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Newsletter

Issue 7

July 2010

New NIPSA Project Working in Partnership with Tanzanian Trade Union

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IPSA, in co-operation with local NI charity Disability Aid Abroad, is working in partnership with the Tanzanian Union of Industrial and Commercial Operatives (TUICO) to help develop an Employment Support Project for People with Disabilities in Tanzania. The two year project will fund the training and employment of 20 people with disabilities and will develop trade union sponsored disability equality training courses in the workplace.

The programme is co-sponsored by the AFLCIO in the USA and the TUC in the UK. NIPSA and other trade union partners recognise that disabled people in developing countries are the forgotten voice of international development aid and they urgently need specific targeted help. In many developing countries disability is regarded as a cultural stigma, and in sub (continued on page 2)

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Working in Partnership with Tanzanian Trade Union (continued from page 1) Saharan Africa less than 5% of disabled people receive a formal education and fewer than 3% are in paid employment. People with disabilities like Malami Shungu (pictured opposite) who was born with polio have an uphill struggle merely to survive. Isolated in his family and unable to walk Malami was fortunate to have an older sister determined to see that he got an education. So she carried him on her back to primary school every day – a journey of 4 miles! With the support of NI charities like Disability Aid Abroad, Children in Crossfire and War on Want (NI), Malami received vocational training and started work building tricycles and wheelchairs for disabled people (see photograph below). Becoming a member of the Tanzanian trade union TUICO gave him a sense of community and he has now become a trade union advocate fighting for basic human rights for disabled people. The UN Convention on Rights for People with Disabilities, which has been ratified by Tanzania, outlines the employment and education rights for people with disabilities. However lack of information, resources and will means that the convention principles are frequently ignored. Therefore a key

Malami Shungu

component of the Employment Project will be to develop and deliver Disability Equality and Employment training courses for civic, governmental and disability organisations. International exchange visits by trade union activists from the TUICO will allow them to see how NI trade unions like NIPSA provide disability support in the workplace for their disabled members. In thanking NIPSA for their support Salum A. Katanga Regional Secretary of TUICO said that: “in Tanzania people with disabilities who join trade unions become empowered by the collective strength of the trade unions and for many, for the first time in their lives they no longer feel isolated, lonely and fearful of the future. They are given an opportunity for meaningful employment”.

Malami Shungu building a tricycle

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The employment support project for workers with disabilities jointly sponsored by NIPSA will hopefully be further developed as a template for other developing countries.

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Demonstration outside Belfast City Hall on 31 May 2010 against Israel’s assault on Gaza aid convoy

Israel’s Assault on Aid Convoy Akin to Action of a ‘Rogue State’

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he International Trade Union Congress condemn the Israeli assault on the Gaza aid convoy on 31 May 2010 during which at least 9 civilians were killed and many more injured.

Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). For further information visit NIPSA Global Solidarity Campaign’s web page.

The people on the boat were civilians engaged in peaceful humanitarian work, bringing much needed aid to the Gaza Strip and were no threat to anyone. To launch a military assault on a humanitarian convoy is beyond the bounds of all that is acceptable. The Trade Union Congress called the attacks on innocent civilians as callous and akin to actions of a ‘Rogue State’. The Trade Union Congress is calling for an immediate suspension of the EU’s trade agreement with Israel and the immediate reversal of the recent decision to accept Israel into full membership of the Organisation for

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New NIPSA Project Fight for Workers Rights in Costa Rica

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IPSA has agreed to fund this project with Trócaire at a cost of £20,000. This two year project will contribute to the protection and defence of the labour rights of Nicaraguan migrant agricultural and domestic workers living in the areas of San José, Upala and Los Chiles in Costa Rica. According to Gemma Evans, Trócaire’s international Programme Officer, “the fight for workers rights in Central America has always been high on the list of priorities for overseas development agency Trócaire. Why this fight is necessary is starkly illustrated in Costa Rica. This small Central America country receives the highest number of migrants in proportion to its population in the region. It is estimated that 8% of the country’s population are migrants and two thirds of those migrants are Nicaraguan. Half of all Nicaraguans living outside their own country are in Costa Rica and these figures do not reveal the number of illegal migrants, who are not included in the official statistics. Most Nicaraguans migrate to Costa Rica in search of jobs and a way to better their lives and those of their families but there can be a high personal cost. Costa Rica’s laws place severe limitations on the protection and defence of the human rights of migrants that have not legalised their status in the country. One of the major limitations is access to the justice system, which means that workers suffering exploitation have no recourse to the law. The result is widespread abuse of workers rights. Labour Rights Awarness Raising Activity in Costa Rica

