Summary of Open Space Sessions
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- The Right to Social Security
- Indigenous Rights, the Environment and Grassroots Activism: Western Shoshone Film Showing and Discussion
- Rights and Anti-Corruption: providing tools for civil society mobilisation on access to and enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights
- Assessing the Health Rights of Women
- Why and How to Get Involved in Intellectual Property Advocacy: An Urgent Appeal to Human Rights Activists
- Budgeting for Human Rights: An Exchange for organizations interested in participating and contributing to the Budgeting for Human Rights pilot phase 2009-2010.
- A Human Rights Response to Globalization: the Added-Value of Working with Extra Territorial Obligations (ETO)
- Integrating Macro Economic Strategies and Human Rights
- "Rightful Place" Video
- Video for Change - How to Effectively Use Video for Human Rights Advocacy
- Rights First : A Tool for Evaluating Step-by-Step, the Impact of Foreign Investment on Human Rights
- Tools for State Accountability for Economic and Social Rights: the CESR Monitoring Tool and an Economic and Social Rights Fulfilment Index
Priiti Darooka, Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PWESCR), India / Malcolm Langford, Norwegian Human Rights Centre, Norway
With shrinking social services in all countries around the world, social security is a very important area. It is important to have gender analysis to this emerging issue in human rights. This workshop discussed General Comments 19 on Right to Social Security and how it applies to women. The workshop covered:
- What is right to social security? (GC 19) Why is social security so important?
- What is right to social security from woman’s perspective?
- How can General Comment 19 be used to achieve social security benefits for all?
- They also looked at various debates and challenges to this right.The workshop also allowed sharing on social security from various countries.
- Better understanding of what right to social security entails
- Gender dimensions of social security
Larson Bill, Western Shoshone Defense Project, USA
WSDP debuted their new film: American Outrage, regarding the situation of indigenous peoples with the Western Shoshone case as the case study. The film presented the human rights struggle from an indigenous view point, tying in grassroots activism, legal challenges and corporate actions. Extractive industries and their ongoing impacts and health, social and cultural rights are highlighted as are recent actions at the United Nations. The film was followed by a discussion of ways to tie the indigenous movement into other grassroots struggles.
International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP), Switzerland / Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), Argentina
When it comes to economic, social and cultural rights, the cost of corruption on human and societal life is not hard to expound. On a daily basis, thousands of poor people around the world are unable to access health clinics, schools, proper shelter, or other essential services due to uncompromising acts of corrupt leaders. Journalists, whistleblowers, and other anti-corruption activists have equally had to face harsh consequences of imprisonment and murder in their attempt to expose corruption. Corruption engenders state capture and monopolization of public power and resources, its clandestine nature allows for little or no room for power sharing or people`s participation.
This interactive session focused on: (1) Helping participants identify when and how problems of corruption entail violations of human rights, in particular ESC rights; (2) Linking human rights to corruption might also help to build public support for anti-corruption strategies; and (3) Using human rights language to diminish the level of public tolerance of corruption and strengthen public support for anti-corruption measures even in countries where references to human rights may be sensitive.
Grace Maingi-Kimani, Federation of Women Lawyers, Kenya
The aim of this session was to popularize the Health Rights of Women Assessment Instrument (HeRWAI) Tool. This is a tool which has been developed by Aim for Human Rights, Netherlands and is a strategic tool to enhance lobbying activities for better implementation of Women’s health rights. A HeRWAI analysis links what actually happens with what should happen according to the human rights obligations of a country. The analysis takes a human rights approach and the text is based on the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women. The presentation provided an overview of the Tool.
Zoë Goodman, 3D->Trade, Human Rights and Equitable Economy, Switzerland
This workshop gave a brief outline of some of the human rights implications of IP, including:
- IP protection for seeds prevents farmers from exchanging and re-using seeds with serious ramifications on the right to food for present and future generations of humanity
- Copyright laws on books can prevent the publication of books in local languages with detrimental effects on the right to education
- Patents on medicines impede the production of generic drugs with dire consequences for the right to health Following this introduction, the workshop discussed ways to raise awareness of these issues, as well as avenues for action.
