SECOND INTERNATIONAL DECADE OF DECOLONIZATION ENDS UNNOTICED

Joyce_van_Genderen

By Joyce van Genderen-Naar

The Second International Decade of Decolonization is ending soon in 2010. The main conclusion is that two decades were not enough to resolve all decolonization issues, in contrary the process of self-determination leading to decolonization has become increasingly complex. Third and even more International Decades will be needed before all Non-Self-Governing Territories have attained self-determination. The international mandate for decolonisation is a function of the UN Charter and UN resolutions on decolonisation are supported by all of the nations of the world, with regard to the international obligation to develop self-government and to take due account of the political aspirations of the people of their territories (article 73 of the United Nations Charter). But the implementation is politically sensitive and information has been scarce. Decolonization issues stay unnoticed.

The stocktaking took place during the Caribbean Regional Seminar on Decolonization, organized on 12, 13 and 14 May in St. Kitts and Nevis (Caribbean) by the UN Special Committee of 24 on Decolonization (Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples). Recommendations were made to establish a mechanism for dialogue between local authorities in the Territories, administering Powers and the international community to facilitate the decolonization process. There has to be more interaction and cooperation between the Special Committee and the administering Powers, by creating frameworks for dialogue between the Territories, the administering Powers and the Special Committee. The international community needs to work together and to remain engaged, guided by the political options available to the Non-Self-Governing Territories: free association with other independent States, full integration with political rights, or independence. It is important to focus more on the specific needs of each Territory in terms of their political and economic needs and assistance by the United Nations system. Education and public outreach are crucial for decolonization, to enable the people concerned to make informed decisions regarding their future political status, to promote maturity and movement towards “appropriation of the own destiny”: “You cannot insist on your rights, unless you understand them.” Decisions on self-determination must be based on full information and education.

In a message to the Seminar UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had urged the administering Powers, Non-Self-Governing Territories and the United Nations to continue working together to accelerate the process of eradicating colonialism. He said that progress in this area will require close cooperation between all three actors. He noted that the right to self-determination must be taken into proper account in exploring how to accelerate the decolonization process for the remaining 16 UN listed non self-governing territories, namely the 10 Overseas Countries and Territories of the UK (Anquilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean Sea; Falklands Islands (Malvinas) and St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean; Pitcairn Islands in the Pacific; Gibraltar in Europe); New Caledonia, Overseas Country and Territory of France in the Pacific; 3 territories of the USA: Virgin Island in the Caribbean, American Samoa and Guam in the Pacific; Tokelau, a self-governing dependency of New Zealand in the Pacific; Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco, in Africa.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was counting on the administering Powers in particular to discharge their obligations in a manner that promotes the well-being of the inhabitants of the territories within their responsibility. The interests of the peoples of the Territories have to be at the heart of all efforts. The UN system will continue to assist the Non-Self-Governing Territories, in areas such as economic and social development, environmental sustainability, healthcare and good governance.

Emerging challenges for the Non-Self-Governing Territories on their path towards decolonisation are the impact of climate change, the global economic and financial crisis, the role of regional cooperation, education and public awareness, the role of women, the empowerment of vulnerable people and the capacity for full self-government towards self-determination. Key elements in responding to the challenges of today are political maturity, economic sustainability, enhanced administrative capacity and strengthened regional cooperation.
Regional cooperation and regional arrangements offered important opportunities for many Non-Self-Governing Territories and contributed to the development of a strong regional identity and strengthened concrete functional cooperation in various areas of mutual interest. Important were the role of the United Nations regional commissions, such as the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and bodies like the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), as well as various United Nations specialized agencies. In response to climate change, which had exposed the vulnerability of many Non-Self-Governing Territories, regional cooperation could play a crucial role in the field of disaster preparedness. The global economic crisis had further highlighted the importance of economic sustainability and diversification of the economic base in the Non-Self-Governing Territories through community-based development, the development of small and medium enterprises, promotion of micro-financing and employment-generating activities, and the empowerment of vulnerable groups.

