COVID-19

 

  • COVID-19: ‘Refugees paid a heavier price during a crisis that many believed impacted on us all equally’

    CIVICUS speaks about the situation of climate refugees and increasing challenges under the COVID-19 pandemic with Amali Tower, founder and executive director of Climate Refugees. Founded in 2015, Climate Refugees defends the rights of people displaced and forced to migrate, including across borders, as a result of climate change. It documents their cases to shed light on protection gaps and legal voids and advocates for human rights-based solutions and the creation of legal norms and policies that protect people affected by climate-driven migration and displacement.

    Amali Tower

    Your organisation is called ‘Climate Refugees’, although the term is currently not supported by international law. Why is that? Do you think this is something that should be officially recognised?

    You’re right, the concept does not exist in international law, but drivers of migration are increasingly intertwined, as has been the case in the context of refugee flows and internal displacement resulting from conflict and persecution. It’s no different in the context of climate migration, except that for so many millions, this isn’t purely an environmental issue – it’s a justice issue. For many populations dependent on the land, climate changes have impacts on survival and livelihood, with impacts beyond the individual, to the family, community, local livelihoods, business and so on. If climate is a factor that contributes to migration, it is likely after years of causing deep losses and suffering, intertwined with economic losses and impacts as well as political ramifications. For instance, we can see this playing out among subsistence farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and many other regions. In this context, someone displaced by the impacts of climate change is also displaced by economic and political factors because the political situation and economic systems in many of these countries are deeply embedded in the environment.

    Further, it’s important to remember that climate change impacts and climate migration and displacement aren’t future risks. They are a reality for many right now, and that reality is playing out in some of the most fragile places in the world for the most impoverished and vulnerable populations who had very little to role in contributing to climate change in the first place.

    This is why we approach this as an issue of equality and justice. Coming from a refugee protection background where I interviewed and provided services to countless refugees fleeing conflict and persecution, based on the legal definition, I’m wholly aware of the controversy and backlash this may cause. I agonised about this decision, but ultimately, I couldn’t reconcile the definition with years of testimonies from people fleeing multiple drivers, who referred to years of environmental devastation at home more than to the war we all knew was ongoing.

    So ultimately, I settled on the term ‘climate refugees’ to provoke conversation. To emphasise the political responsibility of climate change. To raise awareness of its ability to impact on, one might even say persecute, some people more than others. To contribute, provoke and challenge policy. To highlight the needs by giving voice to those affected and to help seek their legal protection. Ultimately, to present this as an issue of equality.

    There’s a lot of discussion, and some might even say confusion, in the migration field about terminology. There is no consensus on appropriate terms so there are many terms being used, like climate-induced migration, environmental migrants and others.

    I think we have to be cautious to not simplify the message. Nor be too clinical in our terminology about the underlying issues and very real suffering millions are bearing. We need to help policy-makers and the public understand there are mixed drivers in complex situations. Refugees have often moved as a result of conflict and drought – just look at Somalia. Others may move to seek safety and better livelihood opportunities, as we are seeing in Central America.

    We need to make clear that the line between ‘forced’ and ‘voluntary’ migration is often misunderstood, if not false.

    In sum, we use the term ‘climate refugees’ to draw attention to the political responsibility of rich countries, certain industries and others to ensure fairness, compensation, protection and equality on many levels, because the solutions must also be multi-faceted.

    What kind of work does Climate Refugees do? 

    Climate Refugees is a research and advocacy organisation that generates field reports and engages in policy-making to view climate change through a human lens and help include and amplify the voices of communities whose livelihoods and security have been impacted on and who have been displaced or forced to migrate. The climate change conversation can otherwise remain largely abstract and clinical, rather than focused on its impacts on real human beings and entire communities.

    Alongside producing field reports from climate displacement hotspots, we provide education and raise awareness of the impacts of climate change on human mobility right now and in ways not necessarily always explored, through two publications: SPOTLIGHT: Climate Displacement in the News, which, as the name implies, is a roundup of global news and expert analysis of climate change impacts on migration, human rights, law and policy, conflict, security and so on, and PERSPECTIVES: Climate Displacement in the Field, which includes features on a variety of topics related to climate-induced migration and displacement, featuring expert commentary and stories from people on the move.

    Our aim with these publications is to be informative and provide stories from people on the move and expert analysis through a climate justice lens that highlights the disproportionate impacts of climate change on marginalised and disenfranchised populations who are the least responsible for climate change. I think a large part of why I formed this organisation is to have the conversation I think many of us want to have – that this is primarily an issue of justice and equality and our solutions need to keep that focus front and centre.

    Have climate refugees been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions? What is being done about it? 

    The COVID-19 pandemic provides a good example of rights violations increasing during a crisis – and an emphatic disproof of the assertion that ‘we are all in this together’. Refugees and migrants certainly paid a heavier price during a global pandemic that many believed impacted on all human beings equally. Social distancing is hard to achieve for displaced persons who live in crowded settlements, whether formal or informal, urban or rural, refugee camps or crowded migrant housing. Refugees and migrants were denied the freedom of movement, the right to health and the right to information to a higher degree than other populations and experienced more impediments to access their rights.

    It’s not about pointing out any one country, because the point is that vulnerable populations that we should have been further protecting in a pandemic actually became more vulnerable just about everywhere. In Lebanon, refugees were held to tighter curfew restrictions that even impeded access to health treatment. Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar refugee settlement in Bangladesh were forced into an encampment and denied their rights to communication and right to health. Many countries where migrants are grouped in crowded housing, like Malaysia, detained migrants. The USA denied asylum-seekers the right to seek asylum and violated the principle of non-refoulement, returning them at the border with no hearings, deported COVID-positive asylum-seekers, and in the process, also exported the virus to Haiti and Central American countries. The USA also continues to detain thousands more people, mostly from Central America, who are fleeing climate change impacts in addition to violence and persecution, denying their freedom of movement, and arguably in some cases, denying rights to seek asylum, due process and the right to health.

    As cyclone Amphan was about to hit the Bay of Bengal in May 2020, at the height of the pandemic, we saw populations in affected areas being relocated ahead of the disaster, which saved lives, but also meant that social distancing could not be enforced during displacement, and vulnerability to the virus became a major concern.

    I am afraid the situation will be no different as the climate crisis worsens. It will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable populations in the world, and once again, a situation where it should be pertinent to think that ‘we are all in this together’ will make us realise that some of us l have the means to escape the worst of the impacts of climate change while some will limited social protections and many others, already in extreme poverty and on the margins of society, will fall in deeper and will have no escape from multiple levels of impacts.

    Is the issue of climate displacement receiving enough attention? Has any progress been made in shaping an international legal framework to protect people who are displaced by climate change?

    We’re certainly seeing more media attention paid to climate change impacts, including migration. But as the issue becomes part of everyday conversation, there’s also a chance that important nuances are lost. I would say some advances have been made in the area of climate displacement – that is, displacements as a result of disasters like floods and storms. We have data that tells us how many people are displaced each year by disasters – an average of around 25 million – and the nature and type of these displacements are less murky in terms of causal factors.

    But climate migration is far trickier, since drivers of migration, whether internal or across borders, are increasingly intertwined. And when there are multiple drivers it’s hard to disentangle what role a single driver plays, or how much of the resulting phenomenon – in this case migration – can be attributed to one cause, namely climate change. Science and technology in the area of climate attribution are improving, increasingly enabling experts to determine just how much climate change is a factor in every situation. But generally speaking, in many parts of the world the environment is also an economic and political issue, so at this point it’s fair to say that climate change is certainly contributing to migration.

    That said, much of the discussion of a legal framework is stalled in conversations that revolve around migration being largely internal, as well as doomsday displacement projections. The international system is hesitant to push conversations that will securitise migration even further and states are reticent to take on commitments that increase migrant or refugee protections even further.

    So for now, advancements are limited to non-binding commitments by states in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which includes some measures dealing with environmental migration across borders. The Platform on Disaster Displacement is a state-led initiative doing good work on the protection of people displaced across borders by disasters and climate change.

    Earlier this year, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee also looked at the case of an individual from Kiribati who claimed to be a ‘climate refugee’. He took his case to the human rights body on the basis that the denial of his asylum claim by the government of New Zealand violated his right to life under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The UN found that countries may not deport individuals who face climate change-induced conditions that violate the right to life.

    What else should be done so that the problem is not only recognised but also mitigated? 

    Some fear that talking about a looming migration crisis due to climate change runs the risk of fuelling current hostility and xenophobia towards migrants and refugees. I definitely see the point and acknowledge that risk, but I also think it’s equally true that to those who are xenophobic towards migrants and refugees, what drives their migration is not the issue. So we have to be careful to find that delicate balance when we talk about these things, because we truly don’t know how it will play out, but what we do know is that the trajectories and outlooks are generally not so great, there’s a lack of political will, and the conversation isn’t too focused on a human rights framework that protects affected communities, including migrants. So on this latter point, it’s not about being an alarmist about the numbers – it’s about sounding the alarm about our need to do better to fill some vital gaps in rights and protections.

    There’s a lot of focus on what we shouldn’t call people, how we shouldn’t frame the issue, but not enough focus on how we should protect vulnerable populations.

    Countries that are already struggling with extreme poverty are now struggling with extreme weather, and there is an inherent unfairness at play here in not recognising that climate change was not created by all equally, and nor will the impacts of it be felt by all equally.

    A lot more could be done in the way of adaptation. Adaptation is very costly, and the countries bearing the burden of climate change impacts now don’t have the capacity to also bear those financial costs. Many regional experts tell us that much of the international finance and response directed at them is focused on climate mitigation, rather than climate adaptation.

    We need to build community resilience to withstand the effects of climate change, and in some contexts, this might also mean building up stronger public and governance institutions and strengthening capacities to withstand the complex stresses that climate change impacts are placing on societies.

    Adaptation can entail innovation, infrastructural development and social changes, all of which can be very costly, and adaptation planning needs to respect human rights and enable choices, including the choice to migrate, which may not necessarily present as a totally voluntary choice. The point is that safe pathways for migration, when conditions don’t allow people to stay, are part of how we safeguard the human rights of climate change-impacted populations.

    Are there enough connections being made between advocacy efforts on behalf of migrants and refugees and climate activism?

    From my vantage point, it feels like there are few connections between these two movements and I feel like there is great potential for stronger advocacy together. For example, just broadening the climate migration conversation to discussions of a movement, rather than being largely a research and policy conversation, would be a welcome step to engage the public in something that I fear many feel is too large to understand, let alone address. 

    At the same time, there are many who are concerned and interested and desire to be a part of the solution. So we keep in mind that, yes, we are trying to inform policy, but we also want to make information more easily accessible to engage and bridge that movement with the public to approach this as an issue of climate justice because that’s how we see it.

    Get in touch with Climate Refugees through theirwebsite, Instagram andFacebook page, and follow@Climate_Refugee and@TowerAmali on Twitter.

     

  • COVID-19: ‘This is not just a health crisis but also a justice crisis’

    CIVICUS speaks to Abigail Moy, Director of the Legal Empowerment Network, the largest community of grassroots justice defenders in the world. Convened by the international civil society organisation (CSO) Namati, the Network brings together 2,343 organisations and 8,761 individuals from over 160 countries, all working to advance justice for all people. Around three years ago it launched Justice for All, a campaign to increase financing and protection for justice grassroots defenders worldwide.

    Abigail Moy

    What kind of work does the Legal Empowerment Network do?

    The Legal Empowerment Network is a global and multidisciplinary network that convenes grassroots justice defenders worldwide. We are more than 2,000 grassroots organisations from approximately 160 countries around the world. Everyone in the Network is united by a dedication to helping communities to understand, use and shape the law. So whether they are working in environmental justice, women’s rights, health, education, or in any other sector, these justice defenders help communities to understand how policies, the law and governmental behaviour affect them and how they can be empowered to engage in these processes, use them and when necessary reform them to create a more just society.

    Our work is based on three key pillars. The first is learning: we are a learning hub where grassroots organisations exchange experiences and learn from each other about their methods and the impact of their legal empowerment work. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, every year we designed and executed learning events that helped members explore practical solutions to justice problems. These offerings included an annual leadership course, in-person learning exchanges, online webinars and e-learning opportunities that we are further developing during the pandemic.

    Our second pillar is advocacy and collective action. We work with our members to transform the policy environment to address injustices and promote legal empowerment at the national, regional and global levels. We often mobilise around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a means of addressing justice needs on the ground. Two of our central calls for advocacy and collective action include increasing financing and protection for justice defenders at all levels. These two priorities affect our members no matter what country are they in, and as such, financing and protection are the focus of our Justice for All campaign.

    The third pillar is community building. We seek to build a stronger community amongst grassroots justice defenders so they can support and learn from each other. We aim to develop a stronger leadership core for the movement and find ways for people to improve their work by connecting, developing their thinking and working collaboratively.

    All three pillars – learning, advocacy and community – feed into our ultimate vision, which is to cultivate a global movement for legal empowerment that mobilises millions of people to tackle collectively the greatest injustices of our time.

    What is the role of Namati in relation with the Legal Empowerment Network?

    Namati is the organisation that convenes the Network. It functions as its secretariat in many ways. We think of ourselves as an active member of the Network that happens to take care of aspects such as finances, coordination and maintaining infrastructure. We work with the Network Guidance Committee, a council of network members, to decide on the priorities and strategies of the Network and to organise learning and advocacy opportunities. Every year we survey Network members on what they want to do, and this information serves as a guidepost for planning. As a Network member, Namati feeds into this process, but we are one voice among many.

    Namati also has country programmes. While members of the Network take on a wide range of justice challenges around the world, Namati works in close partnership with some of these members to take on three urgent issues – land and environmental justice, health justice and citizenship justice – in six countries: India, Kenya, Mozambique, Myanmar, Sierra Leone and the USA.

    Can you tell us more about the Justice for All campaign?

    We launched the Justice for All campaign almost three years ago. Our prior campaign, called Justice 2015, was a call to integrate justice in the SDGs. We succeeded, but after the SDGs were adopted there was nobody focusing on making good on the commitment in Goal 16 to ensure equal access to justice for all. In response, we launched the Justice for All campaign, which focuses on the fact that funding and protection for justice defenders are necessary foundations to meet Goal 16, and indeed any of the goals, and that legal empowerment must be supported.

    Network members promote the Justice for All campaign in different ways in their countries and regions and at the global level. Some members have hosted meetings with their governments, other members of civil society and other stakeholders to discuss these issues and try to find policy solutions to increase funding and protection for grassroots justice defenders. Other members have focused on the global arena, approaching global donors and attending global events such as the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the SDGs. Yet other members have focused on their respective regions, looking at regional bodies or agreements that they can influence.

    As a Network member with strong global connections, Namati connects member experiences at the national level to the global level. We have done a lot to highlight grassroots experiences in our advocacy at the HLPF, the UN General Assembly and other high-level conferences and events, and have worked with major donors around the world to recognise the value of legal empowerment and the need for funding.

    Have you needed to make any changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

    During the pandemic, the Legal Empowerment Network pivoted to respond directly and comprehensively to the crisis-driven needs of its members. To understand what their most urgent needs were, we administered a survey. We asked Network members how the pandemic was affecting them, how they were adapting, what kind of resources they needed to remain effective, what types of policy interventions were necessary to ensure a just response, and how we could help them.

    Regarding the challenges faced by Network members, we classified survey responses into four categories: remote work challenges, financial challenges, logistics and mobility challenges, and safety, security and health challenges. Remote work turned out to be a huge problem for Network members, as did finances, due to both increased expenses and reduced revenues.

    In response to the survey, we put together resources adjusted to their needs. First, we set up an online hub that offers multilingual resources to help legal empowerment groups understand the pandemic, get truthful and reliable information and identify ways to mitigate harm. We put together a brief that answers common questions about COVID-19, with useful advice on how grassroots justice organisations can prepare and protect themselves. We tailored this information to address challenges faced by specific subsets of Network members, such as those living or working in crowded areas. The information was sourced from key public health authorities such as the World Health Organization and compiled by public health experts.

    Second, we published a policy brief, ‘Grassroots Justice in a Pandemic: Ensuring a Just Response and Recovery’, that makes recommendations to policy makers, donors and multilateral institutions on how to fund and protect grassroots justice defenders during and after the pandemic. We shared it widely with stakeholders such as governmental and philanthropic donors.

    Third, we facilitated a number of conversations among grassroots practitioners, examining legal empowerment work during the pandemic, via a series of conference calls and webinars. These have been taking place over the past few months. Hundreds of members participated in these conversations. The ensuing thematic and regional conversations served as venues for discussion on best practices and learning around how members are adapting their efforts, tracking and responding to human rights violations arising from the crisis, and accessing financial support and other needed resources. In these conversations, we also explored what we can do together to help each other move forward. We compiled best practices of remote working and are preparing more materials on resources, services and techniques that can be used for working during the pandemic.

    We realised that in a crisis such as this you can’t do business as usual, so we got rid of our annual plan and started from scratch to do what we needed to do.

    What has the Justice for All campaign achieved so far?

    The campaign has helped to weave a common narrative that highlights grassroots perspectives at high-level global events, encourages dialogue and public understanding, and urges action on the two key themes of financing and protection for grassroots justice defenders.

    At the national level, it has helped people articulate their needs and translate them into longer-term advocacy efforts. Network members said that the campaign’s policy brief was incredibly useful in their discussions with their national governments about why there should be local funding for community paralegal groups.

    At the global level, we have shifted ongoing dialogue and norms. Before, there had never been any talk about what was needed to advance access to justice and achieve Goal 16; there was no acknowledgement that justice services required funding and that the people doing the work needed to be safe. Right now, these issues are being taken up and addressed at a high level, and have been integrated into reports and major agendas. So we feel that we have influenced the international dialogue around justice defenders, and while there is more work to be done, that in itself is a victory.

    In the financial front, the Justice For All campaign has influenced donors to commit new resources to access to justice and legal empowerment. During the pandemic, the campaign adjusted its focus and established a COVID-19 Grassroots Justice Fund, and successfully rallied a number of donors to make contributions. This was in response to our members’ desperate need of funding when the pandemic hit. We realised that the funding that they needed wasn’t massive; a lot could be done with just a small injection of money, for instance in the form of one-time grants of a few thousand dollars. Relatively modest funds could make a difference and help address urgent justice issues that are entwined with the pandemic. We launched this fund in July with the aim of raising US$1 million, and we think we are going to get there. We have received a lot of support, we have already accepted the first applications, and the money should be distributed within the next month. These are small requests, of between US$3,000 and US$20,000, for grassroots justice groups to cover supplies, training, salaries and anything else needed to keep them afloat. The idea behind the fund is that the pandemic is not just a health issue; it is also a justice issue and we need to sustain the defenders that are helping communities to face the justice crisis.

    What kind of support from international civil society would you need to be able to continue your work?

    Our survey asked our members exactly that question, and 58 per cent answered that they needed technological support. The nature of legal empowerment work is very much a trust-building exercise that usually calls for face-to-face interaction. Most of the grassroots groups we work with are used to going out to talk to with community members, convening face-to-face community meetings and educating people. They are not used to working remotely. They are not familiar with working with apps and they don’t have enough devices to do so. Additionally, 67 per cent responded that they need capacity-building support. This support is needed both to adapt to technology and to reimagine ways to do their work remotely or while social distancing. Last but not least, 88 per cent responded that what they need from international civil society is financial support. And they made it clear that it is not just about more funding now, but rather about more sustainable and more reliable funding going forward.

    Get in touch with the Legal Empowerment Network through Namati’swebsite orFacebook page, and follow@GlobalNamati on Twitter.

     

  • COVID-19: ‘We need a new social contract founded on rights and the principle of shared prosperity’

    Owen Tudor

    CIVICUS speaks about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and emergency measures on labour rights, and the civil society response, with Owen Tudor, Deputy General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Recognised as the global voice of the world’s working people, the ITUC works to promote and defend workers’ rights and interests through international cooperation among trade unions, global campaigning and advocacy within major global institutions. The ITUC adheres to the principles of trade union democracy and independence and encompasses three regional organisations in Africa, the Americas and Asia and the Pacific, while also cooperating with the European Trade Union Confederation.

    What have been the major impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on labour rights?

