News

News

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights recently underwent extensive reform, including new rules of procedure to improve victims’ access to legal representation. The new rules facilitate procedural equality between parties, increase transparency, and advance more consolidated participation by the alleged victims. Those without access to legal representation are represented by pro bono justice professionals rather than, as before, by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights or by civil society organizations with specific agendas. more >>
An UNDEF-funded project to strengthen the participation of marginalized women in the Russian Federation held a roundtable in May 2012 in the main project location of Togliatti, Samara region. The roundtable focused on ways to promote cooperation between civil society and local government so as to strengthen rights and opportunities for marginalized women. Among those addressing the roundtable were the Mayor of Togliatti, Sergey Andreyev, and Anatoliy Arsenikin, the Director of the project implementing agency, Foundation Social Investments. more >>
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Hardeep Singh Puri, presented the Secretary-General with a cheque for 4.71 million dollars for the UN Democracy Fund on 30 March 2012, bringing to nearly 30 million dollars India's total contribution since the Fund’s inception seven years ago. As the world’s largest democracy and one of the original founders of UNDEF, India thus remains UNDEF’s second largest donor. more >>
Deputy Executive Head Annika Savill met with Rodion Sulyandziga, First Vice-President of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North at UN headquarters on 22 March, in connection with an UNDEF-funded project to support democratic participation of northern indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation. With vast natural resources, Russia’s northern regions are of national and global importance. They are also home to vast numbers of indigenous peoples striving to maintain their livelihoods and traditional way of life. more >>
UNDEF is delighted that Jeffrey Wright has accepted the UN Secretary-General’s invitation to serve on the UNDEF Advisory Board for 2012-13. An award-winning film, television, and stage actor acclaimed for his versatility, with roles in productions ranging from James Bond movies and Angels in America to the recent electoral thriller Ides of March and the Academy Award-nominated Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Mr. Wright is also the co-founder and chair of Taia Peace Foundation, which works to empower rural communities in Africa, especially in Sierra Leone. Mr. more >>
Although recent Liberian elections have generally been pronounced free and fair by the international community, studies show that even more than a decade after the end of armed conflict, some voters vote out of fear and ignorance. This is particularly true of rural women and youth, many of whom are illiterate and have no access to civic or voter education. This, in turn, contributes to wider governance challenges and corruption. more >>
The first UNDEF-funded Women Leadership School – one of four planned worldwide – was launched by the Women’s Democracy Network in Tbilisi, Georgia on 27-29 January. The 25 students, aged 19 to 35, include journalists, political party activists, university students and civil society representatives. A student mentor from the group was selected to help conduct the next Georgia session in the next few months in Kutaisi, providing an immediate opportunity to use the leadership skills she learned during the January training. more >>
With UNDEF support, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance has now been ratified by 15 nations – a milestone which means the Charter will now enter into force. To take effect, the Charter requires at least 15 Member States to sign and ratify. On 16 January 2012, Cameroon became the 15th country to deposit its instrument of ratification with the African Union Commission. As per Article 48 of the Charter, it will enter into force on 15 February, 2012. more >>
In Bangladesh, UNDEF funds an initiative to advance pro-poor and democratic governance in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The project works in over 200 villages to step up interaction between organizations of poor tribal peoples and local government administration. It recently held a series of activities in the districts of Baghaichari, Rangamati and Kaptai, including courtyard capacity building sessions on democracy and good governance; sharing sessions between villagers and field staff; advocacy facilitation; group work presentation; baseline survey sessions; and social mapping. more >>
An UNDEF-funded online directory of parliamentary committees and NGOs was launched to bridge the divide between Pakistan’s Parliament and civil society. It will serve as a resource tool for Parliament to facilitate the use of professional research sources in addressing issues relevant to the Committees. This is essential in Pakistan, where Parliament and parliamentary committees have limited in-house research capacity. more >>

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