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Civil Society Urges G20 to Focus on Rights at Financial and Climate Negotiations

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Ahead of the upcoming G20 Summit in France, a group of NGOs, including CIVICUS, DAWN, and the Center for Economic and Social Rights, have prepared a statement urging G20 leaders to remember human rights when debating financial regulation and climate change. The statement calls on leaders to take measures which requires all parties to take responsibility and acknowledge universal human rights.

October 28, 2011

The Center for Economic and Social Rights, the Center of Concern, CIVICUS, DAWN, IBASE and Social Watch prepared a statement to urge G20 leaders ensure the centrality of human rights norms and principles in their decision-making on financial regulation and climate change during their upcoming Summit in Cannes, France. These civil society organizations called others to endorse the statement before Monday.

Large-scale deprivations of human rights stemming from the financial and economic crises are not inevitable, natural phenomena, wrote the representatives of signatories. According to them, the G20 agenda in Cannes provides a unique opportunity for governments —individually and in concert with one another— to choose alternative, human rights-centered paths to a sustainable, resilient and above all just global economy. 

The document, titled Joint Civil Society Statement to the Group of 20 Leaders on Embedding Human Rights in Financial Regulation, reminds the chiefs of State and Government that “even in the policies of a most eminently economic nature, their duties to respect, protect and fulfill the economic, social, cultural, civil and political human rights, including the right to development, do not cease, but should take primacy in every commitment they undertake.”

The civil society organizations demand in the text “action” on issues such as the “endorsement of worldwide stimuli measures according to human rights principles”; “reforms to prevent speculative activity in financial markets from undermining the enjoyment of human rights”; limits to “the damage to public funding of financial institutions that collapse due to excessive risk-taking”; “regulations of bank capital requirements consistent with human rights standards”; “agreement to increase the relative fiscal pressure on the banking sector and to cooperate to increase transparency and mutual accountability in revenue mobilization”; and “an agreement to drastically reduce greenhouse emissions which contribute to climate change”.

The signatories warned that “the world was at no point close to a ‘recovery’ from the human rights toll of the financial crisis” that began three years ago. “Poverty and inequality have increased, and economic growth, where it did take place, has been largely jobless, wageless and unevenly distributed to the wealthiest sectors of society,” they wrote.

“As the world braces for what seems like another coming economic recession, countries and households barely able to cope last recession are now in an even worse situation, with negative consequences for fundamental human rights in rich and poor countries alike,” they added.

“Only an enduring commitment to respect, protect and fulfill legally-binding human rights obligations enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and core international human rights treaties can provide the basis for reforms to ensure a more sustainable, resilient and just global economy,” alert the civil society organizations to the G20.

That commitment should force the G20 governments “to stimulate their economies” and disarm “the premature move towards austerity and the consequent reductions in aggregate demand”, and to “progress in the regulation of commodity derivatives trading” that is “the main reason behind the spikes in food and energy prices that have increased hunger and malnutrition”.

The G20 should also promote steps to prevent that “companies that took undue risks will not again have to be bailed out with public funding” and “to reduce the size and complexity of systemically important financial institutions, including through direct regulatory intervention to break up large firms.

The civil society representatives asked the governments to “take measures which ensure their financial sectors pay their fair share” with “”the implementation of financial transaction taxes and to express a clear commitment to use this newly-generated revenue to fulfill their human rights obligations –at home and abroad”.

The statement also called to take on “serious commitments […] to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adopt greener technologies”. Their absences are “fast becoming a huge human rights issue”, because they “continue to trigger weather-related natural disasters, subjecting vulnerable and marginalised communities to increased risk as well as threatening the earth’s fragile biodiversity”.

The initial signatories of the statement are the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), the Center of Concern, CIVICUS, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), IBASE and Social Watch.