    The ITUC surveyed its national trade union affiliates regularly in the first few months of the pandemic, and we quickly identified that, while many countries were seeing positive engagement between governments and unions, others weren’t. In many countries, like those in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe, and often building on existing forms of social dialogue, governments, employers and unions worked together to develop measures to tackle the pandemic and its effects on workplaces. That also happened in some countries where such cooperation has been less common, such as Argentina, Georgia, Nigeria and the UK. At a global level, the International Labour Organization (ILO) stressed the importance of social dialogue as one of its four pillars for action on the pandemic, alongside stimulating the economy and employment, supporting enterprises, jobs and incomes, and protecting workers in the workplace.

    But in some countries, rogue employers and neoliberal governments thought they could use the pandemic to restrict workers’ and unions’ rights, such as limits on working time, or security of employment. In countries such as Croatia and Lithuania, we campaigned in support of our affiliates to push back against those changes, but we weren’t successful everywhere. In India, for example, state governments implemented a widespread deregulation of employment protections.

    Has this led to any changes in union organising?

    In far too many countries, jobs have been lost and unemployment has soared. That has an inevitable impact on union organising. But in several countries, including those that have seen membership reductions in the recent past and those where membership is already strong, the key role played by unions in defending employment and wages and campaigning for decent health and safety at work has led to membership gains. Bluntly, working people have seen more clearly the importance of union membership to protect them against management inadequacies and violations of their most fundamental rights.

    In some cases, the pandemic has accelerated the experience of virtual organising – over Zoom or other internet platforms. And that technology has in some cases led union organisers to change their point of view, from explaining the benefits of membership to listening to what potential members want. Again, this just accelerated a trend, from offering people a model that solves their problems to letting workers define what works for them. As one Australian union leader put it, “finally we started contacting our members the way they wanted to be contacted.”

    How have unions worked to defend rights and help their members and communities during the pandemic?

    The daily work of unions intensified with the pandemic. Unions represented workers threatened with being laid off, pushed for adequate severance pay, sought expanded access to social protection and raised the concerns of women workers who faced even greater discrimination and of migrant workers denied equal access and equal treatment. In many cases unions won breakthroughs previously not thought possible, and we now need to defend those gains for the long term.

    Unions have been actively involved with international institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Health Organisation (WHO), with national governments on every continent and with employers from the workplace to the multinational boardroom to ensure that workers and their jobs are protected. From negotiating national short-term working schemes in Germany, to ensuring contracts are honoured in the global garment industry, and arranging sectoral policies for the safe return to the workplace in Belgium, unions have been busting a gut to ensure workers’ interests were recognised. Sadly, whenever we hear about community transmission of COVID-19, it’s often a workplace that people are talking about, such as in hospitality, healthcare or meat processing plants. Unions have been emphasising the need for occupational health to be as important as public health, including the provision of personal protective equipment as well as access to paid sick leave.

    Unions have also been negotiating fiercely with employers to stop redundancies, which have taken place, disgracefully, even in companies that were bailed out with taxpayers’ money. In some countries, employers have been prevented by law from laying workers off. We have negotiated arrangements for homeworking, which is becoming more common than ever, even after the pandemic has subsided. A new teleworking law in Argentina was negotiated with unions, providing innovations like workers deciding if they want to revert to working in their workplaces.

    What has the pandemic told us about underlying economic and labour problems and the changes that need to happen?

    Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, massive inequality – including income disparities, racial injustice and gender discrimination – was already driving an age of anger, characterised by civil unrest and distrust in democracy. Along with the destruction resulting from extreme weather events due to climate change, the risks to economies and societies were already clear. Added to that, we face the choices associated with the best and worst impacts of technology, devoid of a rights base.

    The pandemic has highlighted the cracks that were already present in the social contract. Inadequate healthcare provision made the early weeks of the pandemic particularly worrying, with fears that hospitals would be overrun. Similar funding gaps in care for older people and appalling employment arrangements required workers to shuttle between residential facilities, unable to take sick leave when they showed symptoms. Insecure employment and inadequate social protection forced many to keep working while infectious to put food on their families’ plates. The failure to provide adequate personal protective equipment was just the most visible sign of occupational health and safety shortcomings.

    For the economy as a whole, the ILO’s dire predictions for hundreds of millions of job losses among the formal labour force were dwarfed by the number of informal sector workers whose livelihoods were wrecked. In each of these areas of systemic failure, it was women whose jobs were most vulnerable and whose health was least protected, with lockdowns forcing many into additional unpaid childcare and some into the trap of violence and abuse.

    We need to build back better, including a new social contract for recovery and resilience that provides job protection and a universal labour guarantee whether you’re a full-time employee at Amazon or a precarious Uber driver. Occupational safety and health must become a fundamental right at work, like freedom from slavery or the right to strike. We need adequately funded, quality public healthcare, education and water, as part of universal social protection. And we need to regulate economic power, with the freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively, minimum living wages and mandated due diligence in supply chains for human rights and environmental standards.

    Unions and the millions of members we represent can help deliver all these through collective bargaining with employers, social dialogue with governments and engagement in international and multilateral institutions.

    What do governments and businesses need to do to work better with unions, and what role can the international community play?

    Governments and businesses need to recognise the vital role that unions play in representing working people – not just at elections, or when pay deals are negotiated, but all year round, and in every corner of the economy. They need to respect the fundamental rights and freedoms that unions need to operate, including the freedom of association, the right to bargain collectively and the right to strike. When they make decisions that affect millions – if not hundreds of millions – of people, they need to abide by the slogan of ‘nothing about us, without us’ – and that means working positively with unions.

    At the same time, we face a crisis of multilateralism, often driven by nationalist, populist politicians but in part the result of the collapse in public trust for globalisation driven by the rapacious profit-seeking behaviour of global multinational corporations and powerful technology companies.

    The world is facing a convergence of crises, yet global institutions established to underpin and reinforce rights, equality, inclusive growth and global stability are at their most fractured. They need to be reinforced and refocused on responding to the needs of people and the planet.

    The WHO has proved itself a necessity in the global response to COVID-19, but even so, science must be the basis of managing health risks and ensuring universal access to treatment, without political compromise.

    The World Trade Organisation presides over a global model of trade that has failed both people and their environment. And Bretton Woods institutions have strayed far from their mandates by promoting neoliberal structural reform and austerity, the interests of dominant countries and corporate greed. This must change.

    The ILO, with its unique tripartite system, is as necessary today as it was when it gave birth to the social contract based on a mandate of social justice. Its constituents need to be as committed to ensuring a global floor of rights and shared prosperity as its founders were 100 years ago in 1919, and as was reaffirmed in the Declaration of Philadelphia in 1944.

    Working with our allies in broader civil society, unions want to construct a new social contract founded on those principles. If we can do that, we can create a better economy, a better society and a better world.

    Get in touch with the International Trade Union Confederation through itswebsite orFacebook page, and follow@ituc and@Owen4ituc on Twitter.

     

  • COVID-19: ‘We need public policies that reduce and redistribute unpaid care work’

    CIVICUS speaks about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender inequalities and civil society responses with Gala Díaz Langou, director of the Social Protection Programme of the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth (Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento, CIPPEC). CIPPEC is an Argentinian civil society organisation dedicated to producing knowledge and recommendations towards the advancement of public policies aimed at fostering development, equity, inclusion, equal opportunity and solid and effective institutions.

     

  • COVID-19: “Esta crisis no es solamente sanitaria; también es una crisis de justicia”

    CIVICUS conversa con Abigail Moy, directora de la Red de Empoderamiento Legal (Legal Empowerment Network), la comunidad más grande del mundo de personas defensoras que promueven la justicia a nivel de base. Liderada por la organización de la sociedad civil (OSC) internacional Namati, la Red reúne a 2.343 organizaciones y 8.761 individuos de más de 160 países, todos los cuales trabajan para promover la justicia para todas las personas. Hace unos tres años la Red lanzó Justicia para Todos, una campaña para aumentar el financiamiento y la protección de las personas defensoras que promueven la justicia en comunidades de todo el mundo.

    Abigail Moy

    ¿Qué tipo de trabajo hace la Red de Empoderamiento Legal?

    La Red de Empoderamiento Legal es una red global y multidisciplinaria que reúne a personas defensoras de la justicia a nivel de base. Somos más de 2.000 organizaciones de base de aproximadamente 160 países de todo el mundo. Lo que une a todos los integrantes de la Red es su dedicación a la tarea de ayudar a las comunidades a comprender, usar y dar forma a la ley. Entonces, ya sea que estén trabajando en temas de justicia ambiental, derechos de las mujeres, salud, educación o cualquier otro, estas personas defensoras ayudan a las comunidades a comprender cómo las políticas, la ley y la acción gubernamental les afectan y cómo pueden empoderarse para participar en estos procesos, utilizarlos y, en caso necesario, modificarlos para crear una sociedad más justa.

    Nuestro trabajo se basa en tres pilares fundamentales. El primero es el aprendizaje: somos un centro de aprendizaje donde las organizaciones de base intercambian experiencias y aprenden unas de otras sobre sus métodos y el impacto de su trabajo de empoderamiento legal. Antes de la pandemia de COVID-19, todos los años diseñábamos y realizábamos instancias de aprendizaje que ayudaban a los miembros a explorar soluciones prácticas para los problemas de justicia. Nuestra oferta solía incluir un curso anual de liderazgo, intercambios de aprendizaje en persona y seminarios en línea, y durante la pandemia hemos estado desarrollando nuevas oportunidades de aprendizaje virtual.

    Nuestro segundo pilar es la incidencia y la acción colectiva. Trabajamos con nuestros miembros para transformar el entorno de la política pública de modo de abordar las injusticias y promover el empoderamiento legal a nivel nacional, regional y global. A menudo nos movilizamos en torno de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS), en tanto que medio para abordar las necesidades de justicia en el territorio. Dos de nuestros principales llamamientos a la incidencia y la acción colectiva se centran en el aumento del financiamiento y la protección para las personas defensoras de la justicia en todos los niveles. Estas dos prioridades afectan a nuestros miembros más allá del país donde se encuentren; de ahí que el financiamiento y la protección sean los ejes de nuestra campaña Justicia para Todos.

    El tercer pilar es la construcción de comunidad. Buscamos construir una comunidad más fuerte de personas defensoras de la justicia en el territorio para que puedan apoyarse y aprender unas de otras. Nuestro objetivo es desarrollar un núcleo de liderazgo más sólido para el movimiento y encontrar formas en que las personas defensoras puedan mejorar su trabajo conectándose, desarrollando su pensamiento y trabajando en colaboración.

    Los tres pilares - aprendizaje, promoción y comunidad - alimentan nuestra visión, que consiste en cultivar un movimiento global para el empoderamiento legal que movilice a millones de personas para el abordaje colectivo de las mayores injusticias de nuestro tiempo.

    ¿Qué rol desempeña Namati en la Red de Empoderamiento Legal?

    Namati es la organización que convoca la Red, y en muchos sentidos funciona como su secretariado. Nosotros nos consideramos como un miembro activo de la Red que se ocupa de aspectos tales como las finanzas, la coordinación y el mantenimiento de la infraestructura. Trabajamos con el Comité de Orientación de la Red, un consejo de miembros, para decidir las prioridades y estrategias de la Red y organizar oportunidades de aprendizaje e incidencia. Cada año encuestamos a los miembros de la Red para saber lo que quieren hacer, y esta información nos sirve como herramienta de planificación. En tanto que miembro de la Red, Namati participa en este proceso, pero es una voz entre muchas otras.

    Namati también tiene programas nacionales. Los miembros de la Red trabajan en una amplia gama de desafíos relativos a la justicia en todo el mundo, y Namati trabaja en estrecha colaboración con algunos de ellos para abordar tres cuestiones urgentes - justicia ambiental y territorial, justicia sanitaria y justicia ciudadana - en seis países: Estados Unidos, India, Kenia, Mozambique, Myanmar y Sierra Leone.

    ¿Podría contarnos un poco más sobre la campaña Justicia para Todos?

    Lanzamos la campaña Justicia para Todos hace casi tres años. Nuestra campaña anterior, llamada Justicia 2015, fue un llamado a integrar la justicia en los ODS. Lo logramos, pero después de la adopción de los ODS nadie centró su atención en el cumplimiento del compromiso del Objetivo 16 de garantizar la igualdad de acceso a la justicia para todas las personas. En respuesta a ello lanzamos la campaña Justicia para Todos, centrada en el hecho de que el financiamiento y la protección de las personas defensoras de la justicia son las bases necesarias para el cumplimiento del Objetivo 16, y en realidad de cualquiera de los ODS, y que por lo tanto es necesario impulsar el empoderamiento legal.

    Los miembros de la Red promueven la campaña Justicia para Todos de diferentes maneras en sus países y regiones y a nivel global. Algunos miembros han organizado reuniones con sus gobiernos, otros actores de la sociedad civil y otras partes interesadas para discutir estos problemas y tratar de encontrar soluciones de política pública para aumentar el financiamiento y la protección de las personas defensoras de la justicia en el terreno. Otros miembros se han centrado en la arena global, acercándose a donantes internacionales y asistiendo a eventos globales tales como el Foro Político de Alto Nivel sobre los ODS (HLPF, por sus siglas en inglés). Y otros miembros se han concentrado en sus respectivas regiones, tratando de ejercer influencia sobre organismos o acuerdos regionales.

    Como miembro de la Red con fuertes conexiones globales, Namati vincula las experiencias de los miembros a nivel nacional con la esfera global. Hemos trabajado mucho para resaltar las experiencias de base al hacer incidencia en el HLPF, la Asamblea General de la ONU y otras conferencias y eventos de alto nivel, y hemos trabajado con los principales donantes de todo el mundo para que reconozcan el valor del empoderamiento legal y la necesidad de financiamiento.

    ¿Han debido hacer algún cambio en respuesta a la pandemia de COVID-19?

    Durante la pandemia, la Red de Empoderamiento Legal hizo un giro para responder directa e integralmente a las necesidades de sus miembros generadas por la crisis. Para comprender cuáles eran sus necesidades más urgentes administramos una encuesta. Les preguntamos a los miembros de la Red cómo les estaba afectando la pandemia, cómo se estaban adaptando, qué tipo de recursos necesitaban para seguir haciendo su trabajo, qué tipos de intervenciones de política pública consideraban necesarias para garantizar una respuesta justa, y cómo podíamos ayudarles.

    Con respecto a los desafíos que enfrentan los miembros de la Red, clasificamos las respuestas a la encuesta en cuatro categorías: desafíos del trabajo a distancia, desafíos financieros, desafíos de logística y movilidad, y desafíos de seguridad, protección y salud. El trabajo a distancia resultó ser un gran problema para los miembros de la Red, al igual que las finanzas, a causa tanto del aumento de los gastos como de la reducción de los ingresos.

    En reacción a la encuesta reunimos recursos que se ajustaban a las necesidades. Primero, creamos un centro virtual que ofrece recursos multilingües para ayudar a los grupos de empoderamiento legal a comprender la pandemia, obtener información veraz y confiable e identificar formas de mitigar los daños. Elaboramos un documento con respuestas a preguntas frecuentes sobre la COVID-19, con consejos útiles sobre las formas en que las organizaciones de base de acceso a la justicia pueden prepararse y protegerse. Adaptamos esta información para abordar los desafíos que enfrentan subconjuntos específicos de miembros de la Red, por ejemplo, quienes viven o trabajan en áreas densamente pobladas. La información se obtuvo de las principales autoridades en materia de salud pública, tales como la Organización Mundial de la Salud, y fue compilada por expertos en salud pública.

    En segundo lugar, publicamos un informe, “Justicia de base en la pandemia: garantizar una respuesta y una recuperación justas”, que hace recomendaciones a las autoridades políticas, los donantes y las instituciones multilaterales sobre cómo financiar y proteger a las personas promotoras del acceso a la justicia en el territorio durante y después de la pandemia. Lo compartimos ampliamente con diversas partes interesadas, tales como donantes gubernamentales y filantrópicos.

    En tercer lugar, facilitamos una serie de conversaciones entre personas defensoras de base, examinando el trabajo de empoderamiento legal durante la pandemia, a través de una serie de conferencias telefónicas y webinarios. Estos últimos se han desarrollado durante los últimos meses. Cientos de miembros han participado en estas conversaciones. Las conversaciones temáticas y regionales subsiguientes sirvieron como espacios para el debate sobre buenas prácticas y aprendizaje a partir de las formas en que los miembros están adaptando sus esfuerzos, monitoreando y respondiendo a las violaciones de derechos humanos cometidas durante la crisis y accediendo a apoyo financiero y demás recursos necesarios. En estas conversaciones también exploramos lo que podemos hacer juntos para ayudarnos mutuamente a salir adelante. Compilamos las mejores prácticas de trabajo a distancia y estamos preparando más materiales acerca de recursos, servicios y técnicas que pueden usarse para trabajar durante la pandemia.

    Nos hemos dado cuenta de que en una crisis como esta no se puede seguir actuando como de costumbre, de modo que nos deshicimos de nuestro plan anual y comenzamos desde cero para hacer lo que teníamos que hacer.

    ¿Qué ha logrado hasta ahora la campaña Justicia para Todos?

    La campaña ha ayudado a enhebrar una narrativa común que resalta las perspectivas de base en eventos globales de alto nivel, fomenta el diálogo y la comprensión pública e insta a la acción sobre los dos temas clave: el financiamiento y la protección de quienes promueven la justicia en el territorio.

    A nivel nacional, ha ayudado a la gente a articular sus necesidades y traducirlas en esfuerzos de incidencia a más largo plazo. Los miembros de la red dijeron que el informe producido por la campaña les resultó muy útil en sus discusiones con sus gobiernos nacionales acerca de las razones por las cuales debería haber financiamiento local para los grupos comunitarios de apoyo legal.

    A nivel mundial, hemos cambiado la discusión y las normas vigentes. Antes no se hablaba de lo que se debía hacer para promover el acceso a la justicia y alcanzar el Objetivo 16; no se reconocía que los servicios de justicia requerían financiamiento y que quienes realizaban el trabajo necesitaban seguridad. En este momento, estos temas se están abordando a alto nivel y se han integrado en informes y agendas relevantes. De modo que sentimos que hemos influido en el diálogo internacional en torno de las personas defensoras del acceso a la justicia, y si bien hay más trabajo por hacer, eso de por sí ya es una victoria.

    En el ámbito financiero, la campaña Justicia para Todos ha influido sobre los donantes para que destinaran nuevos recursos al acceso a la justicia y al empoderamiento legal. Durante la pandemia, la campaña ajustó su enfoque: estableció un Fondo de Justicia de Base COVID-19 y logró convencer a varios donantes para que hicieran contribuciones. Esto fue una respuesta a la desesperada necesidad de financiamiento de nuestros miembros bajo la pandemia. Nos dimos cuenta de que no necesitaban montos desmesurados; era mucho lo que podía lograrse con pequeñas inyecciones de fondos, por ejemplo, bajo la forma de subvenciones únicas de unos pocos miles de dólares. Estos fondos relativamente modestos podían hacer una gran diferencia en términos del abordaje de problemas urgentes de acceso a la justicia relacionados con la pandemia. Lanzamos este fondo en julio con el objetivo de recaudar un millón de dólares, y creemos que lo vamos a lograr. Hemos recibido mucho apoyo; ya hemos aceptado las primeras solicitudes y el dinero debería distribuirse en el próximo mes. Se trata de montos pequeños, de entre 3.000 y 20.000 dólares, para que los grupos de base que promueven el acceso a la justicia solventen costos de insumos, capacitación, salarios y cualquier otra cosa que necesiten para mantenerse a flote. La idea subyacente es que la pandemia no es solamente una crisis sanitaria, sino que también es una crisis de justicia, y que debemos sostener a las personas defensoras que están ayudando a las comunidades a hacerle frente

    ¿Qué tipo de apoyo de la sociedad civil internacional necesitarían para poder continuar haciendo este trabajo?

    Nuestra encuesta hizo a nuestros miembros exactamente esa pregunta, y el 58% respondió que necesitaban apoyo tecnológico. La naturaleza del trabajo de empoderamiento legal es en gran medida un ejercicio de construcción de confianza que generalmente requiere de interacciones cara a cara. La mayoría de los grupos de base con los cuales trabajamos están acostumbrados a salir a hablar con miembros de la comunidad, convocar reuniones comunitarias presenciales y educar a la gente. No están acostumbrados a trabajar a distancia; no están familiarizados con el trabajo con aplicaciones y no tienen suficientes dispositivos para hacerlo. Además, el 67% respondió que necesita apoyo para el fortalecimiento de capacidades. Necesitan este apoyo tanto para adaptarse a la tecnología como para imaginar nuevas formas de hacer su trabajo en forma remota o con distanciamiento social. Por último, pero no menos importante, el 88% respondió que lo que necesitan de la sociedad civil internacional es apoyo financiero. Y dejaron en claro que no se trata solamente de conseguir más fondos aquí y ahora, sino más bien de asegurar un financiamiento más sostenible y confiable en el largo plazo.

