• 28 September 2020

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    Access to information, the cornerstone of an egalitarian society

    FIIAPP celebrates the International Day of Universal Access to Information and works towards this right through its projects

    The International Day of Universal Access to Information is a day of global recognition designated by the General Conference of UNESCO which has been observed since 2016. The resolution, in part promoted by civil society groups in search of greater transparency, states that “the right to seek, receive and impart information is an inseparable part of the right to freedom of expression”. This same document points out that both freedom of expression and universal access to information are cornerstones for building inclusive knowledge societies.

    Freedom of expression is a right recognised by Resolution 59 of the United Nations General Assembly, approved in 1946, as well as by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which provides that the fundamental right to freedom of expression includes the right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. In this way, freedom of information can be defined as the right to have access to information that is not classified as restricted and that is in the hands of public entities.

    For this reason, having laws that guarantee access to information is an essential factor in any democratic society, since it guarantees greater transparency in the internal processes that take place within it. The right to information grants greater freedom and empowerment to citizens.

    This day is especially significant for the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular SDG 16, which requires guaranteeing public access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms. In line with this objective, FIIAPP projects seek to contribute to this universal right.

    One of the projects in whose management the Foundation participates is EUROsociAL+, through which it seeks to support the improvement of social cohesion in Latin American countries, as well as their institutional strengthening. Specifically, the project’s governance area, which works towards transparency and access to information in Latin America, will launch the “Legislative Transparency Toolbox” which is carried out through collaboration between the Transparency and Access to Information Network (RTA) and Parlaméricas.

    Also in the region, the project Support for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Paraguay is in operation, which aims to promote the country’s sustainable development through the acceleration of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. To achieve this, two main objectives have been set: on the one hand, that the country has an efficient governance system that includes official statistical data to facilitate monitoring and evaluation, and on the other, that there are better public policies to effectively implement the 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG 5 (gender equality) and SDGs 13 and 15 (protection of the environment).

    On the other hand, on the African continent the Supporting Transparency and Anti-Corruption in Ghana project aims to reduce corruption and improve accountability in the country. The project is supporting the Ghanaian Government in developing the Ghana National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACAP). Also, together with Ghanaian civil society organisations, it has participated in forums that have aimed to promote the approval of the Access to Information Act in Ghana.

    How is it possible to empower citizens through access to information?

    What these projects have in common is that they guarantee transparency by strengthening good governance, and if we understand the right to information as being a human right, this turns out to be the basis for the development of many other civil and universal rights since it does not just guarantee that citizens are fully aware of the truth, but also requires that government procedures are transparent. Therefore, having a law on access to information turns out to be a key factor for every society and country that claims to be egalitarian as it helps to prevent acts of corruption, crimes against humanity and to reduce inequalities.

    The former director of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, explained access to information as a “commitment by governments to formulate, approve and apply policies and laws on the right to information in order to ensure respect for this human right. This requires efficient enforcement mechanisms and a culture of transparency in all institutions”.

    For this reason, at FIIAPP we commemorate the World Access to Information Day every day through our work and we will continue to fight so that all regions across the world, especially those most disadvantaged, can fully enjoy all their rights and belong to a more informed, fair and free society.

  • 30 July 2020

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    “The interruption of cooperation would mean a second victimisation for the women and girls who are trafficked”

    An expert from the A-TIPSOM project tells us why cooperation is more necessary than ever to fight human trafficking today.

    In accordance with the Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, human trafficking is defined as “the action of capturing, transporting, transferring, welcoming or receiving persons, resorting to the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, kidnapping, fraud, deception, abuse of power (…) for the purpose of exploitation”. According to this same document, exploitation can take different forms, whether sexual, forced labour or services, practices analogous to slavery, servitude or organ removal.

    The current health and food emergency triggered by Covid-19 has increased the vulnerability of potential victims to any type of exploitation, mainly in countries that already had poorly developed infrastructure. The situation of poverty and food shortages provides the ideal scenario for criminal organisations to increase their opportunities to deceive, especially regarding women and girls at risk, offering them false promises of a better job and future.

    The coordinator of the  A-TIPSOM project in Nigeria, Rafael Ríos, explains how these criminal organisations have used the pandemic crisis as an opportunity to reach and recruit their victims: “90% of the Nigerian population makes a living from street hawking and with the closing of businesses they are unable to carry out this activity. Statistics say that Nigerians survive on less than a euro a day, their mission is to go out onto the street to try to sell something. By making that daily income impossible, they become victims who are much more vulnerable, because they are desperate and they will do anything to earn that money”.

    A-TIPSOM is a project funded by the European Union (EU) and managed by FIIAPP, which aims to reduce human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Nigeria and between that African country and the European Union. To achieve this, the project addresses the problem through five main lines known as the five Ps: Politics, Prevention, Protection, Persecution and Partnership.

    Humantrafficking  rates in Nigeria have become a focus of concern for the international community. In order to eradicate this illegal practice, the Nigerian government launched the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons  (NAPTIP) in 2003  and enacted the Law Against Trafficking in Persons in 2015.

    International cooperation, a key tool to eradicate human trafficking

    Victims of trafficking are often transferred from one community to another, especially from rural to urban areas and from developing to developed countries through false promises. The involvement in this chain of these criminal networks, which operate from different geographical points, requires joint cooperation between countries in order to effectively combat this type of illegal business.

    According to the United Nations, migrants are the group most vulnerable to being exploited and having their lives placed at risk. Every year, thousands of people die of suffocation in containers, perish in the middle of the desert or drown in the sea while being smuggled to another country.

    Rafael Ríos points out that cooperation, today more than ever, has become essential: “the interruption of cooperation at this time would mean a second victimisation for the women and girls who are trafficked”. And he adds: “We are talking about female victims who have been trafficked and who have suffered nightmarish situations solely because of their interest in reaching a new destination. Our project not only runs prevention campaigns to make Nigerian women understand what human trafficking is and prevent them from falling into the hands of these networks, but we are also working to improve their living conditions in Nigeria so that they can find a job”.

    Human trafficking and irregular migration prosper when there is a lack of sustainable preventive measures. The Citizens’ Association to combat trafficking in human beings and all forms of gender violence (ATINA), warns that in order to prevent human trafficking, attention must first be paid to the causes that lead to this situation.Traffickers tend to exploit and take advantage of the needs of potential victims, whether they are basic needs, such as housing and food, or emotional needs, such as love and belonging. Ríos points out that improving the living conditions of the victims is a key factor since it obviates the need for them to emigrate to another country, putting their lives at risk in doing so.

    The cross-border dimension of the problem adds an extra complexity that requires it to be addressed by multiple agencies, both governmental and international, to coordinate a response with a multidisciplinary approach that covers criminal justice, human rights, investment and development.

    On World Day against Trafficking in Persons, FIIAPP ratifies its support and commitment to cooperation in the fight against organised crime that impedes the development of countries and puts the lives of the most vulnerable people at risk.