In this section you will find reports, in-depth analysis and investigative materials in English, French, Spanish or Catalan  on a range of issues and topics, from public health to human rights or arms trade uploaded between 2011 and 2015 (new material will be made available weekly) . Each title provides a link to the original location, a summary or/and highlights and context information (posts in the blog, tweets and other sources).

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Título: Justicia privatizada
Subtítulo: El Estado español y los mecanismos de resolución de controversias inversor-Estado
Autores: Beatriz Plaza y Pedro Ramiro (OMAL)
Diseño y maquetación: Andrés Espinosa

En el presente trabajo se pretende analizar qué relación tienen en la actualidad los mecanismos de solución de controversias inversor-Estado con el Estado español. Así, tomando como base los casos de las demandas presentadas ante el CIADI, el tribunal de arbitraje del Banco Mundial, para la elaboración de este informe se ha tenido en cuenta una doble perspectiva: por una parte, se examinan los casos en los que las empresas españolas han presentado demandas frente a otros países ante ese tribunal de arbitraje, analizando los instrumentos jurídicos utilizados, las razones esgrimidas por las partes y la situación actual del procedimiento, entre otros factores; por otra, se detallan aquellos casos en los que diferentes corporaciones transnacionales extranjeras han demandado al Estado español ante el CIADI.
 Informe completo aquí >>
Blog post 

Potential Human Rights Impact of TPP Sanya Reid Smith Third World Network 2015

Original URL

This report is extremely valuable for several reasons: on one hand, by comparing clauses and dispositions in previous  FTAs signed in the past ( such as NAFTA and US-Peru) for which there is already a record of negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights clearly demonstrates,with examples and ample evidence, that the warnings and concern of organized civil society are well founded; on the other by compiling statements of international human rights agreements monitoring bodies and UN special rapporteurs on specific rights on the TPP and its effects on human rights makes the case for the danger posed by a piece of international law which would contradict several human rights conventions (signed and ratified by most TPP members). In addition, the report includes in an annex all those dispositions which go beyond WTO rules and also arbitration opinions in instruments like Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) that could be used as reference in TPP disputes.
Picture from UNAIDS calls on trade negotiators to uphold governments’ commitments to public health and access to medicines Bilaterals July  25th 2015

 Here´s  part of the  summary  and an excerpt with added hyperlinks

This document summarizes some of the ways in which the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) can harm human rights. The analysis only examines the impact on recommendations and comments by United Nations (UN) Special Procedures mandate holders and other United Nations human rights bodies, so there are other human rights which are likely to be adversely affected by the TPP which are not covered here. In a statement on the TPP and other free trade agreements, 10 UN Special Rapporteurs/Independent Experts expressed concern about the secret way in which they have been negotiated and their potential adverse impacts on human rights (including  the rights to life, food, water andsanitation, health, housing,  education, science and culture, improved labour standards, an independent judiciary and a clean  environment).

