openDemocracy https://www.opendemocracy.net/ en Job: Project Coordinator – Inquiry into the future of civil society https://www.opendemocracy.net/job-project-coordinator-inquiry-into-future-of-civil-society <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span style="font-family: Arial; font-size: 14px; -webkit-text-stroke-color: #000000;">The Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society seeks a full-time Project Co-ordinator</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">The Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society is funded by a group of leading independent funders who feel that the time is right for a future facing, searching and broad look at the potential for civil society’s contribution over the next decade or more.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p1">openDemocracy, Forum for the Future, CitizensUK and Goldsmiths University, with research support from NCVO, have formed a consortium to work with the inquiry chair and panel to gather and analyse the insights and data needed to understand where English civil society is, the changes it must navigate, and how we chart a roadmap into the future.</p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">The role of the Project Coordinator is to ensure smooth provision of the secretariat duties and administrative support to the chair and the panel. The key responsibilities of the role are: </span></p><ul><li><strong>Communication</strong>: First point of contact for the project, developing and maintaining excellent working relationships across consortium to ensure effective communication and collaboration throughout the project. Also responsible for external communications, managing mailing lists and coordination with press.&nbsp;</li><li><strong><br /></strong></li><li><strong>Knowledge Management</strong>: maintenance of all project documentation including monitoring and reporting as well as tracking learnings and identifying opportunities for innovation.&nbsp;</li><li><strong><br /></strong></li><li><strong>Administration</strong>: diary coordination for the chair and panel including organising meetings, travel and accommodation as required in addition to organising engaging events and workshops. Some financial management will also be required.</li></ul><p class="p1">Please read the following documents for more information:</p><p class="p1"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/files/FOCS_Summary.pdf">A summary of the Inquiry</a>.</p><p class="p1"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/files/FoCS Project Coordinator JD_Final.pdf">Job Description&nbsp;&amp; Person Specification.</a></p><p><span><em>All applicants will receive fair and equal treatment irrespective of age, gender, sexuality, marital or parental status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin or religious belief.&nbsp;As</em></span><em><span>&nbsp;members of ethnic minority groups are currently under-represented we would encourage applications from members of these groups.&nbsp; Appointment will be based on merit alone.</span></em></p><p><span>To apply, please send your CV and a covering letter detailing your suitability for the role to&nbsp;</span><a href="mailto:recruitment@opendemocracy.net" target="_blank">recruitment@opendemocracy.net</a><span>&nbsp;by 1pm on Sunday, 11 December 2016.</span></p><p><strong>Recruitment Timeline</strong></p><ul><li>11th December - application closing date</li><li><span>12th December - shortlisting</span></li><li><span>14th-15th December - phone interviews</span></li><li><span>20th December - in person interviews</span></li></ul><p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Opportunities at openDemocracy openDemocracy News Fri, 25 Nov 2016 13:12:02 +0000 openDemocracy 107120 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Populism, the era of Trump and the rise of the far right https://www.opendemocracy.net/ornette-d-clennon/populism-era-of-trump-and-rise-of-far-right <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Several reasons for opening our eyes to the new/old politics of identity.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/8567813820_32b8aa4810_z.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/8567813820_32b8aa4810_z.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Donal Trump, 2013. Flickr. Gage Skidmore. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>I am amazed to discover the sheer volume of hand-wringing there is going on about our present political era of Trump, Brexit and the rise of the far right in Europe. It would seem that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-ruderman/the-trump-election-crisis_b_12631190.html">President-elect Trump has triggered mass hysteria</a> about a threatening return to the fascist conditions that led to the second world war. But is this a fair assessment? </p> <p>I only ask this question out of a frustration that seems to me to be part of bearing witness to the quandaries posed by the important <a href="http://www.historiesofviolence.com">Histories of Violence series</a> , which reflects upon the many mass atrocities of the twentieth century in which a particular targeted population has been deemed to be ‘disposable’. Here, I am particularly reminded of <a href="https://vimeo.com/154827028">Lewis Gordon’s contention</a> that the political turmoil that we are experiencing has direct roots in certain readily identifiable historical precedents and is not the socio-cultural equivalent of the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/10/08/science/the-higgs-boson.html?_r=0#/?g=true&amp;higgs2_slide=13">Higgs boson</a> ( i.e. spontaneously popping into existence). </p><h2> But what does Gordon mean? </h2><p>Aimé Césaire gives us a clue in his <a href="http://www.rlwclarke.net/theory/SourcesPrimary/CesaireDiscourseonColonialism.pdf">Discourse on Colonialism</a> when he writes:</p> <blockquote><p>People are surprised, they become indignant. They say: "How strange! But never mind – it's Nazism, it will pass!" And they wait, and they hope; and they hide the truth from themselves, that it is barbarism, but the supreme barbarism, the crowning barbarism that sums up all the daily barbarisms; that it is Nazism, yes, but that before they were its victims, they were its accomplices; that they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimized it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples; that they have cultivated that Nazism, that they are responsible for it, and that before engulfing the whole of Western, Christian civilization in its reddened waters, it oozes, seeps, and trickles from every crack.</p></blockquote> <p>Césaire clearly lays out how our collective casual acceptance of the brutality of colonialism (“Nazism” applied to non-European peoples) has allowed us to turn a blind eye to the re-emergence of fascism or fascist tendecies within our era of demoguery. In their book, <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kaisers-Holocaust-Germanys-Forgotten-Genocide/dp/057123142X">The Kaiser's Holocaust: Germany's Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism</a>, David Olusoga and Casper Erichsen even go as far as to show how the barbaric colonial practices of ethnic cleansing in South West Africa (modern Namibia) acted as a template for the formation of the Nazi Party. </p> <p>Yet these dots are never routinely joined up in mainstream discourse. So, what we have is a version of history that becomes mere propaganda to uphold the status quo of systemic inequality. A version of history that is incomplete and is precisely what Gordon identifies as a History of Violence, where this wilful ideological (or symbolic) violence of erasure masks the historically violent genesis of our modern world system. The effect of this erasure manifests in the mainstream denigration of ‘identity politics’ where we are constantly told that race and gender (for example) are mere sideshows to the important intellectual labour of present day discourses such as neoliberalism, political and international relations theory. </p> <p>Yet, ‘identity politics’ remains the keystone of our modern world system. Kwame Anthony Appiah, in his Reith lecture think piece, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/09/western-civilisation-appiah-reith-lecture">There is no such thing as western civilisation</a>, adroitly sets out how the West constructed its identity where there is “a clear sense of Christian Europe – Christendom – defining itself through opposition”.&nbsp; Appiah continues to describe a Christendom whose identity was wrought through “[t]he natural contrast [that] was not between Islam and the west, but between Christendom and&nbsp;<em>Dar al‑Islam</em>, each of which regarded the other as infidels, defined by their unbelief.” However, Christendom and Dar al-Islam were above all, political projects about conflict over territories. In short, Christendom became a political (and cultural) identity that through a supposed <em>translatio studii (transfer of learning) f</em>rom Greece and Rome lost its separate and particular ‘identity’ and became the repository for a universal and central canon of knowledge. The key point here for me, is not as Appiah correctly identifies, that this knowledge is not a purely ‘western’ canon since it is a composite of Arab scholarship, but that this knowledge lost its status as an ‘identity’ amongst others and became the pre-eminent universal norm against which other identities are measured. </p> <p>If we zoom forward to the <a href="http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1014">Valladolid debate</a> in 1550, we see that the political ‘identity’ of Christendom played a crucial part in determining the ‘humanity’ of the Amerindians that were encountered by the Spanish. The moral debate between Las Casas and Sepulveda sought to determine the human rights of the indigenous peoples essentially by assessing their potential for being converted to Catholicism. Las Casas gained a partial victory in arguing that the Amerindians had the right to be converted to Christianity and thus should be brought into (the political identity of) Christendom. </p> <p>This seminal debate about human rights and who deserved to be accorded them set the tone for future moral debates about the Transatlantic Slave trade. Interestingly, the possibility of being converted to Christianity did not seem to have a role in determining the ‘human’ rights of African chattel slaves, as their categorisation of ‘non being’ and ‘property’ founded our modern world system via imperialism and colonialism. In fact, Molefi Kete Asante, in his <a href="http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ism/resources/origins_chattel_slavery.aspx">2007 Slavery Remembrance Day memorial lecture</a> reminds us that:</p> <blockquote><p>Marx, many years later would argue that it was not ideas or national personalities that ruled history but the economic conditions of human lives, and that all alienation is economic and social not spiritual or metaphysical. Since slaveholders owned enslaved people these people, who were not human in the sense of rights and aspirations, according to the whites, were simply means of production and capital accumulation. We could have been robots as far as the slaveholders were concerned.