Monthly Archives: September, 2012

On poverty and growth | Arab CSOs in Brussels | Canada-EU free trade agreement

Issue 104 – September 28 , 2012

IFI’s plans against poverty; a new approach or more of the same?: The case of Togo


Togolese premier Ahoomey-Zunu
opens the workshop to validate
the PRSP II. (Photo: Secrétariat
Technique du DSRP)

Since the first decade of the 21 century, the World Bank and the IMF have promoted the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) as a brand new methodology, better than their controversial structural adjustment plans. But, in spite the change of names, the Bretton Woods institutions still consider economic growth as an unavoidable step in the fight against poverty, with little mention to the distribution of wealth. Togo is an example. Samir Abi, president of non governmental organization Visions Solidaires, analyzed the recently finished second Togolese PRSP validation process.
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Arab CSOs warned Europe that its approach is dangerous for democracy
Arab civil society organizations warned that the European Union (EU) “more for more” approach and the economic model it promotes is inconsistent with the national paths towards democracy and social and economic policies that the region proposes.
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Keeping an eye on the Bahraini regime, next task for human rights defenders
The regime of Bahrain accepted completely 145 recommendations and 13 partially out of the 176 submitted by other States to the UN Human Rights Council last May, as a result of the sustained efforts made by local and international civil society organizations at the session of the organ that is taking place in Geneva. But the Bahraini Human Rights Observatory warned that implementing the suggestions will require “international monitoring”.
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Canada: Free trade with Europe could throw Ontarians out of work
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that Canada and the EU are negotiating behind closed doors would result in as many as 70,000 job losses in Ontario and would undermine independent government decision-making, according to a new report produced by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ (CCPA) office in that province.
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Greece “The rights of all European citizens are at stake”
The austerity package recently approved by the Greek government will “damage progress towards gender equality in the European Union” and “poses fundamental questions about sovereignty and self-determination in Europe, about people’s choices and what they imply,” wrote Genoveva Tisheva, managing director of the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (BGRF, focal point of Social Watch in that country), in an article published in the web site of the European Women Lawyers’ Association (EWLA).
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CRTD.A’s Social Rights Watch|| Issue 21

صدر العدد الواحد والعشرون من “راصد الحقوق الاجتماعية” لشهر ايلول/سبتمبر 2012. تهدف هذه النشرة الى تعزيز المعرفة حول مواضيع المواطنة الفاعلة والمستحقات الاجتماعية، بحيث تكون أداة جديدة تساعد على دفع العمل المطلبي، تكريساً للحقوق الاجتماعية وخصوصا الحق بالتعليم والصحة للجميع وضمان الأمان الاجتماعي.

يمكنكم/ن الولوج الى الخبر مباشرة عبر الضغط على احد العناوين المختارة.

الافتتاحية:  بناء دولة المواطنة يبدأ من قانون انتخاب عادل

● قضايا تربوية
مراد يتهم اللجنة الفنية للتعليم العالي بالتعامل سلباً مع ملفات التراخيص الجامعية
..ووزير التربية يرفض التوقف عن منحها
إقبال كبير من التلامذة السوريين على مدارس عاليه والمتن
طلاب لبنانيون  في سوريا يعتصمون أمام “التربية” لإنقاذ دراستهم
متعاقدو/ات المركز التربوي يتهمون رئيسة المركز بسلب حقوقهم/ن

● عمل نقابي
غريب: هناك نية مبيتة لضرب حقوق أساتذة الثانوي
…ومندوبو بيروت: تجزئة الزيادة تفقدها قوتها الشرائية
رابطة الثانوي طالبت الحكومة بالتزام تعهداتها
متقاعدو الثانوي: اللجوء إلى مجلس الشورى للطعن بمشروع قانون سلسلة الرواتب
مشروع قانون لتثبيت المتعاقدين في المهني وفق مباراة محصورة

● تعليم خاص
المدارس الكاثوليكية تطلق شرعتها للقيم والراعي ضد الرضوخ للضغوط الإجتماعية!؟
منذر أنطون يستمر مديراً لإنجيلية النبطية حتى إيجاد البديل

● الجامعة اللبنانية
“المستقبل” التفريط بالتوازن التمثيلي في “اللبنانية” يوقظ الطائفية
لجنة لمتابعة تطبيق  قانون التفرّغ في اللبنانية
دياب يؤكد لمتعاقدي اللبنانية دعمه لقضيتهم/ن
هيئة جديدة توافقية لرابطة الأساتذة المتفرغين في اللبنانية
لجنة البناء الجامعي في الشمال تطالب ميقاتي بتوفير الدعم المالي للمشروع  

