Posts Tagged 'economy'

Rights is the answer

The Social Watch, and international NGO watchdog network that monitors poverty eradication and gender equality has just released its 2008 Annual Report titled, Rights is the answer. The full version is available for purchase and includes essays and reports on a wide variety of topics including food security, education, health, and gender equality. Luckily, there is a free overview available and includes several articles that are worth a look.

So far, I have only had an opportunity to read Human rights and the economic system, by Roberto Bissio. He asks: “What is the relation between human rights and the economic and financial architecture?” His answer covers examples from across the globe where the massive failure of our global economic systems have structured the opportunity for wide range of human rights issues. In all cases, the global economic downturn has constrained the ability of poor countries to provide for their citizens. In the worst cases, global economic policies intended to improve economic circumstances have led to massive human rights violations and social injustices.

In Senegal, “structural adjustment policies, including privatization of most basic services (water, energy, transport) have not achieved their stated goal of revitalizing the economy. In fact, these policies have deindustrialized the country, with disastrous social consequences: the loss of thousands of jobs, extremely high unemployment, and massive migration to urban centres”. In that context, “official mechanisms to promote and protect human rights have become weaker rather than stronger” and public opposition is being curtailed by frequent bans on protests, harassment of journalists and impunity for individuals who commit political crimes, embezzlement of public funds or torture. In such a context violations of the rights of women and children (even when not clearly “politically motivated”) are also reaching “disturbing proportions, marked by cases of sexual harassment and abuse, rape, murder, forced marriages, genital mutilation and paedophilia”.

It is frightening to think that things may get worse before they improve…


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