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Eric Goosby, UN Special Envoy on TB

Devex - 13. Juli 2020 - 15:48
Kategorien: english

PRESSEMITTEILUNG - Massive Einflussnahme von Wirtschaftslobby auf Menschenrechts-Test der Bundesregierung - Unternehmen offenbar dennoch durchgefallen

Global Policy Forum - 13. Juli 2020 - 12:18

Berlin, 13 Juli 2020

Wirtschaftsverbände haben eine Befragung zu menschenrechtlicher Verantwortung bei ihren Auslandsgeschäften mit Unterstützung des Bundeswirtschaftsministeriums und des Kanzleramts im Vorfeld stark verwässert. Das belegt eine heute veröffentlichte Studie der Initiative Lieferkettengesetz.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

PRESSEMITTEILUNG - Massive Einflussnahme von Wirtschaftslobby auf Menschenrechts-Test der Bundesregierung - Unternehmen offenbar dennoch durchgefallen

Global Policy Forum - 13. Juli 2020 - 12:18

Berlin, 13 Juli 2020

Wirtschaftsverbände haben eine Befragung zu menschenrechtlicher Verantwortung bei ihren Auslandsgeschäften mit Unterstützung des Bundeswirtschaftsministeriums und des Kanzleramts im Vorfeld stark verwässert. Das belegt eine heute veröffentlichte Studie der Initiative Lieferkettengesetz.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Jerome Kim, International Vaccine Institute

Devex - 13. Juli 2020 - 11:32
Kategorien: english

A taxing problem: how to ensure the poor and vulnerable don’t shoulder the cost of the COVID-19 crisis

UN ECOSOC - 12. Juli 2020 - 6:00
In the wake of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, tax systems should be reformed, and tax avoidance and evasion reduced, to ensure an economic recovery in which everyone pays their share, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
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teamGLOBAL 2020 – The world is that what you make out of it! - 10. Juli 2020 - 23:17

In Germany, teamGLOBAL is a participative and open network of young people and young adults between 16 and 27 years. It offers educational actions on the topic of globalization for young people. The aim is to work together with young people to find out where they encounter globalization in their everyday lives and what options there are for taking action to respond to this development. Visit them at

After observing the founders of teamGLOBAL for a while, I volunteer since 2015 to serve on the advisory board of this initiative as their private sector link.

While having strong institutional foundation and parterships, teamGLOBAL stays a youth-led initiative. They mobilize the power of peer-to-peer learning of diverse people in the crucial age between 16 and 27 years.

I did not need to raise commitment for the SDGs there, as these young people surprise me again and again with their natural and fresh approach to just doing the right things their way. teamGLOBAL activists translate the Global Goals into daily life issues of their generation, using their own inspiration and thinking.

teamGLOBAL keeps a professional dedication to knowledge transfer on global challenges, systemic long-term thinking, and responsible actions. By connecting as peers, young people feel how they can shape their future. The SDG interlink these activities, but they become strong personal issues when changing things. I witnessed at several teamGLOBAL activities how learning leads to behavior change. This is really an innovation we need for social transformation.

teamGLOBAL maintains its participative youth leadership and has proven to be dynamic and scalable. Most amazingly, the coverage of actions has reached quite remote places and unusual audiences. However, the work depends on funding. Most of the work is carried out voluntarily. These young activists will stay committed throughout life.

I recommend teamGLOBAL getting more globally connected to the UN SDG Action Campagin. They are one of the few initiatives in Germany that link excellence in Civic Education with Education for Sustainable Development. This can be valuable to the Campaign. The initiative itself will benefit from being recognized globally, as this confirms their identity and promotes their networking with international peers.

Kategorien: english

COVID-19 | A conversation with Peter Sands

Devex - 10. Juli 2020 - 18:54
Kategorien: english

How COVID-19 is changing the opportunities for oil and gas-led growth

OECD - 10. Juli 2020 - 11:50
By Glada Lahn and Siân Bradley, Senior Research Fellows, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide. For oil and gas exporters, COVID-19 has caused a downturn … Continue reading How COVID-19 is changing the opportunities for oil and gas-led growth
Kategorien: english

Feelings of aggravation

D+C - 10. Juli 2020 - 9:33
The history of anti-Muslim violence in India

What did you experience on 6 December 1992?
I was 12 years old, and I was lucky to survive. I am from a Muslim family. Tensions had been building up for some time, and many of our Muslim neighbours had already fled. My father, however, believed in India’s secular constitution. He only realised after the riots had started that we had to flee. For a while, my baby brother and I were separated from our family. It was only after several hours that I could reach a community relief camp where we were safely reunited with our family. This frightful night overshadows my entire life.

