October 2005

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October 2005

Contents

Democracy Alerts/Appeals
 
Announcements & Events
 
Civic Education
 
Civil Society Strengthening
 
Economic Reform & the Business Sector
 
Human Rights
 
International Democracy Assistance & Solidarity
 
Internet, Media, & Freedom of Expression
 
Legislative Development & Assistance
 
Political & Civic Participation of Youth
 
Political Parties & Political Leadership
 
Research
 
Women’s Issues
 
 

 
Democracy Alerts/ Appeals
 
Threats against NGOs in Serbia
The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) has compiled reports and statements issued by extremist national groups and media outlets threatening nongovernmental organizations and media establishments that advocate human rights. The HLC is concerned that the failure of the Serbian government to take action against such statements may further encourage the extremists to foment hostility towards the nongovernmental organizations and media advocating human rights.
 
 
Stop Harassment of Critical Voices in Human Rights in Azerbaijan
After convening at the "Challenges to Azeri Human Rights Defenders" conference in Baku on September 7, 2005, delegates from Human Rights Houses (HRH) stated that "the harassment of independent journalists, political activists and human rights defenders by the Azeri authorities must cease." The statement was presented at a press conference in Baku on the same day as the Azeri election campaign was launched. It contains recommendations to the Azeri authorities, the media, international oil companies, and Azeri human rights defenders and their organizations. To strengthen human rights work, a group of Azeri human rights NGOs are working to set up a Human Rights House in Baku in cooperation with the HRH Foundation based in Oslo.
 
 
 
Announcements & Events
 
Call for Applications: Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowships
The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program at the Washington, DC-based National Endowment for Democracy welcomes applications from candidates throughout the world for fellowships in 2006-2007. Established in 2001, the program enables democracy activists, practitioners, scholars, and journalists from around the world to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change. The program is intended primarily to support activists, practitioners, and scholars from new and aspiring democracies; distinguished scholars from the United States and other established democracies are also eligible to apply. Projects may focus on the political, social, economic, legal, and cultural aspects of democratic development and may include a range of methodologies and approaches. A working knowledge of English is an important prerequisite for participation in the program. The application deadline for fellowships in 2006-2007 is Tuesday, November 1, 2005.
 
For more information, including the application, go to: www.ned.org/forum/reagan-fascell.html or email: fellowships@ned.org
 
Conference: "Democracy, Conflict Transformation and Post-War Social Reconstruction: Lessons Learned in Africa"
This four-day conference, "Democracy, Conflict Transformation and Post-War Social Reconstruction: Lessons Learned in Africa," organized by the African Democracy Forum (ADF) in collaboration with Rights and Democracy (Canada), and the Guinean Organization for Human and Citizens' Rights (OGDH) will be held in Conakry, Guinea, on December 5-8, 2005. The primary objective of the conference is to deepen the understanding of post-war social reconstruction processes and the concept of conflict transformation, and to develop practical strategies for building democracy in conflict/war-torn societies in Africa, by providing democracy activists with an opportunity to learn from each other about their own experience in post-conflict democracy building. Participants from Angola, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, and other countries will attend the conference.
 
 
Extended Deadline for the 2006 Emerging Leaders International Fellows Program
The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society's spring 2006 Emerging Leaders International Fellows Programs announced that the deadline for the Diversity Fellowship has been extended to October 17, 2005. The fellowship is a three-month program for young scholar/practitioners of color who are under-represented in the United States grant-making sector.
 
 
Club of Madrid to Hold General Assembly and Annual Conference
The Club of Madrid will hold its Fourth General Assembly and Annual Conference on November 10-12, 2005. The central theme of the conference will be "Democracy in the Post Communist World: Unfinished Business." The Czech Foreign Ministry and COM Member Vaclav Havel will host the event this year, which will be the first time the conference will not be held in Spain. Some of the issues that will be discussed include: democracy and authoritarianism in the post-communist world, the political economy of Central and Eastern European transitional markets, states and welfare policies, and the European Union and the promotion of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. The Club of Madrid is an independent organization composed of democratic former heads of state and government who are devoted to strengthening democracy around the world.
 
 
 
Civic Education
 
Fiji Workshop on Government and Opposition Roles, Rights and Responsibilities
The Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI) at the University of Australia participated in a Commonwealth workshop on the roles, rights, and responsibilities of the government in Fiji. The workshop was hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in co-operation with the Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific Islands NGO.
 
