Highlights

Author: 
Jana Silverman and Agustin Fernandez

On a chilly winter evening in Montevideo in July, Social Watch partnered with a group of like-minded Uruguayan NGOs to host a seminar to discuss the implications of the global financial economic and regional crisis on a local and regional level. Despite the bitter cold, civil society activists and students from the Social Sciences Department of the Universidad de la Republica came together to add their opinions to the debate on what measures should be taken to ensure that the crisis does not reverse the social gains made by Uruguay´s center-left government in recent years.

Author: 
Agustín Fernández and Ana María Ferrera

The coup has been a blow to the Honduran social organizations. The de facto Government’s repression has resulted in deaths, hundreds of injured and displaced people, and the violation of fundamental rights. With the absence of the rule of law, the violence against the women has increased, catalysed by the patriarchal culture that considers the feminine body as its property. In this framework, Feminists in Resistance – a coordination of women’s organizations, and organized and independent feminists – has emerged, focusing its work on defending and highlighting the rights and struggles of women with messages such as “Neither blows to democracy nor blows to women”.

Author: 
Jana Silverman

Social Watch at the UN Conference on the Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impacts on Development

Last June, for the first time, all of the world’s countries were able to participate in the search for a global solution to the current global crisis at the Conference summoned by the President of the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations. Civil society in general and Social Watch in particular played a key role in drawing public attention to this Conference. There have been positive outcomes, such the ECOSOC meeting in Geneva making significant advances with respect to the follow-up mechanisms to the Conference, but more decisive action must be sustained in order to implement lasting and just solutions for the current economic meltdown.  

This month, “Spotlight On…” will turn its attention to the Middle East, to take a look at the experience of the Social Watch coalition in Morocco, one of the most broad-based and active groups of Watchers in the Maghreb region, who will be hosting this year´s regional capacity building workshop in October.

Author: 
Roberto Bissio

Over the last few decades, the International Monetary Fund has been portrayed in Latin American public opinion as a blood-sucking vampire, a saviour of bankrupt countries, and even a political ally of last resort without whom a presidential candidate can be seen as unduly risky for international investors. In the press, in Parliaments, and in cafes, discussions are held on whether or not the debt with the institution should be paid, if its conditionalities should be met, and during the last weeks, if the purchase of IMF bonds by Brazilian President Lula da Silva is a treasonous unprincipled act or if it is just a good way to branch away from US Treasury Bonds.

Author: 
Jana Silverman

The double discourse of many companies with respect to human rights have led civil society organizations from around the world to demand a more clear-cut set of rules regarding the legal and ethical obligations of companies. Prof. John Ruggie, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, has elaborated a report which establishes a framework urging States to adopt more coherent policies with respect to rights. Social Watch will continue to monitor and collaborate in the initiatives of the Special Representative so that a rights-based approach to business can be transformed into a concrete reality.

Author: 
LEONOR MAGTOLIS BRIONES

The agenda of this year’s G-8 meeting is expected to be topped by the global crisis. In order to dramatize the need for more aid in education and health in the developing countries, OXFAM has organized the W-8: eight women leaders from developing countries, including the Philippines, were chosen as OXFAM ambassadors. The W-8 will be linking the Social Watch Philippines’ campaign and the Alternative Budget Initiative to the global campaign for more resources for essential services.

Author: 
Jana Silverman

In order to bridge the Conference on the Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impacts on Development to be held in New York this June with civil society leaders, Social Watch and a broad-based coalition of civil society organizations and networks is organizing “Peoples´ Voices on the Crisis”, an event to showcase the human and environmental impacts of the crisis and try to ensure that solutions to the crisis are built upon the principles of respect for human rights and the promotion of environmental sustainability.

This month´s “Spotlight On…” column will profile Social Watch Benin, currently one of the most vibrant groups of Watchers in francophone Africa. As a signal of its success, the Beninese coalition was featured as one of the case studies in the new Social Watch publication “Learning from Successful Experiences”, and in addition will play host to the next meeting of the Social Watch Coordinating Committee, programmed for July 17-19 in Cotonou.

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