Dec. 10th - International Human Rights Day and International White Band Day - U2 Feedback

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Old 12-10-2005, 04:16 PM   #1
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Dec. 10th - International Human Rights Day and International White Band Day

Today is an extremely important day for those who believe in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights.

It is Human Rights Day as established by the U.N. in 1948.


Here is a bit from their website:


http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html



On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."
PREAMBLE
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) 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.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.
(1) 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 control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

-------------------------------------------------------

Although most of us are by now familiar with this amazing and important document due to its popularity on the Vertigo tour, to actually see this document as a whole is truly inspiring.

That we as human beings and as governments would only live up to its precepts.


(part 2 to follow)
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Old 12-10-2005, 04:30 PM   #2
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One of the organizations that have always supported the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights is the Nobel Peace Prize organization, Amnesty International.

They have just awarded U2 their 2005 "Ambassador of Conscience" Award:

http://www.artforamnesty.org/aoc/index.html



2005 Ambassadors of Conscience


Amnesty Secretary General, Irene Khan, announces U2 as 2005 Ambassadors of Conscience
U2 have sung themselves to where great singing comes from, that place where art and ardency meet in the light of conscience.

Announcing the news that U2 had won the 2005 Ambassador of Conscience Award, Art for Amnesty spokesperson Bill Shipsey stated that “for their art and music alone U2 would be worthy recipients of Amnesty's most prestigious human rights Award”. The Award announcement cited the fact that for over two decades U2 have used their music and their celebrity to highlight and champion countless human rights causes. They were also praised for their inspiring promotion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which has featured prominently at all U2 concerts on their current Vertigo World Tour. Band member Edge has been quoted as saying that they regard the Declaration as “the greatest piece of literature in the world”.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

When you go to the link above, you can download the entire press release from AI stating the complete reason why U2 was selected for this most prestigious award.



A very appreciated, deserving and long overdue award from AI to the strongest supporters of their agenda of unconditional human rights for over 20 years - U2.

I saw U2 in concert in the 1980's on AI's "Conspiracy of Hope" tour - an experience that I still remember vividly today.

And here is the website to learn more about one of U2's and AI's main people of concern in the world today:


http://www.dassk.com


The Lady that Bono wrote "Walk On" for. Please get involved with AI!

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Make Some Noise is a global campaign that mixes music, celebration and action to protect individuals wherever freedom, justice and equality are denied.

Find out more about Amnesty International's work to protect human rights at amnesty.org


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Old 12-10-2005, 04:41 PM   #3
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Today is also the third international White Band Day:

http://www.whiteband.org/specialIssu....2254469442/en


White Band Day 3


Putting the spotlight on trade injustice on December 10, 2005.



More than 30 million people have taken an action for the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) in 2005, whether that is signing a petition, taking part in a rally, or wearing a white band. GCAP demonstrated that it can mobilise large numbers of people, in solidarity for our call to end poverty.

Between now and the end of the year GCAP will build on the momentum is has already generated and build on it further to ensure that we are putting a spotlight on trade injustice. Ahead of major World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks in December we must increase the pressure to make trade justice a reality. Trade has the potential to lift millions out of poverty, but the rules that currently govern international trade have become the vehicle for the indiscriminate liberalisation of developing country economies and the imposition of harmful conditions.

The slogan for GCAP actions for White Band Day 3 is "Spotlight on Trade Injustice". Using a globally cohesive slogan, backed by joint actions, is a great way to show our unity and to demonstrate that GCAP is shining a spotlight on issues of trade and demanding that leaders deliver us trade justice in Hong Kong.

The mobilisation guide gives an overview of the agreed actions and messages around White Band Day 3. During White Band Day 3, on December 10, GCAP will be putting the “Spotlight on Trade Injustice”. GCAP will be holding “spotlight” mobilisations in as many countries as possible, showing that we are shining a spotlight on trade issues, on governments and on trade delegations. This will include candlelit vigils and marches, stunts with white bands beamed on buildings and monuments, torch events and more.

We must act together to show the strength of public feeling against the current state of the WTO negotiations and other trade agreements. Through our actions we will demonstrate that we are putting the spotlight on trade injustice and that the world is watching. Now is the time to deliver trade justice.


You can also take action NOW and stand up for trade justice.

------------------------------------------------------------

Activities are planned around the world today - including activities involving ONE and MakePovertyHistory.


