A delegation of human rights and development non governmental organizations from seven Arab countries (Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Morocco) is visiting European Union (EU) institutions in Brussels this week, with the aim of deepen the dialogue on the relations between both regions with policy makers and civil society representatives. The mission is organized by the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), in cooperation with EuroStep and CNCD-11.11.11 (Centre national de coopération au développement, Belgium).

Average tuition and compulsory fees for Canadian undergraduate students are estimated to rise almost 18% over the next four years, from almost $6,200 in 2011-12 to over $7,300, says a study released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

Mauritanian farmer Aissata
Abdoul Diop with dried maize
(Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam)

A new research shows that the full impact of climate change on future food prices is being underestimated, while governments of developed countries don't seem to have the will to accept in the next seven weeks further greenhouse gases emissions cuts to reach an agreement on a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol after 31 Dec, the expiry date of the first period.

Laura Dupuy.
(Photo: Human Rights Council)

While UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened this week the 21st session of the Human Rights Council urging the 47 member states to show they take their mandate of promotion and protection of human rights seriously, civil society organizations are asking for measures to prevent reprisals against activists attending the meeting in Geneve.

Hassan Abdel Nati.
(Photo: Sudan Vision)

Since the student led protest movement emerged in March 2011 in Sudan, demonstrators have acted “peacefully and in line” with the Constitution, but the government reaction has been “vicious”, “unprecedented” and illegal, said Hassan Abdel Ati, Secretary General of Sudan’s National Civic Forum, focal point of Social Watch in the African country.

Leonor Magtolis Briones. (Photo:
Philippine Rural Reconstruction

Social Watch Philippines and Alternative Budget Initiative are set to probe into President Benigno Aquino III’s proposed budget items for 2013 that are still unclear or not visible. “We have to be more vigilant as the 2.006 trillion pesos [47.74 billion US dollars] proposed 2013 appropriations is the first budget proposal to exceed the two-trillion pesos mark,” explained former national treasurer and Social Watch Philippines lead convenor Leonor Magtolis Briones.

A Seoul Metro Line 9 station.
(Photo: Ssangyong Engineening
& Construction Co)

Civic groups have charged the President of the Republic of Korea Lee Myung-bak of saddling Seoul residents with losses while he was mayor of the capital city, by signing an unfair contract with a leading private sector infrastructure fund to build a metro line, reported journalist Park Hyun-chul on The Hankyoreh daily newspaper.

United Nations
Human Rights Council.

The United Nations Human Rights Council will discuss this month a series of “guiding principles” that would force countries to adress the consequences of international economic treaties and fiscal policies on poverty and human rights. If the proposal by Magdalena Sepúlveda, special rapporteur on human rights and extreme poverty, is approved “eradicating poverty shall not only be a moral duty, but a legal obligation”, acccording to Roberto Bissio, director of the Third World Institute (ITeM).

Family ties are strong in rural
Kenya. (Photo: Barry Lewis
Corbis/Helsingin Sanomat)

Finland has certain problems: many people numb themselves with antidepressant drugs and alcohol, people bully and harass each other at work, a young man will fire into a crowd of people, a father kills his family. Finnish people should learn something from developing countries, wrote Johana Pohjola in an article published by Helsingin Sanomat daily newspaper.

Gustave sharing ideas with
colleagues in a group. (Photo:
West Africa Civil Society

Assah Gustave, National Coordinator of Social Watch Benin, is participating in a two week capacity development initiative in West Africa. In 2012, he has attended over twelve trainings across the globe. This last one reunited civil society organizations from Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Niger and Guinea. “It is now up to us to apply the best practices gathered from this training, to contextualise them and apply in Social Watch,” he said

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