• HuriTALK Monthly Resource Update – February 2012

     

    NEWS:

    29 FEBRUARY 2012 / 19th SESSION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL / PANEL DISCUSSION ON THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ON THE INTERNET [Contributed, with thanks, by Zanofer Ismalebbe, UNDP Geneva]: This panel represents the first time that the issue of internet freedom was discussed comprehensively in the context of human rights. In her opening remarks, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Pillay, stated the internet had become an indispensable tool for people to receive information and to become providers of information. Human rights defenders have been particularly quick to capitalize on audio-visual and crowd sourcing capacities that the internet offers to document human rights violations and share these with a global audience. The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of the right to freedom of opinion and expression remarked that new standards on human rights were not needed because human rights principles applied off line and on line and whether through oral, written or any other form of expression the same basic freedom of expression principles would apply. View a video of the debate here and read more here.

    28 FEBRUARY 2012 / 19th SESSION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL / PANEL DEBATE ON MAINSTREAMING HUMAN RIGHTS [Contributed, with thanks, by Emilie Filmer-Wilson, UNDOCO New York, and Flavia Bustreo, WHO Geneva]: The 19th session of the Human Rights Council included a high-level panel debate on human rights mainstreaming in development cooperation. Many UN Agencies intervened and provided examples on how their organization has contributed to mainstreaming human rights in development programming. For example, WHO provided examples of human rights-based approaches to improve people’s health, ranging from the International Health Regulations to the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health to the establishment of a new team in WHO tasked with mainstreaming gender, equity and human rights at all levels of the Organization. Access a video of the plenary debate here. Access WHO’s statement here. Access videos of the following interventions: FAO, ILO, OHCHR, UNDPUNICEF, UN Secretary-General, World Bank, WHO.

    16 FEBRUARY 2012 / GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION BACKING ARAB LEAGUE EFFORTS TO RESOLVE THE CRISIS IN SYRIA: The General Assembly adopted a resolution backing Arab League efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria. The resolution, co-sponsored by more than 70 Member States, is very similar to a Security Council resolution vetoed on 4 February 2011. The General Assembly resolution contains stronger language on accountability, including for those violations that may amount to crimes against humanity. General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser said the resolution “demonstrates the world’s concern, commitment and solidarity with the Syrian people, especially regarding the protection of civilians and the overall situation in Syria… [it] also shows that Member States, through the UN General Assembly, are willing to act to maintain stability.” Read more here.

    4 FEBRUARY 2012 / LAUNCH OF THE CHILDREN’S LAW OF LIBERIA: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf officially launched the Children’s Law of Liberia to protect children and their right to participate meaningfully in their development. The law is one of the most comprehensive pieces of children’s rights legislation in the African continent and is largely based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, ratified by Liberia in 1993 and 1992 respectively. Liberia is one of the first countries to adopt comprehensive legislation for children that incorporates the UNCRC and the African Charter. This new law reflects the government’s commitment to support the progressive realization of all rights for all children including their right to health, education, freedom from violence, abuse, and exploitation, as well as their right to participate meaningfully in their own development. Read more here.

    NEWS FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES:

    CALL FOR INPUTS / COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES REQUESTS INPUTS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF MEASURES OF ACCESSIBILITY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) requires that State Parties take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. The Committee puts forth an official call for submission of practical and theoretical papers on implementation of the Article 9 on accessibility of the Convention. The deadline for submissions is 15 March 2012. Read more here.

    CALL FOR INPUTS / CEDAW COMMITTEE’S ASIA PACIFIC REGIONAL SITUATIONS CONSULTATION ON THE PROPOSED GENERAL RECOMMENDATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN SITUATIONS OF CONFLICT AND POST-CONFLICT: The CEDAW Committee is calling for national and regional level women’s rights groups, NGOs and networks in the Asia Pacific actively engaged in protecting women’s rights during conflict and in peace-building and reconstruction processes during the post-conflict & transition settings, to submit written submissions to the CEDAW Committee’s Working Group organising the CEDAW Committee’s Asia Pacific Regional Consultation on the Proposed General Recommendation on Human Rights of Women in Situations of Conflict and Post-conflict, which will take place on 27-28 March 2012 in Bangkok. The deadline for submissions is 25 March 2012. Read more here.