</p></blockquote> <p>So, we arrive at a notion of an economic system that is built on the “economic conditions of human lives” defined by their <em>identities</em> of “means of production and capital accumulation”. Such is the centrality of ‘identity’ that Asante reminds us that ‘whiteness’ became an economic construct of opposition in much the same way as Christendom did centuries before.</p> <blockquote><p>There are two implications of the chattelisation of Africans: (1) the invention of the white race, and (2) the commodification of the African. In the first instance, out of a heterogeneous group of Europeans who did not claim to be of the same race, and as Smedley understood, did not perceive themselves in a common way, there was invented, Allen argued, a new reality, “the white race” (Smedley, 1999; Allen, 1997). What the slavers knew that they had in common was that they were not black. So long as they could not find any African in their ancestry they could become a part of this new creation, a formation of white people who were a reaction to the blackness of the enslaved Africans. This was an all-class formation, a white person could emerge from any class and be considered more privileged than a black from any class, even if one observed that the black, for example, was a descendant of African royalty.</p></blockquote> <p>Here we have an economic system which birthed capitalism, and later neoliberalism that was founded on ‘identity’. The identity of ‘whiteness’ legitimised capital exploitation of chattel and the identity of ‘blackness’ (chattel) justified their economic exploitation. </p> <h2><strong>C.L.R. James</strong></h2> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/CLR_James.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/CLR_James.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Photo of C.L.R.James.Cricketer magazine, November 1974. Wikicommons. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>In my latest book, <a href="https://www.palgrave.com/de/book/9783319475479">The Polemics of C.L.R. James and Contemporary Black Activism</a>, I explore James’ underlying argument that capitalism and its democracy are founded on a “racial contract” that at a structural level fixes certain groups of people under an unbreakable glass ceiling above which other groups of people reside. </p> <p>James intimates that this contract, gains its legitimacy from a “racial formation” that, as Asante describes, uses certain moments of history as templates for forming racial “identities”. James also surmises how the contract is transmitted though “racial rule”, which for example, sees an uneven application of the law where full democratic freedoms are not universally accorded to everyone. </p> <p>The point I make in the book is that this racial contract forms a template for social relations within a market economy. I argue how ‘whiteness’ becomes a drive for mastery and profit and how in the absence of ‘blackness’, the market will re-invent it in order to continue its drive for profit. For example, I explore how eastern European workers came to occupy the market identity (position) of ‘blackness’ in the UK’s EU Referendum debates, as they were used to contrast and therefore highlight the perception of a native Britishness comprising a mythical national purity.</p> <h2><strong>Identity is the whole of politics</strong></h2> <p>However, what brings me back to my original point of frustration is how the mainstream discourse about populism and its (worrying) rise amongst the working classes, erases the racial &nbsp;(and gendered) ‘identity’ formation of the working classes and the economic system at large. So, for example when eminent thinkers such as Chantal Mouffe in her <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/chantal-mouffe/populist-moment">The populist moment</a> writes, “[w]e have seen an exponential increase in inequality not only affecting the working-class, but also a great part of the middle-class who have entered a process of pauperization and precarization”, there is no hint of a mention of the historical processes by which the working and middle-classes became racialised as having a white gendered identity within a market economy. It is as though the ‘classes’ have no racial or gendered identity and are neutral, universal components of the economic substructure. </p> <p>Unanswered by Mouffe’s critique is the interaction between what constitutes the working and middle classes and their <a href="http://www.obv.org.uk/news-blogs/runnymede-trust-budgets-racial-disadvantage">racial</a> and <a href="http://wbg.org.uk/analysis/briefing-papers/a-cumulative-gender-impact-assessment-of-ten-years-of-austerity-policies-women-to-lose-more-under-conservatives-than-coalition-government/">gendered</a> identities and exactly how they manifest this “exponential increase in inequality”. This form of symbolic erasure (Althusserian overdeterminants, notwithstanding) is precisely what Lewis Gordon refers to in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7upDMigHgC4">his contribution</a> to the Histories of Violence series. </p> <p>Until we acknowledge that ‘Identity Politics’ are central and in fact are the whole of ‘Politics’ and capitalism per se, we will continue to ignore the situated-ness (i.e. the historical formation of identity and power) of a system that, as Mouffe correctly identifies, generates “an exponential increase in inequality”. </p> <p>This is an important point because any form of political or civil resistance to this form of populism, will be rendered useless without a full knowledge of the (structural) ‘identities’ we fight against. As I said at the very start of this piece none of these issues of oppressive populism that Trump and others embody are anything new…</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/chantal-mouffe/populist-moment">The populist moment</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openindia/zaki-nahaboo/political-subjectivity-in-edmund-burke%E2%80%99s-india-and-liberal-multiculturalism">Political subjectivity in Edmund Burke’s India and liberal multiculturalism</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/walter-mignolo/walter-mignolo-on-orientalism-and-occidentalism">Walter Mignolo on orientalism and occidentalism</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/rui-tavares/saving-europe-reformulating-rules">Saving Europe: reformulating the rules</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Populism 2016 Ornette Clennon Sun, 04 Dec 2016 15:44:43 +0000 Ornette Clennon 107364 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Femicide in Mexico and Guatemala https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/mabel-encinas/femicide-in-mexico-and-guatemala <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Feminists in Mexico and Guatemala working on femicide also use the concept of ‘feminicide’ to draw attention to state complicity in the killings of women. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/535193/La Catrina Indignada FINAL.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/535193/La Catrina Indignada FINAL.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>La Catrina Indignada (Incensed Catrina) by Mabel Encinas. Catrina collage of the women dead by feminicide.</span></span></span></p><p>The word ‘feminicide’ was popularised over twenty years ago to denounce the killing of women due to their gender. The crime is called ‘<a href="https://www.dukeupress.edu/terrorizing-women" target="_blank">feminicide</a>’ (‘<em>feminicidio</em>’) in Mexico and ‘<a href="http://www.dianarussell.com/origin_of_femicide.html" target="_blank">femicide</a>’ (‘<em>femicidio</em>’) in Guatemala. Although there have been some&nbsp;<a href="https://dlynx.rhodes.edu/jspui/bitstream/10267/27456/1/The%20World%27s%20Most%20Dangerous%20Place%20to%20be%20a%20Woman%20Final.pdf" target="_blank">attempts to differentiate the two concepts</a>, both terms&nbsp;emerge as a form of resistance: to assert that women’s lives matter, and such crimes should not go unpunished. Impunity contributes to the <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=Pjhq3eGcO4EC&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PA5&amp;dq=femicide+in+ciudad+juarez+unsafe+streets+empty+lots+&amp;ots=K_a_fN_VFf&amp;sig=n5OYE3RCbsvdPV5UHe-x9kMsZvo#v=onepage&amp;q=unsafe%20streets&amp;f=false" target="_blank">normalisation of the feminicide machine</a>. This ‘machine’ is supported by gender inequality as the <a href="http://www.corteidh.or.cr/tablas/r26767.pdf">Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights</a> have suggested.</p> <p>Feminicide is part of a wider issue within cultures of gender inequality; men’s violence against women and girls -&nbsp; violence which attacks&nbsp;<a href="http://equidadgenero9.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/isabel-claudia-martinez-alvarez.html" target="_blank">their dignity, their integrity and their lives</a>&nbsp;and is part of gender orders which accord little value to the lives of women. &nbsp;In Mexico and Central America <a href="http://observatoriofeminicidiomexico.org.mx/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Iniciativa-Feminicidios-Federal1.pdf">murder is often preceded by beating, mutilations, burns, other forms of torture and by sexual violence</a>. Feminicide is an intentional crime, but too often impunity rules, especially when it is women living in poverty, and in the case of Mexico and Guatemala, indigenous women.</p> <p>In both countries, feminists challenge the indifference and<a href="http://www.corteidh.or.cr/tablas/r26767.pdf" target="_blank"> negligence</a>&nbsp;of justice systems, connecting this to institutionalised gender inequality, victim blame, and terror inducing sensationalism. It is this complicity which leads activists to argue that feminicide should be considered a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.corteidh.or.cr/tablas/r26767.pdf" target="_blank">state crime</a>. </p> <h3><strong>Mexico</strong></h3> <p>In 1993, a pattern of woman killing became evident in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, in Chihuahua, Mexico. The first woman in the list of victims was actually a girl, <a href="https://hipertextual.com/2016/10/feminicidios-en-mexico">Alma Chavira Farel</a>. That year, the first coalition of organisations, mothers, feminists and academics <a href="http://www.sdmujer.gov.co/inicio/782-campo-algodonero-historica-sentencia-en-los-casos-de-feminicidio">denounced the systematic violence against women in Ciudad Juárez</a>.