Nicaraguan Labour Rights Activists in Costa Rica

Trócaire is working with two local partner organisations, Centre of Immigrants Rights (CENDEROS) and Pastoral Social Caritas in Ciudad Quesada, and over the next two years a new programme to help the migrant workers will be rolled out. CENDEROS and Pastoral Social Caritas in Ciudad Quesada have been working on this issue since their creation and have experience and a deep knowledge of the problems facing migrants as well as the respect of the population and the government. Both organisations have been participating for more than three years in Trócaire’s Human Rights Programme in Nicaragua”. Gemma concluded by stating: “Thanks to funding from NIPSA’s Developing World Fund we will be informing the migrant population of changes in the law which could affect how they are treated, lobbying the government to protect migrant workers and pressuring employers to fulfil their duties so that the rights of these workers are respected. Thousands of migrant workers are set to benefit from this work”.

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Trafficking in Northern Ireland: Call for Stronger Response

Young girl victim of traffickers trying to smuggle her into Benin - picture taken at the border of Burkina Faso

© ILO photo/Gianotti. E

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n 16 June 2010 Amnesty International in partnership with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions launched a new report on trafficking showing that the UK Government’s new anti-trafficking measures are “not fit for purpose” and the UK Government is breaching its obligations under the European Convention against Trafficking (1).

figures obtained from freedom of information requests. It found marked disparities in the successful identification of trafficking victims, leading to fears that officials are overly concerned with immigration issues rather than assisting the victims of traumatic crimes, including sexual exploitation and forced labour.

The report, the first major study of the government’s anti-trafficking measures since they launched 14 months ago, found that the government’s flagship “National Referral Mechanism” is “flawed” and possibly discriminatory.

Campaigners say there is clear evidence that criminals are even controlling their victims by warning that they will be seen as “illegal immigrants” not victims, and would be subject to detention and removed from the country or even imprisoned.

The 167-page report, “Wrong kind of victim?” by the AntiTrafficking Monitoring Group, a coalition including AntiSlavery International, Amnesty International UK and ECPAT (2), reviewed 390 individual cases, as well as data from the UK Human Trafficking Centre and

The report’s authors visited Northern Ireland in November 2009 when they conducted extensive research. In April 2010 the PSNI confirmed to the Anti Trafficking Monitoring Group that between 1 April 2009 and 1 April 2010 a total of

25 people had been identified as presumed trafficked persons. Given that this has not resulted in a corresponding number of convictions, the authors recommend that the Public Prosecution Service should provide guidance on human trafficking for all prosecutors in Northern Ireland in order to improve the level of convictions here. It should also provide guidance on the non-criminalisation of trafficked persons who may have committed offences during their trafficking. The researchers found that the Northern Ireland Executive and Northern Ireland Office had informed departments about the National Referral Mechanism, the fact that no formal information campaign has taken place means that there was a significant problem with a lack of awareness and (continued on page 12)

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WaterAid “4,000 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation”

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n 21 May 2010 Vincenta Leyden a representative from WaterAid addressed the NIPSA Global Solidarity Committee and Champions on the work of WaterAid and various campaigns they are involved in. In particular she talked about her visit to India where she experienced first hand the conditions people live in and how WaterAid is helping transform lives. The following is her account of that experience. “India is a huge and diverse country with a population of more than one billion people. There are major divides between rich and poor with almost 30% of the population living in poverty. In a country so large, there are vast numbers without sanitation and water. For every 1,000 children, 87 die before their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable diseases like diarrhoea. Just 15% of the rural population has access to a toilet. “There were villages with only one working handpump. In one such village, a hand-pump was modified into a higher caste household, another served 105 households. That meant over 450 people had access to only one hand-pump. Not surprisingly this broke down regularly. When this happened families would walk miles to find water from another source.”

Vincenta with the NIPSA delegation The water they collected was dirty and had been contaminated by industry and agriculture. As a mother I couldn’t imagine giving it to my child to drink, but these mothers had no choice. Sustainability and drinking water quality is a problem throughout India. A large amount of water is used in agriculture and industry resulting in declining availability of water and the deterioration of water quality. Water scarcity is a real problem, in some communities water supply can only fulfil the needs of half of the population. Water quality poses an additional threat, with chemicals such as iron, arsenic and fluoride present in the water supply. Sanitation conditions are incredibly poor across India. In some villages visited, only 3% had access to a toilet. People defecate in open spaces exposing themselves to disease, lack of privacy and indignity. Vincenta and her colleagues heard of many people and children who had become ill and died from preventable diseases, such as diarrhoea. Help is slowly coming to the regions visited and WaterAid, along with other aid organisations, has already transformed the lives of thousands of people. WaterAid’s approach includes hygiene education, building and rehabilitating bore holes and Vincenta saw the results of the work first hand.

