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16 February 2012
Edition No: 572



Nominations for civil society representatives

Source: Beyond 2015

Latest information suggests that a High Level Panel or Independent Commission to lead the UN post-MDGs process on post-2015 will be established after the Rio+20 Summit. The Beyond 2015 campaign, which campaigns for a global development framework after the MDGs, has been unofficially encouraged to suggest potential civil society representatives to sit on this body. Nominations should be submitted by 9 March 2012.
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56th Commission on the Status of Women
Source: UN Women

The Commission on the Status of Women is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. The 56th session of the Commission will take place at UN Headquarters in New York, USA from 27 February to 9 March 2012.
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African Local Summit
Source: The Global Summit

The African Local Summit, to be held in Kumasi, Ghana, 1 to 4 April 2012, will share collaboration tools, appropriate technologies and networks to advance the MDGs in an African context.
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Youth Development Officer for Rio+20 (application deadline 20 February 2012)
UNDESA is seeking a Youth Development Officer for the Rio+20 Major Group for Children and Youth. Applications must be received no later than 20 February 2012.
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National Humanitarian Affairs Officers (application deadline 25 February 2012)
Source: UNDP Afghanistan

As a result of conflict, underdevelopment, endemic natural disasters, and limited economic opportunity, considerable human suffering continues in Afghanistan, rendering large portions of the already acutely vulnerable population highly susceptible to additional shocks. In response to gross and acute need, more than eight of an estimated 30 million civilians rely upon timely and coordinated humanitarian assistance. 
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Litigation Attorney (application deadline 29 February 2012)
Source: Lawyers for Human Rights

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) is an independent human rights organisation with a 30-year track record of human rights activism and public interest litigation in South Africa. LHR provides free legal services to vulnerable, marginalised and indigent individuals and communities. LHR offers an exciting and challenging work environment covering a wide range of human rights and social justice work. LHR seeks to appoint a Litigation Attorney, based in Johannesburg.
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Head of Africa Head Office (application deadline 19 February 2012)

Source: Consumer International

Consumers International (CI) has been sowing the seeds of consumer rights in Africa for nearly two decades, and we are now looking for someone to help us really grow across the continent. We are seeking to recruit a passionate 'people person' and experienced manager who is committed to social justice and development.
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Will business as usual trump transformational change at Rio+20?

Two of the fora I've participated in recently sought to shape new models for our species and planet. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland the theme , programme and presence of #Occupy protestors combined to ensure inequality, governance and popular uprisings were, at least, on the agenda. At the UN meeting on the changing context of development and its implications for cooperation and global partnership , on the other hand, these barely found mention. Despite that superficial difference, however, both events struck me as being completely out of touch with the scale, persistence and sheer outrage of citizens around the world and with the dire consequences of inaction on climate change.

At the WEF the gap between the diagnoses of the problem, exemplified by the annual risk report and the 2012 edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer on the one hand, and the solutions posited on the other, was stark. Even as participants painted a picture of impending economic and ecological doom, there seemed to be little appetite for any significant change in their norms or approaches to accountability, collaboration or sustainability, and even less change in their priorities and practices. Fingers were duly wagged at the Europeans for failing to reach agreement on the Eurozone's economic woes. Grim warnings of economic meltdown or long-term economic stasis were duly issued by economists and international institutions. The emerging powers smugly strutted their new clout while disavowing any responsibility for global remedies to problems they did not cause. A predictable roster of causes permitted businesses to showcase meager evidence of social responsibility. And then, it seemed to me, conversation reverted to the deal-making that characterizes such events. Calls from civil society organisations, academics and young people for radical re-imagining of the very purpose of business and the metrics by which we measure success were, in my view, politely attended to, then ignored.

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Ingrid Srinath




Submit an activity proposal for the 2012 World Assembly



CIVICUS welcomes activity proposals for its annual World Assembly, which in 2012 has the theme 'Defining a new social contract - making the future together'. Activity proposals should fall within at least one of the programmatic tracks of the World Assembly: changing nations through citizens; building partnerships for social innovation; and redefining global governance. CIVICUS members, partners and friends are particularly encouraged to propose activities. The deadline is 9 March 2012. The CIVICUS World Assembly will be held in Montreal, Canada from 5 to 7 September 2012.
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CIVICUS plays hosts to young activists for democratic change 