Human rights body comment or recommendation How TPP provision affects human rights
The right to health includes access to essential medicines‘States are bound to promote the right to health through the ensuring access to affordable treatments. . .’ (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/13) ‘the World Bank has noted that IPRs can sometimes prevent the distribution of potential international public goods helpful to poor countries, which can seldom afford the prices charged by patent owners’(E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/13)‘there is evidence to suggest that the effect of patents on affordability is significant with drug prices falling sharply when generic substitutes enter a market to compete with drugs upon patent expiry’(E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/13)‘According to UNAIDS, the high prices of HIV treatments are due, in part, to patent protection which allows control over their manufacture and sale’E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/13)‘Developing countries and LDCs should not introduce TRIPS-plus standards in their national laws. Developed countries should not encourage developing countries and LDCs to enter into TRIPS-plus FTAs’[248] The study above noting the impact on Vietnam of agreeing to TRIPS+ in the TPP states that ‘Similar price impacts can be expected for other countries participating in the TPPA, though these are less economically vulnerable than Vietnam.’ Even in countries which are richer than Vietnam, medicines can be difficult to afford for governments who subsidise them or patients who pay out of pocket. For example biologics are increasingly important medicines. At the monopoly prices for biologics (which more of them would have for longer if the provisions proposed in the TPP are accepted, see Annex 1): in 2007, Americans spent $286.5 billion for prescription drugs, $40.3 billion of which was for biologic drugs’, biologics ‘are eventually going to represent more than 50 percent of spending in the next few years (workshop transcript) and ‘The average daily cost of a brand name biologic product is approximately 22 times greater than a traditional drug’.‘12 out of the 13 new cancer drugs approved last year were priced over 100,000 dollars annually. And some drugs are coming to market with prices closer to 400,000 dollars.’(workshop transcript) One biologic medicine costs about $569,000/ patient/year, often for a lifetime.The leaked TPP IP chapter text, see Annex 1, shows that developed countries are still seeking TRIPS-plus provisions in this FTA.
‘the State has to do all it reasonably can to make an essential medicine available in its jurisdiction e.g. by using, where appropriate, the TRIPS flexibilities, such as compulsory licences and parallel imports. . . Clearly, the affordability of essential medicines raises crucial issues, such as drug pricing, compulsory licences, parallel importing, and the reduction of import duties. . . The exclusion of competitors as a result of the grant of a patent can also be used by patent holders as a tool to increase the price of pharmaceuticals. High prices can exclude some sections of the population, particularly poor people, from accessing medicines. Given that the right to health includes an obligation on States to provide affordable essential medicines according to the WHO essential drugs list, intellectual property protection can lead to negative effects on the enjoyment of the right to health. In other words, in some cases intellectual property protection can reduce the economic accessibility of essential medicines.’ (E/CN.4/2004/49/Add.1) The implementation of patent term extensions alone (something the USA is proposing in the leaked TPP IP chapter, see Annex 1) has already cost Australian taxpayers more than $200million/year.In addition to the impact of the intellectual property chapter, see above, there are concerns that the leaked TPP transparency chapter annex (see Annex 1 below) could restrict the ability of government medicine reimbursement schemes such as Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and New Zealand’s PHARMAC to keep medicine prices affordable. In 2012, 16% of Australians already experienced a cost-related access problem (did not fill or skipped a prescription, did not visit a doctor, or did not receive recommended care) and the health impact assessment noted that higher copayments discourages medicine use and higher downstream costs and prolonged illness.
‘traditional medicines have been appropriated, adapted and patented with little or no compensation to the original knowledge holders and without their prior consent.This raises significant issues, not only in the field of the right to health, but also for the cultural rights of these communities and their members’(E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/13) If accepted, the proposal in the leaked TPP intellectual property chapter to allow patents on plants and animals would make it easier to appropriate and patent traditional medicines in TPP countries. The proposed traditional knowledge and genetic resource provisions would not be sufficient to counteract this, see Annex 1 intellectual property chapter section and there is unlikely to be a sufficient culture exception in the TPP, see investment and exceptions chapters in Annex 1.

From. Infojustice 


Insult to Injury The 2014 Lamu and Tana River Attacks and Kenya’s Abusive Response  Human Rights Watch June 2015 

Summary (excerpts)
Kenyan security forces were ill-prepared in responding to the attacks, and failed to protect the communities as events unfolded over time, according to research by Human Rights Watch and the Kenya Human Rights Commission

These findings are similar in many respects to those of an investigation by the Kenyan Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), a state-funded institution that provides civilian oversight of police work in Kenya. Security forces on the ground lacked sufficient personnel, vehicles, and communication, and there was insufficient command and coordination. According to an IPOA investigation into the June 15 and 16 attacks in the Mpeketoni, Kibaoni and Kijijoni areas of Lamu County, security forces also failed to act on intelligence suggesting a future attack might occur.

As early as June 16, a day after the initial Mpeketoni attack, senior government officials stated publicly that the government had increased security and that justice would be done.Yet the attackers struck again in the subsequent days, and in the very locations where the authorities said security had been improved. A year later, there have been no successful prosecutions for the 2014 attacks on the coast, with the state dropping most of the cases for lack of evidence. Instead, starting in July 2014, security forces arbitrarily detained residents of the two counties and subjected them to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including rounding up men and boys, searching and ransacking homes and businesses, and beating male residents. Members of the security forces also stole money and valuables from residents.

Under Kenyan law, suspects can only be held for more than 24 hours with the permission of the court. In Tana River, security officers detained at least 60 people at Gamba Police station and held them without food for more than 24 hours without permission of a court, forcing them to sleep on cold concrete floors in very small, overcrowded and unsanitary cells. In Lamu County, police detained 41 people and held all of them in a small and filthy cell at Mpeketoni Police station between three days and two weeks.

Police meanwhile told the media in August 2014 that the Lamu detainees were “terrorists” who had been arrested in Pangani forest. Later, these detainees were all released by police without charge, or prosecutors dropped charges for lack of evidence. Most of the detainees interviewed for this report were, at the time of the interview four months later, still recovering from serious injuries sustained from beatings by security officers either during roundups or in detention.

