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VOICE is working actively to combat all forms of economic injustice, from the grassroots to the global policy level. Not just the poor, but many working citizens are subject to economic injustice through imposed economic sector reforms, privatization and wage discrimination.
We are trying to transform knowledge into practice through training dialogues with the different stakeholders in the country.
From underpaid agricultural labourers and garment workers to the privatization of banks and shutting down of jute mills, gross violations of economic justice are happening at every level in Bangladesh. National and international policies are framed in a way that does not reflect the aspirations or needs of both the rural and urban populace.
This campaign also covers issues of national economic governance as well as the global financial architecture. We are working to develop a macro-micro linkage between the community and the policy makers to support democratic participation in policy formation and responsible governance.
Enhance Social and Economic Rights
VOICE and BeautifulStore, Korea are working to enhance the social and economic rights of Savar Rana Plaza victims since the building collapsed in April 2013. The objective of the project is to help rebuild confidence among the victims and enable them to regain mobility and dignity in society. It also aims to provide leadership as well as social and economic empowerment so that the rights of the victims are respected and realized.
WTO must end its business
Farjana Akter, VOICE
Since its inception of the World Trade Organizations (WTO) in 1995, policies made by the multilateral giant blocked the access of developing countries to international markets. WTO, the promoter of `globalization' introduces injustice and undermines human rights through it's biased policies and regulations. In the ninth ministerial conference taking place in Bali from 3 -6 December 2013, WTO should give back Least Developed Countries (LDCs) rights and listen to their legal demands. LDCs has been struggling to get Quota-Free and Duty Free market access to intrenational markets, subsidy in agriculture since long.
The empty promise of Agreement of Agriculture (AoA) needs to be readdressed, meanwhile, it has worsened the conditions of the millions subsistence farmers and small-scale food producers in the developing countries, while giving scope to corporations to accumulate more profit.
The institution needs to uncover the discriminatory rules and regulations for developing countries with a strong reform within it. Developing countries are demanding for ensuring simple and transparent rules of origin for duty-free market access, it asks for preferential market access for their services sector.
[Dhaka, 22 September 2013] Speakers told that the ICT Act (amendment) 2013 sharply conflicts with Bangladesh Constitution’s Article 39 and 43 which guarantee freedom of expression and right to privacy respectively. Terming it as a ‘black law’, speakers urged the government not to enact as a law. A press conference titled ‘ICT Act (Amendment) 2013: Challenges for Right to Privacy and Freedom of Expression’ was held by VOICE in the city’s national press club today while it was jointly collaborated with Bangladesh Manobadhikar Shangbadik forum, Campaign on Citizen’s Right to Information, Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum, Somewherein.net Blog, Online Knowledge Society, Shushashoner Jonyo Procharabhijan (SUPRO) and School of Communication and Cultural Metaphysics.
Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, CEO, Boishaki Television, Khairuzzaman Kamal, Executive Director, Bangladesh Manobadhikar Shangbadik Forum, Zakir Hossain, Executive Director of Nagorik Uddog and Convener of Campaign on Citizen Right to Information, Syeda Gulshan Ferdous Jana, Acting Managing Director, Somewherein.net Blog and, Farjana Akhter, Programme Coordinator, Voice spoke at the press briefing while Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Executive Director of Voice moderated the session.
Civil right groups EquityBD and VOICE have criticized United Nation High Level Panel (UN HLP) report on post 2015 agenda for development terming it "as lofty goal and empty bowl."
At a press conference held at National Press Club, leaders of these organizations said the report is far from meeting the needs of the transforming economies. The release of the UN HLP report on June 30 in New York was chaired by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Indonesian President Dr. Susilo Bambang and Liberian President Alen Johnson Sirlef.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury and Ahmed Swapan Mahmud spoke on the occasion.
They said the report has over emphasized the role of free market and private sector financing to attain the goals and in doing so it failed to strike a balance between private sector and public sector financing.
They said free market is responsible for producing poverty and global inequality and this in turn is only widening the gap between rich and poor. Private finance always looks for profit and it can't be used to establish equity and justice.