● قضايا صحية
“حملة حقي علي” طالبت وزير الصحة بالاستقالة لإخفاقه

● مستشفيات خاصة
“المستشفيات” تتجه نحو الضغط على الحكومة عبر المضمونين
…والاتحاد العمالي لفسخ عقود المستشفيات الخاصة الممتنعة
…والاتحاد العام للنقابات يرفض موقف “المستشفيات”

● مستشفيات حكومية
النقيبة تطلع على أوضاع ممرضي/ات مستشفى بيروت الحكومي

● الضمان الاجتماعي
“الهيئات الاقتصادية” لزيادة الحد الأعلى لاشتراكات الضمان إلى مليوني ليرة

● حقوق العاملين/ت
مشروع سلسلة الرواتب المقترح: تقسيط الزيادات حتى 2014
1137 عاملاً متعهداً وجابي إكراء بلا رواتب
عمال الـ”سبينيس” ينشئون نقابة
… والإدارة تصرف رئيس النقابة ميلاد بركات بسبب نضاله
“لجنة المتابعة للعمّال” تدعو المياومين والجباة إلى توقيع العقود
عمال “غب الطلب” في المياه ينتفضون أسوة بـ”مياومي الكهرباء”
تعاونية موظفي الدولة: رفض لخفض رواتب المديرين العامين في السلسلة

● وزارة الشؤون
برنامج دعم الأسر الأكثر فقراً  يوافق على مساعدة 33 ألف أسرة

● ذوي الاحتياجات الخاصة
اتحاد المقعدين اللبنانيين يطلق حملة وطنية للتنمية الدامجة
“الشؤون” أعلنت نتائج انتخابات الهيئة الوطنية لشؤون المعوقين

يمكنكم/ن الحصول على هذا العدد من نشرة “راصد الحقوق الاجتماعية” عبر الوصلة التالية:

● للحصول على الاعداد السابقة من نشرة “راصد الحقوق الاجتماعية”، يرجى نقر الوصلة التالية:

When Flexibility Hurts By SUSAN J. LAMBERT Published: September 19, 2012

AT first glance, women at the top and the bottom of the labor market seem to have very different problems.

Professional women at law firms, in academia and in the media complain about the punishing hours — and unceasing streams of e-mail — that make it difficult to make time for their families. At the other extreme, many women in retail, restaurant and health care jobs are underemployed; they’re looking for more hours of work (and ideally, regular hours) to support their families.

But both problems share a root cause: the incentives that guide businesses’ employment practices.

Rather than being long and relentless, work hours in hourly jobs, especially low-level ones, are often scarce, fluctuating and unpredictable. Sales associates and restaurant servers might be scheduled for 7 hours one week and 32 the next. Hotel housekeepers might work Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday one week, and then Sunday, Thursday and Saturday the following week. Schedules are often posted just a few days in advance. And women in hourly jobs are likely to have less input than men in determining their work schedules, according to national surveys.

The lack of stability is especially hard on parents. Unpredictable work schedules leave them scrambling to arrange child care and reluctant to volunteer for school events or to schedule doctor’s appointments. They make it tough to establish the household routines that experts tell us are essential for healthy child development, like bedtime rituals, homework monitoring and family meal times. Unstable hours also result in unstable earnings, a nightmare for parents on tight budgets.

Well-educated women have benefited from the growing gap between workers who have college degrees and those who don’t. But low-paid women have been left vulnerable by cuts to safety net programs. In 2011, nearly half of the households headed by single mothers who worked part-time or part-year were poor (46.8 percent), compared with 8.9 percent of households headed by single mothers who worked full-time, year round.

The different pressures on salaried and hourly workers arise from companies’ trying to maximize productivity.

Professional positions come with fixed costs (yearly salaries and benefits like health insurance) that are incurred regardless of how many hours the employee works. So employers have an incentive to have those individuals work as much as possible. One person is often doing the work of two.

The inverse is true in hourly jobs, where employers have an incentive to keep each individual’s work hours to a minimum. Employers want to avoid paying for overtime and, of course, many don’t offer health insurance. Their goal is to pay only for that amount of work that is necessary.

Employers tend to keep head counts high for low-level hourly jobs so that they have a large pool of workers who can be scheduled for short shifts at times of peak demand. Technologies like computerized scheduling systems and forecasting tools make it possible to predict and monitor sales and calibrate work schedules not just by the day but by the hour. Employees are called in or sent home as needed. For each of these jobs there are often three workers available.