The event triggered riots all over India, so frightful memories must overshadow the lives of all Indian Muslims.
Yes, after I published a summary of my personal experience, I got a lot of e-mails in which other people shared their memories. There were riots in Pakistan and Bangladesh too, where Hindus, Sikhs and other religious minorities were attacked. Up to December 1992, many Indian Muslims had put faith in the constitution which forbids religious discrimination. We thought our nation was on a path towards development and prosperity, but since that terrible night, we know that Hindu supremacists have a very different vision. They want India to be a Hindu nation, and some will not shy away from violent means.

The trauma of Ayodhya was preceded by the trauma of partition. After colonial rule, British India was split into Pakistan and India in 1947. Masses of people fled in either direction, and there were brutal massacres on all sides of the borders. To what extent was what happened in Ayodhya a continuity of that previous violence?
Well, the problems started even earlier, as faith-based divisions in the 1920s and 1930s hampered the independence movement. The British had relied on a “divide and rule” strategy. They succeeded in pitting Hindus against Muslims. Nonetheless, Indian Muslims believed that the identity issue was settled after partition. After all, the Muslim community that stayed in India had made the conscious choice to do so, and Jawaharlal Nehru, independent India’s first prime minister, promised a new beginning based on secularism.

After 1992, there was further violence. In 2002, when Narendra Modi, who is now prime minister, was chief minister of Gujarat, a gruesome anti-Muslim pogrom took place there. Hindu pilgrims had died in a burning train, fanatics accused Muslims of arson and took revenge.
Yes, that was terrible. However, state institutions generally still endorsed secularism, and we hoped things would eventually improve. Muslims and Hindus often viewed one another with suspicion, but at the grassroots level the communities often got along in peace. They actually still do in many places, but since Modi became prime minister in 2014, things have deteriorated fast. Modi’s party, the BJP, belongs to a broad-based network of Hindu supremacist organisations. At its centre is the RSS, an authoritarian cadre-based organisation. According to its ideology, India must be a Hindu nation. Narendra Modi himself is an RSS member. His government’s hard-line stance has become more overt and aggressive after he was confirmed in office in last year’s general elections. His party commands an absolute majority in the national parliament even though it won less than 40 % of the vote. Its candidates, however, came in first in many constituencies.

The irony is that Modi claims to make India strong, but his policies are not earning the country more respect internationally. The plain truth is that my-nation-first attitudes tend to weaken a nation’s international influence. That is even true of Donald Trump’s USA.
Well, the general public in India does not have a solid understanding of international relations. This is a huge country, and only very few people get a good education. Opinions tend to be shaped by whatever narrative is currently dominant. It is scary that misguided rhetoric of “national strength” resonates with so many people. They are falling for how the supremacists are redefining their own religion. Historically, Hinduism was tolerant, non-violent and syncretic, which means accepting other religious practices and belief systems as spiritually valid. Instead, Hindu supremacists are turning the faith into a tool of exclusion.

They obviously long to overcome a feeling of inferiority by exerting power. Is that longing rooted in colonial history?
I am sure it plays a role, but it is fascinating that the Hindu supremacists never speak of British rule as Christian rule, while they always call the Mughal Empire Muslim rule. This nomenclature is not by accident but by design to train people to think a certain way.

Does it matter that India was never a united Hindu empire? Ashoka’s empire was Buddhist, and later, there were many different kingdoms which adhered to different religions, including different varieties of Hinduism. “Hinduism” itself is actually a word that was created by outsiders to label the diverse religious practices that are connected to Vedas, the holy scriptures that only members of the Brahmin caste were allowed to read. Many popular Hindu practices are only loosely related to Vedanta, the knowledge of the Vedas.
Well, Hindu supremacists care less about Vedanta than Hindutva, the dominance of Hinduism as they define the faith. They call anyone who disagrees with them “anti-national”. The scary thing is that their narrative has begun to resonate to some extent with people from the “lowest castes”. The Hindutva ideology cultivates feelings of aggravation and humiliation and promises to heal those wounds by enforcing Hindu supremacy. It may sound illogical but this is the reason why so many of them want 21st century Muslims to be answerable for what medieval Mughal kings did or did not do several centuries ago.

So it is more about taking revenge than solving problems. It is striking that, even though Modi promised to be an economic reformer, he has hardly achieved anything on that front.
No, he did not. Under his rule, economic growth has actually slowed down. He promised millions of new jobs, but failed to make that happen. Nonetheless, in the absence of a strong opposition and a credible alternative, he managed to win re-election last year.

