News

The meeting in Geneva.
(Photo: UNCTAD)

Civil society was crucial for the success of the 13th Ministerial Meeting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIII) this year, said the Secretary General of the agency Supachai Panitchpakdi to representatives of key non governmental organizations and networks. In their turn, they expressed their appreciation for the UNCTAD’s most recent annual report, which concludes that austerity measures did not lead to economic growth, and recommends supportive government policies to get over the crisis.

Arab governments are legally bound by the constitutions to respect basic economic and social rights, but they usually abandon their commitments in the practice as time goes by, according to the first Arab Watch Report, launched by civil society organizations of ten Middle East and North African countries.

The Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) launched this first regional report on economic and social rights – focused on the rights to work and to education – during a regional workshop held in Beirut, on 9 and 10 October.

Launch of the Right to Food and
Nutrition Watch in Geneva with
Flavio Valente (FIAN), Peter
Prove (EAA), Huguette
Akplogan-Dossa (ANoRF),
Abdessalam Ould Ahmed (FAO)
and Lalji Desai (WAMIP).
(Photo: FIAN International)

The fifth annual global report Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2012 focuses on the role of democracy in the fight against hunger. Representatives of the civil society organizations that produced the study called in the launch ceremony in Geneva for a turnaround in global decision-making on the matter, because they concluded that it is impossible to combat the causes of hunger while keeping existing power relations untouched.

Eurodad, Afrodad, Latindadd, Jubilee USA and the Third World Network (TWN) joined hands to call in a joint statement for a lasting solution to the sovereign debt crisis and the establishment of a fair and independent international debt workout mechanism.

A room in the shelter in Amman

The Jordanian Women’s Union (JWU, national focal point of Social Watch) vowed to continue offering services to abused women at its shelter in Amman despite a recent decision by the Ministry of Social Development to close it down, reported journalist Rana Husseini in an article published in The Jordan Times.

UN Human Rights Council.

The UN Human Rights Council adopted last week a set of guiding principles relating to extreme poverty. The decision means that the member states of the Council affirmed that eradicating extreme poverty is not only a moral duty but also a legal obligation under existing international human rights law.

A group of United Nations independent experts on extreme poverty, external debt and equitable order reminded European Union governments that economic reforms must be crafted in line with the human rights obligations of States, following the release of a European-wide flagship study on the structure of the EU banking sector. 

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) must organize the protection of the refugees it takes responsibility for in the Sinai, so that they are secure in the camps and do not risk kidnapping, according to a new report authored by Mirjam van Reisen, Meron Estefanos and Dr Conny Rijken, from Tilburg University and European External Policy Advisors (EEPA)t.

An article about the report, written by Van Reisen and published by InDepth NewsViewpoint (IDN), says that the victims of kidnapping endure unspeakable torture, and increasingly women and children are included, tortured and raped.

WTO headquarters in Geneva.
(Photo: WTO)

A statement signed by 112 major civil society organizations, which represent hundreds of millions of people in more than 160 countries, supports an Ecuador’s proposal for a special World Trade Organization (WTO) session to review the current scholarship and opinion at the international level on the compatibility of its rules with robust financial regulations. The initiative will be discussed at the WTO’s Committee on Trade in Financial Services on Oct. 1.

Zeyneb Farhat, ATFD.
(Photo: Isart)

Tunisian civil society is rallying in support of a 27 years-old woman who accused two policemen of raping her on September 3. The woman and her fiancé were summoned by a judge on Wednesday to face charges of “indecency” brought by those officers. Leading non governmental organizations, including the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD) and the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH), have formed a committee to co-ordinate a campaign to defend the couple.

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