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Index December 2009

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No, We’re Not a Broken People

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Published on ZNet, by David Swanson, December 30, 2009.

(3 excerpts of a long article): In 2004 I began speaking at rallies and forums around the country on issues of peace and justice, something I’ve done off-and-on ever since. Up through 2008, it was extremely unusual for questions from the audience to consist of pure defeatism. In 2009, it was rare to get through a Q&A session without being asked what the point was of trying.

And the defeatism is so contagious that it will be hard for me to make it through 2010 if people don’t shut up about how doomed we are. If current trends continue, by 2011 the only people showing up at forums on peace and justice will all be old enough to tell my grandparents they’re too young to understand how pointless it is to try. And my grandparents are dead.  Continue Reading…

Racial bursary agreement

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Published on, by Sapa, 29 December 2009.

An agreement has been reached between trade union Solidarity and First National Bank regarding the bank’s “racial” allocation of education bursaries for employees’ children. The union said on Monday that during talks between Dirk Hermann, deputy general secretary of Solidarity, and FNB CEO Michael Jordaan, it was agreed that the bank would include whites in the transaction if the law allowed for such a step …

… Excluded on basis of race: Continue Reading…

Ending the year … lost two more colleagues

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Published on The Road to the Horizon, by blog owner, 29.12.2009.

… But I want to make it even more black and white: We, the aid community are left clueless what to do with this increased risk we face. The only thing we seem to be doing is piling up those sandbags even higher. Buying more bomb-blast film, bullet-proof jackets and mine-resistant Kevlar layers for our vehicles. Measures which should be taken, but proven to be insufficient.

I will make a prediction for 2010: there will be no end to the killing of aidworkers. And unless the aid community drastically changes its approach toward the risks now inherent to aidwork, one year from now, we will be looking back at the year 2010 and say “This was a bad year …”. My suggestions to any aid organisation who is concerned about security for their staff:   Continue Reading…

Rights Groups Want Congo Back on UN Watch List

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Received by e-mail: From: UN Watch, Date: 24/12/2009.

Fifty human rights groups from around the world are calling on the U.N. Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights to reinstate the mandate for a human rights monitor in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The groups say recent reports of atrocities committed in the DRC confirm the need for continued monitoring of the country’s human rights record.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been off the U.N.’s watch list since March 2008 when the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council buckled under pressure from a number of states.  Continue Reading…

RWI National Human Rights Institution Fellowship (Lund)

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Linked on our blogs with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute RWI. – Received by e-mail: From: Jason Naum,  Date: 21/12/2009.

The Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI) is announcing an eight month NHRI Fellowship. The aim of the fellowship is to expand the understanding of the role NHRIs play in promoting and protecting human rights, to support research associated with NHRIs, and to help facilitate dialogue between NHRI scholars and practitioners:

  • Fellows will be provided with a stipend sufficient to fully cover all necessary personal expense in Sweden.
  • Human rights practitioners and scholars with in-depth knowledge of and/or experience working with NHRIs are eligible to apply.
  • For additional information, further eligibility criteria, and application information, please see the attached announcement or view the full ad on our website.
  • Download our Fellowship-PDF.

Jason Naum, Raoul Wallenberg Institute, E-mail.

African Internet and Telecoms Information

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a 1-page website with interesting links

Published on, by Mike Jensen (Independent IT, Internet and Telecom Consultant), not dated.

All of Africa’s 53 countries and territories have internet connectivity, the challenge now is to broaden access and ensure that costs are brought down. Usage is still low and communication charges are often 10 – 100 times more expensive than developed countries, mainly due to the lack of infrastructure and the high prices charged by operators taking advantage of the restrictions on market entry that are in place in most countries.

The Rise Of Judicial Activism: Is Democracy Under Threat?

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Published on CHOWK, by Raza Habib, December 25, 2009.

After the NRO revocation, the opinion holders appear to be divided into two polar camps. First camp is of the supporters who are hailing the advent of the “new” era of the rule of law. Within this section a sizeable chunk detests the president, is skeptic of the concept of democracy and not surprisingly belongs from the middle class. Right now led by firebrand media, this chunk is increasingly critical or at least visibly disappointed by the revival of democratic rule. It is pinning its hope on increased judicial activism where the courts will be deciding the matters belonging to executive. The criticism is no longer exclusively focused on PPP but is increasing to include the entire democratic set up. Right now the main brunt may be borne by PPP but even PML (N), the other main party, is also feeling the heat. The main point of these opponents of democratic set up is that democratic parties have failed to establish the rule of law. Continue Reading…

Linux Fund and FOSSFA to Join Forces

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… to Promote Open Source Software in Africa – Published on CODEZED, December 27, 2009.