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Education is also vital and the children of the villages often have a key role: “The children are taught ‘child to child’ about hygiene and sanitation, spreading the message to their friends and family. In one village the children acted out a play where a child was sick and the Doctor and Pharmacist came to visit them instructing the patient how to build a latrine, wash their hands and use soap – something we are all taught as children.”

“WaterAid shows the villages how to build latrines in pairs, they use one and once it is full they cover it in ash and use the adjacent one. After a time the waste in the full latrine breaks down with the ash and can then be emptied and used to fertilise the land.”

The results of providing clean water and sanitation are nothing short of miraculous. Because villagers are healthy and not having to spend time travelling great distances to collect dirty water or tend ill children, they have time to take

WaterAid also helps the villages obtain access to clean water by rehabilitating wells, digging boreholes and showing the villages how to build and maintain simple pumps to access the water. The work is done with the villages so they are able to sustain the simple infrastructure. In one small village Vincenta and her colleagues from WaterAid helped the villagers build latrines to help the whole village reach ‘defection free’ status. advantage of the other scheme offered by WaterAid such as soap production, enabling them to make money as well as encouraging good hygiene – the benefits snowball and multiply. “Just £15 is enough money to provide one person with sustainable safe water and sanitation – just £15 could save somebody’s life.”

NIPSA continues to support WaterAid’s campaigns. Just recently at the NIPSA Conference we raised £70 for their ‘Buckets of Pennies for Buckets of Water’ Campaign.

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Field Report on the NIPSA Supported Project in Malawi

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n January 2009 the NIPSA Developing World Fund agreed to support this livelihood programme with Concern Worldwide at a cost of ÂŁ12,000.

One year on the following field report examines the progress against each of the programme’s key objectives.

Increasing availability of natural woodlands, firewood, timber, poles, fish and game Tree Planting was implemented in two of the three traditional authorities. In Mwadzama a tree nursery has been set up with 2,300 seedlings and in Mwansambo 18,500 seedlings have been planted. The types of trees being grown are gliricidia, senna siema, faiderbia albida and acacia. These particular types of trees are fast growing. Some will be used for firewood and others to improve soil fertility. Fish pond under construction

Sample nurseries in programme areas

With the assistance of the Department of Forestry and community based organisations, Concern facilitated with demarcation of forest areas so that trees will now be conserved and allowed to regenerate. Training on the sustainable management and utilisation of natural resources was carried out in four villages in Mwansambo, this involved giving each village the responsibility of looking after their own natural resources for their own areas. This will help reduce unnecessary bush fires that villagers were allowed to carry out before demarcation because there was no ownership of the land. The villages are now proud to own and manage their own resources and have put in place some by-laws and regulations.

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Fish is one of the most important natural resources for communities living on the lakeshores because it is the sole source of protein for most of them. Communities that live a further distance from the lake have problems accessing fish and have no alternative sources of high quality protein. Six fish ponds have now been constructed instead of the original three that were proposed. This was because of the overwhelming response Concern received and more communities requested assistance with constructing fish ponds. The communities we are helping are all far from the lake. Not only will the ponds supply fish as a food source for the community but will also give community members the opportunity to sell some of the fish at market.

Creating awareness on sustainable use of natural resources Land degradation is a common problem in Malawi due to mono-cropping and cultivation of marginal lands as a result of population pressure. Concern is working with three villages where land and water conservation measures are being implemented. These villages are acting as models of good practice to other villages. It is expected that more villages will adopt these technologies in the future. The technologies being promoted are;

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Contour Marker Ridge Construction: This is the most effective way of preventing soil erosion. This is done by putting crop ridges around a frame built in the shape of an ‘A’. This work and training is done in collaboration with the District Agriculture Office.

conducive to crop growth. This farming has started in six villages and involves 109 participating farmers.

Check Dam Construction: Check dams are simple structures that are constructed across a gully to reduce runoff and will eventually allow the gulley to fill with soil. Gully reclamation is normally done during the rainy season which is just starting (December).

