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May 8, 2009

1. Canada-Colombia Free Trade Deal


Over 50 prominent individuals and organizations, including the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, sent Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff a letter urging him to help stop the ratification of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement until a full and independent human rights impact assessment is carried out. Liberal trade critic Scott Bison rejected the call saying that “it’s easier to engage a country on human rights issues when you’re engaged on economic issues.” The letter, signed by Maude Barlow, Stephen Lewis, Ed Broadbent, Claudette Carbonneau, Sarah Polley, and others, notes that the government of Colombia has one of the worst trade union and human rights records in the world, and that according to the United Nations, the humanitarian crisis in Colombia is the worst in the hemisphere. On March 26, 2009, Canada’s Conservative government tabled legislation that would lead to the ratification of the agreement. To date, the NDP and Bloc Québécois have opposed the ratification on the grounds that the agreement does not take into account severe human rights violations in Colombia, and that the labour and environmental side agreements are ineffectual.


2. 2008 Deadliest Year for Aid Workers


2008 was the most dangerous year on record for aid workers, a new report shows.  Providing Aid in Insecure Environments, published by the Overseas Development Institute and the Center on International Cooperation, findsaid work is now more risky than U.N. peacekeeping. In 2008, 260 humanitarian aid workers were killed, kidnapped or seriously injured in violent attacks. The majority of these attacks took place in just three countries: Sudan, Afghanistan and Somalia. Kidnappings in particular have increased by 350% since 2006. In the most violent contexts for aid workers, politically motivated attacks have risen relative to common crime and banditry, as international aid organizations are perceived as part of Western geopolitical interests.

3. Arms Trade Treaty Funding


Project Ploughshares has received funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom to manage a one-year program to support international civil society efforts to achieve an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).  The UK funds will support training for NGOs and allow them to participate directly in activities at the UN and at meetings of states in the Middle East and in Southeast Asia sponsored by the European Union. Support will also be available for civil society efforts in India. Senior Program Associate Ken Epps will manage the program (kepps@ploughshares.ca) in collaboration with other members of the NGO ATT Steering Committee (members include Amnesty International, the Arias Foundation of Costa Rica, Oxfam, Viva Rio of Brazil, and the International Action Network on Small Arms).

Upcoming Events

 

4. Corporate Social Responsibility


130 000 Canadians are calling for Canadian mining companies to be accountable for their actions abroad. Development and Peace will deliver postcards signed by 130 000 Canadians calling on the Government to appoint an ombudsperson to verify the corporate social responsibility of Canadian mining, oil and gas companies in their overseas operations.  The postcards will be delivered on May 12 at 12:30 on Parliament Hill.  


5. Public Engagement Forum


A public engagement (PE) forum for CCIC members will take place in Ottawa on May 20 to 21.  The Forum will provide PE practitioners from across the country an opportunity to connect with over 20 presenting organizations, network, and share practices. This year’s Forum will focus on three areas: the implications of the current social and political context for public engagement in Canada; the role and value of PE in the development process, and campaigning as a vehicle for policy influence and engaging Canadians as global citizens. See the draft program for details. To register complete this form.  For more info contact Michael Stephens by email or call 613-241-7007 ext. 332.


6. CCIC Annual General Meeting


CCIC's 2009 AGM, taking place on May 22-23, will feature great presenters such as Susan George, Michael Edwards and Bruce Campbell. The AGM will present workshops and sessions organized around key trends and challenges: civil society and the approaching G-8 meetings in Canada, global philanthropy as new development actor, the new "Open Forum" on CSO development effectiveness and the Canadian civil society contribution to development, and the implications of Canada's new ODA Accountability Act. The AGM is for CCIC members only. More information and registration forms are available on CCIC’s web site.

Flash is a members only publication. CCIC members, however, are encouraged to forward Flash to their staff, board, regional offices, Southern partners and volunteers. If you have an item for Flash, send it by e-mail to Peter Puxley at kgianneschi@ccic.ca. Please note that Flash items should be no longer than one paragraph.

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