AFI Changemakers Summit at UK Parliament on International Development and Human Rights
Chaired by Julie Ward MEP
Co-Chaired by Julie Ward MEP
Â©Ariel Foundation International 2016 ISBN 978-0-9964523-8-0
In association with Parliament Week
Acknowledgements Ariel Foundation International (AFI) Changemakers Youth Summit on International Development and Human Rights was organised and facilitated by Ariel Foundation International. With thanks to all our attending delegates: Henry Gilliver (Co-Chair) Emma Robinson (Co-Chair) Megan Smith Rory Evans Naomi Gillespie Isabel Pearson Benjamin Ryder Megan Wright Gabriela Pascholati do Amaral Ziyad Campbell Hinda Ibrahim Connie Flude Erin Colfer Ruth Foster Viktor PinkeviÄ?ius Emma Judkins Matthew McVarish
Special Thanks go to Julie Ward MEP and Trevor MacFarlane. Thank you also to Emily Unell, Public Engagements Projects Manager, House of Commons Photography by Rory Evans Report sections written by AFI-Changemakers Summit Delegates (listed above) and edited and compiled by Henry Gilliver, Rory Evans, Megan Smith and Emma Robinson AFI-Changemakers Summit at the UK Parliament was held in partnership with UK Parliament Week . 2
Ariel Foundation International
Changemakers Ariel Foundation International (AFI) Changemakers is an organisation dedicated to increasing the voice of young people on the international stage. Facilitated by Dr. Ariel R. King and Ariel Foundation International, AFI Changemakers strongly believes that young people should take control of the future they want to see, and that their representation is vital to a more inclusive global system. Young people are trailblazers and represent some of the most forward thinking and progressive people in our society, whose fresh perspectives are invaluable in any discussion on contemporary issues. Many global problems disproportionately affect young people across the world, from conflict to climate change to global economic turmoil, and AFI Changemakers strongly believes young people should hold a stake in combatting these issues at the highest level. It was this belief that led Ariel Foundation International to hold the inaugural AFI Changemakers at the UN Summit in December 2013, to coincide with 25 years of the Right to Development. Young people from all over the world gathered at the Palais des Nations to discuss the development issues they felt were of importance to future generations, and to draft policy recommendations to be submitted to the Right to Development Working Group for consideration. Since the initial summit in 2013, AFI Changemakers has facilitated a number of events focusing on human rights and development, including the UN Social Forum Side Event on the Right to Health (February 2015), and a Summit at the 68th World Health Assembly (May 2015). The Youth Summit on Human Rights and International Development, in partnership with UK Parliament Week, was AFI Changemakersâ€™ first UK based event.
Table of Contents
Groups The Israel/Palestine Conflict
Refugees and Asylum Seekers within the UK
Corporations and Human Rights
Gender and Human Rights
About the Delegates
Foreword On the 16th November 2015, AFI Changemakers hosted the inaugural Youth Summit on International Development and Human Rights at the UK Parliament, in conjunction with Parliament Week. Young leaders from across the UK gathered in London to make their voices heard on the development and human rights issues that are most important to them. The AFI Changemakers Youth Summit acted as an opportunity for young people in the UK to come together to formulate the policy responses they want to see from the UK government and other international bodies. Young people are key drivers of social change, and AFI Changemakers is determined to ensure that the voices of young people are not left out of critical debates concerning development and human rights. Whether focusing on these issues at home or on the global stage, itâ€™s essential that young people push their vision for a better world. Chaired by Julie Ward MEP, a long-term advocate of gender equality, human rights and the championing of young people, participants spent the day in working groups formulating policy responses to issues that matter to them. These policy recommendations have now been compiled into this official report, which will be used to present the ideas of our delegates to the British and international community. As a major international actor and with its largest ever budget for foreign aid, Britain is in a strong position to effect positive global change. Likewise, Britain must focus on improving its own human rights standards at home. We believe that the perspective and voice of young people must be taken into account. We are thrilled that the AFI Changemakers Youth Summit on Development and Human Rights has ensured a new generation of young people are a vital part of the international conversation.
Executive Summary This report comprises four sections, which lay out the policy recommendations of the four working groups that took part in the AFI Changemakers Youth Summit on International Development and Human Rights. The topics covered by the four working groups were chosen collaboratively by the delegates themselves, who chose to focus on both international and UK-based issues.
. The Israel/Palestine Conflict The Peace Process Due to perceptions of bias among Palestinians towards the United States, further peace negotiations should be restarted under the stewardship of the European Union. This process should be reformulated as a â€˜peace conferenceâ€™, offering high level negotiations between political leaders, while also facilitating dialogue between civil society groups and minority initiatives. Equal gender representation should also be ensured.
Britain must publicly and privately support the ICC investigation into war crimes committed by Israelis and Palestinians. Britainâ€™s arms trade must be linked to the conclusions of the investigation to ensure British weapons are not implicated in human rights abuses by either side. Access to British weapons must be conditional on a renewed commitment to the peace process and any targeting of civilians should immediately instigate an arms embargo. Britain must use its position within the European Union to make these policies the unified position of the EU.
Recognition of a Palestinian State Britain must recognise the state of Palestine, to ensure both sides of the conflict are treated equally in any future negotiations on a two-state solution. It must also push for the recognition of Palestine as a full UN Member State. Official Palestinian statehood would also give the ICC the unquestionable right to pursue an internationally recognised investigation and potential prosecution.
. Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK Developing a holistic response The UK government must develop a holistic response to the difficulties faced by those young people who lose their Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child (UASC) leave to remain status. This response should be based upon the Council of Europe’s recommendations in relation to the ‘Life Project’. The government must ensure that its obligation to support vulnerable young people does not end when their discretionary leave to remain ends.
Young Syrian Refugees The Prime Minister’s ‘assumption’, as announced in September 2015, that unaccompanied minors entering the UK under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme will not face deportation when they turn 18 must be made legally binding. This could be incorporated into the terms of the humanitarian visa or in the form of a simple contract between the Home Office and individual refugees.
Educational Opportunities In order to combat social isolation, a comprehensive program of English lessons is essential for ensuring refugees can be fully assimilated into British society. Furthermore, a Train the Trainer program would ensure that refugees can become language teachers that teach other refugees English. Scholarships and bursaries should also be made available for those planning to continue in education. The provision of funding is also essential for organisations that support refugees when they first arrive.
. Corporations and Human Rights Consumer Ethics A lack of transparency currently makes it difficult for consumers to make informed choices when buying goods that may have been produced using exploitative labour. As such, a European Union-wide labelling scheme should be introduced, that employs a five-point scale in terms of exploitative labour in the supply chain. This policy will apply to all goods from designated ‘high risk’ countries, and involve ensuring companies have staff members in subcontracted factories to eliminate claims of plausible deniability.
Collective Bargaining Trade unions and collective bargaining are a human right and essential for ensuring improved working conditions. Companies must be legally required to provide
information to employees about the relevant trade union, so they can make an informed choice about joining a union and are made aware of their rights. At a multinational level, global networks of trade unions must be established and reinforced. By operating through a ‘twinning system’, trade unions in the developing world can be paired with trade unions in the developed world to link consumer markets more closely with the workers who are producing their products.
Intellectual Property Rights It has been broadly recognised that international ‘TRIPS’ and ‘TRIPS plus’ trade agreements unfairly preference the intellectual property rights of pharmaceutical companies over the human right to health. In order to rectify this imbalance, we recommend a more nuanced approach, whereby the WTO introduces an arbitration process to assess, on a case by case basis, whether there is humanitarian justification for temporarily or permanently suspending intellectual property rights to alleviate human suffering. Furthermore, we would like to see greater transparency in pharmaceutical profit reporting in relation to research and development spending, to put pressure on pharmaceutical companies to maintain fair pricing.
