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NEWS / NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES

A Selection of Articles from GreenNet News: Autumn 1992

Contents:

Human Rights Worldwide
The Human Rights Conferences on GreenNet
A word from Amnesty Int.- British Section
New West African Connections

HUMAN RIGHTS WORLDWIDE
The UN is again apparently placing its money where its mouth is with the UN World Conference on Human Rights scheduled for next June in Vienna. There is, however, some indecision as to whether NGOs will be present. This will be discussed at a pre-Vienna meeting in Geneva in September, at which we hope APC will be present. According to the General Assembly, the conference "should provide an assessment of progress in the universal enjoyment of human rights and the obstacles hindering this goal".
The UN's only previous World Conference on Human Rights was held 23 years ago. Since then, the international law of human rights has developed dramatically, although its implementation remains weak and underdeveloped. If it is decided that NGOs are to be present, the World Conference in 1993 provides an important opportunity for NGOs and governments to develop strategies and mechanisms to give teeth to the existing framework.

The Human Rights Conferences on GreenNet
Given the deteriorating situations in Eastern Europe and Africa, it is advisable to keep a very close check on the human rights conferences, in these two cases, particularly yugo.antiwar and reg.africa. This group of conferences is now expanding and covers a wide range of areas and issues.

A word from Amnesty Int.- British Section
"At present, we are concentrating on working out the best way to maintain the Urgent Action conference (ai.uan) in conjunction with the US section of AI. Information more relevant to participants on GreenNet, such as UK embassy addresses, will soon be provided.
We find the humanrights conference ( hr.news ) particularly useful. Having this enormous amount of information about human rights issues collected together in this way allows for easy retrieval and indeed much of its contents are distributed to other staff members at AIBS. Oh, and the email is indispensable!"
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New West African Connections
GreenNet continues to play an important role as the 'gateway' between our partner systems in Africa and the rest of the world.
The changing political climate in sub-saharan Africa is gradually offering a little more leverage to NGO's, and various NGO coalitions are beginning to organise themselves strongly both nationally and regionally across the continent. Karen Banks recently travelled to Senegal, The Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria to visit our partner systems in Senegal (enda.gn.apc.org) and Ghana (ghastinet.gn.apc.org) and installed, with the assistance of Moussa Fall from ENDA Senegal, a small host in Banjule, The Gambia (African Centre For Human Rights and Democracy Studies) and an additional system in Accra, Ghana (Friends Of The Earth - Ghana).
National and regional communications are a priority for the flourishing NGO movements in Senegal, Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria and the 'small host' technology we are working with proves itself to be most appropriate for local conditions and needs whilst offering, at this time, the cheapest form of electonic mail. The international links via GreenNet are also important and can save local groups up to 80% of their normal international telex, fax and phone bills.
The 'host' in Senegal - ENDA Senegal - is an international NGO with branches in 6 other countries in The South and an office in Paris. ENDA Senegal's six 'teams' work in the areas of Pesticide Control, Consumer Rights, Biodiversity, Energy, Gender Studies and Agriculture and cooperate closely with the fifteen NGO's now connected electronically to the ENDA host.
Due to the success of and confidence in the local host a conference organised by another Senegalese NGO - PACT -incorporated information sharing by electronic mail training workshops and demonstrations into its programme. This allowed NGO's from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast to see at first hand, the application of electronic mail in NGO information sharing. Greeting messages were received from Nairobi, Johannesburg, Washington and London electronically during the email demonstration sessions.
The host in The Gambia, operated by Hannah Forster, now connects twice weekly to the ENDA host and they hope to cooperate on research programmes, specifically in the area of Women's Rights and Child Abuse.
Friends of the Earth Ghana is also connecting twice weekly to GreenNet and will soon support 6 local NGO's based in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale. One of FOE-Ghana's priority programmes will be to cooperate with environmental NGO's in Kenya and Nigeria with the objective of exchanging, electronically, briefing and research papers in the areas of climate change, species protection and aforestation programmes.
The Green Environmental Movement in Nigeria, based in Lagos, has expressed interest in hosting the national node in Nigeria. A number of local NGO's are now pooling resources with the hope of establishing a host at GEM to serve a wide range of progressive groups in Nigeria including environmental groups, trade union groups and community based self-help groups.

Revised 30 July 1996
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