Human Rights and Corruption

One year after the Revolution of 2011, a side event was organized and planned to discuss the finding of the high commissions report. This event aimed to compliment and strengthen the existing mechanisms in order to prevent and counter corruption.

Since then, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was created, in which one of its agreements was to significantly reduce illicit financial flaws in an aim to combat corruption; a fundamental factor needed to achieve all goals of the agenda. The Human Rights Council has been paying increasing attention to combatting corruption, and after conducting several investigations, has found that “treaty bodies mismanagement are a resource of corruption. Approximately 2% of GDP is bribed in both developed and underdeveloped countries.” B.E. Ayush claimed. “It is estimated that developed countries lose about one trillion dollars annually”.

Reducing bribery in corruption, not only increases equality, but also opportunity. “This must have a human rights based approach, where we integrate human rights principles, and corruption is viewed as a human rights issue, not just a crime”, K. Pabel stated. For this very reason, the advisory committee prepared a report that was presented to the council. Its key elements were based upon the common view that there is a strong correlation between corruption, and the enjoyment of basic human rights: studies conducted demonstrated this through many statements from national institutions and stakeholders.

It has been identified that corruption within a country can not only affect individuals and groups of individuals, but it also has a negative impact on society at large, whether that is at a national, or international level, “people’s confidence in their governments and democratic order is undermined”. The first individuals or groups of individuals who suffer from the impact of corruption are generally person with disabilities, women, and children: for this reason, the report calls for the protection of human rights of those groups in every state in order to prevent the violation of their human rights.

Marianna Barbieri

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Side event HRC: The differences of De-radicalisation

DAESH has had an increasing impact in Europe over these last few years, but they are not the only terrorist group in the world. Their actions vastly differ compared to previous terrorist groups in Europe which makes it difficult to stop them as they are completely unpredictable. DAESH´s movement are completely different as their targeted victims are random, which creates a greater impact in society as it especially affects ordinary people.

Furthermore, the use of social media contributes to the fast expansion of their ideology, which brings forward the global argument that countries should create a coordinated media security as soon as possible.  This would mean considering where the limits of freedom of education are, and of non-discrimination in order to protect civilians’ security.

In order to fight against this extremism, different nations are using different techniques in order to control it. Belgium has decided to prevent those who left the country to join ISIS from coming back home by increasing the penalties in law. On the other hand, Denmark, after achieving de-radicalism of neo-Nazis, considered giving them a second chance. Other countries find themselves contemplating between these two different positions. Dr. Farhad Khosrokhavar brought out the idea of avoiding a generalized treatment in this de-radicalization process, which takes three different notions in consideration.

  • Differences among nations: Each country has its own history and culture. So countries must take into consideration that every nation has its own procedure which can be influenced at some point by others, but will not necessarily be the same.
  • Different people: Radicalized people can be very different, woman groups are on the rise, which makes up to more than 10% of all groups, and have many peculiarities compared to men. Another new group is the middle class, which has also increased in the last years. The third group is of young radicalized, teenagers who follow more intensively than just ideological motivations. And finally the converts, which can be between 8% and 25% depending on the country.
  • Different people that return. People that come back can have different reasons or circumstances for choosing to do that. One group is the repentant, people rejecting the radicalized jihadism with which they have been living for the past months. Another group is the ambivalent, people in instable situations, which are confused and that can become really dangerous. Third group is the intransigent, people convinced their point of view is the only correct one, and who see the west society as enemies: this group can be very dangerous as their faith cannot be disputed. Finally, the last group are the traumatized, people who have seen violence and horrors which are potentially dangerous, not for ideological reasons but for pathological reasons.

After taking these different groups into consideration, we can clearly see that it is not only a matter about religion. As Dr. Hervé Gonsolin claimed, “religion is just the instrument which extremists and governments have used throughout history for justifying political affairs and to convince people to join them”. This is where states must become involved in the process of de-radicalization, listening and caring about the potential extremist communities. Mr. Reda Benkirane argued that giving them “alternatives against this extremist ideology” may convince and avoid these communities from becoming violent, and help them distinguish between religion and politics.