    28 FEBRUARY 2012 / OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD ON A COMMUNICATIONS PROCEDURE FOR VIOLATIONS OF CHILDREN’S RIGHTS OPENED FOR SIGNATURE: The new Optional Protocol, which was adopted on 19 December 2011 by the General Assembly, will allow children and their representatives to bring complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The creation of this new instrument illustrates the recognition that children, just like adults, should have equal access to international human rights bodies and the international system of accountability for rights violations. Twenty States signed the Protocol on the day the day it opened for signature. Ten States need to ratify the Protocol before it can enter into force. Read more here.

    13 FEBRUARY – 2 MARCH 2012 / 51ST SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN: The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) held its fifty-first session from 13 February to 2 March 2012. It reviewed reports by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Grenada, Norway, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Algeria and Jordan on how they implement the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Read more here

    20-24 FEBRUARY 2012 / EIGHTH SESSION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADVISORY COMMITTEE: The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee during its eighth session worked on requests addressed to it by the Council. It discussed a report “‘promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms through a better understanding of the traditional values of humankind”, which has raised concerns with human rights practitioners particularly on the question how concepts such as “traditional values” and “dignity” would be interpreted in relation to human rights. Read more here and here.  

    20-24 FEBRUARY 2012 / EIGHTH SESSION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADVISORY COMMITTEE: The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee during its eighth session worked on requests addressed to it by the Council. It discussed a report “‘promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms through a better understanding of the traditional values of humankind”, which has raised concerns with human rights practitioners particularly on the question how concepts such as “traditional values” and “dignity” would be interpreted in relation to human rights. Read more here and here.

    UN WORK IN FOCUS:

    UN PARTNERSHIP TO PROMOTE THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (UNPRPD):The realization that disability and development are intertwined persuaded Member States in 2006 to adopt the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which “provides an opportunity to strengthen the policies related to and the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, thereby contributing to the realization of a ‘society for all’ in the twenty-first century.” Further to this, six UN entities – ILO, OHCHR, UNDESA, UNDP, UNICEF and WHO – joined hands to launch a unique collaborative effort – the UN Partnership to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) – that brings together the UN system, governments, Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) and other partners to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. In December 2011, a Multi-Donor Trust Fund was launched to generate and manage resources in support of the work of the UNPRPD. This Fund will make funding available to countries for work on disability rights. Access a brochure about UNPRPD here. Access more resources about human rights and disability here.

    THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT / REPORT FROM THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL AND THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: This report contains a summary of the activities undertaken by OHCHR with regard to the promotion and realization of the right to development, including in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the right to development in 2011. It underscores the seminal importance of human rights-based policy coherence in the global partnership for development, and requires full mainstreaming of all human rights, including the right to development, into the work of the United Nations system, most importantly in the upcoming quadrennial comprehensive policy review and in the post-2015 development agenda. Access the report (A/HRC/19/45) here.

    AWARDS, LEARNING AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES:

    LAUNCH OF THE GLOBAL LEGAL EMPOWERMENT NETWORK [Contributed, with thanks, by Peter Chapman, World Bank]: The Global Legal Empowerment Network, hosted by the new legal empowerment organization Namati, provides a forum for those committed to legal empowerment — community paralegals, concerned citizens, NGOs, development agencies, public interest lawyers, journalists, government officials — to share tools and information. The network grows out of several years of discussion among legal empowerment practitioners, convened with the help of the Open Society Justice Initiative and the World Bank’s Justice for the Poor Program and is a forum for learning from one another, and for building a broader, stronger legal empowerment movement. You can join the network here.

    CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS / HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS: AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL: Health and Human Rights, an international journal published semi-annually by the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, is currently welcoming submissions. The editors invite submissions of original articles, manuscripts for the review section, as well as fieldwork summaries, short opinion or perspective essays. Themes of particular interest include: (1) climate change and the right to health; (2) health rights and effectiveness of international treaty law; (3) interdisciplinary explorations of health and human rights; (4) rights-informed innovations in health program design; and (5) health and human rights as “well-being.” Access more information here.