In his closing statement on behalf of the host country, Delano Frank Bart, Permanent Representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis to the United Nations, characterized the seminar as “the penultimate event” in the course of the Decade. He said that with regard to the energy, food and financial crises, the Territories had been hit as hard as most countries, if not more, but that their concerns were often marginalized. “Our role is to ensure that all needs are met, especially the needs of those of us who are not governing themselves.” Highlighting the impact of climate change, he said that, of the 16 Territories under the Special Committee’s mandate, the majority were islands. Therefore, the concerns of small island developing States within the United Nations system were also the concerns of those Territories. They were among the most vulnerable and needed to be aware of the commitment of the international community to stand by them and “weather the storm together”. Recalling that his country had recently celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary of independence, he said Saint Kitts and Nevis remembered the concerns of the pre-independence period. One needed the goodwill of all parties to resolve such issues, and the participants should, therefore, take away with them a determination to ensure that the day would come in the not-too-distant future, when the Special Committee’s work would bear fruit, and that the solutions found would be in the best interests of all concerned.

The recommendations of the St. Kitts Seminar have become the most recent chapter of the ever growing legislative authority on the self-determination of the territories. Some of the recommendations were included in the decolonisation resolutions adopted by the UN Fourth Committee in November 2009, and are expected to be approved by the General Assembly in December 2009. Implementation is an entirely separate matter, according to International Advisor on Democratic Governance Dr. Carlyle Corbin

GUAM’s self-determination bill
How important information and education are to the people of the Non-self Governing Territories and how essential to the expression of their political aspirations and self-determination, was shown on November 5, 2009, when the delegate of Guam Hon. Madeleine Z. Bordallo, in the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Legislative hearing on H.R. 3940, introduced a self-determination bill to support a public education program for the people of Guam regarding various political status options to express their desired political status. Guam is a territory of the USA in the Pacific
, that has been under the United States Flag as an unincorporated territory for over 111 years. Guam, like her sister territory Puerto Rico, was ceded to the United States from Spain upon the signing of the Treaty of Paris settling the Spanish-American War in 1898. Guam is listed by the United Nations as a non-self-governing territory. Despites all efforts towards defining a new political relationship between Guam and the United States, the political aspirations of the people of Guam for such status were never realized. A referendum affording the people of Guam an opportunity to express their views on status was authorized by local law but remains unscheduled.

In November the US Congressional Committee approved the self-determination bill and assistance to the territories. Dr. Corbin explained that there are two separate pieces of legislation - one bill for American Samoa, Guam and the US Virgin Islands, and a second different bill for Puerto Rico, which is essentially a referendum bill which had been adopted by the same Committee earlier this year. The Puerto Rico measure does not address public education since they already have a very sophisticated process in place via their political parties. Both bills have been adopted by the substantive committee in one House of the US Congress so far. It still has to be adopted by the full House of Representatives, then by the US Senate and signed by the President. He anticipated that this would happen without too much difficulty since there is no new financial resources associated with either measure.

Dr. Corbin also made clear that the issue is not only between independence or not, but rather to chose one of the three political status option which provides for a full measure of self-government, namely independence, free association and integration. These are so recognised by the UN. Some member states which administer territories, such as the UK, have told its territories that offers neither integration nor free association to them, and the choice is either independence or remaining in a dependency status. This is unlike the Dutch Antilles which had achieved sufficient autonomy to be regarded as fully self-governing. This might change as the dismantling of the five islands will now yield a new less autonomous model for the two islands which have chosen in referendum to become separate countries within the Dutch Kingdom.

Brussels, November 2009
Joyce van Genderen-Naar
Email: vangenderen@unicall.be

The history of the disappearance of the reference to the ACP countries from the Lisbon Treaty

The Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States

ACP

BANANAS: will the european union confirm that the fight against poverty is no longer a priority in its "global europe" strategy?