    Contáctese con la Red de Empoderamiento legal a través del sitio websitio web o el perfil deFacebook de Namati, y siga a@GlobalNamati en Twitter.

     

     

  • COVID-19: Urgent measures must be taken by MENA governments to protect the prison population

    Arabic

    In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic outbreak—qualified as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO)—we, the undersigned organisations, express grave concern over the situation of detainees and prisoners across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). While certain states in the region have taken some positive steps to protect the general population, the prison population remains particularly vulnerable. 

    Several countries in the MENA region have overstretched health systems and infrastructures, some of which have also been considerably weakened by years of armed conflict. In these countries, prisons and detention facilities are often overcrowded, unsanitary, and suffer from a lack of resources; accordingly, detainees are routinely denied proper access to medical care. These challenges are only further exacerbated during a health emergency, subjecting detainees and prisoners to heightened risk and placing weak prison health infrastructures under immense stress. Moreover, individuals in detention regularly interact with prison wardens, police officers, and health professionals who engage with the general population. Failure to protect prisoners and prison staff from COVID-19 may have negative implications for the population more broadly.

    Under international human rights law, every individual has the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States have an obligation to guarantee realization of this right. In addition, states have the obligation to ensure that detainees and prisoners are treated humanely and with respect for their dignity and not subject to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.  The Nelson Mandela Rules require equivalence in healthcare—meaning that healthcare in prisons must meet the same standards as healthcare outside of them. This does not change during a pandemic.

    While restrictions, including on prison visits, may be imposed to curb the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, they must abide by the principles of proportionality and transparency. Any measure, including prison releases, must be taken in accordance with clear and transparent criteria, without discrimination. 

    In light of the above, 

    We call on governments in the MENA region to:

    1. Make known to the public their country-specific, and if relevant, facility-specific policies and guidelines in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in detention centers, prisons, and police stations.
    2. Share their emergency preparedness plans and provide specific training to relevant staff and authorities to ensure sufficient and sustained access to healthcare and hygiene provision.
    3. Conduct a thorough review of the prison population and in turn, reduce their prison populations by ordering the immediate release of:
      1. “Low-risk” detainees and prisoners, including those convicted or held in pretrial detention (remand) for nonviolent offences; administrative detainees; and those whose continued detention is not justified;
      2. Detainees and prisoners particularly vulnerable to the virus, including the elderly, and individuals with serious underlying conditions including lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases.

           4. Allow individuals serving probation and probationary measures to fulfill their probation and probationary measures in their homes.
           5.Guarantee that individuals who remain in detention:

      1. Have their right to health effectively upheld by being granted full access to medical care as required;
      2. Access COVID-19 testing and treatment on a standard equal to that governing the general population;
      3. Are provided with means of communication and opportunities to access the outside world when in-person visits are suspended;
      4. Continue to enjoy their right to due process, including but not limited to the right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention, and their right not to experience delays that would render their detention arbitrary. 

    We call on the World Health Organization, International Committee of the Red Cross, and UN Human Rights Council Special Procedures mandate holders to issue public statements and guidance highlighting recommendations and best practices for all governments around detention and imprisonment during a global pandemic. 

    Undersigned organisations:

    (Listed in alphabetical order)

    ACAT - France (Action by Christians Against Torture)

    Access Now

    Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

    ALQST for Human Rights

    Arab Network for Knowledge about Human rights (ANKH)

    Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)

    ARCI (Associazione Ricreativa Culturale Italiana)

    Association of Detainees and Missing in Sednaya Prison

    Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE)

    Bahrain Centre for Human Rights

    Bahrain Transparency Society

    Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales

    CIVICUS

    Committee for Justice

    Democratic Transition and Human Rights support (DAAM Center)

    Digital Citizenship Organisation

    DIGNITY - Danish Institute Against Torture

    Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms

    Egyptian Human Rights Forum

    El Nadim Center

    HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual

    Human Rights First

    Initiative franco-égyptienne pour les droits les libertés (IFEDL)

    International Commission of Jurists

    International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

    Kuwaiti Transparency Society

    Lebanese Centre For Human Rights

    medico international e.V., Germany

    MENA Rights Group

    Mwatana for Human Rights

    Physicians for Human Rights - Israel

    Project on Middle East Democracy

    Reprieve

    Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

    Syrian Center For Legal Studies and Researches

    Syrian Network for Human Rights

    Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP)

    UMAM Documentation & Research (MENA Prison Forum)

    Women's March Global

    World Organisation Against Torture

     

  • DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: ‘The times ahead may bring positive change’

    CIVICUS speaks about the recent elections in the Dominican Republic, held in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Hamilk Chahin, coordinator of the Citizen Manifesto for Electoral Transparency, and Addys Then Marte, executive director of Alianza ONG. The Citizen Manifesto, a civil society-led multi-stakeholder initiative, was launched in December 2019 to monitor the 2020 municipal, legislative and presidential elections and foster the consolidation of democratic institutions. Alianza ONG is a network that encompasses 40 Dominican civil society organisations (CSOs). Founded in 1995, it is dedicated to promoting sustainable development through initiatives to strengthen civil society, intersectoral dialogue, training and dissemination of information, political advocacy and the promotion of solidarity and volunteering.

    Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the electoral landscape was quite complex. What was the situation as of March 2020?

    DominicanRepublic FlagIn recent years, the ruling party, the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), accumulated a lot of power in all state institutions, affecting the quality of democracy. The PLD was re-elected for several terms and political elites settled into their positions and got used to exercising power for their own benefit and to the detriment of the interests of the community. Little by little and inadvertently, society also accepted this situation. In this sense, the exceptionally efficient handling of communication mechanisms by successive governments helped a lot. In addition to good international alliances and good luck in managing the economy, advertising and propaganda structures made the perpetuation of the government easy.

    Fortunately, in every society there is a seed that is practically impossible to uproot: that of civil society. At times it may lay dormant or in hibernation, but at some point something happens that causes it to get moving. In our case, it was the extreme confidence of our rulers in having their power assured, which led them to increasingly blatant practices, to the point that the citizenry, which for the most part had long tolerated them, at one point said ‘enough’ and went into a state of effervescence. The first important manifestation of this change was the Green March Movement, which began in January 2017.

    Born out of popular outrage over the Odebrecht scandal, which involved senior officials from three successive Dominican governments, the Green March Movement encompassed a broad spectrum of CSOs and focused on street mobilisation. It all started with a modest protest walk that we organised through a CSO called Foro Ciudadano (Citizen Forum), which kicked off a great mobilisation phenomenon whose main achievement was to end citizen indifference, to force the middle class out of its comfort zone, in which people expressed criticism without taking action. Opposition parties began to ride on these dynamics. Given that it thought it controlled all power resources, the government initially paid little attention. But the phenomenon far exceeded marching: signatures were collected, community meetings were held, various forms of mobilisation were promoted. It was a state of awakening driven by dignity. Citizens lost their fear of speaking up and this puzzled the government.

    How did the 2020 electoral process begin, and how did Citizen Manifesto form?

    The beginning of the electoral process was also the beginning of the end of the incumbent government. In October 2019, parties held their primary elections; they were the first primaries to be carried out under new electoral and political party legislation and were managed by the Central Electoral Board (JCE). While the PLD opted for open primaries, allowing the participation of all eligible voters, the main opposition party, the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), held closed primaries, allowing the participation of its members only. The candidacy of Luis Abinader, who would eventually be elected president, emerged clearly from the PRM primaries. In comparison, as a result of the PLD primaries, Gonzalo Castillo became the official candidate only by a small difference over three-time president Leonel Fernández.

    The primary elections of the ruling party were much more than a candidate selection process: what was at stake in them was the power of the president, Danilo Medina. In office since 2012, Medina had been re-elected in 2016, and had made some unsuccessful attempts to reform the constitution to be re-elected again. Leonel Fernández, as party president, had opposed these manoeuvres, so Medina did not endorse him when he decided to run in the primaries. It became apparent that the government resorted to state resources to support Medina’s designated heir; as a result, the PLD underwent division and Fernández joined the opposition. The primaries were highly contested and there was a lot of manipulation. They left a bitter taste among the citizenry: faced with the possibility that fraud had been used to thwart a primary election, many wondered what would become of the national election.

    It was then that many CSOs began to think about what to do: we connected with each other and with political actors, we shared information and our assessments of the situation. We decided to express our concern and demand fixes from the institutions and entities responsible for organising the elections, starting with the JCE and also the Superior Electoral Tribunal and the Attorney General's Office, which are responsible for prosecuting crimes and irregularities. This is how the Citizen Manifesto initiative began to form. It included actors from the business, religious, labour, union and peasant sectors. We campaigned to draw the attention of society to the need to defend and monitor the process of democratic institutionalisation ahead of the elections. And above all, we advocated with political figures. We met with party representatives, and as a result the Citizen Manifesto had the support of all sectors. This turned us into direct interlocutors of the JCE.

    When were the elections originally scheduled?

    The electoral cycle included a series of elections: municipal elections, scheduled for February, and national elections, both presidential and legislative, initially scheduled for May. In the municipal elections, a new dual voting system was used for the first time, which consisted of a fully electronic voting system for urban areas with a higher population density and a manual system for rural areas. As a consequence of the Citizen Manifesto’s requests to bring some guarantees and certainty to the process, the electronic voting system also had a manual component in the stage at which the ballots were counted; we also successfully demanded that the vote counting process be recorded and a fingerprint and QR code capture system be introduced.

    Although security measures were strengthened, there were serious problems with the implementation of the new software. On 16 February, several hours after the vote had started, the JCE discovered that there was a problem with around 60 per cent of the electronic voting machines and decided to suspend the municipal election across the country.

    This caused a crisis of confidence, and thousands of people took to the streets in almost daily protests. On 17 February, a demonstration outside the JCE headquarters demanded the resignation of all JCE members. Discontent also affected the government, as many protesters believed that it had tried to take advantage of machines not working properly. On 27 February, Independence Day, a massive demonstration was held to demand the investigation of what happened and urge greater transparency in the electoral process. The Dominican diaspora in several countries around the world organised solidarity demonstrations in support of democracy in their country.

    Municipal elections were rescheduled and held on 16 March, and the electronic voting was not used. By then the COVID-19 pandemic had already begun but suspending the election a second time was not an option. That is why the Dominican Republic declared its state of emergency quite late: the government waited for the elections to take place and three days later it passed a state of emergency and introduced a curfew.

    In April, as the situation continued, the electoral body decided to postpone the national elections until 5 July, after consulting with political parties and civil society. There was not much margin for manoeuvre because sufficient time was needed for the eventuality of a run-off election, which would have needed to take place before 16 August, when the new government should be inaugurated. Of course, there was talk of the possibility of a constitutional amendment to postpone inauguration day, and civil society had to step in to deactivate these plans and help put together an electoral process that included all necessary sanitary measures. Fortunately, the media provided the space that CSOs needed for this; we had a good communications platform.

    As elections took place during the pandemic, what measures were taken to limit contagion risks?

    As civil society we tried to force the introduction of adequate sanitary measures. We urged the JCE to follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization and the Organization of American States to convey the certainty that the necessary measures would be taken and the elections would take place. It was a titanic effort, because we have not yet had an effective prevention and rapid testing policy in the Dominican Republic; however, it turned out to be possible to impose sanitary protocols, including disinfection and sanitation, the distribution of protective materials and physical distancing measures.

    The truth is that the great outbreak of COVID-19 that we are experiencing today has not happened exclusively because of the elections; it seems to be above all the result of two-and-a-half months of disorganised and irresponsible campaigning carried out mainly by the incumbent party. The government tried to profit from the pandemic and the limitations imposed by the state of emergency. However, this may have played against it. The waste of resources in favour of the official candidate was such that people resented it. It was grotesque: for instance, just like in China, the measure of spraying streets with disinfectant was adopted, but while in China it was a robot or a vehicle that went out on the streets at night and passed through all the neighbourhoods, here we had an 8pm parade by a caravan of official vehicles, complete with sirens, flags, music – a whole campaign show. People resented it, because they saw it as wasting resources for propaganda purposes instead of using them to control the pandemic effectively.

    Was the opposition able to run a campaign in the context of the health emergency?

    The conditions for campaigning were very uneven, because public officials enjoyed a freedom of movement beyond the hours established by the curfew and opposition parties complained that the incumbent party could continue campaigning unrestricted while they were limited to permitted hours. Access to the media was also uneven: propaganda in favour of the official candidate was ubiquitous, because it was one and the same as government propaganda. In this context, a specific ad caused a lot of discomfort: it said something like ‘you stay home, and we will take care of social aids’, and included the images of the official candidates for president and vice-president.

    The pandemic was used politically in many ways. At one point the fear of contagion was used to promote abstention; a campaign was launched that included a drawing of a skull and said, ‘going out kills’. While we were campaigning under the messaging ‘protect yourself and get out to vote’, the government’s bet was to instil fear among the independent middle class, while planning to get their own people out to vote en masse. The negative reaction they provoked was so strong that they were forced take this ad down after a couple of days.

    Likewise, the state was absent from most policies implemented against the pandemic and left the provision of social aid and prevention in the hands of the ruling party candidate. Often it was not the government that carried out fumigations, but the candidate’s companies. It was jets from the candidate’s aviation company, not state or military planes, that brought back Dominican citizens who were stranded abroad. The first test kits were brought from China by the candidate, with of course large propaganda operations.

    With everything in its favour, how was it possible for the government to lose the elections?

    The PRM candidate, Luis Abinader, prevailed in the first round, with more than 52 per cent of the vote, while the official candidate came second with 37 per cent and former President Fernández reached only nine per cent. The division of the incumbent party as a result of the allegations of fraud in the primaries had an effect, because if the party had been united and not affected by this scandal, the results could have been different.

    Faced with the fact that a single party had ruled during 20 of the past 24 years, citizens showed fatigue and searched for alternatives. Citizens expressed themselves not only through mobilisation and protest, but also through a process of awareness raising that took several years. Very interesting expression platforms emerged, such as the digital medium Somos Pueblo (We are the People), whose YouTube broadcasts played a very important role. With the government campaigning on the streets and citizens isolated by the pandemic, creative strategies were also employed to overcome limitations and protest without the need to leave our homes, such as through cacerolazos (pot-banging actions).

    The interest in participating to bring about change was reflected in the election turnout, which exceeded 55 per cent. Although well below the 70 per cent average recorded in the elections held over the past decade, the figure was noteworthy in the context of the pandemic. Given the incumbent government’s mismanagement of the pandemic, people have high hopes in the new government. If we can overcome this challenge, the times ahead may bring positive change in terms of strengthening institutions and deepening democracy.

    Civic space in the Dominican Republic is rated as ‘narrowed’ by theCIVICUS Monitor.

    Get in touch with Manifiesto Ciudadano through itswebsite or itsFacebook page, and follow@ManifiestoCiuRD on Twitter.

    Get in touch with Alianza ONG through itswebsite or itsFacebook page, and follow@AlianzaONG and@AddysThen on Twitter.

     

  • DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: ‘We are part of a global anti-racist movement’

    CIVICUS speaks with Elena Lorac, coordinator of Reconoci.do, an independent and plural civic network made up mainly of young Dominicans of Haitian descent. Reconoci.do defends human rights and promotes the real, full and effective integration of Dominican people of Haitian descent into Dominican society. With a presence throughout the Dominican Republic, Reconoci.do upholds the vision of a multicultural country where diverse people coexist with dignity, without stigma or discrimination, and their fundamental rights are respected by society and protected by the state.

    Elena Lorac

    When and why was Reconoci.do founded, and what are the organisation's goals?

    Reconoci.do is a movement of Dominicans of Haitian descent, mostly young, fighting for our right to nationality and for access to all the rights that derive from this belonging: civil, political and social rights, and rights as basic as the right to work, to housing, to education and health, which are systematically denied to us.

    Our movement was formed in late November 2011, in reaction to a resolution by the Central Electoral Board that suspended “temporarily” the validity of our birth certificates and identity papers, that is, in a context in which, instead of seeing progress in the recognition of our rights, setbacks were taking place and historical exclusion was being institutionalised 

    Until 2010, the Constitution of the Dominican Republic recognised as nationals all persons born in the country’s territory, with the exception of diplomats and persons considered to be ‘in transit’, an expression that in principle referred only to those who had been in the country for a few days. For eight decades, under these definitions, the state provided a Dominican birth certificate, identity card and passport to the children of Haitians born in the country. However, in the 1990s nationalist groups began to promote a restrictive interpretation that was eventually translated into a new Migration Law. Under this law, passed in 2004, temporary foreign workers and undocumented migrant workers were classed as foreigners ‘in transit’, meaning that their children would no longer have access to Dominican nationality because of having been born in the country. The Central Electoral Board, the body that manages the civil registry, began to apply this law retroactively, and in 2007 it institutionalised this practice through two administrative decisions that prevented the issuance or renewal of identity documents to children born in the Dominican Republic of Haitian immigrants who were in an irregular migratory situation. In 2010, the new constitution denied the automatic right to nationality to children born in the country to immigrant parents in an irregular situation. Finally, in September 2013, ruling 168-13 of the Constitutional Court established that people born in the country whose parents had been undocumented had never had the right to Dominican nationality. The ruling was applied retroactively to all people born between 1929 and 2007, effectively stripping four generations of their Dominican nationality, mostly people of Haitian descent, who for eight decades had been registered as Dominican.

    These legal changes institutionalised a historical exclusion that was perpetuated by policies of hatred, racism and xenophobia promoted by nationalist groups. From the dominant perspective, everything that comes from Haiti is foreign, alien and impossible to assimilate. Thus, people like me, born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian parents, are treated as foreigners. Because we were born in the Dominican Republic, the Haitian state does not consider us Haitians either. And in any case, we are talking about people who may have never been to Haiti, who have grown up here and speak Spanish; many younger people in fact don’t speak any Creole at all. Lack of recognition is excruciatingly painful.

    To resolve the situation created by the Constitutional Court, and in response to domestic and international advocacy efforts, in 2014 Law 169-14, the Special Naturalisation Law, was passed. This law established a special regime for people considered “descendants of foreigners in irregular migratory status,” based on the distinction between two groups. For members of ‘Group A’, which included those who in the past had been registered in the Dominican civil registry, the law recognised their Dominican nationality and ordered the Central Electoral Board to hand over or return their identity documents. On the other hand, those in ‘Group B’, who, although having been born in the country, having always lived there and maintaining no link with their parents’ country of origin, had never been registered, were given a period of 90 days to register as foreigners, with the possibility of obtaining Dominican nationality through naturalisation within a period of two years. This distinction is completely arbitrary, and it is common to find families with siblings belonging to either group, as well as families that, having registered their children, lost their papers as a result of some natural disaster and could not initiate the naturalisation process due to economic hardship, being located far away from administrative offices and unable to pay the fees that the process involved. Only a few thousand people in Group B have managed to achieve nationality in this way. There are currently some 133,000 young people who are stateless.

    I have obtained my identity card as a result of Law 169-14; it was given to me when I was 27 years old. My years of personal development and education and the early years of my productive life were cut short because I did not have an ID and therefore could not attend university. Several of my fellow activists are in the same situation. Some have been able to advance through college and even graduate, while others were not so lucky.

    Have you brought the issue of Dominicans of Haitian descent to the attention of regional or international human rights forums?

    For decades the international community and domestic civil society have been advocating at both the national and international levels, to denounce abuse, discrimination and structural racism in the Dominican Republic.

    Jointly with other civil society organisations (CSOs), we work assiduously within the inter-American system, for example participating in hearings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). In 2014, the IACHR granted precautionary measures to members of our movement who had been threatened or attacked. Also in 2014, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a ruling that forced the state to give us our nationality back. But the Constitutional Court did not recognse this ruling. The Dominican state does not abide by the decisions of the Court.