Linux Fund and the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) have pledged to work together to promote Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Africa.

In a Press Release, Linux Fund and the Free Software and Open Source Foundation of Africa (FOSSFA) have signed a landmark agreement to promote Free Software and Open Source in Africa. This historic engagement between two Foundations speaks to the success of the Community Summit and Foundations face-to-face meeting at this year’s Open Source Conference (OSCON) which was held in San Jose in Silicon Valley.  Continue Reading…

Independent Appeal: Africa’s Schindler

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Published on The Independent, by , 7 December 2009.

In one of the continent’s bloodiest battlegrounds, one man has saved thousands from the clutches of lethal militias. Claire Soares launches this year’s Christmas Appeal from Butembo, Congo.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, blessed with an abundance of precious minerals but blighted by years of war, hope can sometimes seem the scarcest commodity. But if that is the case, no one told Henri Bura Ladyi.

He has single-handedly rescued 5,000 people from the clutches of militiamen as they deliberated whether to keep the group as a human shield or simply massacre them in an immediate show of strength. He has freed scores of kidnapped child soldiers by persuading Mai Mai rebels to exchange them for goats … (full text).  Continue Reading…

More oil, less migrants

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Published on Pambazuka News, by Emanuela Paoletti, 2009-12-23.

Since the late 1990s, immigration from Libya to Italy had increased significantly, from less than 5,000 in 2000 to 30,000 in 2008. In May 2009, Gaddafi made his first trip to Italy, which was followed by a second visit on the occasion of the meeting of the G20. Concomitant with these visits, there was a drastic reduction in migration from Libya. From 1 May 2008 to 31 August 2008, 15,000 people arrived to Italy from Libya; in the same period in 2009 only 1,400 have landed on Italian shores. The Italian minister of interior, Roberto Maroni could recently announce, immigration from Libya in 2009 has decreased by 90 per cent compared to 2008. What explains the drastic decrease in ‘illegal’ migration from Libya to Italy? Continue Reading…

UN Imposes Sanctions on Eritrea

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Eritrea: Security Council Imposes Sanctions on Eritrea over Its Role in Somalia, Refusal to Withdraw Troops Following Conflict with Djibouti

Published on allAfrica, a Press release by UN NY, 24 December 2009.

Gravely concerned about findings that Eritrea had provided support to armed groups undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia and that it had not withdrawn its forces following clashes with Djibouti in June 2008, the Security Council today imposed an arms embargo on that country, in addition to travel restrictions on and a freeze on the assets of its political and military leaders.  Continue Reading…

Call for expression of interest

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… for National and Regional Training Courses in Human Rights Education

Received by e-mail – From: Nina Kapoor , Date: 22/12/2009

Dear friends and youth NGOs, We are happy to inform you that we are launching a call for applications to the National Regional Training Courses on Human Rights Education for 2010. The call is addressed to non-governmental youth organisations and/or other non-governmental and governmental organisations and institutions involved in human rights education with young people. Please note that the deadline for applications is the 26th January 2010, the courses should be held between 15 March and 15 December 2010. Continue Reading…

Uganda: fear over gay death penalty plans

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Published on BBCnews, by Joshua Mmali, 22 December 2009.

An attempt to punish “aggravated homosexuality” in Uganda with the death penalty has caused outrage across the world – and revealed a huge divide in Ugandan society.

“Even my friends who are not gay are now scared because they think if this bill is passed, they’ll be targeted,” says Julian Pepe, an openly gay Ugandan who campaigns for homosexual rights.

“I feel scared. I feel I am in danger. I’ve tried to put a few security measures in place and I am constantly watching over my shoulder.”  Continue Reading…

Supply and Demand: Arms Flows and Holdings in Sudan

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Linked on our blogs with Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment HSBA. – Received by e-mail: From: Small Arms Survey, Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009.

The Small Arms Survey is pleased to draw your attention to the latest Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment HSBA Issue Brief: Supply and Demand, Arms Flows and Holdings in Sudan.

Five years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), Sudan’s future remains increasingly precarious. Key provisions of the deal have yet to be implemented just one year ahead of the referendum on Southern self-determination. Despite recent progress, mistrust between the parties is profound and the peace process continues to lurch from one crisis to another. There has been no resolution of the Darfur conflict.  Continue Reading…

Somalia: entrapped in another year of deadly insurgency

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Published on China View, December 19, 2009.


The escalating violence in Somalia particularly in the south-central part of the country which started in 2007 following the ousting of the Islamist rulers from Mogadishu by allied Ethiopian and Somali government forces left the national state structures and economic infrastructure in ruins.