    COURSE / PROFESSIONAL TRAINING ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS / GENEVA ACADEMY OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS / 7-11 MAY 2012, GENEVA: The Project on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights announces its fifth annual Advanced Training on Monitoring Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which will take place in Geneva, Switzerland from the 7th to 11th May 2012. The course is designed for human rights advocates, staff of NGOs and national human rights institutions, representatives of governments, and staff of UN bodies and other international organizations, as well as members of the academia, with in-depth knowledge on monitoring aspects related to economic, social and cultural rights, and comprehensive knowledge on how to enhance their work on monitoring ESC rights. Access more information here.

    CALL FOR APPLICATIONS / PROGRAM OF ADVANCED STUDIES ON HUMAN RIGHTS / 28 MAY-15 JUNE, WASHINGTON, D.C.: The American University, Washington College of Law is offering an intensive three-week course on human rights and humanitarian law. The course – offered in English and Spanish – takes place between 28 May and 15 June 2012. Examples of course offerings include: European Human Rights Law, Human Rights and International Tribunals, International Justice for Human Rights Violations, among many others. The deadline for applications is 1 May 2012. For more information, please click here.

    CALL FOR APPLICATIONS / EUROPEAN MASTER’S DEGREE IN HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATISATION / THE EUROPEAN INTER-UNIVERSITY CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATISATION (EIUC): The European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) has launch the 16th edition of its European Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation (E.MA) 2012/2013. E.MA is an intensive one-year master’s programme aimed at educating professionals in human rights, democracy, peace and development. The programme offers an action- and policy-oriented approach to learning, which combines interdisciplinary perspectives with skills building activities. The deadline for applications is 31 March 2012. For more information, please click here or here.

    CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS / HUMAN DEVELOPMENT & CAPABILITY ASSOCATION (HDCA) CONFERENCE 2012 [Contributed, with thanks, by Carola Carazzone, Volontariato Internazionale Per Lo Sviluppo, Rome]: Submission of abstract/papers is invited for Annual International Human Development & Capability Association (HDCA) conference 2012 (Jakarta, 5-7 September). The conference theme this year is “Revisiting Development: Do we assess it correctly?” The various themes and sub-themes include: a) Externalities and “green” economy, b) how to assess inclusion, c) local economic development, d) multidimensional vulnerability, e) assessing the effectiveness of different welfare program interventions, f) democracy and human development, g) “What is poor?” Re-assessing the lives and needs of the poor. The deadline for submissions is 15 March 2012. The call for papers can be accessed here; access more information about the conference here.

    PARTNERSHIP / WOMEN AND ESCR WORKING GROUP OF ESCR-NET AND THE WOMEN’S HUMAN RIGHTS TRAINING INSTITUTE: The Women and ESCR working group of ESCR-Net is formally partnering with the Women’s Human Rights Training Institute coordinated by the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Network of East West Women. The participation of the Women and ESCR working group will facilitate the focus on economic and social rights advocacy and litigation. The Institute is a unique initiative founded in 2004 as a first-of-its-kind programme aimed at building the capacity of young lawyers from Central and Eastern European and the Newly Independent States for litigation on women’s rights issues, including: violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and employment discrimination. Access more information  here.

    BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS / HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION ASSOCIATES (HREA) AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE OF THE UN MANDATED UNIVERSITY FOR PEACE (UPEACE) / MAY-19 JUNE 2012 [Contributed, with thanks, by Frank Elbers, HREA]: HREA and UPEACE will be offering a short certificate course that critically examines the business-human rights nexus with a particular focus on case studies from around the world. Several questions such as the human rights obligations of businesses, the manner in which human rights are affected by businesses including during armed conflicts, the specific linkages with the right to environment and labour rights and the ever elusive solution for accountability will be examined, as well as the concept of corporate social responsibility. The deadline for applications is 15 March 2012. Read more and apply online here.