 
 
Civil Society Strengthening
 
Online Forum: Afro-Descendant Issues in the Americas
On September 19, 2005, through October 21, 2005, the Partners of the Americas Center for Civil Society is hosting an online forum on establishing shared strategies for raising the profile of Afro-Descendants' concerns in the Americas and on ways to influence hemispheric policy. Discussions are being conducted in English and Spanish with written submissions in Portuguese and French. Weekly and mid-weekly summaries are provided. The online forum is an initiative of Partners of the Americas' Center for Civil Society in collaboration with the Centro de Mujeres Afrocostarricenses, Global Rights, the Inter-American Foundation, the Inter-Agency Consultation on Race in Latin America, and the Inter-American Democracy Network.
 
For more information, go to: www.partners.net or contact Partners of the Americas at forohemisferico@partners.net
 
 
Economic Reform & the Business Sector
 
Report on CIPE Regional Conference for Eastern Europe and Eurasia
The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) recently published a report on a conference that it held on September 26-28, 2004, in Kyiv, Ukraine. The regional conference for Eastern Europe and Eurasia, entitled "Business Leadership and Democratic Development," was organized by CIPE and two Ukrainian partners, the Institute of Competitive Society (ICS) and the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR). Seventy CIPE partners from 16 Eastern Europe and Eurasian countries took part in the meeting. Yury Yekhanurov, recently appointed as the Prime Minister of Ukraine, opened the discussion and gave an overview of several issues pertaining to Ukraine's business organizations.
 
 
 
Human Rights
 
Chechen Lawyer Wins Rafto Memorial Prize The Rafto Foundation presented Ms. Lida Yusupova, Chechen lawyer and human rights advocate, with the Professor Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize for 2005. Ms.Yusupova was recognized due to her unrelenting efforts to document human rights violations and act as a spokeswoman for the forgotten victims of the war in Chechnya. Even though the conditions and security for human rights advocates are compromised, she still struggles to defend human dignity in a chaotic war situation.</div> <div> </div> <div>Go to: <a href=">www.rafto.no
 
ACHR Report Urges Action on Nepal
The latest issue of the ACHR REVIEW, a weekly commentary and analysis of the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) on human rights and governance issues, focuses on human rights violations committed by the government security forces and by the Maoist insurgents in Nepal. The article suggests that the United States and United Kingdom make greater efforts to ensure that King Gyanendra ensures the restoration of full democracy and paves the way for dialogue with the Maoists. If the two countries fail to foster dialogue between King Gyanendra and the Maoists, the United Nations should be allowed to mediate.
 
 
Workshop on Developing Legal Strategies for Human Rights
On September 12-15, 2005, 30 legal service providers from 12 countries gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, for a workshop on developing legal approaches to systemic human rights violations. The workshop was jointly organized by the Legal Resources Centre of South Africa and Global Rights as part of their global project, Strategies for Human Rights Lawyers. Global Rights created the Strategies for Human Rights Lawyers program to respond to the need to share strategies and methodologies among practicing human rights lawyers and activists. The three-day workshop kick-started a process for mutual learning at the global level: exchanging lessons learned among stakeholders in different countries and/or regions; documenting experiences and methodologies in different project locations; and refining these experiences into program models to be made available and accessible to NGO legal service providers. The workshop also builds on a number of regional conferences held in 1999-2000 that produced a variety of recommendations documented in the Global Rights publication, "Promoting Justice: a Practical Guide to Strategic Human Rights Lawyering."
 
 
To learn more about Global Rights and Strategies for Change projects, go to: www.globalrights.org  
 
To read the "Promoting Justice: a Practical Guide to Strategic Human Rights Lawyering," go to: www.globalrights.org/site/DocServer/PJ_1-2.pdf?docID=184  
 
Campaign for UN Democracy Caucus Calls for Credible Human Rights Council
In a statement delivered to the foreign ministers of democratic countries gathered at the Ministerial Meeting of the UN Democracy Caucus, the Campaign for a UN Democracy Caucus called to ensure that the new UN Human Rights Council be established as a credible body composed of rights protectors, not violators. The statement was delivered by Ted Piccone, Executive Director of the Democracy Coalition Project. The UN Democracy Caucus is an outgrowth of the Community of Democracies, a global coalition of over 100 democratic and democratizing nations committed to the promotion and strengthening of democracy and human rights, including at the UN.
 
 
New Tactics in Human Rights: A Resource for Practitioners
This workbook focuses on innovative practitioners and how they are advancing human rights. There is also an introduction to tactical and strategic thinking for human rights practitioners and a series of practical worksheets to help organizations determine which tactics and strategies will work best for them. Printed copies are available to order from the New Tactics project and the cost for the printed version is $19.95 (USD); however, you may download the workbook free of charge online.
 