Most people in Somalia do not have the basic social services, with schools, hospitals, water, electricity, sewage and sanitation systems have all been destroyed. Roads remained potholed and covered with sand while most roads between provinces are inaccessible and dangerous.  Continue Reading…

South Africa: The Truth About Sustaining Broad Coalitions

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Linked on our blogs with South African Trade Unions COSATU. – Published on allAfrica, by William Gumede, 17 December 2009.

… The analysis from strategists in both Cosatu and the SACP is now that they may have to compete with other lobbies, such as the nationalist-populist wing, personified by the ANC Youth League, and the powerful black business wing of the ANC, for the ear of Zuma. Although under Mbeki, the SACP and Cosatu were not even listened to, they have expected that under Zuma they will give the ideological, intellectual and strategic direction to the ANC government.  Continue Reading…

RELIGION: Few States Enjoy Freedom of Faith, Report Says

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Published on IPS, by Eli Clifton, December 18, 2009.

WASHINGTON, Dec 17 (IPS) – About one-third of the countries in the world have high or very high restrictions on religion, and nearly 70 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with heavy restrictions on freedom of religion, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The study examines restrictions on religion which originate from both government policies and social hostilities undertaken by private individuals, organisations and social groups.   Continue Reading…

East Africa Food Crisis

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Published on Oxfam: Over 23 million people across East Africa are facing critical shortages of food and water following successive years of failed rains and worsening drought.

A humanitarian crisis: Communities across East Africa are facing life-threatening shortages of food and water. Severe recurring drought is the major cause. Explore interactive map.

Oxfam is already responding to this crisis. But the number of people facing severe food shortages has risen dramatically in recent months. We urgently need more support to continue this vital work. Make a donation to the East Africa Food Crisis response.

NEW Publication: An Assessment of Armed Violence in Burundi

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Linked on our blogs with The Geneva – Received by e-mail, From: Small Arm Survey, Date: 15 Dec 2009.

Publication:’Insecurity is Also a War, An Assessment of Armed Violence in Burundi, By Stéphanie Pézard and Savannah de Tessières. To access this publication online, please go to this site of the Geneva

The report highlights priority areas for action, such as increasing the capacity to provide security and administer justice, reducing the vulnerability of populations at risk, and setting up a civilian disarmament programme.

‘Insecurity Is Also a War’ . For more information, please go to the Geneva Declaration, Secretariat, c/o Small Arms Survey, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland. Contact.

The right to food

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Interview with Joan Mencher, an anthropologist who has worked in India for long on issues such as agriculture, ecology and caste – Published on Frontline, by VIKHAR AHMED SAYEED, December 15, 2009.

JOAN P. MENCHER is a Professor emerita of Anthropology from the City University of New York’s Graduate Centre and Lehman College of the City University of New York. She is the chair of an embryonic not-for-profit organisation, The Second Chance Foundation, which works to support rural grass-roots organisations that work with poor and small farmers in India and the United States on issues of sustainable agriculture … //

… Q:What are your current concerns?

A: My current concerns are with issues of sustainable agriculture and alternative agriculture. Two things I have been concerned about are: one, the destruction of our environment, the total pollution of our environment through pesticides, herbicides, GMOs [genetically modified organisms]; and the other, corporate control, with companies getting more and more powerful.  Continue Reading…

Requests for Information: 30 November – 6 December 2009

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Received by e-mail:
From: Global HRE List Moderator
Date: 11/12/2009

Dear members, Below is a compilation of requests for information sent to the Global Human Rights Education listserv during the past week. At the bottom of each request you will find an e-mail address, so that you can respond to the request directly.

Dear colleagues, I am PhD student studying ethnic conflict and conflict management in Malaysia. I am an Indonesian student. I need some materials on the role of third parties in conflict management to support my thesis. I am reaching out to you to see if I can please get some information that I may not have. Thanks and best regards, Muhammad Nasir Badu. E-mail.

*****   Continue Reading…

World Peace conference

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in Cochin /South India, from February 5-7, 2010

Published on OneWorld South Asia, December 13, 2009.

Rotary District 3201 will host World Peace Conference for Youth in Cochin, South India, from February 5-7, 2010. It aims to create a forum for stakeholders in peace and education with an opportunity to learn and discuss on how to create safe and healthy learning environment …

… Benefits:  Continue Reading…

Journal of Human Rights Education launched

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Received by e-mail:
From: Peter Kirchschläger
Date: 11/12/2009

Dear Sir or Madam, In accordance with the UN-International Year of Human Rights Learning 2009, the first edition of the Journal of Human Rights Education (JHRE) is published. The goal of the Journal of Human Rights Education (JHRE) is to foster the debate on human rights education as an important contribution to the realization of human rights. We hope that the JHRE will meet your interest, and we are looking forward to your subscription. We wish you a fascinating reading!
Kind regards, Thomas Kirchschlaeger and Peter G. Kirchschlaeger.

