12 August 2021
Posteado en : Reportage
On the occasion of International Youth Day we highlight the work of Spanish and European cooperation programmes to promote youth development worldwide
Though less vulnerable to infection, the under-24 population has been greatly affected by the impact of the pandemic: lockdown, the closing of schools, children’s’ centres and those serving adolescents and young people. Work wise, according to the International Labour Organization, one in six young people is unemployed due to the crisis caused by COVID-19. A situation that has contributed to exacerbating inequalities, leaving behind the most vulnerable in this group.
Children and adolescents are the present and future of society. Therefore, it is essential to adapt public policies to their needs, particularly those aimed at promoting youth employment. We at FIIAPP encourage the exchange of experiences and cooperation to promote public policies aimed at sustainable development that take young people into account. How do we go about this?
EUROsociAL+ supports the exchange of experiences and technical assistance to enable countries to provide the same opportunities to their entire young population in a crisis context. Through this FIIAPP-led European programme numerous activities have been undertaken targeting young people: promoting the prevention of teenage pregnancy in Panama, facilitating the access of young people to the labour market, or promoting the social work performed by university students as a lever for social inclusion. The foregoing are just a few examples of the dedication of EUROsociAL+ to creating public policies targeting a priority group such as Latin American youth.
The SOCIEUX+ project also works to enhance youth employability. In Peru, for example, over 20,000 people have received training in different areas of knowledge such as IT, sales, administration, etc. The programme has contributed to this training by collaborating in updating the training model in skills for employability together with the Ministry for Labour and Employment Promotion. This training will enable them with to break into the labour market more effectively.
Another of the activities undertaken by SOCIEUX+ in Peru involves promoting youth employment in the forestry sector. This initiative seeks to foster employment for youth that is green and sustainable over time; which will be formal, decent and of high quality. Moreover, promoting this type of employment seeks to improve the conditions of the young population to avoid regional emigration caused by the lack of opportunities. Lastly, it endeavours to put an end to the poverty being caused by an activity exclusively focused on cutting down forests, often illegally, and transporting the wood outside the region. The programme also plans to embark on another action targeting young people in Mauritania. In this case, work will be carried out to train young businessmen and businesswomen in Mauritania and to support entrepreneurship.
Looking ahead to the next few years, at FIIAPP we will be working together with AECID and the British Council on a new project in Tunisia aimed at boosting the social and economic inclusion of the vulnerable members of Tunisian youth. The country’s youth carry important demographic weight. Young people under 35 years of age constitute 57% of the population. Despite this, and almost a decade after the 2011 revolution, a large part of Tunisian youth continues to be excluded from the political agenda and economic opportunities.
The EU4Youth for Tunisia programme seeks to strengthen local governance through more inclusive, transparent, efficient and participatory actions; to enhance the capacities of the part of Tunisian civil society involved in culture and sports, to increase the professional integration and employability of vulnerable members of the country’s youth, and to promote business creativity in culture and sports.
Unless the youth is provided with the right conditions to grow and develop, society will not advance either. Accordingly, in a context in which young people are increasingly vulnerable, public policies need to be redirected and adapted to their needs. Thinking of young people is looking to the future.
22 July 2021
Posteado en : Entrevista
We interviewed Joaquín Delgado, a lawyer from the Madrid Provincial Court. As a FIIAPP expert, he has worked to guarantee access to justice through the EUROSOCIAL programme.
As a FIIAPP expert, Joaquín Delgado has worked to guarantee access to justice for vulnerable people through the EUROSOCIAL+ programme.
What has been the greatest achievement of your experience as an expert on the FIIAPP–EUROsociAL+ programme?
Without a doubt, my greatest achievement is the collaboration with FIIAPP/EUROsociAL in the genesis and implementation of the “Brasilia Rules on Access to Justice for Vulnerable People”, which began in 2007 and continues today.
