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Proposals and Solutions
COMBATING WAR CRIMES IN AFRICA http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/06/28/africa8974.htm Over the last 10 years, at least eighteen countries in Africa have been consumed by war, usually internal. At present there are several active conflicts in Africa-they are Cote d’Ivoire, the Darfur region of Sudan, Northern Uganda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There appears to be an inverse relationship between the body of treaties, laws, and conventions aimed at protecting civilians during a time of war, and the degree to which they are deliberately targeted by both state and non-state actors. To combat war crimes in Africa, two key and indeed related components are urgently necessary – the first is ensuring accountability for serious human rights crimes, and the second is implementing preventive strategies to detect, stop and/or mitigate situations with the potential to develop into systematic war crimes. This is according to Corinne Dufka, a senior researcher and the West Africa Team Leader for the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, speaking in a statement to the U.S.House Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on Africa.
THE CAMPAIGN ON THE PROTOCOL TO THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN
AND PEOPLES' RIGHTS ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN AFRICA Please sign the online petition at
ENFORCING HUMAN RIGHTS FOR BUSINESSES Statement Of Support For The UN Human Rights Norms For Business "We, the undersigned representatives of Civil Society wish to express our support for the UN Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with regard to Human Rights (hereafter also: UN Human Rights Norms for Business or UN Norms). In our view, the UN Human Rights Norms for Business represent a major step forward in the process of establishing a common global framework for understanding the responsibilities of business enterprises with regard to human rights." Further details: http://www.pambazuka.org/index.php?id=21003
MICRO-FINANCE AND ICTS: EXPLORING MUTUAL BENEFITS AND SYNERGY http://www.electronicmarkets.org/files/cms/67.php Much of the success of better socio-economic development in emerging economies hinges on progressive policymaking, access to finance, a culture of change, and enabling infrastructure like ICTs. Within this context, micro-finance and ICTs play an important role in developing countries, and exploring mutual benefits and synergy between the two disciplines can yield promising dividends. There are two kinds of linkages between these sectors: the use of ICTs by micro-finance organisations on the one hand, and the use of microfinance models to enable broader access to ICTs on the other.
AMNESTY PUSHING NATIONS TO END GENDER VIOLENCE http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/1755 Amnesty International aims to force governments to recognize their complicity in gender-based violence when they fail to create or enforce laws against it. As the latest step in this, the London-based human rights organisation this month launched an international campaign to raise awareness of violence against women as a human rights violation. "Amnesty International has been working on holding governments accountable to prevent, punish and investigate violence against women by state and non-state actors," said Sheila Dauer, director of the Women's Human Rights Program at Amnesty International U.S.A., based in New York City. "This campaign will take on that issue."
SOCIAL CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY AND THE ROLE OF THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT http://www.whrnet.org/docs/issue-corporate.html "Many corporations continue to move their production zones to developing countries in order to benefit from cheap labour and lax standards. They pay low wages, make their workers work long hours in unsanitary and dangerous working conditions, they sexually harass them, verbally and physically abuse them, and they prohibit them from unionising to defend their rights, and violate other human rights as well. It is clear that inequalities of power, access, position and condition between global labour market actors as well as gender inequities in public and private responsibilities, make it such that commercial and economic policies impact women and men in disproportionately different ways." In the month of February, Women's Human Rights Nets explored the diversity of legal and extralegal mechanisms of social corporate responsibility (SCR) as well as the opportunities and challenges that these mechanisms represent for the exercise and improvement of women's rights. Visit their web site for more information.
The third African students conference took place at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague under the theme: "Peace Through Justice - The Role of International Law in Conflict Transformation and Peace Building in Africa" It was co-organized by the African Students Committee and the Hague Appeal for Peace as part of the Global Coalition for Africa. Here is an excerpt of the opening address delivered by Mr. Roel van der Veen, an official of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It has indispensable relevance to the current socio-political developments in our dear continent.
East Africa: Kit on the involvement of the civil society in combating the proliferation of small arms AUTHOR: AMECEA DATE: 3/1/2004 SOURCE: AMECEA Justice and Peace and HD Desk - Nairobi SUMMARY & COMMENT: The proliferation of small arms in the Horn and in East Africa is a serious security concern in this region. This workshop package is an interesting way to educate North Americans and Africans alike about the consequences of small arms proliferation.
The Example of Nelson Mandela by Ike Oguine ( Lagos). An evaluation of Mandela's contribution to Africa, and to South Africa. At 85, he shows no signs of giving up; the struggle for a better world is his life. The sheer number of battles Mandela has fought in one lifetime and his absolute tenacity rebuke all those who will give up hope.