In the winter months, Modi faced unprecedented civil-society opposition. Masses of people rose up in protest against a new citizenship law which discriminated against Muslims. To what extent was this movement a Muslim movement?
Well, the critical mass was Muslim. Many others participated too, including Hindus who believe in secular democracy. As a matter of fact, all Indian minorities have a stake in protecting the constitution. That said, Muslims are more exposed to Hindutva aggression. Adding to their frustration, India’s independent Supreme Court ruled in autumn that a Hindu temple will be built where Babri Mosque used to stand. Litigation had been pending for three decades, and the shocking judgement showed that even judges are influenced by what they call ‘collective conscience’, perhaps another name for majoritarian sentiments.

The Covid-19 pandemic ended the movement. It could not be continued during the lockdown. Will it be revived at some point?
I have doubts. The Modi government and its supporters have been using the lockdown to entrench their position. The media has built a popular narrative that members of the­ Muslim community have intentionally spread the disease. During the lockdown the government has been arresting people who assumed leadership roles in the protests. It is disturbing, however, that it did not take legal action against high-profile Hindu supremacists who indulged in Islamophobic hate speech immediately before the deadly riots that rocked Delhi in late February.

Most victims of the riots were Muslims. Mosques were set ablaze, but no Hindu temple. Nonetheless, the Hindu supremacists claim that Muslims started what ­actually looks very much like an anti-Muslim pogrom. As the prominent political scientist Paul R. Brass has been arguing for decades, this kind of violence does not erupt spontaneously. Was it an organised pogrom?
I personally cannot prove it, but according to the Delhi Minorities Commission, the violence was “one-sided and well-planned”. The Commission works under the state government of Delhi, which is not controlled by the BJP. I also find it noteworthy that the rioters used gas cylinders to set buildings on fire. That is difficult to do and shows that they were well trained and equipped. It is terrifying, however, that the Covid-19 lockdown turned out to be an even more effective means of repression than rioting. The terrible truth is that some Indian Hindus have been convinced to some extent that, to feel strong, they need to see Muslims suffer.

Arfa Khanum Sherwani is senior editor with the independent Indian news website TheWire.
Twitter: @khanumarfa

Kategorien: english

Collective trauma

D+C - 10. Juli 2020 - 9:08
Every crisis leaves deep scars in the memory of the affected society

Crises are not only current issues, but they also remind us of previous crises. During the Corona pandemic, memories of the plague and the Spanish flu return. In an economic crisis, people remember how they managed during earlier economic hardships. And when armed military patrols the streets – even if it is only in order to control the ­Corona curfew – those who have lived through a dictatorship will feel uneasy.

Epidemics, economic crises or military rule are no individual experiences, but a common experience shared with all members of a society. There are differences of course: not everybody falls sick during a plague, some have large savings while others immediately face hunger when they lose their job. In a dictatorship there are perpetrators, followers, members of the resistance and victims – and that leads to very different perceptions of the same situation.

9/11 as a collective trauma

Social psychology studies how a traumatic event that concerns many people simultaneously becomes manifest in the collective memory of a society. A well-known example is the terror attack in the USA on 11 September 2001, called 9/11. The image of the exploding airplanes in the skyscrapers of the World Trade Center in New York is present in all corners of the world, even if the political consequences of these attacks diverged a lot, for instance between the Arab world and the West.

Psychologist Angela Kühner has studied collective trauma. She calls 9/11 a “collectively relevant traumatic reference event”. Kühner and other scientists do not speak of collective trauma, but rather of a “collective injury of the social fabric”. In other words, a terrible occurrence changes a society long-term. All people are affected, but to different degrees.

A typical reaction to such an event is solidarity: the collective tries to master the shock together. Shared processes of mourning are an effective method to do this. However, they can be hampered if the dead cannot be buried like it happened after 9/11.

It is even more difficult after dictatorships such as the last military rule in Argentina: 30,000 people were kidnapped and killed between 1976 and 1983. They are called “desaparecidos” (“disappeared”). The families could not bury the victims of this so-called “dirty war” – the majority of them had disappeared forever.

Similar to many other Latin American countries, Argentina has passed several cycles of traumatic events, repressing the recollection and then bringing it to mind again. The overarching Latin American experience is colonisation and the mass destruction of the indigenous peoples. In many countries, this memory has been silenced and repressed until today, also in Argentina.

The 20th century was characterised by frequent military coups as well as economic crises. After each economic and political crisis, a kind of “avoidance behaviour, which is a typical reaction to trauma” can be detected in Argentine society, says neurologist Enrique de Rosa of the Argentine medical association “Asociación Médica Argentina”. Many people are not interested in politics anymore. “Daily micro-traumas erode the psychological strength of people and turn into an acquired hopelessness. You have the feeling that never mind what you do, there is no escape – we often observe this in unemployed persons,” de Rosa explains.