. Human Rights and Gender Sex and relationship education in schools The pre-existing framework for Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) lessons in schools should become mandatory, with the provision to opt out removed. The scope of SRE lessons should include age-appropriate consent and sexual violence workshops to start from primary school age (ages 811) and must include positive representations of sexual and romantic relationships. The frequency of lessons for primary age should be at least once a term, but this should be increased to at least once every half term at secondary age. Internationally, a country-specific and adapted SRE framework should be placed within goal 3.7 1 of the Sustainable
1 SDG 3.7: ‘By 2030 ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.’ (UN Website)
Development Goals, and incorporated into national strategies. This SRE should be extended in a culturally sensitive way to deal with issues of consent, gender and sexualities, and sexual violence with a focus on positive, mutual relationships.
The Military SRE must be included at a basic training level within the military in order to sensitise new recruits to the fact that there are women, homosexuals and transgender individuals in their midst whose military service should be free from discrimination. Sexist and homophobic slurs should be banned as forms of humiliation within military training. SRE workshops should also be included at the conclusion of military service to ensure soldiers are successfully reintegrated into civilian life.
Transgender Prisoners Transgender people should be legally entitled to incarceration according to the gender with which they identify. A set of guidelines should be introduced to ensure that prisoners who do not fall within this group cannot abuse this policy. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and Ministry of Justice 2011 guidelines should be enforced at home. This would also encourage an understanding of transgender people amongst those working in prisons, allowing them to better manage violence, and to prevent abuse by prison staff.
The Israel/Palestine Conflict Israel/Palestine is arguably the world’s most recognisable and controversial conflict, and we appreciate that this is the benchmark against which seemingly unsolvable problems are measured. However, Changemakers delegates feel that Britain’s ability to influence the stalling peace process is not being utilised effectively, and that a fresh approach is crucial to achieving ever-elusive peace. Crucially, Britain’s position within the European Union should be used to advocate for higher European involvement within the peace process. While long-term peace is the ultimate goal, short-term priorities must be strengthening commitments to human rights and halting settlement building. Our recommendations focus on rebalancing the debate and improving trust, both of which are crucial to achieving any of our short-term or long-term goals.
The Current Situation It must be recognised that both sides have carried out human rights violations. These violations include, but are not limited to:
Violence against civilians The restriction of the right to movement with the use of checkpoints and ID cards The building of settlements in the West Bank which are recognised as illegal under international law, and are a major barrier to any long-lasting peace settlement Discriminatory resource allocation Dual legal systems that discriminate against Palestinians.
In 2015, Federica Mogherini (the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) spoke to both Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, urging them that the only way to tackle violence and unrest in the region is to restart a credible peace process with the aim of achieving a two state solution2. As of October 2015, the EU has implemented measures against continued settlement construction by legislating for the labelling of goods imported from illegal Israeli settlements, to inform consumer choice3. We are supportive of this measure, but feel that much more could be done to prevent such violations of international law. Currently, the peace process has stagnated, and we feel that a fresh approach is necessary to stimulate further talks and bring both parties back to the negotiating table.
Restarting the Peace Process Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent occupation of the Palestinian Territories in 1967, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been at the forefront of international concerns. However, Changemakers delegates believe that a rebalancing of the debate is required in order to improve trust. The impartiality of any peace process is crucial, in which human rights abuses committed by both sides must be recognised and condemned. The failure of the peace process Peace talks have repeatedly collapsed into cycles of violence since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. Recently peace talks stalled in 2013-14, under the stewardship of the United States and since then there have been no attempts to restart them, with relations between both sides generally considered to have hit a new low. A recent spate of violence by the Israeli military and Palestinian vigilantes has only made things worse. However, regardless of international fatigue, itâ€™s imperative that fresh attempts are made at achieving peace. Recommendation 1.1.1 Restart peace negotiations under the stewardship of the European Union. As young people, we believe that perceptions of the United States as an impartial actor in the peace process have been damaged, and that it is no longer seen as a credible partner by the Palestinians due to its close relationship with Israel. In particular, the significant military and budget support provided to Israel by the United States, totalling many billions of dollars and rising, is perceived by many Palestinians to be a sign that they are not equal partners in any US-led peace negotiations. Undoubtedly, American weapons have been used in Israeli military actions deemed unacceptable by the Palestinians. This report takes no stance on the validity of accusations of US bias. Instead, Changemakers delegates want to stress that it is perceptions of bias that have critically undermined the current peace process, and it is this that we feel must be remedied. It
http://eeas.europa.eu/statements-eeas/2015/151011_02_en.htm http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/09/israel-eu-plan-curb-settlement-expansion-labelinggoods-un.html# 3
is crucial that as a global superpower the US is not side-lined and remains a key partner in future negotiations. Both the EU and the US aim to achieve peace between Israel and Palestine on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions, Madrid principles and the Arab Peace Initiative, demonstrating that their overall goals will remain the same. However, as US stewardship of the peace process has so far failed to achieve lasting peace, we believe a change of direction is necessary to avoid stagnation. In the past, the EU has acted as a forum for security cooperation within Europe, and it has received the Nobel Peace Prize for its work on building a unified and peaceful Europe, including rebuilding peace in the Balkans. Although the EUâ€™s contribution to the Israel-Palestinian peace process has so far been relatively small in comparison with the US, it remains diligent in its objective of achieving a lasting peace. Furthermore, as the European Union represents a bloc of twenty-eight countries with different motivations and histories of engagement with both Israel and Palestine, it brings a broader range of actors to the negotiations, rather than the single hegemonic power represented by the United States. Recommendation 1.1.2 Recalibrate the format of peace negotiations in the style of a conference. This will ensure the involvement of civil society groups and marginalised voices within the peace process, broadening dialogue and increasing cross-border connectivity.
Any future Israel/Palestine negotiations represent a golden opportunity for further engagement between NGOs, civil society groups and marginalised peoples on both sides. As such, we propose dramatic changes to the format of any further peace negotiations, so they take place within a broader conference or forum-like environment. This would involve a greater multiplicity of actors and a range of events and collaborations aimed at fostering dialogue, and ultimately peace. The conference should include the significant involvement of minority groups and ensure balanced gender representation to broaden the debate and promote alternative perspectives. It is essential that these perspectives be heard, as minorities such as Bedouin
communities are often the worst hit by the ongoing conflict4. These steps will ensure greater involvement of civil society, a vital component of any lasting peace. Changemakersâ€™ delegates strongly believe that overcoming differences can only be achieved when there is engagement and dialogue between all levels of society, not just political leaders.
The ICC Investigation In 2015, the Palestinian Authority became an official member of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This means that both Israel and Palestine can now be prosecuted under international law for violations committed on Palestinian soil. Palestine would like to use this as a path to prosecuting Israel for human rights abuses including settlement building, home demolitions and war crimes, including the indiscriminate targeting of civilians. However, it is also likely that Hamas is guilty of war crimes, including the targeting of Israeli citizens with rocket fire and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields. Preliminary examinations into possible war crimes and other violations of international law will take a considerable amount of time, possibly even years. Recommendation 1.2.1 Britain must publicly and privately support the investigation and any criminal prosecution of both states for any war crimes or other violations of international law they may have committed. It must also support Palestinian and Israeli efforts to air grievances through diplomatic channels, in recognition that increased use of these channels decreases the chances of violence. As the highest profile investigation and potential trial the ICC has ever undertaken, the credibility of the court as an arbitrator and enforcer of international law rests on the outcome of this process. Israel refuses to accept the legitimacy of the ICC, and has taken punitive measures to derail Palestinian efforts to both join the court and prosecute Israel5. Undoubtedly, Israel and their allies will attempt to ensure that any potential prosecution will not take place. Britain must openly criticise attempts to obstruct international justice, and instead focus on persuading Israel to itself join the court. We are pleased that Palestine has joined the ICC and as a result opened itself up to the possibility of prosecution, as we are convinced that this effort makes future violations of international law less likely. With the goal of long-term peace in mind, we urge Israel to the make the same commitment. Use of global justice systems and diplomatic channels decreases the chances of violence and increases the likelihood of fair, reasonable and proportionate responses to thorny issues within the conflict. Recommendation 1.2.2 Link Britainâ€™s arms trade with Israel to the conclusion of the ICC war crimes investigation. If war crimes have been committed, immediately cease arms trade until such time as criteria set by an independent committee have been fulfilled.
