Monthly News Bulletin of Dignity International: January 2005
DIGNITY INTERNATIONAL: MONTHLY NEWSBULLETIN - January 2005
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
All the best for all in 2005!
* Third Linking & Learning Programme in ESCR
* Global Meets Local - Human Rights Day Celebrations in Alcochete
* New Board Meets Face to Face
* Budget Analysis Programme – selection finished
* World Social Forum – in full swing
* African Social Forum - Another Africa is possible
* World Forum on Agrarian Reform
* Campaign on the Global Response to the South East Asian Disaster
* Latest on the Optional Protocol Working Group
* 2004 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health
* Practical Guide to the WTO – 3D and Forum Asia new publication
* COHRE's Housing Rights Bulletin – latest edition
* Investing in Development: a New Report by Jeffrey Sach
* The Third Chamber (Netherlands) Looks for New Members
* 61st session of the Commission on Human Rights
* Third Training Workshop for Minorities
Forthcoming Events – Highlights
* Housing Rights in Nicaragua – A Seminar
* Conference on Privatization and Human Rights
* Galway Summer Course on the ICC
*** The Third Global Linking & Learning Programme on ESC Rights - took place from 2 to 10 of December 2004 in Alcochete, Portugal. Twenty-three participants with grassroots experience from around the world participated in the intensive ten-day programme organised y Dignity International in partnership with the International Human Rights Internship Program, Forum Asia, ESCR-Net and on this occasion with some assistance from the Global Learning Associates. The programme received financial support on NOVIB and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.
Encouraged by the participants good evaluation, the organisers will continue to strive for excellence in all aspects related to the programme.
This year, the programme ended on purpose on December 10 Human Rights Day, so that the local and the global could join hands and celebrate together. A report of the programme will soon be available on the website.
*** Global Meets Local - Alcochete celebrates Human Rights Day - For the first time in the town’s history, 10 December Human Rights day was officially celebrated in Alcochete. Dignity International joined hands with the Municipality of Alcochete to organise several activities with the involvement of the local community. There was a buzz of activity in the town square with the Human Rights Tent where the local community received further information and materials related to human rights and a Fair Trade Tent to learn about and purchase items produced under fair trade rules.
The celebrations ended with a cultural evening taking the local community and the participants of the global programme on a musical journey with “Fado” Portuguese traditional music and music from around the world.
“This truly was really a link between the local and the global” said one participant.
** The Magic of Human Rights – During the month of November, children from primary schools of Alcochete town worked in their classrooms to learn about human rights. Momentos Mágicos, a group of animators, kicked off these human rights activities with a puppet show written and designed to get children thinking about human rights. These activities culminated on the morning of December 10, with the “Magic of Human Rights” – an event where all children shared and celebrated Human Rights Day. This magic moment ended with the releasing of balloons for the children of Alcochete to share and work for human rights for all others around the world. Children with disabilities from CERCISIMBRA participated in all these activities.
We really started something in our local community! Surely this will continue. Very special thanks to all of you who helped us! A new resolution has now been put forward to the Alcochete town council to celebrate this day every year.
More information and photos will soon be available on our website.
*** New Board Meets Face to Face – The new board of Dignity International met for the first time on 11 December in Alcochete. The Board members are from Tanzania, Thailand, Bangkok, Netherlands and USA. The Board members were able to witness Dignity in action at the global and local levels. The Board engaged in substantive discussions on administrative and programme elements of the organisation and gave its strong backing to the work ahead “I am very happy with the meeting and the engagement of the Board members” said Ton Waarts, Dignity’s Chairman.
*** Linking & Learning Programme on Budget Analysis and Economic, Social and Cultural rights - this new programme, organised by International Human Rights Internship Programme (IHRIP); the International Budget Programme (IBP); the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net); Fundar – the Centre for Research and Analysis; and Dignity International, will take place from 11 to 19 March 2005 in Alcochete, Portugal.
The selection process in now finished. Over 200 applications were received, and twenty participants have been selected. The organisers hope that we will be able to put together programmes of this type again in the future. For further programme details, see http://www.escr-net.org/GeneralDocs/Budget_Call_4_apps.pdf
*** World Social Forum – The World Social Forum in Porto Alegre is now in full swing. Human Rights is the theme with the largest number of events. More than two thousand activities registered, this human rights terrain had 471 event registrations, from organizations from 45 countries.
Dignity delegation to the WSF consists of Ton Waarts (Chairman), Thomas Nzumbi (Tanzania), Simone Andrade (Brazil/Portgal).
