Position paper 2007 relating to substantive and other aspects of attacking the root cause of violence

As part of a wider project funded by theEuropean Union and other donors, OMCT organised an international seminar inGeneva on “Addressing the economic, social and cultural root causes of violencethrough the UN Special Procedures System” from 18 to 22 June 2007. Thisseminar, attended by representatives of national human rights NGOs from 14countries, was an important element of OMCT’s three-year project on “PreventingTorture and Other Forms of Violence by acting on their Economic, Social andCultural Root Causes.” This OMCT project is intended to developconcrete measures to act upon this link and reduce levels of violenceassociated with socio-economic conditions. The Special Procedures mechanismsrepresent a significant element in this regard. It is, therefore, importantthat national NGOs addressing both human rights and development issues areaware of how to interact most effectively with these mechanisms. This document contains expert papers and NGOcase studies developed during the 2007 OMCT Special Procedures Seminar. Webelieve that this information is very relevant to the UN Special ProceduresSystem, and its Mandate Holders. Presentations (reproduced in Section II) by twoinvited experts, Mr. François Beaujolinand Mr. Yves Berthelot, examined the macro-economic and political policiesthat need to be addressed to reduce inequality and the resulting violence andillustrated the ways that national NGOs, with international collaboration, caneffectively act against government policies that risk increasing poverty. The NGO representatives - from Argentina,Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Colombia, Egypt, Gambia, Georgia, India, Liberia,Nepal, South Africa and Zambia - presented case studies (summarised in SectionIII) discussing the specific economic, social and cultural root causes oftorture and violence in their countries, and discussed what national NGOsneeded to do to help make the special procedures effective. They also held in-depth discussions withspecial procedures mandate holders responsible for issues relating to torture, indigenouspeoples, the right to health, arbitrary detention, protection of human rightsdefenders and violations of human rights by private security forces. The participants in the seminar concluded thatin order to fight violence it is crucial for NGOs to identify and address itseconomic, social and cultural root causes; that NGO action can be effective inthis regard, that the United Nations procedures can be of significantassistance if NGOs provide reliable and targeted information, and that it is importantfor OMCT to continue to develop its capacity to support national NGOs in thisarea. OMCT is grateful to the European Union, theSwiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Karl Popper Foundation,the Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation and the Foundation forHuman Rights at Work for their financial support for this project.
Sign up now

Subscribe to our latest news & alerts