Where should Avaaz go in 2012?
Democracy is on the march across the world, and our community is at the
heart of the struggle, but to win we're going to need to choose our
course wisely. Take the annual Avaaz all-member poll, and decide where
to focus our energies in 2012.
Take the poll
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Webinar: Strengthening civil society through social media
Source: Global Net 21
At times of financial restraint and when
Governments are looking at how civil society can be recruited to
deliver on their own agenda how can we ensure that the many
associations that make up civil society can protect their independence.
Can social networking help create a network of mutual independence that
strengthens the countless groups that are the social glue of our civil
society? This is the topic of this webinar.
Programme Officer (Application deadline 05 February 2012)
IPAP is a programme of Christian Aid, supported by DFID to work on
empowerment of dalits (SCs) and adivasis (STs) in India. The INGO
partnership agreement programme (IPAP) will be implemented in
partnership with local civil society organisations working for dalit
and adivasi communities, networks, resource support organisations,
CBOs, academic and research institutions.
Executive Director (Application deadline 01 March 2012)
Source: Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA)
The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) is
seeking to recruit an Executive Director with vision and strategic
thinking, experience in working with the African human rights systems
and management strengths.
Future of last
remaining human rights monitoring NGO in Ethiopia in the balance
On 3 February 2012, the Cassation Bench of the
Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia will hear a petition by the Human
Rights Council (HRCO), Ethiopia's oldest human rights organisation, to
admit an appeal against the freezing of its bank accounts. Amnesty
International, ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS, East and Horn of Africa Human
Rights Defenders Project and Human Rights Watch express deep concern at
the obstacles and restrictions to which HRCO and other human rights
organizations in Ethiopia are now subjected, as illustrated by this
case. The decision of the Supreme Court will be of great significance
for the future of HRCO's vital work and for the wider promotion and
protection of human rights in Ethiopia.
HRCO's bank accounts were frozen after the introduction of the
Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO law), adopted by the
Ethiopian parliament in 2009 to regulate domestic and international
civil society organizations. The CSO law prohibits human rights
organisations in Ethiopia from receiving more than 10 percent of their
funding from foreign sources. As a result, the majority of independent
Ethiopian civil society organisations working on human rights issues
have had to discontinue their work. The CSO law has been widely
criticized for failing to meet international human rights standards. In
December 2009, the Charities and Societies Agency (CSA), a new
regulatory body established under the CSO law, granted HRCO its license
as an Ethiopian charity, but, in a letter dated three days before the
registration, the CSA ordered four private banks to freeze all of
HRCO's assets including its private bank accounts and reserve funds.
HRCO (formerly known as the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, EHRCO) has
been the leading human rights voice in the country, with a strong track
record of investigating and reporting on violations and promoting human
rights in the country since its establishment in 1991. As a result of
the restrictions in the CSO law and the freezing of its accounts, HRCO
has been forced to close nine of its twelve offices and cut 85 per cent
of its staff.
The CSO law does not allow for retroactive application, meaning the
restrictions in the law cannot be applied to funds collected before the
passing of the law. Further, the CSA did not secure a court-ordered
warrant permitting it to freeze HRCO's assets and nor does the CSO law
contain any provision permitting the CSA to block an organisations
accounts. On these bases HRCO challenged the lawfulness of the
freeze to the Board of the CSA, and subsequently to the Federal High
Court in April 2010. The High Court upheld the decision of the
regulatory body on October 24, 2011.
HRCO is now petitioning the Supreme Court, the highest adjudicating
body in the country, to hear its appeal against the decision of the
Federal High Court.
World Assembly call for proposals
The call for activity proposals for the 2012 CIVICUS World Assembly is
officially open! Submit session ideas related to the theme "Defining
a new social contract - Making the future together
" and contribute
to the future of civil society today. Your submission will build on the
diverse knowledge, skills and experience of the individuals,
organisations and networks that participate in the World Assembly every
The Great Transformation?
The World Economic Forum has certainly taken measures to improve
multi-stakeholder engagement in recent years. It appears that some
political and business leaders are finally realising that it may be
time for new ways of doing things and perhaps even hearing what
alternative voices have to say. Members of civil society who have been
granted access to engage with the world’s top politicians and business
leaders are wondering whether this year’s theme of “The Great
Transformation: Shaping New Models” will address the multiple
political, social, economic and environmental crises facing the world.
On the road to Rio
Rio+20: The move toward a green economy
In June 2012, the world's leaders will meet in Rio to set the global
sustainability agenda for the next decade. The draft text of what will
be the outcome document for the Rio+20 Earth Summit has been in
circulation for 10 days now and has already undergone a weekend of
debate at the UN in New York.
Follow threats and
take action to protect civil society - join Civil Society Watch at www.cswatch.org
Kazakhstan: Jailed human rights defender amnestied
Source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Kazakh Service
The prominent Kazakh human rights activist Yevgeny Zhovtis has been
granted amnesty, after serving more than a half of his four-year jail
sentence for manslaughter. Zhovtis, former chief of the Kazakhstan
International Bureau for Human Rights, told RFE/RL by phone on February
1 that he will be released in 15 days.
