Stephen O’Brien, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, states that; “The famine in South Sudan is man-made,” adding that “Parties to the conflict are parties to the famine – as are those not intervening to make the violence stop.”
Marc Stears, Chief Executive, New Economics Foundation states that
“We’re facing the biggest economic challenge in decades. Work is precarious, wages are below pre-crash levels, the housing crisis is worsening and inflation looming.
Now is not the time to ignore these challenges and hope trouble will pass. Now is not the time to wait and see. But that is exactly what the Chancellor did in his Budget”
The World Council of Churches (WCC) today expressed grave concern about a new law passed on Monday by the Knesset which reportedly forbids granting entry visas to foreign nationals who call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts of either Israel or the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The ‘Entry to Israel Act (Denial of Visa to Non-Residents Who Knowingly Call for a Boycott on Israel)’ apparently makes no distinction between boycotting Israel proper and boycotting products of the settlements, which are widely considered illegal under international law.
Join the Global Justice Now Youth Network on Saturday 1 April for a day of discussion, debate, live performance and movement building.
The UK economy would take a hit of £328m if migrants stopped working for the day, according to fresh research by the New Economics Foundation. That represents 4% of total UK daily GDP.
The finding comes on the day that tens of thousands of people across Britain (Monday 20 February 2017) join together under the banner One Day Without Us to celebrate the contribution to this country of people born overseas.
Among the actions planned by the One Day Without Us campaign, a number of businesses will close for the day to make the point that Britain couldn’t manage for even one day without the contribution of migrants.
On Monday 20 February a series of events will be taking place around the country to celebrate the role of migrants in the UK and combat the rise in xenophobia.
Together, we can beat the hate.
Download the latest European Parliament News – Strasbourg Plenary Session here: Europe newsletter
On 15 February members of the European parliament (MEPs) will be voting yes or no to the implementation of CETA, the toxic trade deal between Canada and the EU.
CETA will allow corporations to sue our government for making decisions that might harm their problem. It will also threaten environmental protection and worker’s rights.
On Valentine’s Day, the Labour MEPs are meeting to decide how they will vote the following day. With your help we can convince the undecided MEPs to take a stand against CETA.
CETA is an undemocratic deal from start to finish. While trade unions, civil society organisations and even our MPs and MEPs have been largely excluded from negotiations on CETA, big business has enjoyed significant influence throughout the process.
If CETA passes in the European parliament, it will be ‘provisionally implemented’, which means that even if the UK parliament votes against CETA, we’d still be part of the deal for at least 2 years. If the deal is fully approved, however, leaving the deal could take up to 20 years.
Last year more than three million people from all over the EU signed a petition to stop TTIP and CETA. It’s clear that that people do not want deals like TTIP and CETA. And if we work together, we can stop CETA.
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The Government has ushered in the controversial EU-Canada free trade agreement the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement CETA under the cloak of darkness amidst serious concerns on human rights, public health and rule of law.
Despite the Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox’s promise of Parliamentary debate and full scrutiny it was voted in by a small group of MPs in a committee room – buried in a Fox hole beneath the Brexit storm. Next Wednesday the European Parliament will vote on CETA and the UK Parliament has been calling for a full Parliamentary debate since Liam Fox signed the Provisional Agreement without parliamentary consent three and a half months ago.
But it was only last Wednesday, amidst the mad rush to table amendments to the Government’s Brexit Bill, crammed into three days of debates, that I received an email requiring that I sit on the ‘European B Committee’ to represent the European Scrutiny Committee on Monday. It emerged that during the Brexit amendment debates in Parliament the secretive ‘European B Committee’ was to decide on whether the UK should ratify CETA.
CETA opens the door for Investor Court Systems which would allow transnational companies to sue governments for laws they pass to protect public health, the environment and rights at work which undermine future profits. Such powers have been used by Phillip Morris against plain cigarette packaging in Australia, by fizzy drinks manufacturers to fine Mexico against a sugar tax to reduce diabetes, against Egypt for introducing minimum wages and by fracking company Lone Pine to sue Canada for a fracking moratorium in Quebec.
In October I’d grilled Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, on the European Scrutiny Committee, about CETA. On that day he promised MPs that a full Parliamentary debate on the floor of the House would be held before the UK ratifies the treaty.
Instead, Wednesday’s email made clear that this important debate was to be confined to a committee room and silenced by the noise and fury of the Brexit debate in the main Chamber. The Government had effectively hidden the CETA debate away from the public eye at a time when MPs and the media are focused on Brexit.
So now we risk sleep-walking into CETA’s Investor Court System which empowers corporate interests to fine and intimidate Governments for introducing public policies which protect the environment, food safety, public health and social rights. This threatens to undermine the rule of law, human rights and democracy as well as our public services.
ICS is not only dangerous but simply unnecessary as investors are already protected by three levels of courts in both the EU and Canada. The EU has national law courts, European law and the European Court of Human Rights and Canada provides Provincial Courts, Appeals Courts and the Canadian Supreme Court which protect investors in both directions without giving them special powers.
So I moved an amendment, supported by the Labour front-bench, the SNP and Green Party MPs that the ratification of CETA should be decided by Parliament following a full debate in the Chamber. It was voted down, thanks to Government whips, which means we’re to sign up to what will be a 20 year deal binding futures U.K. Governments even after Brexit. So much for taking control; this is a case of losing control of our sovereignty and trading our democracy and liberty into the pockets of transnational companies.
Correctly framed CETA could be a blue-print for fair trade that supports our Paris environmental commitments and protects our public services, health and human rights. Instead, by rail-roading democracy behind closed doors, the Tories are putting our fundamental values at risk. Tragically it will turn out to be a cut in the dark that won’t stop bleeding.
Geraint Davies MP Swansea West
European Scrutiny Committee
Council of Europe
Photo: Mirko Milovanovic / Flickr
The news that Theresa May covered up a failed Trident missile test in 2016 is a crisis for our democracy as well as a crisis for the security of Britain.
As CND’s Kate Hudson said to the media: “this is a very serious failure of the Trident system and there’s absolutely no doubt this would have impacted on the debate in Parliament on Trident replacement. The government’s motivation for holding back this vital information is therefore clear.
“Instead of crucial information being given by the government at the appropriate time to inform the MP’s debate, it’s been revealed by a senior naval figure months after it took place.”