https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/08/30/israel-bedouin-facing-mass-evictions-their-land http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/03/israel-tax-payments-withhold-palestine-internationalcriminal-court 5
Recommendation 1.2.3 Make absolute that bombing of civilian populations will immediately cease Britain’s arms trade with Israel. Recommendation 1.2.4 Commitment to a continued peace process must be a condition of continued arms sales. Britain currently trades arms with Israel, and despite Israel engaging in several conflicts that have been criticized by British parliamentarians and even members of the British government, Britain has never ceased or even temporarily suspended arms sales to Israel. Between July 2012 and June 2015, the UK exported more than £50m worth of arms to Israel6. Likewise, between 2011 and 2013 the European Union exported over €1.14bn (£850m) of arms. The UK also supplies components to the US that is used in equipment destined for Israel; apache helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, both made with UK-built components, have been used by Israel to bomb Lebanese and Palestinian towns and villages in wars that have killed large numbers of civilians. A review by the British government of arms sales resulted in no change to current policy7. The UK also spends millions of pounds per year on Israeli-made weaponry. There is a strong degree of military collaboration between the British and Israeli governments; in 2005 the Ministry of Defence (MOD) awarded UAV Tactical Systems Ltd (U-TacS), a collaborative venture between the Israeli arms producer Elbit Systems and Thales UK, a contract for the development of Watchkeeper WK450 drones that will be worth nearly £1bn on its completion8. For Britain to be credible partner to the peace process, it is essential that its trade in arms is not seen as being implicated in disproportionate violence and war crimes. It is also vital that Britain’s relationship with Israel is not seen as favouring corporate trade and business interests over human rights concerns. Furthermore, access to Britishmade weapons could constitute significant leverage in ensuring better international oversight over both Palestinian and Israeli military activities. Recommendation 1.2.5 Lobby the European Union to adopt the above recommendations as European Union policy. As previously discussed, AFI Changemakers would like to see the European Union take a stronger leadership role within any future peace negotiations. As an important member state of the EU, Britain must use its substantial lobbying power to push for all the recommendations in this policy report to become European Union policy, creating significant pressure to bring both Israel and Palestine back to the negotiating table with renewed determination and urgency.
https://www.caat.org.uk/resources/export-licences/licence?iso2=IL&date_from=-3&rating=Military https://www.caat.org.uk/resources/export-licences-eu/licence.en.html?year=-3&destination_iso2=IL 8 http://www.army-technology.com/projects/watchkeeper/ 7
Recognition of a Palestinian State 135 countries currently recognise Palestinian Statehood, constituting the vast majority of countries in Africa, Asia and South America9. Notably, however, most countries in Western Europe, as well as the USA, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand have not recognised Palestinian statehood. In October 2013, British parliamentarians voted overwhelmingly to urge the UK government to recognise Palestine as a state, with 274 in favour and only 12 against10. As this was not a vote on legislation, but merely an expression of sentiment, it was symbolic. However, considering the clear and overwhelming support of British MPs for the recognition of Palestinian statehood, we are concerned that the UK government has not taken this on board. Recommendation 1.3.1 The British government to formally recognise Palestinian statehood. AFI Changemakers delegates are convinced that one of the crucial failures of the peace process, as we have discussed above, is a significant imbalance between state actors during negotiations, leading to a climate in which state parties feel no pressure to change the status quo. Part of this imbalance is the acceptance of Israel as being a legitimate state, while not offering the same treatment to Palestine. Israel continues to argue that the ICC does not have jurisdiction in Palestine on the grounds that it is not a sovereign state11. Thus, recognising Palestine as a state would be a positive step towards achieving the two-state solution, and would place pressure on Israel to return to the negotiating table. We are pleased that some progress has been made in formally recognising the Palestinian right to statehood alongside Israel’s, particularly the accession of Palestine to UN non-member Observer Status12. However, this does not go far enough, and we strongly believe that Palestine should be entitled to full UN Member Status, as Israel is. The ‘two-state solution’ strategy that is central to the UK’s foreign policy regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict is predicated on an assumed right to statehood for both actors within the conflict. The UK must change its foreign policy to one that recognises both Israel and Palestine as legitimate states with an equal right to peace, security and autonomy. Likewise, the UK should table a resolution at the UN Security Council, using its position as a Permanent Member, to call for Palestinian statehood to be formally recognised. While we acknowledge that there is a significant likelihood that this motion would be vetoed by the US, a change in the UK’s position would nonetheless increase pressure on the United States to soften its approach to Palestine.
palestine-as-a-state/ 10 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/palestine-vote-mps-take-historic-decision-to-recognisepalestinian-state-9792485.html 11http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/24/palestine-prepares-tsubmit-file-israeli-officials-indictedinternational-criminal-court 12 http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43640
Refugees and Asylum Seekers within the UK All delegates saw the international refugee crisis as one of the most pressing problems of our time, and one in which the UK Government can and should play an active role. Two key issues in relation to the treatment of young asylum seekers and refugees within the United Kingdom were highlighted; their legal status and the societal acceptance of them.
Legal issues surrounding young asylum seekers in the United Kingdom A key issue that must be urgently addressed by the UK government is the situation of those who enter the country as young unaccompanied asylum seekers, and turn eighteen years old whilst in the country. The government is currently failing this group of particularly vulnerable persons, as they are often left without the level of support and protection they require. The expiration of discretionary leave to remain and subsequent applications and appeals Under current Home Office policy, those who enter the UK under the age of 18 years old and do not have their application for asylum rejected will be granted discretionary Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) leave to remain; a status maintained until they reach 17 ½ years old. At this point, the individual may apply to extend that leave. However, this is normally refused, as they will fail to meet the required criteria when they turn 1813. It is also important to note that at the age of 18 these individuals also lose the protection of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. When an individual’s leave to remain expires, they may be left without access to accommodation, employment and benefits, throwing them into destitution. This leaves vulnerable young people in legal limbo, and further isolated from society. Recommendation 2.1.1 The UK government should develop a holistic response to the difficulties faced by young people who lose their UASC leave and want to apply to extend that leave and appeal against any subsequent decisions. This response should be based upon the Council of Europe’s recommendations in relation to the ‘Life Project’; the government should ensure that various departments and NGOs work together to ensure that such young people are guaranteed their basic
A. Matthews of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, “What’s going to happen tomorrow? Unaccompanied children refused asylum.” (April 2014), pg. 9. Accessible at; http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/20002/1/ARE_FINAL_for_Web.pdf. 13
needs and given the chance to lead autonomous and successful lives. This response should include ensuring support for those young people who may, ultimately, have their applications for extension rejected; the government’s moral obligation to support vulnerable young people does not end when their discretionary leave to remain ends. In 2011 the Council of Europe compiled a comprehensive paper stressing the need for better recognition of the “transitional phase” that young asylum-seekers and refugees experience14. It specifically re-iterated its recommendation to member states on life projects for unaccompanied migrant minors, as made in 2007 15 . As stated by the Council, these ‘life projects’ constitute an action plan and long-term response, which aims “to develop the capacities of minors, allowing them to acquire and strengthen the skills necessary to become independent, responsible and active in society.” In order to achieve this, ‘life projects’ will fully correspond to the best interests of the child and “relate to the social integration of minors, personal development, cultural development, housing, health, education and vocational training, and employment.” It should be noted that these proposals were made within the context of unaccompanied migrants; we argue that the case for such supportive policies is even stronger for those seeking asylum.
