Hello SEADlingS!

Columbia University  will be hosting a conference at from November 4-5th on Localizing Global Justice: Rethinking Law and Human Rights in Southeast Asia. The conference will be located in the International Affairs Building on campus, Room 918.

There will be a panel and documentary on Cambodia on Saturday so if you are interested, please register. This conference is open to the public. Registration is required so please take a look at the link below for more information on scheduling. 

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/weai/events/speciallectures/localizing_global_justice.html

Register through this link: http://southeastasia.eventbrite.com/

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) & democracy

The resistance against TTIP is slowly growing all over Europe. The proposed Free Trade Agreement between the USA and the EU will be the biggest ever – in scope and depth. It will not only cover the reduction of tariffs but on top harmonize regulations and standards, which are in the eyes of the EU Commission the real barriers to more free trade. That would entail serious threats to consumer and environmental standards on both sides of the Atlantic. Products or processes that are currently forbidden in the EU will probably be allowed with TTIP - the most cited example is beef that was treated with hormones which is a common practice in the US.

But I want to bring the attention to a less known fact in the TTIP negotiations. In the European Parliament, I am fighting for some time already against a provision in trade agreements where investors can sue governments in front of international arbitration tribunals – the so-called investor-state-dispute settlement (ISDS). Many free trade agreements by the EU member states include this provision already and now the EU Commission wants to have it also in the TTIP.

ISDS is so dangerous because the rights of the investors in international agreements are mostly only vaguely defined. That means that investors can bring states to court because of basically any legitimate public policy measure. The Swedish energy company Vattenfall is currently suing the German government because of its decision to phase out nuclear power. That decision was carried by an overwhelming majority in the German parliament. Vattenfall wants over 3.6 billion Euro of “compensation” because Germany diminished with its decision the company’s profits. ISDS was originally invented to protect Western companies’ investment in developing countries, weak and fragile states where the national legal system was supposed not to be strong enough. By the time, more and more ISDS provisions were included in agreements between OECD states. Now, the EU Commission wants to include ISDS in the agreement with the USA although the US legal system is very well developed and EU companies could easily use the national courts if they feel hindered in their rights. But instead the EU wants to give millions of American companies the right to sue governments in Europe if they put regulation in place that “decreases” the profit of investors. We need to oppose this threat to democracy. 

Keadilan ekonomi

Keadilan ekonomi dilihat sebagai resistensi komunitas terhadap krisis. Bagaimana komunitas secara mandiri bisa bertahan dari serangan globalisasi. Banyak sekali komunitas yang berjuang melawan korporasi besar dan berakhir dengan kekalahan di pengadilan. Sebagai contoh adalah komunitas petani yang melakukan penyilangan benih di wilayah Jawa Timur dan berbagai wilayah lainnya di Indonesia. Pada tahun 2010, sebanyak 14 petani di Provinsi Jawa Timur dikriminalisasi disebabkan oleh UU sistem budidaya. Padahal para petani ini melakukan penyilangan benih sesuai dengan pengetahuan yang mereka miliki.

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Suatu perjanjian perdagangan yang sudah melakukan cost &benefit analysis artinya sudah melakukan konsultasi dengan masyarakat yang akan terkena dampak dari perjanjian perdagangan tersebut. Hal tersebut yang harus dilakukan oleh pemerintah.

Undang-Undang Migas dan Mineral

Paradoks di dalam Undang-Undang Migas,Mineral dan batubara baru terjadi pada masa reformasi,pada masa orde baru sumber daya alam hanya dikuasai oleh segelintir orang.

Permasalahan lain yang terjadi di Indonesia adalah antara satu sektor dengan sektor lainnya tidak berhubungan. Misalnya revitalisasi di bidang pertanian tidak terhubung dengan perikanan. Ini adalah masalah manajemen di pemerintahan, dimana di dalamnya terdapat export interest di masing-masing Kementrian.

Dua komoditas yang penting berada di Indonesia : minyak dan gas. Pada masa reformasi : privatisasi,deregulasi dan ratifikasi Undang-Undang yang terlalu berlebihan.

Menguatnya fundamentalisme dan politik.

Indonesia memang mempunyai roadmap kebijakan nasional, tetapi tipe-tipe kebijakan kita bersifat sporadik dan residual. Perlu pembangunan yang bersifat inklusif.

The Fralib plant produces for Lipton internationally and under the label Elephant in France. Both are subsidiaries of Unilever Corporation. In 2010 Unilever netted 4.6 billion euros – over $6 billion worldwide. The Fralib plant was profitable. Despite this the company announced in September 2010 that it would close the plant and move it to Poland. The workers have been occupying the factory since March, demanding that the equipment be left in Geménos and turned over to the workers to be a worker fun factory. They want to keep the Elephant brand and produce for local distribution – the company can keep international distribution through Lipton. In the meantime the workers are calling for a boycott of Lipton products.

From Michael Leon Guerrero via the Aubagne Social Forum

Build Grassroots Internationalism!

We are Organizing Together!

Watch on skakeller.tumblr.com

"Mr President, the US has always paid lip service to multilateralism but in fact it has been undermining these goals since 2007: embarking on complementary approaches such as bilateral, regional or plurilateral agreements. We need a real commitment to multilateralism and, at the same time, we need a structural reform of the WTO in order to guarantee a fair trading system, based on shared rules, that takes into account the pressing global challenges such as climate change, poverty, social exclusion, gender disparity and migration.