You can check on the GCAP websites about activities in your area of the world today.

And if you participated in a White band Day event, feel free to share your experiences here.

---------------------------------------------------------

And in a great show of support and solidarity, AI has officially come out with its support of trade justice as an undeniable part of a human rights agenda:

http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGIOR300162005


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Public Statement

AI Index: IOR 30/016/2005 (Public)
News Service No: 338
9 December 2005


Amnesty International urges WTO members to respect human rights obligations in trade negotiations in Hong Kong
As officials of 148 governments prepare to gather in Hong Kong for the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Amnesty International is concerned that negotiations over proposed trade agreements appear to ignore member states’ duty to respect human rights.

While trade agreements have created new opportunities for some and can have a positive human rights impact, they have also at times been associated with patterns of growing inequality and deteriorating social conditions, including denial of human rights for the poorest and most marginalised sectors of the population.

Assessments of the effects of trade liberalisation have generally concentrated on how they affect countries’ overall economic growth. Very little, if any, work has been carried out by governments to assess the potential human rights impact of trade liberalization and in particular to outline what complementary measures are needed to ensure that all sectors of society, including the marginalised, the poor and those who experience systemic discrimination, can benefit from trade agreements.

All members of the United Nations have pledged under the UN Charter to take both joint and separate action to achieve universal respect for, and observance of, human rights for all without distinction. All governments have a duty to ensure that their actions do not result in the abuse, violation or denial of human rights, including the rights of people in other countries where this is within their sphere of influence. AI believes that, in order to comply with this obligation, all states should undertake comprehensive human rights impact assessments prior to concluding any new trade agreements. Moreover, with regard to all concluded agreements, governments should closely monitor their impact, taking necessary measures to ensure that no-one is unable, for reasons of the impact of trade agreements, to realise their human rights.

These assessments should be undertaken in a manner which recognises the right of the population to participate in the conduct of public affairs, in particular the right of those who are most likely to be affected, the most marginalised. Assessments should be carried out in a manner that ensures that sound empirical evidence is drawn from public, independent and transparent evaluation, based on information gathered through a participatory and consultative process with concerned individuals and including women, minorities, indigenous peoples and other groups facing discrimination.

An example of particular concern to Amnesty International is that of stringent trade-related intellectual property rules. The strict enforcement of rules on pharmaceutical patents can and often do hinder access to essential medicines for all. Where trade agreements result in a retrogression in access to essential medicines, governments which implement these agreements risk violating the right to the highest attainable standard of health.

The WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) remains problematic in practice for many developing countries despite the adoption of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health which reaffirms a state’s ability to use all the flexibilities in TRIPS in order to reduce the cost of medicines.

The 30 August 2003 General Council decision to implement paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement, aimed at enabling countries without pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity to obtain generic medicines under compulsory license, is viewed by many experts as too cumbersome to adequately resolve the problem of access to medicines for the poor.

Now that the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have been granted a seven-year extension to implement TRIPS, it is essential they make full use of the extension by undertaking effective assessments of the impact of proposed intellectual property rules on the enjoyment of human rights and taking necessary legal and other measures to make full use of the agreement’s flexibilities.

Amnesty International would urge all leaders of the 148 governments to ensure that human rights obligations are a central consideration during the forthcoming WTO meeting.

In this respect Amnesty International urges all the 148 governments to:
Ensure LDCs make full use of the seven years extension for the compliance of the TRIPS obligations. Developed countries should cooperate with at least one LDC by helping them to develop their technological base and to conduct, in conjunction with other relevant agencies, a human rights impact assessment to ensure their compliance with the TRIPS obligations will not negatively affect the human rights of their populations.
Commit to carrying out participatory human rights impact assessment before concluding any new trade agreements, or making revisions to existing ones.
Ensure that decisions made are informed and complemented by exchanges with governmental bodies responsible for ensuring compliance with human rights obligations. The governments may, for example, consider including at least one human rights expert in their delegations.
Offer political support to ensure that relevant UN agencies and organizations build on existing expertise and best practice worldwide in order to identify an effective model of human rights impact assessment, which will include the development of appropriate methodology and human rights indicators and benchmarks.

-------------------------------------------------------------

This TRULY IS A VERY IMPORTANT DAY!


