News Bulletin December 2010 PDF Print E-mail

DIGNITY INTERNATIONAL

MONTHLY NEWSBULLETIN - December 2010


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

 

Dignity News

 

* Dignity International Workshop with Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) Partners

 

* Commonwealth Foundation Programme Manager Attachment with the Secretariat

 

* Briefing on Commonwealth Foundation

 

 

Other News

 

* UN Summit on Climate Change

 

* Farmers against Global Agribusiness Transnational Corporations

 

* Child Labour on the Rise in China

 

* Botswana: Fighting Discrimination against Indigenous Peoples

 

* Finland: The Rights of the Disabled

 

 

Action Appeals

 

* Pakistan: Preparing Winter Kits for Flood Survivors

 

* IWW supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in support of Palestinian Rights

 

 

Announcements

 

* FIAN International Secretariat Position Openings

 

* ESCR-Net Programme Coordinator

 

 

Events

 

* 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

 

* OHCHR Meetings & Events

 

 

 

Publications

 

* UNAIDS Report 2010

 

* What we say should change our lives

 

 

 

DIGNITY NEWS

 

 

*** Dignity International Workshop with Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) Partners - “The information gained from this workshop is important for us because topics like human rights, political rights and empowerment are not openly discussed in our country,” said a workshop trainee in Bangkok.

 

In November, Dignity International (DI) and Human Rights Education Institute of Burma collaborated to organise a three day workshop on “ Human Rights-Based Approach to Development” that took place during 22 nd -24 th November at Bangkok, Thailand. All in all, eleven participants (men and women) attended the three-day interactive workshop and its proceedings. The trainee participants are currently working with different non-profit organisations, movements and also media in Myanmar.

 

 

 

The workshop focused on Human Rights Based Approaches that aims to build capacities and understanding of human rights frame work and its linkages to developmental work through a participatory approach. It provided space for participants for knowledge sharing, discussions, group activities using popular educational modules and was able to encourage a tolerant culture to diversity regardless of religion, social status, and gender.

 


From left: Jerald Joseph (Executive Director DI),
Cherry Zahau (HREIB) and Saadia Haq (DI TUT trainer)

 

 

Executive Director, Dignity International, Jerald Joseph and Saadia Haq, Dignity TUT Trainer conducted the different sessions during the workshop. They were supported by Aung Myo Min, Director HREIB for bringing more in-depth knowledge of human rights situation in Myanmar.

 

Participants were taken step by step through sessions including “Basic Human Rights, UDHR, Linking CP to ESR, Human Rights based Approach to Development, Non-discrimination, Accountability, Participation, Empowerment, State Obligations, and Contextual Case studies.

 

 

Throughout the three days, group work was encouraged and participants worked in smaller groups and also made presentations. This was followed by interesting discussions amongst all.

 

One particular highlight was the viewing of video documentary focusing on “Right to Information and Corruption.” It is an MKSS crusade effort from India about the state corruption, withholding information and how the local community mobilisation. This stimulation resulted in an open space where all the participants processed their own struggle for human rights inside Myanmar.

 

The workshop ended with open discussion amongst the participants and facilitators. Majority participants showed keen interest in using their new learning’s’ in their own organisational work focus and their rights based activism inside Myanmar.

Certainly, with such steps which may seem rather small are indeed positive indicators for bringing about change in Myanmar and it is s hoped the human rights situation will improve in coming times.


Contributed by Saadia Haq





*** Commonwealth Foundation Programme Manager Attachment with the Secretariat - Mr. Seth Lartey was hosted for a week (22-29th Nov 2010). In this period he was at Dignity's office to learn and understand how Dignity International works at the DI Secretariat to promote human rights works amongst its partners. DI Secretariat was pleased to be able to host him and exchange ideas with him and his organisation.

 

 


*** Briefing on Commonwealth Foundation - Dignity International and Pusat Komas organised a briefing about the Commonwealth Foundation (CF) for local Malaysian NGOs on the 29th Dec 2010. This was to get more NGOs familiar with the work of the CF and also realise opportunities, both partnership and funding, that is possible with the CF.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTHER NEWS

 

 

*** UN Summit on Climate Change - Women, men and youth, rural and small farmer communities and indigenous peoples from all over the world, took to the streets of Mexico City before boarding caravans that will take them to Cancun where the UN Climate conference COP16 is taking place.

 

The march was organised by the international peasant movement Via Campesina and marked the coming together of national and international caravans which had been travelling by land from various parts of Mexico and Central America where they visited climate affected communities.