It is of the utmost importance that developing countries, and specifically the least developed countries (LDCs), should be fully involved in the negotiations at the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, and the EU has a special responsibility to involve those countries, especially when it comes to the implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access, better rules of origin, a better solution for cotton and making the LDC services waiver operational. If we want to be successful in multilateralism and in Doha, the LDCs have to be taken on board.”

TTIP blogg på Svenska

Här är en blogg som min svenska kollega, MEP Carl Schlyter, har startat för att hålla ett öga på #TTIP, EU-USA-frihandelsavtalet som just nu örhandlas. Han har nyligen skrivit om hur den svenska regeringen vill inskränka offentlighetsprinsipen vilket skulle hemligstämpla också TTIP-dokument, och om Europaparlamentets avslag på vårt krav om att förhandlingarna borde skjutas upp. Följ med bloggen för att hålla er informerade!

http://ttippen.se/

Save the Arctic, Free the Arctic 30!

On September 19th the “Arctic Sunrise”, a Greenpeace ship, was captured by Russian coast guard in international waters. The 30 activists onboard are accused of piracy. But instead of threatening Russian ships, they have been protesting against a threat to humanity: oil drilling in the Arctic. The catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico should have taught everybody that oil drilling is anything but safe. And in the arctic, it’s even worse. We know very well the disaster will be terrible when oil is spilled in this vulnerable habitat. Getting any repair equipment in from the shore will take ages. The Greenpeace activists were doing a service to humanity when they put themselves at risk at sea. This summer I was privileged to get to hang out with one of them, Sini, in Helsinki. Now Russia wants to punish her and the others in the Arctic 30 for their courage. Please, support Greenpeace in their demand to free the activists: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/climate-change/arctic-impacts/free-our-activists/

Policy Coherence for Development - for a fair Europe

The European Union (EU) supports farmers in developing countries with its development policy measures. At the same time EU policy causes the export of millions of tons of subsidised milk, often in form of milk powder. These exports destroy markets for milk in developing countries and destroy local production. One policy measure strongly contradicts the other - this must not happen!

Policy coherence for development (PCD) may seem complicated at the first glance but it is the fundamental basis of an effective development policy. According to the Lisbontreaty, the eradication of poverty is the main aim of the EU policy that affects developing countries[1]. In the European Consensus on Development, one of the most important strategic EU documents on development policy, and in the Lisbon Treaty, the EU committed itself to policy coherence for development. This means in plain language that the EU has to assess all its policy measures that might have an impact on developing countries and check whether they contradict the aim of poverty eradication.

This is a cornerstone on the road from “merely” developing policies to having a global structural policy - not just a drop in the ocean but an approach to tackle global injustice.

The EU Commission publishes a biannual report that examines the progress of PCD implementation and for the first time has drafted a work programme that indicates how to enhance PCD in the EU institutions’ and Member States’ policy making. All Commission documents related to PCD can be found on:

http://ec.europa.eu/development/policies/policy_coherence_en.cfm

However, implementation is difficult and several cases of conflicting policies attest to the lack of realisation of the PCD imperative. Moreover, many areas are glossed over by the Commission and measureable criteria are lacking. Often, short-term (economical) interests conflict with development interests, which have weaker lobbies in the EU.

 

Case study

Trade policy

EU trade policy has its main focus on providing European companies access to foreign markets. To this end, the EU makes other countries to open and liberalize their markets. This often leads to local industry not being able to develop because products are not competitive with higher-quality products fromEuropeand because the know-how often remains in industrialized countries.

To counter this effect, products from the least developed countries have privileged access to EU market, but lots of barriers persist. For example the EU has placed higher tariffs for processed goods than for raw materials. This hinders developing countries from establishing developed industries. Patent law and intellectual property rights are further obstacles to technology transfer.

In the framework of the negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States the EU urges for opening markets. These negotiations do not take place at eye level if a small African country is faced by the huge EU machinery with all its expertise and economic power. Moreover the EPAs threaten the regional economic structures inAfrica because the countries are in different stages of the negotiating process and the trade between them is hampered.

A large part of the liberalization agenda is also included in the Free Trade Agreements that the EU is about to conclude with countries likeIndia,South KoreaandColumbia. In addition, these Agreements weaken multilateralism because negotiations take part outside of international forums. The EU often does not care if a state commits grave violations of human rights when negotiating the Free Trade Agreements. And again, these bilateral agreements hinder regional trade.

Green demands:

- The EU must strengthen regional trade with its policy.

- The EPAs must be replaced by fair trade rules and preferences for the least developed countries must not be abolished.

- Developing countries must have the right to protect their markets.

- The EU has to lower tariffs on processed goods.


[1] The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Article 208: … Union development cooperation policy shall have as its primary objective the reduction and, in the long term, the eradication of poverty. The Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries….

it takes 20-30 fisher people to fish without mote material than a net and a few wood planks in Kerala, India. The harvest is one or two small buckets of fish. The big ships further out in the sea have left the sea empty.

Community Rights Campaign of the Labor/Community Strategy Center, national week of action for Dignity in School. Community Rights Demands:

  • Schools, Not Pre-Prisons! Decriminalize tardiness, truancy and all student behavior issues.
  • Cut funding for Police and Sheriffs
  • Cut funding for California’s bi-partisan prison state
  • End to the ICE Raids, Amnesty Now!
  • Stop “Broken Windows” Policies and the “Safer Cities” Initiative
  • End the racist “War on Drugs”
  • Defeat and overturn reactionary “tough on crime” laws

We are part of the national Dignity in Schools Campaign, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, and “We are organizing together!”

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