Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Story Project Launched

Launch of ‘My Story’, a youth-led project

Young people from Bristol and North Somerset have been sampling different media techniques and creating their own stories as part of the ‘My Story’ project, funded by Mediabox and supported by South West Screen. Vanishing Rites has partnered with Avon Youth Association Youth Bus in Shirehampton and Black Carers Project at Docklands Youth Club to provide disadvantaged young people with the opportunity to tell their stories or highlight issues of interest to them and their peers through a creative media project.

Young people have been trained in practical skills such as cameras and sound recording equipment and have conducted interviews in their communities or with their families to highlight some intimate portraits of their lives.

These stories will be brought together in a multimedia mosaic that anyone can access in order to learn more about the young peoples lives.

These stories will eventually be uploaded to the larger Our Stories project (, which aims to gather 5 million stories worldwide by 2012.

The launch event for the My Story project was held at the Shirehampton
Golf Club on Friday 30th January 2009, where the young people had their achievements recognised by the Rt Hon The Lord and The Lady Mayoress of Bristol. People got an opportunity to go on the AYA Youth Bus and see the stories online.

Mediabox is a Department of Children, Schools and Families fund to help young people to create media projects and get their voices heard. It offers disadvantaged 13-19 year olds the opportunity to develop and produce creative media projects, using print, television, film, radio and online platforms. Mediabox is delivered by a consortium by First Light Movies and Media Trust in partnership with Skillset and the UK Film Council.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Save the Planet from Capitalism-Letter from Bolivian President Evo Morales about Climate Change and the International Crisis

Sisters and brothers:

Today, our Mother Earth is ill. From the beginning of the 21st century we have lived the hottest years of the last thousand years. Global warming is generating abrupt changes in the weather: the retreat of glaciers and the decrease of the polar ice caps; the increase of the sea level and the flooding of coastal areas, where approximately 60% of the world population live; the increase in the processes of desertification and the decrease of fresh water sources; a higher frequency in natural disasters that the communities of the earth suffer[1]; the extinction of animal and vegetal species; and the spread of diseases in areas that before were free from those diseases.
One of the most tragic consequences of the climate change is that some nations and territories are the condemned to disappear by the increase of the sea level.
Everything began with the industrial revolution in 1750, which gave birth to the capitalist system. In two and a half centuries, the so called "developed" countries have consumed a large part of the fossil fuels created over five million centuries.

Competition and the thirst for profit without limits of the capitalist system are destroying the planet. Under Capitalism we are not human beings but consumers. Under Capitalism mother earth does not exist, instead there are raw materials. Capitalism is the source of the asymmetries and imbalances in the world. It generates luxury, ostentation and waste for a few, while millions in the world die from hunger in the world. In the hands of Capitalism everything becomes a commodity: the water, the soil, the human genome, the ancestral cultures, justice, ethics, death ... and life itself. Everything, absolutely everything, can be bought and sold and under Capitalism. And even "climate change" itself has become a business.

"Climate change" has placed all humankind before great choice: to continue in the ways of capitalism and death, or to start down the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.

In the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the developed countries and economies in transition committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5% below the 1990 levels, through the implementation of different mechanisms among which market mechanisms predominate.

Until 2006, greenhouse effect gases, far from being reduced, have increased by 9.1% in relation to the 1990 levels, demonstrating also in this way the breach of commitments by the developed countries.

The market mechanisms applied in the developing countries [2] have not accomplished a significant reduction of greenhouse effect gas emissions.
Just as well as the market is incapable of regulating global financial and productive system, the market is unable to regulate greenhouse effect gas emissions and will only generate a big business for financial agents and major corporations.

The earth is much more important than stock exchanges of Wall Street and the world.

While the United States and the European Union allocate 4,100 billion dollars to save the bankers from a financial crisis that they themselves have caused, programs on climate change get 313 times less, that is to say, only 13 billion dollars.

The resources for climate change are unfairly distributed. More resources are directed to reduce emissions (mitigation) and less to reduce the effects of climate change that all the countries suffer (adaptation)[3]. The vast majority of resources flow to those countries that have contaminated the most, and not to the countries where we have preserved the environment most. Around 80% of the Clean Development Mechanism projects are concentrated in four emerging countries.

Capitalist logic promotes a paradox in which the sectors that have contributed the most to deterioration of the environment are those that benefit the most from climate change programs.

At the same time, technology transfer and the financing for clean and sustainable development of the countries of the South have remained just speeches.