&nbsp; A number of civil society organisations have emerged since (<em>Casa Amiga</em>, <em>Nuestras Hijas de Regreso</em>, <em>Justicia para nuestras hijas</em>, <em>Red Mesa de Mujeres de Ciudad Juárez</em>, and <em>Ni una más</em>). &nbsp;Most of the dead women of Juarez have been adolescents and young adults, many of them workers in maquila factories.</p> <p>Maquila companies process raw materials from other countries, mainly the US, with products exported back to be branded and commercialised. Multinational companies benefit from the use of cheap labour, usually employing women from small towns and rural areas, who are presumed to be<a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=7Kj-6T54PrcC&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PP1&amp;dq=write+Disposable+Women+and+Other+Myths+of+Global+Capitalism&amp;ots=IlnXQjlX8c&amp;sig=lPL_QTS83YNCRfdC1WPF5Yt8Amc#v=onepage&amp;q=write%20Disposable%20Women%20and%20Other%20Myths%20of%20Globa"> more docile than men</a>. The turnover is extremely high: women workers are squeezed to the last drop and then replaced by others. Their welfare is of little concern and their human rights are violated as a matter of course. Apart from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.alternet.org/labor/after-20-years-nafta-thanks-nafta-what-happened-mexican-factory-workers-rosa-moreno" target="_blank">the working conditions</a>, factories are situated in deserted areas. It is this harsh reality, combined with a location on the border with the presence of <a href="http://www.cpcjalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Necropolitics-Narcopolitics-and-Femicide-Gendered-Violence-on-the-Mexico-US-Border.pdf">organised crime, drug trafficking and the presence of the army</a>, that creates a conducive context for the increase of feminicide.</p> <p><a href="http://juarez-the-city-where-women-are-disposable.deserial.com/ver-pelicula/dHQxMTU4NzIz/" target="_blank">In the wake of the <em>Dead Women of Juarez</em></a>, feminist groups highlighted the fact that feminicides happened <a href="https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/40998/Hietbrink%2c%20Eline-s1376705-BA%20Thesis%20POWE-2016.pdf?sequence=1">in many other regions</a>. The first data came from the most populated state (county), the state of Mexico, which surrounds Mexico City, where 840 women were killed between 2011 and 2013. It is unclear how these crimes are classified. and <a href="http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/entrada-de-opinion/articulo/arnoldo-kraus/nacion/2016/03/13/feminicidio-en-mexico">only 145 were investigated</a> as feminicides. Additionally, 1,500 women have disappeared between 2005 and 2013, mainly adolescents between 15 and 17 years old. The pattern both in Ciudad Juarez and the state of Mexico is similar where <a href="http://www.fronterad.com/?q=bitacoras/javiermolina/entrevista-a-sergio-gonzalez-rodriguez-%E2%80%9Clo-perverso-y-barbarie-se-han-incrustado-en-mexico%E2%80%9D">organised crime, economic power and corruption coincide</a>. </p> <p>Between 2011 and 2014, the rate of feminicides increased five times, and between 2013 and 2015 <a href="http://www.economiahoy.mx/nacional-eAm-mx/noticias/7406635/03/16/Siete-mujeres-mueren-al-dia-en-Mexico-victimas-de-la-violencia.html" target="_blank">6488 women were killed</a>. In 2016, 3,000 women were been killed between January and mid-October, of which 1,185 have been identified as feminicides. &nbsp;In Mexico, a country of 120 million inhabitants, 77% of feminicides are not prosecuted, with a large proportion of bodies never identified. </p> <p>Community organisations and victim’s families have challenged state impunity and raised awareness, which has resulted in law reform. In 2007, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/LGAMVLV_171215.pdf" target="_blank">General Law of Women’s Access to a Life Free from Violence</a>&nbsp;was passed, and the crime of feminicide was specified in the Federal Penal Code in 2011. Currently 49 human rights and women organisations form a coalition – the National Citizen Observatory of Feminicide (<a href="http://observatoriofeminicidio.blogspot.co.uk/p/organizaciones-integrantes.html"><em>Observatorio Ciudadano Nacional del Feminicidio</em></a>). This organisation monitors feminicides, the application of the law, and demands accountability from the institutions responsible for preventing and prosecuting violence against women.</p> <h3><strong>Guatemala</strong></h3> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/535193/Mujeres de Guatemala.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/535193/Mujeres de Guatemala.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Festival "Yo soy voz de la memoria y cuerpo de la libertad" (I am the voice of memory and the body of freedom), Guatemala, February 2011. Credit: Albertina Cabrera</span></span></span></p><p>Femicide is even more <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/americas/guatemala/report-guatemala/">prevalent in Guatemala</a>, possibly&nbsp;<a href="https://dlynx.rhodes.edu/jspui/bitstream/10267/27456/1/The%20World%27s%20Most%20Dangerous%20Place%20to%20be%20a%20Woman%20Final.pdf" target="_blank">the most dangerous place to be a woman</a>. In a country of 15 million people, an estimated&nbsp;<a href="http://mujerguatemala.org/?portfolio=femicide-feminicide" target="_blank">6500 women</a>&nbsp;were murdered between 2000 and 2012 and that number <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/americas/guatemala/report-guatemala/">continues to rise</a>. In 2014, <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/americas/guatemala/report-guatemala/">766 women were murdered</a>. An average of <a href="http://ggm.org.gt/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Hist%C3%B3rico-y-tasa-junio-2016.pdf">2 women are killed every day</a> and only&nbsp;<a href="http://mujerguatemala.org/?portfolio=femicide-feminicide" target="_blank">2% of femicides are prosecuted</a>. &nbsp;Among <a href="http://mujerguatemala.org/?portfolio=femicide-feminicide">the most vulnerable are women</a> living in poverty or women in prostitution, who often have been victims of trafficking and live under the control of organised crime. </p> <p>The fact that Guatemala has been a pioneer in the recognition of feminicide is the result of the activism of groups of women fighting for their rights, such as <a href="http://ggm.org.gt/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Hist%C3%B3rico-y-tasa-junio-2016.pdf"><em>Grupo Guatemalteco de Mujeres</em></a>, Women for Justice, Education and Awareness (<em>Mujeres por la Justicia, Educación y el Reconocimiento</em>) and CAIMUS (<em>Centros de Apoyo Integral para Mujeres Sobrevivientes de Violencia</em>). Despite having achieved the <a href="http://www.oas.org/dil/esp/Ley_contra_el_Femicidio_y_otras_Formas_de_Violencia_Contra_la_Mujer_Guatemala.pdf">Law against Femicide and other forms of Violence Against Women</a>, the legacy of the civil war of the 60s has been pervasive. The country has a weak democracy and <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/laps.12001/full" target="_blank">a corrupt government</a>, which has produced a culture where there is limited accountability of state authorities, which results in impunity for those who kill women.</p> <p>This combination of impunity and the devaluation of women in a society with ingrained <em>machismo</em> and misogyny is evident in the <a href="http://ggm.org.gt/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/monitoreoLeyContraElFemicidio.pdf">brutality against the bodies of the victims</a>, which show evidence of rape, torture and mutilation.&nbsp; Almost all (90%) of the indigenous population live below the poverty line. Their marginalisation is evident in the fact that despite indigenous people being <a href="http://www.refworld.org/docid/49749d163c.html">half the population</a>, the media still tends to portray European characters. </p> <p>Legal reforms in Mexico and Guatemala have recognised femicide but this has, so far, made little if any difference.&nbsp; Both countries still need to ensure that the perpetrators are detected and prosecuted. To support this, a <a href="http://observatoriofeminicidiomexico.org.mx/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/GUIA-PERITAJES-WEB.pdf">manual</a> has been produced to improve evidence gathering and how such cases are approached. It is unclear whether this is having an impact yet. Changes in law enforcement need to be connected to wider engagements on women’s equality, including the development of sustainable livelihoods and lifelong learning.</p> <p>Activism by women, families and communities continues, fighting for women’s rights - and literally for the right to life. Supportive links with international organisations are vital: the ‘international community’ needs to show that it is watching what is happening in Mexico and Guatemala, to bring pressure to bear on those responsible for law enforcement and join the struggle to end impunity. </p><p><em>Read more articles on openDemocracy in this year's</em> <strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/16-days-activism-against-gender-based-violence">16 Days: Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. </a></strong><em>Commissioning Editor: Liz Kelly</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/global-femicide-watch-preventing-gender-related-killing-of-women">Global Femicide Watch</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/audio/jane-gabriel/by-1">Femicide and Patriarchy in Lebanon</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/ana-abelenda/behind-murder-of-berta-c-ceres-corporate-response">Behind the murder of Berta Cáceres: corporate complicity </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/ndana-bofu-tawamba-kate-kroeger-tatiana-cordero/berta-s-struggle-is-our-global-struggle">Berta’s struggle is our global struggle…</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/rita-banerji/deadly-politics-of-wealth-femicide-in-india">A deadly politics of wealth: femicide in India</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/daysi-flores/hope-as-survival-strategy-for-defensoras-in-honduras">Hope as a survival strategy for Defensoras in Honduras</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/jennifer-allsopp/women-human-rights-defenders-activisms-front-line">Women human rights defenders: activism&#039;s front-line</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/sarah-marland/women-human-rights-defenders-protecting-each-other">Women human rights defenders: protecting each other </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/jody-williams/defending-defenders-daunting-challenge">Defending the Defenders: a daunting challenge </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mexico </div> <div class="field-item even"> Guatemala </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Guatemala Mexico Civil society 50.50 Editor's Pick feminism gender gender justice violence against women women's movements Mabel Encinas Sun, 04 Dec 2016 14:27:45 +0000 Mabel Encinas 107044 at https://www.opendemocracy.net FP December 4 https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/fp-december-4 <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-fps-settings"><div class="field field-fp-section"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Select </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-frontpage-yn"> <div class="field-label">Show on Front Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show on Front Page </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-of-display"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Right Image </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-primary-article"><div class="field field-promoted"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/sarah-stefanutti/on-italian-constitutional-referendum-last-appeal-for-no-vote">On the Italian constitutional referendum: a last appeal for a NO vote</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-fp-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_fp_image" width="460" height="345" title="openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world" alt="openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Italy_0.jpg" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-see-also"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/ulrike-theuerkauf/can-trump-be-checked-and-balanced" class="see-also">Can Trump be checked and balanced?