First, I participated in designing and drafting the so-called 100 Brasilia Rules, through to their approval in the Plenary of the Ibero-American Judicial Summit (CJI) that took place in Brasilia in 2008 at the Ibero-American Judicial Summit, which brings together the presidents of the Supreme Courts and Supreme Courts of Justice and the heads of the Judicial Councils from 23 Ibero-American countries.
Subsequently, I collaborated with FIIAPP/EUROsociAL in what was a pioneering inter-network action at that time, promoting these Rules to ensure they had the support of the main Ibero-American justice system operators and officials networks: the Ibero-American Association of Public Ministries (AIAMP), the Inter-American Association of Public Defenders (AIDEF), the Ibero-American Federation of Ombudsman (FIO) and the Ibero-American Union of Lawyers Associations and Groups (UIBA).
After updating the Rules approved by the CJI in 2018, FIIAPP/EUROsociAL commissioned me to prepare a Practical Guide to the Brasilia Rules, which came out in 2019.
I am currently collaborating in elaborating and developing a strategy to gain approval for an international treaty or agreement on access to justice for vulnerable people. To this end, a Technical Team has been created in which COMJIB, SEGIB, CJI, the Ibero-American Programme for Access to Justice and the Spanish Ministry of Justice are participating, with technical support from FIIAPP/EUROsociAL.
What are you most proud of?
I am very proud to have had the opportunity to contribute, through my work and jurisdictional experience, to the creation of an instrument that has proved very useful in improving the judicial protection of the most vulnerable and, therefore, to improve the effectiveness of their rights.
There is little point in recognising a right that is not fulfilled. It is not enough for the legislation to include rights, but rather it is necessary to create mechanisms that allow them to be respected and for their effective enforcement. And this is the key role for justice in ensuring the effectiveness of both traditional civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights.
Which is especially significant as a consequence of the pandemic, because it disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, which are exactly those who have the greatest obstacles to gaining access to justice: debt and insolvency problems; people who lose their jobs and/or are forced into the underground or informal economy and/or have difficulties in meeting their financial commitments or housing tenancies; victims of online fraud, or gender violence; inmates in prisons and detention centres; people in informal settlements, etc.
How has your assignment helped to improve the lives of people and the planet?
The 100 Brasilia Rules include a series of concrete measures and recommendations to overcome obstacles to judicial protection arising from age (minors and elderly people), victimisation, disability, migration and displacement due to internal conflicts, poverty, gender, belonging to minorities or deprivation of liberty, among other causes.
They are aimed at those responsible for judicial public policies, in such a way that the content of the Rules is taken into account in their design and implementation, improving the legal and institutional framework for access to justice for the most vulnerable in society. But it is also aimed at the officials and operators of the justice system, so that they are able to grant the most vulnerable better treatment that is appropriate to their particular circumstances.
Now we have to go one step further: the principles and content of the Brasilia Rules must be included in a binding international instrument (international treaty or agreement) that is configured as a benchmark for the actions taken by public bodies in the design, execution and monitoring of public policies, as well as in the performance by the different people who carry out their functions in the judicial system.
What is the main value of the public aspect for you?
People are the raison d’être of the public sphere, so meeting their needs must be the end goal for public institutions. In the field of justice, we must ensure that the judicial system constitutes an effective guarantee of the rights of all people, regardless of their economic, physical-sensory capacities, gender, whether they belong to a minority, etc. in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals, where Goal 16 refers to “the provision of access to justice for all”.
What have you learned from this experience?
The most important lesson I have learned relates to the relevance of establishing mechanisms that enable effective collaboration between the different people and bodies that are involved in a certain action aimed at improving some aspect of the workings of the judicial system (collaboration principle). Which is especially significant in a scenario as complex as justice, in which judges, prosecutors, public defenders, lawyers and other legal professionals are involved; but in which the police, public registries, penitential institutions, experts, etc. and especially companies and citizens also participate and/or collaborate in one way or another, either themselves or through civil society organisations.