Young Syrian Refugees Attention must be paid to the Syrian refugees who are currently entering the United Kingdom under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, as announced in
Report of the Consulative meeting, “Challenges faced by young refugees and asylum seekers in accessing their social rights and their integration, while in transition to adulthood”, European Youth Centre Strasbourg (17 – 18 November 2011), DJS/CM Refugees (2011) 7. Accessible at; https://www.coe.int/t/dg4/youth/Source/Resources/Documents/2011_Report_CM_Young_Refugees_Asy lum_Seekers_en.pdf. 15 Recommendation CM/Rec (2007)9 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on life projects for unaccompanied migrant minors, (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 12 July 2007 at the 1002 nd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies). Accessible at; https://www.coe.int/t/dg4/youth/Source/Resources/Documents/2011_Report_CM_Young_Refugees_Asy lum_Seekers_en.pdf. 14
September 2015. As priority has been given to orphaned children, many of those entering under the scheme will be unaccompanied minors. During Prime Minister’s Questions on 9th September 2015, David Cameron stated that the “assumption is” that after the expiration of the five-year humanitarian visa granted to Syrian refugees under the scheme, these children would be permitted to remain in the country if they wanted to do so. He gave the assurance that such unaccompanied minors will not be automatically liable for deportation when they turn 18. Although we recognise the commitment made by David Cameron, we urge the Prime Minister to ensure that this assumption is enshrined in legislation. Recommendation 2.1.2 Ensure those brought to Britain under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme are permitted to stay beyond the expiration of their humanitarian visa by making this commitment legally binding. This recommendation is particularly prudent when it’s taken into consideration the likelihood that David Cameron, and quite possibly the Conservative Party, will not be in government when the visas of these vulnerable refugees expire. A commitment in legislation would offer some protection against the changing priorities of party politics. Making this commitment legally binding would also ensure security for these vulnerable young people, allowing them to assimilate into British society with the confidence that they can build a life here. The right to remain indefinitely could be incorporated into the terms of the humanitarian visa granted, or in the form of a simple contract between the Home Office and individual refugees.
Education and Language AFI Changemakers delegates agree that UK policy must focus on the positive contributions of immigrants, promoting mutual respect and tolerance, celebrating differences, and being welcoming. We have identified two main issues that are preventing this from being achieved: isolation and opportunity. Our recommendations are based upon language training and educational opportunities that specifically counter these two problems, aiding assimilation into British society and ensuring that refugees are given the opportunity to fulfil their ambitions. Isolation Social isolation of refugees, individually or as communities, does not promote mutual respect and tolerance. Instead, it enhances an ‘us and them’ rhetoric that is increasingly prevalent in our society. Many refugees experience separation from their families, mistrust of authority figures and trauma. The system for those claiming asylum is complex and often results in rejection; 60% of initial decisions in the first quarter of
2013 were refusals 16 . Upon being granted refugee status, entitlement to accommodation and monetary support is lost after 28 days. Many have little or no English and are unable to afford or access language courses. Thus they struggle to work in the UK labour market, or are unable to attend school. Moreover, many find they cannot feel part of the community, and are unable to hold simple conversations, fill out necessary forms or book a doctorâ€™s appointment. Migrant Forum research found that 58% of refugees they interviewed in London reported loneliness to be the major challenge they faced 17 . A 2010 government report on refugee integration identified language as one of the main factors in settling refugees, advising that language course participation should be promoted as early as possible18. This is because good language is associated with better job prospects and generally makes refugees feel much more relaxed and welcome. However, under our current system, only refugees on active benefits would be entitled to fully funded English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) provision. This severely limits refugeesâ€™ abilities to improve their English language skills. Recommendation 2.2.1: A Train the Trainer scheme, whereby refugees who are successfully learning English train to become language teachers themselves. Language lessons for refugees are often wholly inadequate, or even non-existent. But a lack of language skills is perhaps the biggest barrier to assimilating into British society and finding employment. The Train the Trainer scheme addresses both issues, giving the opportunity for refugees to learn English and then gain employment teaching English to other migrants on their arrival. This will provide an opportunity for individuals to gain experience and employability skills, and is also beneficial for students, who will have a teacher fluent in their own language. Moreover, it provides a productive and friendly environment for refugees to meet and support each other.
The Forum, This Is How It Feels To Be Lonely (2014) http://migrantforum.org.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2014/09/Loneliness-report_The-Forum_UPDATED.pdf 17 The Forum, This Is How It Feels To Be Lonely (2014) http://migrantforum.org.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2014/09/Loneliness-report_The-Forum_UPDATED.pdf 18 Andreas Cebulla, Megan Daniel and Andrew Zurawan, Spotlight on Refugee Integration Findings from the Survey of New Refugees in the United Kingdom (July 2010)<https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/116062/horr37report.pdf>
Recommendation 2.2.2: Language courses should be specifically tailored to certain jobs, providing refugees with the vocab they need in practise. A similar program is used in Sweden, where it is extremely successful in utilising the competence and skills of refugees. Furthermore, it allows young professionals in the same area of work to meet.
Opportunities We must avoid missing out on the skills and talents of refugees being wasted because of affordability, availability and language barriers. The United Nations General Assembly’s Special Session on Children in 2002 declared that all children must have access to complete and free primary education19. However, in one London borough, 125 out of 189 children waiting for a school place were not British, with most originating from countries from which Britain accepts asylum seekers 20 . As asylum-seeking children frequently have poor English skills and may have lacked prior educational opportunities, they are unlikely to achieve top exam results. As many professionals in the UK’s education sector already feel under pressure to maintain high results21, it is likely that schools may be resistant to accepting asylum-seeking children, or consider supporting them a low priority because they feel they are unlikely to do well. Likewise, AFI Changemakers delegates believe young adults are being neglected from these obligations. Educational opportunities are limited and no informal education is readily available. Thus, many young refugees are only able to take low-paid, low-skilled jobs, and many struggle to find a job at all. In a Refugee Council report documenting the first 28 days after gaining refugee status, only one of 127 surveyed managed to gain employment, who had to give up work soon after due to poor health22. This further isolates refugees from the community and fails to adequately prepare should they later be able to return to their home countries. Recommendation 2.3.1 Refugees who are planning to continue with education should have the chance to do so in the UK. Bursaries and scholarships that specifically provide for refugees should be extended across the country, and more scholarships should be made available. Recommendation 2.3.2 More funding must be made available to charities that support young refugees in assimilating into British society. Organisations that support refugees by providing classes and activities for young people will improve refugee’s self-esteem and quality of life, as well as vital language
kers_research_report.pdf 21http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/aug/11/academy-schools-teachers-grade-inflation 22 Lisa Doyle, Refugee Council. 28 Days Later: Experience of new refugees in the UK (May 2014) < http://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/assets/0003/1769/28_days_later.pdf>
skills. In order for our refugee policy to be sustainable, it is crucial that refugees are able to find fulfilment, employment and a sense of community. This means not only providing them with a home, but ensuring they are able to eventually survive without state support or reliance on NGOs.
Corporations and Human Rights This section considers the link between corporations, both domestic and multinational, and human rights violations. While often it seems as though corporations are beyond our control, we want to highlight the link between these companies and the consumers and workers they rely upon. As such, the first two sections will consider consumer ethics and collective bargaining, both of which provide powerful leverage to challenge the behaviour of corporations. Following this, we will discuss the negative impact of intellectual property law on human rights, in the context of the pharmaceutical industry.
Consumer Ethics Consumers, and their relationship with multinational corporations (MNCs), can play a huge role in improving the conduct of multinational businesses. Unfortunately, however, a lack of consumer awareness, as well as ‘race-to-the-bottom’ pricing that achieves cost efficiency at the expense of labour rights, also means consumers can be drivers of human rights abuses within business supply chains. This means that rather than focusing purely on the corporations or labourers themselves, we must consider the role that we, as consumers, have to play in reconciling MNCs with human rights. As consumers, we have a responsibility to proverbially ‘vote with our wallets’; that is, to change our behaviour by buying only from those who produce their goods in accordance with particular ethical standards23. Our recommendations reflect the fact that consumers hold an enormous amount of power in convincing companies to adopt more ethical policies. Recommendation 3.1.1 A European Union-wide labelling system should be implemented, indicating where a product falls on a five-point scale in terms of exploitative labour in the supply chain. The labelling scheme will apply to all branded products sourced from ‘high risk’ countries. The purpose of this regulation is to put the onus on MNCs to provide information about labour quality in their supply chain. The highest rated companies will be those that provide the most information indicating the highest quality.