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/michele-monni/italy-next-domino-to-fall" class="see-also" title="Can Trump be checked and balanced?">Italy: the next domino to fall?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/barry-hindess/against-concept-of-populism" class="see-also" title="Can Trump be checked and balanced?">Against the concept of populism</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-related-posts"><div class="field field-promoted-top"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/arab-awakening/farah-hallaba/human-rights-universality-and-correlation-with-culture">Human rights’ universality and correlation with culture</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/jenni-monet/sheriffs-refuse-to-send-troops-to-standing-rock-as-public-outrage-mounts">Sheriffs refuse to send troops to Standing Rock as public outrage mounts</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-left-column"><div class="field field-promoted-left"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/digitaliberties/richard-norton-taylor/hidden-warfare-3-special-forces">Hidden Warfare 3: Special forces</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-fps-summary-override"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>While Britain’s conventional army is being slashed, the budget for special forces was doubled in last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ulrike-theuerkauf/can-trump-be-checked-and-balanced">Can Trump be checked and balanced?</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lotta-teale/how-to-pay-for-legal-empowerment-alternative-structures-and-sources">How to pay for legal empowerment: alternative structures and sources</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-fps-summary-override"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Taking a hybrid approach to legal funding recognizes that different issues require different types of funding. A contribution to openGlobalRights'&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/new-business-models-for-human-rights">new models for human rights series.</a>&nbsp;<em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/lotta-teale/c-mo-pagar-el-empoderamiento-jur-dico-estructuras-y-fuentes-alternativa" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/lotta-teale/comment-financer-la-d-marginalisation-par-le-droit-les-structures-et-so" target="_blank">Français</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-right-column"><div class="field field-promoted-right"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/paul-rogers/zeus-complex-against-air-war">The Zeus complex: against air war</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openjustice/shanta-martin/slavery-in-uk">Slavery and access to justice</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/inga-t-winkler-h-l-phan/private-social-and-political-human-rights-perspective-on-tr">The private, the social, and the political: a human rights perspective on transgender bathrooms</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-fps-summary-override"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>When it comes to LGBTIQ rights, bathroom politics reflect and are often linked to much broader questions of inequality and empowerment.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/fp-december-4#comments Sun, 04 Dec 2016 12:08:30 +0000 openDemocracy 107361 at https://www.opendemocracy.net On the Italian constitutional referendum: a last appeal for a NO vote https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/sarah-stefanutti/on-italian-constitutional-referendum-last-appeal-for-no-vote <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Now more than ever, in order to fight against the rising tide of nationalist populism, we need to safeguard our democratic constitutions in a more democratic European Union. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/8453106155_b985710c3e_z.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/8453106155_b985710c3e_z.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Beppe Grillo in Trieste, 2013. Flickr/Triesteprima It. Some tights reserved. </span></span></span>On the eve of the Italian Referendum for the proposed reform of its Constitution, I feel the urge to write this last appeal to convince my many undecided fellow Italian citizens:&nbsp; </p><p>For the good of both Italy and the European Union, I urge you not to do any political bargaining on your constitution but rather to make a decision based on the merit of the actual constitutional reform and whether you agree or disagree with it.&nbsp; </p> <p>It would be wrong to give a <em>Yes vote</em> that infringes upon your beliefs in exchange for a supposed Italian and even European short term political stability. Indeed, unlike Mr Renzi’s strategy of personalizing this vote by turning the referendum campaign into an endorsement of his unelected government, you should remember to distinguish between Mr Renzi’s political fate and the Constitutional reforms. It is the latter you have to decide upon, as constitutional change does and should go beyond normal party politics and its short-sighted calculations. </p> <p>And if you believe, as I and many fellow citizens do, that this constitutional reform is a rather messy affair (literally, it is not even spelt out clearly and difficult to decipher) and, most importantly, that it infringes upon some of the democratic achievements of our country (concentrating power, among other things, by making the senate no longer directly elected by the citizens and by taking some of the regional competences back to the level of the central state), then do not let yourself be blackmailed by the fearmongers, <em>alias</em> those who will tell you:</p> <p>“A No vote will result in financial Armageddon”, “a No vote will bring political instability and lead to just another illegitimate technocratic government”, “a No vote will bring to power Mr Grillo and the populists”, “A No vote will bring us outside the Eurozone and threaten the stability of Europe”. </p> <p>If you believe that these constitutional reforms are flawed, do not be afraid to vote NO. </p> <p>As a passionate European federalist, I feel a particular urge to appeal to those EU supporters that argue that they would vote for a Yes to the constitutional reforms because “Europe asks us to give a Yes vote”, even though they would do it half heartedly. &nbsp;To those of you, I say that by voting out of fear rather than principle, not only are you falling into the Yes-campaign- fear-trap, but also possibly contributing to a non-democratic idea of Europe.</p> <p>For sure, as we live in a highly interconnected world, it is right to question the impact of the Italian Referendum vote on the European Union and it is also legitimate to see what our neighbours in our European Union common home think about our Referendum. But in the last resort the final choice should remain <em>ours</em>. </p> <p>Unfortunately, most of the international press is aligned with the EU establishment in placing the potential victory of a No vote on a par with both the Brexit and Trump victories, conflating the Italian Referendum into larger global trends such as the advance of populist forces in western democracies. The latter position is clearly articulated by Mr Wolfgang Münchau of the <em>Financial Times</em>, but it is also the underlying reason why Mr Juncker, Mr Schäuble and Mrs Merkel and other members of the EU establishment all endorse a Yes vote. <em>The Economist</em> is among a very few European liberal magazines that actually discusses the constitutional reform itself and advocates a No vote, making the argument that the main risk is that Mr Grillo, leader of the populist Five Star Movement, will be the beneficiary of Mr Renzi’s proposed reform: “The spectre of Mr Grillo as prime minister” says <em>The Economist</em> “elected by a minority and cemented into office by Mr Renzi’s reforms, is one many Italians&nbsp; – and much of Europe – will find troubling” (26th November 2016). </p> <p>However, as Mr Zagrebelsky, a professor and main public figure of the No vote coalition, puts it, the crucial question is: what Europe should we answer to? Voting for a less democratic constitution because it is demanded of us by a less and less democratic Europe would only be an offence against democratic principles. </p> <p>And many of us Italian-Europhiles do not wish at all to subjugate ourselves to a technocratic EU that endorses worse constitutions in return for neoliberal reforms. </p> <p>This does not mean siding with nationalists and populists against the European Union, but rather becoming critical citizens who consider and believe that a different and more democratic Europe is possible. To imagine a more just Europe is far from wishful thinking, but rather an exercise in political imagination that empowers us as European citizens in the spirit of the founding fathers of the European project. </p> <p>Now more than ever, in order to fight against the rising tide of nationalist populism, we need to safeguard our democratic constitutions in a more democratic European Union. Let us not watch helplessly at the gradual transformation of the EU into some sort of dystopian technocracy at the expense of the national democracies. Let us then begin by defending the democratic principles of our national constitutions, and as Italian Europhiles make a choice out of principle and not out of fear, and give our vote for the No side. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/michele-monni/italy-next-domino-to-fall">Italy: the next domino to fall</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Italy </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Italy Sarah Stefanutti Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:12:11 +0000 Sarah Stefanutti 107356 at https://www.opendemocracy.net FP December 3 https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/fp-december-3 <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-fps-settings"><div class="field field-fp-section"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Select </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-frontpage-yn"> <div class="field-label">Show on Front Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show on Front Page </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-of-display"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Landscape </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-primary-article"><div class="field field-promoted"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/jenni-monet/sheriffs-refuse-to-send-troops-to-standing-rock-as-public-outrage-mounts">Sheriffs refuse to send troops to Standing Rock as public outrage mounts</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-fp-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_fp_image" width="650" height="390" title="openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world" alt="openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/JennMonet22_0.gif" /> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-related-posts"><div class="field field-promoted-top"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/od-russia/mikhail-kaluzhsky/dance-me-to-end-of-history">Dance me to the end of history</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-fps-summary-override"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>From one man’s search for his ancestor’s executioners to Holocaust dances&nbsp;–&nbsp;here’s how Russia learns to forget.&nbsp;<strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/od-russia/mikhail-kaluzhsky/dance-me-some-history" target="_blank">Русский</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/connie-agius/italian-mafia-and-violence-against-women">The Italian mafia and violence against women</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-left-column"><div class="field field-promoted-left"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/arab-awakening/fazil-moradi-hawar-moradi/can-president-of-kurdistan-region-of-iraq-cry">Can the president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq cry?</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/alejandra-gonz-lez-hern-ndez-v-ctor-alfonzo-zertuche-cobos/cher-n-5-years-of-self-government-in-indi">Cherán. 5 years of self-government in an indigenous community in Mexico </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-fps-title-oeverride"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Cherán - 5 years of self-government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-fps-summary-override"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Ordinary people in Mexico decided to confront the criminal organizations that came down from the hill with several vans loaded with wood. That was the beginning.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/open2017/re-writing-core-code-of-business-qa-with-douglas-rushkoff">Re-writing the core code of business: A Q&amp;A with Douglas Rushkoff</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-fps-summary-override"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Why start-ups should shy away from attracting too much investment. Part of our focus on Platform Co-ops and&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/open2017">the forthcoming open2017 conference</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-right-column"><div class="field field-promoted-right"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/arab-awakening/imad-stitou/mohsen-fikris-death-exposes-history-of-oppression-and-protest-in-moroccos">The death of Mohsen Fikri and the long history of oppression and protest in Morocco&#039;s Rif</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-fps-title-oeverride"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The death of Mohsen Fikri in Morocco </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ren-torres-ruiz/democracy-and-social-movements-in-mexico">Democracy and social movements in Mexico</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-fps-summary-override"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Mexico has a proud tradition of social and political mobilization, yet it has largely failed to ensure that popular demands are properly met or that the country’s politics, institutions and legal system are transformed.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field field-pfs-title-nr"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ournhs/minh-alexander-anonymous-pam-linton-clare-sardari/why-is-cqc-ignoring-or-even-suppressing-pri">Who&#039;s keeping a lid on &quot;priceless&quot; whistleblower information in our health system - and why?</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-hide-in-waterfall"> <div class="field-label">Hide in waterfall:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do not include in section waterfall ? </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/fp-december-3#comments Sat, 03 Dec 2016 11:59:08 +0000 openDemocracy 107353 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Human rights’ universality and correlation with culture https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/farah-hallaba/human-rights-universality-and-correlation-with-culture <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>If democracy and human rights were collective values, wouldn’t they have been more appealing to the world?<strong></strong><em></em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"></span><span style="text-decoration: line-through;"></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/751211_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Demotix/Maggie Osama. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/751211_0.jpg" alt="Demotix/Maggie Osama. All rights reserved." title="Demotix/Maggie Osama. All rights reserved." class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>"Our demands are unchanged: justice and freedom" and "A martyr's mother bellows: my children and I have no rights". Demotix/Maggie Osama. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>As a fervent advocate of democracy and human rights, questioning their universality and their cultural specificity has proven to be very challenging. But driven by my anti-imperialist sentiments, I decided to push forward with this quest. </p> <p>Democracy and human rights have been often perceived as the western solution to third world problems, without them, countries would fail to develop. Over the recent years, wars have been waged in the name of “democracy”, resulting in increased suffering and human rights violations – Iraq being a prime example.</p> <p>Perceiving anything to be the absolute and only rightful solution is quite dangerous, regardless of whether it is faith, ideology or a political system. Put simply, it will quite often turn to arrogant certainty leading to radicalism, which justifies the dehumanization of those who do not follow the same ideas. This applies to democracies working hard to implement “democratic” values globally as well. </p> <h2><strong>Do human rights vary across cultures?</strong></h2> <p>This remains a contentious debate in Egypt. Numerous supporters of the current regime believe that ‘Egypt is not ready for democracy’ or that ‘the concept of human rights is different in Egypt’. </p> <p>In an<a href="http://egyptianstreets.com/2016/10/12/sisi-says-western-perspective-on-human-rights-not-applicable-to-egypt/"><span> article</span></a> published on Egyptian Streets, “Sisi confirmed Egypt’s commitment to upholding the values of democracy and the rule of law. He, however, said that freedoms and human rights in Egypt shouldn’t be perceived from a western perspective due to differences in challenges and local and regional circumstances.”</p> <p>Sisi’s statement pushed me to dig deeper; it sounded absurd to read at first, but after a while, the statement made sense to a certain degree. </p> <p>According to numerous studies, such as “<a href="http://sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/10/06/sf.sow078.full.pdf+html?sid=c0d97b12-9621-4095-9bfe-77e08257ac09"><span>Human Rights and the Individual: Cross-Cultural Variation in Human Rights Scores, 1980 – 2010</span></a>”, the only consensual rights that varied little across countries and cultures were physically related human rights, such as killing, torture, enslavement and police brutality.</p><p>The research describes these “physical security rights” as the rights that perceive humans as biological individuals. Human beings share the capacity of pain and suffering, and as such can agree on the rights that protect them and this is why these rights receive wide consensus. </p> <p>On the other hand, rights derived from “what it means to be an<em> individual</em>?”, &nbsp;such as civil liberties, view the human as an ontological and empowered individual and differ from one region or culture to another. </p> <p>In response to Sisi; if it we were to agree that human rights shouldn't be western-centric, basic consensual rights are certainly not being practiced in Egypt at the moment. Based on recent developments, basic human rights have been and are still being <a href="https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2016/country-chapters/egypt"><span>violated</span></a>. Forced disappearances, extrajudicial detention, prolonged periods of pre-trial detention and crackdown on basic freedoms of expression...to name a few.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the above mentioned study, Islamic traditions prioritize community and unity much more than the individual; it is considered blasphemous to legitimize the idea of individual “sovereignty”. But notions differ even within religions across regions.</p> <p>Individualism tends to score higher in the Middle Eastern region than in other Muslim majority nations in Asia and Africa. However, Middle Easterners are usually less likely to accept law reforms related to sexuality, for example.