• 21 March 2019

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    “Everything looks different when we put ourselves in the other person’s shoes”

    Today, 21 March, is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. To celebrate this date, we are having a chat with Lucía Molo, technician of the “Living without discrimination” project.

    Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. What do you think international days are for?

     

    One of the objectives of the initiative promoted by the United Nations to mark international days in the calendar is to draw attention and raise public awareness to a problem. These are issues where there is still much work to be done, which is why they are the perfect excuse to remind society and governments that they need to act.

    What is racial discrimination?

     

    According to European Union regulations, direct racial discrimination exists whena person is treated less favourably based on their race, colour, language, religion, nationality or national or ethnic origin than another person in a comparable situation. It also recognises that discrimination can exist when people are treated differently in similar situations, but also when they are treated identically in different situations. This latter form of discrimination is called “indirect” because it is not the treatment that differs, but its effects, which affect different people with different characteristics in different ways.

     

    Every day there are discriminatory incidents due to racial or ethnic origin, affecting refugees and immigrants, the Roma community, as well as other vulnerable groups. If we stop, for example, to read job vacancies, we are certain to find one which clearly specifies a preference for candidates of Spanish origin, thus excluding the foreign population.

    How engaged do you think the population is with this issue? More or less than before?

     

    I believe that society, generally speaking, does not intentionally or voluntarily discriminate against people of another race or ethnicity. Factors such as ignorance, fear of differences, prejudice and misinformation lead to discrimination. But I also believe that these situations arise as a result of insufficient political involvement that should, in my view, focus more efforts on prevention, public awareness and information.

     

    In fact, the United Nations has acknowledged the rise in nationalist populism, with extremist ideologies of racial supremacy and superiority, thus producing more racist movements. In the latest UN Special Rapporteur’s report on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance of August 2018, she explains the contemporary use of digital technology in the propagation of neo-Nazi intolerance and related forms of intolerance. It points to recent trends and statements that exalt Nazism and other practices that contribute to the promotion of contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.

    How can discrimination be prevented?

     

    First, the right to non-discrimination must be supported by legal safeguards that help to prevent this type of situation. In addition, information, training and awareness actions in interculturality and tolerance ethics must be reinforced . This goes for both citizens and government employees.

     

    On the other hand, it is important that there be public policies that ensure non-discrimination. Spain has launched different actions in this regard: the creation of a Spanish Observatory on Racism and Xenophobia (OBERAXE) in the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security, the creation of the figure of delegated prosecutors for hate crimes and discrimination within the General Council of the Judiciary, the implementation of a system to gather incidents related to hate crimes and discrimination in the Ministry of the Interior and the Assistance Service for Victims of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination of the Ministry of the Presidency, Parliament Relations and Equality .

     

    Is FIIAPP working on this issue? How?

     

    The FIIAPP works directly in the fight against racial discrimination through a delegated cooperation project in the Kingdom of Morocco called “Living together without discrimination: an approach based on human rights and the gender dimension” funded by the Emergency Trust Fund for Stability in Africa of the European Union. The FIIAPP and the AECID participate in its management . It also collaborates with Spanish and Moroccan institutions such as OBERAXE, the Delegate Ministry in charge of Moroccans Resident Abroad and Migration Issues and the National Human Rights Council of Morocco.

     

    What is the purpose of this project?

     

    The main objective of the project is to reinforce instruments and public policies aimed at preventing and combating racism and xenophobia towards the migrant population in the Kingdom of Morocco. It seeks to strengthen the capacities of key institutional and non-state actors (civil society, media, private sector …) in the implementation of initiatives to prevent racism and xenophobia towards the migrant population, through accompaniment, exchange and transfer of knowledge.

     

    Any reflection on the subject to make us all think?

     

    One of the reflections that emerged repeatedly during the workshop organised by the EUROsociAL + programme on human mobility on 19 March was that everything looks different when we put ourselves in the shoes of the other person .

     

    I like the idea raised by the NGO Movement against Intolerance that there is only one race: the human race. If people began to see each other as sisters and brothers, I am sure that it would not be long before we no longer had reason to mark this day.

  • 27 September 2018

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    The fight against trafficking: prevention, prosecution, and protecting victims

    Bolivia faces the problem of human trafficking within the framework of the strategy to combat drug trafficking and related crimes supported by the project managed by the FIIAPP

    30 July is World Day against Trafficking in Persons. As a firm step in the fight against this crime by the political authorities of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, 23 September has been established as the National Day against human trafficking in the country.   