Lukianchikov, A. (2016) The psychology of consumer ethics, explained. Available at: http://dailybruin.com/2016/01/19/the-psychology-of-consumer-ethics-explained/ (Accessed: 05 February 2016).
Research has shown that labelling products can be effective in influencing better consumer choices24. A critical problem regarding a consumer’s ability to choose the most ethical products is a lack of transparency. Global supply chains (defined as the manufacture, infrastructure and logistics that goes into the creation of a product) are notoriously diffuse and opaque. As the manufacturing and deliverance of products to supermarket shelves has become a transnational issue, these chains have become increasingly difficult for consumers to comprehend, making it hard to arrive at informed choices. We are given startlingly little information about consumer goods, aside from country of origin. Little-to-no information is provided on the conditions throughout the supply chain, or on the origins of constituent parts within the final product. Our recommendation is to implement a simple five-point colour coded labelling system that would provide consumers with a trusted evaluation of labour quality within a product’s supply chain. This would mirror existing front of package labelling now commonly found on food products. The standards will be set by the EU and will be based on factors including employee wages, resource transparency and working conditions. Companies who wish to receive above the minimum rating will have to provide evidence to the EU that will be evaluated against their agreed criteria. We appreciate that the biggest obstacle to this system is the practice of subcontracting within long supply chains. A common problem is subcontractors often fall below the standards set by MNCs, who can deny accountability when the failure is the responsibility of a separate company. The consequence of this is that the information turned over to the EU may not be accurate. In order to combat this, the highest rated companies must employ a permanent inspector in every large subcontracted workplace, to be defined by the number of employees. This places accountability back in the hands of the MNC itself. Under this system, if a random inspection proves that the quality of labour rights falls below the evidence stated, the EU has the power to rank the product based on their findings. MNCs will no longer have the excuse that subcontractors were acting without their knowledge, if they want to achieve the highest ratings. As the EU already has jurisdiction over labelling within its member states, this policy could fit within this existing framework. ‘High-risk’ countries would be defined in accordance with labour standards indicators as published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This would also provide considerable incentives for countries to improve their labour standards, so as not to fall within the remit of the regulations. This would have the effect of driving up global labour quality.
Collective Bargaining Labour forces have long recognised that trade union action and collective bargaining are valuable tools in achieving improved workers’ rights. In the UK, domestic companies are responsible for ensuring workers have their rights respected. Internationally, the rise of globalisation and MNCs have created new problems for the workers, as the outsourcing of labour overseas to countries with lower wages and substandard working conditions means companies can save money in their production campaigns while undercutting workers. Public attention has been drawn to ‘sweatshops’ and poor labour conditions in recent years, but despite commitments by MNCs to improve this situation, conditions are still often poor and exploitative. Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights set out by the UN states that:
Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests25.
We are concerned that both domestically and internationally, these rights are being eroded or are already not respected. This section of the report addresses these concerns, and tries to improve working conditions and labour rights by tackling the global business environment as a whole.
Workers’ rights in the UK In Britain, women are paid on average 13.9%26 less than men, and a study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) concludes that up to 54,000 new mothers are losing their jobs each year27. The living wage is £8.25 an hour whilst the minimum wage sits at £6.70, with some companies failing to meet even this legal requirement 28 . The introduction of a higher minimum wage is a step in the right direction, but it still falls well below the living wage and is therefore an inadequate improvement. In recent years, the national labour market has changed dramatically. Jobs in Britain are increasingly unstable; 744,000 workers are employed on zero-hour
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ The Fawcett Society, Fawcett’s Written Evidence Submitted to the Women and Equalities Committee Gender Pay Gap Enquiry http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/women-andequalities-committee/gender-pay-gap/written/25574.pdf [Accessed 20 January 2016] p. 2 27 Lorna Adams and others, Pregnancy and Maternity Related Discrimination and Disadvantage First Findings: Surveys of Employers and Mothers (London, IFF Research, BSS Research Paper Number 235, October 2015) < http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/uploads/Pregnancy-andmaternity-related-discrimination-and-disadvantage.pdf> [Accessed 20 January 2016] p. 98 28 Nick Boles MP, New National Minimum Wage offenders Named and Shamed (crown copyright, October 2015) https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-national-minimum-wage-offenders-namedand-shamed-october-2015 [Accessed 20 January 2016] p. 1 26
contacts29, a rise of 19% from 201430. Furthermore, the collapse of many industries means that all too often working people are faced with constantly changing work, as opposed to the ‘jobs for life’ that British industry previously offered. Furthermore, the power of trade unions has been gradually degraded31 and trade union membership now ceases to be the social norm. To an extent, trade unions in the UK have developed to reflect these changes. Some unions now represent people from a vast range of industries as well as unemployed people, meaning that those with more unstable work can have representation. However, most unskilled, low paid workers have no representation and no means of collective bargaining. The following recommendations are intended to reverse these trends and improve working conditions for Britain’s workers. Recommendation 3.3.1 Companies should be legally required to provide workers with information on trade unions that support workers’ rights within that industry. Gaining access to workers in an increasingly diverse and unstable workforce is a crucial challenge for trade unions. For example, cleaning services represent a large workforce in the UK, but the nature of their work means employees rarely meet each other and may not feel they have the power to challenge poor working conditions. Unions are essential for facilitating solidarity between workers and collectively challenging companies. A legal requirement to provide workers with trade union information would ensure that workers are able to make an informed choice about whether they wish to unionise with their fellow workers.
MNCs and worker’s rights The picture for workers’ rights is even worse at an international level. The Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh, for example, highlighted the appalling conditions many
29 Office for National Statistics, Employee Contracts that do not Guarantee a Minimum Number of Hours: 2015 Update (Crown Copyright, 2015) < http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_415332.pdf > [Accessed 20 January 2016] p. 1 30 Ibid., p.1 31 Carol M, Frege and John Kelly, ‘Union Revitalisation Strategies in Comparative Perspective’ European Journal of Industrial Relations 9, 1 (2003) pp. 7-24 (p. 8)
industrial workers face every day. These include exploitative hours, dangerous working conditions and dismal pay. Bangladeshi garment workers can expect to take home little more than the minimum wage of 3,000 taka per month (£25), far below the calculated living wage of 5,000 taka32. Workers are often forced to work more than fourteen hours per day, seven days a week, are barred from unionising in violation of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining ILO Conventions, are denied maternity leave and face severe sexual harassment33. We strongly believe that the changing picture for workers’ rights in Britain is closely linked to workers’ rights in other parts of the world; the ability of multinational corporations (MNCs) to relocate workforces overseas has undermined workers’ ability to demand better pay and conditions when they can simply be replaced by a cheaper workforce elsewhere in the world. While we accept the right of MNCs to employ workforces around the world in a financially efficient manner, this should never be exploitative. As such, we would like to see further solidarity between global worker chains; if MNCs can operate across borders, so can unions and workers demanding their rights. Recommendation 3.3.4 Networks of local workers that provide an international mechanism to develop a ‘twinning system’ between trade unions in different countries, in order to share information and to organise global trade union/worker action. To tackle human rights abuses committed by MNCs we would like to see the emergence of networks of workers that form a system of international solidarity. MNCs are often unaccountable with regard to human rights abuses in the developing world, as contracted workers have little or no contact with their multinational employer; often workforces have been outsourced along complex production chains that lack transparency and accountability. However, with global-reaching communication technology workers in the developing world are no longer as displaced from their multinational employers as they once were. Loose coalitions of global trade unions already exist, for example the International Trade Union Confederation34. However, we propose a more systematic approach to collaboration; rather than loose messages of support, each trade union in the developed world would be twinned with a trade union in the developing world, helping connect workers to the markets for which their products are being made, and also providing valuable experience sharing. In order to overcome poor working conditions, the global workforce must co-operate across national boundaries in the same way that MNCs do. Twinning would provide each union with a dedicated counterpart, rather than the loose and sporadic connections currently present within global networks. This would draw attention to workers’ rights along commodity chains to consumers and provide stronger collective bargaining tools for workers in the developing world.