 
 
International Democracy Assistance & Solidarity
 
Slovakia-Belarus Task Force Issues Report on Civil Society Development in Belarus
In August-September 2005, after completing a survey on the current conditions of civil society in Belarus, the Slovakia-Belarus Task Force organized a series of regional meetings with local NGOs to inform them about the results of the survey, evaluate NGO levels of preparation, and discuss further plans of the civic campaign. The recent report issued by the Task Force is based on the discussions that took place at the regional meetings. It summarizes the current frame of mind of civil society organizations and outlines the process upon which the democratic structures in Belarus are embarking. The Slovakia-Belarus Task Force, run by the Bratislava-based Institute for Civic Diplomacy/Pontis Foundation, works to establish a new framework for the transfer of Slovak "know-how" and technical assistance to Belarus on key aspects of civic society development and economic reform.
 
For copies of the report, contact pontis@pontisfoundation.sk
 
To learn more about the survey of Belarus civil society, go to: www.pontisfoundation.sk/en/11013
 
New Documentary: "Border to Border: Zimbabwe at the Crossroads"
This documentary, produced by Amnesty International South Africa and CIVICUS, portrays the biggest demonstration of solidarity for Zimbabwe in the history of South Africa. Two weeks before the Zimbabwe elections on March 31, 2005, over 8,000 civil society activists and ordinary citizens from Zimbabwe's surrounding countries rallied along its borders, demanding respect for human rights and an end to silent diplomacy. The film chronicles these demonstrations of solidarity. "Border to Border: Zimbabwe at the Crossroads" captures the current crisis within the country as well as the power of regional solidarity.
 
 
Asian Democrats Gather to Develop a Frame of Regional Action
The first World Forum for Democratization in Asia (WFDA) biennial conference took place on September 15-17, 2005, in Taipei, Taiwan. The conference was organized by the WFDA Organizing Committee, including Alliance for Reform and Democracy in Asia (ARDA), Alternative Asean Network on Burma (ALTSEAN), Forum Asia Democracy (FAD), Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD). It was attended by more then 100 overseas participants representing some 20 Asian countries, many partners and friends from all over the world, and hundreds of Taiwanese. WFDA is a new initiative that brings together democrats from across Asia. The objectives of WFDA are to offer solidarity and support for Asian democracy activities, to encourage participation of Asian people in democratization processes, and obtain international support for the democratization effort in Asia. The WFDA emerged as a result of the Third Assembly of the World Moment for Democracy in Durban, South Africa.
 
For more information, go to: www.wfda.net
 
CIVICUS 2005 World Assembly
CIVICUS invites interested members, partners, and other civil society organizations to submit proposals for workshops, presentations, etc. to be presented at its 2006 World Assembly, scheduled to take place on June 21-25, 2006, in Glasgow, Scotland. Presentations can explore specific issues or initiatives related to the overall theme, "Acting Together for Better World." The theme was inspired by events leading up to the G8 Summit, which showed both the massive global commitment from ordinary citizens for a better and more just world, and the absolute necessity of continuing the struggle to achieve it. Proposals are due by October 30.
 
 
 
Internet, Media, & Freedom of Expression
 
Human Rights in China Receives 2005 Tech Museum Award
Human Rights in China (HRIC) is one of five laureates in the Knight Ridder Equality Award category, which recognizes use of technology to overcome human rights violations and improve the local democratic process. The Tech Museum of Innovation, located in San Jose, California, has announced 25 laureates who leverage new and existing technologies to benefit humanity. The laureates were selected from a field of 560 outstanding candidates, representing 80 countries. HRIC's E-Activism project contributes to building and strengthening China's civil society by linking innovative, interactive technology with emerging human networks inside China. In the initial pilot phase, HRIC has successfully developed and launched a two-pronged technology solution of mass e-mail and a proxy solution to provide access to uncensored news and information for Chinese users.
 
 
To learn more about HRIC go to: www.hrichina.org
 
Afghan Media Organization Builds Capability of Journalists in Promoting Family Planning
In collaboration with Internews, Nai, a media development organization, held a five-day workshop for 20 Kabul-based radio, TV, and print journalists, providing them with information concerning family planning as well as training on how to incorporate these issues into their reports effectively. This idea is based on Afghans' interest in learning about family planning and reproduction issues; however, it is very difficult for the public to find accurate information on this sensitive subject. Now that these journalists are covering the issue, it will increase public awareness and support for family planning projects conducted by international and Afghan's public health organizations.
 
