanned most of the major time zones. New Zealand started the day rolling followed by rallies happening in several Australian, Asian and European cities. The ripple then spread across the Atlantic Ocean, to cities in North America, ending the historical day at the West Coast cities of Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco. Indeed the sun did not quite set on Bersih 2.0.

The sun decidedly shone down it’s warm yellow rays on Bersih 2.0 participants everywhere, especially in places with chilly winds. But quite the contrary, if not ironic, back in in Kuala Lumpur, as rally participants were doused with stinging tear-gas and chemical-laced water, the skies opened up, washing everything clean! This occasion proved to be a new paradigm for Malaysians, especially the youth. They were experiencing Unity in Diversity, a concept few imagined was possible. Optimists estimate that some 50,000 Malaysians had gathered together without regard to ethnic origin or religious leaning. This was a Malaysia dreams were made of.


Elsewhere in the world, the outpouring of patriotism was just as impressive. Malaysians were united as one, in foreign lands. In places where Malaysians had existing committees and who met up regularly, organising a rally was pretty straightforward. But in some cities, rookies who had never even attended a rally before stepped up and asked how they could organise one. The results were most gratifying, as the numbers below show…


City (attendance): Wellington (10), Auckland (35), Christchurch (15), Brisbane (100), Sydney (500), Canberra (40), Hobart (30), Melbourne (1000), Adelaide (150), Osaka (14), Seoul (35), Suzhou (20), Taipei (300), Shenzen (20), Hong Kong (80), Perth (120), Singapore Online(63), Singapore Picnic (200), Dubai (40), Cairo (100), Istanbul (2),Stockholm (10), Graz, Austria (2), Zurich (42), Geneva (12), Paris (30), London (450), Glasgow (30), Belfast (25), Dublin (60), Cork (14), Limerick (11), New York City (130), Ottawa (11), Washington DC (50), Chicago (35), Los Angeles (85), Portland, OR (14), San Francisco (120)

Total attendance for all 38 locations = 4003 participants. Cities are sequenced according to longitude.



Apart from these heart-warming numbers of participants in these locations, there were unconfirmed reports in the social network site, Facebook, of people in other locations such as Cambodia, Jerusalem, Frankfurt… also standing up to be counted. But in the absence of verifiable sources, we have to leave those claims open. The organisers in Singapore, aware of the restrictions on public gatherings posed by the Singapore authorities, quite cleverly decided to do an online show of their love for Malaysia and their support for the Bersih 2.0 campaign. However, there were some folks who decided to gather informally for a picnic at a popular park. We have reported the numbers of both these gatherings. Sympathy rallies were also held in Manila, Bangkok and Jakarta but we have not included those attendance numbers.

Continue reading the article here...


Source: Global BERSIH 2.0



*** Protecting the Human Rights of Older People – The world’s population aged 60 or older is expected to double by 2050, to a record of 21 per cent – representing two billion people. Member States are expressing concerns about the status of older persons revolving around their social and economic situation, their participation in development and their relationship to human rights. FULL ARTICLE


Source: UNDESA



*** Documenting and Challenging Human Rights Abuses by Business - The ESCR-Net Corporate Accountability Working Group has been highlighting, publishing, and challenging cases of human rights abuses involving business actors, especially through its new Business and Human Rights Documentation (B-HRD) Project.


Source: ESCR-Net



*** The Sanctity of Life: Norway and Somalia - A Study in Contrast - At a time when our capacity for shock might appear to have been exhausted, a sociopathic killer in Oslo, Norway, managed to plumb new depths. People around the world joined Norwegians in stunned disbelief at the calculated murder of 76, mostly young, people attending a youth camp. Shock gave way to grief and then revulsion as the cold, calculated planning behind the carnage was revealed. True to the principles that inform Norwegian society and politics however, politicians, security forces and average citizens all responded by denying the perpetrator the satisfaction of achieving his dark objectives. As one tweet from @pacific expressed it: “I am heartened by the streets of Norway today. He wanted a revolution of hate. We responded with a revolution of love.“ Or Norwegian cartoonist, Oystein Runde, wrestling with a welter of feelings but reaffirming: “WE happen to believe in something called the sanctity of ALL human life, even the life of this guy who is an obvious terrorist fundamentalist. I am endlessly proud of my tiny country that has the guts to appear ‘soft’ and ‘kind’ even when the rest of the world pressures us to be ‘hard’.”

7000 km away, in far less idyllic settings in the horn of Africa, the horror of suffering and death was intensified by the opposite factors; utterly predictable and preventable rather than unprecedented or unforeseeable; lack of shock and solidarity and the acceptance of loss of life in tones of apparent normality. An estimated 11 million men, women and children caught in a vortex of political, economic, religious and ecological fundamentalisms, most of whose misery could have been prevented or alleviated by some measure of the speed, compassion and ideals evoked by events in Norway – victims of collective apathy, cynicism, inertia and cold-blooded calculation of cost and benefit.