http://www.waronwant.org/sweatshops-bangladesh Ibid. 34 http://www.ituc-csi.org/ 33
Intellectual Property Rights and access to pharmaceuticals When discussing MNCs and their impact on human rights, the effects of intellectual property law must be considered. Good health and access to health services must be recognised as a fundamental human right. However intellectual property laws have superseded the human right to health, allowing large pharmaceutical companies to restrict access to the drugs they develop at the expense of human lives. As these companies have a monopoly on supplying these products, they can charge much higher rates than they could if these drugs were available in a competitive market, meaning many of these lifesaving medicines are simply inaccessible to the global poor. Article 25 (subsection 1) of the UN Declaration of Human Rights asserts that health is a human right: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control35. TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) is an international agreement binding on all members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)36. The TRIPS agreement sets a minimum standard, which includes: patent rights being set for a minimum of twenty years; that patents are applied to both products and processes; and that pharmaceutical test data is protected against ‘unfair commercial use’ 37 . In addition to this, TRIPS has been reinforced by bilateral ‘TRIPS plus’ agreements, written into trade deals between the developing world and developed countries, that leave developing economies with almost no choice but to comply. ‘Trips plus’ agreements add extra restrictions to the existing TRIPS framework, including extending the length of patents, with a serious impact on access to medicines. We recognise that in order for pharmaceutical companies to be economically viable they must make a return on the investment they make on research and development. However, considering the enormous profits these companies make, and the number of people who lose their lives or suffer hugely from illness at the expense of these policies, it is clear that there is a gross imbalance between reasonable profit and fairness. Recommendation 3.2.1 The WTO must recognise that the current one-size-fits-all approach, as outlined in TRIPS, is a barrier to the human right to health. As such an arbitration panel should be formed whereby human rights standards are used to test, on a case by case basis,
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ http://www.msfaccess.org/content/trips-trips-plus-and-doha 37 Ibid. 36
whether there are legitimate humanitarian grounds to grant temporary or permanent patent suspension. By granting temporary or permanent patent suspension, governments could gain the right to produce cost effective generic medicines to alleviate the suffering of their citizens. These agreements would allow for an agreed quantity of drugs that could be legally produced, reflecting the scale of the relevant problem, to reassure pharmaceutical companies that their intellectual property rights would be protected in the long term. This more flexible approach would alleviate human suffering without undermining pharmaceutical companiesâ€™ legitimate right to protect their intellectual property, and ensure continued innovation. Recommendation 3.2.2 Greater transparency in international pharmaceutical companies is required. At a state level, transparency can be forced through evidence and analysis of the overall costs of drug production and sales. Pharmaceutical companies often claim that their profit is necessary for innovation, however a lack of transparency means these claims cannot be verified. Because these companies do not routinely release their research and development spend as a proportion of their profits, it is impossible to determine whether patients are paying a price that can be justified in this way. As fair access to medicines is necessary for achieving the human right to health, it is undeniably in the public interest for pharmaceutical companies to be required by law to publish this information. This transparency would mean that in cases where research and development costs are exceptionally high, pharmaceutical companies could legitimately defend their pricing structures. While this recommendation does not guarantee that human rights will supersede intellectual property rights, it does serve to place pressure on pharmaceutical companies by highlighting disproportionate profits.
Gender and Human Rights Gender-based violence: the scope of the problem Gender-based violence (GBV) is a term that ordinarily applies to violent acts of aggression committed against women and girls. Inherent to this concept is the understanding of a power differential between the sexes which makes women and girls more prone to victimisation than men. Acts of gender-based violence are the most common human rights violations across the globe and undermine the security, mental and physical autonomy, health and dignity of its victims. GBV includes violence committed against the transgender community, who are targeted because of their gender identity.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 women in Britain between the ages of 16 and 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 1638. Further estimates suggest that 85,000 women a year are the victim of rape or serious sexual assault by penetration per year in the UK39. 85% of British women under the age of 25 have been sexually harassed in public, including 45% who have experienced unwanted sexual touching40. 3 in 4 transgender people report being the victims of abuse41. While these worryingly high statistics point to the immediate need to help people affected by such violence, it also highlights that we must urgently address cultural norms that promote discriminatory attitudes and condone acts of violence against women and the trans population. We have developed a raft of institutions and organisations to treat victims of violence after the fact, yet relatively little is done to address the cultural norms that overtly sexualise, discriminate against, and naturalise 38http://rapecrisis.org.uk/statistics.php 39http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160105160709/https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s
ystem/uploads/attachment_data/file/214970/sexual-offending-overview-jan-2013.pdf 40 http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/news/234/85-of-younger-women-in-uk-have-beensexually-harassed-in-public 41 http://www.galop.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/The-Hate-Crime-Report-20131.pdf
damaging conceptions of female and trans bodies. The problem with this bias is that it does little to address the cause, severity or frequency of gender-based violence in society. Nor does it address the cultural constructions of masculinity that condone and promote (on some level) gender-based violence, transphobia and rape culture. Why we need a preventative model Currently, most organisations and institutions that deal with gender-based violence favour a victim-centred, palliative model. This model places the victims of violence at the forefront of efforts to treat gender-based violence, by providing services to help victims overcome the hurt they have suffered, and constructing advocacy projects where governments are lobbied to legislate against hate crimes and acts of violence. Crucially, when identities are fashioned around suffering, and injuries are converted into â€˜cultural capitalâ€™, it tends to preserve the status quo rather than promoting change. Therefore, an unintended offshoot of this discourse means that attention has shifted away from the structural inequalities that render both women and LGBT+ communities more susceptible to violent attacks, to that of an individual exercise of self-help. We want to change the current cultural status quo, where the agenda is that it is infinitely easier to treat victims of GBV than address the underlying causes. A preventative model can begin to address the cultural permissibility of acts of genderbased violence. For the purpose of this report we have isolated three areas where an educative model can play a role in preventing gender based violence: Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in schools, the military and prison services.
Sex and Relationships Education in Schools Without providing a framework that teaches children and young adults grounded understandings of what constitutes a loving and mutual relationship between two consenting adults, and what constitutes violent and abusive behaviour, it is likely that young people will perpetuate relational models that are accessible to them via popular culture. This is particularly important given that most young children between the ages of 8-11, have seen unrealistic and objectifying depictions of sexuality through pornography. In May 2015, 1.4 million unique visitors to adult sites in the UK were under the age of 18, or one in ten visits to a pornographic website42.
Without the promotion of preventative and educational models, children and young adults may adopt behaviours that objectify the female body and could potentially lead to aggressive sexual behaviours. For example, the Zero Tolerance report found that 1 in 2 teenage boys and 1 in 3 teenage girls think it is ok to sometimes hit a woman or force her to have sex43. Similarly, a report by UK Feminista found that over one third of teenage girls aged between 13 and 18 experienced unwanted sexual touching in schools44. Given this, it appears imperative to target and challenge such behaviours within the structured safe space of schools, especially because this is at an age where young people are forming their personal and sexual identities. Recommendation 4.1.1 Make SRE compulsory in schools. Though there is a pre-existing framework for SRE in PSHE lessons, this should become mandatory with the provision to opt out removed. Recommendation 4.1.2 Extend the scope of SRE lessons to include consent and sexual violence workshops to start from primary school age (ages 8-11) and to include positive representations of sexual and romantic relationships. Recommendation 4.1.3 Frequency of lessons for primary age should be at least once a term but this should be increased to once every half term or more at secondary age. Following this, we recommend a tailored and culturally sensitive approach to the international community. Sustainable Development Goal 3.7 states: â€˜By 2030 ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and reproductive health into national strategies and programmesâ€™45. Recommendation 4.1.4 Include an SRE framework within 3.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals and into national strategies. This SRE should not just include the biological function of sex and family planning, but should instead be extended to deal with issues of consent, gender, sexuality, and sexual violence with a focus on positive, mutual relationships. As clearly the landscape for gender awareness varies widely between cultures, we appreciate that programmes must be culturally sensitive and adapted on a case-by-case basis. Constructions of gender, and the problems that stem from these constructions, vary widely between societies, and targeted approaches that reflect context-appropriate and effective educational programs are the best way to ensure global progress on gender equality.
http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/preventing-violence-against-women http://ukfeminista.org.uk/take-action/generation-f/statistics/ 45 https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300 44
Gender and the Military One in eight returning servicemen attacks someone after coming home from armed service, often their partner, according to UK Ministry of Defence research46. Between 2011 and 2014, military personnel levelled more than 200 allegations of rape and other sexual offences against their colleagues47.
