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28 April, 2011
Edition No: 534

Support the draft guiding principles on extreme poverty and human rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed by all UN Member States in 1948 but, more than 60 years later, human rights still remain an empty pledge for people living in extreme poverty across the world. Currently, the UN Human Rights Council is working on the formulation of Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. You can support this process and help to enforce the human rights of people living in extreme poverty.
Find out how

Help to name new World Bank initiative

Building on its work to help the World Bank's developing government clients be more open and responsive to citizens and civil society, the World Bank is launching a new collaborative development initiative that seeks to tap external expertise (in the IT sector, civil society, academia and elsewhere) to help developing country governments use technology to engage citizens and improve the responsiveness of public services. We need your help to give this initiative the right name!  To share your input (deadline: 28 April)
, click here.

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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 2011 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 to address the challenges facing humanity. Register by 30 May and get 40% off the registration fee.

To register or find out more about the World Assembly, click here

Securely Exchanging Information Through Technology, Krems, Austria, 7-8 May
Source: EnCouragexChange

Join independent journalists, members of Human Rights groups, non-profit managers and members of non-technical advocacy groups to learn how to use mobile phones, computers and
social media to communicate your message while remaining SECURE. The workshop will be an interactive format over two days, 7 and 8 May 2011 in Krems, Austria.

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SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa
Sourde: Pambazuka

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 within the book will lead to greater reflection about the real potential and limitations of mobile technologies.

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Coordinator: United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (application deadline 24 May, 2011)
Source: United Nations, Geneva

The Coordinator reports to the Interim Inter-Agency Support Group (IIASG) on the Service's budget and programme performance. He/She will exercise sound political judgement through all duties and responsibilities.
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Grants Manager (application deadline: 20 June 2011)
Source: International Rescue Committee, South Sudan

The Grants Manager will provide core donor reporting, information management and grants management capacity-building efforts. The Grants Manager will also provide key support to the Grants Coordinator in efforts to develop high quality funding proposals, programmatic and budgetary monitoring efforts, ensure compliance with donor and internal IRC rules and regulations and other key functions as needed.
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Campaigner, Economic Justice and Climate Change (application deadline: 2 May 2011)
Source: Oxfam Great Britain

This role will lead specific campaign initiatives, planning and putting into practice new tactics and strategies to spread food justice messages within countries and across borders. This will include working across the key campaign issues, such as the food price crisis, land grabs and support to small-scale agriculture, ideally with a specific focus on climate.
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Coming home

Spending a few weeks in India, where – despite the warm hospitality I experience around the world – I feel most at home, I have had the opportunity to witness at first hand India’s version of the current wave of people power sweeping across the globe. Some have sought to describe the anti-corruption campaign that spread virus-like through India’s middle-classes as an Indian equivalent of the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East. Jantar Mantar, the roundabout where all protests in New Delhi are stopped short of Parliament, has been likened by many to Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Like its MENA siblings, the movement in India stunned many by the pace with which it gained ground, by its cross-cutting appeal, its use of social media and its rapid success in the acceptance by politicians of civil society demands regarding the proposed Lok Pal or ombudsperson legislation. Coming on the heels of scathing criticism by India’s Supreme Court of the prosecution, or persecution, of civil society activist, Dr. Binayak Sen, prior to granting his application for bail, and the Court motivated investigation of a telecom scam believed to amount to 3 times the country’s education budget that has seen a current Cabinet Minister and senior corporate executives jailed and coalition partners face criminal charges, as well as the jailing of the politician primarily responsible for last year’s Commonwealth Games, these are heady times for Indian civil society.

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In Solidarity,

Civil society enabling environment now on global agenda - preparing for Busan

Civil society organisations (CSOs) around the world are mobilising resources, actions and advocacy to influence key global processes this year. One key event slated for the latter part of 2011, where major issues including Development Effectiveness and the role of and operational environment for civil society need to be taken up in earnest, is the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea (HLF-4), from 26 November-1 December. After 18 months of engagement and advocacy by civil society, including CIVICUS, the Task Team has finally agreed on collective key messages for consideration by all participating stakeholders in HLF-4.
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Help civil society make its voice clear at this year’s High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea

This year CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is helping to co-ordinate the selection process for NGO representation and we need your voice in Busan. It's vital for civil society to have a strong presence at this forum. The Fourth High Level Forum (HLF4) on Aid Effectiveness will take place in Busan, South Korea from 29 November - 1 December, preceded by civil society organisations' pre-activities forum from 26-28 November. Applications close on 8 May.
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Follow threats and take action to protect civil society- Join Civil Society Watch at www.cswatch.org

Syria crackdown could signal brutal new phase
Source: New York Times

Syria’s bloody crackdown on protesters — which seemed to signal a new, harrowing chapter in a conflict that has already killed nearly 400 people — provoked growing international concern on Tuesday with calls for the violence to stop and talk of possible sanctions.
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Civil society gaining ground following quake
Source: IPS

Civil society organisations in Japan have traditionally been on the sidelines in influencing mainstream policy, but the massive Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of 11 March is becoming a catalyst for important change. "Thousands of people are joining our protests against nuclear power these past few weeks after the disaster. That is a huge change from the past when our activism was struggling for public attention," said Sawako Sawaii, spokesperson for the Citizen’s Nuclear Information Network (CNIC), a veteran non-government organisation that has long campaigned against nuclear power.
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Peace offerings in wary Duékoué
Source: IRIN News

