UN Human Rights Council: Civic Space in Egypt, Tanzania and Vietnam

38th Session of the Human Rights Council  
General Debate – civic space in Egypt, Tanzania and Vietnam

CIVICUS is concerned about the situation in Egypt where authorities have arrested, interrogated and detained several activists, bloggers and journalists over the last few weeks, indicating a significant escalation in the crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly in the country. While we welcome the release during Aid last Friday of many prisoners, we call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently being held for the legitimate exercise of their human rights, and for authorities to investigate and prosecute those responsible for human rights violations and abuses.

CIVICUS is also deeply concerned about the deterioration of the situation in Tanzania. Although it has long been a model for democratic pluralism, the last three years have been marked by a worrying decline in respect for the rights fundamental to civic space. These include unwarranted closure of media outlets, judicial persecution and harassment of independent journalists, the targeted assassination of opposition party members, blanket restrictions on peaceful protests and the introduction and invocation of a raft of laws to undermine freedom of speech online. Mr. President, we call on the Council to urge the authorities to create an enabling environment for civil society and the media to operate in accordance with its international obligations.  

Finally, since 9th June  mass nationwide demonstrations have arisen in several major cities across Vietnam. The protests we have emerged in response to two controversial bills on Special Economic Zones (SEZ), currently before the National Assembly, and on Cyber Security, which was approved this month. Security officials responded to the rare protests with violence and arbitrary arrests, and activists have reported ill-treatment and physical abuse in detention. We call on authorities to allow the peaceful expression of dissent and to release all protestors and investigate and prosecute security personnel responsible for the excessive use of force. 

 

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    samir sardana · 1 months ago
    The world can learn from the disasters of the SEZ Policy of India

    India is doomed and the Indian SEZs are doomed.dindooohindoo

    • The pathetic state of the exports from the SEZ is assessed by the number of non-operative units and the poor capacity utilisation of the SEZ units – information about which is in public and national interest
    • The lack of planning of the GOI is highlighted by the fact that the GOI has done no benchmarking of the operations of the SEZ per se, and the SEZ units within – for each sector with comparable peers,in India or the global competition
    • If a sector, say X,exists in a SEZ in a specific maritime geography and its global export hub,is in Country A, and the GOI has not been benchmarking the operating parameters of the Indian SEZ and the SEZ units of that sector (X),every years – then the SEZ units in sector X,in India,will definitely cease to exist,or be in a state of terminal decline or exist at the mercy of competitors
    • With the miserable performance of the Indian Rupee,and its impact of reduction in Dollarised Rupee costs payable to the SEZ authority by the SEZ units – why are the exports from the SEZs still a failure? In addition, in several sectors, the rupee costs paid by the SEZ units to the SEZ Authority,are not the determinant for operating and financial viability of the SEZ units
    • In essence,the GOI has utterly failed to provide a level playing field to Indian exporters,in terms of admin costs,operating cost neutrality,financing costs,effective logistics costs and fiscal red tape and procedures
    • The centres of manufacturing excellence near SEZs (For CMT/Job work/Material and Labour sourcing) are not cost effective – as there is no synergy between the SEZ and the Industrial planning and policy
    • The strategy of the GOI is highlighted by the fact that the GOI has engaged no rd party to analyse the inefficiency of the operating parameters of SEZs and the SEZ units within the SEZ – for each sector within it , with comparable peers in India,and the global competition
    • What planning and strategy will the GOI do,if it has no formal analysis of the specific operating costs,parameters,management and other issues,which explain the dismal state of the SEZ units by sector,scale and management quality
    • The dismal state of the GOI planning is that it has not properly planned the sector profile of the units in each SEZ, to ensure that the right sectors are in the appropriate geography,in the right SEZ,to minimise the net logistics costs on the EXIM chain, and minimise the inward material logistics costs – considering the future dislocations in inward and external material sources and options of transhipment and alternative export markets
    • Several SEZs elsewhere invest limited equity in SEZ units and common service providers,like banks,facilities,hotels,accounting firms etc,as a demonstration of their stake in the SEZ and their strategic inputs in the planning and operation of the same – which is then used to lower the lease charges – which is completely absent in India
    • All of the above is to be seen in light of the fact that the SEZ has no data of the financial or operating performance of the SEZ units,loss making units or even the financial and operating performance of the Developers of the SEZ – and is naturally not concerned with the losses or the financial performance of the SEZ units therein
    • The peculiar pattern of CMT and Job workers of key sectors such as Gold and Diamond jewellers,with multiple movement of stocks at different processors o/s the SEZ – is not the norm for Gems and Jewellery SEZs or SEZ units – and represents an abnormal industrial agglomeration with a planned and structural dislocation in manufacturing and processing operations – which cannot be solely for the purposes of manufacturing and commercial efficiency.
    • Information on raids and prosecutions is critical especially in sectors with high import duties (on merit mode) for inputs,customised finished goods (wherein DRI/Customs cannot assess over invoicing),frequent movements to and from rd party processors (which makes the case for wastages and losses in SION and disappearing materials), materials where the EXIM transit time is a few hours and the logistics costs are less than 1per cent of CIF/FOB rates, inputs and outputs with marked differences in rates of different grades of items and offgrades,warehousing artificial losses,amortisable costs ,bad debts and write offs in select SEZs (to be used for rd party exports or mergers to obviate tax on SEZ profits),items where the SEZ units are well aware of the sampling and test checks of the DRI and Customs at the SEZ for the inputs and outputs etc.
    • The Gems and Jewellery industry is run by cartels from a particular community spread from Western India to North America,EU,East Asia,West Asia and Africa and is a well coordinated money laundering and smuggling operation from the state of rough diamonds and raw gold,to the marketing of jewellery and warehousing of processed and raw diamonds,the banking chain,raters and the chain of associate and front companies – which is all the more insidious,as all the data with DRI/ED/Customs/Interpol used by the Indian State for surveillance all originated from the overseas counterparts and partners of the Indian traders located in India (who are in many cases – in spirit the same de facto entity owners)