Although over- and underemployment create different challenges for workers, the trade-offs are strikingly similar. “Availability” is now a major form of human capital, in both high-powered salaried positions and low-level hourly jobs. Low-wage workers need to be available at all hours or risk not having work. Professionals are expected to remain electronically tethered to their jobs day and night or risk forgoing coveted opportunities. Both groups of workers lose earnings if they interrupt their careers to care for family members — as women at all points on the socioeconomic spectrum are more likely to do than their male counterparts.

Improving workplace norms may be essential to achieving gender equality, as the Princeton professor Anne-Marie Slaughter suggested in her recent essay in The Atlantic, but it will not change the incentives that foster over-employment at the top of the labor market and underemployment at the bottom.

To do that, the government must reform the Fair Labor Standards Act. Enacted in 1938 — decades before women’s labor force participation became the norm — the law established a minimum hourly wage but did not guarantee minimum weekly hours for any job (though unions may bargain for minimum hours). This reform would encourage employers to make full use of their hourly employees instead of overhiring, at low cost, a pool of on-demand shift workers.

The law also did not mandate that salaried workers get overtime pay. Requiring overtime pay for professionals would encourage employers to minimize unnecessary face time and to hire assistants to reduce the demands on professionals.

Such sweeping changes to labor laws might be politically impossible today, in an environment that is friendly to corporations and indifferent, if not hostile, to workers. But they are essential. They would press employers to hire one worker for one job, easing work-life challenges at both the top and the bottom of the labor market. That would create more entry-level professional positions for college graduates and better-paying jobs to lift low-income families into the middle class. It’s what women want and what our economy needs.

Susan J. Lambert is an associate professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.

FAO accused | Arab CSOs in Brussels | Education in Canada

Issue 103 – September 21 , 2012

FAO accused of “promoting the destruction of peasant and family farming”


FAO director-general José
Graziano da Silva.
(Photo: FAO/Ozan Kose)

Relevant environmental and peasant groups declared themselves “shocked and offended” because the heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) called on governments to embrace corporations as the “main engine” for global food production growth. In a collective statement, the civil society organizations said the FAO is abandoning its mission by “promoting the destruction of peasant and family farming” and the “land grabbing”.
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A week to rethink the relations between the EU and the Arab World
A delegation of human rights and development non governmental organizations from seven Arab countries (Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Morocco) is visiting European Union (EU) institutions in Brussels this week, with the aim of deepen the dialogue on the relations between both regions with policy makers and civil society representatives. The mission is organized by the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), in cooperation with EuroStep and CNCD-11.11.11 (Centre national de coopération au développement, Belgium).
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University education in Canada becoming less affordable
Average tuition and compulsory fees for Canadian undergraduate students are estimated to rise almost 18% over the next four years, from almost $6,200 in 2011-12 to over $7,300, says a study released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
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Egypt: Domestic workers create their first trade union
Officially registered with the Ministry of Manpower earlier this month, Egypt’s first labor union of domestic workers is the result of an initiative by the Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement (EACPE, focal point of Social Watch in that country), which launched a project to protect them last year.
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Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights renews its commitment
The Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR, national focal point of Social Watch) held a comprehensive seminar last week as part of its commemoration of the 18th September 2001, when Eritrean reformists and independent media journalists were kidnapped and disappeared since.
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Kenya: New technologies promote democracy, participation and accountability
Philip Thigo, 36, grew up in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi. After studying at Princeton and working abroad, he is now back where it all began. “I realized that my skills were needed in Kenya and decided to go home”, he said. Now he works to strengthen democracy and poor people’s rights with the Social Development Network (Sodnet) , an NGO working to mobilize and channel social engagement, focal point of Social Watch in that African country.
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Worth reading

Family Inequality

When pundits like David Brooks get sucked into the factoid-warp of Hanna Rosin (The End of Men) and Liza Mundy (The Richer Sex), they are always floored by the idea that young women earn more than young men. To them this represents the future. And woe to any woman trying to convince a jury she’s being discriminated against while these books are in the headlines. Brooks spelled it out real simple: “Women in their 20s outearn men in their 20s.”

