21 July 2010
Tax dodging has been identified by Christian Aid as the single biggest barrier to ending poverty in the developing world with a worldwide culture of financial secrecy allowing tax-dodging firms to rob poor countries of more than an estimated US$162 billon each year.
The Christian Aid website reveals how tax and trade rules work to boost multinationals' profits and provides information about its campaign for international tax transparency.
The report highlights how transport companies registered in the UK, USA, China, France and the Russian Federation – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – are able to move conventional weapons and munitions to countries where they could be used to commit human rights violations and war crimes.
Examples highlighted in the report include deliveries of cluster munitions and their components on ships registered in the UK and managed by UK and German shipping companies, that were transported from South Korea to Pakistan between March 2008 and February 2010 for use by the country’s army.
These deliveries took place despite the UK and Germany having committed to comprehensively ban the transfer and use of cluster munitions.
Another example cited in the report is of machine gun/anti-aircraft gun parts from Bulgaria flown on a regular scheduled Air France passenger flight from Sofia to Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris, in September 2008. The shipment was then flown to Nairobi with the final destination listed in the transport documents as Kigali, Rwanda.
There was a clear risk that machine gun/anti-aircraft gun parts procured by the Rwandan government might be diverted. Such weapons were used in the fighting taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 220,000 people have been displaced and serious violations of human rights were perpetrated. The Bulgarian, French and Kenyan governments, which permitted the export and transit of the arms shipment through their territories, failed to stop the transfer.
The report was launched in New York as the first round of UN deliberations on the content of the proposed international Arms Trade Treaty resumed.
The full report is available for download from the Amnesty website.
Social Policy Connections has developed a number of policy positions relevant to the forthcoming Australian federal election. Four policy areas of special interest have been chosen
• Australian policy on Immigration and Refugees,
• Climate Change,
• Overseas Aid, and
• Indigenous issues.
Supporters are invited to consider approaching their political candidates, either local ones or others, to discuss these or other concerns.
Dr Singh has most recently been working as Senior Programme Specialist for the right to education, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. His candidature was supported by the Geneva-based Platform of NGOs on the right to education – a group that included Edmund Rice International.
The Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education has a mandate to safeguard and promote the right to education worldwide. He is required to prepare and present an annual global report to the Human Rights Council, to engage in constructive interactive dialogue with governments, civil society and other relevant stakeholders in order to bring forward suggestions and recommendations for advancing the right to education.