I hope that you find some way to participate.
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Old 12-10-2005, 06:43 PM   #4
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thanks for all this info, Jamila!

on this issue:
Quote:
The WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) remains problematic in practice for many developing countries despite the adoption of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health which reaffirms a state’s ability to use all the flexibilities in TRIPS in order to reduce the cost of medicines.
...is that related to the challenge that Brazil posed to the patent laws? I just remember hearing how Brazil was going to violate trade agreement laws and create generic antiretroviral and force negotiators to say they can't, despite the issues of poverty and need for medicines at below the extortion level prices american pharmaceutical companies charge.
Maybe I'm hallucinating that one, but I seem to recall Brazil being in front on those challenges. Can you imagine being the bigPharm lobbyists, arguing against the cheaper dissemination of anti-AIDs drugs? How can they sleep at night?
I know so little about this whole issue, but this bit also makes me wonder about the huge increases in money the bushies helped push thru for getting AIDS drugs to Africa. I wonder whether there are the same profit levels for the PHarmCos...then it would be truly a win-win for Bush wouldn't it?! Don't mean to make light of him granting all that money, but I really am curious about whether cost-per-pill is the branded-patented going rate or not when money is given in AIDS drugs relief....

cheers and congrats to U2 for getting the award from AI!
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Old 12-10-2005, 07:28 PM   #5
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Actually Brasil has finally won the right from the WTO to continue with its production of generic ARV medications.

So on that one account, it's a small victory.

But the problem is that, like all medications, after a while the body can get resistant to these ARV's and newer strains will have to be produced to stave off the onslaught of the disease.

So far, this waiver that the WTO gave Brasil DOESN't apply to those newer drugs - which can end up being a tremendous problem in fighting the spread of AIDS. (more expensive drugs - fewer lives saved)

Thanks so much for your interest and concern, my friend.
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Old 12-11-2005, 01:03 AM   #6
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I've read all humans rights last year in my ethic course... It was something. Not new to me, but glad some inviduals still care and remember them
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Old 12-11-2005, 01:56 PM   #7
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It's amazing how Human Rights Day seems to get marginalized as a trite occurence when actually it is the most pivotal idea which will either keep our world at war or establish lasting peace.

As Bono said "War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight."

Hope that YOU found a meaningful way to participate in Human Rights/International White Band Day.

The website of the person who is most identified with their DENIAL of human rights in their country:

http://www.dassk.com
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Old 12-12-2005, 08:51 PM   #8
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With the start of the WTO meetings tomorrow - meetings which are of the utmost importance for the future of developing countries - I wanted to post this article which has an excellent synopsis of the issues and obstacles facing this round of WTO talks:

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/...icle332532.ece



Rich nations refuse to let go of subsidies as WTO talks near
By Philip Thornton in Hong Kong

Published: 12 December 2005

After millions of air miles, countless secret meetings, forests of reports and one failed summit, ministers from 150 countries are facing the prospect of failure in their attempt to free world trade and drag millions of people out of extreme poverty.

Ministers from the member countries of the World Trade Organisation are flying to Hong Kong for a high-profile meeting, opening tomorrow, that was meant to spell out the details of a trade deal aimed at lifting the prosperity of the world's poorest countries.

Some 3,000 people marched through the city yesterday holding banners reading "Down with WTO". A total of 10,000 protesters are expected and 9,000 Hong Kong police are on standby.

For the UK, this meeting was billed as the crowning achievement of its presidency of the G8 after the deal in July to double aid and wipe out tens of billions of dollars of Third World debt. But there are bad omens; Hong Kong will at best keep the talks alive - but at worst will force ministers to turn off the life-support machine.

Coming just days after the deal cobbled together on climate change in Montreal and with a bitter fight over the EU budget likely towards the end of the week, the future of multilateralism looks bleak.

The WTO lowered - or "recalibrated" - its expectations for Hong Kong after it became clear the main trading blocs were light years away from signing up to a deal on cutting subsidies and lowering tariffs.

The talks have become deadlocked over demands, by poor and emerging countries, such as Brazil, for the US, Europe and Japan to end their $300bn-a-year (£170bn) subsidy regime.

The EU and US have already offered cuts but in the case of Europe that has enraged countries such as France, which have accused Peter Mandelson, the EU's trade commissioner, of exceeding his mandate.