Dignity’s activities at the WSF include the following:
* The Human Rights & Development Caucus, of which Dignity International is part, organised an Opening Conference, on 27 January under the theme of “Affirming life and dignity: enhancing justice and rights in a globalised world” and will also organize a Closing Conference, on January 30 – “Human Rights for Social Change”
* Globalisation & Human Rights - Together with the Inter Press Service (IPS) Dignity has produced a series of articles on the theme of globalization and human rights. The contributors include: Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Mary Robinson, former UNHCHR and former President of Ireland, Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, Cândido Grzybowski - Director General of IBASE and founder of the WSF, Klaus Schwab President of the World Economic Forum, Walden Bello; Director of Focus on Global South, Jim Wolfensen, President of the World Bank.
Some of these articles can already be viewed at : http://www.ipsnews.net/weekly.asp All these articles will also appear in the Terra Viva Daily of the World Social Forum. For a comprehensive coverage of the WSF see http://www.ipsterraviva.net/tv/wsf2005/
* World Court on Economic Justice – An impressive body of international human rights law exists. Do we allow this to become a dead body of law or shall we try to breathe meaning and life back into human rights?
The World Court on Economic Justice is in essence a simulation exercise which will encourage us to dream and also to use such an exercise to illustrate the primacy of human rights over international trade and financial rules. A group of specialists from trade and human rights field will consider the proposal and work out the next steps. Further details on this are available from Dignity International.
*** The Third African Social Forum (ASF) was held in Lusaka, Zambia, from 14 to 19 of December. This Forum was a space for discussion, reflection, mutual consolidation and democratic debate. It is important for Africa that this Forum continues to be the instrument of growth of African social movements and of vigilance in relation to the policies conceived and implemented on the continent. This year’s edition of the Forum had also in mind the need the year of 2007 when Africa will host the World Social Forum: “a popular Forum in 2004 would constitute an important condition for the successful organisation of the World Social Forum in Africa in 2007”. This third edition would make it possible to examine the stakes of such a perspective and bring out together the visions and objectives that could be pursued for 2007” (ASF website). Official website: http://www.africansocialforum.org/english/fsa2004.htm
*** The World Forum on Agrarian Reform (WFAR) took place in Valencia, Spain, from 5 to 8 December 2004. Under the theme of ‘A world without hunger: another agriculture, agrarian reform now!’ the Forum aimed at putting the land question as a priority to social movements all over the world, reinforcing the urgent need of Agrarian Reforms.
The final declaration - Agrarian Reform and Access to Natural Resources: a Peoples’ Demand - calls upon the whole society to recognise land as a common good and to fight against IFIs’ interferences in land policies. Agrarian reform is the necessary pre-condition to the implementation of the right to food, established in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 1, 2 and 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Human Rights, as well as Articles 55 and 56 of the United Nations Charter. With the Report’s words: “State-led, redistributive agrarian reform is a key building block of the peoples’ food sovereignty model and is a crucial measure for the realization of fundamental human rights such as the right to food, housing, work, environment, to participate in cultural life and to enjoy one’s own culture, and to participate in the conduct of public affairs. For these reasons governments and society alike must give human rights a central place in the development agenda”. WFAR’s homepage: http://www.fmra.org/index_uk.html Final report at: http://www.fmra.org/declaracion_finaluk.doc
*** Campaign on the Global Response to the South East Asian Disaster “What happened on 26 December 2004 was an unprecedented, global catastrophe. It requires an unprecedented, global response.” - Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Jakarta, Indonesia, 6 January 2005 http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocusRel.asp?infocusID=102&Body=tsunami&Body1 - For the Campaign on the Global Response to the South East Asian Disaster – see http://www.choike.org/nuevo_eng/informes/2466.html (Choike’s up to date coverage of the disaster and its responses)
*** The Open-ended Working Group (WG) to consider options regarding the elaboration of an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights convened in Geneva, met from 10 to 21 of January.
