Jair Bolsonaro's victory on October 28 turns Brazil towards the extreme right and backwards in several aspects of its democratic transition initiated with the 1988 Constitution, especially those related to social justice, environment, human rights and the economy. Understanding why he was elected and what he represents is key to grasping the new Brazil emerging from the election and what to expect for the near future.
TNI’s work is in the news almost every working day of the year. Together with our partners, we enjoy wide coverage in national and international news outlets from around the world. Here are some of the highlights from 2020 of which we are particularly proud.
Are EU countries guilty of human rights abuses related to land grabbing? How do EU countries contribute to land-grabbing outside of Europe? Our analysis identifies the key mechanisms through which human rights challenges emerge from land grabbing and points to the obligation of the EU and its Member States to implement a set of policy regulations.
Multistakeholderism has become a new buzzword for global governance, shaping standards for products, setting the rules for global initiatives and increasingly entering every arena of global governance including the UN. They are driven by transnational corporations to consolidate power and profits and have disturbing implications for democracy, accountability and for communities most affected by corporate human rights violations.
Around the world, millions of people depend on the cultivation of coca, opium poppy and cannabis for basic subsistence. The 1961 Convention introduced strict controls on the cultivation of these plants and banned centuries-old traditional medicinal, cultural and ceremonial uses. The 1988 Convention reinforced those provisions, obliging states to eradicate illicit cultivation and to impose criminal sanctions.
From 16 to 18 October 2019, representatives of member states, intergovernmental organisations, and civil society attended the 6th Intersessional Meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. On 17 October 2019, representatives of coca and opium growers from Colombia and Myanmar delivered statements highlighting the situation of communities involved in the illicit cultivation of coca and opium in both countries. Below are their full statements.
The way that ownership and control of land and resources is managed and understood is changing globally, even as changes in financial markets and the climate catastrophe are putting increasing pressure on land and land-based resources. The changes taking place can appear progressive and positive - for example, more and more governments and other actors now recognize collective ownership of land. But the way change is taking place is less transformative than it looks and is in fact creating new opportunities for corporations to profit from land and natural resources, to the detriment of local communities. Our latest report explores how and why this change is taking place, what actors are helping to shape our understanding and management of land and natural resources, and who stands to benefit and to lose from these changes.
Today marks the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Its origin can be traced back to the institutional architecture of the global drug control system which for the last five decades has served as a mechanism that regulates, controls, or prohibits the use and distribution of more than 300 psychoactive substances.
Prof John Ruggie has shared his comments on the Zero Draft treaty on TNCs and human rights on this blog earlier this month. His core concerns are that the zero draft has not adequately deal with ‘scale’ and ‘liability’. This response argues that Ruggie’s arguments in opposition to the binding treaty are misdirected and they fail to recognise the historic opportunity offered by the Human Right Council to create a human rights remedy system for corporate abuse across national boundaries.
The admission by UN's lead agency for drugs, the UNODC, that “the drug market is thriving” in its 2017 World Drug Report is an important one given that it is months away from 2019 – the target date by which governments committed to “significantly reduce or eliminate” the global drug market. At the recent annual gathering of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, this abysmal failure to claim any progress towards these ‘drug-free’ targets was the backdrop to the latest round of tense negotiations on global drug control.
Statement to the Extraordinary Meeting of G20 Agriculture Ministers, 21 April 2020:
As the COVID-19 health emergency unleashes a wider social and economic crisis, we believe that urgent action is indeed needed to safeguard global food security and nutrition. Action, however, cannot be limited to ensuring the flow of food supplies. A broader range of measures are necessary to ensure food security, in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
With the likes of Putin, Trump, Xi Jinping and Modi controlling some of the world’s most powerful nations, authoritarianism is fast being normalised. The rise of these figures has been paralleled by a disturbing growth in nationalist, racist and xenophobic forces, disaffection towards traditional democratic institutions and a steady increase in repression of social movements and civil society. The promises of Fukuyama, Friedman and others that capitalism and liberal, open societies were inextricably bound together lie today in tatters.
It is feminism that teaches us best how to analyse this, because historically it is women who have been taught to play this mediating role, to smooth over disagreement, to flatter and to acquiesce. There are many women who do not follow the script, and they are often punished for it. How best can we think about this most secret and insidious form of education?
This weekend, the European Commission announced that the negotiations with Mexico to "modernise" their Free Trade Agreement have been concluded. A key feature of the “modernisation” process is the inclusion of a controversial investment protection chapter with the same characteristics as the one recently included in the Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA).
There is mounting evidence that neoliberal policies are losing legitimacy. The translation of such disaffection into positive commitment to an alternative, however, requires deeper disengagement from the dominant order and practical participation in creating alternatives. A social order built on escaping the pressures of democracy while at the same time depending on the capacities of many desiring democracy is unlikely to be stable. Thus the opaque and indirect forms of power typical of neoliberal rule are simultaneously sources of vulnerability and dependence, and breeding grounds for the power to subvert and transform.
It was typical that as Javier was dying, just 10 days before he passed away, too sick to get to his computer, he should e-mail me on his mobile phone to introduce José Manual Mariscal as the new editor of the monthly magazine of the Spanish Communist Party (a part of the United Left coalition). “I'm quite sick,” he said, rather understating his personal problem, “so I can’t go on. But if you’re so kind, lend him your help as if he were me.” He knew our friendship was personally strong but also intrinsically political. And based on openness and collaboration, he deeply loyal to the Marxist Leninist Spanish Communist Party and I of a libertarian mould
Through the experience of working with kids from Brazil’s favelas (shanty-towns) telling their stories, two film-makers explore how the rise of the authoritarian right in Brazil is based on a deep fear by elites of social mobility and a desire to preserve their traditional privileges through both physical as well as political walls.
Susan George joined an expert panel on the first day of a meeting of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council, tasked with developing a treaty on transnational corporations and human rights. She spoke with the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power about the history of UN action on transnational corporations, the potential pitfalls of the current treaty negotiations, and the range of tax abuses, wage evasion, and investor protection weapons that transnational corporations can use.
Katie Sandwell, Angélica Castañeda Flores, Lyda Fernanda Forero, Jennifer Franco, Sofia Monsalve Suárez, Andrea Nuila, Philip Seufert
10 December 2019
We urgently need new, revitalised, visions of human rights, and rural communities are in the process of building just these kinds of visions. The climate crisis poses massive threats to human rights, but so do mainstream technical and economic climate ‘solutions’, and rising authoritarian voices around the world. The battle for resources and territories, including land, water, fisheries, and forests is becoming increasingly intense, with land-intensive renewable energy projects and the drive to marketise carbon and biodiversity additional threats to nature and to the livelihoods of rural and indigenous people around the world.