Brown call to Davos ‘threatens millions'

27 January 2009 - 12:00am

Wednesday, 28 January - Sunday, 1 February 2009 World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland Tuesday, 27 January 2009

PM's globalisation appeal sparks job fears

The charity War on Want today warned that British prime minister Gordon Brown's appeal to the World Economic Forum this week threatens to deepen the global economic crisis and cost millions of jobs around the world.

The warning came as Brown announced his agenda for further liberalisation of markets and a new deepening of globalisation at the forum, which opens in Davos tomorrow (Wednesday).

Brown plans to join a record 41 government leaders and heads of state among 2,500 delegates from 96 countries at the forum's annual meeting in the Swiss mountain resort, which is being seen as a precursor to the G20 summit in London on 2 April.

The prime minister is promoting the resumption of the stalled Doha round of world trade negotiations as a means of opening up new business opportunities for UK financial service companies in emerging economies such as India, Brazil and Chile.

Yet this pursuit of further globalisation and the British prime minister's resistance to anything but ‘light touch' regulation of financial markets threatens to exacerbate the crisis already sweeping the world economy, says War on Want.

And revived world trade talks would put millions more jobs in jeopardy by exposing producers in developing countries to overwhelming competition from rich nations' multinational companies.

War on Want's Executive Director John Hilary said: "Gordon Brown's call for even more globalisation threatens working people around the world with disaster. Millions are already facing unemployment and long-term poverty due to the failures of the free market system. It beggars belief that Brown is calling for more of the same."

Hilary continued: "No country has pressed harder than the UK for the deregulation of financial markets and trade rules. These are the very policies which have caused the current crisis and brought misery to millions. Rather than defending the failed policies of globalisation, Gordon Brown should listen to the growing number of voices calling for a new agenda based on principles of equity and democracy, not corporate greed."

Interviews are available with John Hilary in London, and with War on Want representatives at the World Social Forum, which takes place in the northern Brazilian city of Belem from today (Tuesday, 27 January) until Sunday, 1 February 2009.

Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

World Social Forum 2009: Arrival at last!

26 January 2009 - 4:00pm

wsf 2009 - abahlali

After over 24 hours of travel, we finally arrived in hot, humid Belém and we are taking in the atmosphere. There is a live band and dancers at the baggage carousel which surprises us and sets the tone and friendly mood.


Tax dodge Britain

25 January 2009 - 11:00pm

» Original article at The Morning Star

A record number of government leaders and heads of state will meet on Wednesday in the Swiss resort of Davos.

Thank you!

16 January 2009 - 1:54pm

War on Want would like to say a big thank you to the people who gave their time by fundraising, campaigning and volunteering for us in 2008. Thanks for your continued support in the fight for global justice!

Thank you!

Abi McCormack
Adam Quarshie
Agi Legierska
Aisha Latif
Alex Bolton
Alex Nunns
Alexandra Yakovleva
Amy Banham-Hall
Andrew Goody
Andy Guise
Aneaka Kellay
Anna Morser
Bashar el-Habbash
Brahim Rouabah
Brianna Dale
Bryce Davies
Charlie Hoyle
Chris Moye
Claire Hills
Craig Clark
Dave Mosley
David Stranger-Jones
Dean Graham
Donna Hamilton
Elli Peake
Emmanuel Fyle
Erin Rochford
Ezra Wallace
Fatima Van Hattum
Felicity Cannell
Fi Murray
Gary Bilclough
Gisela Nicolau
Graham Hobbs
Hannah Currie
Hilary Aked
Jeanette Hodgman
Jeremy Ray
Joanna Malcolm
Joanna Siwik
Jodie Driscoll
Katie Miall
Katy Robjant
Layla Auer
Lee Jones
Lee Graham
Lucy Brealey
Marcela Valdivia
Maria Mursell
Marie Pillar
Mariela Castillo
Matthew McGrath
Paul McDermott
Pete Chonka
Rachel Rufu
Romina Rodriguez Pose
Rosie Stewart
Rosie Walker
Samir El Hawary
Sara Dominici
Sara Dillon
Sarah Corbett
Sargon Nissan
Steve Preston
Stuart Robinson
Tania Bond
Usha Patel
Vickiesha Chabra
Zac Colbert

A Bangladeshi union fights back against intimidation

16 January 2009 - 10:44am

The National Garment Workers' Federation (NGWF), a Bangladeshi union and War on Want partner organisation, is taking a leading role in the defence of factory workers who have been stripped of their right to collective bargaining and freedom of association.


The NGWF is leading a campaign against the Hameem Group for a series of labour rights violations in factories it owns and operates. The NGWF took action after 20 workers in Hameem Group factories were sacked for negotiating an increase in pay. The NGWF has also found evidence that the Hameem Group was involved in bringing false charges against a union leader in one of its factories. The Hameem Group is known to be a supplier for high street brands such as Next, Gap and H&M.