     

    Aligning itself with this public commitment, the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), in coordination with the Coordination Secretariat of the National Council to fight against illicit drug trafficking (SC-CONALTID), are carrying out the support project for the strategy to combat drug trafficking and related crimes  in Bolivia, financed by the European Union and co-financed by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID).   

     

    In order to correctly understand the enormous problem posed by trafficking in human beings, we must first know what it is. The definition of trafficking is included in the Palermo Protocol as follows: “…the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.” 

     

    This trade in human beings has become the new form of slavery in the 21st century, generating huge incomes for the organised mafias that operate and make profits through this crime. Trafficking in human beings is considered the second most lucrative criminal sector, behind drug trafficking, with an estimated income of between 32 and 36 billion dollars, according to the UN report on human trafficking (2016).  

     

    Some data to show the scale of this problem worldwide: approximately 21 million people are victims of this crime, 70% women and girls (51% and 20% respectively), 21% men and 8% children. Women and girls are the groups most vulnerable to this crime, so public policies to combat trafficking demand a rigorous and effective gender strategy. The victims come from a total of 137 countries, which gives us an accurate picture of the global problem that this crime poses.   

     

    The main causes of trafficking in human beings are, among others: poverty and growing inequalities; the proliferation of an economic model with a focus on value measurement in commercial terms, rather than a more social projection; the growing and continuous escalation of war conflicts, and; the existence of an increase in human displacements. All these factors have increased the vulnerability of large human groups whose risk of falling into criminal networks has increased exponentially.   

     

    Trafficking in persons is therefore considered to be a crime that violates rights such as freedom, physical, psychological and sexual integrity, dignity and life itself, reducing them in the mind to objects that can be used, exploited and/or marketed.  

     

    Bolivia: origin, transit and destination 

     

    In Bolivia there is data provided by the Ministry of Justice and Institutional Transparency, which is the body that heads the Plurinational Council in the fight against dealing and trafficking in Bolivia. This institution, together with all the Ministries, civil society and the Ombudsman, coordinates the operation of the Plurinational Policy to fight dealing and trafficking in people. In the 2016 report, a total of 829 cases were reported, of which more than 70% were women, girls and adolescents.   

     

    However, an exhaustive look at the reality of the country reveals one recurrent feature in this crime, which is its lack of visibility. It is doubtful that these data are realistic enough to describe the true dimension of this problem. Bolivia is considered a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking in human beings. An origin because there are flows to Peru (mainly for sexual exploitation) and to Argentina (labour exploitation), among others, within what we know as foreign trafficking. But there is a very harsh reality in relation to internal trafficking, which occurs within the country and involves victims being displaced internally. Traditional productive sectors such as agriculture and mining hide a reality of victims of trafficking for sexual, commercial labour exploitation. The slave trade is a reality which the country has not managed to see the true impact of yet.   

     

    There is a perverse economic logic that describes the process of investment recovery, investment understood as capital devoted to recruiting, transferring and harbouring victims. The purpose of these processes is the exploitation of human beings, which is different from that of arms trafficking or drug trafficking, where the profit ends with the commercial transaction (purchase/sale). In the case of human trafficking, the rate of return is continuous, the services given in terms of prostitution, labour exploitation, slavery, etc. continue recurrently.  In the trafficking of human beings, people become goods subject to continuous and recurrent exploitation.   

     

    Continuing with this economic logic, we must not forget that victims of trafficking do not enter the official channels of the labour market. This seriously harms them, since their work is not covered by future social benefits, which also results in a lack of income from these productive activities for the public coffers. The problem of trafficking is not only the complete vulnerability of the victims’ human rights, but also the detriment to the countries’ economic development, affecting their social services structure.   

     

    A project for a transnational problem 

     

    The strategy to combat this crime through the project operated by the FIIAPP, focuses on the 3 pillars: prevention, persecution and protection, known as the 3 P’s. A very ambitious training programme has been launched for public officials involved in the fight against this crime (police, prosecutors, magistrates, social services for victims, civil society, among others), mapping out a funnel-shaped strategy: from the national administration to departmental and municipal levels, since while public policies are established at a national level  at a municipal level work is done directly with the personnel who attend the victims.   

     

    Regional and international trips have also been carried out with the aim of improving regional and international coordination in the fight against this crime, because we must not forget it is a transnational issue. The Departmental Councils are being backed in the fight against human trafficking with support in the formulation of the Departmental Anti-Trafficking Plans. In close coordination with the Public Ministry and the Bolivian Police, a trafficking research manual is being prepared that seeks to systematise and standardise the investigative processes in order to improve the investigative capacity of police and prosecutors and, among other things, reduce the risk of revictimisation.   