Academics exploring the process of military training have repeatedly argued that it involves an explicitly ‘dehumanising’ character, that often focuses on associating emotional expression with femininity and casting this in a negative light48. In short, military training procedures frequently employ tactics designed to reinforce a strictly gendered view that masculinity is associated with physical toughness and femininity with weakness. Changemakers delegates strongly believe that not only is this approach sexist and anachronistic, but that it also leads to significant mental health problems in ex-military personnel, including high suicide rates49. It also increases the permissibility of violence against women and sexual minorities, by denigrating them in the process of idealising masculinity. The use of sexist and homophobic language is also used as part of training and humiliation tactics, thus creating a stigma for both women and homosexuals50. A propensity to violence, including considerable violence towards women on return from military service, means that one in ten male prisoners in the UK is ex-armed forces51.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18902195 http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/mar/02/200-allegations-rape-military 48 Whitworth, S. (2008) ‘Militarised masculinity and post-traumatic stress disorder’ in: J. Parpart, M. Zalewski (Eds.) Rethinking the man question: Sex, gender and violence in international relations, London: Zed Books (2008), also: Braswell, Harold & Kushner, (oward ). , Suicide, social integration, and masculinity in the U.S. military in Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 74, Issue 4 (pp.530-536) 49 Braswell, (arold & Kushner, (oward ). , Suicide, social integration, and masculinity in the U.S. military in Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 74, Issue 4 (pp.530-536) at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953610005812 (retrieved 24.11.2015) 50 Whitworth, S. (2008) ‘Militarised masculinity and post-traumatic stress disorder’ in: J. Parpart, M. Zalewski (Eds.) Rethinking the man question: Sex, gender and violence in international relations, London: Zed Books (2008), 51 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/one-in-10-prisoners-is-a-former-soldier-new-researchreveals-7944479.html 47
Recommendation 4.2.1 Include SRE within basic military training, as well as on exit from the armed forces. We thus propose the inclusion of SRE into basic training as a way of sensitising new recruits to the fact that there are women, homosexuals and transgender individuals in their midst who deserve for their military service to be free from discrimination. Sexist and homophobic slurs should not be accepted as forms of humiliation and should therefore be explicitly banned in the military environment, with enforcement for infringement of these rules. These SRE workshops should also be made compulsory before leaving the army, as a way of â€˜rehumanisingâ€™ soldiers. Significant support should be given to war veterans in assisting them in coping with a return to civilian life, including education and support in their relationships with women.
Transgender Prisoners Due to a pre-existing social stigma gender nonconforming individuals are particularly vulnerable to violence52. Even though there is legislation in place to protect transgender people, in recent times cases of victimisation and discrimination towards the transgender community has been more frequently reported; 3 in 4 transgender people report being the victims of abuse 53 . Difficulties for transgender individuals are even more acute when incarcerated, where understanding of transgender issues among prisoners and staff can be particularly low. Nearly one in six transgender people in the US have been incarcerated at some point in their lives, rising to 47% of black transgender people54. In the UK, the government estimates that there are at least 80 trans inmates in UK prisons, but does not keep an accurate record 55 . Because of this there is little information regarding the treatment of transgender prisoners by guards and fellow inmates, but anecdotal evidence points to abuse and sexual harassment56. Several high profile media cases have highlighted the way in which transgender people are often sent to prisons that do not reflect their assumed gender identity, including the
NB: We define a transgender person as someone who self-identities as having a different gender identity than their biological sex. 53http://www.galop.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/The-Hate-Crime-Report-20131.pdf 54http://www.transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/resources/NCTE_Blueprint_for_Equality2012_Pris
on_Reform.pdf 55 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34984249 56http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/29/transgender-prisoner-tara-hudson-sexually-harassedhmp-bristol
cases of Chelsea Manning in the US57, and Tara Hudson in the UK58. These policies explicitly place transgender individuals in significant danger from other prisoners. For example, Dee Farmer, a pre-operation transsexual woman with breast implants, was raped and subsequently contracted HIV whilst incarcerated59. Whether a person has undergone surgery or not is irrelevant to the classification of trans people. This outlines a failing in this system of classification for prison housing. Building upon pre-existing legislation Globally, legislative efforts are being made to address the victimisation of trans people in prison. In practice, however, these are very irregularly enforced. The US Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) 201560 has outlined some measures to specifically aid gender nonconforming people during their imprisonment. This has been developed and refined since the PREA 2013. These PREA guidelines focus on:
screening and classification to determine those most likely to suffer abuse. ensuring that appropriate housing is determined for transgender individuals on a case by case basis. ensuring transgender individuals are not simply placed in isolation. the prohibition of cross-gender strip searches unless deemed absolutely necessary, which must be logged appropriately. appropriate support for victims of abuse.
The UK Ministry of Justice 2011 guidelines on transgender individuals in the prison system61 assert that transgender prisoners should be permitted to live permanently in their acquired gender, and this must be reflected in their housing and access to resources. Despite this, in Britain and the US transgender prisoners continue to be placed in prison facilities with individuals of the opposite gender to which they identify, which can have serious consequences for their mental health, their likelihood of being subject to abuse, and their risk of suicide. Recommendation 4.3.1 In line with current PREA and Ministry of Justice guidelines, gender non-conforming people must be incarcerated according to the gender they identify with rather than their biological sex. An effective policy that was made uniform across justice systems would ensure trans prisoners were incarcerated appropriately according to their self-expressed gender identity, protecting them from physical and mental harm. Included within this legislative framework would be guidelines identifying flexible criteria, for example authorisation by a psychologist, to ensure this was not abused by prisoners wishing to take advantage of the system.
http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2015/08/24/op-ed-chelsea-mannings-plight-highlights-transprison-abuses 58http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/29/transgender-prisoner-tara-hudson-sexually-harassedhmp-bristol 59 https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/92-7247.ZO.html 60 https://www.bja.gov/ProgramDetails.aspx?Program_ID=76 61 https://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/offenders/psipso/psi2011/psi_2011_07_care_management_transsexual_prisoners.doc
This policy would be a significant turning point in the treatment of transgender people in prison. It would offer a fair system that minimised discrimination within the justice system. This would also encourage understanding of transgender issues, educating people on how trans people should be treated. This is especially important for prison staff, helping them to manage cases of violence against trans people and end the abuse of transgender prisoners by prison workers. Changemakers delegates would like to see Britain as a global leader in improving the rights of transgender prisoners, and raising awareness of transgender rights more broadly.
Moving Forward AFI Changemakersâ€™ events do not stop at the end of the day. The policy recommendations compiled by our young leaders in this report will be submitted to various UN bodies, British democratic institutions and third sector think-tanks and other organisations. We strongly believe that voices of young people must not be ignored on the global stage. We are extremely proud to announce that at the beginning of 2016 Ariel Foundation International was awarded Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) consultative status at the United Nations. This means that AFI Changemakers delegates will be eligible to represent the organisation at any United Nations body. AFI was also given NGO recognition status at the European Parliament (Brussels, Strasbourg, Lichtenstein). We aim to use these accreditations as tools to represent the views of youth around the world. As part of our mission to become a truly global community, we are expanding our reach through social media to access Changemakers across the world. We are also looking to host events at the European Parliament in the near future. Thanks to the success of the 2015 AFI Changemakers Summit at UK Parliament, we are looking forward to hosting our second AFI Changemakers Summit at Parliament Week event in an expanded capacity in November 2016. To join our movement, and for more information, visit www.changemakersun.org.