</p> <p>The same applies to Christianity. Catholicism is more conservatively practiced in Latin America than in Europe. Some scholars argue that Christianity practiced in South America, Asia and Africa is closer to Islam than the west. Culturally, individualism scores the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia; where Confucianism and Animism prevail. Also in Africa the <a href="http://www.muthalnaidoo.co.za/articles-and-papers-othermenu-86/244-the-meaning-of-ubuntu"><span>conviction</span></a> of “I am because we are, and because we are therefore I am” overrides; the collective overrides the individual. </p> <p>On the other hand, it is argued that democracy and the implementation of human rights are just an organic and inevitable feature of modernity, and it just so happens that the west developed earlier. </p> <p>The question of democracy has been plaguing international media to determine the success and/or failure of the uprisings in the MENA region, however, it’s rarely taken into <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/11037173/Why-Western-democracy-can-never-work-in-the-Middle-East.html"><span>account</span></a> that democracy “is emphatically not the solution for extremely complex societies, and western meddling only makes matters immeasurably worse.”</p> <p>When given the opportunity, people tend to push for democracy in the Middle East and other non-western nations. But, is its inapplicability caused by its unsuitability to varying cultures? Or is it due to governmental disinterest? Or is it seen as a failure because it does not match western definitions of democracy?</p> <p>According to Aristotle, governing is like a flute that should not be given to the rich or noble but instead to the talented flute players. To him everything has<em> a telos</em> (a purpose), and the purpose of the flute is to be played well. But where does the government or the leader get the flute anyway? Do they not get it from the people? </p> <p>This analogy supports the argument that governments reflect the culture or attitude of the people and thus cultural values are a direct factor in how the state functions; as well as the rights and duties the citizens have. </p> <p>Some may argue that the flute is given in a system that checks how the leader will play it, along with institutions that act as the orchestra on the basis of institutionalization and rule of law. This is supposedly how democracy should be practiced: by a system, structure, or the presence of good institutions in a state that functions within the rule of law. This approach may imply that political differences are not correlated with democracy. The state that is institutionalized can liberalize, democratize and therefore enforce human rights. </p> <p>The question remains, if democracy and human rights were collective values, wouldn’t they have been more appealing to the world? Wouldn’t the understanding of human rights have differed? </p> <p>Does the western world actually care about democracy promotion globally? Or is it another way for their worldview to dominate? Or is the west leading the way, and others will follow? </p> <p>I am a staunch supporter of democracy, human rights, minority rights and freedom of speech. However, I also give great weight to cultural differences and believe culture does affect how governments function. </p> <p>Should various cultures and societies implement their own notions of human rights? And to what extent?</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Egypt </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Arab Awakening Middle East Forum Arab Awakening Egypt Culture Democracy and government middle east human rights You tell us Farah Hallaba Sat, 03 Dec 2016 10:55:27 +0000 Farah Hallaba 107149 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The Italian mafia and violence against women https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/connie-agius/italian-mafia-and-violence-against-women <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In the name of “culture” and “honour” young girls born into the ‘ndrangheta mafia in Calabria lose their sense of identity. Those who seek freedom pay a terrible price. &nbsp; </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/501857/ConnieSized.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/501857/ConnieSized.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Madonna di Polsi, a festival known for the 'ndrangheta's attendance. Photo: Connie Agius. </span></span></span></p><p><em>I was married at 13.</em></p> <p><em>It ruined our lives.</em></p> <p><em>I wanted peace, love, to feel, to be myself.&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>Life has brought me nothing</em>&nbsp;<em>but pain.</em> </p> <p>This is not another story about a forced marriage in an Islamic country. </p> <p>It's a paragraph from a letter written by Maria Concetta Cacciola, a young woman in "modern", post-Enlightenment Italy. </p> <p>Her life in Rosarno, a small town that hangs over the deep blue Tyrrhenian Sea on the west coast of Calabria, played out like a Greek tragedy. Maria Concetta Cacciola had the bad luck to be born into a family respected in the underworld for its membership in the Italian mafia group known as the ‘ndrangheta. </p> <p>It's long been the dominant social force in Calabria, in Italy’s “toe”. The 'ndrangheta comes from the Greek: it means&nbsp;&nbsp;“courage” and “loyalty”. It’s one of the most powerful criminal organisations in the world. </p> <p>Each clan is autonomous. Only relatives can be indoctrinated. It's these ties of blood that let the mafia manipulate the concept of family loyalty and lock away their criminal secret dealings. The unbreakability of&nbsp;<em>Family</em>&nbsp;is what has made the 'ndrangheta so impenetrable to authorities. </p> <p>What unites these clans is the code of honour, which operates like a procedures manual. The rules are like those of mediaeval Europe - feudal in nature. </p> <p>Crime is inherited. Sons are educated from birth to become the next generation of criminal bosses. Their daughters are forced to marry these young mafiosi, sometimes before puberty. Not only do they have no choice of life partner, some 'ndrangheta women don't even marry outside the family - they're forced to marry cousins. The wedding vows are a tool to ensure the longevity of a "pure" ‘ndrangheta bloodline. </p> <p>As with medieval royalty, arranged marriages are also used to resolve feuds or build business alliances. The traditional practice of parading the bed linen stained with virginal blood on the balcony after a couple's wedding night has not died out in parts of Calabria. The red stain is evidence of an "honourable woman" - and it represents the lives lost during a feud that the marriage has resolved.&nbsp; </p> <p>Young girls lose their sense of identity in the ‘ndrangheta’s system. They are required to obey and serve the men of the family. Some women do not have their own bank accounts, are not permitted to drive and cannot leave the house without permission or a male chaperon. They must do whatever is demanded by the family – criminal or otherwise. </p> <p>Disobedience is not tolerated because it tarnishes the family’s honour and standing in the community. Omertà - the vow of absolute silence - is an important factor in their definition of honour. The punishment for breaking that silence can range from severe beatings to death.&nbsp; </p> <p><strong>Why do women tolerate this treatment?</strong> </p> <p>This feudal code is normalised from birth, so it is generally not challenged. The mafia also twist the concept of culture.&nbsp;Travelling in Calabria this year, I had a rare chance to sit down with a family, some of whom had been convicted for Mafia Association in Italy. My question about how they could justify their crimes, the murders, manipulation of family and their way of life, was met with a wry smile. </p> <p>"It's hard for you to understand," said one of the men. "It's part of the culture in the south. It's our family against the other [‘ndrangheta] families ... and the system." Mafia families drill the concept of "us" against "the rest" into the children. </p> <p>Maria Concetta Cacciola was one of many young women trapped in this world. Court documents show she grew up in a family heavily involved in the transportation of drugs and weapons.&nbsp;Her destiny was sealed at birth because of her surname. Forced to marry her husband, Salvatore Figliuzzi, at 13, by 15 she was pregnant. Figliuzzi was later convicted for mafia-related crimes. </p> <p>Maria Concetta, now an adult, still had no control over her own life. She was left with no choice but to move back with her parents. Back in what she now regarded as almost a family prison, she and her children were never left unsupervised - a rule the Mafia imposed to "honour" her husband while he served time in prison. </p> <p>Then things got really dangerous. Cacciola defied their law by having an online flirtation with another man, an "affair" which her family eventually found out about. The punishment was a beating so severe that she was left with fractured ribs. Maria Concetta was prevented from receiving treatment.&nbsp; </p> <p>Cacciola wanted her freedom. She turned to the Italian police who put her straight into witness protection. She was completely isolated - she'd had to flee without her children. </p> <p><em>“The best thing in my life is my children who I will keep in my heart. I leave them with so much pain and sadness,”</em>&nbsp;she wrote in a letter to her mother.&nbsp;<em>“I am entrusting my children to you, but I beg you. Do not make the same mistake with them. I want them to have a better life than the one I had.”</em> </p> <p>Cacciola thought she was close to her mother that she would understand her decision. That was an illusion. Her mother used the children to lure Maria Concetta back to Calabria. </p> <p>Against the advice of Italian police and her lawyers, Cacciola left the witness protection program and retracted her testimony. If she thought that would help, she was wrong.&nbsp; </p> <p>She felt her family home, already almost a jail, now turned into a dungeon. Cacciola contacted the police again. This time she wanted to take her children and leave forever, but that day would never come. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/501857/image1.JPG" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/501857/image1.JPG" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Overlooking Rosarno, where Maria Concetta Cacciola died. Photo: Connie Agius </span></span></span></p> <p>In August 2011, Maria Concetta Cacciola was found dead. She had swallowed a highly corrosive form of acid, leading to an agonising death. It's regarded as a common method of suicide in southern Italy, but a long investigation determined that Maria Concetta had not killed herself. </p> <p>This was murder, but who forced the acid down her throat is still unknown. Her mother, father and brother are now in prison for mafia related crimes and for the physical violence which led up to her death. </p> <p>Maria Concetta Cacciola is not the only woman to suffer at the hands of this family. Her relative Antonio Cacciola committed suicide. The Cacciola family blamed his wife, Giuseppina Multari, and decided to punish her by locking her in the house as a slave. </p> <p>Although forbidden to leave without an escort, one day Multari did manage to escape, but only briefly. She tried to kill herself by jumping into the sea, but was saved and taken back to the family, who responded by stepping up the security.