Pere Grau

 

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The Role of Civil Society in the realisation of the Right to Education

Yesterday OIDEL delivered a joint oral statement during the General Debate Item 2 & 3 of the Human Rights Council. The debate was about certain thematic reports of the OHCHR, we were specially interested on the good practices of civil society to enable human rights (click here to know more)  OIDEL together with other NGOs wanted to warn about the importance of the civil society in the realisation of the Right to Education.

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“Thank you mister president,

I speak on behalf of  OIDEL, Commission Africaine des Promoteurs de la Santé et des Droits de l’homme, Graduate Women International (International Federation of University Women), Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco (IIMA), International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development – VIDES and Teresian Association

We really appreciate this report and we think that the obligations of the public authorities towards civil society could not be better defined. OIDEL is convinced that the realization of each right requires at certain level the participation of civil society. As said in the report progress and civic participation go hand in hand. Moreover, the report quoted that “a confident nation gives citizens a say and a role in the development of their country”.

However we are surprised that this list of good practices does not include the right to education, besides certain mention to Human Rights Education. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognizes the right of the individuals to set up educational institutions. As stated by the Dutch Mission during the negotiation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the prior right for parents to choose the education they consider best for their children is a guarantee that education does not become a State monopoly.[1]

 Moreover, it is clear that the countries that are friendlier with the provision of education through civil society are also countries that have addressed with excellence the challenge of diversity and the accomplishment of civil rights.

The content of this report was the compilation of practical recommendations for the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society. Although we think that the overall objective was well accomplished the annual report remains incomplete due to the lack of inclusion of practices concerning the provision of the right to education.

We encourage the UN OHCHR to take into consideration the role of civil society in the provision of education due to the good impact it has in the realization of friendly environment for the right to education.

In this regard, we also want to invite the UN OHCHR to review our last report “Freedom of Education Index 2016”. This report shows how the participation of civil society in the provision of education is a cornerstone of democratic societies and a guarantee for minorities in pluralistic societies.

Among the good practices we have identified we can highlight the important role in deprived areas of charter schools in the United States or the subsidized non-government schools in South Africa. The report also shows that the participation of civil society in education is compatible with quality. Among countries with the highest level of freedom of education we find some of the best PISA results; such as the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Thank you Mr. President,”

 

Ignasi Grau

[1] GLENDON, Mary Ann, 2001  A World made new. Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Random House (p.159 y 190)

Central America and its Migration Corridors

During a presentation provided by representatives of Central American countries in a United Nations side event on June 15th 2016, the increasing issues and dangers of migration and deportation in these countries were revealed. The shocking factual information announced during the event raised deep concerns for the future well being of the persons living in these countries, and for the countries themselves.

Migration, as explained by the representative, A. Baños, is usually triggered by several situations such as bloody battles, social conflicts, or strong political conflicts – as in the case of Guatemala. During these difficult times, families, or their children, flee to other countries in an attempt to protect themselves, escape the violence, and in hopes of finding a better life elsewhere. Children become the most vulnerable victims of these scenarios as they are forced and pressured into getting involved in drug trafficking, and different gangs. As a consequence, not only do they contribute to the organized crimes within their country, but also put theirs and other persons lives in danger, hence the urge and desperate need to migrate elsewhere.

“Migration is an extremely secretive process”, Baños stated, “not even their close family members are told about it”. The reason for this is because if the individuals attempting to migrate are caught at the borders of their country, for example in Mexico, they are either sent back, or made to pay $7000 by a coyote at the border in order to be allowed to continue through the Mexican migration corridor. This opens doors to a corrupted system, and to an entire business revolved around this secretive activity, as more people are participating in it every year. “If they get caught by police, they have the possibility of paying an additional $7000 to be set free”.

“Unfortunately, this activity doesn’t seem to be stopping soon”, Mr. R. Marquez declared, “more than 400,000 persons migrate from Central America annually”. On July 7th, 2014, the President of Mexico presented a comprehensive program of the border that organizes migratory flows, and attempts to protect citizens’ human rights. However, this shielding of the border became obvious in the increasing number of raids, detentions, and deportation of migrants. According to official data revealed by the representative, in 2015, around 171,000 migrants were detained in Central America, and over 150,000 were deported, he stated, “migration has become more and more invisible to avoid migratory checks. But this figure has increased of about 150% this year.”