About the delegates Organisational team Henry Gilliver (Co-Chair) Henry has recently completed a masterâ€™s degree in International Public Policy at University College London. He is particularly interested in the proliferation of international norms, and believes that young people have in important role in generating and promoting them. He has previously researched the determining factors in global foreign aid allocation, with a view to promoting policies to improve overall aid effectiveness.
Emma Robinson (Co-Chair) Emma recently graduated from Kingâ€™s College London with a degree in Physics with Theoretical Physics. She is currently working at the UK Department for Education, where she is passionate about understanding how educational inequality can be addressed. Before joining the Department for Education, she worked for the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change and volunteered for various organisations that aim to promote social justice.
Megan Smith Megan is in her final year of Law with European Legal Studies at King's College London, having spent a year studying International Law at Leiden University, in the Netherlands. She is passionate about strengthening the rule of law on a national and international scale and ensuring access to justice, particularly for women. She is currently working to strengthen the student network of Lawyers Without Borders and is active in increasing participation of students in pro bono activities.
Rory Evans Rory is currently studying an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development at SOAS in London. He has experience working in digital media for a food security charity operating in Eastern Africa and has volunteered in the West Bank on a youth media project bringing the Palestinian struggle to an international audience. Rory strongly believes that cross-cultural understanding and
sustainable development that demands equality, inclusion and social justice is crucial to problem-solving in both the developed and developing world.
Delegates Naomi Gillespie Naomi recently graduated from Kingâ€™s College London with a degree in English Literature. Over the course of her degree she specialised in a range of topics including the Israel/Palestine conflict, the Rwandan Genocide, postcolonial theory, political philosophy and ethics. She is particularly interested in the effects of globalisation, specifically how ideas of nation and national identity function in a globalised world.
Isabel Pearson Isabel is currently reading Politics with International Relations at the University of York. She is interested in pursuing a career in international development, most likely in policy and communications. She is currently chair of her Universityâ€™s Amnesty International Society, to which she dedicates an enormous amount of her time.
Emma Judkins Emma is reading International History and Politics at the University of Leeds, having completed a year abroad at Leiden University. She has taken a great interest in Model United Nations and debating. She believes that as part of a new generation that has never been so interconnected, understanding each otherâ€™s cultures is key to the longevity of peace and stability in our world.
Connie Flude Connie is a recent graduate of an MPhil in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge, where her thesis, which explored the medicalisation of rape victimhood and trauma, was awarded the Bell Scholar Prize. She has conducted research into sex work and sex tourism in Southeast Asia, and managed a charity dealing with child sacrifice and witch-related beliefs in Uganda. She is interested in challenging structural discrimination and inequality and promoting social justice.
Ruth Foster Ruth is currently studying at the University of Edinburgh, and works at the Edinburgh Students’ Charities Appeal. In 2015 she spent three months volunteering in East Jerusalem. As such, she is particularly interested in the Israel/Palestine conflict, and how British foreign policy is influencing the situation. Ruth also advocates for greater action on the part of the British government in relation to the ongoing refugee crisis.
Viktoras Pinkevičius Viktoras is a student from Lithuania, where he is currently studying International Relations and Diplomacy at Vilnius University. He takes particular interest in the current economic, social and political threats facing the European Union, and is concerned about the potential consequences of disunity. He is intent on understanding the complex causes of mass migration from the Middle East and North Africa into Europe.
Benjamin Ryder Benjamin is interested in how governments will respond to the Sustainable Development Goals, and advocates that these are integrated into the Department for International Development’s policies with regard to foreign aid programmes. He believes that the government has an obligation to pursue a development strategy focussed on human development and human rights, over and above a strictly economic framework, and that these policies must be employed with an understanding of local contexts.
Megan Wright Megan studies International Relations at King’s College London. She is interested in the refugee crisis, with a particular focus on skills training and education provision for displaced persons within the United Kingdom. She believes that it is essential that the government provides refugees with skills, in addition to a safe environment, so that they can integrate within society and live fulfilled, productive lives.
Gabriela Pascholati do Amaral Gabriela is a master’s student at King's College London, and President of the Global Health Policy Centre at the King's Think Tank. Her main interests are gender equality, global health and Russian politics. She is particularly interested in sexual violence in conflict and increasing accountability to bring perpetrators to justice.
Ziyad Campbell Ziyad currently lives in Manchester in the North West of England. He is passionate about women’s rights, racial inequality and the rights of transgender people. Specifically, he is angered by the lack of government support for trans women, the high rates of sexual harassment they face, and the lack of media and political representation they receive.
Hinda Ibrahim Hinda is currently studying at King’s College London. She is interested in issues surrounding educational inequality, particularly in the context of the world’s least developed countries, with a focus on how these perpetuate poverty.
Erin Colfer Erin’s main interests lie in mental health, focussing on national and international attitudes, awareness and treatment provision. She is passionate about reform in this area, and believes that achieving parity of esteem between physical and mental health must be central to any successful development strategy.
Dr. Ariel King Dr. King is the founder and president of Ariel Foundation International (AFI). In addition to AFI, Dr. King also founded Ariel Consulting International, Inc., a company that creates and enhances Public-Private Partnerships in international policy; and management in health, strategic planning and business with a focus on developing countries. Dr. Ariel King has been an Economic, Cultural and Social Council (ECOSOC) Permanent Representative for various NGOs at the UN in Geneva since 2008, the UN in Vienna (UNOV) since 2010 and the UN in New York since 2000. Her work draws on her experience of 35 years of living and working in 11 countries and travelling to over 50 more. Dr. King’s life focus is on the human rights of children and youth. She is the very proud mommy of 12-year old “Little Ambassador” Ariana-Leilani Margarita Alexandra King-Pfeiffer, whose life has inspired the founding of the Ariana-Leilani Children’s Foundation International (2008) to educate and advocate for children’s human rights worldwide. Dr King passionately believes in the rights of young people, including their right to have their voices heard. AFI provides financial and logistical support to AFI Changemakers, as well as the experience of Dr. King, enabling young people to lead Changemakers onto the international stage.
Julie Ward MEP Julie is a Labour and Co-operative Party Member of the European Parliament for the North West of England, covering Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester. As a Labour MEP she is also part of the second largest group in the European Parliament, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. Julie serves on the Parliament's Culture & Education Committee, the Regional Development Committee and the Committee on Gender Equality and Women's Rights. She is also a member of the Labour Party's Policy Commission on Education and Children. First elected in May 2014, Julie previously enjoyed a long career in the cultural sector, working with marginalised communities using arts as a tool for wellbeing, empowerment and social change. This work included being part of an international delegation to Belfast, to participate in an all-party discussion about the role of the arts in peace-building processes. Julie has extensive experience of front-line grassroots work, engaging with people from all walks of life as they try to do their best for their families and their communities, often in very challenging circumstances.
AFI Changemakers Publications All AFI Changemakers publications can be accessed at the AFI Changemakers website. Report to the United Nations at the 68th World Health Assembly Report on the Right to Health and Access to Medicines Report on Mental Health Report on Sustainability of Healthcare and Access to Medicines Report on Corruption in Healthcare Report to the Right to Development Working Group Report on Discrimination Report on Slavery and Trafficking Report to United Nations Social Forum on Youth and Older Persons â€“ Intergenerational Alliance Official statements: Official statement to 16th session of the Working Group on the Right to Development Official statement to the 14th session of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA)
Published on Jan 1, 2016
The official AFI Changemakers report from our summit on international development and human rights, held in Portcullis House in partnership...