     

    At the FIIAPP we are convinced that we must continue supporting processes of change through support to public policies and alignment in the legal-regulatory framework of the countries we work with. The fight against human trafficking goes beyond an institutional commitment—it is a human obligation to position oneself on the side of those institutions and people who work for the victims and their reintegration into society.   

     

    Santiago Santos, coordinator of the project to support the strategy to fight against drug trafficking and related crimes in Bolivia

  • 21 October 2016

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    Are you an expert? You should communicate

    El próximo lunes, 24 de octubre celebramos el Día Mundial de Información sobre el Desarrollo. Ángel González Suárez, Técnico de la FIIAPP (Comunicación- Cooperación Española), nos cuenta lo que supone la comunicación y cómo podemos comunicar.

    A few weeks ago, I read an interview with anthropologist Arturo Escobar. In it he expresses his ideas on many subjects, including the role of experts and social media. He showed himself to be critical of the social transformation capacity of these communication channels and expressed an unflattering view of experts. Reflecting on his statements, I found myself somewhat in ‘no man’s land’ because, while they seemed on target, my experience raised objections.

    Today we are all experts on something. There may be someone who has not accepted it (although our browsing, increasingly specialised and segmented thanks to Google, suggests otherwise), but categories, tags and keywords are here to stay in our digital reality. And up to a certain point, it’s good that there are experts, not because one has to emulate or praise them but because their experience can be very important for others, provided they communicate it.

     

    Direct and personal communication

    Before encouraging the experts on development cooperation, and especially those who have not yet started using social media, I will take this opportunity to recall some of the channels and genres that can help them:

     

    ·         Blogs

    These are spaces that are open to creation, commentary and interaction. In Spain there are various, some journalistic in nature, with a community of contributors (El País or eldiario.es), others started in the world of DNGOs (Pobreza Cero , Fundación CIDEAL and the many run by Spanish DNGOs), by international bodies (World Bank) or the Spanish Public Administration (MAEC which also has created an important document on Digital Diplomacy;FIIAPP, or the Spanish Cooperation portal whose work I would like to promote).

    ·         Video blogs

    This is a genre that still has not taken hold among our experts. It involves a high degree of public exposure (hence the influence of YouTubers) but can also generate greater empathy in the public, more so than the written word. (I’m not aware of any Spanish examples, nor of ones in Spanish, that focus their content on development, so don’t hesitate to point them out in the comments section).

    ·         Social Media

    How networks are used depends a great deal on the characteristics of each channel. Twitter is not the same thing as Instagram, nor Facebook the same as LinkedIn. I recommend starting with Twitter due to its simplicity. There are many examples of good use made by its devotees; at @CooperacionESP we try to follow many accounts that work with diverse styles and objectives. It’s worthwhile to visit numerous profiles before starting one’s own and, always, much better to move into it gradually.

     

    Despite this, many experts, mainly those working in public institutions, hardly use this media to transmit their knowledge. I know that it’s difficult and that there are good reasons as to why they don’t do so:

    • Lack of time.
    • Fear of public exposure.
    • Self-exclusion from communication tasks.
    • Rigidity in the institutional structure.
    • Lack of confidence in one’s abilities.

     

    However, I don’t just think that this is an error, but that boosting the use of social media would serve to improve institutional communication.

     

    Communicate what you know how to do

    I’ll give you an example. Recently I had the good fortune to share my workspace with various experts on diverse subjects, all related to the field of development cooperation.

    I had never had the opportunity to learn about Spain’s gender policy, nor the implication of and degree of detail whichmultilateral cooperation requires. The same thing was true for me regarding the coordination of donors within the OECD, the flows of Official Development Assistance, the process of coordination of any position that represents Spain, the commitment to improving health systems and attention to childhood in other countries, or the need to better evaluate our work.

     

    Everyone should know about these subjects, especially if their taxes are supporting them. The difference between me and anyone else is that I had access to an expert.

    Spanish Cooperation has a tremendous panel of experts. I’ve been finding this out in the past two years. They have experience in other countries, knowledge, a good network of contacts and a great deal of documentation (that cannot be found on the Internet). In terms of communication, all of this is a rich vein. I think that they can improve the existing communities and strengthen social commitment to cooperation, which is already high.

     

    Implementation of an easy-to-use communication system for experts in public administrations is not terribly complicated; France and the United Kingdom have already done it, and our experts as well, for example, in the field of education for development. That’s why I would like experts and specialists to get more involved in communication. Time is of the essence. I never tire of saying it; they already have the most important thing: knowledge. Transmitting is much easier.