And these collaboration mechanisms must be facilitated not only at the local and national level, but also at the international level in such a way that the judicial systems of different countries can share their experiences and move forward together in designing values-based measures and products that improve access to justice for all people.
In this context, I want to highlight the work that FIIAPP/EUROsociAL has carried out in recent years, which has provided the necessary support so that the different actors in the Latin American judicial systems have collaborated effectively in improving access to justice for vulnerable people: forums for debate and exchange of experiences, protocols, etc. and especially support in the drafting and effectiveness of the 100 Brasilia Rules.
16 April 2021
Posteado en : Entrevista
The expert Fernando Peláez Longinotti, Head of the Economic-Tax Studies Area with the Uruguayan Tax Administration, tells us how the European Union's EUROsociAL+ programme , through its Democratic Governance area led by FIIAPP, is working together with the Paraguayan Tax Administration to reduce inequality by fighting against tax evasion.
Why is the fight against tax evasion such a powerful tool in combating inequality?
We are at a critical moment not only in the Latin American region but also at a global level in which there are latent fiscal needs. And tax systems produce results, but their full potential is never being realised, in any country. Therefore, it is necessary to see what type of actions we can carry out to maximise potential collection. Because evasion produces losses for the state and produces tax inequity, some pay more than others, it is not only a cash issue but an equity issue. It is a virtuous circle that we need to understand so the public administration can take action. Raising tax collection requires a relentless fight against fraud because it allows measures to be identified to prevent and reduce evasion levels and to improve the efficiency of public spending in providing public services, such as education and health.
What work have you carried out within the framework of EUROsociAL+ for the Paraguayan Subsecretariat of State for Taxation (SET) and what are its main conclusions?
Through a methodology developed by the Inter-American Tax Administrations Centre ( CIAT ), we measure non – compliance with corporate income tax to measure the trajectory and behaviour of the tax evasion rate in the country. Through this analysis, we were able to understand what percentage of potential tax is not being collected – which in the case of Paraguay is within the range of the countries in the region – and to see the trend relating to this phenomenon. In addition, through the analysis of microdata, specific cases could be identified with which the SET was able to take specific actions to increase collection from those companies.
Are there any differences in non-compliance between men and women regarding tax payments?
No, no differences. However, this work, in keeping with the gender mainstreaming of the EUROsociAL+ programme, adopted a unique approach strategy to include the gender perspective as it relates to tax evasion. The results revealed very useful data for the design of specific public policies to promote gender equality through female entrepreneurship. We saw that the proportion of women entrepreneurs is much smaller than that of male entrepreneurs, in a ratio of 35% women compared to 65% men, and that proportion is higher in some sectors such as agriculture, with a 1 to 9 ratio. On the other hand, there are sectors related to trades more traditionally linked to women where there is a greater representation of businesswomen, such as commerce, textiles and hospitality, where they represent more than 50%.
Furthermore, when analysing the average income level, it was determined that women are concentrated in the lower income levels. In conclusion, there are fewer women entrepreneurs, they have access barriers to certain sectors, and they have lower incomes. Of every 10 entrepreneurs in Paraguay, 3 are women compared to 7 men.
18 March 2021
Posteado en : Opinion
Climate change has put three out of every ten households in Central America and the Caribbean at risk. Social vulnerability exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic must be added to this environmental vulnerability. Therefore, the implementation of comprehensive policies to reduce inequalities and alleviate poverty is a matter of urgency.
Individuals are affected differently by COVID-19. And it does not affect all territories to the same extent. Almost 60% of the population of Central America lives in urban areas, many of which are unplanned, according to UN-Habitat estimates. Neighbourhoods with high degrees of overcrowding and that are scattered, poorly connected and with hardly any services and infrastructures whose inhabitants have seen their vulnerability increased due to the pandemic. Specifically, the impact on informal settlements has been greater due to the inaccessibility of drinking water for proper sanitation, overcrowding in homes and the difficulty of access to health services. The pandemic has also had significant negative effects on the family economy since many people, mainly women, who live in settlements work informally. According to data from the International Labour Organization, 126 million women work informally in Latin America and the Caribbean. This represents almost 50% of the region’s female population.
