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Despite the universality of human rights, many states still disregard their extra-territorial obligations and apply human rights only within their own borders.

1. Human rights specialists have only relatively recently begun to give serious attention to the issue of extra-territorial obligations (ETOs), so the terminology relating to it has not yet sufficiently sunk-in. In the past, we have mostly referred to the external obligations of states. But the key point now is that states have responsibility for actions taken by themselves and also for actions taken by others --e.g., corporations-- outside their borders, especially but not only, when they have actual or potential control over them. (G. Kent)

European Parliament's tax evasion investigation kicks off

The European Parliament special committee to investigate tax evasion and dumping in Europe today met for the first time, agreeing on its structure and key posts at its constitutive meeting (1). The special committee will operate on the mandate proposed by the Greens/EFA group as the basis for an inquiry committee. Commenting on the occasion, Greens/EFA spokesperson on the special committee Sven Giegold said:

"We are glad that this investigation is finally starting its work, after months of obstruction by EU Parliament president Schulz and the leaders of the EP's bigger political groups. This special committee must swiftly ramp up its investigation of tax dumping and evasion in Europe with a view to preparing a proper legislative follow-up at EU level. We will make sure that the committee aggressively investigates those who are behind and have profited from aggressive tax practices in Europe and we sincerely hope the other political groups will also work to this goal. Greens urge whistleblowers and experts to support the inquiry with original information documenting tax dumping and the complacency of states and EU insitutions."

World Bank and IMF: Year in Review

The Bretton Woods Project published its 'year in review'  (2014) on the World Bank and the IMF: the key issues and developments with a perspective on the years to come.


Unequal Europe - Recommendations for a more caring Europe

'Friends of Europe' just published a report on a new social pact for the European Union. The report was written by Professor Frank Vandenbroucke, former social-democrat minister of social affairs in Belgium, in collaboration with a group of employers, one German trade union and one NGO (for homeless people). Global Social Justice will come back to these ideas in the coming days but wants to present the report to its readers already.

Financing for Development: Common but Differentiated Responsibilities?

Jean Letitia Saldanha (CIDSE), participated in the a side-event by the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the UN, CIDSE and Social Watch on Thursday, January 29, 2015 in the UN Conference Building, New York. Dealing with responsibilities in a financing sustainable development context, this event generated discussion on conceptual challenges such as an evenhanded approach to the three pillars of sustainable development, adapting a framework like the Financing for Development process to the universal agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals without denaturalizing and decontextualizing it and how to incorporate important principles agreed at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

Seed Libraries Fight for the Right to Share

It’s easy to take seeds for granted. Tiny dry pods hidden in packets and sacks, they make a brief appearance as gardeners and farmers collect them for future planting then later drop them into soil. They are not “what’s for dinner,” yet without them there would be no dinner. Seeds are the forgotten heroes of food—and of life itself.

Sharing these wellsprings of sustenance may sound innocuous enough, yet this increasingly popular exchange—and wider seed access—is up against a host of legal and economic obstacles. The players in this surreal saga, wherein the mere sharing of seeds is under attack, range from agriculture officials interpreting seed laws, to powerful corporations expanding their proprietary and market control.

Trade-Curreny Link: a new wave of trade protection?

Two bills introduced in the United States Congress last week could lead to a new kind of trade measure that in the short run may wreck the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and in the longer run could cause havoc in the global trading system.

The sponsors of the bills aimed at preventing “currency manipulation” claim to have majority support among Republicans and Democrats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Moreover the bills’ sponsors and supporters intend to link passage of the legislation to the adoption of fast-track authority for the President and to approval of the TPPA.


18 February: Defend the Right to Strike

While inequality is rising, employers’ groups around the world are trying to undermine the right to strike at national and international level. These attacks come at a time when employers and governments implement austerity measures, the growth of precarious jobs is rampant and social protests are criminalized, with the intent to silence workers and their demands for decent jobs and social protection. Without the right to strike, collective bargaining is nothing more than begging.

Think Big, World Bank: Time for a Public Health Safeguard

Sometimes great changes result from small actions. Technical advances might grab headlines, but changes to administrative processes can potentially have an equally important effect on how public health actions are carried out on the ground. In the past six decades, the World Bank's increasingly diverse portfolio has grown to include more than US$1 billion in annual commitments for health, nutrition, and population activities—about a quarter of all its projects.1 That is why it is so essential that the global community pays attention to the discussion and any proposed decisions about safeguards against any unintended social and environmental effects of World Bank policies and investments.

Beyond the market-state: decentralizing power in a sharing society

At a time when governments are failing abysmally to mitigate climate change, reduce inequality or end poverty, the key to creating a more equal and sustainable world is establishing participative forms of political engagement at all levels of society – from the local to the global.

Junk the phrase 'human capital'

Among many services both great and small that Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the 21st Century” has rendered to economics is his skeptical view of the terminology of human capital. That coinage was one of the biggest mistakes in economic nomenclature in the last 50 years. It was ideologically motivated and has contributed to conceptual confusion.

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