Beyond supporting those who are scrambling to provide relief against all odds, one can only wish that those who are charged with global leadership would, even now, demonstrate a miniscule fraction of the solidarity, vision and resolve we have just witnessed from Norway.


Source: Ingrid Srinath for CIVICUS



*** Making the Right to Development a Reality for All - “I cannot overemphasise that development strategies focused too narrowly on economic growth lose sight of broader development objectives,” said UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay at a special event on the right to development and global partnership for development held in Geneva.

“Development should be about access to opportunities leading towards the constant improvement of human well-being, about guaranteeing the right to a life of dignity and freedom – freedom from want, freedom from fear and the freedom to flourish,” she added.

Organised in the framework of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) session, the special event was part of a series of activities that throughout 2011 will mark the 25th anniversary the UN Declaration on the Right to Development.

The event was chaired by ECOSOC Vice-President Abdul Momen and moderated by Pillay. The President of the Human Rights Council, Laura Dupuy, and Professor Henry Shue from Oxford University delivered keynote addresses followed by an interactive dialogue. Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang made closing remarks.

“The crucial question is how the realisation of the right to development and, specifically, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 8 can reinforce each other and how the UN system can use these synergies in the journey towards 2015 and beyond,” Pillay said.

The MDGs are eight time-bound targets that provide concrete, numerical benchmark to reduce extreme poverty and improve living conditions by the target date of 2015. Goal 8 relates to a global partnership for development.

“I believe that the MDGs are a visible expression of the right to development. They demonstrate a commitment to translate the Declaration into concrete achievements.” said Sha Zukang. “They show a determination to promote basic economic and social rights for the most disadvantaged populations,” he added.

“Ultimately, our role is to ensure that a global partnership truly serves the aspirations of the people themselves as holders of rights and as the legitimate subjects of development,” Pillay said.

She also pointed out that the right to development, embodying the human rights principles of equality, non-discrimination, participation, transparency and accountability as well as international cooperation, could help States to formulate, adopt, and implement policies and programs for just, equitable and sustainable development for all.

“We have a moral and normative imperative to address contemporary challenges, be they the financial, economic or food crises or the impacts of climate change and environmental disasters from a human rights perspective and with the aim of realising development for all”, said Human Rights Council President Dupuy.

“Along the road to Rio+20 we must both recall and renew the commitment of the 1992 UN Declaration on Environment and Development that human beings should be at the center of development, and that the right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations,” Pillay explained.

Rio+20 is the UN conference on Sustainable Development which will take place in Brazil in 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the UN conference on Environment and Development.

“A commitment to human rights means that development must proceed and indeed increase in pace,” stressed Professor Shue in his keynote address.

The UN Human Rights office (OHCHR) seeks to enhance understanding and dialogue on the right to development through a series of events and public information activities.


Source: OHCHR






*** Brazil: Return Traditional Lands to the Indigenous Quilomboals – The quilombola community of Brejo dos Crioulos, in Minas Gerais, Brasil, has been figthing for 10 years to recover their territory. The decree of expropriation of the land is at the civil cabinet of the Presidency waiting for the final signature. Returning the traditional land to the Quilomboals is the only way to stop the continued violence against the Quilombolas. To learn more and act now, CLICK HERE>>>


Source: FIAN



*** Famine in Somalia: What Needs to be Done - The UN announcement of famine in Somalia is both a wake-up call to the scale of this disaster, and a wake-up call to the solutions needed to limit death-from-hunger now and in the future. So, what is famine and how can we prevent it?

Famine is the “triple failure” of (1) food production, (2) people’s ability to access food and, finally and most crucially (3) in the political response by governments and international donors. Crop failure and poverty leave people vulnerable to starvation – but famine only occurs with political failure. In Somalia years of internal violence and conflict have been highly significant in creating the conditions for famine. Emergency aid is vital right now, but we also need to ask why this has happened, and how we can stop it ever happening again. The warning signs have been seen for months, and the world has been slow to act. Much greater long-term investment is needed in food production and basic development to help people cope with poor rains and ensure that this is the last famine in the region.

Oxfam is now responding to the crisis by providing life-saving water, sanitation services, food, and cash. We aim to reach at least 3 million people, including 700,000 in Ethiopia, 1.3 million in Kenya, and 500,000 in Somalia. Please donate to help.

For more detailed analysis and recommendations, read the Oxfam report: East Africa Food Crisis: Poor rains, poor response (pdf, 322kb)


Source: Oxfam International




*** New Video on Securing ESCR Rights from Below! - ESCR-Net, in collaboration with the Media Mobilising Project, is excited to launch the online version of our new documentary film project- Human Rights For and By the People: Securing Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from Below!

This new film visually represents the experiences and expertise of members of our Social Movements and Grassroots Working Group, in sharing common challenges to making human rights a reality, the power of the human rights framework, effective strategies, and successful examples of collective advocacy. We hope these experiences will help enrich our ongoing collaborative efforts to make economic, social and cultural rights a reality for all.