COMMUNIQUE

At a time when European leaders are gathering to welcome the dawn of a new era with the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty, this change may well prove to be more extensive than anticipated. The coming days could spell the end of the era when Europe considered the fight against poverty a priority.

In the ongoing discussions on the Banana Dossier, the ACP States have made numerous concessions in an effort towards finding a definitive and balanced solution.

In fact, analysis of the European banana market has shown that the customs tariff of €176/t that has been applied to banana imports from Central and South American countries (MFN countries) since January 2006, has sharply increased their presence on the EU market. There is no risk whatsoever, not now nor in the future, given the limited production capacity of the ACP countries that the European market will be “flooded” with ACP bananas. Just one MFN country, like Ecuador for example, could, single-handedly, if it so desired, supply the entire 27-country EU market which, let us not forget, is the only possible trade opening for ACP products.

As a result, it is difficult, at first glance, to understand what is at stake for the European Union when, to the detriment of its commitments to the ACP banana-producing countries, it has proposed that the MFN countries engage in even more extensive liberalization at a faster rate, and suddenly announced an imminent agreement with them.

The ACP countries have repeatedly demonstrated that they fully understand the current trade policy trend which is liberalization. They are therefore in no doubt whatsoever that the trade preferences they currently enjoy will continue to be eroded until they most likely disappear. However, in highlighting the development programme included in the WTO Doha Round negotiations they have merely called for WTO Members to honour their commitments, stressing the need that for any agreement to be balanced, it must necessarily include a transition period with a moratorium, so as to enable the ACP banana-producing countries to adapt to the new market conditions.

In the same context, they recalled the undertaking of the same WTO Member States whereby those among them who granted longstanding preferences must provide financial and additional capacity-building assistance to help remedy supply-side constraints and promote diversification of existing production in the territories of the preference-recipient Members.

In their most recent submission, a pale reflection of their initial demands, the ACP States:

(a) an initial reduction, as “full and final settlement”, from €176/t to €148/t during 2010;

(b) call for the level of 148/t to be maintained, in the event that no agreement is reached on the agriculture modalities of the Doha Round;

(c) accept, in the event of an agreement on the agriculture modalities of the Doha round, a gradual reduction of the customs tariff over ten (10) years, including a 3-year moratorium following application of the first tariff reduction from €176/t to €148/t;

(d) call for financial aid in the sum of 250 million euros, the minimum amount required to meet the needs of ACP banana-supplying countries for the 2010-2013 period; and

(e) an undertaking on the part of the EC to participate in a joint review mechanism designed to assess the situation of the ACP banana suppliers after 2013, and to provide additional resources, as necessary.

In a letter addressed to the heads of several European institutions, including the President of the European Commission, President of the European Council and the President of the European Parliament, Mrs. Eunice Kazembe, incumbent President of the ACP Council of Ministers and Minister of Industry and Trade of Malawi, recalled the fears aroused by the disappearance of the reference to the ACP countries from the Lisbon Treaty. This marks a departure from the texts currently in force, whereas the ACP Group remains the largest grouping of the poorest countries in the developing world, with a longstanding historical relationship with the European Union.

The President of the ACP Council has clearly indicated that Europe has a unique opportunity to allay these fears or to confirm them, depending on the response that the European Commission will give to the ACP demands. This would demonstrate if Europe is definitively adopting an aggressive trade strategy based on its “Global Europe” policy at the expense of a frontline role in the fight against poverty.

For press details contact: iroga@acp.int

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The history of the disappearance of the reference to the ACP countries from the Lisbon Treaty

Below: An article by Joyce van Genderen-Naar

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DRAFT EU-CONSTITUTION LEAVES OUT ACP-EC-COOPERATION
Joyce van Genderen-Naar
Lawyer
Brussels, 16th March 2004.