First, an assessment of current role human rights advocates are playing in raising IP issues – who is doing what? Then the presentation turned to: why are there currently so few human rights groups involved in IP issues? What can be done to encourage others to join in the struggle against IP standards that negatively affect human rights? Finally, how do we increase the capacity of activists to use the human rights tool kit against the threat of IP?
Questions to be addressed include: At what level – local, national, regional, international – can human rights language and mechanisms be useful? Is there a role for collaboration and information exchange between human rights NGOs?
Cornelieke Keizer, Equalinrights and Erica Wortel, APRODEV, Switzerland
This session provided an in-depth exchange between organizations interested in piloting the project ‘Budgeting for Human Rights’ to gauge their interest, capacities and needs. The exchange built on the first session of the Budget and Human Rights Agenda of the International Strategy Meeting. The exchange provided the opportunity for those organizations already involved in Budget and Human Rights work or willing to start with the work. Central issue were if and how we can develop human-rights-based indicators that can be reflected in the budget and will help us to claim the implementation of Human Rights by costing ‘rights’ and develop strategies to have them implemented. They evaluated the possibility of committing to a pilot in the Budgeting for Human Rights project. In the coming 2-years, Equalinrights has the intention to start a pilot with the support of the APRODEV-agencies to exchange and learn from experiences on developing indicators, methodologies and strategies.
The workshop explored:
A) Identifying joint specific questions that need further exploration or specific thematic areas
B) Assessing organizational capacities and weaknesses and the need for specific skills, time-commitments, funding and technical assistance especially in relation to defining and operationalisation of Human Rights in the Budget
C) Exploring the added value of a joint process and how we should develop this (e-discussions, workshops, e-discussions and conference)
D) Exploring the commitment of interested organizations
Sandra Ratjen, Katrin Geenan, FIAN, Germany
While states' obligations under human rights are often seen as being related primarily to persons in their respective territories, in times of globalization the protection of human rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights is increasingly influenced by acts or omissions of foreign states, of intergovernmental organizations, and by transnational corporations. States' human rights obligations towards persons outside their territories (extraterritorial obligations) have therefore gained importance - in the fields of development assistance, trade and investment, and the regulation of transnational corporations. States have the obligations to respect, protect and fulfill ESCR both at home and abroad. Violations of extraterritorial states obligations (ETOs) can take various forms such as the co-financing of dam or mining projects lacking proper rehabilitation and compensation in the framework of bilateral or multilateral development cooperation, or the failure to exercise due diligence in the context of World Bank policy advice leading to the destruction of livelihoods, or the signature of international agreements like new trade rules which destroy access to food and resources for certain vulnerable groups.The ETO Consortium is a network of currently some 30 NGOs, university institutes and individuals from different parts of the world whose goal is to prepare a "document of principles" on extraterritorial states obligations for economic, social and cultural rights. The work of the Consortium is based on cases from a wide range of fields relevant for extraterritorial obligations.
This presentation analyzed macroeconomic policy using human rights instruments from the perspective of heterodox economists and human rights activists. This analysis can inform mainstream economic decision-making and devise policy alternatives that can lead to improved economic outcomes and also respect, protect and fulfill human rights. The project examines six aspects of macroeconomic policy: (1) fiscal policy, (2) monetary policy, (3) public expenditure, (4) taxation, and (5) trade, and (6) regulations. These macroeconomic policies were then evaluated using some of the themes based on human rights principles, namely (1) progressive realization (2) maximum available resources (3) non-retrogression (4) minimum core standards (5) non-discrimination and equality and (6) participation, transparency and accountability. The focus of the work is in the United States and Mexico.