Meanwhile, the rich countries have refused to make further offers until countries such as Brazil show what they are prepared to offer in terms of better access for Western companies to their service and manufacturing markets.

Edmund Hosker, the director of trade policy at the Department of Trade and Industry, admitted the deadlock was "disappointing" but said officials were optimistic that progress would be made this week.

Mr Mandelson warned that failure to keep the talks alive could trigger new fears for global peace and security. "I fear that, if they fail, we will be giving many people less confidence in the international system," he said.

The three ministers representing the UK at Hong Kong, the Secretary of State for Trade, Alan Johnson, the Agriculture Secretary, Margaret Beckett, and the Secretary of State for International Development, Hilary Benn, urged the two economic superpowers, the US and EU, to open their farm markets.

"We need to spend more time thinking about what we in rich countries should offer the developing world, and less about what we should protect," they said. "But we also need to see a balanced outcome in Hong Kong. We must aim for progress in non-agricultural areas as well, such as industrial goods and services. Agreement in these areas has the potential to increase global incomes by over $50bn a year."

But campaign groups warned that demands for liberalisation of services would trigger a walk-out by poor countries, and would in effect consign the trade talks to the bin and open the world up to the threat of a global trade war.

A poll of African delegates by Christian Aid found two-thirds felt their economy would suffer if they accepted what was on offer and more than half said they were prepared to wreck the talks.

What's on the negotiating table?


What's it all about? The meeting is meant to achieve progress towards signing a deal to conclude the Doha Development Round - so named because it was signed in the Qatar capital in 2001 - which is aimed at improving the lot of developing countries.

What poor countries want The last trade round, signed in Uruguay in 1994, opened their markets but left only promises to tackle rich countries' massive subsidies and support for farmers. Poor countries want this round to live up to its name and focus on boosting their people's livelihoods.

What rich countries want The EU, the US, Japan and others believe a trade negotiation means meansquid pro quo. They are prepared to cut the subsidies and tariffs that protect their farmers but want concessions in areas such as industrial goods and services.

What is likely to happen? Ministers have already lowered ambitions for this round, which was meant to agree on formulas for cutting tariffs and subsidies. The best hope is for some concessions to poor nations and a resolution to keep negotiating until the December 2006 deadline.


What's it all about? Brazil calls it the " motor", the traditional way for poor countries to start developing. It is also a symbol for rich countries. The EU spends 40 per cent of its budget on an industry that employs 2 per cent of the workforce. And, in 2002, the US approved a bill that gives farmers $175bn over 10 years.

What poor countries want An end to the $300bn a year of subsidies that pays every cow in the rich world $2 a day. Also, sharp cuts in tariffs so they can sell into rich markets. They want to see action against bugbears such as low tariffs on leather but high ones on shoes, penalising those who try to add value.

What rich countries want They have to offer to cut farm support but will meet internal opposition if they go too far. The EU has offered 70 per cent cuts in subsidies and 40 per cent cuts in tariffs. The US has offered to reduce subsidies by 80 per cent.

What is likely to happen? The EU cannot go further without antagonising the French. This could be a real deal blocker unless poorer countries and vocal opponents, such as Brazil, are prepared to sign up to some face-saving language for all parties.

What's it all about? Countries impose these duties on imports to protect their domestic manufacturing bases. They cover 60 per cent of world trade and liberalisation might benefit rich countries more. Countries have for the first time agreed to follow a formula that cuts the highest tariffs most.

What poor countries want It comes back to agriculture - if they have to cut their tariffs they want something in exchange. Beneath the surface are some tensions; tariffs between poor countries are high and should be cut. Within Brazil, manufacturers want the government to give way so they can import cheaper parts.

What rich countries want They want sizeable cuts in tariffs to open developing country markets in exchange for farm subsidy cuts. The EU has proposed a top tariff of 10 per cent for poor countries. The US wants parallel talks to eliminate some tariffs.

What is likely to happen? Probably little other than warm words at best. The WTO has said that failure to reach an accord would mean lost opportunities for industrial trade of the order of $50bn to $250bn.


What's it all about? Accounting for a third of world trade but 70 per cent of economic activity, they show the potential for expansion in trade. Unlike other areas, the talks are carried out on a bilateral basis, where countries volunteer areas for market access.

What poor countries want Some are nervous about letting giant western companies in before domestic rivals have been developed. The one thing that they do want is a better deal on the movement of labour, making it easier for their citizens to emigrate for better paid-jobs.