Sensitisation on Soil and Water Conservation: Working in collaboration with the District Agricultural Napilira Kapichira from Kayembe Office community Club harvesting green awareness meetings maize cobs which have been on soil and water pre-sold to some restaurants conservation were in Lilongwe, Malawi conducted. Following these meetings, three model villages were identified. These villages will now implement the conservation technologies they have learnt and pass these on to other villages.

Vertiver Planting: Vertiver grass is deep rooted and able to hold the soil together, thereby protecting the soil from erosion. Concern is assisting farmers establish vertiver nurseries in their communities. There are currently 18 nurseries at various stages of growth in all three of the Authorities. This vertiver will later be planted in all the marker ridges. It is believed that when this initiative is fully operational soil erosion will be greatly reduced and farmers’ yields will eventually start to increase, particularly for those farmers who cannot afford fertilizers.

Natural Resources Management Training Three sessions of training were conducted, one for each village forest committee. The aim of the training was to empower the village committees to care, protect, manage and properly utilise their forest resources and foster ownership. Topics discussed included natural resources and their importance in life, the role of village natural resource management committees, the creation of forest bylaws, forest demarcations and management systems.

Irrigation Group in front of their maize crop

Manure Making: Committees were formed and trained on the benefits of applying manure to their respective gardens. The training covered lessons on how manure helps soil to conserve moisture and provides the nutrients that helps fertilize the crops. The total number of compost manure heaps created between the three Authorities is 53,892. Conservation Farming: In conservation farming, fields are covered with crop residues and herbicides are applied to suppress weed growth. There is no soil movement. Eventually the crop residues rot and form thick mat of manure,

Sample nursery in programme areas

Thanks to the support provided by NIPSA’s Developing World Fund approximately 5,000 households have benefited directly from the programme, resulting in 22,500 indirectly benefiting.

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Jorge Gamboa and Mariela Kohon

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Between 2007-2009 – a total of 128 trade unionists were killed. The killings continued in 2010 with a further 28 deaths. 2010 saw no ease in the situation in Colombia. Since January of this year a total of 28 trade unionists have been killed on account of their trade union activities. Just recently V

Leslien Blanco, a teacher affiliated to ASINORT, was murdered on her way to work;

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Francisco Abello had taken part in a successful 67 day strike for the recognition of the agricultural workers’ union SINTRAINAGRO and the signing of a collective agreement between December 2009 and January 2010. Threats against the workers continued after the agreement was negotiated, and these threats became reality with Abello’s murder on 17 May;

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Hernan Abdiel Ordonez, treasurer of the executive board of the prison workers’ union ASEINPEC in Cali was shot dead. He had been involved in denouncing alleged acts of corruption by top prison officers at the Women’s Prison; and

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Daíro Rúa, branch president of the mining and energy workers’ union SINTRAMIENERGETICA, was threatened and declared a ‘military target’ after opposing the sale of assets belonging to the workers.

NIPSA’s General Secretary, Brian Campfield, has written yet again to the Colombian Ambassador to protest about the murder of these three Colombian trade unionists and threats against a fourth. In his letter he states: “Your Government has gone to great pains to argue that there has been a dramatic fall in the number of trade unionists being assassinated. Tragically this is not the case with the death since January of this year totalling 28; demonstrating that despite Colombian Government claims and assurances given to the international community, little is being done to safeguard the lives of trade union members and activists in Colombia. I must again restate our position that, until such time as these killings and abuses of

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human rights against trade unionists in Colombia cease and the perpetrators of such actions are brought to justice, the trade union movement will continue to urge our own Government to end their political and military support for the Colombian Government and oppose the signing of any Free Trade Agreements between the EU and Colombia. I look forward to hearing from you regarding what action is being taken to find and prosecute the murderers in these cases.” At this year’s NIPSA Conference on 3 June 2010 Jorge Gamboa (pictured opposite), a member of the National Executive of the CUT Trade Union Federation, addressed the delegates and talked about the difficulties and threats he faced on a daily basis representing his members and trying to defend the right to collective bargaining and freedom of speech. He told delegates in April 2008 when speaking at an event for union members against the proposed privatisation of the Colombian State Oil Company, a group of police officers attempted to assassinate him. He has since been forced to travel with bodyguards and he is still one of the most threatened and high profile trade union leaders in Colombia. Mariela Kohon from Justice for Colombia also spoke about their campaign for the release of Colombia’s political prisoners. She said: “There are hundreds of political prisoners languishing in Colombian jails. They are held without having being convicted of any crime and are often denied necessities such as food and medicine. Some have been tortured. Among those being held in prison for their political beliefs are trade unionists, human rights activitists, community leaders and indigenous people as well as academics who have written papers critical of the regime.” She called on the international community to speak out about the human rights situation in Colombia by writing to your MLAs, MPs and MEPs. She encouraged NIPSA members to support their postcard campaign calling on the British Government to speak out about the ongoing imprisonment of hundreds of innocent people, including many trade union leaders, for the simple ‘crime’ of speaking out against the Colombian regime. For more information about how to get involved in Justice for Colombia Campaigns visit their website: www.JusticeforColombia.org Pictured left to right: Heather McKinstry, Mariela Kohon, Jorge Gamboa and Trevor Smyth

