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17 March, 2011
Edition No: 528

Poll question

What is the greatest achievement for women's rights in the last 100 years?
a.    The right to vote in most democracies
b.    The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women
c.    Growing recognition for the equality of women
d.    Hard to say but a long way still to go

To answer the question, click here

Previous question: Libya: Should the UN Security Council step in?
a.    Agree
b.    Disagree
c.    Undecided

Results: a. 87.5%, b. 6.3%, c. 6.3%

Earth Hour 2011: It's time to go beyond the hour
Source: Earth Hour

At 8.30 PM on Saturday 26 March 2011, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour.
This year, when the lights go back on, organisers want you to think about what you can change in your daily life that will benefit the planet. To share your stories, thoughts and ideas with Earth Hour and to get inspiration from what others are doing, tell them what you're going to do and they'll tell the world.
Read more 

Live chat: Changes in the past three months in Middle East, North Africa
Source: World Bank

In the past three months, people across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have taken to the streets to demand – and in some cases obtain – change. To shed light on the implications of these changes and opportunities in the region and its inclusion in a global economy, the World Bank will host a discussion titled Arab Voices and Views on 21 March 2011 from 09:00 to 13:00  EDT / 13:00 to 17:00 GMT. The event will be held at the Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. and live online
Read more 

We Welcome

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Don't miss the CIVICUS World Assembly: 10-12 September 2011, Montreal, Canada


The CIVICUS World Assembly is a key global gathering for civil society to meet with government, donors and the business community to discuss and find solutions to building a more just world. Join civil society practitioners, researchers, activists, concerned business leaders and representatives from development agencies to share ideas and experiences on strengthening citizen participation and engage with donors and government representatives under the focus theme of Civil Society and Global Decision-Making: Doing It Better. Through plenary sessions, special activities, workshops, learning exchanges and social events, the World Assembly's strength is its ability to act as a forum where traditionally unconnected sectors engage in dialogue to act collaboratively towards the strengthening of civil society.
Register before 30 March and get 60% off the registration fee.

EUROPE 2011 WORKSHOP: Securely Exchanging Information through Technology
Source: encourageXchange

In an interactive format over two days, this workshop will provide an explanation of, and solutions for, threats that are most often faced when using information and communication technologies for advocacy work.
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European Youth Meeting for Sustainable Development 2011

The European Youth Meeting for Sustainable Development 2011 will be held in Tallinn, ESTONIA, from 19 -24th July 2011. The meeting will explore the theme of youth involvement in ensuring sustainable development and will examine what role young people and youth organisations can play in efforts toward sustainability.
Read more

SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa
Edited by Sokari Ekine
SMS Uprising provides a unique insight into how activists and social change advocates are addressing Africa's many challenges from within, and how they are using mobile telephone technologies to facilitate these changes.

This collection of essays by those engaged in using mobile phone technologies for social change provides an analysis of the socio-economic, political and media contexts faced by activists in Africa today. The essays address a broad range of issues including inequalities in access to technology based on gender, rural and urban usage, as well as offering practical examples of how activists are using mobile technology to organise and document their experiences. They provide an overview of the lessons learned in making effective use of mobile phone technologies without any of the romanticism so often associated with the use of new technologies for social change. The examples are shared in a way that makes them easy to replicate – 'Try this idea in your campaign.' The intention is that the experiences described in the book will lead to greater reflection about the real potential and limitations of mobile technologies.

Read more

For more book reviews, click here
Follow @civicusalliance on twitter and get the latest civil society updates.

Convening Officer: Asia, Europe or Oceania (application deadline 4 April 2011)

CIVICUS is seeking to recruit a Convening Officer to facilitate the effective implementation of CIVICUS’ convening strategy and manage relationships between CIVICUS and its networks in any of the following regions: Asia, Europe or Oceania. The Convening Officer will be responsible for the coordination of CIVICUS’ interventions in the region.
Read more

Convening Officer: Middle East, North Africa (application deadline 4 April 2011)

CIVICUS is seeking to recruit a Convening Officer to facilitate the effective implementation of CIVICUS’ convening strategy and manage relationships between CIVICUS and its networks in the MENA region. The Convening Officer will be responsible for the coordination of CIVICUS’ interventions in the region.
Read more

Junior Convening Officer (application deadline 4 April 2011)

CIVICUS is seeking to recruit a Junior Convening Officer to facilitate the effective implementation of CIVICUS' convening strategy and support the work of the regional Convening Officers.
Read more

Resource Mobilisation Manager (application deadline 25 March 2011)
Source: UNICEF, Brazil

This role will be responsible for overall coordination, planning, development and management of a resource mobilisation and partnership strategy to engage relevant partners, raise the necessary funds and support accountability of transparent contribution management
Read more 

Young Feminist Activist Manager (application deadline 3 April 2011)
Source: Association for Women’s Rights in Development

The Association for Women's Rights in Development, an international feminist membership organisation that works to strengthen the voice, impact and influence of women's rights advocates, organisations and movements internationally, seeks to appoint a Young Feminist Activist Manager, based either in Toronto, Mexico City or Cape Town.
Read more

 Fire-fighting will not solve our systemic problems

Our thoughts are presently with the Japanese people and,  in particular, our colleagues, partners and their families. The impact of the massive earthquake, the tsunami it triggered and the threat of nuclear radiation from damaged reactors have dominated the media, generating long overdue debate on the risks of nuclear energy.