Not only do migrants get detained, but the majority also suffers some type of crime of violation of human rights, for example sexual or crime violence. “Out of the 11,000 persons received from Central America in 2015, only 40 received protection from the state, generally, women who have been raped.” Marquez stated, “and only one in three persons who request asylum in Mexico has been recognized.”

The Country representatives and UNHCR recognized this situation as highly urgent, and as the escalation of these figures increases annually, they call for the international community to come together, and act upon this severe issue in order to make it come to an end, and in order to “re-distribute the basic human rights of the people who come from these countries”.

 

Marianna Barbieri

The creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society, based on good practices – Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Human Rights Council beseeched the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a compendium of feasible recommendations for the creation and preservation of an enabling and safe environment for the civil society, based on good practices and lessons learned.

A variety of rights were brought up, such as freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of association, as well as freedom of peaceful assembly.

Among the high points of this reports we can highlight

The mention of the general comment 43 (2011) of the Human Rights Committee that states that “a free, uncensored and unhindered press or other media is essential in any society to ensure freedom of opinion and expression and the enjoyment of other rights contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; it constitutes one of the cornerstones of a democratic society.”

Also, concerning freedom of association the report mentions that “minimal legal and administrative provisions, favouring simple notification to a neutral body and available to all at little or no cost, with no compulsory registration requirement for basic operations, best encourage a diverse and independent civil society”.

Regarding freedom of peaceful assembly the report makes a presumption that assembly will be peaceful, explicitly established by law, as in Armenia and Romania, is recognized good practice, as are laws that specify that everyone has the right to organize and participate in meetings and demonstrations without a permit and that no prior authorization is required.

The report mention as well the right to freedom of opinion and expression and to peacefully assembly and association and the right to participate in public affairs, together with the principle of non-discrimination serve as vehicles for civic activity. It is through the safe and free exercise of these human rights that people are able to contribute to political, social, cultural, and economic, development.

According to the report, the participation of the civil society for the realisation of HR requires supportive legal framework and effective access to justice, conductive public and political environment, access to information, participation in policy development with planning and decision-making,consultation processes and public funding.

OIDEL was happy to see the mentioning to Human Rights Education. The report expresses that the human rights education organizations ask for the equipment of children and young people with skills and information to help contribute to the civil society. When teachers receive ongoing training in civic or human rights, it benefits the educators, which encourages tolerance and values diversity. Empowering women and girls through programmes to consolidate skills, and furnish a safe and a favorable environment where women can receive advice on human rights and training in business and technical support.

Remarkably, the report lacks the mention of the role of civil society in the provision of the right to education. OIDEL is going to participate in the General Debate next Monday during the 32th Human Rights Council to express our point of view.

If you would like to know about this report, you can access to this link:http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/32/20

 

Tino D’Arpa

Reunión de EMIE en Amberes

La semana pasada fue la reunión anual de EMIE en Amberes. EMIE es el acrónimo de Agrupación Europea de Educación Independiente y reúne más de 25 asociaciones defensoras de la libertad de educación de todo el mundo. Entre ellas podemos destacar la Organización Internacional de la Enseñanza Católica, la Asociación Waldorf-Steiner, ECNAIS o el Montessori. La reunión sirve para hacer balance de la situación de la libertad de enseñanza en Europa.

La reunión sirvió para evaluar las tendencias a nivel educativo del Parlamento Europeo y en las distintas organizaciones internacionales. En este sentido fue interesante ver la labor de ECSWE en el Grupo de Trabajo Escuela ET2020.

OIDEL aprovechó el encuentro de este año para presentar el Índice de Libertad de Enseñanza. El informe tuvo muy buena acogida. Varios asistentes comentaron que les sorprendió el crecimiento a nivel global del apoyo gubernamental a las escuelas no gubernamentales en los últimos años. Asimismo, varios señalaron que a pesar que el informe muestra una situación esperanzadora hay que estar vigilantes a futuras amenazas a la libertad como la reciente revocación de la anterior ley educativa en Portugal.

Para saber más: http://www.ecnais.org/european-meeting-of-independent-education/

Ignasi Grau