Subscription Fees:  Continue Reading…

Guinea: Nation Faces ‘Explosive’ Military Infighting, Says Rights Expert

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Interview with Cindy Shiner, published on allAfrica, 11 December 2009.

Q.: … There are reportedly deep divisions in Guinea’s military. How do you see this playing out?

A.: The divisions could become extremely explosive. There are just so many x-factors now. If [Dadis] doesn’t come back, I think that there’s going to be some sort of battle for succession between [General] Sekouba Konate, who’s the minister of defense, and [Captain] Claude Pivi [minister for presidential security] and perhaps others who are pretty much in control of the military camps. There’s a lot of infighting between different groups that appear to have fallen [in] behind one military officer or the other.  Continue Reading…

Mineurs isolés étrangers: quelle protection?

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Publié dans Ligue des Droits de l’Homme LDH France, le 12 novembre 2007.

Communiqué commun: A l’approche du vingtième anniversaire de la convention internationale relative aux droits de l’enfant, le ministère de l’Immigration, de l’intégration, de l’identité nationale et du développement solidaire va devoir tirer des conclusions des travaux du groupe qu’il a réuni sur la situation des « mineurs étrangers isolés », composé de représentants de différents ministères, d’institutions et d’associations.

Tout en reconnaissant l’intérêt des travaux menés par ce groupe – qui n’ont cependant pas permis d’aboutir à un diagnostic partagé, nos associations regrettent que la nécessité de respecter en toutes circonstances les droits des mineurs ne soit pas retenue par l’administration. Continue Reading…

Veillée climatique (Climate Vigil)

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Veillée pacifique pour recueillir et envoyer un message clair aux leaders mondiaux et leur demander leur engagement à Copenhague
Date: 11 December 2009; Time: 19.00 – 21.00 (7.00 – 9.00 pm); Location: Parc des Bastions, Geneva/Switzerland

Received by e-mail: From: GEN SECRETARY; Date: 9 Dec 2009.

Pendant les deux semaines à venir, nos dirigeants politiques vont négocier l’accord le plus important de notre temps, celui qui pourrait arrêter la catastrophe du changement climatique. Mais leurs conclusions ne seront audacieuses que si nous l’exigeons. C’est pourquoi nous rassembler pour des milliers de veillées climatiques aux quatre coins du monde, pour faire entendre un message clair: Nous exigeons un Vrai Accord.

Please register your interest here. What to bring: Warm/appropriate clothes, torches or candles (paper cup with a hole in the bottom to catch the wax), print off banners, make flags. Ursula Siegfried, NGO Welcome Desk Coordinator, Mandat International, 106, Route de Ferney, 1202 Geneva, Welcome Desk, Tel: +41 22 919 05 20, Fax: +41 22 919 05 30.

HR education for human rights educators

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Received by e-mail: From: Felisa Tibbitts, Date: 09/12/2009

Dear Colleagues, I have followed closely and with great interest the discussion in relation to HRE for human rights educators and, in particular, Alenka Begant’s message calling for standards in relation to quality HRE.

In collaboration with some colleagues I have developed a preliminary set of competencies for human rights education, intended for young adult and adult learners. I feel quite strongly that practitioners need to develop a common understanding of learner outcomes in order to advance in understanding of what “quality human rights education” means. At the moment, we have a range of definitions that can inform the principles, but not the substance, of practice.   Continue Reading…

Working Paper: Understanding Violence

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Download: Understanding Violence, the role of injury surveillance systems in Africa, by Diego E. Zavala and Jennifer M. Hazen, 28 pdf-pages.

Published by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat (Geneva 2009), c/o Small Arms Survey, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland. Printed by nbmedia, Geneva, ISBN: 978-2-940415-21-2.

Central Africa: Great Lakes Nations to Send War Crimes Suspects to ICC

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Published on allAfrica, by Charles Kazooba, 7 December 2009.

Nairobi — In a diplomatic breakthrough, signatories to the 11-member International Conference on the Great Lakes have agreed to commit military officers suspected of crimes against humanity to The Hague.

The decision extends to heads of illegal, armed groups. It is expected to spark a renewed hunt for leaders of dissident groups that have found a safe haven in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The meeting in Kampala late last month was attended by representatives from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, DRC, Zambia, the Central African Republic, Sudan and the Republic of Congo.  Continue Reading…

Sudan: A Forgotten Refugee Problem

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Published on allAfrica, 3 December 2009.