As I write this, Saudi Arabian troops have entered Bahrain threatening citizens demanding their democratic rights, while forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi continue to deploy lethal military force against Libyans seeking their rights and freedoms.

As the world focuses its collective attention on the dramatic developments in Japan and the Middle East, other crises, from Belarus to Zimbabwe and beyond, threaten to fall off the radar completely. Fire-fighting replaces progress on systemic solutions.
Each new crisis and the inadequate response it evokes further highlights the extent to which we have stretched global resilience through our failure to address economic, political and ecological issues that lie at the root of the myriad crises.

The CIVICUS World Assembly taking place in Montreal, Canada from 10-12 September this year aims to fill that gap. It is becoming increasingly accepted that tackling the challenges we face requires collaboration on an unprecedented scale between North and South, local and global. This year, the World Assembly will bring together stakeholders from around the world to explore the theme “Civil society and global decision making: Doing it better.” 

Continue reading

In Solidarity


CIVICUS denounces use of brute force against peaceful demonstrators
CIVICUS today called on the Bahrain government to end the “shocking” use of violence against peaceful demonstrators in Manama and use of foreign troops, attributing the response as a “flagrant violation” of peoples legitimate right to dissent. Recent reports indicate after 48 hours of police crackdown in the Bahraini capital Manama, at least six people have been killed and 1000 wounded after being mercilessly beaten by Bahraini authorities.
Read more

Accounts of torture and arbitrary detention in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan: A report to UN Special Rapporteurs

In conjunction with the Open Society Foundation, CIVICUS led a mission to bring human rights activists from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan into contact with UN Special Mechanisms, in particular with Special Rapporteurs on Torture and Human Rights Defenders.  These alarming narratives on torture and arbitrary detention were presented from 7 to11 March in Geneva. 
Download report 

CIVICUS Civil Society Index (CSI) – New country reports
Four new reports are now available: Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia and Venezuela. The analytical country reports provide in-depth coverage of the status of each nation’s civil society.

Read more about Bulgaria's CSI report

Read more about Croatia's CSI report
Read more about Georgia's CSI report
Read more about Venezuela's CSI report

Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review 12th Session of the UPR Working Group: Swaziland

CIVICUS outlines key concerns related to the freedom of expression, association and assembly in Swaziland, the growing intolerance of the Swazi Government towards any form of criticism or dissent towards the regime and the over-categorisation of specific legislation used broadly to clamp down on those who are critical of the government and the Swazi monarchy.
Download (PDF)

Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review 12th Session of the UPR Working Group: Uganda

CIVICUS and partner organisations in Uganda have expressed concern about the legislative framework governing NGOs in the country and the restrictions it places on their ability to function independently and contribute to national life. CIVICUS believes that the legal framework for the registration and operation of NGOs reflects a deep distrust of their activities and discounts their vital role in socio-political development.
Download (PDF)

Members’ corner

Young Heroes, Mbabane, Swaziland
Young Heroes is Swaziland’s first internationally based initiative fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  42% of adults aged 15-49 are currently infected with HIV, the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world with 70,000 orphans and 15,000 child heads of households.   This programme was created in early 2006 to help the nation’s orphans by linking them with sponsors who provide funds for basic life necessities.  The goal is to keep these children alive, healthy and living together as families in their homesteads and as a valued part of their communities.
Young Heroes is the main beneficiary of the annual Bushfire Music Festival in Swaziland (27 - 29 May)   www.bush-fire.com.  This funding provides food, clothing and warm blankets for winter as well as additional fees for school requirements (not covered by government aid schemes), medicine and other basic needs.  Most importantly, this support has the added emotional benefit of assurance.  It helps the children feel secure in the knowledge that society cares about them and is involved in their lives.

You can also be a Young Hero. Support through donation on www.youngheroes.org.sz.

