Afrika Kontakt vil have opgør med nyliberal dansk handelspolitik

Handelsliberalisering er for en stor dels vedkommende ansvarlig for finanskrisen og u-landenes  situation, hvilket Danmark har et medansvar for ved at ville føre en handelspolitik der har liberalisering og egeninteresse som udgangspunkt.

”Frem for at være et middel til at støtte op om befolkningers socioøkonomiske muligheder og en styrkelse af demokratiet i Syd, er handelspolitik i stedet blevet et middel til ene og alene at fremme erhvervsinteresser”, siger Afrika Kontakts formand, Mads Barbesgaard. Read more of this post

Africa Contact Partnership Seminar 2013: Fundraising

 “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination,” Oscar Wilde once said.  Ensuring organisational financial security through more imaginative ways of fundraising was one of the important subjects that was discussed at Africa Contact’s Partnership Seminar, held in Johannesburg in April 2013.

”When we become too dependent on one source of income we become dependent on the donor and loose our freedom,” as Africa Contact’s Marie Villumsen put it. ”This goes for Africa Contact as well as for our partners. All development aid is political.”

In his presentation on funding through the EU-system, Africa Contact’s Bo Karlsen presented one such potential alternative source of income – funding through the EU system. Read more of this post

Danmark bør lægge mere pres på Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe er et land hvor der slås ned på al opposition til præsident Mugabe, enten ved vold eller i stigende grad ved fredelige, manipulerende midler. Et land som den amerikanske NGO Freedom House kalder udemokratisk og ”ikke frit”, og hvor Amnesty International i deres seneste årsrapport taler om fortsat undertrykkelse af ”ytrings-, forenings-, og forsamlingsfriheden”.

Alligevel vil Danmark, med udviklingsminister Christian Friis Bach i spidsen, fordoble støtten til Zimbabwe og kanalisere dele af denne støtte igennem Robert Mugabes regering som en ”anerkendelse af de fremskridt, der er sket, siden samlingsregeringen trådte til og især over de seneste måneder”, som Christian Friis Bach udtalte til Information i marts. Og dette lige op til et valg. Read more of this post

ZANU-PF uses state to influence election outcome

According to Amnesty International’s Annual Report 2013 that was published today [23. May], senior leaders of the army, police and intelligence services in Zimbabwe “would again try to influence the next election in favour of ZANU-PF.”

The last elections, in 2008, were marred by widespread politically motivated violence committed by President Mugabe’s political supporters in the state apparatus and Amnesty International documented thousands of cases of torture, disappearances, killings and violence.

This years elections in Zimbabwe will also see severe repression of the political opponents of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, the Amnesty report says. Read more of this post

Swazi government trying to crush union movement, says Amnesty report

“The rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly [in Swaziland] continued to be violated, with arbitrary arrests and excessive force used to crush political protests,” Amnesty International write in their 2013 Annual Report that was published today [23. May]. “Torture and other ill-treatment remained a persistent concern.”

Swaziland is an absolute monarchy where a 40-year-long state of emergency and oppressive anti-terror laws have meant that the space for peaceful political protest is virtually non-existent. The political space there is has been filled mainly by the unions, who Swaziland’s government have attempted to neutralize by de-registering the newly formed Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). Read more of this post

Amnesty report condemns “excessive force” in Western Sahara

“The [Moroccan] authorities continued to target Sahrawi human rights defenders and advocates of self-determination for Western Sahara, and used excessive force to quell or prevent demonstrations in Western Sahara,” Amnesty International say in their 2013 Annual Report that was published today [23. May].

Western Sahara is the last colony in Africa. The territory has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975. No country accepts Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara, but over 80 countries have recognised Western Sahara’s exile government, the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which is a member of the African Union. Read more of this post

PUDEMO: Valgboykot i Swaziland virker

”Valget i år i Swaziland giver ingen mening for os, for det skaber et parlament der ingen magt har. Valget er kun til for at legitimere et illegitimt regime”, fortæller generalsekretæren for People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) Skhumbuzo Phakathi under et dialogmøde om valget i Swaziland, der blev holdt i Johannesburg i sidste weekend.

PUDEMO er et politisk parti eller bevægelse i Swaziland – et enevældigt kongedømme hvor alle partier er forbudt, hvor kongen bestemmer alt, og hvor al opposition til kongen brutalt undertrykkes. Enhedslisten har et partnerskab med PUDEMO der støttes af Institut for Flerpartisamarbejde, og Skhumbuzo besøgte i denne forbindelse Enhedslisten sidste år. Read more of this post

Wander Mkhontha released on bail, not free

Asked whether his imprisonment would dampen his political activism, Wander Mkhonta replied “of course not! The threat of jail can no longer dent our spirit as we push for democracy in Swaziland.”

Wander, who is the National Organising Secretary of Swazi liberation movement PUDEMO and Deputy General Secretary of the Swaziland Processing, Refining and Allied Workers Union (SPRAWU), spent a month in prison on charges of sedition but was released on bail yesterday. His alleged crime –  being in possession of political pamphlets. Read more of this post

Wander Mkhonta granted bail

According to a statement today from PUDEMO national spokesperson, Zakhele Mabuza, Wander Mkhonta has been granted a bail of 15 000 emalangeni, approximately 1650 US$. Wander Mkhonta was arrested on April 12 for allegedly possessing 5000 political pamphlets, and the international ACT Now: Free Wander Mkhonta campaign started by Africa Contact has called for his release ever since.

“This is quite a huge ransom to pay for ordinary poor Swazis who live on under $ 1 per day,” says the statement. “But Leo Gama, Wander’s lawyer has been able to convince the court and secure the release on bail.” Read more of this post

PUDEMO outlines road to democracy in Swaziland during visit to Denmark

“Swaziland is a dictatorship where the king rules by decree. You should go there to see for yourselves how PUDEMO-members and those who are associated with them are treated. Conditions are worsening and the youth are becoming increasingly impatient,” Linus Mavimbela told members of Danish party the Red Green Alliance.

Linus Mavimbela, International Secretary of the banned Swazi party the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), visited Denmark between the April 25 and May 2 2013. He was meant to have been accompanied by PUDEMO’s Organising  Secretary, Wander Mkhonta , but Wander was symptomatically arrested by just prior to the visit, charged with sedition for allegedly being in possession of 5000 political pamphlets. Read more of this post