SOCIAL WATCH E-NEWSLETTER - Issue 42 - June 24, 2011

Issue 42 - June 24, 2011

Africa: China mining firms are not to different from U.S. and European ones

Yao Graham, from TWN-A.
(Photo: Reflection Group)

African governments should be wary of the mining contracts they sign, as those agreements might not help them to get rid of Occidental powers but can facilitate Chinese exploitation, experts said this week at a conference organised by Third World Network-Africa (focal point of Social Watch) and the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association in Harare.
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Historic ILO’s convention on domestic workers

Juan Somavia with
representatives of domestic
workers. (Photo: ILO)

In what is viewed as a historical moment, the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted this month for the first time a landmark convention aimed at protecting between 53 and 100 millions of domestic workers worldwide, reported the South-North Development Monitor from Geneva.
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Climate cheating

In international negotiations on climate change, where “the sums at stake are huge and the ones who are cheated are the poor”, the countries of the industrial North are using resources that appear as a slavish imitation of picaresque literature “to fool negotiators of the South”, wrote Roberto Bissio, Social Watch coordinator, in his last article for Agenda Global.
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Paraguay: Poor people pay much more taxes than the rich

One of the “huge mistakes” defended “as great truths” in Paraguay is that businesspeople “pay a lot” to the revenue service while in fact “direct taxation, which is the most unfair, is the largest” and “poor people end up paying more than the rich”, according to a report by economist José Carlos Rodríguez. The report was presented this month at the launching of the programme “Impuestos justos para inversión social” [Fair taxes for social investment] promoted by the Campaña por la Expresión Ciudadana-Decidamos (national focal point of Social Watch) and Centro de Documentación y Estudios.
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Bahrain: Heavy sentences to opposition and human rights activists

The National Security Court of Bahrain sentenced this Wednesday to life imprisonment 8 of the 21 activists charged of being linked to supposed “terrorist activities”. The 13 others were sentenced to two to fifteen years’ imprisonment, reported several national, regional and international civil society organisations.
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Eurostep calls for a paradigm shift ahead of Rio+20

Ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNSCD, or Rio+20) to be held in Rio in June next year, civil society organisations have described the official preparatory processes as being too slow and weak in content. If the conference is to live up to its commitment to achieving sustainable development, a fundamental paradigm shift in the global economic structure is needed, stated Eurostep this week.
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G8 tries to use Lybia and Syria to come back from the dead

While the G20, that includes the rich countries and the emerging ones, is getting more and more relevance, the Arab unrest and the developments in Libya and Syria have given a new meaning and purpose to the Group of Eight (G8) most powerful nations, according to Himanshu Jha, National Coordinator of Social Watch India. In a column published by The New Indian Express newspaper, Jha said that the G20 seems to have "turned into a hotbed of global decision-making" in charge of "the traditional economic agenda".
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Guatemala: Civil society warns about lack of public health funds

The Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare of Guatemala is undergoing a crisis and needs additional funds to fulfil its caregiving functions, warned Alejandro Aguirre, coordinator of the Citizen Participation programme of the NGOs and Cooperatives Coordination (Congcoop, national focal point of Social Watch).
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