The next summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen must allow us to make a leap forward if we want to save Mother Earth and humanity. For that purpose the following proposals for the process from Poznan to Copenhagen:

Attack the structural causes of climate change

1) Debate the structural causes of climate change. As long as we do not change the capitalist system for a system based in complementarity, solidarity and harmony between the people and nature, the measures that we adopt will be palliatives that will limited and precarious in character. For us, what has failed is the model of "living better", of unlimited development, industrialisation without frontiers, of modernity that deprecates history, of increasing accumulation of goods at the expense of others and nature. For that reason we promote the idea of Living Well, in harmony with other human beings and with our Mother Earth.

2) Developed countries need to control their patterns of consumption - of luxury and waste - especially the excessive consumption of fossil fuels. Subsidies of fossil fuel, that reach 150-250 billions of dollars[4], must be progressively eliminated. It is fundamental to develop alternative forms of power, such as solar, geothermal, wind and hydroelectric both at small and medium scales.

3) Agrofuels are not an alternative, because they put the production of foodstuffs for transport before the production of food for human beings. Agrofuels expand the agricultural frontier destroying forests and biodiversity, generate monocropping, promote land concentration, deteriorate soils, exhaust water sources, contribute to rises in food prices and, in many cases, result in more consumption of more energy than is produced.

Substantial commitments to emissions reduction that are met

4) Strict fulfilment by 2012 of the commitments[5] of the developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least by 5% below the 1990 levels. It is unacceptable that the countries that polluted the planet throughout the course of history make statements about larger reductions in the future while not complying with their present commitments.

5) Establish new minimum commitments for the developed countries of greenhouse gas emission reduction of 40% by 2020 and 90% by for 2050, taking as a starting point 1990 emission levels. These minimum commitments must be met internally in developed countries and not through flexible market mechanisms that allow for the purchase of certified emissions reduction certificates to continue polluting in their own country. Likewise, monitoring mechanisms must be established for the measuring, reporting and verifying that are transparent and accessible to the public, to guarantee the compliance of commitments.

6) Developing countries not responsible for the historical pollution must preserve the necessary space to implement an alternative and sustainable form of development that does not repeat the mistakes of savage industrialisation that has brought us to the current situation. To ensure this process, developing countries need, as a prerequisite, finance and technology transfer.

An Integral Financial Mechanism to address ecological debt

7) Acknowledging the historical ecological debt that they owe to the planet, developed countries must create an Integral Financial Mechanism to support developing countries in: implementation of their plans and programmes for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change; the innovation, development and transfer of technology; in the preservation and improvement of the sinks and reservoirs; response actions to the serious natural disasters caused by climate change; and the carrying out of sustainable and eco-friendly development plans.

8) This Integral Financial Mechanism, in order to be effective, must count on a contribution of at least 1% of the GDP in developed countries[6] and other contributions from taxes on oil and gas, financial transactions, sea and air transport, and the profits of transnational companies.

9) Contributions from developed countries must be additional to Official Development Assistance (ODA), bilateral aid or aid channelled through organisms not part of the United Nations. Any finance outside the UNFCCC cannot be considered as the fulfilment of developed country's commitments under the Convention.

10) Finance has to be directed to the plans or national programmes of the different States and not to projects that follow market logic.

11) Financing must not be concentrated just in some developed countries but has to give priority to the countries that have contributed less to greenhouse gas emissions, those that preserve nature and are suffering the impact of climate change.

12) The Integral Financial Mechanism must be under the coverage of the United Nations, not under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other intermediaries such as the World Bank and regional development banks; its management must be collective, transparent and non-bureaucratic. Its decisions must be made by all member countries, especially by developing countries, and not by the donors or bureaucratic administrators.

Technology Transfer to developing countries

13) Innovation and technology related to climate changes must be within the public domain, not under any private monopolistic patent regime that obstructs and makes technology transfer more expensive to developing countries.

14) Products that are the fruit of public financing for technology innovation and development of have to be placed within the public domain and not under a private regime of patents[7], so that they can be freely accessed by developing countries.

15) Encourage and improve the system of voluntary and compulsory licenses so that all countries can access products already patented quickly and free of cost. Developed countries cannot treat patents and intellectual property rights as something "sacred" that has to be preserved at any cost. The regime of flexibilities available for the intellectual property rights in the cases of serious problems for public health has to be adapted and substantially enlarged to heal Mother Earth.

16) Recover and promote indigenous peoples practices in harmony with nature which have proven to be sustainable through centuries.

Adaptation and mitigation with the participation of all the people

17) Promote mitigation actions, programs and plans with the participation of local communities and indigenous people in the framework of full respect for and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The best mechanism to confront the challenge of climate change are not market mechanisms, but conscious, motivated, and well organized human beings endowed with an identity of their own.

