News & Reports
With the countdown to 2015 seriously on, use these links and reports to keep in touch with what is happening around the globe in relation to the MDGs. Click the links below to view, or subscribe to our RSS feed to keep updated.
To read Micah Challenge stories and our press releases see MEDIA.
In their statement they resolved to "intensify all efforts for their achievement by 2015".
The Ugandan government, which recently shut down two newspapers and two radio stations, has gone further to stop public protest with a new law.
The Public Order bill will forbid more than three people gathering in public (or even in a home) to discuss political issues without police approval.
President Yoweri Museveni’s new powers also mean that police can use firearms in self-defence, in defence of others or against those resisting arrest. The government claims that the law will “protect people’s interests” but critics in the opposition, churches and NGOs like Amnesty say the bill is designed to silence criticism.
Leaders of The Black Monday movement in Uganda have already faced arrest as they try to distribute materials about corruption and opposition leader Kizza Besigye has been arrested numerous times in recent years for organising street protests over the cost of living.
Write a letter to your Ugandan embassy to protest against this erosion of democratic rights. Support the Black Monday movement of Bishop Zac. Copy, paste and insert your own details into our letter template:
TEMPLATE LETTER TO EMBASSY
H.E. [Insert Name]
Uganda High Commission/Embassy
Address line 1
Address Line 2
(E.g. for UK)
H.E. Prof. Joyce Kakuramatsi Kikafunda
Uganda High Commission
58-59 Trafalgar Square
London WC2N 5DX)
I am writing to express concern about the new Public Order Management law about to come into force in Uganda.
This law will give President Yoweri Museveni powers to cancel the right to march, rally or demonstrate. Police will be able to use force (including firearms) to break up any public gatherings of more than three people, held without prior authorisation.
Your nation’s constitution guarantees the right to hold peaceful gatherings yet this new law will curb freedom of speech and freedom to assemble.
I urge you to report my concern to your government. Uganda is a nation of wealth with influence throughout the continent. In any democracy there must be the right to dissent even if we don’t like the others’ points of view. An active civil society and free media can help to protect the interests of ordinary citizens in areas like oil revenue transparency, land ownership, governance, and human rights.
[Write something personal here, eg: I am a supporter of a campaign called EXPOSED which is present in over 130 nations and which is calling for integrity and transparency in all areas of public life and is also urging personal integrity. This new law may hinder those who wish to expose dishonest and corrupt practices.]
I do urge you to reconsider this potentially harmful law so that democracy can flourish.
[Insert Your name
Address line 1
Address line 2]
Written by Marijke Hoek, 20 August 2013
At the height of the phone hacking scandal, which deeply implicated staff at News Corps in the immoral and illegal practice, the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group wrote to Mr Murdoch demanding that his senior executives be held to account for gross management failures at News of the World, condemning its behaviour as "utterly reprehensible and unethical". So far, so good. We expect this from the Church. What did surprise me though was that amidst ongoing allegations of corporate corruption, the Church not only retained its stake in News Corps as part of its £5.3 billion investments portfolio, but that the Ethical Investment Advisory Group had also advised investing in Murdoch’s media empire in the first place. Was it really the intelligent quality of the News of the World’s investigative journalism or merely a good return on the pound that guided the Church? A safe monetary bet, so to speak? Is the Church’s financial ethic really only skin deep?
Written by Marijke Hoek, 10 July 2013
The word ‘politics’ derives from the Greek politikos - "of, for, or relating to citizens". Its etymology reminds us that politics is actually about us, citizens. You can nearly hear Tony Blair whisper, ‘the people's politics’. Politics is also practised by us all. It’s too serious a matter to be left to the politicians, as the former French president Charles de Gaulle said. So, politics is left to filmmakers, poets, philosophers, teachers, community organisers, pastors, and pensioners. And, crucially, politics should be for us. The French philosopher Alain Badiou considers the goal of politics is to discover what the collective is capable of. Is it capable of achieving equality? Transparency? Are we?
What the co-operative enterprise or collective is capable of is probably most easily recognised in local politics that fosters a common life and pursues a common good - politics with a small ‘p’, if you wish. It’s community activism that recognises the fractures and flaws in society and their detrimental effect on its citizens. Rooted in locality, it provides a lens to focus our reading of the effect of injustice in the community; its challenge to the system is like catching a ray of sunlight in a magnifying lens, generating a focal point to ignite a fire.