In the Draft Constitution for Europe, which shall replace the present EC/EU-Treaties, the article on the ACP-EC-Agreement (art. 179. par.3 EC-Treaty) has been left out.
Art. 179 par. 3 EC-treaty decides:
' The provisions of this Article shall not affect cooperation with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in the framework of the ACP-EC Convention. '
Art. 179 par. 3 is a part of the current provisions on Development Cooperation in the EC-Treaty (Title XX) and a part of art. 179 :
Article 179
1. Without prejudice to the other provisions of this Treaty, the Council, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251, shall adopt the measures necessary to further the objectives referred to in Article 177. Such measures may take the form of multiannual programmes.
2. The European Investment Bank shall contribute, under the terms laid down in its Statute, to the implementation of the measures referred to in paragraph 1.
3. The provisions of this Article shall not affect cooperation with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in the framework of the ACP-EC Convention.

There is no such article in the Draft Constitution. Title V of the Draft deals with the External Policy of the Union; Chapter IV deals with the cooperation with Third Countries and humanitarian aid. Section 1 concerns Development Cooperation and Article III - 219 par. 1 - 3 will replace the current Article 179 EC-Treaty.
Article III - 219 par 2 inserts the current Article 181 EC-Treaty, ends in par. 3 with what is now Article 179 par. 2: 'The European Investment Bank shall contribute, under the terms laid down in its Statute, to the implementation of the measures referred to in paragraph 1.' and leaves out the current Article 179 par. 3 concerning the ACP-EC-cooperation.

Draft EU-Constitution Article III - 219
1. European laws or framework laws shall establish the measures necessary for the implementation of development cooperation policy, which may relate to multiannual cooperation programmes with developing countries or programmes with a thematic approach.

2. The Union may conclude with third countries and competent international organisations any agreement helping to achieve the objectives referred to in Article III - 93. Such agreements shall be negotiated and conluded in accordance with Article III-227.
The first subparagraph shall be without prejudice to Member States' competence to negotiate in international bodies and to conclude international agreements.

3. The European Investment Bank shall contribute, under the terms laid down in its Statute, to the implementation of the measures referred to in paragraph 1.

Article179 par. 3 EC-Treaty ('the provisions of article 179 shall not affect cooperation with the ACP-countries in the framework of the ACP-EC Convention') referes to the special relationship between the EC/EU and the ACP-countries, which is the oldest and largest form of cooperation between Europe and countries from the South (ACP) and stood model for later cooperation with other countries. Historical bounds between Europe and the ACP-countries give Europe a special responsability for these countries, which should not be forgotten and should be a part of the next Constitution for Europe. This responsability stays and is even more urgent, because after 37 years of cooperation 40 of the 79 ACP-countries still belong to the poorest countries in the world. Out of the 48 poorest countries in the world 40 are ACP-countries!! By the Cotonou Agreement signed the 23d of June 2000 the ACP-EC-cooperation has been extended until 2020 with the objectives of poverty eradication, sustainable development and the integration in the world economy of the ACP-countries.

What is the reason for the delete of the current article 179 par.3 EC-Treaty? The following reasons were given by a representative of the European Commission:
Today article 179 par. 3 EC provides for a special form of cooperation with the ACP-countries, which makes it possible to finance the European Development Fund outside the framework of the EU-budget. The EDF is composed by national contributions of the EC-member states. In a first version of the Draft the Presidium of the Convention took over current Article 179 par. 3, but emphasized that the Convention should examine whether this provision should be deleted, because a specific policy or different financing is no longer needed. The final report of the Working Group VII of the Convention, dealing with the external policy of the Union, stated: "there is large support for making EDF part of the general EU-budget, that is why for the EDF the same procedures will be applied as for other areas where financial support wil be given". The final report made also clear that this should mean an improvement of the efficiency and more focus on poverty eradication of the EU-development programmes in general, and in no way should it lead to the reduction of the support of the ACP-countries.

A majority of the Convention has supported this approach and Article 179 par. 3 EC was left out of the Draft European Constitution.