18) The reduction of the emissions from deforestation and forest degradation must be based on a mechanism of direct compensation from developed to developing countries, through a sovereign implementation that ensures broad participation of local communities, and a mechanism for monitoring, reporting and verifying that is transparent and public.

A UN for the Environment and Climate Change

19) We need a World Environment and Climate Change Organization to which multilateral trade and financial organizations are subordinated, so as to promote a different model of development that environmentally friendly and resolves the profound problems of impoverishment. This organization must have effective follow-up, verification and sanctioning mechanisms to ensure that the present and future agreements are complied with.

20) It is fundamental to structurally transform the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the international economic system as a whole, in order to guarantee fair and complementary trade, as well as financing without conditions for sustainable development that avoids the waste of natural resources and fossil fuels in the production processes, trade and product transport.

In this negotiation process towards Copenhagen, it is fundamental to guarantee the participation of our people as active stakeholders at a national, regional and worldwide level, especially taking into account those sectors most affected, such as indigenous peoples who have always promoted the defense of Mother Earth.

Humankind is capable of saving the earth if we recover the principles of solidarity, complementarity, and harmony with nature in contraposition to the reign of competition, profits and rampant consumption of natural resources.
November 28, 2008
Evo Morales Ayma
President of Bolivia
[1] Due to the "Niña" phenomenon, that becomes more frequent as a result of the climate change, Bolivia has lost 4% of its GDP in 2007.
[2] Known as the Clean Development Mechanism
[3] At the present there is only one Adaptation Fund with approximately 500 million dollars for more than 150 developing countries. According to the UNFCCC Secretary, 171 billion dollars are required for adaptation, and 380 billion dollars are required for mitigation.
[4] Stern report
[5] Kyoto Protocol, Art. 3.
[6] The Stern Review has suggested one percent of global GDP, which represents less than 700 billion dollars per year.
[7] According to UNCTAD (1998), Public financing in developing countries contributes with 40% of the resources for innovation and development of technology.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

International Forum for Indigenous Women: Creative session at AWID

Transformative Learning and Leadership: Feminist Voices from the Ground, AWID 11th Forum, Cape Town, 14-17 November 2008

The session on Saturday 15th November was organised by the International Indigenous Women's Network and facilitated by Katrin Wilde of the Channel Foundation. The pannelist included, Tania Pariona, Annetta Bok (from Cape Town), Jennifer Tauli Corpuz and myself. Women from different countries split into small groups to discuss the experiences and also a rather lovely poem about the journey to Utopia. In my group we had a lady from Afghanistan, working from UNIFEM, a cool Roma activist from Macedonia and a woman from Angola, as well as other women that helped make the discussions lively and interesting. All brought their own stories and takes on the movements and struggles they have been involved in, with both personal and professional perspectives.

It has been great to meet so many amazingly committed and hard working women. And also to learn that I might just be a feminist.

I have listened to Shirin Ebadi speak about the experience of Iranian women and human rights defenders.

Today I also attended a session by the Centre for Global Women's Leadership, which discussed Violence against Women-The Big Ask. It has been an inspiring time, with over 2200 women gathered. It is the last day of the conference tomorrow, and I can't wait to see what happens during the plenary, which it is always puts the day and feminism in perspective.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ranglai Mro tortured, sentenced to 17 yrs in Bangladesh

Ranglai Mro was arrested in March 2007 and false charges brought against him.

Ranglai is a local Headman and ran an Indigenous NGO in Bandarban, CHT Bangladesh called Mrochet. Mrochet was a partner iof DfID. Ranglai's main crime was to protest the displacement of Indigenous and Bengali people from villages to make way for a military training camp. Ranglai was arrested in March 2007, brutally tortured at the Army Cantonment in Bandarban. He was finally transferred to Chittagong College Medical Hospital where he was treated for his injuries. He was charged with possessing a firearm and bullet. His lawyers maintain he had a license for the gun. But allege that they were unable to bring any witnesses.

The sentence is also disproportionate to any alleged crime and Ranglai was denied a fair trial or the due process of law. Instead he is one of the thousands detained without fair trial under the current military backed Caretaker regime.

It is essential the thousands of innocent political prisoners unlawfully detained under false charges by the Army and RAB are released prior to the elections in Bangladesh.

Here is a link to the Amnesty International Urgent Action about Ranglai:
Survival International:

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sheikh Hasina and Lord Avebury at the House of Lords

Sheikh Hasina, ex Prime Minister of Bangladesh and leader of the Awami League and Lord Eric Avebury arrive at the Moses Room in the House of Lords for a Conference on Democracy, Human Rights and the prospect of Free and Fair Elections in Bangladesh, Thursday 9th October 2008. The event was organised by the International Bangladesh Foundation. Lord Avebury chaired the packed, high security conference and gave an introduction to Sheikh Hasina and her recent incarceration as well as her achievements whilst in power in Bangladesh.