HOW can you help? BY RAISING MONEY

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he challenge is there for members and branches to work up fund raising ventures.

BY DONATING

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e encourage members, if they can afford it, to give regularly by either taking out a covenant or authorising a Give As You Earn (GAYE) payroll deduction. If you would like to do this, please complete the deduction slip below, and make a real difference to the lives of the poor people of the world. NIPSA/Developing World Fund Payroll Donation Form

I want to give to the NIPSA Developing World Fund, direct from my salary the following amount per month: (please tick box) £5.00

cost in take home pay £3.90

£10.00 cost in take home pay £7.80 £15.00 cost in take home pay £11.70 £20.00 cost in take home pay £15.60 Above figures are based on standard tax rates. Weekly paid staff should indicate amounts in panel below

£ Minimum donation £1.30 Cost in take home pay £1.00

Name Address may be omitted if necessary

Postcode Staff No Employer’s Name Work Location Signed Date

Please tick if you already use GAYE

Please return this form to NIPSA Headquarters

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Why is NIPSA’s Developing World Fund unique? The Fund is unique because ..... ..... not a single penny of the money contributed by members goes towards administration - 100% of the money donated goes towards the specific self-help projects which NIPSA supports; ..... for every £1 contributed by members (who pay tax), NIPSA is able to recover paid tax, eg £5 per month deducted from your gross wage (before tax) actually costs you only £3.90 (at the basic rate of tax); ..... the General Council donates to the Fund each year. This money does not come out of NIPSA’s funds, but out of the Union’s fee fund, which is made up of the monies paid to union officials for their appearances on industrial tribunals and other public bodies.

Trafficking in Northern Ireland: Call for Stronger Response (continued from page 5) poor implementation of the identification process, and they call on the Northern Ireland Executive to deliver a localised Northern Ireland Referral Mechanism to ensure better decision making at a local level in Northern Ireland and in accordance with their obligations under the Convention. Patricia Campbell, Campaigner for Amnesty International Northern Ireland said: “It is clear that the process set in train after the UK Government signed up to the anti-trafficking convention has not worked in practice in Northern Ireland, and few of those working on the frontline are adequately trained to deal with this horrendous crime. “The identification system is clearly not fit for purpose, and we need the Assembly Government to take a strong lead in this area in order to establish an all Northern Ireland Human Trafficking Group, bringing together devolved and

non-devolved departments, the PSNI, Health and Social Care Trusts and all other relevant statutory and non statutory agencies to establish an integrated approach to trafficking and thus adequately safeguard people at risk in Northern Ireland.” Patricia Campbell continued: “There has been some progress in Northern Ireland since we began campaigning in order to protect victims of trafficking in Northern Ireland, but this report indicates that we have not yet delivered a system which serves victims in Northern Ireland. “We need a new system guided by the proper understanding and implementation of the European Convention Against Trafficking. Only then will it be possible to treat trafficking victims compassionately and properly prosecute the serious criminals behind this human rights abuse.”

Geraldine Alexander Global Solidarity Committee NIPSA Harkin House 54 Wellington Park BELFAST BT9 6DP Tele: 028 9066 1831 Fax: 028 9066 5847 Minicom: 028 9068 7285 E-mail: info@nipsa.org.uk Web: www.nipsa.org.uk Views expressed in this Newsletter are not, unless otherwise stated, the views of NIPSA. Karen Burch (centre) presenting a cheque for £400 in aid of the NIPSA Developing World Fund to Trevor Smyth and Heather McKinstry of the NIPSA Global Solidarity Committee at the NIPSA Conference in June. The money was raised at the CMED’s Golden Goals Event.

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NIPSA Global Solidarity Newsletter, July 2010