 

The presence of world ministers at the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) will help speed up the negotiations on the strategy to follow in the fight against climate change, but it will not become a parallel summit, said President of the Conference and Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Secretary, Patricia Espinosa Cantellano.


“Ministers will not be expected to draft compromise language, but to help identify where balance is to be found”, she explained during the informal session carried out on Sunday. They will not take the delegate’s responsibilities in any way, she added.


She assured that ministers are not preparing any secret document to present on their own, and that they will be available to discuss not only with other ministers, but also with the delegates.

Delegates from Venezuela and Colombia mentioned the severe floods that affect their territories to urge the Parties to accelerate the negotiations and prepare the path for taking concrete actions at the next conference.


The Venezuelan delegate warned that if no convincing agreement is reached, the process will lose legitimacy. “We need not only to appeal for flexibility and draw extreme positions, we need to abandon threats to withdraw from the protocol, to withdraw from negotiations”, she said.

 

To read more about COP16 CLICK HERE>>>

 

Sources: GCAP, COP16

 

 

 

 

*** Farmers against Agribusiness Transnational Corporations - A new global economic order is emerging with agriculture—specifically biomass—as its nexus. Policymakers and corporate executives refer to the new “bioeconomy,” claiming that humanity can transition from a global economy based on fossil fuels to one based on biomass from agricultural crops, forests and algae. Touted as “clean,” “green” “renewable” and “sustainable,” the false solutions being proposed by governments and transnational corporations in response to the climate, energy and food crises are propelling the expansion of the bioeconomy. Yet beneath these claims, the bioeconomy is facilitating the expansion of industrial agriculture, and vertical integration and market consolidation for agribusiness transnational corporations (TNCs).

 

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is rapidly becoming a platform to legitimise, regulate and expand the bioeconomy.  Big Grain, Big Biotech and Big Forestry TNCs benefit from the increasing number, scope and percentage of agricultural methodologies approved by the UNFCCC for carbon emissions offsets, carbon sequestration and adaptation to climate change. Yet instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and stabilising the climate, the false solutions to the climate crisis provide new ways for TNCs to expand and consolidate control of seeds, lands, water and forests, and therefore pose serious threats to farmers, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and rural workers. 

 

To read more of this background document CLICK HERE>>>

 

Source: Via Campesina

 

 

 

 

*** Child Labour on the Rise in China - The International Labour Organisation estimates that there are 215 million children around the world engaged in work. No one knows for sure how many children are working in China because the government does not publish such data, but the recent signs are worrying.

 

Several participants at a November 2010 seminar in Shenzhen indicated that the use of child labour was on the rise again, particularly since the implementation of the Labour Contract Law in 2008. Children were primarily employed by factories as a means of cutting costs. “Factory managers don’t really care whether their workers are under the legal working age of 16, especially when there is a shortage of labour,” one NGO worker at the seminar said. Some employers don’t check the age of workers, and just take the word of other family members, he said.

 

Children are employed in a wide range of industries but predominately in sectors that need to hire large groups of low-skilled workers on a seasonal basis, such as the food processing industry.

 

One participant of the seminar said she had been to a factory where almost half of the 1,000 workers were children. While another NGO found that more than ten percent of the workers in two glass factories surveyed in Shanxi were children.

 

Most child workers are 14 or 15 years old, but some seminar participants reported that they have seen children as young as eight. Many children start work because they lost interest in studying and dropped out of school, usually with the consent of their parents. However, families are more willing to let their daughters, rather than their sons, drop out of school and work for the family. In many cases, daughters are expected to work to support their brother’s studies.

 

Representatives of major international brands at the seminar said that it was difficult for them to know whether or not their suppliers used child workers. Factory managers coach children to lie about their age or provide them with false identities, as such, even unannounced audits could not detect the use of child labour. Some brands are now monitoring the recruitment process to make sure that their suppliers pay more attention to the age of their workers.

 

At present, if child workers are discovered by the authorities, they are simply sent back home. Most return to the city to look for another job as soon as possible. To counter this problem, some international brands now require their suppliers to sponsor the child’s education or provide vocational training so that when they reach the legal work age they can get a better job. However, few factory owners have introduced such programs. Unfortunately, the seminar confirmed that the problems identified in CLB’s 2005 research report on child labour in China still exist, and may even be getting worse.

 

Source: China Labour Bulletin


 

 

 

*** Botswana: Fighting Discrimination against Indigenous Peoples - Kelkabile Mogodu, a human rights defender of a San indigenous community in Botswana notes that indigenous communities such as the San are often marginalised, both culturally and economically by mainstream society.