Munini Mutuku, Centre For Minority Rights Development, Kenya“Rightful Place” is an advocacy video that has and continues to be used in campaigns to highlight the issues of minority and indigenous communities in Kenya especially in relation to their economic social and cultural rights. The video highlighted the land question which is the issue that has been at the core of the post election violence experienced in Kenya in December 2007.
The workshop looked at the land issue especially in light of economic, social and cultural rights of minority and indigenous communities not only in Kenya, but also in Africa.
ORGANZER:Bukeni Waruzi, WITNESS, USAThis session taught participants how to use the tools of modern communication in human rights campaigns for accountability, participation and change. Using case studies from human rights groups around the world, they discussed strategies for advocacy plans built around visual evidence, testimony and stories. Participants learned how to use video to target a range of international and domestic audiences related to ESC rights, and be introduced to online advocacy via the WITNESS Hub (hub.witness.org). WITNESS uses video and online technologies to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations. They seek to empower people to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools for justice, promoting public engagement and policy change.
ORGANIZERS:Caroline Brodeur, Rights & Democracy, CanadaRights and Democracy has just launched a tool enabling civil society organizations to measure the impact of foreign investments on human rights in communities. Based on a participatory approach, the methodology proposed by Rights and Democracy greatly differs from existing methodologies, since its purpose is to contribute to the development of civil society organizations' capacity, by offering methodological and conceptual tools so that organizations can in turn allow for maximum community participation in the decision-making process. Considering the diversity of organizations interested by the impacts of investments on human rights, this methodology is aimed to all grassroots organizations, be they union organizations, in defense of women's rights, of indigenous peoples' rights, etc. By providing methodological and conceptual tools to organizations from civil society, which work directly with communities, Rights and Democracy hopes to thus contribute to the development of the knowledge by communities about their human rights and to enable them to become actors in the decision-making process that affects them. Rights and Democracy is actually the only actor that specifically addresses the organizations from civil society and local communities in relation to investment projects.
Eitan Felner, Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) & Alicia Yamin, Harvard Law School, USA (Index created by Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, author of UN Human Development Index 1996-2004; Terra Lawson-Remer and Susan Randolph)
In recent years, there has been a growing interest within the human rights movement in the use of quantitative indicators to monitor ESC rights. The purpose of this workshop was to learn how various NGOs are using quantitative tools and data in order to assess the compliance of specific countries with regard to the multiple dimensions of ESC rights obligations. The workshop illustrated how human rights advocates can use such simple tools not only to persuasively show the scope and magnitude of various forms of rights denial , but also in revealing and challenging policy failures that contribute to the perpetuation of those deprivations and inequalities and, in doing so, play a crucial role in holding governments accountable for the failure to prevent or rectify avoidable deprivations and inequalities in the enjoyment of economic and social rightsCESR shared the methodology they have been developing at the Center for Economic and Social Rights which might be useful for monitoring ESC rights in various context. In addition, there was a presentation by Alicia Yamin on an ESR Fulfillment Index created by Sakiko Fukuda, former author of the UN Human Development Indexes, and others. This new index - economic and social rights fulfillment index (the ESRF Index) provides a new tool for rigorous monitoring of state fulfillment of economic and social rights obligations, using quantitative evaluation techniques. The index has been created through a two-year consultative process, including a meeting of international experts held in New York on the 2nd of June.The ESRF Index (a) is based on objective indicators published by intergovernmental bodies (rather than subjective, opinion-based evaluations), (b) incorporates both the rights bearer and duty bearers' perspectives, and (c) allows cross-country comparisons. The ESRF Index offers insights beyond those that can be gleaned from qualitative measures alone, and is a more precise assessment of economic and social rights fulfillment than the development indicators currently (inappropriately) used as ESR proxies.
The index can be readily used by human rights advocates monitoring state performance - whether they are NGOs holding their governments to account, or UN special rapporteurs holding governments to account through UN processes. The methodology can also be applied to disaggregate performance of sub-national units such as provinces.