For the first time since post-election violence hit the cocoa-rich district of Duékoué in western Côte d’Ivoire, Kouadio, a farmer of the Baoulé ethnic group, entered the grounds of the Catholic mission on 22 April, where some 27,000 people, mostly Guéré, have sought refuge. Landowners and growers say the post-election crisis, in which Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo both claimed the presidency, raised tensions to a new level, triggering violence in which countless homes were destroyed, tens of thousands of people of various ethnic groups were displaced and an unknown number killed.
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Bangladesh: Probe clears Grameen Bank of financial misconduct
Source: One World

The Bangladesh government gives Grameen Bank a clean chit for the second time after the Norwegian government cleared the bank of any charges of misappropriation of funds. However, the government upheld its decision to oust founder Muhammad Yunus from office.
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It’s no surprise how Belarus’s Lukashenko really feels about democracy
Source: The Washington Post

Last week, Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, did something novel: He spoke honestly about what he aims to bring his country. In two words, more dictatorship. In his view, too much democracy is the explanation for a recent bombing of a subway station. “We have had so much so-called democracy that it has made us nauseated,” said Lukashenko, adding that democracy should be “limited to a square meter around where you stand. Brush shoulders with another person, and that is where your democracy ends.”
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Cambodian govt plans to tighten noose around civil society
Source: IPS

A proposed law governing NGOs in Cambodia will impose severe restrictions on civil society groups and tighten control over public discourse, say critics in this South-east Asian country. International analysts and local groups have widely condemned Cambodia’s draft law on associations and non-governmental organisations, arguing the proposed rules foist unnecessary restrictions on freedom of expression.
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Dilma Rousseff and Brazil: signs of change
Source: Opendemocracy

The first four months of any new president will give some indication of the degree of continuity and change in relation to his or her predecessor. The experience of Brazil in 2011 was always going to be a notable test of the balance-sheet of the two elements, in that the inauguration of Dilma Rousseff on 1 January embodied both. The very fact that she is Brazil’s first woman to become head of state means that she symbolises change in her very person; yet the fact that she had been the trusted ally and favoured successor of the popular figure who  held the office from 2002-10, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, means that she also represents a degree of continuity.
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Dirty loans and dirty hands: Is the World Bank fit to serve?
Source: Huffington Post

In light of its recent and sizable loans for large scale fossil fuel projects with questionable benefit to the poor, civil society asks, is the World Bank an appropriate steward of international climate finance?
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Is the world too big to fail?
Source: Salon, Noam Chomsky

As its global dominance wanes, America battles democracy, both at home and abroad. The democracy uprising in the Arab world has been a spectacular display of courage, dedication and commitment by popular forces -- coinciding, fortuitously, with a remarkable uprising of tens of thousands in support of working people and democracy in Madison, Wisconsin, and other U.S. cities. If the trajectories of revolt in Cairo and Madison intersected, however, they were headed in opposite directions: in Cairo toward gaining elementary rights denied by the dictatorship, in Madison towards defending rights that had been won in long and hard struggles and are now under severe attack.
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Zimbabwe: The road to reform or another dead end?
Source: The International Crisis Group

The situation in Zimbabwe is deteriorating again under a new wave of political violence organised by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. The country faces another illegitimate election and crisis unless credible, enforceable reforms can first be implemented. Zimbabwe: The Road to Reform or Another Dead End?, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the limitations of the much delayed reform process that threatens to derail the 2008 Global Political Agreement.
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Counterspill – Resource for responding to the energy industry

Counterspill aims to be a one-stop, multi-tiered communication resource to create and respond to energy industry narratives – a counter-narrative that takes on corporate and governmental spin, to keep the truth in the news and inspire positive change for our world in the wake of disaster. While launched in the context of the Deepwater Horizon anniversary and initially focused on this catastrophe, it is about more than oil and aims to challenge the use of non-renewable fuels in general.
Learn more 
FOOD: Where to watch prices
Source: IRIN

Against a global background of steadily climbing food prices, IRIN lists a selection of websites that offer some useful insights into how, why and where food is becoming more expensive.
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Guide to European funding for the non-profit sector
Source: European Citizen Action Service

Now in its 17th edition, this guide has helped NGOs for over a decade in achieving their funding goals by providing a user-friendly tool for successful European Union fundraising.
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2012 AWID International Forum – Call for proposals

Are you willing to move beyond your comfort zone? To question your usual thinking? To engage with actors outside of your everyday activism or workplace? Are you ready to build alliances across boundaries so that together we can transform economic power? Join us at the 2012 AWID International Forum and be part of deepening our understanding of economic injustice, equipping ourselves to engage in economic debates and devising strategies to transform and reclaim economic power. Contribute to shaping the conversation - and the strategies - at the 2012 AWID Forum by submitting a proposal to organise a session.
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United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery

The Fund allocates project grants (for a maximum of 15 000 USD) for programmes of humanitarian, legal and financial assistance to individuals whose human rights have been severely violated as a result of contemporary forms of slavery. Contemporary forms of slavery include chattel slavery, serfdom, forced labour, debt bondage, the worst forms of child labour, forced and early marriage and the sale of wives, trafficking of persons and human organs, sexual slavery, sale of children and children in armed conflicts, etc.  Download and submit the application by 31 May 2011 to slaveryfund@ohchr.org.
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Ingrid Srinath
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