Rolando Pérez, Coordinator of Advocacy and Communication at Paz y Esperanza (‘Peace and Hope’) a Christian group in Peru, tells of citizens building a coalition in a city where child sex abuse was very high and, in raw contrast, the rate of criminal conviction was abominably low. The local campaign against the corruption that permeated the local judicial system developed into a national advocacy campaign jointly facilitated by several civil society organisations. It resulted in the removal of bad judges who had defended the perpetrators instead of sentencing them. Such civic action against corruption in the institutional systems and wider culture destabilises unjust alliances and helps foster stronger, more just ones.
Pérez considers education key to mobilising whole communities and generating the confidence to stand up for their rights: “First of all, we need to create a consciousness - not just among authorities and political leaders but also in the citizens, the community, and wider society. So, education is a significant part of our fight against corruption and in the establishing of a new common practice in different areas of society.”
The Roman writer, philosopher and politician Cicero, who appealed for just trials in his era, poignantly stated, “Within the character of the citizen lies the welfare of the nation”. Our Peruvian friends show that not only within the character of the judge lies the welfare of the nation; but also within the character of its citizens who stood against corruption.
Cicero significantly interlocks the personal and political. It's the corrosion of the heart that creates a corrupt justice system. The verberations of a thoroughly corrosive banking culture are still felt far and wide. If we’d measure the ‘corrosion footprint’ of this industry similar to the way we track the carbon footprint in the environmental arena, it would show the effects on households, businesses, international development and beyond. Ditto for the culture of corporate tax evasion. In The UK Gold documentary, Father William Taylor sheds light on Britain's offshore tax havens. The filmmaker lifts the veil on the British financial sector that relies on unfair play for profit and is hugely influential in shaping corporate tax policy. The film concludes that politics can’t be left to parliamentarians and CEOs.
As the cultivating of a new culture begins in the heart, so also does the stand against corruption. In his multifaceted life as journalist, theologian, politician, prime minister and founder of the Free University in Amsterdam, Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) expressed, “When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.”
Barney Jones, the former Google employee who blew the whistle by giving crucial evidence to the Public Accounts Committee into the search engine's tax affairs in the UK, explained that his decision to speak out was rooted in his Christian faith. After reading what appeared to be misleading evidence from a senior Google executive, he felt prompted to give his account of what he considered an "immoral" company tax scheme.
The welfare of our nation lies in the hearts and hands of us all. Whistleblowers, film makers, community activists - they all contribute to a crucial conscientisation as the insights we gain cause the blurry multiple impressions of dysfunction to come more sharply into focus. The myriad of wrongdoing also leads us to examine the human condition, in all its human fallibility: whether corrupt, fearful, complicit, complacent, or greedy. The more focus and clarity we achieve then undergirds and sparks effective action for justice for the victims of crime; for hungry children who cannot concentrate in school; for mothers who can’t access good maternal care; and for all who suffer a shortage of medication and food.
Finally, uncovering amoral practices is also the business of politicians. The recent open letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron written by Dar es Salaam Shadow Minister for Finance, Zitto Kabwe, called for action on offshore accounts, some of them in British Overseas Territories, where Tanzanians have stashed dubiously acquired billions in foreign banks. International financial secrecy laws hinder the national fight against those who siphon off huge amounts of a nation’s tax revenue that could be spent on development. Moreover, some of the leaks actually concern development aid grants. The recent historic EU vote on transparency and the G8 discussion on tax justice and transparency are crucial to a more just politics that is ‘of, for and relating to citizens’.
We must all combat ‘the rot’, countering the corrosion of character and the erosion of community life. For corruption displays poor values as well as abject relational poverty. As the theologian Jürgen Moltmann says, “The opposite of poverty is not wealth: the opposite of both poverty and wealth is community, for in community we shall be rich…”
UN High Level Panel puts forward 12 sample Goals to build on the the success of the Millennium Development Goals.
The UN High Level Panel Report setting out ideas on a post-2015 global development agenda has been released. It states that extreme poverty can be ended if we embrace sustainable development with social, economic and environmental dimensions.
The report, calling for “a global, people-centred and planet-sensitive agenda” was drawn up after meetings and consulatations with thousands of groups and individuals around the world. It has five broad rules for a universal roadmap to achieve the twin goals of poverty eradication and sustainable development by 2030. It also puts forward 12 sample goals to build on the the success of the Millennium Development Goals.
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