Call for justice, lasting peace, and stability in Cambodia

Police in protective gear block human rights activists during a candlelight vigil in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, May 23, 2016. Photo by Heng Sinith / AP Photo. Photo retrieved from http://cdn.inquisitr.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Cambodian-protest-against-arrest-of-ADHOC-members-670x419.jpg.

Police in protective gear block human rights activists during a candlelight vigil in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, May 23, 2016. Photo by Heng Sinith / AP Photo. Photo retrieved from http://cdn.inquisitr.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Cambodian-protest-against-arrest-of-ADHOC-members-670×419.jpg.

As a protest against the detention of five human rights activists last 2 May 2016 under accused bribery charges for covering up a woman’s affair with a government official, various rights groups initiated the “Black Monday” campaign urging the public to wear black T-shirt every Monday and assemble in Phnom Penh starting 9 May 2016.

As the campaign is implemented, more activists are arrested and treated with oppression

ANGOC, together with Asia Democracy Network (AND) and more than 40 CSOs/NGOs support the statement on Working Together for Justice, Lasting Peace and Stability to appeal to the Royal Government of Cambodia to:

  • promote, protect, and respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of Cambodian people enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenants to which Cambodia is a party;
  • ensure Cambodian citizens are not arrested where their actions have not contravened law and where their actions are the expression of their rights;
  • ensure there is no judicial harassment against Cambodian citizens who are working to protect people’s rights; and
  • ensure there is space for democratic participation, advancement of human rights and development processes.

Links:

http://thediplomat.com/2016/06/whats-behind-cambodias-black-monday-campaign/

http://www.licadho-cambodia.org/flashnews.php?perm=175&english

http://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/black-mondays-continue-05162016173313.html

http://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/cambodian-authorities-arrest-seven-black-monday-protesters-06062016161232.html

http://www.inquisitr.com/3168989/cambodian-government-makes-life-difficult-for-opposition-party-and-protesters/

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Demand for water security in India

We are posting this story shared by Ekta Parishad.

Demand for Water Security Law. Photo by Ekta Parishad.

Demand for Water Security Law. Photo by Ekta Parishad.

One-fourth of India’s population suffers from drought affecting more than 300 million people in 13 States. As it reels from severe water shortages; people fighting on the issue, farmers committing suicide, and livestock and crop failures happening resulting to food crisis, are among of its adverse effects.

To raise this issue to the Government, Ekta Parishad led more than 4000 people across the affected States in a march, Jal Satyagraha, on 5 May 2016 from Rajghat to Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.

Activists demanded for the enactment of the Water Security Law restoring and conserving rivers and ground waters to ensure water security for all, and the River Rejuvenation Bill improving river systems with community participation.

Jal satyagraha continues until Government takes corresponding actions.

Similarly, Ekta Parishad Founder Dr. Rajagopal P.V., headed the 7-day Water Awareness Dialogue Journey on 6-13 June 2016 from Sheopur to Damoh District to raise awareness on water conservation among villagers and youths. It also served as fact-finding measure on the implementation of Supreme Court Order on drought relief work on dam and pond reconstructions.

From the communities visited, proper implementation of the Supreme Order was not in place. People were also experiencing insufficient water supply for food and work resulting to urban migrations.

Amidst this kind of situation, community people, however, are dedicatedly and voluntarily re-constructing their dams to sustain their water needs.

Ekta Parishad Founder Dr. Rajagopal PV leads the Water Awareness Dialigue Journey. Photo by Ekta Parishad

Ekta Parishad Founder Dr. Rajagopal PV leads the Water Awareness Dialigue Journey. Photo by Ekta Parishad

Commemoration of earthquake memorial day in Nepal

We are posting this story shared by the Community Self-Reliance Centre (CSRC).

Photo by CSRC.

Photo by CSRC.

The people of Rasuwa District commemorate the earthquake memorial day on 25 April 2016 in Bhumighar. People shared their memories and lessons from the tragedy and lit candles remembering the 682 Rasuwa people who lost their lives.