    HUMAN RIGHTS-BASED PROGRAMMING / HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (HREA) / 25 APRIL-10 JULY 2012 [Contributed, with thanks, by Frank Elbers, HREA]: In this specialised e-learning course participants will deepen their knowledge about project and programme development from a human rights perspective and learn how to apply the principles of equity, empowerment, participation and accountability to various phases of project planning and implementation. Participants will also gain sensitivity to how programmes can integrate non-discriminatory practice and give attention to vulnerable groups. The course will focus on practical tools for human rights situation assessment, programme planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation within the rights-based conceptual framework. The deadline for applications was 25 February 2012 – but there are still a few places available. Read more and apply online here.

    THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM / HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION ASSOCIATES (HREA) / 21 MAY-1 JULY 2012 [Contributed, with thanks, by Frank Elbers, HREA]: Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) will be offering short certificate course introducing the UN human rights system. The course will introduce the core UN human rights standards and discuss their universality. It will present the UN treaty bodies which monitor compliance with human rights treaties, the Human Rights Council and its mandate, role achievements and failures since its took over from the dissolved Commission on Human Rights in 2006, and the Council’s subsidiary bodies. The deadline for applications is 15 March 2012. Read more and apply online here.

    RESOURCES – WEBSITES, GUIDES AND TOOLS:

    ONLINE TOOL / LAUNCH OF INFORMATION PLATFORM ON THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT / UNITAR AND OHCHR [Contributed, with thanks, by Ayuush Bat-Erdene, OHCHR GENEVA]: Dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the 1986 United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development, the United Nations Institute for Research and Training (UNITAR) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have launched on 20 February 2012 an information platform (online e-learning course) on the Right to Development. The platform will remain open until the end of October 2012. The course has four modules: (1) Introduction (2) Historical background (3) United Nations mechanisms on the Right to Development, and (4) The Right to Development responds to contemporary challenges, each followed by short quizzes. The course is free and available to all interested participants. Access the course here.

    TOOLKIT / RIGHT TO ADEQUATE HOUSING [Contributed, with thanks, by Bharam Ghazi, OHCHR Geneva]: OHCHR has launched a web-based “toolkit” on the right to adequate housing. This toolkit gathers in one place reports, guidance notes, methodologies and other useful tools produced by OHCHR, human rights mechanisms and other UN agencies on the right to adequate housing. It also contains information on housing rights issues such as forced evictions and displacement as well as the right to adequate housing of specific groups including women, indigenous peoples and migrants. Access the toolkit here. Access more resources about the right to land, housing, and property here.

    LEGAL GUIDE / AFRICAN COURT OF HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHTS (ACHPR): The ACHPR has jurisdiction to consider all cases and disputes referred to it concerning the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter), the Court Protocol and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the state(s) concerned. This guide by Kate Stone introduces the African Court for Human and People’s Rights with a special focus on individuals and NGOs who wish to access the ACHPR. Access the guide here.

    REPORTS, ARTICLES AND BOOKS:

    OHCHR ESCR BULLETIN / JANUARY 2012 EDITION [Contributed, with thanks, by Lynn Gentile, OHCHR Geneva]: Issued every two months, the OHCHR ESCR Bulletin aims to share news, activities, key events and new resources relevant to economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR), with a focus on the work of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).  Highlights in the latest bulletin includes: news of the High Commissioner’s report on gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination; the ratifications of OP-ICESCR by Bolivia and Bosnia and Herzegovina; an announcement of the launch of the updated UN Practitioner’s Portal on Human Rights-Based Approaches to programming; reviews of various ‘activities in the field;’ and an overview of recent events, including recent cases, legislation and policies. To access the bulletin, please click here.

    REPORT / THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN 2012: CHILDREN IN AN URBAN WORLD / UNICEF: In The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an Urban World, UNICEF focuses on children’s rights in urban settings. In a few years, the report says, the majority of children will grow up in towns or cities rather than in rural areas. Those children whose needs are greatest also face the greatest violations of their rights. The hardships children endure in urban areas may include hunger and ill health; substandard housing; poor access to water and sanitation; and insufficient education and protection. Access the report here.