In the face of multiple horrific attacks over recent years in Kenya, security forces are clearly stretched thin. Improving security forces’ ability to respond both lawfully and efficiently to protect communities most affected by attacks should be a central priority of Kenyan authorities. Thus far, rather than increase the quality and capacity of Kenya’s security forces, authorities have proposed amending laws to expand police powers, remove checks and balances, and weaken accountability mechanisms within the security sector. The government’s failure to implement long delayed security sector reforms has also been a lost opportunity to improve the protection of human rights and the rule of law, as well as build confidence and necessary cooperation with affected communities.

It is unclear whether there have been internal investigations into the government’s response into the attacks in Lamu and Tana River counties in June and July 2014, beyond the IPOA investigation. The Kenyan government and its international partners should support a credible investigation into the security force operations in Lamu and Tana River counties described in this report with the view to ending abuses by security forces and holding abusive officials to account. Failure to investigate and ensure accountability for security force abuses only serves to alienate affected communities and, potentially, increase the risk of radicalization and recruitment by militant groups operating in the region. 
Original Url.


Stifling Egyptian civil society: Sexual violence by security forces surges under el-Sisi

The FIDH report shows that such violence is widely tolerated, with perpetrators, whether state actors or civilians, rarely having to answer for their crimes. Since the July 2014 trial of seven men accused of participating in mob-sexual assaults in Tahrir Square during the inauguration of President el-Sisi in June 2014, there have been no further trials for mob sexual violence. As for the security forces, despite complaints, no officers have been tried for crimes of sexual violence.
sq capturing the essence of the moment v

The role of the security forces in perpetrating sexual harassment and assault, including during body searches, security checks and in police stations, constitutes a further deterrent to victims filing complaints. The general climate of impunity fosters and fuels further violence by state actors and civilians.

The Egyptian government must immediately put an end to these crimes, committed by actors under their direct authority. They must ensure serious investigations into all allegations and the prosecution and punishment of those responsible in accordance with international standards, said Amina Bouayach, FIDH Secretary General.

While tolerating these crimes, el-Sisi’s regime has also hijacked the fight against sexual violence as a pretext to tighten state security. Since autumn 2013, the government has orchestrated a campaign of repression against LGBT persons. Security forces raided bath houses and detained LGBT persons based on information gathered through internet surveillance and accused them of “debauchery” and“sexual indecency.” The government justified the arbitrary detention of these individuals, during which many suffered sexual violence, by invoking protection of Egypt’s moral and religious order.

This report supplements information documented in a report published in April 2014 on sexual violence perpetrated against women in the public sphere by civilians, in which FIDH and Egyptian NGOs underlined the State’s failure to effectively investigate and prosecute perpetrators of mob rape, sexual assault and harassment and called for the adoption of ten urgent measures to end violence against women.
FIDH related post  


The Right Shot: Bringing down barriers to affordable and adapted vaccines 2015

Immunisation is one of the most efficient ways to reduce child mortality. Yet, every year 1 out of every 5 children (under the age of 1 year) is not fully vaccinated, putting them at risk of dying of preventable diseases such as measles, pneumonia or diarrhoea.
 In the 2nd edition of MSF Access Campaign’s report, The Right Shot, we have gathered more than 1,500 data points from organisations including UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), governments, vaccine manufacturers and MSF’s own supply centres to better understand one of the main barriers to immunisation: high vaccine prices. The resulting report is one of the most comprehensive publications on comparative vaccines prices to date, bringing together in one place information on 16 key vaccines across 13 countries.
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Haïti : la sécurité humaine en danger Federation Internationale Droits de l'Homme  (FIDH) Réseau national pour la défense des droits humains (RNDDH)  Centre Œcuménique des Droits Humains (CEDH) Novembre 2011

Près de trois ans après ce drame, plus de 80% de la population vit encore en dessous du seuil de pauvreté, dans une situation de précarité extrême que la tempête Sandy n’a fait qu’aggraver. Pour les quelques 370.000 victimes du séisme qui vivent encore dans les camps de déplacés, la situation empire de jour en jour : les conditions de vie y sont indignes et se dégradent, les expulsions forcées se multiplient dans les camps implantés sur des terrains privés, les populations sont abandonnées par les ONG et se trouvent dans une situation de vulnérabilité extrême. Dans l’environnement dégradé et dégradant de ces camps les violences ne font que croître et les femmes et les filles continuent à être particulièrement exposées aux violences sexuelles.