What rich countries want They want access to all markets, as 80 per cent of trade is by Western multinationals. The figure is 90 per cent for financial services such as banks and insurers and in sub-sectors such as telecoms, IT and construction.

What is likely to happen? No progress is needed to keep the show on the road - so there won't be much. Rich countries have said they won't back down from their demands for a deal on services but no one would want the talks to be stalled over this issue.

What's it all about? These are two issues on which the US is vulnerable. America's cotton support keeps prices high for 25,000 farmers in swing states to the detriment of 1 million Africans. The EU is pushing for a deal on cotton and for an agreement to open all rich markets to the least developed countries.

What poor countries want Four African countries want concessions. Failure to move on cotton pushed the last WTO meeting over the edge. US politicians have linked any deal with deep cuts in tariffs against US exports in other areas. A deal would undermine US relations with Central American countries.

What rich countries want The EU is happy to offer a deal on cotton and open access to poorer countries. The US is hostile and observers are suspicious that Brussels is lining Washington up as the fall-guy for any failure.

What is likely to happen? The EU is hoping its six-point plan, which includes cotton and textiles as well as four other relatively cost-free concessions, could be dressed up as the pro-development deal to come out of Hong Kong that keeps the talks on the road.

After millions of air miles, countless secret meetings, forests of reports and one failed summit, ministers from 150 countries are facing the prospect of failure in their attempt to free world trade and drag millions of people out of extreme poverty.

Ministers from the member countries of the World Trade Organisation are flying to Hong Kong for a high-profile meeting, opening tomorrow, that was meant to spell out the details of a trade deal aimed at lifting the prosperity of the world's poorest countries.

Some 3,000 people marched through the city yesterday holding banners reading "Down with WTO". A total of 10,000 protesters are expected and 9,000 Hong Kong police are on standby.

For the UK, this meeting was billed as the crowning achievement of its presidency of the G8 after the deal in July to double aid and wipe out tens of billions of dollars of Third World debt. But there are bad omens; Hong Kong will at best keep the talks alive - but at worst will force ministers to turn off the life-support machine.

Coming just days after the deal cobbled together on climate change in Montreal and with a bitter fight over the EU budget likely towards the end of the week, the future of multilateralism looks bleak.

The WTO lowered - or "recalibrated" - its expectations for Hong Kong after it became clear the main trading blocs were light years away from signing up to a deal on cutting subsidies and lowering tariffs.

The talks have become deadlocked over demands, by poor and emerging countries, such as Brazil, for the US, Europe and Japan to end their $300bn-a-year (£170bn) subsidy regime.

The EU and US have already offered cuts but in the case of Europe that has enraged countries such as France, which have accused Peter Mandelson, the EU's trade commissioner, of exceeding his mandate.

Meanwhile, the rich countries have refused to make further offers until countries such as Brazil show what they are prepared to offer in terms of better access for Western companies to their service and manufacturing markets.

Edmund Hosker, the director of trade policy at the Department of Trade and Industry, admitted the deadlock was "disappointing" but said officials were optimistic that progress would be made this week.

Mr Mandelson warned that failure to keep the talks alive could trigger new fears for global peace and security. "I fear that, if they fail, we will be giving many people less confidence in the international system," he said.

The three ministers representing the UK at Hong Kong, the Secretary of State for Trade, Alan Johnson, the Agriculture Secretary, Margaret Beckett, and the Secretary of State for International Development, Hilary Benn, urged the two economic superpowers, the US and EU, to open their farm markets.

"We need to spend more time thinking about what we in rich countries should offer the developing world, and less about what we should protect," they said. "But we also need to see a balanced outcome in Hong Kong. We must aim for progress in non-agricultural areas as well, such as industrial goods and services. Agreement in these areas has the potential to increase global incomes by over $50bn a year."

But campaign groups warned that demands for liberalisation of services would trigger a walk-out by poor countries, and would in effect consign the trade talks to the bin and open the world up to the threat of a global trade war.

A poll of African delegates by Christian Aid found two-thirds felt their economy would suffer if they accepted what was on offer and more than half said they were prepared to wreck the talks.

What's on the negotiating table?

THE BIG PICTURE

What's it all about? The meeting is meant to achieve progress towards signing a deal to conclude the Doha Development Round - so named because it was signed in the Qatar capital in 2001 - which is aimed at improving the lot of developing countries.