FIGHTING WARS, FIGHTING HIV - http://www.crisisweb.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=2606 HIV/AIDS prevention and conflict prevention should go hand in hand, states a new report from the International Crisis Group. "The correlation of HIV/AIDS and war is difficult to calculate with precision because the data are less than complete, and numerous interacting factors are at play. Nevertheless, the evidence available demonstrates that war can lead to increased risks of HIV/AIDS and suggests that HIV/AIDS can make conflicts worse," says the report.
DEBT FOR AIDS SWAPS - http://www.unaids.org/html/pub/publications/irc-pub06/jc1020-debt4aids_en_pdf.pdf Debt swaps exchange debt for some other asset or obligation. In the context of development, they normally involve countries negotiating cancellation of external debts in return for commitments on internal resource mobilization or some other government action. There has been considerable international interest in debt swaps and their potential to create a new and additional financing mechanism to help overcome long-standing barriers to development. The impact of AIDS on many developing countries, including many of the most indebted, has been severe. In the worst cases, AIDS has caused development progress to be set back by decades. There is therefore emergˇing interest in examining whether debt swaps are potentially useful new instruments to apply to the problem of AIDS and development. This is according to a UNAIDS policy brief on the issue.
SIMPUTER FOR POOR GOES ON SALE - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3578309.stm A cheap handheld computer designed by Indian scientists has been launched after a delay of nearly three years. The team first came up with the idea for the Simputer in 2001 to help India's poor join the internet age. But development of the computer was hampered by lack of investment and by little interest in the idea from computer manufacturers.
SOUTH AFRICA: MORE SCIENCE NEWS IS NEEDED - http://www.scidev.net/gateways/index.cfm? The availability of information on the impact of scientific developments - both positive and negative - is paramount to the effective functioning of democracy. But a recent survey of South Africa's leading newspapers and magazines shows that less than two per cent of editorial space in the country's leading publications is devoted to science and technology. The press is one of the most important vehicles through which science news can be distributed. Print media lends itself to investigative in-depth reporting, but unfortunately, this benefit is not being harnessed effectively, says the leader of the survey in this article
from "Africa Recovery", a journal which the PARC Women
Empowerment Desk got recently from the United Nations Department of Public
Information. This is just one of many examples of African women acting
locally, often spontaneously, to assist the
victims of war and reach across battle lines in pursuit of peace. It is peacemaking at the village level, where Africa's increasingly internal conflicts
are fought and often the first step towards reconciliation in communities shattered by the hatred and devastation of war.
ZIMBABWE: MEN BREAK WITH TRADITION TO BECOME AIDS CAREGIVERS - http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=41090 Zimbabwean men have become increasingly involved in caring for AIDS patients, challenging the stereotype that caring for the terminally ill is women's work. For 48-year-old Luckson Murungweni, until recently it would have been inconceivable that he would one day be actively involved in caring for the chronically ill, let alone those dying from AIDS. Now his attitude is different and he has become the focal point of a home-based care project in rural Goromonzi, some 35 kilometres east of the capital, Harare.
DOES MINIMUM AGE LEGISLATION PROTECT CHILDREN’S RIGHT TO EDUCATION? http://www.eldis.org/cf/search/disp/DocDisplay.cfm? Doc=DOC14863&Resource=f1educ This publication analyses legislation to determine whether minimum age legislation protects children’s right to education, as established in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Through an updated analysis of the most recent reports presented by States Parties to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the paper considers whether legislation on minimum ages for entry into work and marriage, and at which a child can be considered criminally responsible, are compatible with states’ legislation on children’s access to compulsory education.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION MAKES CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY BREAKTHROUGH - http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGIOR410252004 On 20 April, for the first time ever, governments meeting at the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva confirmed the importance and priority that the Commission accord to companies' responsibilities in relation to human rights and requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to focus on elaborating those responsibilities. A decision, adopted by consensus, specifically asks the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to compile a report setting out the scope and legal status of all existing initiatives and standards on business responsibilities with regard to human rights, including the UN Norms for Business. "We are very pleased that the Commission has acknowledged the need to strengthen standards on business responsibilities in relation to human rights and will consider elements of the Norms," Amnesty International said.