Land rights activists in Nepal receive land certificates

We are posting this news shared by the Community Self-Reliance Centre (CSRC).

New Village Block Land Certificate holders. Photo by CSRC.

New Village Block Land Certificate holders. Photo by CSRC.

After more than a decade of land rights movements, 27 members of the Rajdevi Village Land Rights Forum (VLRF) in the municipality of Lahan, and 273 families from Bastipur in Siraha District have awarded with Village Block Land Certificates.

The distribution only started this April 2016 after delegations from Siraha VLRF and District Land Rights Forum (DLRF) went to the District Land Revenue Office on March 2016 to demand for their rights.

“Now, [only] we are assured that we will not be evicted from the land we are residing for generation,” says a new Village Block landowner.

ANGOC and ILC participate in the International Civil Society Week

CSO leaders at the ICSW 2016. Photo by Juan Santacruz. Retrieved from civiscus.org.

CSO leaders at the ICSW 2016.
Photo by Juan Santacruz. Retrieved from civiscus.org.

ANGOC shared the experience of the Land Watch Asia (LWA) campaign in defending land rights and using its land monitoring initiative as evidence-based advocacy in two side events organized by the International Land Coalition (ILC) during the International Civil Society Week (ICSW) on 25-28 April 2016 in Bogota, Columbia.

Presenting an Asian perspective, ANGOC stressed the rationale and importance on land rights in reducing hunger and poverty, with land beyond just an economic commodity. ANGOC likewise shared the rationale of the land monitoring initiative of LWA, the process that led to the formulation of the indicators, the use of the monitoring reports and lessons learned.

ILC members present during the ICSW agreed to pursue the development of a monitoring system of ILC that will: i) be used as a tool to track progress of the implementation of ILC’s strategic framework, ii) assess how the achievements of ILC’s strategic framework contribute to the attainment of the SDGs, VGGT and Africa Land Policy Initiative, and iii) serve as a simple and sustainable system for members of ILC to monitor how they contribute to the outcome of the ILC strategic framework.

India: Appeal for rainwater harvesting

India is currently facing drought directly affecting 11 States including Bundelkhand, Northern Karnataka, Marathwada, Vidharbha, Telangana, and Rayalseema. This has resulted to lower ground water levels drying up the soil, which then adversely affects harvest and production with Indian agriculture largely depending on rainfall.

With the coming monsoon in June with a 106%-expected rainfall (according to the India Meteorological Department), there are hopes that this issue would be addressed. This would be more effective with proper conservation mechanism through rainfall harvesting, which Ekta Parishad is advocating for as a result of a brainstorming session held last 7-13 April 2016 in Bhikampura in Alwar District of Rajasthan.

Ekta Parishad, together with 130 organizations, took the oath to promote water harvesting both in the rural communities and in the Government. They also appeal for the repair and restoration of water harvesting facilities in the local communities by 30 April 2016. Where Government fails to take appropriate actions, these organizations will voice out their demands in New Delhi on 5 May 2016.

New farmer-landowners receive workshop on people’s cooperative formation

We are posting this update shared by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).

ALRD Program Officer Mr. Rafiqul Islam discussing the importance of the collective farming. Photo by ALRD.

ALRD Program Officer Mr. Rafiqul Islam discussing the importance of the collective farming. Photo by ALRD.

State-owned lands (khas) in Beelkuralia, a 473-acre (191.4 hectares) agricultural land used to be a beel (wetland with static water) during the earlier times in Chatmohor Upazila in Pabna District, has been leased out to the local community since 2015. To date, 753 applications of the 1,196 has been approved and awarded to landless farmers and fishers providing 30 decimals (0.12 hectares) per family.

With this, ALRD organized a workshop on “The necessity, importance and process of the formation of people’s cooperatives” on 3-4 April in Chatmohor Upazila to discuss the multidimensional use of lands and retention strategies to avoid reselling of lands. The workshop also highlighted the importance and impact of building cooperatives in sustaining the use of agricultural lands; and the collective approaches for family-based sustainable farming.

