Europe has been caught off guard by recent asylum-seeker arrivals, prompting what some have called a threat to the survival of the European Union. However, we have shown that Europe has admitted and integrated much larger numbers of refugees in the past. So why have countries been so overwhelmed this time around?
One major hurdle has been assessing the validity of such large numbers of asylum claims. Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every individual has the right to seek asylum from persecution. In some situations an individual’s motivations for movement—and their accompanying designation under international refugee law—are relatively evident. This is not the case for many recent arrivals in Europe.
Migration and asylum policies: Where to draw the line
After the lapse of the silence procedure Monday night, EU finance
ministers agreed on new EU anti-tax avoidance legislation (ATAD). The
measures included in the final compromise of the Dutch presidency are
far behind the proposals of the European Commission which were watered
down by Member States in the last months. In some important points the
new compromise proposal is even weaker than OECD's BEPS (base erosion
and profit shifting) package already agreed by the G20. In tax matters,
the Council adopts legislation by unanimity. The European Parliament
can only send its opinion.
1. A pact between the different constituencies of claim holders must be the result of a political reading that says that what is at stake is the very survival of democracies (and of human rights) worthy of the name, as well as the survival of the planet. The actions that this calls for are as pressing as to literally salvage that which neoliberalism has not yet been able to destroy.
11. According to the philosopher Baruch Spinoza, people (and I should add, societies as well) are governed by two basic emotions: fear and hope. There is a complex balance between the two, but we need them both if we wish to survive. Fear is the dominant emotion when one’s expectations about the future are negative (“this is bad, but the future could be worse”); in turn, hope has the upper hand when future expectations are positive or, in any event, when refusal of the alleged inevitability of negative expectations is widely shared.
Speech of Mr Martin Khor, Executive Director of the South Center
The Declaration on the Right to Development, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1986 (as Document 41/128) is 30 years old. It is appropriate to celebrate this anniversary. For the right to development has had great resonance among people all over the world, including in developing and poor countries. Even the term itself “the right to development” carries a great sense and weight of meaning and of hope.
It is fitting to recall some of the important elements of this right to development. It is human and people centered. It is a human right, where every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy development in which all rights and freedoms can be fully realized (Article 1.1). The human person is the central subject of development and should be the active participant and beneficiary of development (Article 2.1).
It gives responsibility to each state to get its act together to take measures to get its people’s right to development fulfilled. (States have the right and duty to formulate appropriate national development policies, that aim at improving the well-being of all individuals on the basis of their meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of the benefits resulting therefrom - Article 2.3.)
The newest edition of the World Wealth Report ... interesting literature:
Last week the IMF published an article in its magazine that caused a considerable stir around the world. Entitled ‘Neoliberalism: oversold?’ the short piece by Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri, all from the Fund’s Research Department, questions whether the economic approach of neoliberalism has been taken too far. They define neoliberalism as a focus on promoting competition through deregulation and on shrinking the state through privatisation and fiscal austerity.
The authors conclude that many of the policies promoted under the neoliberal approach have been beneficial to economic progress. Among these they list the privatisation of state owned enterprises, and the expansion of global trade. However, they argue that others have been of more questionable benefit. Among these they include liberalising the flows of international capital, to allow speculative money to flow in and out of countries rapidly, which they conclude is largely harmful, and austerity, which they believe whilst necessary in some circumstances due to high debt burdens, is nevertheless dangerous in that it increases inequality, which in turn reduces growth.
There is a battle of interest between industrialised countries and Africa on how to alleviate the effects of climate change leading to different conferences being held. The much publicised were the Conference of Parties - known as COP15 - held in 2009; the United Nations, UN, climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, tagged the COP19 - the 19thConference of Parties 2013; the pre-COP planned for Venezuela in 2014. The most recent is the 21st Conference of Parties, also - known as COP21 - held in Paris in 2015.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has adopted a new international labour standard that is expected to help hundreds of millions of workers and economic units move out of informality and into the formal economy.
More than half of the world’s workforce is estimated to be trapped in the informal economy* , which is marked by the denial of rights at work, the absence of sufficient opportunities for quality employment, inadequate social protection, a lack of social dialogue and low productivity, all of which constitutes a significant obstacle to the development of sustainable enterprises.
The new Recommendation acknowledges that most people enter the informal economy not by choice but due to a lack of opportunities in the formal economy and an absence of any other means of livelihood.
The Recommendation – the first ever international labour standard specifically aimed at tackling the informal economy – was passed by 484 votes in favour and garnered outstanding support from the ILO’s tripartite constituents.
From cash transfers in the South to basic income in the North: many social demands are currently more oriented towards money than towards social and economic rights. The implicit risk is a system in which governments pay for people who will work for private interests – for free.
Mozambique, long touted as an African “success story”, is sinking under debt. International lenders and donors have been angered by revelations of at least $2.3 billion in secret loans taken in 2013-4. Inflation is rising and so is the cost of living. The government is clamping down on critics speaking up about the crisis. The future looks uncertain.
Mr. Micawber is a character in Charles Dickens's 1850 novel David Copperfield who is always in debt and frequently responds that "something will turn up". Maputo feels like that at the moment. The heavily indebted government on one side, and the lenders and donors on the other, seem to be assuming that "something will turn up". Neither side appears to be planning for the implications of the debt crisis or for how to get out of it. But the crisis is serious and getting worse.
Restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, including severe crackdowns in some countries, increased by 22%, with 50 out of 141 countries surveyed recording restrictions.
The ITUC Global Rights Index ranks 141 countries against 97 internationally recognised indicators to assess where workers’ rights are best protected, in law and in practice.
“We are witnessing the closing of democratic space and an increase in insecurity, fear and intimidation of working people. The speed at which attacks on rights are being forced through, even in democracies with the Finish government’s proposals and the new trade union law in the United Kingdom, shows an alarming trend for working people and their families,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.