An Overview of the Programme Priorities for a Five Year Action PlanTo Strengthen Education for Peace in Africa by the U.N. University for Peace in Costa Rica
Peace Education and its Implementation in Angola by Luis Samacumbi - An excellent analysis of current theories on peace education, of the current war culture which still exists in Angola. Samacumbi suggests some directions in which peace education might go, including becoming part of the government school curriculum. The author has a contagious spirit of optimism that the younger generation can be led and taught to work for peace and conflict resolution
MUSHROOMS, SEAWEED AND OTHER 'BIO-RESOURCES' OFFER OPPORTUNITIES IN AFRICA - African communities are growing mushrooms and harvesting seaweed, water hyacinth and other biological resources that were ignored or considered waste as part of an effort to improve livelihoods and help conserve the environment. The UNDP ZERI regional project on sustainable development from Africa's biodiversity, based at the University of Namibia, is promoting these activities. It is based on the Zero Emissions Research Initiative (ZERI) pioneered at the United Nations University, which has focused on using waste products as raw materials. Further details: http://www.pambazuka.org/index.php?id=22083
AFRICA IS MOVING TOWARDS ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY - As government officials and civil society representatives meet in Entebbe, Uganda, on 10 and 11 May to discuss the death penalty in Commonwealth African countries, Amnesty International welcomed positive action across Africa to abolish capital punishment. About half of the countries in Africa no longer execute convicted prisoners. In 1990, only Cape Verde had no provision for capital punishment in its legislation. By 2002, 10 countries in Africa had de jure abolished the death penalty, while 10 others had de facto abolished it. Further details: http://www.pambazuka.org/index.php?id=22076
AFRICA ON THE ROAD TO LEAD-FREE FUEL - http://www.scidev.net/news/index.cfm? fuseaction=readnews&itemid=1370&language=1More than half of motor fuel now used in Africa is lead-free, according to a World Bank report released at a conference in Nairobi last week. Delegates at the meeting, held by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank, heard that 12 African nations have committed to phase out leaded petrol. Nine countries - Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda and Sudan - have already switched entirely to unleaded fuel.
OBSTACLES TO TRADE MUST BE REMOVED - African countries must do more to maximize the benefits of trade for development, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), K.Y. Amoako, has said. Addressing a three-day meeting of the Committee of Experts of the Conference of Africa's Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in Kampala, Uganda, Amoako said that even though international action was vital to allow Africa to trade more successfully, "domestic bottlenecks" at home must also be addressed. Further details: http://www.pambazuka.org/index.php?id=22203
TAKING MULTINATIONALS TO COURT http://www.worldpolicy.org/journal/sum04-1.html#5 The idea of litigation against companies allegedly complicit in abuses committed by repressive regimes is beginning to shape the international human rights agenda. In recent years, a coalition of rights advocates in the developed world and plaintiffs from the developing world have begun using a litigation-based strategy to enforce global human rights. The litigation tests whether a U.S. corporation can be penalized for knowingly standing by while its overseas commit abuses, even if the company did not actually direct the abuses itself.
TALKS GIVE NEPAD A NUDGE - At a time when Africa is struggling to redefine its place in the global village and battling against marginalisation in a world shaken by terrorism, the African Partnership Forum - a vehicle originally established for dialogue between Nepad and the Group of Eight industrialised countries - provides a key window on the continent's progress. The second meeting of the Forum in Maputo on 16-17 April included discussions on peace and security, HIV/AIDS, food security, education and poverty alleviation. Expanded beyond the G-8 and Nepad, the Forum brought together high-level representatives from the African states, the G-8, the UN, the World Bank, seven African regional economic communities, the World Trade Organisation, 11 member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the African Union (AU) and the Nepad Secretariat. The Forum is meant to bring about a new constructive dialogue between Africa and donor countries. Further details: http://www.pambazuka.org/index.php?id=22259
LAUNCH OF THE DIGITAL DIASPORA INITIATIVE
Information and communications technologies (ICT 1) are becoming widely accepted as integral means for transforming the path of development. As envisaged in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the importance of harnessing information and communication technologies for poverty eradication cannot be overemphasized. Yet, as statistics describing the growing digital divide demonstrate, women and girls are at particular risk for exclusion from opportunities presented by ICT to secure better livelihoods and other rights
PAN AFRICA: MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR PROJECT TO TACKLE AFRICAN
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is backing a multi-million dollar project to combat "the scourge of violent conflicts" in Africa. The scheme, which will cost $6,4-million, is part of a three-year project aimed at boosting efforts by the newly formed African Union (AU) to tackle wars on the continent. Among the areas that the project will help finance is the AU's much-heralded Peace and Security Council (PSC), which has yet to get off the ground.