This week, CIVICUS helped host a workshop for young activists on the theme 'From Cape to Cairo: The Role of Youth in Democratic Transition'. The workshop, which brought together activists from countries such as Belarus, Egypt, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, focused on transitional justice and activism in repressive contexts.
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CIVICUS urges justice and solidarity with Bahrain protestors


A year on from Bahrain's pro-democracy protests that began on 14 February 2011, CIVICUS urges the Arab League and Bahrain's military and trading partners to release protestors imprisoned by military courts, desist from using force to disperse pro-democracy demonstrations and start criminal proceedings against members of the security forces alleged to have committed human rights violations.
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CIVICUS calls for release of Burundi anti-corruption activist 

CIVICUS has added it is voice to those of Burundi CSOs to urge the president to release arrested anti-corruption activist and CSO leader Faustin Ndikumana, who faces a prison sentence of up to ten years.
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On the road to Rio


Reminder: Deadline for new accreditations to Rio+20 summit is 20 February 2012


NGOs and other organisations that are not yet accredited to the UN and wish to participate in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) will be offered a one time opportunity to become accredited. The deadline for new accreditations is 20 February 2012. Once registration is approved, organisations can pre-register representatives until the general deadline of 20 May 2012.
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Vitae Civilis guide on Rio+20
Source: Vitae Civilis

Brazilian NGO Vitae Civilis has launched its publication 'Rio+20: The Essential Information' to support the participation of civil society at the Rio+20 summit and in the processes around it. This is a useful guide for all who want to understand Rio+20 and the myriad of opportunities for engagement available.
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SD-Learning
Source: Rio+20 United Nations Conference of Sustainable Development

SD-Learning, to be held 13 to 22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is a capacity building event offering multiple courses on crucial aspects of sustainable development. The courses will offer practical knowledge and hands-on training from experts around the world. A full schedule of courses will be released in April 2012. People are advised to register in advance in order to secure their participation.
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Registration and accreditation details
Source: Rio+20 United Nations Conference of Sustainable Development

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio +20, will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June 2012. The conference will be preceded by the third Preparatory Committee meeting of the Conference, from 13 to 15 June 2012. In accordance with General Assembly resolution A/C.2/66/L.53, the pre-registration for participation in the preparatory meeting and in the Conference by relevant NGOs and other major groups is open.
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Follow threats and take action to protect civil society - join Civil Society Watch at www.cswatch.org





Etherington fears emergence of 'fourth sector'

Source: Civil Society

Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, UK, fears that civil society delivery of public services may eventually be limited to only a small number of large-scale providers, effectively creating a 'fourth sector'. In a recent speech, he also expressed concern that smaller CSOs lack capacity to cope with modern technical demands, that dissent is being marginalised since advocacy is becoming increasingly hard to support, and that giving and philanthropy are too concentrated on the wealthiest individuals, creating implications for democracy and accountability.
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Belarus dissidents defy KGB and the threat of jail in latest crackdown
Source: The Guardian

Amidst soaring food prices and rocketing inflation, protest is growing in Belarus and state propaganda is increasingly being exposed as false, provoking government crackdown on dissenting voices. The legal adviser of human rights organisation Viasna, whose head Ales Bialiatski was jailed in November, comments, "There was a time when the two pillars of the regime were the social contract and repression. Now the first one has gone."
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UN expert urges Honduras government to protect human rights defenders
Source: UN-OHCHR

The Honduras government needs to establish a clear policy to protect human rights defenders, stated UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya at the end of a mission to the country. Journalists, staff of the National Human Rights Commission, lawyers, prosecutors and judges, and people working on the rights of women, children, the LGBTI community, the indigenous and Afro-Honduran communities and on environmental and land rights issues are particularly targeted.
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What next for Occupy?
Source: The Guardian

With potential eviction of the Occupy London camp and the dismantling of many others, the question now turns to how the momentum of the movement can be sustained without physical occupations, but impact on shaping public, political debate on corporate excess can already be discerned.
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Developing countries must play a key role in selecting next World Bank President
Source: Bretton Woods Project

A coalition of CSOs has called on the US to end its monopolisation of the presidency of the World Bank, following Robert Zoellick's announcement that he is stepping down as president. The new president must have the support of developing countries.
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Strong economies need strong civil societies
Source: The Atlantic