Le rapport déplore que les solutions apportées jusqu’à présent aux victimes du séisme soient insuffisantes, précaires et aient repoussé les problèmes, dans le temps et dans l’espace, plutôt que de les résoudre. Ce constat est d’autant plus choquant que la communauté internationale s’était engagée à apporter un soutien massif à la reconstruction du pays au lendemain du tremblement de terre meurtrier qui a ébranlé la nation toute entière (près de 300.000 morts et plus d’un million et demi de personnes déplacées). 
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A Secret Subsidy – Oil companies, the Navy and the Response to Piracy . Platform London London October 2012

British oil companies are promoting a ‘fight against piracy’ to get a vast hidden military subsidy. In the process they have got an unprecedented amount of influence over UK military policies. Oil companies have talked up the risk from piracy to justify the use of Navy frigates, drones and helicopters to protect corporate oil assets in the seas. They are demanding increased spending on military hardware at a time of major public cutbacks.
  • The shipping industry presents itself as under attack but even at its height, less then 1% of tankers travelling through the Gulf of Aden were hijacked – the number is now much lower.
  • Oil and gas companies are demanding a military subsidy to protect their profits at a time of public spending cutbacks.
  • The EU’s anti–piracy operation has had Merchant Navy Liaison Officers from BP and Shell seconded to it. This means oil companies are helping determine exactly where European naval resources are deployed.
  • The Chamber of Shipping and Shell are lobbying the government for vessel protection detachments of military personnel to commercial ships. This would mean British naval officers acting as private security guards, while commercial vessels would be transformed into warships. Shell has actively lobbied for increased spending on warship construction at a time of existing cutbacks to military budgets.
  • In effect, private multinationals have used their powerful position to secure a hidden subsidy from the public purse, in a context of heavy austerity measures.
Download the report (pdf)

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 In the web
Downloadable map showing private counter-piracy forces -  Lowy Institute.
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Manuel de communication-guérilla 

Autonome a.f.r.i.k.a.-gruppe, Luther Blissett et Sonja Brünzels

"Guide d'intervention militante non conventionnelle, voici un exposé de la théorie et de la pratique d'un activisme expérimental, mêlant engagement politique, pensée critique et action artistique. Comment saper l'ordre des discours dominants ? Saboter les imaginaires de la société de consommation ? Intervenir dans un espace public verrouillé par des médias omniprésents ? Loin des principes de la com' publicitaire et du bourrage de crâne, ce manuel propose un arsenal de tactiques d'agitation joyeuse et de résistance ludique à l'oppression : détournements, camouflages, happenings, théâtres invisibles, attaques psychiques, entartages, impostures médiatiques et canulars révélateurs... Dans la lignée des mouvements artistico-subversifs, les auteurs revisitent les procédés de la critique sociale sur le mode de l'impertinence créatrice.
Tandis que la politique radicale traditionnelle mise sur la force persuasive du discours rationnel, la communication-guérilla ne s'appuie pas sur des arguments, des chiffres et des faits, mais cherche à détourner les signes et les codes de la communication dominante. Elle travaille à intensifier la charge subversive du non-verbal, du paradoxe, du faux, du mythe. Elle se définit comme l'art de mettre de la friture sur la ligne.
Ce texte-manifeste, devenu « culte » depuis sa première publication en Allemagne en 1997, propose des formes d'action inventives pour une critique en acte des rapports sociaux existants.
" Extrait d'Edicions La Découverte

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Estado de las Ciudades de América Latina y el Caribe Rumbo a una nueva transición urbana UN Habitat Agosto 2012

Con un 80% de su población residiendo en ciudades, América Latina y el Caribe es la región más urbanizada del planeta. En ella se encuentran algunas de las ciudades más grandes y conocidas, como Ciudad de México, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Río de Janeiro, Bogotá, Lima o Santiago, pero la región también cuenta con centenas de ciudades de menor tamaño que despuntan por su dinamismo y creatividad.
Esta edición del Estado de las Ciudades de América Latina y el Caribe presenta un panorama actual del mundo urbano en la región, incluyendo las condiciones demográficas, económicas, sociales, ambientales, urbanísticas e institucionales en las que se desarrollan las ciudades.
Información de contexto
Land Record for the poor  Brief 1- 2012 UN Habitat, University of Twente, Global Land Tool Network
América Latina, más urbanizada y más desigual  22-8 -12 BBC Mundo 

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Version en Castellano 

A Amèrica Llatina s’està produint un procés de transformació política molt important respecte al seu passat recent, tant, que és sens dubte el continent on s’estan produint més canvis de règims conservadors I dictadures militars cap a democràcies més participatives i socials. Argentina,Bolívia, Brasil, Equador, Paraguai, Uruguai i Veneçuela han experimentant canvis polítics de transformació social, produïts gràcies a grans mobilitzacions socials populars i que han obert processos polítics democràtics amb participació de la ciutadania, processos que obren l’esperança que s’avanci a superar les pobresa en què estaven immergits aquests països.