    ARTICLE / THE POTENTIAL OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS BASED APPROACH FOR THE EVOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS AS A SYSTEM / HUMAN RIGHTS REVIEW [Contributed, with thanks, by Alisa Clarke]: The author, Alisa Clarke, argues that while the UN faces increasingly intense challenges in the fulfillment of its mission, it also harbors the potential for enhanced effectiveness, relevance, and legitimacy in the form of the human rights-based approach (HRBA). HRBA is one model for translating the organization’s values into a more adaptive, inclusive, dynamic, and responsive system of processes and outcomes. Application of the HRBA in programming is leading to greater appreciation for addressing core disparities and promoting empowerment for sustainable outcomes. It is also cultivating new qualities in development practitioners, advancing creativity, openness and responsiveness in organizational culture. With the use of the HRBA, the UN as a system has the potential for deeper, longer-term mission fulfillment and thus ensuring its viability. Access the article here.

    ARTICLE / FILLING THE GAP: A LEARNING NETWORK FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA: The authors, Leslie London, Nicolé Fick, Khai Hoan Tram, and Maria Stuttaford draw on the experience of a Learning Network for Health and Human Rights (LN) involving collaboration between academic institutions and civil society organizations in the Western Cape, South Africa, aimed at identifying and disseminating best practice related to the right to health. The LN’s work in materials development, participatory research, and training and capacity-building for action illustrates important lessons for human rights practice. Evidence from evaluation of the LN is presented to support the argument that civil society can play a key role in bridging a gap between formal state commitment to creating a human rights culture and realizing services and policies that enable the most vulnerable members of society to advance their health. Access the article here.

    ARTICLE / HUMAN RIGHTS ACCOUNTABILITY OF INTERNATIONAL ADMINISTRATIONS: THEORY AND PRACTICE IN EAST TIMOR: Following the conduct of a popular consultation, the UN Security Council established the ‘United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor’ (UNTAET), an international operation endowed with full executive and legislative powers. UNTAET functioned as a government for almost three years, during which the international presence gradually transferred authority to the East Timorese institutions it had been asked to set up. This article explores the human rights accountability of international administrations, using the case of Timor Leste as an example. Access the article here.

    BLOG / TOWARDS JUSTICE IN DEVELOPMENT [Contributed, with thanks, by Peter Chapman, World Bank]: A post in the World Bank’s Governance for Development blog, discussing strategies for justice reform that might better respond to marginalized communities. Access the blog here.

    BOOK / HUMAN RIGHTS, STATE COMPLIANCE, AND SOCIAL CHANGE [contributed, with thanks, by Thomas Pegram, Trinity College, Dublin]: National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) have gained recognition as a possible missing link in the transmission and implementation of international human rights norms at the domestic level. They are also increasingly accepted as important participants in global and regional forums where international norms are produced. By collecting innovative work from experts spanning international law, political science, sociology and human rights practice, this new book, edited by Ryan Goodman and Thomas Pegram, critically examines the significance of this relatively new class of organizations. It focuses, in particular, on the prospects of these institutions to effectuate state compliance and social change. Access a preview of the book here.

    BOOK / VINDICATING SOCIO-ECONOMIC RIGHTS: INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS AND COMPARATIVE EXPERIENCES: Notwithstanding the widespread and persistent affirmation of the indivisibility and equal worth of all human rights, socio-economic rights continue to be treated as the “Cinderella” of the human rights corpus. At a domestic level this has resulted in little appetite for the explicit recognition and judicial enforcement of such rights in constitutional democracies. This study, drawing on comparative experiences in a number of jurisdictions which have addressed the issue of socio-economic rights, seeks to counter this argument by showing that courts can play a substantial role in the vindication of socio-economic rights, while still respecting the relative institutional prerogatives of the elected branches of government. The text incorporates discussion of the likely impact and significance of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and looks at the implications of the Mazibuko decision for the development of South Africa’s socio-economic rights jurisprudence. Access a preview of the book here.

    BOOK / THE UN CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN: A COMMENTARY: Edited by Marsha A. Freeman, Christine Chinkin and Beate Rudolf, this volume is the first comprehensive commentary on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol. The Commentary describes the application of the Convention through the work of its monitoring body, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. It comprises detailed analyses of the Preamble and each article of the Convention and of the Optional Protocol, by chapter authors from various countries. It also includes a separate chapter on the cross-cutting substantive issue of violence against women. Access a preview of the book here.

