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Dismantling the Kafala System – Minimum Wages in Qatar

Greater freedom to change jobs, combined with a non-discriminatory minimum wage, will benefit employers and workers alike.

Read the article from ILO

Trump undermines WHO, UN system

After accusing the World Health Organization (WHO) of pro-China bias, President Donald Trump announced US withdrawal from the UN agency. Although the US created the UN system for the post-Second World War new international order, Washington has often had to struggle in recent decades to ensure that it continues to serve changing US interests.

In early July, Washington gave the required one-year notice officially advising the UN of its intention to withdraw from the WHO, created by the US as the global counterpart to the now century-old Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). 

However, the White House decision violates US law as it does not have express approval of the US Congress required by the 1948 joint resolution of both US legislative houses enabling US membership of the WHO. 
Read the article by Jomo Kwame Sundaram



ICJ and the Right to Health

In a new report, the International Commission of Jurists highlights the importance of the right to health. It should be central to States responses to COVID-19. Important!

Can we Tame Global Finance?

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the financial sector to a halt, much as it has the real economy. The volatile dynamics that have produced crisis after crisis are thus temporarily frozen. The question is: Will governments take advantage of the interruption to put their financial houses in order so as to prepare them for the resumption of financial activity once the pandemic is under control?

Read Walden Bello’s article

G20: Global trade unions call for urgent and comprehensive action on jobs, recovery and resilience

The international trade union movement is calling on the G20 governments to act urgently and decisively to protect and promote employment as the world faces continuing destruction of jobs and economic activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the Declaration



COVID-19: Caring for the Commons

The crisis of the coronavirus was dangerous and it will have a serious aftermath.  But it also has a silver lining, at least for those who are willing to open their eyes. This crisis was indeed a moment of truth.

After years or even decades of neoliberal policies, with deregulations, privatisations, private public partnerships and cuts in social expenditures, almost all national governments were unprepared to tackle the pandemic. Even worse: they had no clue on how to do it.

In many countries of Western Europe, one of the richest parts of the world, there were no masks to protect health workers, there were no ventilators to care for the sick, there was no protective clothing for the doctors, many public hospitals lacked beds in their intensive care units while several private hospitals refused to open their doors.

While clear guidance had been given by the World Health Organisation and several national public health services on how to prepare for and tackle a pandemic – after outbursts of SARS, MERS, Chikungunya…  – Ministers and their staff did not even know about the requirements.

Add to this, in a country like my own, Belgium, health competences are with 7 (seven!) different ministers. If ever evidence of incompetence and ignorance was needed, here it was.

Written by Francine Mestrum for the Valdai Club:  read more on the site

The fairy tale of the illiberal left

The debate about identity politics is not about silencing critical voices, but about demanding fundamental rights
Read the interesting article by Jan-Werner Mueller

COVID and militarist discourse

The launch of the first fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccine by Russia, named Sputnik V, once again affirms the notion that muscular nationalism and militarism have been promoted over science and the public interest by many populist leaders during this pandemic.

Russia has a tradition of wartime medicine testing on soldiers, pressurising students to join military medical institutions and combining all this with patriotism and scientific soft power. This modus operandi has been replicated during the outbreak of COVID-19 to link vaccine production to the military-industrial complex in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not the only one who has attempted to manipulate the dates of the vaccine launch – he succeeded owing to the overwhelming control he exercises over the Russian scientific community.

Read the article of Anuradha Chenoy

From ‘open space’ to ‘space for action’: a call to the World Social Forum

We, Frei Betto, Atilio Borón, Bernard Cassen, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Federico Mayor,
Riccardo Petrella, Ignacio Ramonet, Emir Sader, Boaventura Santos, Roberto Savio, Aminata
Traoré, are the signatories of the Declaration of Porto Alegre, in the WSF of 2005. We have
lost since then wonderful friends (Samir Amin, Eduardo Galeano, Samuel Ruiz Garcia,
Francois Houtart, Josè Saramago, Immanuel Wallertsein). But we have shared a lot with them,
and we are convinced of what they would think today. Those we are still alive have decided to
send this message to the WSF, to provide one more element of stimulus and reflection. The
spirit of our initiative is well represented by the message of participation to the initiative,
written by the Peace Nobel Prize, Adolfo Perez Esquivel: “Thanks for the initiative to revive
the hope and the strength of the WSF. For some time, we have been thinking of something
similar, to find again paths that would identify us with the diversity in thinking and in actions,
to face the challenges of our time. Dear brothers, I join my signature, and I give you a warm
hug” Lees verder

Temporary Basic Income to Protect the World’s Poor

The immediate introduction of a Temporary Basic Income for the world’s poorest people could slow the current surge in COVID-19 cases by enabling nearly three billion people to stay at home, according to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report released today.

The report, Temporary Basic Income: Protecting Poor and Vulnerable People in Developing Countries estimates that it would cost from $199 billion per month to provide a time-bound, guaranteed basic income to the 2.7 billion people living below or just above the poverty line in 132 developing countries.

The report concludes that the measure is feasible and urgently needed, with the pandemic now spreading at a rate of more than 1.5 million new cases per week, particularly in developing countries, where seven out of ten workers make a living through informal markets and cannot earn money if they are at home.

Read the UNDP Report

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