Other arguments were: the integration of Cotonou in the normal communautarian framework makes it possible to adjust the support in a better way to the real needs, performance and receive capacity of the ACP-countries, while the process of multiannual programmes will stay in tact. It also helps the European Parliament to fully fulfill its budget tasks conform the general line of the Convention. Further details should be provided for in the institutional agreement concerning the financial perspectives post-2006.

My advice to the ACP is to make an official request to the European Commission and Members of the Convention (representatives of the European Parliament and Member States) to insert a provision concerning the ACP-EC-Cooperation in the Draft/New Constitution in view of the special relationship between the EU and the ACP, historical bounds, responsabilities and mutual interest, as agreed by EC and ACP in Article 55 of the Cotonou Agreement: The objectives of development finance cooperation shall be, through the provision of adequate financial resources and appropriate technical assistance, to support and promote the efforts of the ACP States to achieve the objectives set out in this Agreement on the basis of mutual interest and in a spirit of interdependence".

In principle it is possible that the IGC still decide to insert article 179 par. 3 EC in the future European Constitution. As long as the Constitution is not formal accepted it is legally possible. In contrast with the future Convention in the current IGC only the Governments of the Member States have the power to decide. So they have to be approached in order to save article 179 par. 3 EC. However with regard to the political point of view it will not be easy to insert article 179 par. 3 EC in the New Constitution, because almost every delegation in the IGC has stated that they wish to maintain the draft text of the Constitution with as less as possible adjustments, especially for non-institutional issues. Nor in the IGC at political level nor in the group of legal experts of the IGC the proposition has been made to integrate the ACP-EC-cooperation in the European Constitution. EU-Commisisoner Nielson said during an intervention of the Working Group VII on the External EU-Policy that the cooperation modalities between the EC and the ACP-countries should be revised.

The Convention probably did not consult the ACP. Consultation between the EC and the ACP-states should take place according to Article 12 of the ACP-EC-Agreement in view of the Coherence of Community policies and their impact on the inplementation of the Agreement. Article 12 decides that where the Community intends, in the exercise of its powers, to take a measure which might affect the interests of the ACP states, as fas ar this Agreement's objectives are concerned, it shall inform in good time the said States of its intentions. Towards this end, the Commission shall communicate simultaneously to the Secretariat of the ACP states its proposal for such measures. Where necessary, a request for information may also take place on the initiative of the ACP states. At their request, consultations shall be held promptly so that account may be taken of their concerns as to the impact of those measures before any final decision is made.

EC-TREATY
TITLE XX
DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION


Article 177

1. Community policy in the sphere of development cooperation, which shall be complementary to the policies pursued by the Member States, shall foster:
-
The sustainable economic and social development of the developing countries, and more particularly the most disadvantaged among them,

-
The smooth and gradual integration of the developing countries into the world economy,

-
The campaign against poverty in the developing countries.
2. Community policy in this area shall contribute to the general objective of developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law, and to that of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.
3. The Community and the Member States shall comply with the commitments and take account of the objectives they have approved in the context of the United Nations and other competent international organisations.

Article 178

The Community shall take account of the objectives referred to in Article 177 in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries.

Article 179

1. Without prejudice to the other provisions of this Treaty, the Council, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251, shall adopt the measures necessary to further the objectives referred to in Article 177. Such measures may take the form of multiannual programmes.
2. The European Investment Bank shall contribute, under the terms laid down in its Statute, to the implementation of the measures referred to in paragraph 1.
3. The provisions of this Article shall not affect cooperation with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in the framework of the ACP-EC Convention.

Article 181

Within their respective spheres of competence, the Community and the Member States shall cooperate with third countries and with the competent international organisations. The arrangements for Community cooperation may be the subject of agreements between the Community and the third parties concerned, which shall be negotiated and concluded in accordance with Article 300.
The previous paragraph shall be without prejudice to Member States' competence to negotiate in international bodies and to conclude international agreements.

DRAFT EU-CONSTITUTION
Chapter IV: Cooperation with Third Countries and Humanitarian Aid.
Section 1: Development Cooperation.