That’s easily shown to be wrong (still holding my breath for the correction). But the more detailed factoid, the one you get in the long-soundbite version of the end-of-history, is that “median full-time wages for single childless women ages 22-30 exceeds those of single childless men in the same age group,” as reported in USA Today, for example. That was calculated by Reach Advisors using…

View original post 263 more words

Social Watch E-Newsletter

Food prices menace worsens while climate talks stagnate


Mauritanian farmer Aissata
Abdoul Diop with dried maize
(Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam)

A new research shows that the full impact of climate change on future food prices is being underestimated, while governments of developed countries don’t seem to have the will to accept in the next seven weeks further greenhouse gases emissions cuts to reach an agreement on a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol after 31 Dec, the expiry date of the first period.
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Human Rights Council urged to protect activists attending its session
While UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened this week the 21st session of the Human Rights Council urging the 47 member states to show they take their mandate of promotion and protection of human rights seriously, civil society organizations are asking for measures to prevent reprisals against activists attending the meeting in Geneve.
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Harassment and detentions increase in Sudan
Since the student led protest movement emerged in March 2011 in Sudan, demonstrators have acted “peacefully and in line” with the Constitution, but the government reaction has been “vicious”, “unprecedented” and illegal, said Hassan Abdel Ati, Secretary General of Sudan’s National Civic Forum, focal point of Social Watch in the African country.
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Philippines: Public challenge to investigate vague and hidden budget Items
Social Watch Philippines and Alternative Budget Initiative are set to probe into President Benigno Aquino III’s proposed budget items for 2013 that are still unclear or not visible. “We have to be more vigilant as the 2.006 trillion pesos [47.74 billion US dollars] proposed 2013 appropriations is the first budget proposal to exceed the two-trillion pesos mark,” explained former national treasurer and Social Watch Philippines lead convenor Leonor Magtolis Briones.
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Republic of Korea: President Lee accused of benefiting private constructors
Civic groups have charged the President of the Republic of Korea Lee Myung-bak of saddling Seoul residents with losses while he was mayor of the capital city, by signing an unfair contract with a leading private sector infrastructure fund to build a metro line, reported journalist Park Hyun-chul on The Hankyoreh daily newspaper.
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World Bank World Development Report on Gender and Equality 2012

Please find the below link to the World Bank World Development Report on Gender and Equality 2012 .

Information about the report and choices of downloads of summaries in different languages:,,contentMDK:23004468~pagePK:64167689~piPK:64167673~theSitePK:7778063,00.html


Direct link to the full report in English:

Poverty and rights | Philippine budget | Burmese blacklists

Issue 101 – September 07, 2012



Eradicating poverty: from moral duty to legal obligation


United Nations
Human Rights Council.

The United Nations Human Rights Council will discuss this month a series of “guiding principles” that would force countries to adress the consequences of international economic treaties and fiscal policies on poverty and human rights. If the proposal by Magdalena Sepúlveda, one of the UN Council Special Rapporteurs, is approved “eradicating poverty shall not only be a moral duty, but a legal obligation”, acccording to Roberto Bissio, director of the Third World Institute (ITeM).
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Philippines: Social Watch questions special funds included in the next budget
Social Watch Philippines is questioning some items in the 2013 budget submitted by the government to the Congress. The convenor of this national coalition of civil society groups, Leonor Briones, said there are lump sum appropriations called “special purpose funds”, which did not provide any breakdowns.
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India: Health sector in bad shape at Chhattisgarh, warns Social Watch
Central and local authorities’ failures are responsible for the gloomy performance of the health sector in Indian state of Chhattisgarh, according to the most recent report produced by the local Social Watch coalition. The governments must be held accountable for the fulfillment of this Constitutional and basic right, but the citizens also have the responsibility to monitor its implementation, activist said while they released the study.
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Burma regime removed 2,000 names from its blacklist, but fears persist
The names of some 2,000 people removed from a blacklist of foreign and Burmese nationals regarded as threats to the regime, among them Aung Htoo, former secretary of the Burma Lawyers Council (BLC, national focal point of Social Watch), was released by the office of President Thein Sein last week.
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Finland has much to learn from Third World in family relations
Finland has certain problems: many people numb themselves with antidepressant drugs and alcohol, people bully and harass each other at work, a young man will fire into a crowd of people, a father kills his family. Finnish people should learn something from developing countries, wrote Johana Pohjola in an article published by Helsingin Sanomat daily newspaper.
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Acquiring new skills to strengthen the Social Watch office in Benin
Assah Gustave, National Coordinator of Social Watch Benin, is participating in a two week capacity development initiative in West Africa. In 2012, he has attended over twelve trainings across the globe. This last one reunited civil society organizations from Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Niger and Guinea. “It is now up to us to apply the best practices gathered from this training, to contextualise them and apply in Social Watch,” he said
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