You can view the new ESCR-Net film Human Rights For and By the People: Securing Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from Below! Watch this video in English or Spanish.


Source: ESCR-Net



*** “Women for Women International” Seeks Economic Development Manager - The Economic Development Manager will report to and work with the Economic Development Specialist by acting as the HQ lead on project implementation and by assisting in identifying income generation opportunities for program participants and graduates through market analysis and business modeling. The Economic Development Manager will work in close collaboration with IG staff based in WashingtonDC, as well as IG staff and leadership in the Country Offices.

This position requires approximately 60% travel to Country Offices.


  1. Lead the development of project implementation plans, timelines, and budgets for income generation projects.
  2. Guide colleagues in the Country Offices through this process as a capacity building effort.
  3. Facilitate/drive new market linkages in each country needed to scale current IG programming, including new value chain opportunities.
  4. Expand employment and income opportunities for program participants and graduates through specific and actionable deals with the private sector.


Women for Women encourages all interested applicants to submit the following application materials: up-to-date resume, cover letter, and 2-3 page unedited writing sample through WfWI’s Career Portal and our online application system @ under the Current Opportunities tab. Please note that applicants who make it to the interview round will be expected to take a writing test. We do not accept resume/applications sent to our human resources email box. Only short listed applicants will be invited to interview. No telephone inquiries please.

Interviews will be scheduled on a rolling basis. The position will remain open until filled. Applicants will be contacted directly to schedule an interview. Applicants who make it to the interview portion of recruitment will be expected to take an in-house writing test.

Please respect our “no phone calls” policy. Non-US citizens applying for regular positions based in the U.S. must possess work authorisation which does not require sponsorship by the employer for a visa.

Women for Women International provides equal opportunity and fair and equitable treatment in employment to all people without regard to race, color religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation, marital status, or sexual orientation.





*** The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples - New York, 9 August 2011. Theme: "Indigenous designs: celebrating stories and cultures, crafting our own future." The 17th commemoration of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples will be held on Tuesday, 9 August 2011 at the UN Headquarters in New York. The event is organised by the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues DSPD/DESA, the United Nations Department of Public Information, and the NGO Committee on the Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

There will be statements delivered by the Secretary-General, the President of the 65th session of the General Assembly, The Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Chairperson of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and others.

A panel discussion entitled: “Indigenous designs: celebrating stories and cultures, crafting our own future" and a screening of the film “Harmony of Culture and Nature” will take place from 2:30pm to 6pm. at the ECOSOC Chamber of the North Lawn Building (NLB).


Source: UN (ECOSOC)



*** CIVICUS World Assembly - 10-13 September 2011, Montreal, Canada Read more >>



*** International Mobilisation Conference on the Right to Land and Livelihood - 12-13 September 2011, Geneva, Switzerland Read more >>



*** Intersections of Law and Culture - Human Rights - 23-25 September 2011, Franklin College, Lugano, Switzerland Read more >>



*** 2nd International Conference on Human Rights Education - 14 November 2011, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban,South Africa Read more >>



*** NIGERIA: COHRE Launches Community Guide - The Community guide to asserting and defending housing rights in Nigeria is intended to be a new resource book for communities threatened by forced eviction and displacement in Nigeria, as well as for COHRE staff and community based organisations to train grassroots activists on steps to follow in defending community land and housing rights. The guide is also useful for facilitating interactive community training workshops.

The information and activities contained in the guide will help communities facing eviction understand their rights under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and international law, and advocacy strategies they can use to assert and defend these rights. The community guide was designed to bridge the information gap between communities about their land, housing rights and means of defending these rights—thereby empowering them to take collective action to resist large scale forced evictions.

The Community Guide is based on a review of COHRE’s Cambodian Guide to Defending Land and Housing Rights, it is primarily for a Nigerian context, and many of the topics in Section I: Your Rights Under International Law can be used in the rest of Africa, with slight adaptations from country to country. It is hoped that this, together with other COHRE training manuals, will help impart the knowledge, skills and values that will help communities overcome the threat of forced evictions.

To view or download the full copy of the Community Guide, please CLICK HERE >>>


Source: COHRE



*** Toolkit for Indigenous Women’s Rights in Africa - Forest Peoples Programme has created a new toolkit to help indigenous women in Africa to better understand the African human rights system and how to use it effectively to secure their rights. Download the toolkit here


Source: African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights



*** Booklet: The Right to Development at 25 - In commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development, this UN publication presents for the first time a wide range of in-depth analytical studies by more than 30 international experts covering the context, meaning and application of this right and its potential to shape human rights and development policy and practice. Together they support the concept of an enabling environment for development that would ensure freedom from want and freedom from fear for all people. A booklet containing the text of the Declaration on the Right to Development (each article illustrated by a photo); available in six official UN languages A | C | E | F | R | S


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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