&nbsp; </p> <p>In one last desperate attempt at freedom, Multari smuggled a letter out of the house to her father. This time she was successful and is now under witness protection. </p> <p><strong>Why should we care?</strong> </p> <p>This is not just a tragic story about a family in Italy. </p> <p>The list of cases that highlight violence against women in the mafia is growing - Lea Garofalo, Giuseppina Pesce, Tita Buccafusca,&nbsp;and Rita Di Giovine are only a few. </p> <p>The group manage at least 60 percent of Europe’s cocaine trade and have infiltrated clan members and associates into political, social, and economic institutions around the world. </p> <p>From Canada, the United States, South America, Africa to Australia – the ‘ndrangheta has spread like a cancer. </p> <p>The organisation’s family structure and mafia code are replicated in each arm of this criminal octopus. </p> <p>Many of the women born into mafia families outside Italy are also exposed to a continuous cycle of violence and repression.</p> <p><em>Read more articles on openDemocracy in this year's</em> <strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/16-days-activism-against-gender-based-violence">16 Days: Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. </a></strong><em>Commissioning Editor: Liz Kelly</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/karen-ingala-smith/when-man-kills-woman">When a Man Kills a Woman</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/global-femicide-watch-preventing-gender-related-killing-of-women">Global Femicide Watch</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/yakin-erturk-and-jennifer-allsopp/due-diligence-for-womens-human-rights-transgressing-conventio">Due diligence for women&#039;s human rights: transgressing conventional lines </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Italy </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Culture </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Italy Civil society Culture Continuum of Violence 16 Days: activism against gender based violence 50.50 Contesting Patriarchy 50.50 Editor's Pick bodily autonomy gender justice Sexual violence Connie Agius Sat, 03 Dec 2016 01:27:33 +0000 Connie Agius 106994 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Who's keeping a lid on "priceless" whistleblower information in our health system - and why? https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/minh-alexander-anonymous-pam-linton-clare-sardari/why-is-cqc-ignoring-or-even-suppressing-pri <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span style="font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">NHS and social care watchdog the CQC appears to be ignoring or even suppressing information from whistleblowers - and failing to protect staff who speak out.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549093/Funeral .png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549093/Funeral .png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><p><span>In February 2015 Jeremy Hunt promised “sweeping reforms to end NHS cover up culture”. A ‘Freedom to Speak Up Review’ had surveyed 15,000 NHS trust staff and found almost a fifth of staff who had raised concerns at work reported that they were ignored (19.7%) and victimised (17.3%).</span></p><p> <span>Hunt tasked the Care Quality Commission (CQC) with doing more to protect whistleblowers, and ensuring the rest of the system treated whistleblowers fairly. </span> </p><p> <span>But almost two years on, the CQC has not changed its ways. It is still failing whistleblowers in both the NHS and in social care and not acting properly on their concerns. </span> </p><p><span>The CQC </span><a href="http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20150218150343/https://freedomtospeakup.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/F2SU_web.pdf"><span><em>says</em></span></a><span> </span><span>evidence from whistleblowers is “priceless”.</span><span><em> </em></span> </p><p>“<span><span><span>It is very important to say that whistleblowing incidents are one of the main sources of information that we would use...” Mike Richards, CQC Chief Inspector of Hospitals, </span></span></span><span><span><span><a href="http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/health-committee/complaints-and-raising-concerns/oral/10801.html">told the Health Committee</a> in the summer of </span></span></span><span><span><span>2014.</span></span></span></p><p><span>“</span><span><span>We believe that every complaint and concern raised by staff or people using services is an opportunity to improve as they provide vital information to help CQC to understand the quality of care”, </span></span><span><span>CQC Chief Executive </span></span><span><span>David Behan CQC chief executive </span></span><span><span><a href="https://minhalexander.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/20140917-cqc-submission-to-the-francis-review-freedom-to-speak-out-up.pdf">told the Review</a> at the end of the same year</span></span><span><span>.</span></span></p><p><strong>Keeping a lid on the information</strong></p><p> <span>The CQC certainly has unparalleled national data on whistleblowing in health and social care. The CQC has received over 33,000 disclosures from frontline health and social care staff since it started collecting data after Winterbourne View in 2011. It seems the great majority (7456 of 8643, 86%) of whistleblower reports to the CQC come from social care staff, based on data reported for the year 2012/13.</span></p><p> <span>However, the CQC makes it very difficult to access this information. </span> </p><p> <span>The CQC admits that it “has not performed any central analysis of the reasons behind each whistleblowing concern we have received” even though parliament has asked it to do so. </span> </p><p>“<span>Departments should collect and apply intelligence on concerns raised by whistleblowers from the full range of arm’s length bodies and other providers involved in their sectors. They should use and analyse the data to identify any systemic issues,” </span><a href="http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmpubacc/593/593.pdf"><span>said the </span><span>Public Accounts Committee</span></a><span> </span><span>in </span><span>2014. </span> </p><p> <span>The CQC won’t reveal the full extent to which health and social care staff are concerned about shortages, deteriorating standards, poor staffing and management cover ups of these problems. Its inspection reports deal only superficially with whistleblowing matters, and do not reveal the full gravity of disclosures.</span></p><p> <span>All this has the effect of concealing important trends in health and care services, trends that <em>could</em> be a powerful driver for improvement – and that could<em> also</em> be politically embarrassing for government.</span></p><p> <span><strong>Not protecting whistleblowers from reprisals</strong></span></p><p><span>Nor does the CQC credibly assess how well employers are treating whistleblowers – asking only vague questions rather than setting clear standards.</span></p><p> <span>The CQC is not reliably monitoring how the staff of regulated bodies fare after they have whistleblown. CQC is largely not reporting whistleblowers’ experiences of victimisation.</span></p><p> <span>The CQC even appears to pay little attention to notifications from Employment Tribunals about whistleblowing cases against regulated bodies. It receives notifications of such cases from the ET – but in response to a Freedom of Information request it admitted that it doesn’t centrally collect details and has “not conducted an overall analysis”. This is a serious omission as these cases usually relate to serious cover ups and mistreatment of whistleblowers. </span> </p><p> <span>The parliamentary Health Committee recommended that providers who do not treat whistleblowers well “should therefore be refused registration by the CQC”. </span> </p><p> <span>There is no evidence that CQC has ever refused registration on this basis. But there are plenty of examples of the CQC rating organisations as ‘Good’ or even ‘Outstanding’ despite mistreatment of whistleblowers.</span></p><p> <span>The CQC and other regulators have protected senior managers who victimise whistleblowers. CQC has not used its powers under “Fit and Proper person” regulations to remove even the worst offenders.</span></p><p> <span><strong>Not following up whistleblowers concerns</strong></span></p><p> <span>Freedom of Information requests have uncovered that the NHS trust about which staff have been whistleblowing the most is North Cumbria Hospitals NHS Foundation trust. There have been 83 staff whistleblowing contacts with CQC in the last three financial years. </span> </p><p> <span>Shockingly, the CQC has mostly responded to repeated allegations that North Cumbria managers are fiddling performance figures and putting patients at risk, by merely noting the information for future inspection.</span></p><p> <span>This is despite the fact that North Cumbria was placed into special measures because of persistently poor mortality rates. </span> </p><p> <span>The CQC has resisted requests from whistleblowers to improve its inspection methods. </span> </p><p> <span>The CQC’s internal documents seem more concerned with managing and minimising the work caused by whistleblowing, than by the content of those disclosures. The CQC appears to have downgraded the priority given to whistleblowing contacts, and given them to less senior staff.</span></p><p> <span>In short, whistleblowers risk all when they seek the CQC’s help to resolve their concerns, but the CQC will not reliably investigate, report, track the well being of the whistleblower or take action against abusers.</span></p><p> <span>Whistleblowers continue to be fobbed off by the CQC, and the message given to employers is that the CQC is unlikely to rock any boats.</span></p><p> <span>After so many years of failure there is an inescapable question of whether the CQC fails by design.</span></p><p> <span>A former CQC insider once observed:</span></p><p> “<span>CQC ended up with a role they don’t understand or want.…Whistleblowing alerts were discussed between CQC inspectors and managers with a sigh.…What they excel in is keeping a lid on whistleblowers.…And that’s what the Secretary of State really requires of the organisation.”</span></p><p> <span>The majority of whistleblowers still feel that this is the case and the evidence arguably supports their concerns.</span></p><p> <span>Parliament needs to put aside the pretence of regulation and institute genuine reforms to protect whistleblowers. Without real freedom to speak up for health and social care workers, an already risky situation is made far worse.