“As a San person, we believe that if we do not fight discrimination, our dignity will be taken away - that is the reason that we stand up and fight discrimination,” Mogodu said. He points out that the community is opposed to discrimination in the form of education policies that are made by the government, saying: “they disregard our culture and our language.”

 

Mogodu says: “What I started fighting for when I was in high school is still upon us today. We want our culture to be recognized and our dignity respected and we want to see that reflected in the education curriculums of our country.”

 

Similarly, the San are speaking out against discriminatory land policies that affect them. The San people in Botswana have for years battled against relocation from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which they describe as their “ancestral land”.

 

They have petitioned the government that the relocation to outside settlements is discriminatory. To read more about the San people’s struggle in Botswana, CLICK HERE>>>

 

Source: OHCHR

 

 

 

 

*** Finland: The Rights of the Disabled - Finnish disability organisations and know-how are valued the world over. By international standards, Finland’s disability organisations are very strong, and they have a significant position in the international field of disability organisations. For instance, the World Federation of the Deaf has its headquarters in Helsinki.

Finnish experts in disability issues have developed disability policy in the UN, the World Bank and the OECD. Finland is also one of the most significant economic supporters of Shuaib Chalklen, the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the UN Commission on Social Development.

Most recently, a new colour was added to the palette of traditional foreign policy means in September when the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs launched cooperation with Signmark, a deaf rap artist. “This cooperation introduces a novel angle to our human rights work and reaches new groups of people,” Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said, condensing the experiences of the past two months.

Signmark, alias Marko Vuoriheimo, has been the Foreign Minister’s special representative for promoting the rights of people with disability since September. “Marko represents all people with disability, not only Deaf people. Our aim is for Marko to perform all over the world and bring both his own message and the message of everyone with disability, from his own viewpoint and that of people with disability, but also from the viewpoint of Finland,” the foreign minister said, explaining the starting point for this effort. To read more CLICK HERE>>>

Source: Finland Ministry for Foreign Affairs

 

 

 

 

ACTION APPEALS

 

 

*** Ecuador: Urgent Action on Land Reform - On 2nd of November FIAN launched a new urgent action. An effective allocation of the lands utilised in financial speculation during the bank crisis to peasant families by means of the Lands Plan has not been possible due to the private nature of these lands.

 

Despite its importance, this plan has generated expectations and competition for the wealth at stake that has in turn threatened the tenure security of the land possessing families and peasant associations. They have been demanding the regularisation of their land tenure for years. This situation clearly puts these families´ right to adequate food at risk. For this reason, urgent pressure must be placed on the Ecuadorian State demanding that it solves these conflicts and formally transfers the land immediately to peasants with little or no land that are peacefully occupying the said lands. Please send a letter to the President of the Republic asking him to issue an Executive Decree regarding this matter. To learn more and tack action, click here>>>

 

Source: FIAN

 

*** Pakistan: Preparing Winter Kits for Flood Survivors – Relief agencies such as Oxfam International report that they are in a race against time to hand out thousands of winter kits to families still homeless from Pakistan's summer floods – already a challenge as the deluge wrecked roads and bridges. It will get worse when many communities are cut off by blizzards. To read more and take action CLICK HERE>>>

 

Source: Oxfam International

 


 

*** IWW supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in support of Palestinian Rights - The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) has officially voted to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in support of Palestinian rights. The “Resolution in Support of the Workers of Palestine/Israel” was adopted in an overwhelming vote both at the IWW’s convention in Minneapolis and by the membership via referendum. This vote makes the IWW the first union in the US and the third union in Canada to officially support the Palestinian United Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

 

Inspired by the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the BDS movement calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until such time as fundamental Palestinian rights are recognized. The BDS call is supported by a broad cross-section of Palestinian society, including Palestinian unions.

 

The resolution to support the BDS campaign comes out of the work of the IWW’s International Solidarity Commission and the IWW Friends of Palestinian Workers Group, a grassroots network of Wobblies supportive of the Palestinian, Israeli and international struggle against Israeli apartheid. Support for the BDS campaign was also stressed by all the Palestinian workers who met with members of the IWW on the IWW delegation to Palestine, particularly the Independent Workers Federation of Palestine, with whom the IWW shares a close bond of solidarity.