“Since the pandemic began, the situation in the neighbourhood has been chaotic because we live very close to each other and up to 15 people live in very small houses. In my house, which has three rooms, there were three of us and now there are eight because my daughter and my grandchildren have had to come to live with us. I depend on a pension that the government gives me because of my disability, but it is very small”, Alicia Bremes explains to us from Pueblo Nuevo, a neighbourhood in the Pavas district of San José, Costa Rica. In August 2020, the districts of Pavas and Uruca together made up more than 15% of the entire country’s active COVID cases.
“How are we going to wash our hands if we don’t have access to water? Or how are we going to disinfect ourselves with gel if the price is so high?” laments Bremes, who has suffered the consequences of the pandemic at home. “One of my sons fixes cell phones and has been out of work for many months. I have another son with a disability who used to go to a psychiatric workshop every day and has suffered a lot because he no longer had anywhere to go. As he was nearly always out in the street, he caught COVID, suffered a very high temperature and had great difficulty in breathing, but recovered. But I have many neighbours, of all ages, who have passed away”, she says.
As Alicia Bremes explains, the situation in the poorer neighbourhoods is one of extreme vulnerability. “Many mothers in the neighbourhood had been working as cleaners in homes and were fired due to the pandemic. COVID has also reduced the street vending on which many families depend to be able to eat on a daily basis”, she says. Therefore, it is essential to focus on the needs of the most vulnerable groups and to try to cushion the effects of the pandemic that has quickly become a socio-economic as well as a health crisis.
In this context, the Council for Social Integration (CIS) asked the Secretariat for Central American Social Integration (SISCA), with the support of the Programme EUROsociAL+ of theEuropean Union, managed by FIIAPP, IILA and Expertise France, and in partnership with agencies and programmes of the United Nations, FAO, ILO and UN HABITAT, to prepare a “Recovery, Social Reconstruction and Resilience Plan for Central America and the Dominican Republic”. The Plan is a common regional roadmap and is made up of a series of strategic projects articulated around three axes of intervention: social protection, employment and sustainable urban development.
The Plan, which has been endorsed by the Councils of Ministers of Labour, Housing and Human Settlements of Central America and the Dominican Republic, focuses its efforts on reducing poverty and socio-spatial inequality, the most obvious territorial expression of which are the informal settlements, which are estimated to make up 29% of the Central American urban population. Despite national efforts over the last 15 years to reduce the population living in informal settlements, many people continue to live in this situation. In addition, there are risks derived from climate change, which exposes a growing number of inhabitants to the effects of extreme weather events such as hurricanes or landslides.
There is an urgent need to broaden our view and think of the neighbourhood as the environment that enables us to implement basic rights within the city, for which we will have to attend not only to the provision of housing, but also to ensure that these houses have the necessary infrastructures, services and facilities.
There are still many challenges ahead in order to turn the face of poverty and inequality into one of progress without leaving anyone behind. For this reason, additional financial resources must be urgently found for the implementation of the Recovery, Social Reconstruction and Resilience Plan, an instrument that will mitigate the effects of the pandemic and shape societies that are more resilient, socially more just and egalitarian and environmentally more sustainable.
Cristina Fernández, Senior Town Planning Architect of EUROsociAL+ and collaborator with Fundemuca
19 February 2021
Posteado en : Reportage
Democratising access to justice through community mediation is crucial to achieving greater social cohesion and social justice in Latin America
Larissa Estevan is a community mediation agent “driven by my love and commitment to the city where I grew up”, Samambaia, a region of Brasilia. “I became a community mediation agent after seeing a group of agents who enabled horizontal dialogue between recyclable material collectors, a very precarious profession in Brazil, university students and state representatives. At that meeting I fell in love with the Community Justice Programme”, explains Estevan.