Article III - 219
1. European laws or framework laws shall establish the measures necessary for the implementation of development cooperation policy, which may relate to multiannual cooperation programmes with developing countries or programmes with a thematic approach.

2. The Union may conclude with third countries and competent international organisations any agreement helping to achieve the objectives referred to in Article III - 93. Such agreements shall be negotiated and conluded in accordance with Article 111 - 227.
The first subparagraph shall be without prejudice to Member States' competence to negotiate in international bodies and to conclude international agreements.

3. The European Investment Bank shall contribute, under the terms laid down in its Statute, to the implementation of the measures referred to in paragraph 1.

Joyce van Genderen-Naar
Lawyer Brussels Bar
Email: vangenderen@unicall.be

3rd Annual European Union Equality Summitt

The third Equality Summit will be held in Stockholm on 16–17 November.

This is an annual event for ministers, chairs of national equality bodies, chairs of NGOs at EU level, EU social partners and representatives of international organisations. The purpose is to share knowledge and experience so as to develop stronger and more effective ways of working against all forms of discrimination, and to promote equal rights and opportunities for all in the EU.

Get full details, get the program and external resources form the summit website.


If there is a problem viewing the live blog here you can click here instead.

For Videos and Updates See:
www.womenoftheafricandiaspora.com/2009/11/16/3rd-annual-european-union-equality-summitt/

European Partnership Agreement with African, Caribbean and Pacific States
















Elaine M. Campbell


Renegotiate EPA: a very optimistic approach

To be clear, EPA is not called Economic Partnership Agreement for nothing. It is a not a Development Aid package but rather a trade agreement, one of many, such as its predecessor the Cotonou Agreement signed in 2000. EPA seeks to realign the business/trade relationships which were granted to ACP countries under a preferential agreement, reached at time of the signing of the entry of the UK to the European Union in 1972. In time, there has been a gradual change of these preferential trade relations between the Caribbean, African and Pacific regions and the EU. This is evident, amongst others, from the downturn in the regions’ sugar and banana industries.

The concerns voiced by the academics is typical of a “reactive approach” taken by peoples of our region. The academics claimed that representatives have made the deal of EPA with their eyes wide shut. The truth is, it is not for the representatives to make deals. They are channels of information. It is for the elected Caribbean leaders to make sensible decisions on our behalf. At this point, leaders are aware, or at least should have been aware, of the consequences of the UK’s membership of the EU. There was time enough, more than 30 years, in which our leaders should have created a strategic plan in which Jamaica, after almost 46 years of independence, would have been able to step up to the challenges of playing ball on an unlevel international field.

I do not wish to call the lobbying efforts by the academics, in order to “renegotiate the trade deal”, a useless attempt. But I do think that this would cause our representatives in Brussels to become beggars without a cause. Our region has no cohesive plan of getting us out of a peripheral position of merely surviving as “Third World countries”. The effort put in by the Caribbean representatives is ineffective at changing the underlying economical intentions of the EU. EPA has been discussed in all the regions of ACP. The African (French and English-speaking) and Pacific regions are nowhere near signing any documents relating to EPA.

It has been hinted that, under EPA, it will be easier for professionals from the Caribbean region entering the European Union. To me, this is saying that our governments ought to be aware of the next great brain drain from the region. What is our contingency plan? Most of our teachers, doctors, and much-needed personnel have already migrated to the UK, US and Canada. The EU needs workers and is seeking a way of finding people to shore up its economy so as to keep its stronghold on the international stage. Therefore, is this really a negotiation victory we get from EPA?

It is my greatest wish to see our people wake up from the colonial slumber and take a “proactive approach” in the building of our country and regions. One concrete plan would be to see the representatives bodies, such as CRNM, become fully staffed. Brussels, like Washington, is the centre of world politics, and it is highly unprofessional to see the few good civil servants being ostracised when they do what they can when attending meetings on our behalf.

