SOCIAL WATCH E-NEWSLETTER - Issue 50 - August 19, 2011

Issue 50 - August 19, 2011

Essential guide to the right to defend human rights

La Rapporteuse Spéciale Margaret
Sekaggya. (Photo : ONU)

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has launched a guide to show how human rights defenders can defend themselves against aggression from the State, report abuses to international institutions and get funding for their activities. The document also explains to journalists and media how they must cover those issues.
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Brazil: Social movements launch broad initiative for political reform

A coalition of 30 Brazilian civil society organizations began this week collecting signatures for their Popular Initiative Proposal for Political Reform. If this project is successful it will facilitate citizen participation and monitoring in government matters, and also combat corruption in the organs of the State.
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Burma: France called to suport an UN inquiry into crimes against humanity

The United Nations are under mounting pressure to create a commission of inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity commited by the Burmeses regime. A broad coalition of human rights organizations, including the Burma Lawyers' Counicil (BLC, national focal point of Social Watch) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), are focusing the pressure now on the European Union and specially on France.
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Imported chicken decimates Ghanaian poultry farms

The Government of Ghana announced that it's studying tariff and non-tariff measures to restrict the importation of poultry products, after local analysts warned that those purchases are harming the national economy. "Imported chicken is being sold at below the cost of local chicken, and farmers in Ghana cannot simply compete, resulting in the collapse of dozens of farms and the loss of hundreds of jobs," said Yaw Graham, expert of the Third World Network-Africa (TWN-A), focal point of Social Watch.
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University of Bahrain dismissed teachers for political reasons

The University of Bahrain dismissed last week for political reasons 19 professors who had had been suspended in April, amongst them Abdullah Alderazi, secretary general of the Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS, national focal point of Social Watch).
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Paraguay: community radio stations pressure Parliament

The telecommunications bill that is currently before the Paraguayan Parliament does not establish media communications as a universal right of all citizens but considers it a product in the market place. According to Rubén Ayala, the coordinator of the Association of Community Radio and Alternative Media (Voces Paraguay), in a statement on the portal of the Campaign for Citizens Expression (Campaña por la Expresión Ciudadana), the focal point of Social Watch in the country, one of the motives behind this restrictive proposed legislation is that it would limit the power of community radio stations and civil society organizations and prevent them from obtaining finance by selling advertising.
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Zambia: Women postponed in the electoral campaign

Women must "start working hard" to have a stronger political representation and to include gender issues for the 2016 elections, given they are not properly represented for the September 20 general elections, said Emily Sikazwe, the executive director of Women for Change, a gender focused non-governmental organization working with communities, especially women and children in rural areas and national focal point of Social Watch in this African country.
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