    BOOK / THE RIGHT TO HEALTH IN INTERNATIONAL LAW: The link between health and human rights has been recognized for many years, but the increasing visibility of the right to health in international law has been a distinct feature of the last decade. This book, authored by John Tobin, seeks to offer a comprehensive discussion of the status and meaning of the right to health in international law. It traces the history of this right to reveal its nexus with public health and the long-standing recognition that a State has a responsibility to attend to the health needs of its population. It also offers a theoretical account of its conceptual foundations which challenges the position held by many philosophers that health is undeserving of the status of a human right. Access a preview of the book here.

    CONFERENCE REPORT / RIGHTS AND ACCOUNTABILITY – THE WAY AHEAD FOR BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS: This Report summarizes the outcomes of the Conference‚ ‘Right and Accountability: The Way Ahead for Business and Human Rights,’ which was held at the premises of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in Berlin on 21-22 November 2011. The Conference was organized by MISEREOR, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the FES, Germanwatch, and the German civil society networks Forum Human Rights and Corporate Accountability (CorA). Conference participants discussed the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, with a particular focus on the perspective of those affected by misconduct by transnational corporations and their access to remedy.  Access the report here.

    FACTSHEET / CENTRAL BANKS: DO THEY HAVE HUMAN RIGHTS OBLIGATIONS?: As part of a partnership between ESCR-Net members, Center of Concern, Centre for Economic & Social Rights, AWID, CIVICUS, DAWN, Social Watch and iBase30, and authored by James Heintz of the Political Economy Research Institute, the second in a series of factsheets exploring the links between financial regulation and human rights have been released. The release of these factsheets is part of a broader initiative named ‘A Bottom Up Approach to Righting Financial Regulation’. Further factsheets discussing the Human Rights and a Financial Transaction Tax, Human Rights and the G20  will be released throughout 2012. Access the factsheet here.

    GUIDELINES / SUPPORTING WIN-WIN ENGAGEMENTS BETWEEN COMMUNITIES AND AGRIBUSINESS INVESTORS IN TIMOR-LESTE [Contributed, with thanks, by Peter Chapman, World Bank]: In Timor-Leste 75% of the population lives in rural areas, where subsistence agriculture is the main economic activity.  Many of these communities wish to increase their production by using modern farming inputs and machinery.  Working with agribusiness investors is one way of improving production and increasing incomes. Justice for the Poor research reveals difficulties in developing equitable and productive relationships between rural communities and private investors. These guidelines are designed to assist agribusiness investors and community members to identify the key issues and suggest ways to support win-win cooperation. Access the publication here (also in Tetum and Bahasa). J4P and the CoCITL also developed specific advice for community members:  Working with Agribusiness Investors in Timor-Leste: Guidelines for Community Members (Also in Tetum and Bahasa).

    REPORT / ACCESS TO JUSTICE – HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES INVOLVING CORPORATIONS NIGERIA / INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF JURISTS: This report critically examines the judicial and non-judicial remedies available under Nigerian law to victims of human rights abuses committed with the participation of companies. It aims to achieve this by assessing the efficacy of the existing regulatory frameworks, identifying the major obstacles that victims experience in holding companies accountable for conduct in contravention of their human rights responsibilities, and outlining recommendations that should help in overcoming these obstacles. Access the report here.

    REPORT / (BIO)FUELING INJUSTICE? EUROPE’S RESPONSIBILITY TO COUNTER CLIMATE CHANGE WITHOUT PROVOKING LAND GRABBING AND COMPOUNDING FOOD INSECURITY IN AFRICA: This report, by FIAN International and EuropAfrica, finds that the EU and its Members States violate their extra-territorial obligations to respect, protect and fulfil economic, social and cultural rights in Africa, using the recently adopted Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The report reviews the impact of the EU biofuel policy in Africa, and concludes that it harms human rights and affects governance in several direct and indirect ways. Access the report here.