 
Africa Soure II - Free and Open Source Software for Local Communities
Tactical Technology Collective is accepting applications for its Africa Source II workshop, which is scheduled to tcake place on January 8-11 2006. This eight-day hands-on workshop aims to build the technical skills of those working with NGOs on the continent. This workshop will bring together more than 100 NGOs and NGO technology support professionals working at the local level across the region, together with a handful of field leaders from Africa, Europe, North America and Asia. Africa Source II is a free and open source software (FOSS) event. Its primary go is to increase the practical use of FOSS desktop applications and tools among those in the nonprofit sector in Africa. Individuals who have a history of work with service and advocacy NGOs, educational organizations, NGO resource centers, community centers and health information organizations are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is October 15, 2005.
 
 
Afghan Radio Service Provides Live Coverage of Elections
In Kabul, Afghanistan, a ground breaking broadcast, Salaam Watandar ("Hello Citizen"), an Internews-supported national news and current affairs radio service in Afghanistan, produced 16 hours of live coverage during the parliamentary elections on September 18, the first legislative elections in Afghanistan since 1969. Part of the broadcast included a two-hour evening program titled "Why did you vote? Why didn't you vote?" "Salaam Watandar" phones were jammed as dozens of listeners called in to respond.
 
 
 
Legislative Development & Assistance
 
CPDI-Pakistan Demands Their Right to Know
Center for Peace and Development Initiative, Pakistan (CPDI Pakistan) has called upon the government of Pakistan to strengthen freedom of information legislation with the aim of promoting transparency and citizens' governance. They made this demand on September 28, 2005, which is celebrated internationally as the "Right to Know Day." Specifically, the CPDI-Pakistan wants the FOI (Freedom of Information) Ordinance of 2002 amended so that exemptions are minimum and precisely defined; government departments have an obligation to publish important information; requested information is made accessible rapidly and fairly; the cost of information requests is small and affordable; information is provided if the public interest in disclosure outweighs the protected interests; laws that are inconsistent with FOI, like the Official Secrets Act 1923, are repealed; and individuals who release information on wrongdoing -whistleblowers- are protected. In addition, organization requested that the scope of the Ordinance should be extended to include provincial and district government and that, in special circumstances, the designated officials should be obliged to provide the requested information as soon as possible, without waiting the 21 days as prescribed in the FOI Ordinance 2002.
 
For more information, go to: www.cpdi-pakistan.org
 
 
Political & Civic Participation of Youth
 
Youth Movement for Democracy Launches Web Site
The Youth Movement for Democracy was founded at the Third Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy (Durban, South African, 2004) by young democracy and human rights activists who decided to create a global community that works non-violently for democracy. The Youth Movement serves as a platform for young activists to address the importance of promoting democratic values, a forum for sharing information and ideas, and an action-oriented solidarity movement. The Web site, recently established, provides information about the movement and how to join it, lists relevant resources, and provides access to an online discussion.
 
 
Georgian Youth Organization Fights Discrimination and Intolerance
The "Century 21," a Georgian youth NGO, has launched a campaign for tolerance that is being implemented by young people representing different ethnic, religious, cultural and social backgrounds. As part of this campaign, the organization established a Youth Network against Discrimination and Intolerance (YNADI) in nine regions of Georgia with active participation of local youth from diverse minority groups. The Network aims to strengthen the capacity of young people to advocate for and to implement violence prevention programs; to promote dialogue and provide a platform for intercultural, inter-religious, interethnic learning, understanding, and cooperation; to motivate young people to engage in awareness-raising activities on tolerance; to work on changing attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate violence; to learn from best experiences and examples of tolerance and peaceful coexistence in Georgia and worldwide; to develop new and creative solutions in tolerance promotion; and to encourage activism and participation among young people in the regions, especially those from religious and ethnic minority groups. "Century 21" and the Youth Network against Discrimination and Intolerance are interested in information and experience exchange and cooperation with other organizations worldwide working on similar issues.
 
If you are interested in cooperation with YNADI, write to: office@century21.ge
 
For more information on "Century 21," go to: www.century21.ge
 
Panel discussion on Youth as Catalyst for Peace
The Academy for Educational Development, Center for Civil Society and Governance, will be hosting a panel discussion entitled Youth as a Catalyst for Peace: Helping Youth Develop the Vision, Skills, and Behaviors to Promote Peace, on Monday, November 21, 2005. Development professionals and young people will discuss specific programming methodologies that are facilitating youth involvement in peace building. RSVPs are required.
 