Però aquestes esperances de superar l’endarreriment social que patien té en el militarisme (definit pels autors com  un sistema de valors que justifica l’ús de la força amb intencions bèl·liques, alhora que també és una perversió del fet militar quan pren unes  dimensions excessives en la vida política nacional o internacional) un perill que frustri les esperances de canvi. Aquest treball va destinat a posar l’alerta en el creixent militarisme que està sofrint el continent i advertir que aquest fet pot frenar el desenvolupament econòmic i social, alhora que pot obrir la porta a nous conflictes armats. Parlar de militarització, dins del context llatinoamericà, es parlar de les innombrables intervencions i agressions militars efectuades pels Estats Units en gairebé tots els països del continent americà. Com també, del pes excessiu que els militars han jugat en la política interna del continent mitjançant cops d’estat i instaurant dictadures militars. 

Però al costat d’aquests dos fets, també existeix una altra realitat, la militarització interna que els propis governs de la regió porten a terme i que, en els darrers anys, està agafant unes proporcions importants. Aquesta militarització prové de dos subjectes diferents. Un, del pes específic que els militars encara juguen en les polítiques internes dels diferents estats, i que comporta privilegis convertint-los en un poder fàctic que condiciona i segresta la política dels governs. I un segon, que té el seu origen en els pressupostos militars dels estats, els quals en els darrers anys han augmentat de manera vertiginosa. L’increment de la despesa militar s’ha traduït en una millora dels aparells de les forces armades, i molt especialment en importants compres d’armament, fins al punt que avui Amèrica Llatina és una de les regions mundials on arriba més armament, que frena el desenvolupament del continent i obre el camí a tensions i possibles conflictes.

Informació de context

El curt analitza en set minuts el tràfic il·legal d'armes i el seu funcionament amb les opinions de quatre experts que expliquen les seves experiències de primera mà en el mercat negre i en les zones de conflicte.La publicació del vídeo coincideix amb les negociacions a l'ONU sobre el primer Tractat del Comerç d'Armes, que podria limitar les transaccions d'armament amb afectació directa sobre els drets humans.  Diaria Ara 20 Juliol 2012

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Executive Summary
Richard Sollom's testimony to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (US Congress) on Bahrain's use of teargas against civilians.
The Bahrain government’s indiscriminate use of tear gas as a weapon has resulted in the maiming, blinding, and even killing of civilian protesters, and must stop at once while the government reassesses the use of such toxic chemical agents. PHR's new report details the findings of our investigation.
This report is based on interviews with more than 100 Bahraini citizens, including victims of civil rights violations, corroborating witnesses, civil society leaders, and government officials. It documents the authors' findings, based on physical examinations and medical records. Among them:

  • A teenage boy was struck in his left eye by a tear gas canister fired at close range, which fractured his eye socket and ruptured his eyeball, leaving him blind in that eye.
  • A 27-year-old bystander suffered a fractured skull and intracranial bleeding when struck in the head with a tear gas canister.
  • A physiotherapist started wheezing, felt short of breath, and had difficulty speaking for two weeks after exposure to tear gas.
  • Several women who had miscarried reported that their doctors said they had noticed a significant rise in miscarriages in neighborhoods where tear gas was used frequently.
  • An asthmatic man routinely exposed to tear gas died in the hospital of acute respiratory failure after exposure to yet another tear gas explosion.
Bahraini woman holds an exploded tear gas canister that was shot into her house.
A Bahraini woman shows an exploded tear gas canister that was shot into her house. Photo: Richard Sollom, PHR

PHR is calling on Bahrain’s government to immediately end all attacks on civilians and to suspend its use of tear gas while it conducts an impartial investigation of tear gas misuse and holds accountable those who have used the gas in excessive or improper ways. In addition, PHR is asking that Bahrain’s government disclose information about the toxic chemical agents used by its security forces, and that it permit scientists and health professionals to study the effects of tear gas use in that country.

PHR is also seeking the creation of an international group of health professionals, public health experts, lawyers, and law enforcement officials to draft guiding principles on the use of all toxic chemical agents, and to determine whether certain such agents (including tear gas) which are now considered nonlethal should be reclassified under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Background info
Physicians for Human Rights
Under the Gun: Ongoing Assaults on Bahrain’s Health SystemHolly G. Atkinson, MD, FACP Richard Sollom, MA, MPH May 12 

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