    The state does not recognise that there is a problem to be solved. Today our struggle is much more complex than it was at the beginning because now there is a feeling that the situation has been resolved, but it has not. The vast majority of young people in this situation come from bateyes, which are ghettos or communities that were established during the time of sugarcane production around the end of the 19th century, when the Dominican Republic and Haiti reached an agreement to bring Haitian braceros to work in the country. These people, sometimes by deception and even by force, were taken directly to the bateyes, small villages located in the vicinity of sugarcane plantations. Young people who come from these places, which are located far from the cities, are in a very vulnerable situation. The vast majority have nothing; we are talking about families who have not had legal documents for generations, and without papers they cannot study or work. Those of us who manage to finish high school and intend to go to university usually encounter what I experienced: it was when I decided that I would go to university that I found out that, although I did have my birth certificate, I did not qualify because I was the daughter of Haitian parents. This was a huge blow for me, and it is just the same for tens of thousands of young people. You are suddenly told that you do not exist, and this entails enormous psychological trauma. The state blames our parents or grandparents, when in fact it was the state that brought them to work in sugar production – but given that the industry no longer exists, they want us to disappear as well.

    These injustices block our prospects. They leave us without a future. That is why our movement arose from places like this.

    What were the implications of this situation in the context of the health crisis caused by COVID-19?

    The lack of recognition of something as basic as nationality creates enormous difficulties in accessing other basic rights such as health and social aid. The pandemic has magnified the difficulties faced by these vulnerable populations, confined in bateyes where there is no production or work. Many of these young people are chiriperos, that is, day workers, employed sporadically to do whatever is available, and the pandemic left them with nothing. They do not have access to any of the social aid programmes developed to alleviate the effects of the pandemic because they do not have IDs and do not appear in government records.

    To what extent is the situation faced by people of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic the result of racism?

    This situation is the result of structural racism from beginning to end. The problem of access to nationality in the Dominican Republic has exclusively affected people whose parents or grandparents came from Haiti; this is not a general problem for foreigners. It is a reflection of structural racism because it is the Dominican people of Haitian descent, or those who are perceived as such due to the colour of their skin, who experience this violation of their human rights. This was recognised by the IACHR after a visit to the country, when it confirmed that it had not received any complaint from a descendant of non-Haitian foreigners who had experienced difficulties in being recognised as nationals, getting registered in the civil registry or receiving identity papers.

    In the Dominican Republic it is believed that all blacks are Haitians. If I am black and have curly hair I am constantly questioned even if I have identity papers, and if I am unable to produce an ID, I can be deported because I am assumed to be Haitian. There have been cases of black Dominicans who have been deported because of their skin colour. Dominican women of Haitian descent who do not have papers and go to a hospital to give birth are treated as foreigners, fuelling the myth that Haitian women are occupying all beds in our hospitals, when most of these women are not Haitians but Dominican black women of Haitian descent.

    Dominicans are a black population that does not see itself as such. There is obviously a problem of systemic, state-sanctioned, and unrecognised racism.

    Thus, with the passing of time, as a movement we realised that the problem of nationality that mobilised us in the first place was not just a problem of papers, IDs and registry records, but also and more deeply a problem of identity and racial discrimination that goes back to the historical context of our ancestors.

    We are therefore a movement that not only fights for the recognition of nationality and the rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent, but also shares the struggles of all anti-racist movements and mobilises against all forms of discrimination. This is why we stand in solidarity and support all kinds of expressions seeking to guarantee the rights of women, of sexual minorities and of all minorities who are stigmatised and discriminated against.

     

    How did the US Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd resonate in the Dominican Republic?

    In reaction to events in the USA, we joined other CSOs to organise a commemoration. It was not strictly a protest demonstration, as restrictions on public gatherings had been imposed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we respected the mandated quarantine. And it was not only a demonstration of solidarity either, as George Floyd’s death had resonated in our context, where we have experienced similar situations of police abuse.

    Along with other CSOs we organised an activity in memory of George Floyd. The idea was to make a ritual gesture, a collective wreath. Our convening slogan was ‘A Flower for Floyd’, and it was a call for each person to bring, whenever possible, a flower and place it as part of the offering. Our account of Floyd’s death also made reference to police and institutional violence many black people, both migrants and Dominicans, experience in the Dominican Republic, so as to highlight that this is a situation we are also going through.

     

    Have you received threats or experience aggression from anti-rights movements?

    There are several ultra-nationalist groups that are mobilising in reaction to our demonstrations and events, basically to intimidate us and boycott our activities. Ever since the Constitutional Court ruling was issued, the climate has become more favourable for hate speech and numerous acts of hostility against us have taken place. Many members of our movement and other organisations that fight for the rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent have been subjected to attacks, both verbal and physical, which have been reflected in numerous human rights reports. As a result, in some cases we have had to request IACHR protective measures for some colleagues. Even Dominican people who are not of Haitian descent but express solidarity with us are treated as traitors to the homeland. These expressions have become more common because they have not been firmly condemned by the authorities.

    Every time we demonstrate on the issue of nationality and racism, there are always counter-demonstrations, and since the police never protect us, these groups generally prevail and we are forced to suspend or terminate our activities. This was the case with the event we planned to honour George Floyd.

    Since the moment we announced the Flower for Floyd event, several ultra-nationalist groups threatened us through our Facebook page. They accused us of wanting to generate violence and of boycotting the country by bringing up issues that are not of its concern. We received such levels of threats that many people thought that we would not be able to carry out the activity. Days before the event, the leader of one of these anti-rights groups, Antigua Orden Dominicana, threatened us through a video in which he warned that if we carried it out there would be bloodshed, since the event would take place in Independence Park, dedicated to the Fathers of the Nation, which they would not allow.

    On the day of commemoration, 9 June, these groups were present. It was not the first time that this happened. In 2017, during an activity that we carry out every year to mark the anniversary of ruling 168-13, they also showed up and a similar situation ensued.

    On 9 June, these groups came to attack the activists that were taking part in the event, and when the police finally intervened it was to detain our fellow activists Ana María Belique and Maribel Núñez, along with another person who was participating in the event. Every time we hold a protest related to the issue of nationality and racism, the state comes in and represses us.

    What kind of support would you need from international civil society and the global anti-racist movement?

    We consider ourselves part of a global movement. Many times we have been told that the Black Lives Matter movement was caused by something that happened in the USA and that it was not our concern; however, as vulnerable and stigmatised people we understand that this is an issue that directly affects us and that we must address.

    What we need is more support to disseminate information about the current situation in our country. The state has been consistently telling the world that there are no stateless people here, that there is no racism or xenophobia, that everything we say is a lie and that we are on the payroll of international CSOs who want to harm the country. What we seek is visibility and help to denounce the terrible realities experienced by Dominicans of Haitian descent. We do not have enough resources to publicise our cause, and international solidarity is what allows us to carry out our struggles and make them known worldwide.

    International support is one of the things that has helped us get ahead. We have had support from groups of the Dominican diaspora in New York. One of them, We Are All Dominican, has supported us since 2013. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, they helped us ensure food and other basic needs for more than 250 families for three months. All support is welcome, whether it be expressions of solidarity, contributions to dissemination or protection for human rights defenders.

    Civic space in the Dominican Republic is rated as ‘narrowed’ by theCIVICUS Monitor.
    Get in touch with Reconoci.do through theirwebsite orFacebook page, and follow@reconoci_do and@juagemis on Twitter.

     

  • El llamamiento de la sociedad civil a los estados: estamos juntos en esto, no violemos los derechos humanos mientras hacemos frente al COVID-19

    En un momento en que los gobiernos están adoptando medidas extraordinarias para frenar la propagación del COVID-19, reconocemos y aplaudimos los esfuerzos que están realizando los estados para gestionar el bienestar de sus poblaciones y proteger sus derechos humanos, como el derecho a la vida y a la salud. Sin embargo, instamos a los estados a que apliquen estas medidas en el contexto del estado de derecho: las medidas que se adopten en respuesta al COVID-19 deben basarse en hechos, ser legales, ser necesarias para proteger la salud pública, no ser discriminatorias, temporales y ser proporcionadas.

     

  • En cette journée du prisonnier palestinien, la société civile appelle à la libération urgente des prisonniers/ères et détenu/es palestiniens des prisons israéliennes

    En cette journée du 17 avril qui leur est consacrée, les prisonniers/ères palestiniens affrontent une menace supplémentaire avec l’apparition du risque de propagation du coronavirus (COVID-19) dans les prisons et les centres de détention israéliens. Alors qu’un appel a été lancé aux gouvernements du monde entier pour la libération des prisonniers/ères et notamment de ceux détenus en violation du droit international, les autorités d’occupation israéliennes n’ont pris aucune mesure dans cette direction, et n’ont pas adopter de mesures visant à atténuer la propagation du coronavirus derrière les barreaux. Au contraire, les arrestations et les détentions arbitraires de masse, au centre de la politique ’occupation militaire israélienne prolongée et des violations des droits de l’homme généralisées et systématiques à l’encontre du peuple palestinien, se poursuivent pendant la pandémie.

     

  • En el Día de los Prisioneros Palestinos, la sociedad civil pide la liberación urgente de los presos y presas palestinos en las cárceles israelíes

    Mientras conmemoramos otro año más el Día de los Prisioneros Palestinos, los presos, presas, detenidos y detenidas palestinos se enfrentan a una amenaza adicional con la propagación del coronavirus (COVID-19) en las prisiones y centros de detención israelíes. Mientras se está pidiendo a muchos gobiernos de todo el mundo la liberación de las personas presas y detenidas en contravención del derecho internacional, las autoridades de ocupación israelíes no han tomado ninguna medida para liberar los presos y presas palestinos ni para mitigar o prevenir adecuadamente el brote de la COVID-19 en las prisiones. Al contrario, las detenciones masivas y arbitrarias y los arrestos, características básicas de la ocupación militar prolongada de Israel y de las generalizadas y sistemáticas violaciones de Derechos Humanos contra el pueblo palestino, han continuado durante la pandemia.

     

  • En el Día de Nelson Mandela, alrededor de 200 organizaciones de DDHH piden la liberación de activistas como parte de la campaña “Conviértete en mi testigo” #StandAsMyWitness

    • 197 organizaciones de derechos humanos firman una carta para exigir a los Estados que pongan fin al encarcelamiento y al acoso que sufren las personas que defienden los  derechos humanos. 
    • Instamos a los Estados a que pongan fin a los nuevos arrestos y detenciones de defensores que se están produciendo durante la pandemia del COVID-19, con el aumento de riesgo que ello supone
    • Lanzamiento de la campaña "Conviértete en mi testigo" el 18 de julio, Día de Nelson Mandela, con la participación de defensores de los derechos humanos de todo el mundo.

     

  • ESTADOS UNIDOS: “La elección de 2020 es un mandato político y moral contra el fascismo”

    CIVICUS conversa sobre la supresión de votantes y sus implicancias para la democracia en Estados Unidos con Yael Bromberg, asesora principal en el área de derechos electorales en la Fundación Andrew Goodman, una organización que trabaja para convertir a las voces de los jóvenes -uno de los grupos de votantes más subrepresentados de los Estados Unidos- en una poderosa fuerza para la democracia. La Fundación fue establecida en 1966 para perpetuar el espíritu y la misión de Andy Goodman, quien en 1964 se unió a Freedom Summer, un proyecto para registrar a los afroamericanos para votar y así desmantelar la segregación y la opresión, y fue asesinado por el Ku Klux Klan en su primer día en Mississippi. La Fundación apoya iniciativas de desarrollo del liderazgo juvenil, accesibilidad del voto y justicia social en casi un centenar de instituciones de educación superior en todo el país.

    Yael Bromberg

    Para un observador externo es confuso que un país que se promueve a sí mismo como el paradigma de la democracia ponga barreras que limitan el derecho al voto de millones de sus ciudadanos. ¿Podría contarnos un poco más acerca del fenómeno de la supresión de votantes en Estados Unidos?

    Es cierto que Estados Unidos se ha promocionado a sí mismo como un modelo de democracia. Como ciudadana inmigrante y naturalizada cuyos abuelos sobrevivieron al Holocausto y a los gulags soviéticos, aprecio el carácter único de algunas de las libertades que se disfrutan en este país. Por ejemplo, si bien nuestro sistema judicial se encuentra actualmente bajo seria amenaza debido a la politización y la polarización de la magistratura, generalmente ha resistido el tipo de corrupción que está enraizado en otros países. Aunque nuestro sistema legal está en tensión y hay ciertas prácticas arraigadas, como la extrema impunidad policial, que deben ser abordadas, nuestro sistema legislativo puede, si lo desea, colmar las brechas que ha dejado el poder judicial. Pese a que la inyección de grandes cantidades de dinero, incluido dinero de oscura procedencia, ha ahogado a nuestra política, los más serios defensores de la democracia, que han resistido a cosas mucho peores, nos enseñan que la democracia es un viaje largo y persistente más que un destino. Sí, en este país tenemos problemas sistémicos que requieren una reforma profunda, y las vidas de personas de carne y hueso se resienten a causa de las disfuncionalidades de la tiranía de una minoría. Pero también contamos con los principios fundacionales de los Estados Unidos – la libertad y la igualdad - y la posibilidad de realizar nuestro ideal.

    En la época fundacional de esta nación, solo los hombres blancos que eran propietarios tenían derecho al voto. Mediante el proceso de ratificación constitucional se abolió la esclavitud y se concedió el derecho de voto a los hombres liberados. Persistieron leyes injustas, tales como las pruebas de alfabetismo y los impuestos electorales, utilizados para evitar que las minorías raciales votaran. Esto se combinó con otras leyes de la era de Jim Crow que ofrecían razones arbitrarias para encarcelar a esclavos liberados y obligarlos a regresar a los campos de trabajo, privándolos del derecho al voto cuando eran liberados. La resistencia popular aumentó en la medida en que la violencia física y política del sistema de segregación se fue poniendo en evidencia en la década de 1960, y resultó en leyes más fuertes y nuevas enmiendas constitucionales.

    Hoy en día la supresión de votantes equivale a la situación del zorro que guarda el gallinero. Quienes tienen el privilegio de definir las leyes determinan quiénes están adentro y quiénes quedan afuera. Por ejemplo, las leyes estrictas de identificación de votantes que van más allá de exigir una prueba de identidad estándar se extendieron por todo el país tras la elección de Obama como presidente. Alabama estableció reglas estrictas de identificación de votantes y luego cerró las oficinas de emisión de licencias de conducir, adonde se podían obtener tales identificaciones, en extensas zonas rurales del estado donde reside la población negra. Los políticos trazan los límites de sus distritos para asegurar el futuro de su propio partido y sus futuras oportunidades personales de ocupación de cargos. No hay lugares de votación en los campus universitarios, donde se concentran los jóvenes. Incluso durante una pandemia global, el voto por correo sigue sin ser un derecho universal. Mientras que un estado, Nueva Jersey, establece por lo menos diez urnas por ciudad para recolectar las boletas enviadas por correo, otro, el de Texas, recurrió exitosamente a los tribunales para limitar las urnas a una por condado. Para empeorar las cosas, cuando estas leyes son llevadas a los tribunales, éstos no siempre fallan a favor de los votantes.

    La temporada electoral de 2020 ha sido particularmente sorprendente. El poder judicial federal parece obsesionado con la idea de que los cambios de última hora en las reglas electorales conducen a la supresión de votantes, incluso cuando se trata de leyes que amplían el acceso al voto. Esto desafía la lógica. Si una ley limita el acceso, se entiende. Pero si una ley simplemente amplía el acceso, no está claro dónde está el perjuicio para los votantes.

    La pregunta que surge naturalmente de nuestro paradigma es: si Estados Unidos realmente es un ejemplo de democracia, entonces ¿por qué tenemos tanto miedo de abrazar las primeras tres palabras de nuestra Constitución: “Nosotros el pueblo”?

    ¿Considera que la supresión de votantes ha sido un tema crucial en el contexto de las elecciones presidenciales de 2020?

    Absolutamente. Las elecciones presidenciales de 2020 arrojan por lo menos cinco conclusiones importantes: 1) Nuestros gobiernos estaduales pueden ampliar fácilmente el acceso a las urnas de manera segura, entre otras cosas extendiendo los períodos de votación anticipada y las oportunidades para votar por correo; 2) Los votantes de todos los partidos aprovechan estos mecanismos y se benefician de ellos, como lo demuestra el récord de participación electoral de este año; 3) La expansión y la modernización electorales no conducen al fraude electoral; 4) Este año los votantes se sintieron motivados a votar a pesar de los obstáculos discriminatorios y arbitrarios que se interpusieron en su camino; 5) El mito del fraude electoral, más que la evidencia real y sistémica de fraude, ha surgido como una amenaza significativa tanto para proteger el acceso a las urnas como para mantener la confianza pública en nuestro sistema electoral.

    En 2013, la Corte Suprema eliminó una disposición clave de la Ley de Derechos Electorales de 1965. Esa salvaguarda exigía que los estados con un historial demostrado de supresión de votantes obtuvieran aprobación antes de modificar sus leyes electorales. Eliminada la salvaguarda, se abrieron las compuertas para la supresión de votantes. El número de lugares de votación se redujo: entre 2012 y 2018 se cerraron 1.700 lugares de votación, 1.100 de ellos entre las elecciones de mitad de período de 2014 y las de 2018. Se aprobaron leyes estrictas de identificación de votantes, lo que dificultó el acceso al voto de las personas pobres, de color y jóvenes. Otras medidas, como la depuración de los registros estaduales de votantes y la rezonificación de los distritos electorales, diluyeron aún más el poder de voto. Es importante tener en cuenta que todo esto sucede a costa de los contribuyentes, quienes pagan la cuenta de un poder judicial tapado de casos acumulados y los costos de los litigios del partido gobernante; y a costa de los votantes, que se ven obligados a aceptar los resultados de un sistema electoral amañado, aunque en el futuro la legislación que suprime votantes podría ser revocada.

    La cantinela mentirosa del fraude electoral ha provocado una regresión de los derechos en todos los ámbitos. No hay razón alguna para que, especialmente en medio de una pandemia, el acceso al voto por correo no sea universal. Sin embargo, ocho estados solo permitieron votar por correo a los votantes que superaban cierta edad, pero no a los votantes más jóvenes. La pandemia no discrimina y nuestro sistema electoral tampoco debería hacerlo. De manera similar, el Servicio Postal de los Estados Unidos repentinamente se politizó cuando se fue haciendo cada vez más evidente que la gente votaría por correo en cantidades sin precedentes. Se reanudaron las discusiones sobre su privatización y se ordenó desmantelar costosas máquinas clasificadoras de correo sin otro motivo que el de suprimir el voto. A continuación de la elección, la campaña de Trump causó mucho daño en su intento de deslegitimar los resultados, a pesar de que no se encontró evidencia alguna de fraude electoral en las más de 50 demandas judiciales que impugnaron el resultado de las elecciones. Le hizo al país un flaco favor, ya que convenció a una proporción sustancial de las bases de uno de los grandes partidos políticos de cuestionar el resultado de una elección que la Agencia de Seguridad de Infraestructura y Ciberseguridad había declarado como “la más segura en la historia de Estados Unidos”.

    Mientras ocurría todo esto, la pandemia también impulsó una expansión del acceso en aspectos clave. Incluso algunos estados gobernados por republicanos lideraron la expansión del período de votación anticipada y el acceso a sistemas de votación por correo. Debemos tomar esto como una oportunidad de aprendizaje para impulsar una modernización electoral con sentido común, de modo que no se trate de una ocurrencia única asociada a la pandemia. El COVID-19 ha normalizado la modernización electoral, que pasó de ser un tema marginal propio del progresismo a convertirse en un tema de la agenda compartida, que empodera a los votantes de todo el espectro político. Además, si bien las interminables demandas sin fundamento interpuestas por la campaña de Trump pueden calar en cierto segmento de votantes, cabe preguntarnos si harán que el poder judicial finalmente se convenza de que no hay fraude electoral generalizado. Esto es importante porque invariablemente veremos que a raíz de estas elecciones se introducirán nuevas leyes estaduales de supresión de votantes, como ocurrió tras la elección de Obama en 2008, las cuales ciertamente serán desafiadas en los tribunales. Quizás esta vez el poder judicial responda a tales desafíos de manera diferente, a la luz de la revisión del proceso electoral de 2020.