Every day, Larissa Estevan works to “provide spaces for dialogue, law and justice in my territory.” One such case was that of Doña Ana, who went to her in the middle of a pandemic because her son had been arrested and she did not know what to do. “She was desperate when she came to us. It had been a month since he had been arrested and she had no information about him, and did not know where to go or how to seek help. We listened to Doña Ana and took the case to an assembly of the Community Justice Programme so that together we could think about possible guidelines, referrals and contacts so that she could exercise her right to have information about her son. Finally we put her in contact with the Ombudsman of the Federal District. A few days later, she called to thank us because she had found out where her son was being held and the Ombudsman’s Office had already provided her with a public defender”.
“Certainly, as long as there is inequality of powers, social justice will be necessary. The Community Justice Programme works to ensure that our community enjoys at least some of the social justice to which it is entitled, ” said Estevan.
European Union programmes such as EUROsociAL+ are working for greater social justice in Latin America so that citizens can have legal services and, ultimately, a better life. Specifically, the Democratic Governance area of the EUROsociAL+ programme, managed by FIIAPP through its Inclusive Justice line, is providing technical assistance to the Community Justice Programme of the Court of Justice of the Federal District and Territories of Brazil with technical support from the Council General of the Spanish Legal Profession.
Laura Cárdenas, communication consultant in the Governance area of the EUROsociAL+ programme
17 December 2020
Posteado en : Opinion
María Luisa Domínguez, Senior Technician in the Democratic Governance Area, head of Inclusive Justice, EUROsociAL+ Programme explains the work developed by the programme in this matter.
When we were faced with the challenge of telling our story from a perspective which is different from what is traditional (one which is more focused on activities and results), what EUROsociAL does along the lines of Inclusive Justice, we decided to emphasise some numbers. These numbers not only indicate quantities, but also qualities. Here are some of them.
The number 15 represents the years that the European Union programme EUROsociAL has been supporting social cohesion in Latin America. From its inception in 2005 to 2020, EUROsociAL has been accompanying public institutions in Latin America in the design and implementation of a multiplicity of public policies in all areas: social, economic, justice, gender, regional development, good governance, etc. And at all levels: regional, national and local.
During these 15 years we have seen 3 phases of the programme, in very different contexts: crisis and economic boom, social conflicts and democratic stability and, more recently, pandemic and humanitarian, economic and social crisis. Also with different focuses: pilot projects in the first phase; orientated to requests from and specific results of public policy in the following two.
But in these three decades, the DNA and the spirit of the programme has remained the same: to fight against inequalities and improve social cohesion in the region. In Inclusive Justice, the programme has been pioneering in reducing barriers to access to justice for people in vulnerable conditions, which in 2008 materialised in the Brasilia Rules, and that today we are supporting in its conversion to an international agreement.
16, 10 and 5. Global Agenda
Promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies is what the 2030 Agenda proposes in its SDG 16, and more specifically in goal 16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and guarantee equal access to justice for all.
At EUROsociAL we understand access to justice to be a key right that allows the exercise and guarantee of other basic rights such as health, education, housing, identity, etc. For this reason, we have placed emphasis on the protection and dissemination of the rights of groups that are in a vulnerable condition: people in the context of mobility, migrants and refugees, children and adolescents; victims and witnesses of crimes; youth in conflict with criminal law; persons deprived of liberty; people belonging to ethnic minorities; and women who find themselves in situations of gender discrimination. And this SDG 16 is an enabler for the achievement of other SDGs: 10, referring to the reduction of inequalities, and 5, which seeks gender equality.
It is impossible in this brief space to make a detailed list of the numerous actions currently being carried out in the region with the institutions of the justice system: Judiciaries, Ministries of Justice, Prosecutors, Public Defenders and Prison Systems.
Our fundamental reference here are the aforementioned 100 Rules of Brasilia and the Guides of Santiago for the Protection of Victims and Witnesses, reference documents whose preparation has been promoted by EUROsociAL within the framework of regional justice networks.