 

To learn how you can support this action, the IWW International Solidarity Commission, and the Friends of Palestinian Workers Group, CLICK HERE>>>

 

Source: IWW

 

 

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

*** FIAN International Job Openings - Food First Information and Action Network’s (FIAN) International Secretariat is seeking to fill the following positions:

 

Trainee for Capacity Building and Gender - The trainee will be supporting project implementation, mainly in Latin-America, with a focus on capacity building on the right to adequate food and gender, including basic fields such as case work, monitoring and justiciability. English and Spanish will be the main languages for this working area. Main tasks will be preparation and conduct of workshops, seminars and conferences, preparation and improvement of capacity building tools, analysis of cases, research, communication with partners and proof-reading of texts in Spanish. To learn more about this position CLICK HERE>>>

 

Project Coordinator is a part-time position (20 h/ week) based in Heidelberg, Germany, to coordinate the implementation of a project on raising awareness about the human right to food within Europe. To learn more about this position CLICK HERE>>>

 

Source: FIAN

 

 

 

*** ESCR-Net Programme Coordinator - ESCR-Net seeks a Program Coordinator for Social Movements and Grassroots Working Group.The International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) is a collaborative initiative of groups and individuals from around the world working to secure economic and social justice through human rights. ESCR-Net seeks to strengthen the field of all human rights, with a special focus on economic, social and cultural rights, and further develop the tools for achieving their promotion, protection and fulfillment. Through ESCR-Net, groups and individuals exchange information, develop a collective voice, amplify their actions, develop new tools and strategies. By facilitating joint actions, enhancing communications and building solidarity across regions, the Network seeks to build a global movement to make human rights and social justice a reality for all.    

 

ESCR-Net is seeking a new staff member to serve as one of four key program staff in the Secretariat providing support and coordination to ESCR-Net's thematic working groups and initiatives as well as supporting ESCR-Net's fundraising efforts, amongst other functions.

 

The candidate will be primarily responsible for coordinating and managing thematic work related to ESCR-Net's Social Movements and Grassroots Working Group with a strong focus on the right to land, territory and natural resources as well as development-induced displacement. For a list of current areas of work, please visit our website at www.escr-net.org

Source: ESCR-Net

 

EVENTS

 

 

 

*** 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence - The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates November 25- International Day Against Violence Against Women- and December 10- International Human Rights Day- in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasise that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including 29 November, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organising strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:

  • raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels
  • strengthening local work around violence against women
  • establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women
  • providing a forum in which organisers can develop and share new and effective strategies
  • demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organising against violence against women
  • creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women

 

Over 3,400 organisations in approximately 164 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign since 1991! For more information, CLICK HERE>>

 

Source: Rutgers University

 

 

 

*** OHCHR Meetings & Events

 

Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council / 6th session

From : 17-01-2011 To : 21-01-2011

Palais des Nations Room XX

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women / 48th session

From : 17-01-2011 To : 04-02-2011

PN XVI

Committee on the Rights of the Child / 56th session

From : 17-01-2011 To : 04-02-2011

PW, Ground floor

Universal Periodic Review / 10th session

From : 24-01-2011 To : 04-02-2011

PN

Working Group on Situations / 7th session

From : 31-01-2011 To : 04-02-2011

PW, 1st floor

BoT, UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture / 34th session

From : 31-01-2011 To : 04-02-2011

PW 1st floor

CEDAW - WG Communications / 19th session

From : 07-02-2011 To : 10-02-2011

PN XII

CEDAW Pre-sessional WG / 49th session

From : 07-02-2011 To : 11-02-2011

PN XVI

Pre-sessional WG – CRC / 57th session

From : 07-02-2011 To : 11-02-2011

PW Grd floor

Open-ended intergovernmental Working Group - Review of HRC / 2nd session

From : 07-02-2011 To : 11-02-2011

PN XX

BoT, UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Indigenous Populations / 24th session

From : 07-02-2011 To : 11-02-2011

PW 1st floor

Human Rights Council – Organisational meeting / 16th session

From : 14-02-2011 To : 14-02-2011

PN XX

 

 

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

 

 

*** UNAIDS Report 2010 - The 2010 edition of the UNAIDS Report on the global AIDS epidemic includes new country by country scorecards on key issues facing the AIDS response. Based on the latest data from 182 countries, this global reference book provides comprehensive analysis on the AIDS epidemic and response. For the first time the report includes trend data on incidence from more than 60 countries.

 

To learn more about this report CLICK HERE>>>

 

Source: UNAIDS

 

 

 

*** What we say should change our lives - This publication highlights the lessons learnt from ATD Fourth World's actions and exchanges in recent years. It explains why the involvement of people living in extreme poverty is vital, in what conditions it becomes possible, and what its impact is. To read more and order this publication, please CLICK HERE>>>

 

 

 

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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