In our region we need a proactive civil society which simulates discussions on international issues affecting our daily lives. Also, we should take a more proactive, pre-emptive approach in countering the moves of the EU or any other country for that matter. Let the truth be known, decisions in Brussels are the outcome of long, internal EU debates and discussions involving local and national stakeholders right from the formative stages. To think that we could renegotiate EPA at this stage is very optimistic. We are simply not prepared.

Elaine Campbell is a legal researcher in The Netherlands.
emcampbell11@hotmail.com

Crossing Borders and Frontiers

Joyce_van_Genderen

Joyce van Genderen-Naar

The landscape of international development cooperation is coloured by many actors and organisations. Among them are doctors, engineers, architects, lawyers, economists, sociologist, and journalists, crossing borders and frontiers all over the world. They established international non-governmental organisations on the basis of their profession to work in countries which are at war or in conflict situations. Their work brings along risks, dangers and although characterised by impartiality, neutrality and independence, it is sometimes controversial and criticised as partial and interfering in state affairs. One of the reasons could be the lack of information and understanding about their objectives and their working-method as well as the cooperation and communication with national governments and local experts.

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View on Nyanzale Refugees Camp (North Kivu, DRC).© Cédric Gerbehaye/Agence VU (www.etat-critique.org)
Well known are the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international medical humanitarian organisation created in 1971 by doctors and journalists in France. MSF provides aid/medical care in nearly 60 countries to people in crisis regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation, on the basis of need and independent access to victims of conflict as required under international humanitarian law. Medical teams conduct evaluations on the ground to determine the medical needs and care for people who suffer from violence, neglect, or catastrophe, due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care or natural disasters. MSF says that the key to act independently in response to a crisis is its independent funding. Eighty-nine percent of MSF's overall funding comes from private sources, not governments. Website: www.msf.org

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) are formed by several non-governmental organisations in several countries, focused on engineering and construction in international development work and strongly linked to academia and students. Engineers without Borders/Ingénieurs sans frontières (ISF)-France was founded in the 1980s, followed by ISF-Spain and ISF-Italy in the 1990s and EWB-Canada, one of the largest of the EWB organisations, in the late 1990s and many other EWB/ISF groups around the world. Website: www.ewb-international.org

Architects Without Borders is a non-governmental not-for-profit volunteer humanitarian relief organisation, providing technical assistance and support for recovery and reconstruction programs in countries that suffer from economic crisis, human conflict and natural disaster, such as the Tsunami in Asia. Website: www.awb.iohome.net

Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) was founded in 1992 in Belgium, sending lawyers without borders, lawyers for lawyers, abroad to take part in sensitive trials and to assist or represent human rights lawyers and human rights activists persecuted for exercising their profession. Lawyers without borders defended the accused and represented the victims in Rwandan courts and between 1995 and 1998 lawyers were trained in Arusha, Tanzania, for appearance before the International Court (ICC) in Rwanda. Website: www.asf.be/index.php?module=home&lang=en

International Lawyers and Economists against Poverty (ILEAP)/Juristes et Economistes Internationaux contre la Pauvrete (JEICP), is an independent non-profit organisation, launched in Nairobi in May 2002 and established as a non-profit organisation in Canada. The work of ILEAP is focused on increasing the capacity and participation of development countries in international negotiations. African and Caribbean experts are trained by ILEAP for the negotiations of the economic partnership agreements (EPA) with the European Community. Capacity building is provided by trade professionals from several countries. Website:www.ileap-jeicp.org/

Association Studies Without Borders/Études sans frontières is a more recent nonprofit association, founded in Paris in March 2003 by young French citizens with the support of international personalities, such as Vaclav Havel, former president of Czechoslovakia, who considers education as a guarantee for peace promotion, solidarity and sustainable development. Through Studies Without Borders young people, who are not able to study in their own country due to crisis, can continue and resume their studies in Europe and North America, and go back to their country when the situation permits. A total of 190 students from Chechnya, Congo, Rwanda and Western Sahara benefited from the programs of Studies Without Borders. Website:www.etudessansfrontieres.org