After an economic crisis, all people yearn for stability, and after a period of violence, they crave peace. The victims’ desire for justice and punishment of the perpetrators is often perceived as an interference of this newly acquired peace. They are told to stop their request for punishment, according to the motto “drawing a line under the past”. But the end of a war or a dictatorship does not equal peace. Without justice, true peace is impossible. Old conflicts lurk below the seemingly calm surface and can erupt any time.

In this situation, there is an antagonism between examination and defence, that is, between voicing and denial of the event. Victims play a special role in this: they are – in a manner of speaking – the personified memory. Therefore people try to ignore them, and thus forget the violent past.

Argentina passed through such a phase after the end of the military rule in 1983. In contrast to other Latin American countries that also suffered dictatorships, Argentina staged a huge trial where the guilty were named and convicted.

Due to pressure by the military, however, the perpetrators were amnestied one after the other in the subsequent years: first the lower ranks and at last even the junta. As a result, local human-rights groups started to keep the memory alive in different ways – against great resistance. The children of the disappeared founded the organisation H.I.J.O.S (“Hijos por la Identidad y la Justicia contra el Olvido y el Silencio” – “Children for Identity and Justice, against Oblivion and Silence”).

The members of H.I.J.O.S. appeared in front of the homes of convicted torturers, told their neighbours next to whom they were living, read the judicially inflicted sentence by loudspeaker and distributed flyers listing all the crimes of the member of the military or police in question.

Social science labels shared social practices of remembrance – such as memorial days, for instance – as “intentional memory”. The practice of remembrance of the “Children of the Disappeared” was unconventional, but it showed effect: the amnesty laws were gradually revoked. The murderers and torturers had to go back to jail.

The Dutch anthropologist Antonius C.G.M. Robben, professor at the University of Utrecht, has studied the practices of remembering in traumatised societies, amongst others in Argentina. On account of state terror during military rule, “the trust of citizens in the state was totally destroyed”, he maintains. This distrust on all sides, between authorities, ex-military and families of the disappeared, continues – and prevents Argentine society to “put the traumatic past behind it”, Robben concludes.

Overcoming trauma

For peace researcher Johan Galtung “peace is more than the absence of war”. This is also true for the accounting of old conflicts. Not mentioning them does not mean they do not exist. It sounds like a contradiction: only collective and continuous practice of remembrance leads to overcoming trauma, so that violent times can be filed away.

Argentina is a good example for other post-conflict societies not to let war crimes rest, but to bring them to light: in Bosnia, Argentinian forensic scientists helped to identify the dead of the massacre of Srebrenica (1995). At last, people were able to bury their murdered family members – this is one way to bring peace to a society.

Not every trauma needs to go on forever, but it can be overcome by shared grief, says psychologist Kühner. The shared grieving process in Argentina, initiated by activists like the “Madres de Plaza de Mayo” (Mothers of Plaza de Mayo) or the “Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo” (Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo), has made people alert: during the economic crisis in December 2001, the government ordered police to shoot at demonstrators. Immediately after, many people gathered at the seat of government in order to defend democracy.

Heavily armed police and military controlled the curfew during the Corona crisis earlier this year. They proceeded with utmost brutality against any breaches, which set the Argentine people’s alarm bells ringing.

In other situations, too, memories of a painful past can help to better surpass a crisis. When in February 2020 it became clear that the Corona virus would spread from Asia to other continents, no precautions were taken in Europe. In eastern Africa, however, the recollection of the Ebola epidemic of 2018 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was still very vivid.

This is why states like Tanzania immediately started to check the temperature of all travellers and isolate suspected cases. This did not happen when the first Corona infections appeared in Europe – in its collective memory, life-threatening epidemics were far away and vague. Accordingly, European political leaders acted more slowly. In other words: a living memory of past crises can be vital for survival.

Sheila Mysorekar is a journalist and project manager at Deutsche Welle Akademie. For 11 years she lived and worked in Argentina.

Kategorien: english

Massive economic pain

D+C - 10. Juli 2020 - 8:29
Covid-19 has badly affected informal livelihoods in Tanzania, but the impacts on the entire economy are harsh

In Tanzania’s banana farming Rungwe district, Donald Mwasyoge felt despair as he watched his fruit ripen. Because of Covid-19, there were no buyers. Julius Mwendipembe is a lorry driver who delivers agricultural produce from rural areas to urban wholesale markets. In fear of the novel corona virus, many trips were cancelled.