Kassala — Eastern Sudan hosts more than 66,000 registered Eritrean refugees, the first of whom arrived in 1968 during the early years of Eritrea’s war of independence against Ethiopia. These days, Eritrea’s policy of indefinite military conscription, coupled with drought and poor economic opportunities, prompt some 1,800 people to cross into Sudan every month, according to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR …

“Refugees have been here for the past 30-40 years, which is two to three generations, and that is quite unique,” said Peter de Clercq, the UNHCR representative in Sudan.   Continue Reading…

My Cry from the Islands of Blood

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After losing two friends in the recent massacre, a Filipina leader speaks out for the future of her homeland

Published on World Pulse, by Malayapinas, November 27, 2009.

Since childhood, Malayapinas has seen the dark side of globalization and violence in the Philippines. She walked to school barefoot after early morning hours selling eggs and cigarettes to ship passengers in her nation’s ports. She toiled in the banana plantations to earn her way to college and became a young mother. Since secret military forces abducted her trade-union husband, she has raised her voice for local health, fair trade, and food security. Her dream is to see the Filipino people live to the fullness of their potential and women free to chart their own destiny. She faces numerous death threats for speaking out.  Continue Reading…

RIGHTS-TURKEY: Jailing Kurdish Children to Undermine Dissent

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Published on IPS, by Daan Bauwens, December 06, 2009.

DIYARBAKIR, Southeastern Turkey, Dec 6 (IPS) – Turkey is signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, but that does not stop minors in the country’s Kurdish dominated eastern and southeastern regions from ending up with stiff jail sentences.

In fact, after amendments were recently made to the country’s anti-terror law, it is possible to charges children as terrorists and put them away for up to 50 years in jail.

According to official figures, there are currently 2,622 minors serving time in Turkish prisons. Earlier this week officials admitted that the figure was rising.  Continue Reading…

South Africa: International Human Rights Exchange

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Call for applications – Application Deadline = March 1, 2010

Linked on our blogs with International Human Rights Exchange IHRE – Received by e-mail: From: Jennifer Kloes, Date: 03/12/2009

International Human Rights Exchange IHRE, Johannesburg, South Africa: The International Human Rights Exchange (IHRE) is the world’s only full-semester, multidisciplinary program in human rights for undergraduate students. The program is housed at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa and is a joint venture with Bard College. Each year – starting in late July and ending in November – students and faculty from North America and Africa come together to participate in a deep and multifaceted intellectual engagement in human rights. In addition to a required core course, students choose from 12 or more electives exploring human rights from the perspective of a variety of academic disciplines. Continue Reading…

Invitation to online forum on discrimination in education

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(7-13 December 2009) – Received by e-mail: From: Peter Hyll-Larsen, Date: 04/12/2009

Dear colleagues, On the occasion of Human Rights Day, on the 10th December, the Right to Education Project invites you to a one-week-long online Forum on discrimination in, to and through education.

Inspired by Katarina Tomaševski: “If discrimination is not fully exposed, it cannot be effectively opposed”, the Forum aims to be a space for dialogue and exchange of views, experiences, and resources that can be used to expose the reality around discrimination in education around the world and improve laws, policies and perceptions.

We will start off the discussion with the following questions:

  • Addressing discrimination requires changes in legislation, administration, resource allocation, but also attitudes, teaching methods and learning content. In your experience, what are the key obstacles to achieving these changes?
  • The international human rights framework is very strong on non-discrimination (Art 2 of the CRC and other treatise). How can it be used better to translate principles into reality for the rights-holder?   Continue Reading…

The End of Poverty?

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Think Again

Received by e-mail: From: STWR Newsletter, Date: 01/12/2009.

The British Film Institute (BFI), in association with Share The World’s Resources, will be screening the award-winning documentary  ‘The End of Poverty?’ at the BFI Southbank on Saturday 12th December 2009 at 2pm. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and questions from the audience. The panellists will be:   Continue Reading…

DEVELOPMENT: Global Challenges Require Innovative Partnerships

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Published on IPS, by IPS Correspondents, December 02, 2009.

NAIROBI, Dec 2 (IPS) – The High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation kicked-off here Tuesday, with U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose Migiro calling for practical solutions and reinforced South-South and North-South partnerships to address the demands of our deeply interconnected world …

… “South-South Cooperation is an alternative development effort, it is a instrument of promoting self-reliance,” he emphasised.

“There is huge potential for South-South trade,” Yiping Zhou, director of the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation within the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), told IPS.   Continue Reading…