    Por persistentes que fueran los esfuerzos de supresión de votantes, la respuesta en este ciclo fue abrumar al sistema con más participación electoral. Como era de esperarse, la participación electoral alcanzó niveles inéditos. Las estimaciones iniciales indican que la participación de los jóvenes en este ciclo fue incluso mayor que en 1971, cuando la edad para votar se redujo a 18 años y el registro de potenciales votantes se expandió repentinamente. Simplemente no podemos permitirnos el nivel de apatía electoral que hemos tenido en el pasado. En 2016 se produjeron victorias por márgenes muy estrechos en tres estados clave: Michigan, por 0,2%, Pensilvania, por 0,7% y Wisconsin, por 0,8%. La supresión de votantes ciertamente puede hacer la diferencia en competencias con márgenes tan estrechos. Sin embargo, no debemos olvidar el poder del voto: alrededor del 43% de los votantes habilitados no votó en 2016. Las estimaciones más recientes indican que aproximadamente el 34% de los votantes habilitados, es decir aproximadamente uno de cada tres, no votó en 2020. ¿Cómo podemos mantener esta nueva tasa récord de participación electoral, e incluso mejorarla, cuando la opción por el fascismo ya no esté en juego en las urnas?

    ¿Podría contarnos acerca del trabajo de la Fundación Andrew Goodman en la intersección entre los dos grandes temas del derecho al voto y el racismo sistémico?

    La misión de la Fundación Andrew Goodman es convertir las voces y los votos de los jóvenes en una fuerza poderosa de la democracia. Nuestro programa Vote Everywhere (Vota en Todas Partes) es un movimiento nacional no partidista de participación cívica y justicia social liderado por jóvenes, con presencia en campus de todo el país. El programa proporciona capacitación, recursos y acceso a una red de pares, en tanto que nuestros Embajadores Andrew Goodman registran a votantes jóvenes, derriban barreras para el voto y abordan importantes problemas de justicia social. Estamos en casi 100 campus de todo el país y tenemos presencia en un amplio abanico de campus, incluidas instituciones que sirven a personas de color, tales como colegios y universidades históricamente afroamericanos.

    Lo poderoso de la organización y el voto de los jóvenes es que atraviesa todos los clivajes: sexo, raza, origen nacional e incluso pertenencia partidaria. Esta situación se originó en la historia de la expansión del voto juvenil en 1971, cuando se ratificó la 26ª Enmienda a la Constitución, que redujo la edad para votar a 18 años y prohibió la discriminación por edad en el acceso al derecho al voto. Fue la enmienda que se ratificó más rápidamente en toda la historia de Estados Unidos, en gran medida debido a que recibió un apoyo casi unánime más allá de las divisiones partidarias. Hubo un reconocimiento de que los votantes jóvenes ayudan a mantener la brújula moral del país, como lo manifestó el entonces presidente Richard Nixon durante la ceremonia de firma de la enmienda.

    El legado de Andrew Goodman está directamente relacionado con las luchas de solidaridad entre comunidades para el mejoramiento del conjunto. A lo largo de la década de 1960, los estudiantes universitarios negros del sur se sentaron valientemente ante los mostradores de locales propiedad de blancos en un acto político de protesta por la integración y la igualdad. En mayo de 1964, jóvenes estadounidenses de todo el país se desplazaron hacia el sur en ocasión del Freedom Summer (Verano de la Libertad), para registrar votantes negros y abolir el sistema segregacionista de Jim Crow. Tres jóvenes activistas de derechos civiles fueron asesinados por el Ku Klux Klan con el apoyo de la oficina del alguacil del condado: Andy Goodman y Mickey Schwerner, dos hombres judíos procedentes de Nueva York, de apenas 20 y 24 años, y James Chaney, un hombre negro de Mississippi, de tan solo 21 años. Sus historias tocaron una fibra sensible que ayudó a galvanizar el apoyo para la aprobación de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964 y la Ley de Derechos Electorales de 1965. Se trata de una historia acerca del poder de unos jóvenes visionarios que luchan por su futuro, la solidaridad y el poder que es posible construir a partir de la confluencia y el trabajo conjunto de estadounidenses de diferentes orígenes.

    Los activistas jóvenes lideraron varios movimientos de justicia social de la década de 1960, tal como lo hacen hoy. Cuando este país respondió y promulgó reformas críticas, los jóvenes finalmente utilizaron su propio derecho al voto cuando fueron enviados a la muerte al comienzo de la interminable guerra de Vietnam. Hoy en día, los jóvenes lideran el llamado a la justicia climática, el control de armas, la dignidad humana para nuestras comunidades negras e inmigrantes y el acceso a la educación superior. Son quienes más tienen para ganar o perder en las elecciones, porque son quienes heredarán el futuro. Reconocen, particularmente a la luz de los cambios demográficos que ha experimentado el país, que el tema del derecho al voto de la juventud es un tema de justicia racial. En la medida en que podamos ver al voto de los jóvenes como un factor unificador, ya que todos los votantes hemos sido jóvenes alguna vez, tendremos la esperanza de inyectar algo de sentido común en un sistema controvertido y polarizado.

    El espacio cívico en los Estados Unidos es calificado de “obstruido” por elCIVICUS Monitor.
    Póngase en contacto con la Fundación Andrew Goodman a través de susitio web o su página deFacebook, y siga a@AndrewGoodmanF y a@YaelBromberg en Twitter.

     

  • ÉTATS-UNIS : « L'élection de 2020 est un mandat politique et moral contre le fascisme »

    CIVICUS discute de la suppression d’électeurs et de ses implications pour la démocratie aux États-Unis avec Yael Bromberg, conseillère principale dans le domaine du droit de vote à la Fondation Andrew Goodman, une organisation qui travaille pour rendre la voix des jeunes - l'un des groupes d'électeurs les plus sous-représentés aux États-Unis – une force puissante pour la démocratie. La Fondation a été créée en 1966 pour perpétuer l'esprit et la mission d'Andy Goodman, qui en 1964 a rejoint Freedom Summer, un projet pour inscrire au vote les Afro-américains afin de démanteler la ségrégation et l'oppression, et a été assassiné par le Ku Klux Klan lors de son premier jour au Mississippi. La Fondation soutient le développement du leadership des jeunes, l'accessibilité au vote et des initiatives de justice sociale dans près d'une centaine d'établissements d'enseignement supérieur à travers le pays.

     

    Yael Bromberg

    Pour un observateur extérieur, il est déroutant qu'un pays qui se présente comme le paradigme de la démocratie érige des barrières qui limitent le droit de vote de millions de ses citoyens. Pouvez-vous nous parler un peu plus sur le phénomène de suppression des électeurs aux États-Unis ?

    Il est vrai que les États-Unis se sont présentés comme un modèle de démocratie. En tant que citoyenne immigrée naturalisée dont les grands-parents ont survécu à l'Holocauste et aux goulags soviétiques, j'apprécie le caractère unique de certaines des libertés dont bénéficie ce pays. Par exemple, alors même que notre système judiciaire est actuellement gravement menacé par la politisation et la polarisation des juges, il a généralement résisté au type de corruption enraciné dans d'autres pays. Bien que notre système juridique soit sous tension et qu'il existe certaines pratiques bien ancrées, telles que l'impunité policière extrême, qui doivent être corrigées, notre système législatif peut, s'il le souhaite, combler les lacunes du système judiciaire. Même si l'injection de grosses sommes d'argent, y compris de l'argent provenant de sources obscures, a étouffé notre politique, les plus sérieux défenseurs de la démocratie, qui ont résisté à bien pire, nous apprennent que la démocratie est un chemin long et persistant plus qu'une destination. Certes, dans ce pays, nous avons des problèmes systémiques qui nécessitent une réforme profonde, et les vies de personnes en chair et en os sont sous péril à cause des dysfonctionnements de la tyrannie d'une minorité. Mais nous avons aussi les principes fondateurs des Etats-Unis - la liberté et l'égalité - et la capacité d’atteindre notre idéal.

    A l’époque fondatrice de cette nation, seuls les hommes blancs qui possédaient des biens avaient le droit de vote. Grâce au processus de ratification constitutionnelle, l'esclavage a été aboli et le droit de vote a été accordé aux hommes libres. Des lois injustes ont persisté, tels que les tests d'alphabétisation et les taxes électorales, utilisés pour empêcher les minorités raciales de voter. Cela a été combiné avec d'autres lois de l'ère Jim Crow qui offraient des raisons arbitraires pour emprisonner les esclaves libérés et les forcer à retourner dans les camps de travail, les privant du droit de vote une fois libres. La résistance populaire s'est accrue au fur et à mesure que la violence physique et politique du système de ségrégation devenait apparente dans les années 1960, entraînant des lois plus fortes et de nouveaux amendements constitutionnels.

    Aujourd’hui, le système de suppression d’électeurs revient à « confier au renard la garde du poulailler » : ceux qui ont le privilège de définir les lois déterminent l’inclusion ou l’exclusion d’électeurs. Par exemple, après l’élection d’Obama à la présidence, une quantité considérable de lois strictes d’identification des électeurs exigeant plus qu’une preuve d’identité classique pour pouvoir voter se sont répandues dans l’ensemble du pays. L’Alabama, après avoir adopté de telles lois, a fermé les bureaux de délivrance des permis de conduire, où les preuves d’identité en question pouvaient être obtenues, dans les grandes zones rurales où réside la population afro-américaine.

    Les politiciens dessinent les limites de leurs districts pour assurer l'avenir de leur propre parti et leurs opportunités personnelles futures d’accès au poste. Il n'y a pas de bureaux de vote sur les campus universitaires, où les jeunes sont concentrés. Même pendant une pandémie mondiale, voter par correspondance n'est toujours pas un droit universel. Alors qu'un État, le New Jersey, établit au moins dix bureaux de vote par ville pour recueillir les bulletins de vote envoyés par la poste, un autre, le Texas, a fait recours aux tribunaux afin d’en limiter la quantité à un par comté, et a obtenu gain de cause. Ainsi, lorsque ces lois sont portées devant les tribunaux, ceux-ci ne se prononcent pas toujours en faveur des électeurs, ce qui est d’autant plus grave.

    La saison électorale de 2020 a été particulièrement surprenante. La magistrature fédérale semble obsédée par l'idée que les modifications de dernière minute des règles électorales conduisent à la suppression des électeurs, et ce même lorsqu'il s'agit de lois qui élargissent l'accès au vote. Cela défie la logique. Si une loi y limite l'accès, c'est compréhensible. Mais si une loi élargit simplement l'accès, le préjudice porté aux électeurs est difficilement identifiable.

    La question qui découle naturellement de notre paradigme est la suivante : si l'Amérique est vraiment un exemple de démocratie, alors pourquoi avons-nous peur d'embrasser les trois premiers mots de notre Constitution : « Nous, le peuple » ?

    Considérez-vous que la suppression des électeurs constitue une problématique cruciale dans le contexte des élections présidentielles de 2020 ?

    Absolument. L'élection présidentielle de 2020 engendre au moins cinq conclusions importantes : 1) Les gouvernements étatiques peuvent facilement élargir l'accès aux urnes en toute sécurité, notamment en prolongeant les périodes de vote anticipé et les possibilités de voter par correspondance; 2) Les électeurs de tous les partis profitent de ces mécanismes et en bénéficient, comme en témoigne le taux de participation électorale de cette année; 3) L'expansion et la modernisation électorales ne conduisent pas à la fraude électorale; 4) Cette année, les électeurs ont été motivés à voter malgré les obstacles discriminatoires et arbitraires qui se dressaient sur leur chemin; 5) Le mythe de la fraude électorale, plus que la preuve réelle et systémique de fraude, est apparu comme une menace importante à la fois pour protéger l'accès aux urnes et pour maintenir la confiance du public dans notre système électoral.

    En 2013, la Cour Suprême a supprimé une disposition clé (également appelée « disposition sunshine » dans le système américain) de la loi de 1965 sur les droits de vote. Cette mesure de sauvegarde exigeait que les États qui ont supprimé des électeurs dans le passé obtiennent une autorisation avant de modifier leurs lois électorales. L’annulation de la mesure de sauvegarde a considérablement favorisé la suppression d’électeurs. Le nombre de bureaux de vote a été réduit : 1 700 bureaux de vote ont été fermés entre 2012 et 2018, dont 1 100 entre les élections de mi-mandat de 2014 et 2018. Des lois strictes d’identification des électeurs ont été adoptées, ce qui rend difficile l’accès au vote pour les pauvres, les personnes de couleur et les jeunes. D’autres mesures, telles que l’épuration des listes électorales des États et la re-délimitation des circonscriptions électorales, ont encore dilué le pouvoir électoral. Il est important de garder à l’esprit que toutes ces initiatives sont prises au détriment des contribuables, qui devront composer avec un système judiciaire engorgé et assumer les frais de contentieux de la partie obtenant gain de cause ; et aux dépens des électeurs, qui sont contraints d’accepter les résultats d’un système électoral truqué, bien que la loi sur la suppression des électeurs puisse être abrogée dans le futur.

    Le chant mensonger de la fraude électorale a provoqué une régression des droits dans tous les domaines. Il n'y a aucune raison pour que, en particulier en pleine pandémie, l'accès au vote par correspondance ne soit pas universel. Cependant, huit États n'autorisaient que les électeurs de plus d'un certain âge à voter par correspondance, mais pas les plus jeunes. La pandémie ne discrimine pas et notre système électoral ne devrait pas le faire non plus. De même, le service postal des États-Unis s'est soudainement politisé car il devenait de plus en plus évident que les gens voteraient par la poste en nombre sans précédent. Les discussions sur sa privatisation ont repris et des ordres de démantèlement de machines coûteuses de tri du courrier ont été donnés ayant pour seul objectif de supprimer des votes. Après l'élection, la campagne électorale de Trump a beaucoup nuit dans sa tentative de délégitimer les résultats, malgré le fait qu'aucune preuve de fraude électorale n'ait été trouvée dans les plus de 50 poursuites qui ont contesté le résultat des élections. Or il a rendu un mauvais service au pays, car il a convaincu une proportion substantielle de la base de l'un des grands partis politiques de remettre en question le résultat d'une élection que l'Agence pour les Infrastructures et la Cybersécurité avait déclarée « la plus sûre dans l’histoire des États-Unis ».

    Pendant que tout cela se déroulait, la pandémie a également entraîné une extension de l'accès dans des domaines essentiels. Même certains États dirigés par les républicains ont mené l'élargissement de la période de vote anticipé et l'accès aux systèmes de vote par correspondance. Nous devons saisir cela comme une opportunité d'apprentissage pour conduire une modernisation électorale sensée, de sorte qu'il ne s'agisse pas d'un événement ponctuel associé à la pandémie. Le COVID-19 a normalisé la modernisation électorale, qui est passée d'une question marginale du progressisme à une question inscrite à l'ordre du jour partagé, accroissant le domaine d’action et le pouvoir des électeurs de tous les horizons politiques. De plus, si les poursuites sans fin et sans fondement intentées par la campagne de Trump peuvent imprégner un certain segment des électeurs, on se demande si elles finiront par convaincre le pouvoir judiciaire qu'il n'y a pas de fraude électorale généralisée. Ceci est important car de nouvelles lois étatiques de suppression des électeurs seront sans doute introduites à la suite de ces élections, comme après l'élection d'Obama en 2008, et celles-ci seront certainement contestées devant les tribunaux. Peut-être que cette fois-ci le pouvoir judiciaire répondra différemment à ces défis, à la lumière de l'examen du processus électoral de 2020.

    Pour faire face aux efforts visant à supprimer des électeurs, des initiatives ont été prises pour accroître au maximum la participation des électeurs. Comme attendu, la participation électorale a atteint des niveaux sans précédent. Selon les premières estimations, la participation des jeunes à ce cycle électoral était encore plus élevée qu’en 1971 (année au cours de laquelle l’âge de voter a été abaissée à 18 ans), et le nombre d’électeurs admissibles potentiels a soudainement augmenté. Nous ne pouvons tout simplement pas tolérer le niveau d’apathie électorale que nous avons connu dans le passé. En 2016, il y a eu des victoires de marge très faibles dans trois États clés : le Michigan, de 0,2 %, la Pennsylvanie, de 0,7 % et le Wisconsin, de 0,8 %. La suppression d’électeurs peut très certainement faire la différence dans les affrontements avec des marges aussi étroites. Il faut également prendre en compte que certains citoyens n’exercent pas leur droit de vote. En effet, environ 43 % des électeurs admissibles n’ont pas voté en 2016. Selon les estimations les plus récentes, environ 34 % des électeurs éligibles, soit environ un sur trois, n’ont pas voté en 2020. Comment maintenir ce nouveau taux de participation record, voire l’améliorer, alors que le fascisme n’est plus une option de vote ?

    Pouvez-vous nous parler du travail de la Fondation Andrew Goodman dans l'intersection entre deux grands enjeux : le droit de vote et le racisme systémique ?

    La mission de la Fondation Andrew Goodman est de transformer les voix et les votes des jeunes en une force puissante pour la démocratie. Notre programme Vote Everywhere est un mouvement national non partisan dirigé par des jeunes pour l'engagement civique et la justice sociale, présent sur des campus partout dans le pays. Le programme offre une formation, des ressources et un accès à un réseau de pairs. Nos ambassadeurs Andrew Goodman enregistrent les jeunes électeurs, éliminent les obstacles au vote et abordent d'importantes questions de justice sociale. Nous sommes présents dans près de 100 campus à travers le pays et avons une présence sur un large éventail de campus, y compris des institutions visant principalement des personnes noires, comme les collèges et universités historiquement afro-américains.

    Ce qui est puissant dans l'organisation et le vote des jeunes, c'est que cela transcende tous les clivages : sexe, race, origine nationale et même appartenance à un parti. Cette situation est née dans l'histoire de l'expansion du vote des jeunes en 1971, lorsque le 26e amendement à la Constitution a été ratifié, abaissant l'âge de vote à 18 ans et interdisant la discrimination fondée sur l'âge dans l'accès au droit de vote. Il s'agit de l'amendement le plus rapidement ratifié de l'histoire américaine, en grande partie parce qu'il a reçu un soutien quasi unanime à travers les divisions partisanes. Il a été reconnu que les jeunes électeurs aident à maintenir la boussole morale du pays, comme l'a déclaré le président de l'époque, Richard Nixon, lors de la cérémonie de signature de l'amendement.

    L'héritage d'Andrew Goodman est directement lié aux luttes de solidarité entre les communautés pour le bien de l'ensemble. Tout au long des années 1960, des étudiants noirs du sud se sont courageusement assis face aux comptoirs de salles appartenant aux Blancs lors d'un acte politique de désobéissance dans le but de protester pour atteindre l'intégration et l'égalité. En mai 1964, de jeunes Américains de tout le pays se sont rendus dans le sud à l’occasion du Freedom Summer pour inscrire des électeurs noirs et abolir le système de ségrégation de Jim Crow. Trois jeunes activistes des droits civiques ont été tués par le Ku Klux Klan avec le soutien du bureau du shérif du comté : Andy Goodman et Mickey Schwerner, deux hommes juifs de New York, ayant tout juste 20 et 24 ans, et James Chaney, un homme noir du Mississippi, de seulement 21 ans. Leurs histoires ont touché une corde sensible qui a contribué à galvaniser le soutien à l'adoption de la loi sur les droits civils de 1964 et de la loi sur les droits de vote de 1965. C'est une histoire sur le pouvoir de jeunes visionnaires qui luttent pour leur avenir, sur la solidarité et le pouvoir qui peuvent être construits à partir de la confluence et du travail conjoint d'Américains d'origines différentes.

    Les jeunes activistes ont dirigé divers mouvements de justice sociale des années 60, tout comme ils le font encore aujourd'hui. Lorsque ce pays a répondu en adoptant des réformes critiques, les jeunes ont utilisé leur propre droit de vote lorsqu'ils ont été envoyés à la mort au début de la guerre interminable du Vietnam. Aujourd'hui, les jeunes mènent l'appel pour la justice climatique, le contrôle des armes à feu, la dignité humaine pour nos communautés noires et immigrées et l'accès à l'enseignement supérieur. Ce sont eux qui ont le plus à gagner ou à perdre aux élections, car ce sont eux qui hériteront l’avenir. Ils reconnaissent, en particulier à la lumière des changements démographiques que le pays a connus, que la question du droit de vote des jeunes est une question de justice raciale. Dans la mesure où nous pouvons voir le vote des jeunes comme un facteur unificateur, puisque tous les électeurs ont autrefois été jeunes, nous espérons insuffler un peu de bon sens dans un système controversé et polarisé.