For further information, please contact Lisa Peterson at (202)884-8680 or lpeterson@aed.org
 
 
Political Parties & Political Leadership
 
Congress of Democrats from the Islamic World
On September 13, 2005, political party representatives from predominantly Muslim countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East with practical experience in democratic governance gathered in Jakarta, Indonesia, to discuss their personal experiences with democratic governance, and address the challenges to democratic reform. The conference agenda covered a wide range of issues related to recent electoral developments in the region and the major policy issues the parties are facing. The discussions focused on the situations in Indonesia and Malaysia, both being Muslim-majority countries. Four women-delegates presented their experiences as MPs in male-dominated parliaments, or as candidates for representative positions. This was a follow-up conference to a meeting that took place a year ago in Istanbul, sponsored by the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy. Participants in that meeting exchanged ideas and experiences on the position and role of Islam in democratic systems and agreed that international multiparty meetings around this issue provide space for extremely relevant discussions.
 
 
 
Research
 
Asia Democracy Index Report 2005 Launched
The Asia Democracy Index (ADI) was launched on September 17 at the World Forum for Democratization for Asia (WFDA) biannual conference in Taipei, Taiwan (see item #17). The ADI is the first such measurement tool of its kind in the region. It measures and evaluates democracy, good governance, and the status of human rights among Asian governments. The unique feature of the ADI is that Asians themselves had assessed, evaluated, and also recommended prescriptions for democratic reforms to take place in their own countries. The ADI provides overall rankings for 16 countries in the region. Detailed survey methodology was used to assess the countries in six different categories: Civil Rights, Elections and Electoral Processes, Governance and Corruption, Media, Rule of Law and Participation and Representation.
 
 
Second Annual Washington Workshop for Think Tank Managers
The International Forum for Democratic Studies in conjunction with the Network of Democracy Research Institutes (NDRI) held the second Workshop for Think Tank Managers on September 19-23, 2005. Twelve international participants of the workshop had an opportunity to meet with people who run outreach programs, supervise conferences, raise funds, and interact with government officials and the media. The Network of Democracy Research Institutes is composed of research institutions, university-based study centers, and research programs affiliated with political parties, labor unions, and democracy and human rights movements. Affiliated with the World Movement for Democracy, the Network was established to facilitate contacts among democracy scholars and activists and to promote greater awareness of the diversity and vitality of democracy studies today.
 
 
 
Women’s Issues
 
Nigeria NGO-CEDAW Coalition Comments on the Millennium Development Goals
The Nigerian NGO-CEDAW Coalition, coordinated by BAOBOB for Women's Human Rights, wrote a short commentary/review on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) prior to the UN Millennium Summit Review. The commentary expresses the belief that the focus on terrorism has deterred actions on other human rights issues. The Coalition's review was done in view of the fact that Goal 3 of the MDGs calls for empowering women and promoting gender equality, specifically setting targets to eliminate gender disparity in all levels of education by 2015, with additional indicators on employment of women and the proportion of women in parliaments. The Coalition believes that gender equality is an essential crosscutting component for meeting all the goals. In this regard, the Coalition reinforced the need for the Nigerian government to integrate the provisions of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) as well as the outcome of the BPFA review (Beijing +10) and the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) within the agenda for the achievement and realization of the MDGs in Nigeria.
 
 
UN Division for the Advancement of Women Hosts Dialogue on Combating Violence against Women
Beginning on September 26, 2005, the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women is held a three-week online discussion on how to galvanize action to combat violence against women. The discussion is intended to provide a forum for activists, advocates, and others around the world who are working on this issues.
 
 
 
WLP Holds Central Asia Regional Learning Institute
The Women's Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP), together with its Uzbek partner, the Tashkent Women's Resource Center (TWRC), convened a Central Asia Regional Learning Institute for Women's Leadership on August 24-27, 2005 in Shymkent, Kazakhstan. NGO leaders, journalists, and human rights activists from five countries - Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - participated in the Institute. The Institute brought participants together to create a regional network of women's rights advocates working to advance women in leadership and decision-making positions. The Institute created a space for participants to form new partnerships, exchange best practices, and empower one another through sharing challenges and discussing their personal and organizational goals. The Institute consisted of a week-long intensive skills development program in participatory leadership, persuasive communication, and effective advocacy.
 
 
 
World Movement Participants Mentioned in This Issue