Nikhil Aziz's blog
By Nikhil Aziz
May 11th, 2009
Saulo and I traveled with our partner Rafael Alegria of the Via Campesina and COCOCH (Honduran Coordinating Council of Campesino Organizations), about an hour northeast of Honduras' capital Tegucigalpa, near the town of Comayagua, to meet Analina Claros, one of the leaders of the Nueve Noviembre (November 9th) settlement, and her neighbors. This is what she shared with us over a wonderful homecooked stew of chicken and vegetables and freshly made corn tortillas, all grown and raised in their settlement:
My colleague Saulo Araujo and I were recently in Guatemala visiting our partner CONIC (National Coordination of Indigenous Peoples & Campesinos). CONIC's staff took us to visit a local community they have been working with in the village of Cocorval, in the Department of Chimaltenango, over an hour's drive from Guatemala City on a "chicken bus."
Many social movements from across the Americas were in Trinidad for the 4th People’s Summit to articulate their demands for moving the hemisphere towards economic (including trade) and climate justice, food sovereignty, human rights, and an end to militarization. They represented movements of women, peasants, indigenous peoples, labor and those struggling for environmental justice.
Saulo Araujo, Grassroots International Program Coordinator for Brazil & Mesoamerica, and I traveled to the People's Summit of the Americas with the Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA). The HSA is composed of networks, social movements and organizations from across the Americas that are primarily opposed to free trade. Its beginnings were in the Belo Horizonte, Brazil People's Summit in 1997 in anticipation of the Santiago, Chile Summit of the Americas.
Last month I was in Istanbul to participate in the People's Water Forum that was being held simultaneously with (and challenging) the World Water Forum. The latter is organized by water corporations through their front, the World Water Council, and with the support of multilateral financial organizations like the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.
My colleague, Saulo Araujo, Program Coordinator for Brazil & Mesoamerica, and I are in Trinidad for the 4th People's Summit of the Americas (April 15-18, 2009). Being held in conjunction with the 5th Summit of the Americas, the People's Summit was coordinated by local Trinidadian social movements and civil society organizations, particularly labor unions (for e.g. the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs and the Oilfield Workers Trade Union), as well as transnational networks such as the Assembly of Caribbean Peoples and the Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA).
ESCR-Net International Strategy Meeting and Nairobi Declaration on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights
Last December, I had the good fortune to be able to attend and participate in the 2nd international strategy meeting of the Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights Network - ESCR-Net, which is a global coalition of movements and NGOs that are struggling for or working on economic, social and cultural rights. The four day meeting took place in Nairobi, Kenya, in conjunction with a special gathering of social movements and grassroots groups.
The Right to Food like many other human rights has been under threat from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its rules that often prevent countries from designing and implementing domestic policies that aim to realize those rights. Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food recently presented the conclusions from his mission to the WTO to the UN Human Rights Council.
The G20 meetings in London are drawing a lot of attention in the media and around the world. Typically, much of the mainstream media attention is focused either on the pomp sideshow (the Queen and Michelle Obama's hug) or the small portion of the protestors that broke windows and equipment in the RBS offices (which bolsters mainstream media's emphasis on sensationalism and their ability to dismiss genuine global protest against the destructive policies of governments and multilateral institutions).
Not for the world's people for sure. And especially not for the increasingly thirsty billions who lack acess to clean and safe water for drinking, cooking, and growing food; or for those that have been displaced by huge mega dam projects or suffered from water diversions for agribusinesses and bottled water corporations. This was amply evident when the World Water Forum (WWF) denied permission to the United Nations General Assembly President, Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann (from Nicaragua) to speak at its 5th gathering in Istanbul, Turkey this past week.