Reporters without Borders/Reporters sans frontières (RSF), is a Paris-based international non-governmental organisation, founded in 1985, to advocate freedom of the press, the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas regardless of frontiers, in accordance with Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. RWB compiles and publishes an annual ranking of countries based upon the organisation’s assessment of their press freedom records. The impartiality of Reporters Without Borders is not universally accepted. Criticisms concern RWB’s funding (a significant amount of funding, 19% of total, comes from certain western governments and organisations), its anti-Castro and anti-Chavez reporting, its methodology in ranking press freedom and the lack of direct understanding of existing laws in ranked countries. Website: www.rsf.org

Sociologists Without Borders was founded in Spain in 2001, as a non-governmental organisation, and has established chapters in Madrid, Catalonia, Valencia, USA, Brazil, and Italy, and others are in formation. Sociologists Without Borders became visible as first professional group that made a critical statement against the United States government unilateral intervention in Iraq. In 2004 and 2005, young sociologists joined the Kibera project, an international effort in support of the welfare and development of a poor slum quarter of Nairobi. Sociologists Without Borders work together with journalists to collect and analyse relevant information for the public. Website: www.sociologistswithoutborders.org

Women of the African Diaspora Website and Social Network Celebrates Second Anniversary

Women of the African Diaspora Website and Social Network Celebrates Second Anniversary











Social Network Boasts Over 600 Members Around the World.

Rotterdam, NL/Stockholm, SWE November 3, 2009 – Women of the African Diaspora website (http://www.womenoftheafricandiaspora.com/) and social network (http://www.blackwomenunite.ning.com/) is having a birthday complete with gifts for its readers and members. The website and social network, which celebrates Black women, has visitors and members from across the globe.

"Women of the African Diaspora website and social network continue to grow," says Sandra Rafaela, Women of the African Diaspora’s co-founder and co-editor. "We are constantly working very hard to improve our website to provide information, inspiration and more for Black women around the world." Women of the African Diaspora website leverages the global reach of the Internet, social media and widgets to share relevant news, event notices and showcase a wide range of talented Black women including authors, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and others. And with Black women living on virtually every continent, it certainly has a large and influential market.

"Women of the African Diaspora’s website content strives to be very compelling and shine a positive spotlight on Black women that main stream media far too often ignores," says Adrianne George, Women of the African Diaspora‘s co-founder and co-editor. "The number of visitors to the site continues to increase each month, and social networks like Facebook give us a platform to network we didn’t have when starting out. We continue to be the perfect choice for advertisers who want to reach the important market of Black women consumers."

The year has again been marked with highlights for the Women of the African Diaspora co-editors, with Ms. George’s Black Women in Europe blog (http://blog.blackwomenineurope.com/) being a finalist for a 2009 Black Weblog Award for Best International blog as well as being a featured blog on Ebonyjet.com. "We've come so far in just two years," explains George. "Our social network has over 600 members in North America, Europe, Africa and beyond. Rafaela explains, “We really enjoy meeting accomplished and positive Black women while providing them with a unique platform for exposure. We're ready to take on year three."

Let Adrianne and Sandra know what the Women of the African Diaspora and Social network mean to you to get prizes from their sponsors: https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewformformkey=dGhSaFZQOFNRYjUwSERtUDBqTEFLckE6MA
Anniversary gifts are provided by Sheabutter Cottage, Greatness By Design™, Sisay International, Author M.H.A. Menondji, Northwest Scents Natural Black Hair Care, Creating Tomorrow, Simplicity Mastered™, and Donna Elmore's Send Out Cards. Businesses with products or services for Black women can participate in the anniversary celebrations by purchasing an advertising package for the website and social network at a 20% savings. More information is available at http://womenoftheafricandiaspora.com/.
Contact:
Sandra Rafaela sandra@womenoftheafricandiaspora.com
Adrianne George adrianne@womenoftheafricandiaspora.com