Saharawis: Now we go to war!

After 36 years in exile in a desert in South Western Algeria the Saharawis have had enough. The UN-led negotiations have not brought a viable solution to the problem of the 165.000 refugees from occupied Western Sahara that fled the advancing Moroccan troops in 1975.

“We have tried to get our land back with peaceful means for over twenty years now,” says twenty-one-year-old Mohammed who lives in the Smara refugee camp. “Twenty years of forlorn negotiations and Moroccan obstruction and delaying tactics. Now we wish to go to war to reclaim our land.” Read more of this post

Will Zuma’s South Africa demand democratisation in Swaziland?

“I believe that king Mswati III is under immense pressure even from his closest buddy, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma,” says Sikelela Dlamini from the Swaziland United Democratic Front, an umbrella organisation of the democratic movement in Swaziland.

The recent spate of pro-democracy demonstrations against the regime in Swaziland, which so far culminated in the mass demonstrations in March and April of this year, shows the increasing willingness of Swazis to face intimidation and police brutality to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the regime. Read more of this post

Swazi political prisoners in good spirits

The two detained Swazi activists and political prisoners, the President of the Swaziland National Union of Students, Maxwell Dlamini, and member of political movement SWAYOCO, Musa Ngubeni, are in good spirits, says Sikelela Dlamini of the Swaziland United Democratic Front.

“I visited Maxwell and Musa yesterday”, Sikelela Dlamini told me. “They remain in good health, resolute in defiance and firm in the belief that they and their fellow citizens will be free soon. They send their regards to all international solidarity friends who keep them and Swaziland in their minds as we struggle to re-claim our human dignity.” Read more of this post

Swazis oppose IMF-suggested cuts

According to the Times of Swaziland, “impeccable sources from within the [Swazi] civil service” have said that The International Monetary Fund has suggested “that [the Swazi] government may eventually have to carry out 30 per cent cuts on the salaries of everyone who is on the government payroll.”

In a statement given on May 18, Joannes Mongardini, head of the mission of the International Monetary Fund that had visited Swaziland, said that “the mission continued to encourage the authorities to find means to cut the wage bill by E 240 million, as envisaged under the program. It also fully supported the government’s plan to resume its privatization program.”

The unions and civil society in Swaziland are very much opposed to these cuts, especially as they will be carried out together with the non-democratic and over-spending Swazi regime that is apparently not to have its budget or salaries cut. Read more of this post

OECD giver Dansk bistand ”liberal” topkarakter

En såkaldt Peer Review, hvor andre OECD-lande  gennemgår et andet OECD-medlemslands politik, giver Danmark topkarakter på udviklingsbistandsområdet. OECD roser blandt andet Danmarks civilsamfundsstrategi.

New Zealand og Luxembourg, der ligesom Danmark er medlemmer af organisationen for økonomisk samarbejde og udvikling, OECD, vurderede i en Peer Review rapport fra OECDs udviklingskomité, DAC, at andre lande kan lære af Danmarks udviklingspolitik og -praksis.

OECDs ros skal dog ses i lyset af, at OECD, som primært har Vestlige højindkomstlande som medlemmer, generelt anbefaler medlemslandene af føre en markedsøkonomisk, liberal politik, herunder at privatisere den offentlige sektor og indføre brugerbetaling på uddannelser. OECD kan derfor ikke ses som værdineutral. Read more of this post

Moroccan propaganda tries to muddle clear case for Western Saharan independence

“The Moroccan propaganda apparatus uses such myths as trying to link [Western Sahara’s liberation movement] Polisario to Al-Qaida in an attempt to defame, falsify and distort realities. This is done to discredit the struggle of the majority of the Saharawi people and their legitimate representative, the Polisario Front, that wants freedom for the last colony in Africa, Western Sahara.”

Abba Malainin, Polisario’s representative in Denmark, is speaking of the successful Moroccan campaign in the media that has seen hundreds of Moroccan propaganda websites, such as ‘Polisario Confidential,’  spring up and where hundreds of Moroccans comment on any and all anti-Moroccan or pro-Saharawi articles or blogs on the internet or attempt to discredit people who argue the cause of the Saharawis. Read more of this post

Liberal EU lovgiver mere end folketinget

Den Europæiske Kommission har for nyligt foreslået et direktiv der vil skabe en fælles Europæisk skatteharmonisering for koncerner, som opererer i flere EU-lande – den såkaldte Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB). Forslaget virker til at være designet til at minimere skattetrykket for de multinationale firmaer. ”Der hvor den laveste [selskabsskatte]sats er, vil virksomhederne være motiveret til at lægge omsætning, arbejdskraft, og aktiver”, siger Bo Sandberg, Skattepolitisk Chef for Dansk Erhverv om CCCTB.

Forslaget er bare det seneste i rækken af EU-love der påtvinger medlemslandene en liberal politik på stadigt flere områder. I den Europæiske Union er liberal politik en del af selve unionens identitet og ”grundlov”, traktaterne. Read more of this post

Is the UN serving its purpose?

The United Nations has been a symbol of human rights, universalism, diplomacy, cooperation and the effort to avoid wars for over sixty years now, created as it was after the mass destruction and atrocities of the Second World War. The UN has acted as a bulwark against excessive nationalism – a nationalism that helped fuel the two World Wars and many other wars, as well as colonial expansion. It has also acted as a bulwark against a relativism that claims to offer tolerance, but always ends up promoting deliberate or unintentional indifference.

But however much the UN’s founding documents and human rights charters speak of the importance of the “inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family,” as does the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, actually implementing this in a world of power politics and real-politics is a very different matter indeed. Read more of this post

New hope for stigmatised single mothers in Swaziland

“I really have big hope for SWASMO now,” says Beatrice Bitchong, Project Coordinator at the Swaziland Single Mothers Organization (SWASMO).

SWASMO, a volunteer organisation, is the only organisation to work with the many heavily stigmatised single mothers in Swaziland, a group that accounts for over a third of all pregnancies in Swaziland but who receive no government support. When their families find out that these women are pregnant, they are often expelled from school and ostracised and stigmatised by their neighbours, communities and families. Read more of this post

Western Sahara: winning the “war on words” and avoiding actual war

“People will easily be able to sympathize with our issues, but they need the information first.” Senia Bachir Abderahman is talking about the situation in the refugee camp that she grew up in and the frustration that her family and most of her fellow Saharawis (Western Sahara’s indigenous population) cannot escape from this refugee camp because their country is colonised by Morocco.

The Saharawis in occupied Western Sahara are brutally repressed and the youth there are increasingly disillusioned at the lack of progress. They are therefore turning away from peaceful means to solve the conflict. Read more of this post

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