    L'espace civique aux États-Unis est classé « obstrué » par leCIVICUS Monitor.
    Entrez en contact avec la Fondation Andrew Goodman via sonsite Web ou sa pageFacebook, et suivez@AndrewGoodmanF et@YaelBromberg sur Twitter.

     

     

  • Free Saudi Activists commemorate 2-Year anniversary of the Saudi government's arrest of women's rights defenders

    COALITION TO HOST A WEBINAR ON MAY 15 PROVIDING UPDATES ON PRISONERS, STATE OF WOMEN’S HUMAN RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA AND CAMPAIGN PROGRESS

     

  • Freedom of association for migrants --- joint statement at Human Rights Council

    Joint tatement at the 44th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

    Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants


    Madame President; Special Rapporteur,

    This is a statement on behalf of CIVICUS, Solidarity Center, and the International Service for Human Rights.

    We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s report. For the marginalised in society, including migrant workers, the freedom to act collectively offers protection against discrimination, exploitation and poverty. When the right to association is open to migrant workers and refugees, they can organize to uphold their interests in their workplaces and communities, influence public opinion and hold public officials accountable.

    We share your concern that hostility towards migrants and those who defend their rights has given rise to restrictive laws and practices that undermine the human rights, safety and dignity of migrants.

    A report released by CIVICUS and Solidarity Centre last October revealed serious challenges for migrant workers in exercising their freedom of association, including the threat of deportation for speaking out.

    Migrant workers in Malaysia reported that intimidation and pressure from their employers often prevents them from organizing, and that they can be coerced by agents or their employers not to join unions. In some cases, their working contracts deny their participation. Two-thirds of migrant workers surveyed in Kenya say harassment or pressure from employers is a major barrier to exercising freedom of association.

    COVID-19 has dramatically exposed the importance of freedom of association rights for migrant workers and refugees. They must have the right to speak out and organize collectively to ensure health and safety at work, especially as they are disproportionately represented in “essential sectors” such food processing, agriculture and health services in many countries.

    Defenders of migrants’ and refugee rights play a crucial role in supporting migrants, elevating their voices and providing humanitarian assistance. We are seriously alarmed at the harassment of individuals and civil society organizations supporting migrants, including migrant workers, in the EU and the US; including criminalization of their activities; and barriers to registration and funding. Such attacks can be a matter of life or death for those whose rights and freedoms they defend. 

    We call on all States to heed the recommendations of the report to recognize and protect migrants’ right to freedom of association, to stop the misuse of smuggling and trafficking laws to target migrant rights defenders and to create an enabling environment for civil society organizations, including those working on migration and migrants’ rights issues.

     

  • Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration Expert Series

    Summary of insights & recommendations from mult-sectoral discussion on how take forward the UN75 Declaration and its commitments to "Leave no one behind" and "Be prepared" 

    On February 18, 2021, a consortium of civil society stakeholder organizations initiated the first in a six-part “Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration Expert Series,” where thought leaders from global civil society engaged UN Missions and Secretariat officials in a candid dialogue on progress, challenges, and further measures needed to meet two of the twelve commitments presented in the UN75 Declaration. This inaugural discussion, co-sponsored by the Coalition for the UN We Need, CIVICUS, and the Stimson Center, and in collaboration with The Elders, addressed the UN75 Declaration commitments #1 on “We will leave no one behind” (focused on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development) and #12 on “We will be prepared” (focused on preventing health crises). 

    The series is intended to take stock of progress toward achieving the twelve UN75 Declaration commitments, introduce alternative institutional, policy, and normative measures for improving implementation, and consider steps for achieving such reforms, including a possible follow-on intergovernmental process as recommended in the Eminent Persons Open Letter signed by 49 former world leaders and UN officials. The expert series aims to contribute insights and concrete proposals for consideration in the Secretary-General's forthcoming (Our Common Agenda) report—expected to be released by September 2021, prior to UNGA High-Level Week. 

    The first roundtable’s lead-off speakers included: H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia and Member of The Elders; Cristina Petcu, Research Associate, Stimson Center; Mandeep Tiwana,Chief Programmes Officer,CIVICUS; and (moderator) Fergus Watt,International Coordinator, Coalition for the UN We Need. 2 

    Key Lead-Off Speaker Quotes 

    “The pandemic has highlighted the deeply interconnected nature of our world, and the extent to which our own security is wholly dependent on the security of others. It has also laid bare the stark inequalities that exist both within and between countries. Nowhere can this inequality be more obviously seen than in the monopolisation of vaccines by the richest and most powerful countries, which risks preventing much of the Global South from having widespread access to vaccines until 2022 or 2023. This approach will not only lead to a deepening of global inequalities but will actively undermine all countries’ national efforts to bring this disease under control.”- H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf 

    “The current health crisis demonstrates a continued and severe lack of preparedness in our global health system. And despite various disease outbreaks over the years, we still lack a global health system that, for example, ensures global access to essential medical equipment, such as personal protective equipment, sanitation items, medicines and vaccines.”- Cristina Petcu (in presenting two Stimson Center Overviews of UN75 Declarations commitments #1 and #12) 

    “To ‘be prepared’ for the next global challenge, international cooperation, coordination and solidarity through the UN are critical. Much more needs to be done to realize people-centred multilateralism in the spirit of the UN Charter. Our present approach to international cooperation remains predominantly state-centric. There are many reasons for this including the global democratic deficit and civic space challenges.”- Mandeep Tiwana 

    The following summary offers key international policy insights and recommendations for the fulfillment of the two UN75 Declaration commitments explored during the roundtable: 

    UN75 Declaration Commitment #1 - We will leave no one behind 

    Major Insights 

    • For the UN to work effectively in a multi-sectoral way, it must extend beyond traditional paradigms and attitudes, focusing on how its pillars (Human Rights, Peace and Security, and Development) can work coherently together rather than along separate paths. The 2030 Agenda negotiations demonstrated the potential for multi-sectoral coherence, despite the difficulty in forging consensus across many UN Member States. 
    • The UN75 Declaration represents a shared roadmap to ensure that multilateralism is working, but there remains a deficit in multilateral leadership among national political representatives. A more inclusive approach to multilateralism that brings together various stakeholders is needed in light of the critical debate on public goods vs private interests. 
    • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seek to tackle structural inequalities within and between states, but COVID-19 only underscores the lack of needed change across the board. Progress toward meeting the SDGs was off course before COVID-19, and in many cases, the pandemic has halted and even reversed progress on the 2030 Agenda. 
    • To address the myriad challenges highlighted by COVID-19 and the commitment to “build back better”, governments must feature the 2030 Agenda prominently and holistically in their recovery responses. Moreover, COVID-19 recovery must focus on green and sustainable measures. 
    • The post-COVID-19 world provides an opportunity to address unheeded structural problems, including inequality, even if the needs are great and action may be costly. 
    • COVID-19 has also shown that progressive taxation that addresses inequalities in wealth is fundamental for diminishing inequality and leaving no one behind. Civil society groups (including Indigenous Peoples and Trade Unions) should push the United Nations and its Member States to abandon austerity; fortunately, most states are stepping up and at least trying to provide some kind of stimulus to citizens. 
    • By actively engaging global civil society, the United Nation will also be encouraged to place human rights and global public goods at the center of its decision-making and programming. Given the private sector’s inherent limitations, the United Nations would be wise to not over-rely on it or to afford it undue influence. 
    • Leaving no one behind also means leaving no one offline. Digitalization needs to be stressed by governments at local and national levels. Now is the time to digitize all peoples. 
    • A fundamental question to help guide effective and equitable policy action is: “How do we involve everybodyin re-setting our strategy?” Progress will be constrained in rolling out the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Paris Climate Agreement, and the Sustainable Development Goals if local and international civil society organizations are not involved directly, including organizations for women, girls, and scholars. Civil society, including academia, can, for instance, help to advance the 2030 Agenda simply by bolstering the case for science. However, civic space around the world remains highly constrained. CIVICUS Monitor statistics reveal that 87% of the world’s population live in countries with adverse civic space conditions despite the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly being an inalienable part of international and constitutional law. The absence of civic space robs the ability of the vast majority of people to shape the decisions that impact their lives and undermines progress on Agenda 2030 commitments. 

    Major Recommendations: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms 

    • The UN’s Human Rights pillar is important to “leaving no one behind”, and in this regard, the Secretary-General’s Call to Action should be kept front and center. 
    • Effective SDGs implementation and sustainable recovery from COVID-19 require greater targeting and inclusion of marginalized groups in decision-making. 
    • Civil society (and not simply Member States) must also play an integral part in UN decision-making on assessing SDGs progress and addressing gaps in implementation. 
    • In May 2000, a Millennium People’s Forum was convened and proved to be extremely useful as diverse civil society representatives and other stakeholders debated UN policy issues and made concrete recommendations to the General Assembly. Such a major civil society and other stakeholders forum should be formalized and could occur every 2-3 years in the GA Hall and involve both the President of the General Assembly and Secretary-General. 
    • As co-facilitators of the review of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), Austria and Senegal are currently engaging UN Member States on how to make the HLPF more effective. Canada and Jamaica’s related work on improving financing for development (including matters such as debt management) are also critical to strengthening SDGs implementation. 
    • Leaving no one behind means: 1) accelerating access to equitable and affordable vaccines; 2) ensuring human rights (to combat growing infringement on civic freedoms and the spread of misinformation); and 3) strengthening the HLPF’s mandate. 
    • Changing the policy priorities of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Paris Climate Agreement, and the SDGs in silos will not help advance the goals each framework is committed to implementing. Rather, policy linkages between the three frameworks should be strengthened, public financing improved (e.g., a philanthropic institution, the Gates Foundation, should not serve as the WHO’s largest funder, although its support is appreciated), and the governance systems for implementing these frameworks should be innovated. 
    • The precursor to the HLPF, the Commission on Sustainable Development, did two things that were unique at the time: (1) reported on progress in implementing the 1992 Rio Earth Summit conventions and Agenda 21, and (2) tracked related public expenditure. The HLPF should fulfill similar functions, with the support of relevant stakeholders from civil society and other stakeholders, including the business community. An inclusive, multi-stakeholder approach is critical because diverse state and non-state actors are needed to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals on the ground; HLPF discussions, therefore, need to help facilitate and connect local and sub-national level actions with national, regional, and global-level policy discussions. 
    • To better deliver on Agenda 2030 the private sector needs to discharge its social responsibilities in upholding key commitments by, for example, supporting measures to address inequality, sustainable consumption and production, and respecting rule of law. To better deliver on the 2030 Agenda, the private sector needs more accountable platforms to report on issues and advances in support of the SDGs. 

    UN75 Declaration Commitment #12 - We will be prepared 

    Major Insights 

    • Today’s greatest moral test of multilateral cooperation is ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. Disagreements are widespread as to how to best curb excessive “vaccine nationalism” and improve equitable access to life-saving vaccines. 
    • Vaccines should be viewed as a global public good, and the upcoming World Health Assembly in Geneva should prioritize expanding access globally to COVID-19 vaccines, including through the ACT Accelerator initiative. The pandemic cannot be defeated without resilient health systems worldwide. 
    • During the present COVID-19 crisis, more traditional financing for development models has proven slow and insufficient to meet development needs around the world. 
    • To more efficiently link global public goods and development assistance financing models, better coordination across major socio-economic sectors is required globally. Moreover, to better fight future health pandemics, their prevention must be addressed simultaneously and in a multi-sectoral fashion at both national and global levels. 
    • The current pandemic reveals the need for more data (easily accessible at national/local levels) and closer collaboration among those engaged in vaccine production. 
    • More effort is also needed to mobilize and share global vaccine manufacturing and distribution capabilities worldwide. Some plurilateral agreements exist that, in effect, contribute to fragmented Research & Development and unequal access to vaccines in many parts of the globe. 
    • Debates continue about responsibility for the protection of intellectual property across borders but given what is at stake with respect to pandemic preparedness and broader health security measures, intellectual property and, for example, Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) need to be reconceptualized in order to bring about more equitable production and distribution of vaccines around the world. 
    • Scientists’ warning of new zoonotic diseases has not been incorporated into a global preparedness system that can then support regional and national institutions and operate as a kind of first line of defense against the spread of future deadly diseases. 
    • Local and international civil society organizations represent (though not exclusively) the voices of the people, and when they are encouraged to support multi-stakeholder partnerships with governments and the UN Secretariat, progressive coalitions for change can be forged in response to a particular global problem-set, such as health insecurity. 
    • Promoting effective health security goes hand-in-hand with building trust, and trust must be continuously nurtured to prepare for future health crises, especially if it is to help to combat widespread misinformation that can exacerbate health insecurity. 

    Major Recommendations: Policy, institutional, legal, normative, and operational reforms 

    • Investing in health-security preparedness should remain a policy priority and entail steps to improve TRIPS agreement implementation through the World Trade Organization. 
    • A strong and supportive international financial architecture is needed to help developing countries invest in health-security and to treat pandemic preparedness as a global public good for the benefit of all countries and peoples. 
    • Not everything can be left to the United Nations, which depends on health security interventions by the G20, WTO, and regional and sub-regional bodies. The global vaccination plan led by a combination of the G20, WHO, GAVI, CEPI, and the private sector is essential in R&D, distributing, and administering vaccines. Pharmaceuticals need to be mobilized, and the private sector has to play its part with full transparency to ensure proper and equitable vaccine distribution. The WHO-GAVI-CEPI and other partners COVAX facility needs to be funded fully and given other capabilities and the authorities to fulfill its central mission of building the manufacturing capabilities and purchasing vaccines, ahead of time so that some 2 billion doses of proven safe vaccines can be fairly distributed by the end of 2021. 
    • The pandemic’s economic repercussions have been felt most severely in developing countries. In order to prevent the present global public health crisis from precipitating a sustained global economic crisis, post-vaccine economic recovery must be managed carefully, coordinated across countries and regions, and include a mix of economic tools, including strategic investments and debt forgiveness. 
    • Many developing countries facing knock-on socioeconomic effects from the COVID-19 pandemic became even more dependent on (relatively scarce and slow) international development assistance. More reliable public financing (especially for financing at scale) is needed urgently. Moreover, to respond more quickly to health and broader socioeconomic emergencies, a faster release of funds is necessary. 
    • In terms of one possible new and major source of development financing, the IMF argues that a carbon tax could generate much-needed public revenue equivalent to 2 percent of a country’s GDP. However, at the same time, one cannot ignore that some countries are spending upwards of 5 percent of GDP to subsidize energy. In short, much more could be done in both poor and rich countries alike within existing national resources. 

    Participant List 

    • Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia and Co-Chair, The Elders 
    • Tom Brookes, Policy Advisor, The Elders 
    • Sara Burke, Senior Policy Analyst, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York 
    • Erich Cripton, Principal Advisor to the Representative, Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations 
    • Ambassador María Bassols Delgado, Deputy Permanent Representative of Spain, Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations 
    • Felix Dodds, Adjunct Professor, University of North Carolina 
    • Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs, The New School 
    • Ambassador Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Head, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations 
    • Nick Hartmann, Director of the Partnerships Group, United Nations Development Program 
    • Aditi Haté, Project Manager for Our Common Agenda, Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations 
    • Oli Henman, Global Coordinator, Action for Sustainable Development 
    • Ambassador Samson Itegboje, Former Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations 
    • Vincent Jechoux, Head of Climate and Development Unit, Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations 7 
    • Ambassador Inga Rhonda King, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations 
    • Keisuke Kodama, Counsellor at the Economic Section, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations 
    • Augusto Lopez-Claros, Chair, Global Governance Forum 
    • Nuno Mathias, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations 
    • Ambassador Michal Mlynár, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Slovakia to the United Nations 
    • Daisy Owomugasho, Regional Director for East Africa, The Hunger Project 
    • Cristina Petcu, Research Analyst, Stimson Center 
    • Marcel Pieper, Senior Advisor, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations 
    • Richard Ponzio, Director and Senior Fellow, Stimson Center 
    • Ambassador Adela Raz, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations 
    • Megan Roberts, Director of Policy Planning, United Nations Foundation 
    • Edna Ramirez Robles, Professor of International Law, Unversidad de Guadalajara 
    • Marlene D. Ramirez, Secretary General, Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas 
    • Amélie Rioux, Technical Officer, Secretariat of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board at the World Health Organization 
    • Julia Sanchez, Secretary General, Action Aid International 
    • María Antonieta Socorro Jáquez Huacuja, Political Coordinator, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations 
    • Alexandre Stutzmann, Special Adviser on UN75 Strategy and Implementation, General Assembly of the United Nations 
    • Mandeep Tiwana, Chief Programmes Officer, CIVICUS 
    • Marilou Uy, Director of the Secretariat, Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development 
    • Jukka Välimaa, First Secretary of the Fifth Committee, Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations 
    • Zach Vertin, Senior Advisor, Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations 
    • Fergus Watt, Executive Director, World Federalists Movement—Canada 

     

  • G20 : des centaines d'organisations de la société civile s'engagent à rejeter le processus mené par l'Arabie saoudite

    بالعربية

    Plus de 220 organisations de la société civile du monde entier ont fait part de leurs préoccupations concernant le processus d'engagement de la société civile du G20 organisé par et en Arabie saoudite en 2020. Les organisations se sont engagées à ne pas participer au processus de cette année, connu sous le nom de Civil 20 ou "C20", le flux de réunions dédié à la société civile au sein du G20.

    Les organisations ont approuvé une déclaration, initialement publiée en janvier 2020, qui se lit en partie comme suit:

    "Au lieu d’engager une véritable réforme, le gouvernement saoudien cherche à camoufler son bilan désastreux en termes de droits humains en organisant de grands événements internationaux dans le pays. Cela inclut le G20 et, par l’intermédiaire d’une ONG avalisée par le gouvernement, le C20. En tant qu’organisations majeures de la société civile présentes dans la plupart des pays du globe – mais, fait notable, pas en Arabie saoudite – nous ne pouvons participer à un processus qui cherche à conférer une légitimité internationale à un État n’offrant quasiment aucune place à la société civile et ne tolérant pas les voix indépendantes."

    Delia Ferreira Rubio, présidente de Transparency International, a déclaré "La société civile offre au G20 des recommandations politiques d'experts indépendants pour promouvoir le développement durable et améliorer la vie de milliards de personnes. Le G20 doit s'engager sérieusement à garantir un engagement efficace de la société civile, où toutes les voix indépendantes ont la même valeur. Nous continuons à travailler avec nos partenaires pour trouver des moyens d'apporter cette expertise au G20, mais nous ne participerons pas à un processus qui vise à blanchir le bilan épouvantable de l'Arabie saoudite en matière de droits de l'homme et de société civile indépendante".

    Netsanet Belay, directrice de la recherche et du plaidoyer d'Amnesty International, a déclaré : " Il est grand temps que les autorités saoudiennes prennent des mesures significatives pour mettre fin aux arrestations arbitraires, à la torture et aux procès inéquitables, et pour mettre fin au recours généralisé à la peine de mort. Nous espérons que les dizaines de défenseurs des droits de l'homme et des droits des femmes derrière les barreaux - tels que Waleed Abu al-Khair, Loujain al-Hathloul, Raif Badawi, Samar Badawi et Naseema al-Sada - tireront profit de cet acte de solidarité de la part de tant d'organisations du monde entier qui ne sont pas prêtes à permettre que le bilan effroyable de l'Arabie saoudite en matière de droits de l'homme soit blanchi. Il serait encore mieux qu'elles soient libérées immédiatement et sans condition afin qu'elles puissent s'engager de manière significative avec leur gouvernement dans l'élaboration de lois et de politiques conformes aux droits de l'homme dans leur pays et à l'étranger - y compris en relation avec le G20".

    Lysa John, secrétaire générale de CIVICUS, a déclaré : "Les autorités saoudiennes ont rendu pratiquement impossible le fonctionnement des défenseurs des droits de l'homme et des organisations de la société civile. L'Arabie Saoudite ne tolère pas la liberté d'expression et des dizaines de défenseurs et d'activistes des droits de l'homme sont en prison ou en exil. Nous refusons de nous engager dans le C20 dirigé par l'Arabie Saoudite car nous pensons que les militants et les organisations indépendantes de la société civile ne pourront pas participer librement à ce processus".