[Dhaka, Tuesday, 4 June 2013] Civil society right groups network EquityBD and VOICE in a press conference held at the city’s national press club criticized United Nation High Level Panel (UN HLP) report on post 2015 agenda terming it “as lofty goal and empty bowl” and said that the report is in fact a far short in transforming economies. The UN HLP report has just published on 30th June 2013 in New York. The UN HLP was co chaired by UK Prime minister Davide Cameron, Indonesian President Dr. Susilo Bambang and Liberian President Alen Johnson Sirlef. Moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, chief coordinator of Equitybd, the position paper was read out by Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of Voice.
Speakers criticized the UN HLP report for over emphasizing on free market and private sector financing for development. They said the report has not been able to strike a balance between private sector and public financing. They urged that free market notion is responsible for reproducing poverty and global inequality and widening the gap between rich and poor. They have also mentioned that generically private finance always look for profit rather than growth with justice and equity.
Beyond 2015, a global civil society campaign on the post-2015 development agenda which brings together more than 700 organizations in over 100 countries welcomes the UN High Level Panel’s ambitious report on the post-2015 agenda.
Reacting to the launch of the report, Neva Frecheville of CAFOD in the UK and co-chair of Beyond 2015 said “Civil society has been clear on the need for a universal framework to replace the MDGs in 2015. The High Level Panel has reiterated this demand, and this will hopefully galvanise action in both developing and developed countries, helping tackle the underlying causes of global poverty, inequality and environmental degradation and thus shifting the current development paradigm. We applaud the Panel for its boldness in pushing developed countries to reform trade, tax and transparency policies, to tackle illicit capital flows, to regulate global financial and commodity markets, and to prompt large multinational corporations to report on the social, environmental, and economic impact of their activities. These actions, more than aid alone, will help bring about the transformation required in this world. For this vision to become reality there needs to be a major change in political will and in global cooperation, and that will be the real challenge.”
A world forum of civil society organizations is urging President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to push for greater state responsibility to ensure people’s welfare, especially in developing countries.
Discussions on a global post- Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) still “lean to a market-based development approach, which means the expansion of the market that minimizes the responsibility of the state,” Sugeng Bahagijo of the international NGO the Indonesian Development Forum (INFID), said on Monday in Nusa Dua, Bali.
“The trend is for each country to recognize voluntary action in implementing the global development framework [which] is not binding and would be detrimental to the people. The responsibility of states must be laid out clearly through a binding universal mechanism,” Sugeng added.
A 24-member advisory panel will meet on Tuesday after discussions on Monday between scholars, representatives of the public sector, civil society organizations and youth organziations.
On Wednesday two of the three cochairs of the Bali High Level Panel, Yudhoyono and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will conclude the talks, while cochair UK Prime Minister David Cameron will participate by video conference.
Members of the UN high-level panel meet in Bali this week. Tax evasion is expected to feature in the discussions
Tax evasion by multinationals and corrupt leaders has emerged as a key issue ahead of the third substantive meeting of a UN high-level panel to discuss a framework for development after 2015.
The theme of this week's meeting in the sweltering Indonesian resort island of Bali is global partnership, the orphan child of the millennium development goals (MDGs). Devoid of clear targets, MDG8 talks in general terms about an open, rule-based trading and financial system, dealing with debt burdens, providing access to affordable essential medicines, and increasing access to new technologies. Goal eight also mentions fostering links between the public and private sector to drive better development.
Yet momentum is building up among NGOs, poor countries and some rich countries to ensure that developing countries build up their tax base at a time when aid flows are under pressure, notwithstanding Britain's commitment to meet, this year, the UN target of spending 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) on aid.
Civil Society Communiqué: The Global CSO Forum on the Post-‐2015 Development Agenda March 23-‐24, 2013, Bali, Indonesia
As the fourth meeting of the High-‐Level Panel on the Post-‐2015 Development Agenda begins in Bali, Indonesia, we, the members of global, regional and national civil society urge the HLP to be ambitious by setting a framework for transformative, universal, people-‐centered development. We call on the HLP to outline the bold and relevant commitments needed to ensure a new paradigm for sustainable development, firmly rooted in existing economic, social, cultural, civil and political human rights obligations.
For a full document please see the attached file.