What poor countries want The last trade round, signed in Uruguay in 1994, opened their markets but left only promises to tackle rich countries' massive subsidies and support for farmers. Poor countries want this round to live up to its name and focus on boosting their people's livelihoods.

What rich countries want The EU, the US, Japan and others believe a trade negotiation means meansquid pro quo. They are prepared to cut the subsidies and tariffs that protect their farmers but want concessions in areas such as industrial goods and services.

What is likely to happen? Ministers have already lowered ambitions for this round, which was meant to agree on formulas for cutting tariffs and subsidies. The best hope is for some concessions to poor nations and a resolution to keep negotiating until the December 2006 deadline.

What's it all about? Brazil calls it the " motor", the traditional way for poor countries to start developing. It is also a symbol for rich countries. The EU spends 40 per cent of its budget on an industry that employs 2 per cent of the workforce. And, in 2002, the US approved a bill that gives farmers $175bn over 10 years.

What poor countries want An end to the $300bn a year of subsidies that pays every cow in the rich world $2 a day. Also, sharp cuts in tariffs so they can sell into rich markets. They want to see action against bugbears such as low tariffs on leather but high ones on shoes, penalising those who try to add value.

What rich countries want They have to offer to cut farm support but will meet internal opposition if they go too far. The EU has offered 70 per cent cuts in subsidies and 40 per cent cuts in tariffs. The US has offered to reduce subsidies by 80 per cent.

What is likely to happen? The EU cannot go further without antagonising the French. This could be a real deal blocker unless poorer countries and vocal opponents, such as Brazil, are prepared to sign up to some face-saving language for all parties.


What's it all about? Countries impose these duties on imports to protect their domestic manufacturing bases. They cover 60 per cent of world trade and liberalisation might benefit rich countries more. Countries have for the first time agreed to follow a formula that cuts the highest tariffs most.

What poor countries want It comes back to agriculture - if they have to cut their tariffs they want something in exchange. Beneath the surface are some tensions; tariffs between poor countries are high and should be cut. Within Brazil, manufacturers want the government to give way so they can import cheaper parts.

What rich countries want They want sizeable cuts in tariffs to open developing country markets in exchange for farm subsidy cuts. The EU has proposed a top tariff of 10 per cent for poor countries. The US wants parallel talks to eliminate some tariffs.

What is likely to happen? Probably little other than warm words at best. The WTO has said that failure to reach an accord would mean lost opportunities for industrial trade of the order of $50bn to $250bn.


What's it all about? Accounting for a third of world trade but 70 per cent of economic activity, they show the potential for expansion in trade. Unlike other areas, the talks are carried out on a bilateral basis, where countries volunteer areas for market access.

What poor countries want Some are nervous about letting giant western companies in before domestic rivals have been developed. The one thing that they do want is a better deal on the movement of labour, making it easier for their citizens to emigrate for better paid-jobs.

What rich countries want They want access to all markets, as 80 per cent of trade is by Western multinationals. The figure is 90 per cent for financial services such as banks and insurers and in sub-sectors such as telecoms, IT and construction.

What is likely to happen? No progress is needed to keep the show on the road - so there won't be much. Rich countries have said they won't back down from their demands for a deal on services but no one would want the talks to be stalled over this issue.


What's it all about? These are two issues on which the US is vulnerable. America's cotton support keeps prices high for 25,000 farmers in swing states to the detriment of 1 million Africans. The EU is pushing for a deal on cotton and for an agreement to open all rich markets to the least developed countries.

What poor countries want Four African countries want concessions. Failure to move on cotton pushed the last WTO meeting over the edge. US politicians have linked any deal with deep cuts in tariffs against US exports in other areas. A deal would undermine US relations with Central American countries.

What rich countries want The EU is happy to offer a deal on cotton and open access to poorer countries. The US is hostile and observers are suspicious that Brussels is lining Washington up as the fall-guy for any failure.

What is likely to happen? The EU is hoping its six-point plan, which includes cotton and textiles as well as four other relatively cost-free concessions, could be dressed up as the pro-development deal to come out of Hong Kong that keeps the talks on the road.
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Big article - big impact on the futures of millions of desparately poor people.

Thank you for reading and caring about the issue of fair trade.
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