Pain was felt along the entire supply chain. Nurudin Makinya is a young coolie who makes money by unloading banana trucks at a commercial market, in Dar es Salaam, the country’s biggest city with about 6 million inhabitants. There was very little work for him. That applied to Amina Rashid too. She is a hawker who buys bananas at the wholesale market and then sells them on to consumers.

Many people’s livelihoods have been badly affected by the pandemic in Tanzania. Many, though not all have lost their usual incomes. When the government ordered the closure of schools, teachers at public schools were assured of the monthly salaries. For those at private schools, however, it was a different story. As parents became unable to pay tuition, the schools became unable to pay salaries.  

The Covid-19 slump thus not only hurts workers in the informal sector. It is safe to say, however, that almost everyone in the informal sector feels the impacts – and this sector accounts for about 75 % of all jobs in Dar es Salaam.

School closures caused additional problems for parents moreover. With their offspring stuck at home, many agonised over whether to go to work or take care of the kids. “It’s not easy,” said Janeth Mitondo a single mother of twins aged five. The economic downturn made it harder to earn money with informal work – which also meant that such work took more time.

Poverty is getting worse, and this trend worries government officials. They are aware of serious problems in the formal economy too. Tourism is an important industry that helps the country to rake in foreign exchange. It is in tatters. The government reckons that this year perhaps only about 440,000 foreigners will come to Tanzania for holidays. That would not be even a quarter of last year’s number.

In early July, only a bit more than 500 infections were reported by officialdom, and the death toll was only 21. For the vast majority of people, the economic pain thus outweighs the health problems. The government decided to reopen schools at the end of June, but imposed strict hygiene rules, including hand washing. Health experts, however, worry that the decision may yet prove premature. After all, the disease may yet start to suddenly spread as has been the case elsewhere.

Lawrence Kilimwiko is a freelancer based in Dar es Salaam.

Kategorien: english

EU’s trade deals can put an end to deforestation - 10. Juli 2020 - 7:30
The EU must take an aggressive “stick and carrot” approach to trade deals in order to put an end to deforestation and avert a next pandemic, writes Fazlun Khalid.
Kategorien: english

Improving transparency of lending to sovereign governments

ODI - 10. Juli 2020 - 0:00
This paper looks at how debt transparency can be strengthened.
Kategorien: english

It's time for the UK to reset its relationship with African countries

ODI - 10. Juli 2020 - 0:00
The government must take note of a new House of Lords report by resetting economic relations and publishing an ambitious Africa strategy.
Kategorien: english

Global Acceleration Framework to speed up water and sanitation access for all

UN #SDG News - 9. Juli 2020 - 20:52
A new mechanism launched on Thursday aims to speed up action so that people everywhere will have access to water and sanitation by the end of the decade, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Kategorien: english

Address ‘unprecedented’ impact of coronavirus on Latin America and the Caribbean, urges Guterres

UN ECOSOC - 9. Juli 2020 - 19:17
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the world, Latin America and the Caribbean have become a “hotspot of the pandemic”, the UN chief said on Thursday, releasing a new policy initiative on how best to recover in a region already embroiled in poverty, hunger, unemployment and inequality.   
Kategorien: english

Hong Kong Braces for Troubled Times After China Imposes New National Security Law

UN Dispatch - 9. Juli 2020 - 16:17

On June 30th, China imposed a new law on Hong Kong that severely curtailed political freedom and freedom of expression. The new National Security Law criminalized most forms of dissent and protest, adding criminal offenses for things like “subversion” and “collusion.” Police in Hong Kong were swift to enforce the new law, arresting people for the language on signs they held.

This move by Beijing is the latest in a series of efforts to quash a political and social movement in Hong Kong that has resisted China’s attempt to impose authoritarian rule on the historically independent city.

Hong Kong has seen this before

In recent years, as China has become more powerful on the world stage, the Chinese Communist Party has sought to erode Hong Kong’s political independence.  Last year at this time there were massive peaceful protests against a law that would permit the extradition of people from Hong Kong to China. In the year since, police and pro-Beijing authorities have cracked down on protests. And now, with this powerful new law, people are being arrested for the signs they are waving.

“This law,” says my guest Victoria Tin-Bor Hui, “means the One China, Two Systems model is dead.”

Victoria Tin-Bor Hui is an associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. We discuss the content of the new National Security Law before having a broader conversation about its political and social implications of this new era for Asia’s World City.

Get the podcast to listen later Apple Podcasts  | Google PodcastsSpotify  |  Stitcher  | Radio Public

The post Hong Kong Braces for Troubled Times After China Imposes New National Security Law appeared first on UN Dispatch.

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