135 Beelkuralia members have participated in this workshop conducted under the Formation of People’s Cooperative Program supported by Misereor.

Beelkuralia 2

ALRD conducts training on land use policy and agricultural land protection

We are posting this update shared by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).

Participants of the workshop. Photo by ALRD.

Participants of the workshop. Photo by ALRD.

ALRD conducted a training on “Land Use Policy and Protection of Agricultural Land” on 26-28 April 2016 to raise awareness of farmers on protecting their agricultural lands.

Twenty-six partner organization representatives participated in the training to learn concepts of land reform and its processes, and the policies on land. The discussions particularly include:

  • concept of land reform and the historical evolution of land management;
  • Land reform Ordinance 1972 and 1984;
  • governance practice in khas land and wetland leasing policy;
  • land registration;
  • mutation and tax;
  • Vested Property Act;
  • Proposed Land Use Policy and Protection of Agricultural Land Act;
  • Concept of land survey and its importance to land management;
  • aggression on agricultural land;
  • food security; among others.

This training has also engaged government representatives from Land Record and Survey Department of the Ministry of Land, NGO Affairs Bureau of Bangladesh, and a District Commissioner as resource persons.

This event was supported by the International Land Coalition (ILC).

Government agencies, CSOs and business organizations sign the Philippine Earth Day 2016 Covenant

IMG_3772

Around 50 government agencies, CSOs and NGOs, and business organizations signed the Philippine Earth Day 2016 Covenant in celebration of the International Earth Day on 22 April 2016. More than 250 participants gathered in this event spearheaded by the Earth Day Network Philippines (EDNP) to support the Covenant signing and the launching of the “Trees for the Earth” Campaign.

The Covenant sets points on pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 ⁰C above pre-industrial levels; encouraging the formulation of a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) resulting from various multistakeholder consultations; participation in the formulation of the NDC; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and contributing in the planting of the 7.8 billion trees in support of the five major goals of the International Earth Day Movement.

The 2016 celebration also coincides with the Paris Agreement Signing Ceremony held at the UN Headquarters in New York where more than 170 countries, including the Philippines as represented by DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, agreed to work to limit the global temperature rise to well below 2 ⁰C, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 ⁰C.

ANGOC is one of the CSOs signed to commit efforts set by the Covenant.

IMG_3765

GFAR Partners’ Assembly and GCARD3

Participants during the second day of General Assembly. Photo by IISD.

Participants during the second day of General Assembly. Photo by IISD.

ANGOC participated in the First Partners’ Assembly of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)and to the 3rd Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD3) on 5-8 April 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Partners’ Assembly was convened to: i) understand and agree on the draft GFAR Charter, ii) understand challenges of collective action, iii) agree on governance arrangements and iv) endorse the way forward on decisions arrived at the assembly. Around 100 partners agreed on a mission to advocate for and catalyze collective actions that strengthen and transform agri-food research and innovation systems.

On the other hand, GCARD3, “No One Left Behind: Agri‐food Innovation and Research for a Sustainable World” focused on how to better align agricultural research with national development processes and priorities and with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Five themes guided the discussions on ensuring effective and impact-driven national and regional innovation systems: i) scaling-up from research to impact, ii) showcasing results and demonstrating impacts, iii) keeping science relevant and future-focused, iv) sustaining the business of farming and v) ensuring better rural futures. Among the proposed collective actions include:

  • setting up farmer-led innovation platforms;
  • producing 1000 PhDs per year with skills relevant for future agricultural research;
  • continuing professional development in agriculture for innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • developing a “culture of impact”; contributing to national measurement of progress to the SDGs and harmonizing agriculture-related indicators;
  • building value-chain partnerships while protecting small‐scale farmers’ access to resources and developing their business skills;
  • addressing public health and nutrition in agricultural research; and
  • explore the creation of “Alliance for Re‐appropriation of the Future of Rural Areas by Local Actors”