Japan tsunami: A shortage of petrol and food but many bodies to bury
Source: Guardian.co.uk

An estimated 10,000 people have died in Ishinomaki, leaving bodies piling up as officials try desperately to feed survivors.
Read more 

SUDAN: As secession nears, citizenship issues still unresolved
Source: IRIN

Less than four months before Sudan is due to split into two sovereign states, the future status of more than a million people of southern origin living in the North – and a smaller number of northerners living in the South - remains unresolved.
Read more

Nagging issues for Europe’s foundations
Source: Alliance Magazine

Why are European foundations failing to take the opportunities to engage and achieve impact that are presented by today’s Europe, asks Helmut Anheier.
Read more

Uzbekistan: Government shuts down Human Rights Watch office
Source: Human Rights Watch

"With the expulsion of Human Rights Watch, the Uzbek government sends a clear message that it isn't willing to tolerate critical scrutiny of its human rights record," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
Read more

Deadly Crackdown on Bahrain Protesters
Source: IPS

At least two people are dead and hundreds injured after security forces in Bahrain drove out pro-democracy protesters from the Pearl Roundabout in the capital, Manama.
Read more

Corruption in India: A million rupees now
Source: The Economist

Congress drags its feet over tackling graft. It may pay a high price.
Read more

Food prices rise globally for eighth consecutive month, reveals FAO
Source: One World South Asia

Global food prices increased for the eighth successive month in February, with prices of all commodity groups monitored rising again, except for sugar, the FAO said.
Read more 


Human Rights under the democratic changes and equitable development:
Lessons of the popular Tunisian revolution and the responsibilities of Arab Civil Society

As an initiative of the Arab Institute for Human Rights and the Arab NGO Network for Development, a regional symposium was held on 1 and 2 March 2011 entitled “Human Rights under the Democratic Changes and Equitable Development: Questions and Prospects in the Light of the Popular Revolution Model in Tunisia and Egypt”. This came in the context of the radical unprecedented transformations that the Arab region is witnessing that led to important changes in the authorities and opened the way for the outbreak of a third revolution in Libya where the arrogant and violent regime has resulted in thousands of victims so far.

The time has come for dismantling the state that always seeks gains. This state was nothing but the outcome of a succession of failed development policies. Its tyranny provided the opportunity for minorities in the country to control the state instruments, monopolise the national wealth and public affairs, surpassing the limits of corruption and its traditional mechanisms and forming a new style of violent and complex regime.

Read more

The UN Refugee Convention at 60: The Challenge for Europe 
Source: Chatham House

The protection of asylum seekers in Europe is dealt with under three principal bodies of law: the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951, the law of the European Union and the soft law developed by the Council of Europe.
Download (PDF)

Redistributing power stories from women leading the fight against AIDS: Report
Source: Centre for Development and Population Activities

This publication profiles seven extraordinary women living with AIDS. From civil war-torn northern Uganda to the edge of the Rocky Mountains in the United States, these women leaders share their struggles, their evolution and the passion they have for empowering those around them.
Download (PDF)

Post-election crackdown in Belarus
Source: Human Rights Watch

The 31-page report documents the human rights violations that have occurred since the election – including persecution of opposition candidates and activists, abuse of detainees, trials behind closed doors and raids on human rights organisations

Report - Grassroots Speakout on UN Women
Source: UN Women

On 2 March, during the second week of the Commission on the Status of Women, grassroots women leaders from around the world voiced their key recommendations and experiences to Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Dr. Michelle Bachelet, and other representatives of UN Women and governments. Read the report (PDF)

Caste-based discrimination in South Asia: Report
Source: Committee of the Netherlands

Report from the February 2011 European Parliament hearing on caste-based discrimination in South Asia
Download (PDF)

Don't miss out - Contribute to the 2011 CIVICUS World Assembly programme!
Until 11 April, you can submit an activity proposal online for the CIVICUS World Assembly programme. All activities must link to one of the four programme tracks: development effectiveness, climate justice, connecting people through technology, and civil society and democratic space.
More information on the programme tracks, the activity formats and how to submit your proposal is available online at: www.civicusassembly.org

Ford Foundation $50 million social issue film funding initiative

Source: Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation has announced the launch of JustFilms, a five-year, $50 million initiative to help find and support a new generation of filmmakers whose works address urgent social issues.
Read more
AGFUND Youth empowerment prize
Source: Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND)

AGFUND International Prize for Pioneering Human Development Projects was established in 1999 by the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND), with the aim of inciting and encouraging innovation and creativity in areas of human development. The award carries a cash prize of up to US$200 000. The submission deadline is 31 May 2011.
Read more

Design fellowship
Source: IDEO

IDEO, an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centred approach to helping organisations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow, invites applications for its 11-month Fellowship. The submission deadline is 18 April 2011.
Read more

2011 Youth Video Festival on Migration, Diversity & Social Inclusion: Calls for participation
Source: UN, PLURAL
Building on the successes of the past two years of PLURAL+, a youth video festival on migration, diversity and social inclusion, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) again invite the world’s youth to submit dynamic and forward-thinking videos focusing on these issues.
Read more


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