Place Human Rights, Peace and Security at the Centre of your Politics

GCAP’s reaction to the G8 Summit:

Political change in the Arab Region

Global Civil Society Leaders Tell the G8 As the G8 leaders discuss the Middle East and North Africa, in the presence of Egypt and Tunisia as invited guests to the G8, they must place human rights, peace and justice at the centre of their policies towards those countries and the region as a whole. Faced with brutal crackdowns – like the one in Syria where more than 1000 people have been killed by security forces and another 10,000 arrested – the G8 should demand the immediate release of political prisoners and full respect of human rights in the region.

“Women and men, young and older across the Arab Region are standing up – often at the risk of their own lives – to demand dignity, democracy, accountability, and social and economic justice” says GCAP global council member Kinda Mohammediah, who also works with the Arab NGO Network for Development. “The people of my region have said no to oppressive regimes whose economic policies fostered inequality, poverty and unemployment. We welcome the support of the rest of the world. But please, this is not the time to link your support for freedom with conditions that could aggravate the poverty and inequality here.”

Economic Agreements and Trade Partnerships
G8 and African leaders are discussing economic partnerships, private sector initiatives and access to energy sources. The G8 – Africa Declaration and related agreements must be based on fairness to both Northern and Southern countries.
“No more old tricks,” says Phelisa Nkomo, Africa Governing Council Member of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. “No more pressuring African governments to remove subsidies on agricultural inputs, while subsiding farmers in G8 countries. Unfair trade agreements — that advantage wealthier countries, foreign companies and local elites – are not the basis for a fair, open and rule-based trading and financial system.”
GCAP’s African Governing Council — acting on behalf of coalitions in 31 countries and over 1000 organisations — is presenting a petition to the presidents of Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa and the chair of NEPAD, the prime minister of Ethiopia, asking them, in their meetings with the G8, to emphasise the need for partnerships based on fairness and mutual respect.
Japan, Nuclear Power and Climate Change
As the world continues to digest the impact of a tsunami and 9.0 earthquake, we must also take a moment to reflect and share information. In order to prevent future disasters or mitigate their impact, the G8 should
endorse hearings at the United Nations, taking into account lessons from Japan, to assess:
 the safety of nuclear power
 links, if any, between these natural disasters and climate change
“Over the past year, ‘natural disasters’ have hit more than a dozen countries, from massive floods in Pakistan to tornados in the US to the tsunami and earthquake which have shaken Japan to its core,” says Marta Benavides, co-chair of GCAP. “We must explore what links exist, if any, between man-made climate change and natural disasters.“
“The Japanese government must not abandon its commitments to eradicate poverty and disease in impoverished countries,” adds Masaki Inaba of GCAP Japan. “My colleagues and I were shocked to see our
government cut assistance to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Global poverty is a ‘silent tsunami’ which Japanese aid has been fighting. Pitting domestic reconstruction against overseas aid is the wrong approach. Japan must be do both.”
G8 Accountability Report
The G8 is using creative financing to give the appearance of meeting its commitments to impoverished countries, but in fact many G8 countries have been freezing or cutting aid. Even OECD figures indicate the G8 has fallen US$19 billion short of its US$50 billion target.
“It is clear that much more needs to be done if we are to meet and exceed the promise of the Millennium Development Goals,” says Sylvia Borren, co-chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, a worldwide
alliance that challenges the structures and institutions that perpetuate poverty. “The G8’s credibility rests on its accountability to past promises. It needs to take actions that are clear, honest and fair if we are to build the World We Want, a just world where no one is poor.”
The G8 Accountability Report claims that the G8 has fallen US$1 billion short of its aid commitments. But these figures do not take into account real prices after inflation. Honouring citizens’ right to information – and broadbased civil society participation, particularly by women and socially-excluded groups – are critical to increasing credibility and ensuring that commitments are translated into effective implementation on the ground.
Financing for Development – Saving Lives and Building a Just Future
G8 leaders recognise that innovative forms of financing are required to eradicate poverty, fight climate change and promote development. But new sources of financing must be in addition to existing commitments.
Specifically, the G8 can begin charting an equitable course for the future by:
 Reaffirming the Gleneagles, L’Aquila and Muskoka commitments in the G8 communiqué and setting out an emergency plan to deliver the $19 billion shortfall against commitments by 2012.
 Endorsing adoption by G20 countries later this year of a financial transactions tax.
 Unconditionally cancelling the debts of impoverished countries and advocating for the formation of an
International Debt Court that is independent of lenders and borrowers.
“We are facing a global poverty crisis. The G8 must act in an honest and transparent manner if it is to remain relevant,” says Amitabh Behar, co-chair of GCAP and convener of Wada Na Todo Abhiyan, India’s largest antipoverty alliance. “The G8 must honour its commitments, endorse innovative forms of financing for development and cancel the debts of impoverished nations.”
About GCAP: The Global Call to Action Against Poverty challenges the structures and institutions that perpetuate poverty. More information at www.whiteband.org.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s