Organising committee of 29 people nominates Ales Bialiatski for Nobel Peace Prize
President of the human rights center "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski,
currently under arrest in connection with charges of taxes evasion, is
nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.
Combating violence against women must be high on Italy’s national agenda – UN Independent Expert
Source: United Nations OHCHR
Despite efforts to combat violence against women in Italy, the levels
of such violence remain high and there is an urgent need to address the
underlying structural causes of inequality and discrimination, the UN
independent expert on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, has said.
Global hunger, the price of greed and lack of foresight
Source: Social Watch
Speculation on lands and commodities, the boom of biofuels,
agricultural and aid policies set up by rich countries and multilateral
organizations and the climate change exacerbates the food crisis all
over the world, as Social Watch Report 2012 makes apparent.
Rights groups urge release of Papuan activists
Human rights groups have urged Indonesian authorities to drop treason
charges against five activists in the easternmost province of Papua.
The activists - Forkorus Yaboisembut, Edison Waromi, August Makbrowen
Senay, Dominikus Sorabut and Selpius Bobii - went on trial on 30
January, their lawyer says.
Aid policy: Islamic agencies battle the odds in Gaza
Secours Islamique France is a respected aid agency and part of the
global Islamic Relief network based in the UK, but when it comes to
helping Palestinians in Gaza, its operations are challenged by both
Israeli bureaucracy and its own “no-contact” policy with the Hamas
officials who control the territory.
NGO ‘crisis’ distracts from Egypt polls
Many Egyptian and foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that
have been helping train new parties and educate voters now find
themselves at risk of prosecution, caught up in an investigation into
their funding that some are blaming on a budgetary turf war waged by
Egyptian cabinet minister Fayza Aboulnaga. The second part of the
election process to fill Egypt’s first post-uprising parliament begins
on Sunday, but voter apathy and an escalating crackdown on US-funded
civil society groups mean few may be paying attention.
2012 annual letter from Bill Gates
Source: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Throughout my careers in software and philanthropy—and in each of my
annual letters—a recurring theme has been that innovation is the key to
improving the world. When innovators work on urgent problems and
deliver solutions to people in need, the results can be magical.
Occupy Protesters and Police Clash in Oakland
Source: The New York Times Company
A march to take over a vacant building by members of the Occupy
movement in Oakland, California, turned into a violent confrontation
with the police on Saturday, leaving three officers injured and about
200 people arrested.... Most of the arrests occurred in the evening,
when large groups of people were corralled in front of the Downtown
Oakland Y.M.C.A. on Broadway. At one point, one group of protesters
broke into the City Hall building.
Bold action is needed to make sustainable development a reality
Source: The Elders
Today’s leaders must make binding decisions for the long term. Looking
ahead to Rio +20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development taking
place in Brazil this June, the Elders say that 'business as usual' is
no longer acceptable and urge world leaders to deliver on their
commitment to a more equitable, sustainable world.
Resilient people, resilient planet: A future worth choosing
Source: The UN Secretary-general’s High Level Pane on global sustainability
The 22-member Panel, established by the
Secretary-General in August 2010 to formulate a new blueprint for
sustainable development and low-carbon prosperity, was co-chaired by
Finnish President Tarja Halonen and South African President Jacob Zuma.
The Panel's final report, "Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future
Worth Choosing", contains 56 recommendations to put sustainable
development into practice and to mainstream it into economic policy as
quickly as possible.
Make or break implementation efforts - the role of Enabling Environment
Source: Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness
Promoting and advocating for a more enabling environment for civil
society is an essential element of CSO effectiveness work. Recently,
civil society started working on implementation of the Istanbul
Principles with the newly launched Toolkit accompanying the
International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness. However, no
matter how hard CSOs work to improve their own effectiveness, without
an enabling environment, these efforts will be in vain.
2012 call for proposal
Source: Open Society Initiative for West Africa
The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is a grant making
and advocacy foundation that is part of the global Open Society
Foundations Network. OSIWA works to support the creation of open
societies in West Africa marked by functioning democracy, good
governance, the rule of law, basic freedoms, and widespread civic
participation. Its headquarters is in Dakar and it has offices in
Abuja, Monrovia, Freetown and Conakry.
Monitoring women’s rights
Source: Human Rights Education Association
This e-learning course is an introduction to documenting and monitoring
women's human rights and gender equality, including sexual and gender
based violence, women in situations of armed conflict, education,
political rights and freedoms, and special protection measures.
An intensive 2-year programme that helps talented young people develop
the leadership skills to cause disproportionate positive change in
society. The fellowship challenges young people to support primary
school headmasters to turn around their failing schools, thus improving
the quality of education provided in India’s government schools.