In her address, Louise Arbour, High Commissioner of Human Rights, highlighted the equality of all human rights – “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights reflects the principle of the equal status of all human rights. Although we have a tendency to make distinctions among fundamental human rights in terms of abstract 'categories' such as 'civil and political' and 'economic, social and cultural,' or 'first generation,' 'second generation,' etc., this approach lacks intellectual rigour. Such categorizations overshadow what is common to all human rights, and overemphasize irrelevant differences”. She added that ‘recognising the status of economic, social and cultural rights as justiciable entitlements is crucial to honouring the political, moral and legal commitments undertaken by States when the international bill of rights was adopted’. More on the WG at: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/escr/group.htm
Louise Arbour’s statement at: http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/ECAE2629449C1EBCC1256F8C0035047D?opendocument
*** The Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Paul Hunt, presented his 2004 report to the UN General Assembly. The report includes three chapters on health related Millennium Development Goals; the right to health for indigenous peoples; and the right to health, child survival and respective indicators. English version of the report available now online at: http://ods-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/543/38/PDF/N0454338.pdf?OpenElement
*** The Practical Guide to the WTO is a new publication from 3D and FORUM-ASIA. It is a concise and simply worded guide to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), from a human rights perspective. The Practical Guide contains pointers for individuals and groups concerned with human rights to respond to the threats trade and its rules can pose to the enjoyment of human rights. It describes human rights mechanisms that can be applied by people concerned to ensure that trade, trade rules or the domestic implementation of international trade rules are carried out in a way that does not have negative impacts on human rights. The Practical Guide also points out some simple actions that can be undertaken to ensure accountability of economic decision-makers. If you would like to order a copy of the Practical Guide, you can do so by contacting 3D or FORUM-ASIA. More information on the Guide is available at http://www.3dthree.org.
*** The latest edition of COHRE's Housing Rights Bulletin Vol. 1 No. 4 is already available for download at COHRE's website. http://www.cohre.org/bulletins.htm
*** Investing in Development – A new report by Jeffrey Sach - the result of the 265 team headed by Jeffrey Sach outlining a practical plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals is now available. The report contains feasibility studies for improving the economies of many developing and transitional countries and calls for specific investments across a wide spectrum of problems, not for handouts or charity. It recommends that rich countries double their investments in poor countries to reach the MDGs of halving extreme poverty by 2015 and going eliminate it by 2025. Source: UN News Service Report at: http://unmp.forumone.com/
*** The Third Chamber (Netherlands) is looking for new members in 2005 - The Third Chamber is a shadow-parliament in the Netherlands for 120 Dutch nationals and 30 representatives from developing countries. Members of The Third Chamber can put forward proposals to improve the Dutch policy concerning International Cooperation. The third Chamber is looking for international members who will function as advisors to the Dutch members.
People with an outspoken meaning about International Cooperation can apply to be a member of The Third Chamber. Please complete the registration form on the website www.thethirdchamber.org or email to email@example.com.
*** The 61st session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights will take place from 14 March to 22 April 2005, in Geneva, Switzerland. The first information note for non-governmental organisations willing to participate in the Session is now already available together with the Provisional agenda of the first meeting of the Session.
NGOs that wish to submit written statements should do it before 11 February 2005. See: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/chr/sessions/61/index.htm
*** The 38th Session of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is now taking place (10 to 28 January 2005) in Geneva, Switzerland. During the session, the Committee will consider the following State Reports: Albania, Austria, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Iran, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Sweden and Togo. More at: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/crcs38.htm
*** Third Training Workshop for Minorities – for the third time, two joint training workshops for persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities are being organised by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in cooperation with the non-governmental organisation Minority Rights Group (MRG). The aim is to build up the capacity of civil society to promote and protect minority rights, by providing minority representatives with the opportunity to gaining knowledge on international human rights and minority rights in particular. Deadline for application – 31 January.
FORTHCOMING EVENTS – HIGHLIGHTS
*** Right to Housing in Nicaragua - The protection and the promotion of the right to adequate housing in Nicaragua is a seminar organised by COHRE - Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, WCCN - Wisconsin Coordinator Counc and HABITAR - Centro de Estudios y Promoción para el Habitar. The seminar aims to help the current discussions going on in Nicaragua regarding the right to housing, since the national government is designing the policy to be implemented based on a loan provided by the Inter-American Development Bank. The seminar will focus on the right to adequate housing through the perspective of economic, social and cultural rights and the international and regional legal instruments addressing them, as well as the matters related to urban and rural housing, indigenous population, democratisation of the public policies aiming to guarantee access to adequate housing and land.
For further information: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
*** The Maastricht Centre for Human Rights of Maastricht University is organising a one-day conference on Privatization and Human Rights, which will take place in Maastricht, Netherlands, on Friday 25 February 2005. The conference will consider privatization initiatives in areas such as drinking water, health services, social security, prisons and security services and their compatibility with international human rights standards. For further information see: http://www.rechten.unimaas.nl/humanrights
*** The Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway, will run a Summer Course on the International Criminal Court from 9 to 14 July 2005. This summer Course is widely acknowledged as one of the best programme of this kind. In a week of intensive lectures, students are provided with a detailed description of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, its structures and its operations. For registration or further details, please visit: www.nuigalway.ie/human_rights/summer_schools.html or email to: email@example.com
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