For the proper development of our work we apply SDG 17, and in particular with goal 17.16 aimed at “improving the global partnership for Sustainable Development, complemented by alliances between multiple stakeholders that mobilise and exchange knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, in order to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries, particularly developing countries”.
The association with regional networks, and in particular with the justice networks of Latin America, has been one of the hallmarks of EUROsociAL since its inception in 2005. Promoting alliances and networks for the exchange of experiences and good practices between counterpart institutions in the Latin American and European regions has been one of the central pillars of EUROsociAL and in this we have been pioneers. This has enabled us to move forward in building common responses in several countries to shared problems, such as strategic reference frameworks for public policies at the regional level; joint declarations or guidelines, common model standards or protocols, etc.
We accompanied the Ibero-American Judicial Summit, through the Brasilia Rules Follow-up Commission, in the definition of the first version of the Rules in 2008, in their update in 2018, in the implementation of the Rules in the countries, transferring them to national programmes, policies and plans for access to justice, and currently in the Roadmap to convert the Rules into an International Convention.
Also since 2007, we have collaborated with the Ibero-American Association of Public Attorney Offices-AIAMP, strengthening it and supporting the formation of its different Networks (Network of Prosecutors against corruption and Specialised Gender Network) and Working Groups. In 2008, the Santiago Guide for the Protection of Victims and Witnesses was prepared and approved with the support of the programme, and in this third phase we collaborated with the Group of Victims and Witnesses in the review and update of these Guidelines, which will be approved in early November at the AIAMP General Assembly.
In 2012, in Fortaleza Brazil, the kick-off was given to EUROsociAL’s collaboration with the Inter-American Association of Public Defenders-AIDEF. These eight years of collaboration have been intense and very fruitful, which has allowed progress in the design of regional models that have subsequently been implemented at the national level. From the Regional Guide for public advocacy and comprehensive protection of persons deprived of liberty; the manual for monitoring Human Rights in detention centres by the Public Defenders; and the regional manual on the Bangkok Rules in terms of Public Advocacy, in the second phase of the programme.
In this third phase, the AIDEF is being accompanied in two very strategic actions that attempt to respond to two very present challenges currently in the region: on the one hand, the cases of institutional violence that occur in prisons in Latin America; and on the other, the situation of exclusion and vulnerability of people in a context of mobility and who require special attention to improve the advocacy and enforcement of their rights.
In the first case, a regional Model for the System of Registration, Communication and Comprehensive Attention to Victims of Institutional Prison Violence – SIRCAIVI has been designed, which is currently being implemented in 3 countries: Argentina, Chile and Costa Rica, and in the second, progress is being made in the design of a regional model and the creation of a regional network of legal assistance to people in the context of mobility from Public Defender Offices.
Through work with these networks, EUROsociAL has contributed to the strengthening of the rule of law, promoting the protection and defence of human rights, an indivisible and intrinsic relationship, fundamental not only for social cohesion, but also for democracy.
19. Resilience and reconstruction
And then COVID19 arrived. Finally, in the current context, we could not forget the COVID19 pandemic that has come to disrupt and condition everyone’s lives, but which is particularly and disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable groups, as shown by various international organisations such as the OHCHR, the IACHR or ECLAC to name some of them.
Human rights and their protection and guarantee are crucial in times of crisis. In this context, EUROsociAL has quickly made itself available to countries to redirect their actions and respond to the effects of this global pandemic and to lay solid foundations for recovery and reconstruction, leaving no one behind and not allowing the violation of any rights.
This involves putting people at the centre of public policies, especially the most vulnerable, and preparing justice systems to overcome current difficulties, guaranteeing the functioning of an independent and fair justice system. The application of the Brasilia Rules as a mandatory norm can be a powerful weapon to fight against the coronavirus and from EUROsociAL+ we will do everything possible to make it so.
Related audiovisual content: “Justice for social cohesion”.