     

    Liste des organisations soutenant la déclaration à la date du 20 mars 2020 :

    A Common Future

    Cameroun

    Association Catholique pour la Protection de l'Environnement au Burundi (ACAPE BURUNDI)

    Burundi

    Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR)

    Liban

    Action for Pastoralists Integrated Resilience

    Kenya

    Adilisha Child, Youth Development and Family Preservation

    Tanzanie

    Advance Center for Peace and Credibility International

    Nigeria

    Association for Farmers Rights Defense (AFRD)

    Géorgie

    Africa Rise Foundation

    Zimbabwe

    African Youth Peer Review Committee (AYPRC)

    Liberia

    African Youth Union Commission

    Nigeria

    Association Aide aux Familles et Victimes des Migrations Clandestines (AFVMC)

    Cameroun

    Association pour l'Integration et le Developpement Durable au Burundi (AIDB Burundi)

    Burundi

    Alcondoms Cameroun

    Cameroun

    Alliance des Défenseurs des Droits Humains et de l'Environnement au Tchad

    Tchad

    ALQST

    Royaume-Uni

    AL-Shafaa Organisation

    Irak

    Amagugu International Heritage Center

    Zimbabwe

    Angels in the Field

    Inde

    Anqad Association for Development and Social Welfare

    Maroc

    Ark Wellness Hub Uganda

    Ouganda

    Action pour le Respect et la Protection de l'Environnement (ARPE)

    Cameroun

    Asociacion Alfalit Guatemala

    Guatemala

    Aspafrique-Jics

    Suisse

    Association Sauvons la vie, de l'eau potable pour tous (ASSAUVET)

    Cameroun

    Association de Lutte contre le Chomage et la Torture (ALUCHOTO)

    Burundi

    Association des Amis de la Nature

    Burundi

    Association For Promotion Sustainable Development

    Inde

    Association les Amis du Verbe

    Maroc

    Association of the Prodigy Youth for the Sustainable Development

    République Centrafricaine

    Association of Working Children and Youths

    Bénin

    Aware Girls

    Pakistan

    Bina Foundation

    Nigeria

    Bonabo United

    Cameroun

    BRIDGE Foundation

    Bangladesh

    Brother's Keeper

    Nigeria

    Bunjakko Modern Farm Limited

    Ouganda

    Bureau d'Informations, Formations, Échanges et Recherches pour le Développement (BIFERD)

    République démocratique du Congo

    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

    Egypte

    Calvin Ong'era

    Kenya

    Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture

    Canada

    Canadian Council for International Co-operation 

    Canada

    Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

    Canada

    Center for Constitutional Governance

    Etats-Unis

    Center for Development of Civil Society

    Arménie

    Centre for Law and Democracy

    Canada

    Centre de Recherche sur l'Anticorruption

    République démocratique du Congo

    Centre for Legal Support

    Gambie

    Centre for Media and Development Communication (CEMEDEC)

    Nigeria

    Centre for Social Policy Develoment

    Pakistan

    Community Initiative for Social Empowerment (CISE)

    Malawi

    Children on the Edge 

    Royaume-Uni

    Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic 

    Canada

    Civil Society in Development (CISU)

    Danemark

    Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG)

    Kenya

    Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution

    Nigeria

    Coalition of Youth Organizations (SEGA)

    Macédoine

    Collectif de Développement et Respect de la Dignité Humaine (CODDHU)

    République démocratique du Congo

    CODENET

    Cameroun

    Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)

    Cambodge

    Commonwealth Society of Nigeria

    Nigeria

    Community Health Education Sports Initiative Zambia

    Zambie

    Community Youth Initiatives Liberia Inc

    Liberia

    Consultando Soluciones REcosrec

    Venezuela

    Coalition d'organisations volontaires et solidaires pour des actions de développement communautaire (COSAD)

    Bénin

    Corruption Watch 

    Afrique du Sud

    Curtis Business

    République démocratique du Congo

    Democracy Without Borders

    Allemagne

    Denis Miki Foundation

    Cameroun

    Dhankuta Municipality

    Népal

    Diálogo de Mujeres por la Democracia

    Nicaragua

    Dominion Empowerment Solutions

    Kenya

    Dytech - OutGrow It

    Zambie

    Edutech for Africa

    Nigeria

    EnlacesXSustentabilidad

    El Salvador

    Enoch Adeyemi Foundation

    Nigeria

    Equality Now

    Etats-Unis

    Fédération Internationale des Entrepreneurs et ou Etudiants Africains d'Affaires (FIEAA)

    Guinée

    Front Commun pour la Protection de l'Environnement et des Espaces Protégés (FCPEEP)

    République démocratique du Congo

    Fellowship for Community Enlightenment (FCE)

    Ouganda

    Federación Nacional de Personerías de Colombia (FENALPER)

    Colombie

    FINESTE

    Haïti

    Focus Youth Forum (FYF)

    Ouganda

    Freedom Now

    Etats-Unis

    Fund Our Future

    Afrique du Sud

    Fundación Integral para el Desarrollo Regional (FINDER)

    El Salvador

    Fundación Selva Sagrada

    Equateur

    Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables (FUNDEPS)

    Argentine

    Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana

    Panama 

    Futur Radieux

    Togo

    Gatef Organization

    Egypte

    Geospatial Organization

    Tanzanie

    Germany Zimbabwe Forum

    Allemagne

    Ghana Association of Private Voluntary Organisations in Development

    Ghana

    Give Hope Uganda

    Ouganda

    Global Network for Sustainable Development

    Nigeria

    Global Witness

    Royaume-Uno

    Global Shapers Castries Hub

    Saine-Lucie

    Globalpeace Chain

    Kenya

    Gram Bharati Samiti

    Inde

    Gulf Centre for Human Rights

    Moyen-Orient

    Gutu United Residents and Ratepayers Association (GURRA)

    Zimbabwe

    HAKI Africa

    Kenya

    Hands of External Love Program

    Liberia

    Hannibal Entertainment Visual Studio Production

    Nigeria

    Hitesh BHATT

    Inde

    HOPE Worldwide-Pakistan

    Nouvelle-Zélande

    Human Rights First 

    International

    Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa

    Canada

    Human Rights Watch

    Etats-Unis

    Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo (ICD)

    Uruguay

    India Media Centre

    Inde

    Individual

    Pakistan

    Initiative de Gestion Civile des Crises (IGC)

    Burundi

    Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution

    Nigeria

    Instituto para el Futuro Común Amerindio (IFCA)

    Honduras

    International Center for Accelerated Development

    Nigeria

    International Development Opportunity Initiative

    Ghana

    International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA Nigeria

    Nigeria

    International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

    Suisse

    International Student Environmental Coalition

    Cameroun

    Interregional Public Charitable Organization of Assistance to Persons with Disabilities Sail of Hope

    Russie

    Jeunesse Assistance

    Niger

    Justice  Access Point

    Ouganda

    Justice Initiative for the Disadvantaged and Oppressed Persons (JIDOP)

    Nigeria

    JVBC

    Etats-Unis

    Key populations Uganda

    Ouganda

    Konstitusiya Arasdırmalar Fondu

    Azerbaïdjan

    Vulnerable People's Development Organization (KOTHOWAIN)

    Bangladesh

    Kurdistan Without Genocide

    Irak

    Kuza Livelihood Improovement Projects

    Kenya

    Laxman Belbase - Individual

    Népal

    The Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO)

    Botswana

    Leila Oguntayo

    Tunisie

    Liberia Media Center

    Liberia

    Local Communities Development Initiative

    Nigeria

    Makerere University Uganda

    Ouganda

    Malawi Human Rights Defenders Coalition

    Malawi

    Mama leah Fondation

    Kenya

    Moabite Indigenous Nation Trust

    Etats-Unis

    Morya Samajik Pratishthan

    Inde

    Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM)

    Cameroun

    Mzimba Youth Organization

    Malawi

    Narayana

    Inde

    National Sudanese Women Association

    Soudan

    Network of Estonian Non-profit Organizations

    Estonie

    New Owerri Youth Organisation

    Nigeria

    Nobel Women's Initiative

    Canada

    One More Salary

    Tanzanie

    ONG Les Batisseurs

    Etats-Unis

    Organization of the Justice Campaign

    Irak

    ORUD

    République démocratique du Congo

    Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity Network

    Fidji

    Pakistan NGOs Forum

    Pakistan

    Palestinian Center for Communication and Development Strategies

    Palestine

    Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA)

    Palestine

    Parent-Child Intervention Centre

    Nigeria

    Participatory Research Action Network (PRAN)

    Bangladesh

    Peaceful and Active Centre for Humanity (PEACH)

    Pakistan

    PEN International

    Royaume-Uni

    Primadent Initiative for Oral Health

    Nigeria

    Public Organization Youth House

    Tadjikistan

    Rainbow Pride Foundation

    Fidji

    Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko

    République démocratique du Congo

    Real Agenda For Youth Transformation

    Zimbabwe

    Red Global de Acción Juvenil (GYAN)

    Mexique

    Richard Bennett

    Royaume-Uni

    Rural Initiatives in Sustainability & Empowerment (RISE)

    Pakistan

    Rideau Institute

    Canada

    Rising Generation for Youth Organization

    Nigeria

    Réseau Nigérien des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (RNDDH)

    Niger

    Role Model Zambia

    Zambie

    Sauti ya Haki Tanzania

    Tanzanie

    Self

    Norvège

    Shanduko Yeupenyu Child Care

    Zimbabwe

    Sierra Leone School Green Clubs

    Sierra Leone

    Social Watch Benin

    Bénin

    Society for Development and Research

    Pakistan

    Society for Rural Women and Youth Development

    Nigeria

    South Sudan Community Change Agency

    Sud Soudan

    Street Youth Connection Sierra Leone (SYC-SL)

    Sierra Leone

    Success Capital Organisation

    Botswana

    Sudda Changing Lives Foundation

    Ghana

    Synergy of experts on environment and sustainable development

    Burkina Faso

    TATU Project

    Tanzanie

    Human Rights Defenders Network (ACPDH)

    Burundi

    The Rock Shalom

    Kenya

    The Social Science Centre for African Development (KUTAFITI)

    République démocratique du Congo

    The Young Republic

    Suède

    The Tax Justice Network 

    Royaume-Uni

    The Youth Voice of SA

    Afrique du Sud

    Tochukwu Anyadike

    Nigeria

    Transparency International Australia

    Australie

    Transparency International Bangladesh

    Bangladesh

    Transparencia por Colombia

    Colombie

    Transparency International EU

    Belgique

    Transparency International Kazakhstan

    Kazakhstan

    Transparency International Uganda 

    Ouganda

    Transparency International Ukraine

    Ukraine

    Transparency International Pakistan

    Pakistan

    Union des Frères pour Alternatif du Developpement Intégré (UFADI)

    Haïti

    Uganda Youth Guidance and Development Association

    Ouganda

    Ugonma Foundation

    Nigeria

    Ukana West 2 Community Based Health Initiative

    Nigeria

    Union for the Promotion, Defense of Human Rights and the Environment-UPDDHE.GL

    République démocratique du Congo

    Vanuatu Association of Non-Government Organisation

    Vanuatu

    VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM - The World is One Family

    Inde

    Veille Citoyenne

    Togo

    Vijana Hope

    République démocratique du Congo

    Volunteers Hub Liberia

    Liberia

    Volunteers Welfare for Community Based Care of Zambia (VOWAZA)

    Zambie

    WDC Somalia

    Somalie

    We Lead Intergrated Foundation

    Cameroun

    Women Empowerment Group (WEG)

    Kenya

    Women United to Fight Sexual Violence in Liberia (WOUFSVIL)

    Liberia

    Women's March Global

    Etats-Unis

    World Youth Union SL

    Sierra Leone

    WorldEat

    Ghana

    WORLDLITE

    Cote D'Ivoire

    Yole Africa

    République démocratique du Congo

    Young League Pakistan

    Pakistan

    Youth Advocates for Change

    Zambie

    Youth For Change

    Nigeria

    Youth for Development Network

    Liberia

    Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation)

    Népal

    Youth for Future 2006

    Roumanie

    Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana

    Ghana

    Youth Leadership Initiative for Social Justice

    Nigeria

    YOUTHAID

    Liberia

    Zambian Governance Foundation for Civil Society

    Zambie

    Zimbabwe Climate Change Coalition

    Zimbabwe

     

  • G20: Cientos de organizaciones de la sociedad civil se comprometen a evitar el proceso liderado por Arabia Saudita

    Más de 220 organizaciones de la sociedad civil de todo el mundo han expresado su preocupación por el proceso de participación de la sociedad civil en el G20 2020, que estará auspiciado por Arabia Saudí y tendrá lugar allí. Las organizaciones se han comprometido a no participar en el proceso de este año, conocido como "Civil 20" o "C20", el canal de reuniones dedicadas a la sociedad civil dentro del G20. 

    Las organizaciones adhirieron a un comunicado, originalmente publicado en Enero de 2020, que dice en una  parte:

    “ En vez de una reforma real, lo que intenta hacer el gobierno saudí es blanquear su terrible historial en materia de derechos humanos con la celebración de grandes eventos internacionales en el país. Entre ellos figuran el G-20 y, por medio de una ONG autorizada por el gobierno, el C-20. Como organizaciones de la sociedad civil presentes en la mayoría de los países del mundo (pero en absoluto en Arabia Saudí), no podemos participar en un proceso con el que se intenta dar legitimidad internacional a un Estado donde la sociedad civil no tiene prácticamente cabida ni se toleran sus voces independientes. “

    Delia Ferreira Rubio, Presidente de Transparencia Internacional afirmó: “La sociedad civil ofrece al G20 recomendaciones  independientes y específicas para promover el desarrollo sostenible y mejorar la vida de miles de millones de personas. El G20 debe ser serio en cuanto a la participación de sociedad civil en el proceso y asegurar que todas las voces independientes tengan la misma importancia. Seguimos trabajando con nuestros colegas para encontrar formas de aportar esta experiencia al G20, pero no participaremos en un proceso que pretende lavar el espantoso historial de Arabia Saudita en materia de derechos humanos y de sociedad civil independiente.”

    Netsanet Belay, Director de Investigación e Incidencia en Amnistía Internacional sostuvo: “Ya es hora de que las autoridades de Arabia Saudita tomen medidas significativas para poner fin a las detenciones arbitrarias, la tortura y los juicios injustos, y para poner fin a su extendida aplicación de la pena de muerte. Esperamos que las docenas de defensores y defensoras de los derechos humanos y  activistas por los derechos de la mujer que se encuentran entre rejas, tales como Waleed Abu al-Khair, Loujain al-Hathloul, Raif Badawi, Samar Badawi and Naseema al-Sada, ganen fuerza con este acto de solidaridad de tantas organizaciones de la sociedad civil de todo el mundo que no están dispuestas a permitir que se encubra el espantoso historial de derechos humanos del país. Incluso mejor sería su liberación inmediata e incondicional para que puedan colaborar de manera significativa con su gobierno en la elaboración de leyes y políticas que respeten los derechos humanos en el país y en el extranjero, incluso en relación con el G20".

    Lysa John, Secretaria General de CIVICUS, declaró: “Las autoridades de Arabia Saudita han hecho prácticamente imposible que los defensores y las defensoras de los derechos humanos y las organizaciones de la sociedad civil puedan operar. Arabia Saudita no tolera la libertad de expresión y decenas de defensores y defensoras  de los derechos humanos y activistas están en la cárcel o en el exilio. Nos negamos a participar en el C20 dirigido por Arabia Saudita porque creemos que los activistas y las organizaciones independientes de la sociedad civil no podrán participar libremente en este proceso.”  

    Listado de organizaciones que adhirieron al comunicado al 20 de Marzo de 2020:

     

    A Common Future

    Cameroon

    Association Catholique pour la Protection de l'Environnement au Burundi (ACAPE BURUNDI)

    Burundi

    Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR)

    Lebanon

    Action for Pastoralists Integrated Resilience

    Kenya

    Adilisha Child, Youth Development and Family Preservation

    Tanzania

    Advance Center for Peace and Credibility International

    Nigeria

    Association for Farmers Rights Defense (AFRD)

    Georgia

    Africa Rise Foundation

    Zimbabwe

    African Youth Peer Review Committee (AYPRC)

    Liberia

    African Youth Union Commission

    Nigeria

    Association Aide aux Familles et Victimes des Migrations Clandestines (AFVMC)

    Cameroon

    Association pour l'Integration et le Developpement Durable au Burundi (AIDB Burundi)

    Burundi

    Alcondoms Cameroun

    Cameroon

    Alliance des Défenseurs des Droits Humains et de l'Environnement au Tchad

    Chad

    ALQST

    UK

    AL-Shafaa Organisation

    Iraq

    Amagugu International Heritage Center

    Zimbabwe

    Angels in the Field

    India

    Anqad Association for Development and Social Welfare

    Morocco

    Ark Wellness Hub Uganda

    Uganda

    Action pour le Respect et la Protection de l'Environnement (ARPE)

    Cameroon

    Asociacion Alfalit Guatemala

    Guatemala

    Aspafrique-Jics

    Switzerland

    Association Sauvons la vie, de l'eau potable pour tous (ASSAUVET)

    Cameroon

    Association de Lutte contre le Chomage et la Torture (ALUCHOTO)

    Burundi

    Association des Amis de la Nature

    Burundi

    Association For Promotion Sustainable Development

    India

    Association les Amis du Verbe

    Morocco

    Association of the Prodigy Youth for the Sustainable Development

    Central African Republic

    Association of Working Children and Youths

    Benin

    Aware Girls

    Pakistan

    Bina Foundation

    Nigeria

    Bonabo United

    Cameroon

    BRIDGE Foundation

    Bangladesh

    Brother's Keeper

    Nigeria

    Bunjakko Modern Farm Limited

    Uganda

    Bureau d'Informations, Formations, Échanges et Recherches pour le Développement (BIFERD)

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

    Egypt

    Calvin Ong'era

    Kenya

    Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture

    Canada

    Canadian Council for International Co-operation 

    Canada

    Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

    Canada

    Center for Constitutional Governance

    USA

    Center for Development of Civil Society

    Armenia

    Centre for Law and Democracy

    Canada

    Centre de Recherche sur l'Anticorruption

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Centre for Legal Support

    Gambia

    Centre for Media and Development Communication (CEMEDEC)

    Nigeria

    Centre for Social Policy Develoment

    Pakistan

    Community Initiative for Social Empowerment (CISE)

    Malawi

    Children on the Edge 

    UK

    Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic 

    Canada

    Civil Society in Development (CISU)

    Denmark

    Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG)

    Kenya

    Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution

    Nigeria

    Coalition of Youth Organizations (SEGA)

    Macedonia

    Collectif de Développement et Respect de la Dignité Humaine (CODDHU)

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    CODENET

    Cameroon

    Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)

    Cambodia

    Commonwealth Society of Nigeria

    Nigeria

    Community Health Education Sports Initiative Zambia

    Zambia

    Community Youth Initiatives Liberia Inc

    Liberia

    Consultando Soluciones REcosrec

    Venezuela

    Coalition d'organisations volontaires et solidaires pour des actions de développement communautaire (COSAD)

    Benin

    Corruption Watch 

    South Africa 

    Curtis Business

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Democracy Without Borders

    Germany

    Denis Miki Foundation

    Cameroon

    Dhankuta Municipality

    Nepal

    Diálogo de Mujeres por la Democracia

    Nicaragua

    Dominion Empowerment Solutions

    Kenya

    Dytech - OutGrow It

    Zambia

    Edutech for Africa

    Nigeria

    EnlacesXSustentabilidad

    El Salvador

    Enoch Adeyemi Foundation

    Nigeria

    Equality Now

    USA

    Fédération Internationale des Entrepreneurs et ou Etudiants Africains d'Affaires (FIEAA)

    Guinea

    Front Commun pour la Protection de l'Environnement et des Espaces Protégés (FCPEEP)

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Fellowship for Community Enlightenment (FCE)

    Uganda

    Federación Nacional de Personerías de Colombia (FENALPER)

    Colombia

    FINESTE

    Haiti

    Focus Youth Forum (FYF)

    Uganda

    Freedom Now

    USA

    Fund Our Future

    South Africa

    Fundación Integral para el Desarrollo Regional (FINDER)

    El Salvador

    Fundación Selva Sagrada

    Ecuador

    Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables (FUNDEPS)