The relative stability of Brazil amongst the BRICs group of countries suggests that a strong civil society is a key asset in emerging economic powers, in exercising scrutiny over the central role governments play in such economies.
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Ireland's austerity measures are an assault on human rights
Source: Centre for Economic and Social Rights

A new report from the Centre for Economic and Social Rights suggests that Ireland's response to its economic crisis has effectively impinged on the social contract. Fundamental principles of transparency, accountability and participation were largely ignored in crisis response, while human rights institutions experienced heavy reductions in funding
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Migrants face unlawful arrests and hasty deportations
Source: IRIN

Since October 2011, the International Organisation for Migration estimates that almost 10,000 refugees have been forcibly returned from South Africa to repressive Zimbabwe. In a recent submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Lawyers for Human Rights noted that, "Despite the legal protections afforded to asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants in South Africa, the detention and deportation of foreign nationals is often carried out in an unlawful manner."
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Smuggling and trafficking in innocent Somalis must stop
Source: UN-OHCHR

The ongoing Somali conflict has seen a burgeoning in the business of smuggling and trafficking people from Somalia, a risky and sometimes fatal undertaking for those seeking to flee the conflict. At least 11 people died in the latest boat disaster. A recent report from the UN Independent Expert on the situation of Human Rights in Somalia calls attention to the legal and humanitarian obligations to guarantee the safety and dignity of Somali refugees.
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Difficult funding climate sees closure of human rights network
Source: International Council on Human Rights Policy

A declining funding climate, particularly for human rights work and research into human rights policy, has seen the closure announced of the International Council on Human Rights Policy after 14 years. Its work on analysing the policy implications of international human rights principles and standards has been preserved in a new web archive.
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UN Global Compact expels 3,000 companies
Source: UN Global Compact

The UN Global Compact, an initiative which seeks to align businesses to key social, environmental and human rights principles, has now expelled over 3,000 companies over failure to produce evidence of commitment and progress.
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Feature

Bringing it together: organising for civil society effectiveness in Cameroon
Guest post by Christine Andela of PLANOSCAM

A divided civil society sector is easy to ignore and will struggle to exert influence. By overcoming barriers to collaboration, civil society can improve its effectiveness and be taken more seriously. The Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness have provided a framework to increase civil society collaboration in Cameroon. Here, Christine Andela of PLANOSCAM, the National Platform of Civil Society Organisation of Cameroon, describes the steps they took in uniting civil society and applying common principles of joint working to increase effectiveness.
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January 2012 Violations Report

Source: Palestinian News Network

2011 did not begin well for journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories with widespread rights violations in January, which saw incidences of journalists being targeted with rubber coated steel bullets, live rounds and tear gas projectiles, extension of arrests and issuing of an exclusion order.
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Understanding cross-sector collaborations in the Middle East
Source: NYU Wagner

Research suggests social partnerships between different actors from civil society, private sector and the state are on the increase in many Middle East and North African countries. There is a need for careful analysis of the nature of such partnerships, their power dynamics, and how they are changing in the light of the mass protests of the Arab Spring. Current thinking is captured in the recently published report of a New York University Abu Dhabi workshop on cross-sector social partnerships in the Middle East, in which CIVICUS participated.
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Film: Out of sight: blind migrants in Johannesburg
Source: IRIN

A new film, Out of Sigh, calls attention to the largely undocumented plight of blind migrants from Zimbabwe in Johannesburg, South Africa. The film is available for viewing online.
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Fellowship to support an enabling legal framework for civil society
Source: USAID

The International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and USAID are offering two fellowships in Washington DC, USA to conduct research on the legal framework for civil society. The fellowships will run between May and July 2012 and are open to applicants from Bangladesh, Belarus, Burundi, Malawi, South Sudan and Zambia. The application deadline is 15 March 2012.
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Fellowships to Support an Enabling Legal Framework for Civil Society in the Middle East/North Africa
Source: International Centre for Non-profit Law

ICNL and USAID are also offering two fellowships in Jordan, Amman to conduct research on the legal framework for civil society. The fellowships will run between May and July 2012 and are open to applicants from Iraq, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen. The application deadline is 15 March 2012.
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Call for proposals
Source: Open Forum

The Open Forum conference will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, 22 to 24 May 2012, on the theme 'Money, power and sex: the paradox of equal growth'. The organisers are currently seeking session proposals, with a deadline of 24 February 2012.
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Henri Valot
Ingrid Srinath
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Lerato Pagiwa
Kiva LaTouche


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