     

    Look at Natalia Lizeth López López. I’m convinced that she will become an expert; in fact she is already a good communicator who we would not know about if not for YouTube. The same is true of many assets from the Spanish Cooperation. (By the way, and this is key, one of its experts ‘told me about’ the link).

     

    Written by Angel González, FIIAPP (Communication- Spanish Cooperation)

  • 15 July 2016

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    The American Gran Chaco

    Marta García Moreno es la Coordinadora del proyecto Chaco Ra’anga en Paraguay, y hace un repaso de los objetivos, actividades y países visitados durante el proyecto.

    Image of the Chaco

    The Gran Chaco is a territory people imagine to be remote, isolated and impenetrable. A land of jaguars, dust, gigantic cacti, lagoons and alligators, it extends over Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and a small slice of Brazil.

    Numerous indigenous peoples with different ethnic identities coexist peacefully with other later-established communities, such as Creoles and Mennonites. In addition to the rich cultural diversity, the Chaco is a key area for conservation of biodiversity. However, the model of large-scale extractive development is a rapidly growing threat to the sustainability of the environment and the traditional ways of life of its peoples.

    Chaco Raanga

    Chaco comes the Quechua word chaku, meaning ‘hunting land’. Raanga is a Guaraní word that means reflection, image.

    Chaco Ra’anga might be translated as ‘The Image of the Chaco’.

    The journey

    1 month (May, 2015)

    3 countries (Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay)

    7 vans

    27 people travelling with cameras and a great many questions

    All of them full of good intentions, although this is not always sufficient.

    No one comes back from the Chaco (he who returns is, in part, a different person), Ticio Escobar. El círculo inconcluso, 2014.

     For one month we toured the Chaco, observing large cotton and soybean fields in northern Argentina. The soybean fields continued into Bolivia, accompanied by hydrocarbon operations. Entering the Paraguayan Chaco, endless hectares of cattle ranches.  We came into contact with indigenous communities that have been displaced from their ancestral lands and are fighting to recover their rights, not only territorial but also civil, political, economic, social and cultural.

    Despite the environmental and cultural deforestation, we also get to see a Chaco that resists the encroachment of agriculture and livestock operations. There are alternative and sustainable development models that respect the environment, such as family farming, agro-ecology, and the ways of life of the indigenous peoples.

     

    The tour, which allotted ten days per country, also included visits to peasant communities, Mennonite colonies, a gas extraction plant, natural parks, and key sites for recovery of the region’s historical memory.

    Based on the field work, the contacts made, the projects of the expedition members and the advisers, we started to work on different components of the project:

    – An International Symposium (held in November of last year at the AECID Training Centre in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia).

    – An exhibition, ‘Territorio Acotado / Expandido‘,  which opened in April at the Juan de Salazar Spanish Cultural Centre (Paraguay), which will later travel to Spanish Cooperation’s Cultural Centres in Argentina and Bolivia. The exhibition is also slated to come to Spain next year.

    – A documentary aimed at giving visibility to the wealth of the Gran Chaco. Click here to watch the preview.

    – An interactive website and a book (under development).

    The objective is to make the importance of the Gran Chaco and the threats facing the region visible, and to advance in the construction of a global citizenry committed to sustainable development, from a perspective of social justice, with equality and rights, and in a scenario of peace and international cooperation.

     

    Bolivian traveller Pamela Gómez in the Chaidi community of the Ayoreo Totobiegosode people (Paraguay)
    Bolivian traveller Pamela Gómez in the Chaidi community of the Ayoreo Totobiegosode people (Paraguay)

    The future

    It is difficult to evaluate the impact of Chaco Ra’anga in the medium term. As curator Lia Colombino says in the text that accompanies the exhibition: ‘This journey, which still has not finished, this crossing whose itinerary raises more questions than we have asked, has to first change what we are, so that this will not have been just a trip through the territory’.

    I close with this phrase because, from my point of view, it is intrinsically linked to the fundamental objective of the project: the formation of citizens who are critical, committed to their environment and to their society. I believe that shared work, cooperative production, and exchanging ways of seeing and doing are things that can be done in response to ever more isolated and isolating presents, and of generating alternatives and commitment to change, not only of thinking but also of realities.

    Marta García Moreno, Coordinator of the Chaco Raanga project in Paraguay. A project of Spanish Cooperation promoted by the Network of Cultural Centres, through the ACERCA programme and with the support of the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP).

     

    If you want to learn more about the Chaco and the project, go to the blog at: www.chacoraanga.org

    You can follow Chaco Raanga on social networks:

    Facebook: Chaco Ra´anga / Twitter: @ChacoRaanga