BUILDING PEACE AMONG CHILDREN IN WAR-TORN AFRICA - On 10 December, 2001, Soroptimist International launches its new appeal, Building Peace Among Children, with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Funds raised by the Soroptimists' appeal will finance a Peace Ambassadors programme through which Peace Ambassadors will be identified from among African Girl Guides and Girl Scouts who live in situations of conflict, violence, and instability. Further details: http://www.pambazuka.org/newsletter.php?id=4784
AFRICA: AFRICAN DISTANCE LEARNING: REACHING PARTS OTHER EDUCATION SYSTEMS CANNOT
http://www.id21.org/education/E4rs1g1.html Can non-formal radio and correspondence courses provide basic education
to Africans bypassed by the school system? What are the key constraints, problems and success factors in the field of distance
education in Africa? Could greater commitment of resources to distance education plug discriminatory gaps in African formal education systems?
AFRICA: GLOBAL ANTI-CORRUPTION PROGRAMME LAUNCHED -
The Board of Directors of the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) has agreed to launch a multi-year global anti-corruption program based on the development by civil society of low cost projects that can have a major impact,” stated PTF Chairman Kumi Naidoo, the Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, the global civil society non-governmental organisation,
which is headquartered in South Africa.Further details: http://www.pambazuka.org/newsletter.php?id=14830
LESOTHO: WHICH WAY FORWARD FOR TEACHER EDUCATION IN LESOTHO?
EXPLORING COSTS AND EFFICIENCIES http://www.id21.org/education/E3kl1g1.html
Like many developing countries, Lesotho gives high priority to
improving its education system. The government's targets by 2011 include universal primary enrolment and improvements in higher secondary enrolment, coverage of early childhood provision and national levels of basic literacy. What implications do these targets have for teacher education? Can the country afford the teachers it needs?
MOZAMBIQUE: NEW LAW OFFERS SOME PROTECTION TO WOMEN
http://irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=34100 The strong and divergent views Mozambicans have about a range of practices like polygamy, early marriage for girls and the male's position as the automatic head of the household, surfaced to public attention when a draft Family Law was introduced into parliament at the end of last month. The discussions in parliament over the draft
followed countrywide debates, seminars and meetings held from as far back as 1982 with people from all walks of life, including women's and religious groups.
NIGERIA: BUILDING GENDER-FRIENDLY CONSTITUTIONS
http://allafrica.com/stories/200305140968.html Their place is usually in the classrooms teaching the students and propounding theories. But early last week, lecturers mostly from the Political Science Department of the University of Ibadan (UI), were in
Seminar Room 1, Conference Hall of the university, for a round table discussion on what should be added or expunged from the 1999 constitution to make it more acceptable to all genders.
ZAMBIA: A WOMAN PRESIDENT IN ZAMBIA?
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa says he'd like a woman to succeed him once he leaves. In the past, only two women have ever stood for president, both in 2001. Neither faired well at the polls. At the moment, many Zambians are split about having a woman president. Even though some women think it's unlikely to happen, they say the national and international dialogue sparked as a result of the President's comments, is a great thing.
WEST AFRICA: LUBBERS TACKLES REFUGEE CRISIS IN WEST AFRICA
http://irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=34036 Ruud Lubbers, the head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR, has said it was
vital to secure a political settlement to the long-running civil war in Liberia in order to end conflicts in neighbouring West African
countries, which have forced over two million people to abandon their homes.
AFRICA: AFRICAN MEDIA AWARDS - WOUGNET WEBSITE RECOGNIZED FOR
LOCAL CONTENT -
The Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) website has been selected as winner of the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) Media Award in the IICD - Local Content category. The IICD Award on Local Content Applications aimed to "recognize users of innovative or pioneering applications of ICTs to local content defined as 'the expression of the locally owned and adapted knowledge of a community' in Africa. Applications can be from any sector and use of any medium with a demonstrated link with ICTs that provide opportunities for local people to interact and communicate with each other, expressing their own ideas, knowledge and culture in their own languages."
AFRICA: NEPAD - OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
http://www.africapulse.org.za/index.php?action=viewarticle&articleid=1240 This article reviews major issues involved in achieving the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development. Using a simple framework for evaluation, the analysis highlights considerations relevant to policymakers in the areas of poverty reduction, macroeconomic policies, trade promotion, attracting capital flows, and governance and institutional reforms.
Let there be light in Africa
OAU's Bamako Declaration on Small Arms Proliferation
Power of financiers versus power of the people By Njongonkulu Ndungane
A United States of Africa by Mwayila Tshiyembe, director of the Institut Panafricain de Géopolitique de Nancy
WE MUST EMPOWER THE PEOPLE: address by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa
Jubilee Charter of Rights of Displaced PeopleLarge Scale Unarmed Peacekeeping Speech by David Grant
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