Source: Social Watch

ACCION-Asociación Chilena de ONGs –Chile
ActionAid International
Africa Development Interchange Network (ADIN)
African Women Economic Policy Network (AWEPON)
Alola Foundation- East Timor
Asociación Latinoamericana de Organizaciones de Promoción al Desarrollo (ALOP), A.C.
Asociación Mexicana de Mujeres Líderes Miroempresarias, AC - Mexico
Asociación Nacional de Centro de Investigación, Promoción y Desarrollo –Peru
ATTAC Hungary, Budapest- HUNGARY
Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera –USA
Bi'alli. AC - Mexico
Canadian Council for International Cooperation
Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)
Center for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD) – Bangladesh
Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) –USA
Center of Concern
Centro de derechos humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez –México
Centro de Derechos y Desarrollo (CEDAL) –Peru
Centro de Investigación Laboral y Asesoría Sindical, CILAS, AC – Mexico
Centro de Investigación y Promoción Social, S.C. (CIPROSOC) –México
Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales (CEPES) –Peru
Children Education Society (CHESO) – Tanzania
CINEP/ Programa por la Paz –Colombia
Ciudadanos en Apoyo a los Derechos Humanos, A.C. –Mexico
CNCD-11.11.11 –Belgium
Company of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul –USA
Congregation of Notre Dame –Canada
“Constitution" Research Foundation –Azerbaijan
Coordinación de ONG y Cooperativas (CONGCOOP) –Guatemala
Corporación Región –Colombia
Declaration of Salzburg for Development in Solidarity –Austria
Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)
Dominican Leadership Conference –USA
ENGENHO & OBRA, Associação para o Desenvolvimento e Cooperação, ONGD –Portugal
Enlace, Comunicaciones y Capacitación, A.C –México
Equipo Pueblo - Mexico
Espacio de Coordinación de Organizaciones Civiles sobre Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales (Espacio DESC) - Mexico
Feminist Task Force of the Global Call to Action against Poverty
Fokupers –East Timor
Foro Ciudadano de Participación por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos (FOCO) –Argentina
Foro de Jóvenes con Liderazgo AC –Mexico
Fundación FORINS –Fortalecimiento Institucional –Argentina
Fundación Salvadoreña para la Promoción Social y el Desarrollo Económico –El Salvador
G C A P    M É X I C O -Coalición Nacional Mexicana del Llamado Mundial a la Acción Contra la Pobreza
Gevao,s Legal Aid Scheme – Sierra Leone
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Global Policy Forum Europe –Germany
Global Social Justice –Belgium
Grupo Tacuba - Mexico
IBON Foundation
Imprenta Francia –El Salvador
INESC –Brazil
INHURED International
Instituto de Desarrollo Social y Promoción Humana (INDES) -Argentina
Instituto de Estudios Jurídico Em Direitos Humanos, Economicos, Sociais, Culturais e Ambientais -Brazil
Instituto Mexicano de Derechos Humanos y Democracia A.C.
Inter-American Platform for Human Rights, Democracy and Development (PIDHDD)
International Human Rights Internship Program
International Presentation Association of the Sisters of the Presentation
International Women's Anthropology Conference (IWAC) –USA
Kalyanamitra –Indonesia
Kehys, The Finnish NDGO Platform to the EU
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
KOPIN –Malta
KULU-Women and Development –Denmark
LDC Watch, Belgium
Loretto Community –USA
Lumière Synergie pour le Développement –Senegal
Marianists International
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Medical Mission Sisters, Sector Asia
Movimiento Jurídico Nacional - Mexico
Mujeres Trabajadoras Unidas, AC, MUTUAC - Mexico
New Rules for Global Finance Coalition
Oikos – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento –Portugal
Passionists International
Plataforma 2015 y más –Spain
President of Bahrain Transparency Society
PRODESSA –Guatemala
Programa Venezolano de Educación - Acción en Derechos Humanos (Provea) –Venezuela
Proyecto Aprendo me Divierto y sigo Viviendo Consultoría Social SC –México
Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC) -Mexico
Red Nacional de Género y Economía, REDGE - Mexico
REMA - Mexico
Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN) -Nepal
Seminario permanente de Estudios Chicanos y de Fronteras, (DEAS-INAH) - Mexico
SILAKA –Cambodia
Social Justice in Global Development” (SocDevJustice)
Social Watch
South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) –Nepal
The second Chance Fd. (USA)
TRI GAY –Mexico
Union de Trabajador@s del Suroeste –USA
United Methodist General Board of Church and Society
Women and Law in Southern Africa –Zambia
World Economy, Ecology & Development –Germany
World Hunger Education Service –USA


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