</span></p><p><span>The full report and data upon which this article is based, which will be submitted to Health Committee for an accountability hearing with the CQC, can be found </span><a href="https://minhalexander.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/whistleblowers-unheard-by-cqc-final1.pdf">here</a><span>.</span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ournhs/minh-alexander/is-there-club-culture-at-heart-of-nhss-quality-regulator">Is there a &#039;club culture&#039; at the heart of the NHS&#039;s quality regulator?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/ournhs/minh-alexander-david-drew/why-jeremy-hunt%27s-promise-to-protect-whistleblowers-is-nothing-but-">Why Jeremy Hunt&#039;s promise to protect whistleblowers is nothing but hot air</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ournhs/minh-alexander/no-one-believes-jeremy-hunt-on-patient-safety-and-whistleblowers-not-even-his-">No-one believes Jeremy Hunt on patient safety and whistleblowers – not even his own appointees</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/ournhs/julien-etienne/whistleblowing-in-uk-in-part-it-really-is-about-culture">Whistleblowing in the UK - in part, it really is about culture</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> ourNHS ourNHS Anonymous Clare Sardari Pam Linton Minh Alexander Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:53:08 +0000 Minh Alexander, Anonymous, Pam Linton and Clare Sardari 107348 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Hidden Warfare 3: Special forces https://www.opendemocracy.net/digitaliberties/richard-norton-taylor/hidden-warfare-3-special-forces <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>While Britain’s conventional army is being slashed, Britain’s special forces are benefiting from special treatment. Their budget was doubled in last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/5431662708_f5d391ceca_z.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/5431662708_f5d391ceca_z.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>US army training centre near Mosul, 2011. Wikicommons/ DVIDSHUB. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>The SAS are the only British soldiers engaged actively in military conflict. They are deployed in Iraq, in Syria, and in Libya where they conducted their very first operations 75 years ago. They are helping Kurdish fighters target Isis positions <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/23/mosul-offensive-turkish-and-kurdish-forces-launch-attacks-on-isis">in the attack on Mosul</a>.</p> <p>While Britain’s conventional army is being slashed, Britain’s special forces are benefiting from special treatment. Their budget was doubled in last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).</p> <p>They will be able to spend more than £2bn over the next ten years on new, sophisticated, equipment. They are already testing high altitude surveillance drones that can patrol for weeks on end to spy on targets far below. The new drone, called Zephyr 8, can fly so high and for so long that military commanders are calling it a ‘pseudo satellite’.</p> <h2><strong>Killing machine</strong></h2> <p>Former SAS soldiers have admitted to taking part in an ‘industrial-scale counterterrorist killing machine’ in Iraq. An SAS soldier, Ben Griffin, was served with a court order banning him from making further disclosures after revealing how British special forces handed over terror suspects to US troops in Iraq who were subsequently tortured. It was recently reported in the Sunday Times that British special forces operating in Iraq have been issued with a ‘kill or capture list’ with the names of 200 British terrorists fighting with Isis.</p> <p>Yet the activities of Britain’s special forces are covered by a blanket of official secrecy thicker even than those applied to MI5, MI6, and GCHQ. When Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5 published her memoirs, special commanders were the most damning in their criticism, decrying an initiative which they said undermined their attempts to prevent former SAS soldiers from writing their memoirs. Even the D Notice Committee, a cosy unit that operates a system of voluntary self-censorship in cooperation with the media, has failed to persuade special forces commanders from lifting the official blanket ban on revealing their activities.</p> <h2><strong>Out of the public eye</strong></h2> <p>Special forces – of the US and France as well as the UK – are taking on an ever more important role on the ground because they are potentially more effective in counter terrorist operations and because their activities can be more easily hidden from public view. After the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, where British troops were killed and maimed in bloody operations the government could not disguise, it was clear public and political opinion were strongly opposed to any future deployment of hundreds of conventional British troops in counter-terror operations.</p> <p>Strikes by aircraft and drones were one thing; boots on the ground quite another. But it became clear that some boots on the ground were needed, especially to train and mentor indigenous forces and militia opposing insurgent and terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.</p> <p>The Ministry of Defence said that the extra money earmarked for the special forces announced in the 2015 SDSR would be spent on upgrading fixed wing aircraft helicopters, armoured vehicles, and communications equipment. The investment, it said, would ‘enhance their ability to operate and strike globally in the most hostile environments on their own or with our closest allies, and in particular to enhance their counter-terrorism capabilities’.</p> <p>The UK’s special forces would continue to be made up of a single 'Sabre' squadron from so-called ‘tier 1’ units – 22 Special Air Service (SAS) and the Special Boat Service (SBS) – with support from ‘tier2’ units – the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, Special Forces Support Group (SFSG), and 18 Signals Regiment. They total more than 2,000 men.</p> <h2><strong>Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, </strong><strong>Guantánamo Bay</strong><strong>?</strong></h2> <p>The presence of British special forces in Libya was leaked in March this year, bizarrely, as a result of a briefing by Jordan’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/25/sas-deployed-libya-start-year-leaked-memo-king-abdullah">King Abdullah to the US Congress</a>.</p> <p>The MoD came out with its pet rehearsed response that it did not comment on special forces operations. David Cameron, then prime minister, told MPs that the government had a ‘longstanding policy’ of not commenting on special forces. He told the Commons: ‘The work that our special forces do is vital for our country. Like everyone in this country, they are subject to international law, but I do not propose to change the arrangements under which these incredibly brave men work.’ That blanket ban remains – officially.</p> <p>In practice, the ban is honoured more in the breach than in the observance. MoD officials do not deny special forces’ activities when questioned by trusted defence correspondents, especially if the operation in question had been ‘a success’.</p> <p>The Mod’s ‘no comment’ did not prevent the Sunday Times from quoting a ‘senior defence source’ <a href="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/sas-in-iraq-gets-kill-list-of-british-jihadis-p9l9s6vr7">saying</a>: ‘A kill list has been drawn up containing the names of hundreds of very bad people. A lot of them are from the UK. The hunt is now on for British Islamists who have effectively gone off-grid.’ The source was quoted as continuing: ‘This is a multinational special forces operation. The SAS have their own part of the plan and they will be going after British nationals. This is a kill or capture mission and it has already begun.’</p> <p>Richard Williams, a former SAS commander, told ITV’s Exposure programme last year about how UK special forces, conducted, from a bunker called ‘the Death Star’ conducted up to four operations a night. Special forces were described as systematically eliminating a ‘kill list’ of ‘high-value’ targets – a tactic reminiscent of CIA drone attacks.</p> <p>Before he was served with a court order, requested by the MoD, preventing him from making further disclosures, Ben Griffin revealed that individuals detained by SAS troops in a joint UK-US special forces taskforce had ended up in interrogation centres in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Guantánamo Bay. Though he had not witnessed torture himself, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2008/feb/29/military.law">he said</a>: ‘I have no doubt in my mind that non-combatants I personally detained were handed over to the Americans and subsequently tortured.’ </p> <p>The MoD is understood to have paid out tens of thousands of pounds in compensation to Iraqi policemen allegedly abused by SAS soldiers. The MoD confirmed it had been dealing with claims for compensation <a href="http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/Defence/article1347504.ece">but added</a>: ‘the details are confidential’.</p> <h2><strong>Significant operations</strong></h2> <p>As Britain’s special forces taken on an increasingly important role, in operations in which the country’s counter-intelligence and intelligence agencies will also play a significant part, they must be subjected to proper scrutiny. More and more, future conflicts will be fought by special forces in the ground, drones in the air, and cyber attacks in space.</p> <p>Their activities cannot simply be disclosed by media leaks to which the MoD responds with ‘no comment’. MPs must demand more transparency from ministers. Those on the Commons defence committee should take the lead in insisting on greater disclosure on what are now significant operations, not merely exotic escapades by very ‘special’ troops.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/digitaliberties/richard-norton-taylor/hidden-warfare-1-cyber"> Hidden Warfare 1. Cyber</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/digitaliberties/richard-norton-taylor/hidden-warfare-2-drones">Hidden Warfare 2: Drones</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> <div class="field-item even"> Iraq </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> <div class="field-item even"> Libya </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Afghanistan </div> <div class="field-item even"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> digitaLiberties digitaLiberties United States Afghanistan Libya Syria Iraq UK Richard Norton-Taylor Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:11:56 +0000 Richard Norton-Taylor 107341 at https://www.opendemocracy.net