    Argentina

    Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana

    Panama 

    Futur Radieux

    Togo

    Gatef Organization

    Egypt

    Geospatial Organization

    Tanzania

    Germany Zimbabwe Forum

    Germany

    Ghana Association of Private Voluntary Organisations in Development

    Ghana

    Give Hope Uganda

    Uganda

    Global Network for Sustainable Development

    Nigeria

    Global Witness

    UK

    Global Shapers Castries Hub

    Saint Lucia

    Globalpeace Chain

    Kenya

    Gram Bharati Samiti

    India

    Gulf Centre for Human Rights

    Middle East

    Gutu United Residents and Ratepayers Association (GURRA)

    Zimbabwe

    HAKI Africa

    Kenya

    Hands of External Love Program

    Liberia

    Hannibal Entertainment Visual Studio Production

    Nigeria

    Hitesh BHATT

    India

    HOPE Worldwide-Pakistan

    New Zealand

    Human Rights First 

    International

    Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa

    Canada

    Human Rights Watch

    USA

    Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo (ICD)

    Uruguay

    India Media Centre

    India

    Individual

    Pakistan

    Initiative de Gestion Civile des Crises (IGC)

    Burundi

    Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution

    Nigeria

    Instituto para el Futuro Común Amerindio (IFCA)

    Honduras

    International Center for Accelerated Development

    Nigeria

    International Development Opportunity Initiative

    Ghana

    International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA Nigeria

    Nigeria

    International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

    Switzerland

    International Student Environmental Coalition

    Cameroon

    Interregional Public Charitable Organization of Assistance to Persons with Disabilities Sail of Hope

    Russia

    Jeunesse Assistance

    Niger

    Justice  Access Point

    Uganda

    Justice Initiative for the Disadvantaged and Oppressed Persons (JIDOP)

    Nigeria

    JVBC

    United States of America

    Key populations Uganda

    Uganda

    Konstitusiya Arasdırmalar Fondu

    Azerbaijan

    Vulnerable People's Development Organization (KOTHOWAIN)

    Bangladesh

    Kurdistan Without Genocide

    Iraq

    Kuza Livelihood Improovement Projects

    Kenya

    Laxman Belbase - Individual

    Nepal

    The Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO)

    Botswana

    Leila Oguntayo

    Tunisia

    Liberia Media Center

    Liberia

    Local Communities Development Initiative

    Nigeria

    Makerere University Uganda

    Uganda

    Malawi Human Rights Defenders Coalition

    Malawi

    Mama leah Fondation

    Kenya

    Moabite Indigenous Nation Trust

    United States of America

    Morya Samajik Pratishthan

    India

    Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM)

    Cameroon

    Mzimba Youth Organization

    Malawi

    Narayana

    India

    National Sudanese Women Association

    Sudan

    Network of Estonian Non-profit Organizations

    Estonia

    New Owerri Youth Organisation

    Nigeria

    Nobel Women's Initiative

    Canada

    One More Salary

    Tanzania

    ONG Les Batisseurs

    United States of America

    Organization of the Justice Campaign

    Iraq

    ORUD

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity Network

    Fiji

    Pakistan NGOs Forum

    Pakistan

    Palestinian Center for Communication and Development Strategies

    Palestine

    Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA)

    Palestine

    Parent-Child Intervention Centre

    Nigeria

    Participatory Research Action Network (PRAN)

    Bangladesh

    Peaceful and Active Centre for Humanity (PEACH)

    Pakistan

    PEN International

    UK

    Primadent Initiative for Oral Health

    Nigeria

    Public Organization Youth House

    Tajikistan

    Rainbow Pride Foundation

    Fiji

    Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Real Agenda For Youth Transformation

    Zimbabwe

    Red Global de Acción Juvenil (GYAN)

    Mexico

    Richard Bennett

    United Kingdom

    Rural Initiatives in Sustainability & Empowerment (RISE)

    Pakistan

    Rideau Institute

    Canada

    Rising Generation for Youth Organization

    Nigeria

    Réseau Nigérien des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (RNDDH)

    Niger

    Role Model Zambia

    Zambia

    Sauti ya Haki Tanzania

    Tanzania

    Self

    Norway

    Shanduko Yeupenyu Child Care

    Zimbabwe

    Sierra Leone School Green Clubs

    Sierra Leone

    Social Watch Benin

    Benin

    Society for Development and Research

    Pakistan

    Society for Rural Women and Youth Development

    Nigeria

    South Sudan Community Change Agency

    South Sudan

    Street Youth Connection Sierra Leone (SYC-SL)

    Sierra Leone

    Success Capital Organisation

    Botswana

    Sudda Changing Lives Foundation

    Ghana

    Synergy of experts on environment and sustainable development

    Burkina Faso

    TATU Project

    Tanzania

    Human Rights Defenders Network (ACPDH)

    Burundi

    The Rock Shalom

    Kenya

    The Social Science Centre for African Development (KUTAFITI)

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    The Young Republic

    Sweden

    The Tax Justice Network 

    UK

    The Youth Voice of SA

    South Africa

    Tochukwu Anyadike

    Nigeria

    Transparency International Australia

    Australia

    Transparency International Bangladesh

    Bangladesh

    Transparencia por Colombia

    Colombia

    Transparency International EU

    Belgium

    Transparency International Kazakhstan

    Kazakhstan

    Transparency International Uganda 

    Uganda

    Transparency International Ukraine

    Ukraine

    Transparency International Pakistan

    Pakistan

    Union des Frères pour Alternatif du Developpement Intégré (UFADI)

    Haiti

    Uganda Youth Guidance and Development Association

    Uganda

    Ugonma Foundation

    Nigeria

    Ukana West 2 Community Based Health Initiative

    Nigeria

    Union for the Promotion, Defense of Human Rights and the Environment-UPDDHE.GL

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Vanuatu Association of Non-Government Organisation

    Vanuatu

    VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM - The World is One Family

    India

    Veille Citoyenne

    Togo

    Vijana Hope

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Volunteers Hub Liberia

    Liberia

    Volunteers Welfare for Community Based Care of Zambia (VOWAZA)

    Zambia

    WDC Somalia

    Somalia

    We Lead Intergrated Foundation

    Cameroon

    Women Empowerment Group (WEG)

    Kenya

    Women United to Fight Sexual Violence in Liberia (WOUFSVIL)

    Liberia

    Women's March Global

    United States of America

    World Youth Union SL

    Sierra Leone

    WorldEat

    Ghana

    WORLDLITE

    Cote D'Ivoire

    Yole Africa

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Young League Pakistan

    Pakistan

    Youth Advocates for Change

    Zambia

    Youth For Change

    Nigeria

    Youth for Development Network

    Liberia

    Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation)

    Nepal

    Youth for Future 2006

    Romania

    Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana

    Ghana

    Youth Leadership Initiative for Social Justice

    Nigeria

    YOUTHAID

    Liberia

    Zambian Governance Foundation for Civil Society

    Zambia

    Zimbabwe Climate Change Coalition

    Zimbabwe

     

  • G20: Hundreds of civil society organisations pledge to avoid Saudi Arabia-led process

    بالعربية

    More than 220 civil society organizations from around the world have  voiced their concerns over the G20 civil society engagement process hosted by and in Saudi Arabia in 2020. The organizations have pledged not to participate in this year’s process, known as the Civil 20 or ‘C20’, the dedicated stream of meetings for civil society within the G20.

    The organisations endorsed a statement, originally published in January 2020, that reads in part:

    “Instead of real reform, the Saudi government has been trying to whitewash its dire human rights record by holding major international events in the country. This includes the G20 and – through a government-authorized NGO – the C20. As leading civil society organisations present in most countries around the world (but notably not Saudi Arabia), we cannot participate in a process that seeks to give international legitimacy to a state that provides virtually no space for civil society, and where independent civil society voices are not tolerated.”

    Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International, said: “Civil society offers the G20 independent, expert policy recommendations to promote sustainable development and improve the lives of billions of people. The G20 must be serious about ensuring an effective civil society engagement where all independent voices have equal standing. We continue to work with our partners to find ways of bringing this expertise to the G20, but will not participate in a process that seeks to launder Saudi Arabia’s appalling record on human rights and independent civil society.”

    Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Advocacy, said: “It’s high time for the Saudi Arabian authorities to take meaningful steps to end arbitrary arrests, torture, and unfair trials, and to end its widespread resort to the death penalty. We hope that the dozens of human rights defenders and women’s rights activists behind bars - such as Waleed Abu al-Khair, Loujain al-Hathloul, Raif Badawi, Samar Badawi and Naseema al-Sada - gain strength from this act of solidarity by so many organizations worldwide who are not prepared to allow Saudi Arabia’s appalling human rights record to be whitewashed. Even better would be their immediate and unconditional release so that they can engage meaningfully with their government on developing human rights compliant laws and policies at home and abroad – including in relation to the G20”.

    Lysa John, Secretary-General, CIVICUS, stated “The Saudi authorities have made it virtually impossible for human rights defenders and civil society organisations to operate. Saudi Arabia does not tolerate freedom of speech and scores of human rights defenders and activists are in jail or exile. We refuse to engage in the Saudi-led C20 because we believe that activists and independent civil society organisations will not be able to freely participate in this process.”  

     

    List of organizations endorsing the statement as of 20th March 2020:

    A Common Future

    Cameroon

    Association Catholique pour la Protection de l'Environnement au Burundi (ACAPE BURUNDI)

    Burundi

    Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR)

    Lebanon

    Action for Pastoralists Integrated Resilience

    Kenya

    Adilisha Child, Youth Development and Family Preservation

    Tanzania

    Advance Center for Peace and Credibility International

    Nigeria

    Association for Farmers Rights Defense (AFRD)

    Georgia

    Africa Rise Foundation

    Zimbabwe

    African Youth Peer Review Committee (AYPRC)

    Liberia

    African Youth Union Commission

    Nigeria

    Association Aide aux Familles et Victimes des Migrations Clandestines (AFVMC)

    Cameroon

    Association pour l'Integration et le Developpement Durable au Burundi (AIDB Burundi)

    Burundi

    Alcondoms Cameroun

    Cameroon

    Alliance des Défenseurs des Droits Humains et de l'Environnement au Tchad

    Chad

    ALQST

    UK

    AL-Shafaa Organisation

    Iraq

    Amagugu International Heritage Center

    Zimbabwe

    Angels in the Field

    India

    Anqad Association for Development and Social Welfare

    Morocco

    Ark Wellness Hub Uganda

    Uganda

    Action pour le Respect et la Protection de l'Environnement (ARPE)

    Cameroon

    Asociacion Alfalit Guatemala

    Guatemala

    Aspafrique-Jics

    Switzerland

    Association Sauvons la vie, de l'eau potable pour tous (ASSAUVET)

    Cameroon

    Association de Lutte contre le Chomage et la Torture (ALUCHOTO)

    Burundi

    Association des Amis de la Nature

    Burundi

    Association For Promotion Sustainable Development

    India

    Association les Amis du Verbe

    Morocco

    Association of the Prodigy Youth for the Sustainable Development

    Central African Republic

    Association of Working Children and Youths

    Benin

    Aware Girls

    Pakistan

    Bina Foundation

    Nigeria

    Bonabo United

    Cameroon

    BRIDGE Foundation

    Bangladesh

    Brother's Keeper

    Nigeria

    Bunjakko Modern Farm Limited

    Uganda

    Bureau d'Informations, Formations, Échanges et Recherches pour le Développement (BIFERD)

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

    Egypt

    Calvin Ong'era

    Kenya

    Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture

    Canada

    Canadian Council for International Co-operation 

    Canada

    Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

    Canada

    Center for Constitutional Governance

    USA

    Center for Development of Civil Society

    Armenia

    Centre for Law and Democracy

    Canada

    Centre de Recherche sur l'Anticorruption

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Centre for Legal Support

    Gambia

    Centre for Media and Development Communication (CEMEDEC)

    Nigeria

    Centre for Social Policy Develoment

    Pakistan

    Community Initiative for Social Empowerment (CISE)

    Malawi

    Children on the Edge 

    UK

    Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic 

    Canada

    Civil Society in Development (CISU)

    Denmark

    Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG)

    Kenya

    Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution

    Nigeria

    Coalition of Youth Organizations (SEGA)

    Macedonia

    Collectif de Développement et Respect de la Dignité Humaine (CODDHU)

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    CODENET

    Cameroon

    Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)

    Cambodia

    Commonwealth Society of Nigeria

    Nigeria

    Community Health Education Sports Initiative Zambia

    Zambia

    Community Youth Initiatives Liberia Inc

    Liberia

    Consultando Soluciones REcosrec

    Venezuela

    Coalition d'organisations volontaires et solidaires pour des actions de développement communautaire (COSAD)

    Benin

    Corruption Watch 

    South Africa 

    Curtis Business

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Democracy Without Borders

    Germany

    Denis Miki Foundation

    Cameroon

    Dhankuta Municipality

    Nepal

    Diálogo de Mujeres por la Democracia

    Nicaragua

    Dominion Empowerment Solutions

    Kenya

    Dytech - OutGrow It

    Zambia

    Edutech for Africa

    Nigeria

    EnlacesXSustentabilidad

    El Salvador

    Enoch Adeyemi Foundation

    Nigeria

    Equality Now

    USA

    Fédération Internationale des Entrepreneurs et ou Etudiants Africains d'Affaires (FIEAA)

    Guinea

    Front Commun pour la Protection de l'Environnement et des Espaces Protégés (FCPEEP)

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Fellowship for Community Enlightenment (FCE)

    Uganda

    Federación Nacional de Personerías de Colombia (FENALPER)

    Colombia

    FINESTE

    Haiti

    Focus Youth Forum (FYF)

    Uganda

    Freedom Now

    USA

    Fund Our Future

    South Africa

    Fundación Integral para el Desarrollo Regional (FINDER)

    El Salvador

    Fundación Selva Sagrada

    Ecuador

    Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables (FUNDEPS)

    Argentina

    Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana

    Panama 

    Futur Radieux

    Togo

    Gatef Organization

    Egypt

    Geospatial Organization

    Tanzania

    Germany Zimbabwe Forum

    Germany

    Ghana Association of Private Voluntary Organisations in Development

    Ghana

    Give Hope Uganda

    Uganda

    Global Network for Sustainable Development

    Nigeria

    Global Witness

    UK

    Global Shapers Castries Hub

    Saint Lucia

    Globalpeace Chain

    Kenya

    Gram Bharati Samiti

    India

    Gulf Centre for Human Rights

    Middle East

    Gutu United Residents and Ratepayers Association (GURRA)

    Zimbabwe

    HAKI Africa

    Kenya

    Hands of External Love Program

    Liberia

    Hannibal Entertainment Visual Studio Production

    Nigeria

    Hitesh BHATT

    India

    HOPE Worldwide-Pakistan

    New Zealand

    Human Rights First 

    International

    Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa

    Canada

    Human Rights Watch

    USA

    Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo (ICD)

    Uruguay

    India Media Centre

    India

    Individual

    Pakistan

    Initiative de Gestion Civile des Crises (IGC)

    Burundi

    Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution

    Nigeria

    Instituto para el Futuro Común Amerindio (IFCA)

    Honduras

    International Center for Accelerated Development

    Nigeria

    International Development Opportunity Initiative

    Ghana

    International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA Nigeria

    Nigeria

    International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

    Switzerland

    International Student Environmental Coalition

    Cameroon

    Interregional Public Charitable Organization of Assistance to Persons with Disabilities Sail of Hope

    Russia

    Jeunesse Assistance

    Niger

    Justice  Access Point

    Uganda

    Justice Initiative for the Disadvantaged and Oppressed Persons (JIDOP)

    Nigeria

    JVBC

    United States of America

    Key populations Uganda

    Uganda

    Konstitusiya Arasdırmalar Fondu

    Azerbaijan

    Vulnerable People's Development Organization (KOTHOWAIN)

    Bangladesh

    Kurdistan Without Genocide

    Iraq

    Kuza Livelihood Improovement Projects

    Kenya

    Laxman Belbase - Individual

    Nepal

    The Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO)

    Botswana

    Leila Oguntayo

    Tunisia

    Liberia Media Center

    Liberia

    Local Communities Development Initiative

    Nigeria

    Makerere University Uganda

    Uganda

    Malawi Human Rights Defenders Coalition

    Malawi

    Mama leah Fondation

    Kenya

    Moabite Indigenous Nation Trust

    United States of America

    Morya Samajik Pratishthan

    India

    Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM)

    Cameroon

    Mzimba Youth Organization

    Malawi

    Narayana

    India

    National Sudanese Women Association

    Sudan

    Network of Estonian Non-profit Organizations

    Estonia

    New Owerri Youth Organisation

    Nigeria

    Nobel Women's Initiative

    Canada

    One More Salary

    Tanzania

    ONG Les Batisseurs

    United States of America

    Organization of the Justice Campaign

    Iraq

    ORUD

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity Network

    Fiji

    Pakistan NGOs Forum

    Pakistan

    Palestinian Center for Communication and Development Strategies

    Palestine

    Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA)

    Palestine

    Parent-Child Intervention Centre

    Nigeria

    Participatory Research Action Network (PRAN)

    Bangladesh

    Peaceful and Active Centre for Humanity (PEACH)

    Pakistan

    PEN International

    UK

    Primadent Initiative for Oral Health

    Nigeria

    Public Organization Youth House

    Tajikistan

    Rainbow Pride Foundation

    Fiji

    Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Real Agenda For Youth Transformation

    Zimbabwe

    Red Global de Acción Juvenil (GYAN)

    Mexico

    Richard Bennett

    United Kingdom

    Rural Initiatives in Sustainability & Empowerment (RISE)

    Pakistan

    Rideau Institute

    Canada

    Rising Generation for Youth Organization

    Nigeria

    Réseau Nigérien des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (RNDDH)

    Niger

    Role Model Zambia

    Zambia

    Sauti ya Haki Tanzania

    Tanzania

    Self

    Norway

    Shanduko Yeupenyu Child Care

    Zimbabwe

    Sierra Leone School Green Clubs

    Sierra Leone

    Social Watch Benin

    Benin

    Society for Development and Research

    Pakistan

    Society for Rural Women and Youth Development

    Nigeria

    South Sudan Community Change Agency

    South Sudan

    Street Youth Connection Sierra Leone (SYC-SL)

    Sierra Leone

    Success Capital Organisation

    Botswana

    Sudda Changing Lives Foundation

    Ghana

    Synergy of experts on environment and sustainable development

    Burkina Faso

    TATU Project

    Tanzania

    Human Rights Defenders Network (ACPDH)

    Burundi

    The Rock Shalom

    Kenya

    The Social Science Centre for African Development (KUTAFITI)

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    The Young Republic

    Sweden

    The Tax Justice Network 

    UK

    The Youth Voice of SA

    South Africa

    Tochukwu Anyadike

    Nigeria

    Transparency International Australia

    Australia

    Transparency International Bangladesh

    Bangladesh

    Transparencia por Colombia

    Colombia

    Transparency International EU

    Belgium

    Transparency International Kazakhstan

    Kazakhstan

    Transparency International Uganda 

    Uganda

    Transparency International Ukraine

    Ukraine

    Transparency International Pakistan

    Pakistan

    Union des Frères pour Alternatif du Developpement Intégré (UFADI)

    Haiti

    Uganda Youth Guidance and Development Association

    Uganda

    Ugonma Foundation

    Nigeria

    Ukana West 2 Community Based Health Initiative

    Nigeria

    Union for the Promotion, Defense of Human Rights and the Environment-UPDDHE.GL

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Vanuatu Association of Non-Government Organisation

    Vanuatu

    VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM - The World is One Family

    India

    Veille Citoyenne

    Togo

    Vijana Hope

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Volunteers Hub Liberia

    Liberia

    Volunteers Welfare for Community Based Care of Zambia (VOWAZA)

    Zambia

    WDC Somalia

    Somalia

    We Lead Intergrated Foundation

    Cameroon

    Women Empowerment Group (WEG)

    Kenya

    Women United to Fight Sexual Violence in Liberia (WOUFSVIL)

    Liberia

    Women's March Global

    United States of America

    World Youth Union SL

    Sierra Leone

    WorldEat

    Ghana

    WORLDLITE

    Cote D'Ivoire

    Yole Africa

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Young League Pakistan

    Pakistan

    Youth Advocates for Change

    Zambia

    Youth For Change

    Nigeria

    Youth for Development Network

    Liberia

    Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation)

    Nepal

    Youth for Future 2006

    Romania

    Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana

    Ghana

    Youth Leadership Initiative for Social Justice

    Nigeria

    YOUTHAID

    Liberia

    Zambian Governance Foundation for Civil Society

    Zambia

    Zimbabwe Climate Change Coalition

    Zimbabwe