Social Watch E-Newsletter - Issue 211 - April 24, 2015

Issue 211 - April 24, 2015

The Mediterranean catastrophe calls for an international response


Despite one of the largest humanitarian disasters of recent years unfolding on their doorstep, and another 700 deaths on April 19, the EU and its Member States seem totally paralyzed and incapable of providing an urgent and appropriate response. The deaths of men, women and children only seem to promote further rounds of discussion. These will - in due course - no doubt result in yet another political declaration and yet more empty promises. Read more


Ex-Treasurer Briones raises issue of accountability in Bangsamoro block grant

Prof. Leonor Briones.

The P70-billion block grant that will be given to the new autonomous region in the Philippines during the first year of the implementation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law raises serious questions of accountability, former National Treasurer Leonor Briones said.
“The most problematic in terms of accountability is the block grant,” Briones, lead convenor of Social Watch Philippines, told a forum on the BBL at the University of the Philippines Thursday.
And citing the experiences of other countries, Briones said block grants are also "often complicated by political considerations.” Read more


Thida Khus.

How can one push for greater political participation of women in a patriarchal state that believes government is a fraternity?
“The men in the political parties used scare tactics to convince us that politics was not for women. They said a woman’s place was in the home, and women didn’t understand how politics worked,” said CPWP chair Thida Khus in Phnom Penh.
Read more


The European Council is expected to formulate a coherent European response to the continuing humanitarian disaster in the Mediterranean on April 23. The tragic deaths of more than 1000 men, women and children as well as the recognition that the situation is spiralling out of control, seem to have finally alerted Europe to the scale of the crisis. EU High Representative Federica Mogherini for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy - who is also Vice-President of the European Commission - and her staff deserve commendation for their determination and commitment to get things moving.Read more


The outcome of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) will affect the ability of states to fulfill their human rights obligations, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets being set for the post-2015 agenda. Both human rights and the SDGs are similar in that they are universal, and entail individual as well as common responsibilities, taking into account varying national capacities to achieve them.
The SDGs take three different forms: those of particular relevance to the internal affairs of all countries, including rich ones, requiring changes in their domestic policies; those that address the need to change domestic policies in order to reduce negative external effects beyond a country’s borders; and those that zero in on international duties and responsibilities. The last two mainly apply to wealthier countries. Read more


Oil prices are down. Economic growth is down. Employment rates are stagnant. Household debt is climbing to record highs. Canadians could use a break. The 2015 federal budget has one for you.
Rather than minor investments in courthouse infrastructure, the government could make a significant investment in ending violence against women—a public safety issue that directly impacts millions of Canadians, accounts for an estimated 25% of all police-reported violent crime and costs the economy $12.2 billion annually, according the government’s own estimates.
The federal government has choices. It also has responsibilities. Canadians need a budget that targets the problems that they are facing (like the lack of childcare, like low wages), and takes responsibility for providing stimulus to a clearly flagging economy (rather than outsourcing that problem to indebted families). Read more



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