The NGWF has offered an account of how the management of New Modern Garment Industries, a Dhaka factory owned and operated by the Hameem Group, fired 20 workers who had submitted a proposal for an Eid holiday bonus. Many other workers who joined the petition for a bonus have been harassed and threatened with dismissal. There are also clear indications that Hameem Group management played a large role in bringing falsified charges against Mr Sabuj, the president of the New Modern Garment Workers and Employees Union and organiser of the petition for increased pay and an Eid holiday bonus. As a result of these charges, Mr Sabuj was imprisoned from 29 September until 23 November, when he was released on bail.

War on Want has been working alongside the NGWF to put pressure on the Hameem Group to ensure that the charges against Mr Sabuj are dropped and that he is reinstated in his job.War on Want supports the NGWF's efforts to ensure that the factories such as those owned by the Hameem Group respect the rights of their workers – and are held accountable when they violate those rights. War on Want also campaigns against foreign corporations that profit from exploited labour in the developing world.

‘Scrap Israel trade agreement'

15 January 2009 - 12:00am

War on Want hails EC move

The anti-poverty charity War on Want today urged the European Commission to follow up its decision to suspend moves to upgrade political and trade links with Israel by stopping the upgrade process altogether.

War on Want welcomed the EC freezing negotiations on upgrading ties amid growing pressure for sanctions against Israel over its attack on Gaza, with more than 1,000 Palestinian deaths, almost one in three women and children.

It also welcomed reports that senior Brussels officials say a Europe-Israel summit to launch a new “special relationship” – piloted by the Czech Republic, which holds the EU presidency - would probably not take place.

And the charity pressed the commission to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement which already ensures preferential treatment for Israeli trade in Europe.

The new protocol of cooperation would enable far greater Israeli participation in European Community programmes.

War on Want opposes this step and the existing agreement, citing Israel's ongoing illegal occupation, with millions of Palestinians suffering human rights abuse and crushing poverty in refugee camps or under occupation.

It earlier called on the EU to suspend the Association Agreement in order to bring pressure on Israel to abide by international law.

Article 2 of the Agreement makes Israel's trading preferences dependent on respect for human rights, a condition which UN specialists claim Israel has often breached.

Ruth Tanner, campaigns and policy director at War on Want, said: “It has taken Israel's brutal assault and carnage in Gaza to persuade the commission to act. The suspension represents a positive initial development. Now the EC must use its leverage by ending the present Association Agreement.”

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

'Israel war crimes shame UK'

7 January 2009 - 12:00am

Brown, Miliband slated on Gaza atrocities

The British government is today accused of complicity in Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.

The accusation, from the anti-poverty charity War on Want, comes only hours after 40 people, including children, died when Israel shelled a UN school inside Gaza.

In the first 12 days of the attacks, over 680 people have been killed and over 3,075 injured. As governments around the world speak out against Israel's actions, the British government refuses to condemn Israel for its assault on Gaza.

War on Want hits out at the UK government for supporting the US block on the original UN Security Council resolution, submitted four days after the attacks began, which called for "an immediate ceasefire and for its full respect by both sides”.

The charity also denounced the government for licensing arms sales to Israel such as key components for F-16 fighter jets, used to bomb Gaza.

War on Want points to past admissions by the British government that UK military equipment licensed for sale to Israel could be used in attacks on Palestinian civilians.

It also cites the statement from Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur for human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which challenged the complicity of countries “knowingly providing the military equipment, including war planes and missiles, used in these illegal attacks”.

War on Want criticises British ministers for continuing to support the European Union's decision to upgrade the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which will reward Israel with even more privileged access to European institutions.

The charity brands Israel's attack the culmination of its policy of collective punishment and killing against the people of Gaza over the past 18 months.

It says Israel has imposed an illegal state of siege on Gaza and created a devastating humanitarian crisis for the 1.5 million people trapped there.

According to the charity, the root cause of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is Israel's illegal occupation, which has raised poverty among ordinary Palestinians to the levels of sub-Saharan Africa.

Ruth Tanner, campaigns and policy director at War on Want, said: “British ministers should hang their heads in shame for their failure to condemn Israel.

“By rewarding Israeli aggression with economic preferences and upgraded diplomatic relations, the UK government and other EU member states have given the green light to Israel's campaign of illegal violence.

“Gordon Brown and David Miliband are complicit in Israel's war crimes against the Palestinian people.”

War on Want is urging the public to write to UK foreign secretary David Miliband, demanding sanctions on Israel.

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media officer (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

Fighting poverty through organic farming

7 December 2008 - 12:00am

The rising price of food has devastated communities in the developing world. In Sri Lanka our partner organisation C-Sard of MONLAR has been empowering affected communities by promoting sustainable agriculture and self-sufficiency. In November 2008, War on Want visited Sri Lanka to see first hand how MONLAR's unique approach has helped hundreds of communities cope with the global food crisis.



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