"We want democracy and power transferred back to the people by the ballot and not the bullet," Sheikha Hasina demands.

"Emergency Rule cannot continue for months and years. There is provision for Emergency to last for 120 days. Why is there still a State of Emergency? The Emergency should be withdrawn."

Statements of support for Sheika Hasina were made by members of the British Awami League and the Women's UK Awami League, as well as members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh, including Baroness Pola Uddin, Lord Dholakia and also Harry Cohen MP for Leyton and Wanstead, Jeremy Corbyn MP for Islington North and Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch.

Brad Adams echoed the call of Sheikh Hasina and others speaking for the need to remove the State of Emergency in order for free and fair elections to take place. He also drew parallels with Pakistan where a pre-requisite of the election was the removal of Emergency Rule. He also stressed the importance of ending impunity that exists, whichever party is successful in the elections planned for 18th December 2008. "There are concerns that leading members of the Banlgadesh Army and military forces are putting people in key positions of power in a bid to hold on to power after the elections."

The support by the current Labour Government of the military backed Caretaker Government of Bangladesh and the lack of condemnation of the excesses of the Bangladesh Army, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in suppressing political opponents was also called into question.

I was able to ask Sheikh Hasina a question about the situation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Firstly let me congratulate Sheikh Hasina and her Awami League Party for being the first Government of Bangladesh to earnestly attempt to solve the inequality and conflict suffered by the Indigenous Peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, with the historic signing of the Peace Accords in 1997.

Does Sheikh Hasina believe that free and fair elections are possible in the Chittagong Hill Tracts given the historic policies that have so drastically changed the population balance in the region? (Such as the forced resettlement policy that has brought Bengali settlers from the plains that have altered the demographic balance in the region).

Sheikh Hasina reiterated her own as well as the Awami League's commitment to implementing the Peace Accord. She also reaffirmed the importance of the Land Commission in resolving the problems in the CHT. Sheikh Hasina affirmed that her Government would do more if returned to power and said that the reason more had not been done was because they were in power for only five years.

I was heartened by Sheikh Hasina' promise to restart the stalled Peace Accord if returned to power. I wish her and the people of Bangladesh the opportunity to enjoy free and fair elections. And hope that the problem of the voter lists do not rob the already vulnerable Jumma Indigenous Peoples of the CHT of their opportunity to participate in free and fair elections. Sadly, this may not be possible in the Hill Tracts with the inclusion of non resident Bengalis on the voter lists. However, we can still hope that the elections are not marred by violence.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

e-Parliament Samburu Hearing, June 2008 online

Here is the final film of the Samuburu Hearing. It gives an overview of the process and also the issues faced by East African countries as the impact of climate change and energy access are felt through the world.

The film is narrated by the MPs and legislators gathered for the Hearing.

Further details of future hearings and the workings of the e-Parliament:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Caring/Carers Exhibition Call for Entries Now Open!

Call for Artists who are or who have been CARERS

Art Exhibition

DEADLINE 31st December 2008

An open art exhibition and weekend of public events centred around the theme of ‘Caring/Carers, will take place in late Spring 2009.

The exhibition is open to people of ALL AGES who are Carers or who have been Carers to submit creative visual, audio, written, spoken word, music or performance art on the theme of Caring/Carers. Although other themes by carers are acceptable, and the importance of creativity and art in providing respite for Carers can also be explored.

The aim of the exhibition is to showcase the creativity and experience of Carers in the South West and Britain. Being a Carer gives people a unique insight into both the human condition and the human spirit. It can also be a lonely and isolating experience. But, it is in that space, where Carers live and breathe, that creativity and imagination can blossom. And it is that which we seek in this exhibition.

This is an open call for all artists who are or who have been Carers, working with any type of media to submit work for inclusion in the art exhibition to be held during Carers Week in June 2009. The exhibition will launch and the event will be accompanied by discussion and performances of music and drama. Work will also be available to view online.

We are looking for work that resonates with the theme of the exhibition, and can include any aspect of an individual’s experience of caring and those they care for.

Individuals, groups of Carers or families are encouraged to submit work on the theme.

You may submit your entry using electronic format files on CD, or printed images and info (max size A4 please).

If you would like discs or images returned, you must provide a stamped, addressed envelope. All submissions should be received before 31st December 2008 please. Feel free to contact Ina for an informal discussion.


While we endeavour to ensure safe handling of artwork, insurance of the work against loss or damage is at the artist’s discretion and is the responsibility of the artist.

Please send all exhibition related enquiries via email to Ina Hume:
If sending large attachments, please use: