Friday, December 6, 2013

Mining in Afghanistan: Huge Economic Gains At the Expense of Human Rights?

The government of Afghanistan is desperately looking to revenue from its mineral wealthvalued at least $1 trillionto replace the foreign aid currently bankrolling the country, claiming that the sector will provide more than 500,000 new jobs and 50 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2030.  In the short term, the revenues are to come from oil fields in the north and smaller gold mines, but in the long term, revenue is to come from the country’s two largest known deposits:  the Aynak copper deposit worth an estimated $46 billion in Logar province, and the Hajigak iron ore deposit worth an estimated $340 billion in Bamiyan province. 

Aynak communities were forcibly resettled five years ago when development of the copper mine started, but since a rocket attack by the Taliban in August of last year, the Chinese state-owned company operating the mine has halted all work.  A consortium led by an Indian state-owned company has won the tender for the Hajigak deposit, although no development will take place until the consortium has secured funding.  Another key stumbling block for any mineral development in Afghanistan is resolving the critical question of infrastructure to transport the minerals out of the country, including geopolitical concerns for agreements to build railroads or pipelines; oil in the north is today being exported by truck through Turkmenistan. 

Whether small- or large-scale, government-licensed or insurgent-operated, the human rights price tag of mineral development in Afghanistan will be high unless the right steps are taken now. Left unaddressed, the environmental, social and human rights costs to Afghanistan’s peopleand especially local mine-affected communitiesof such massive economic development could be unjust and irreversible.  Without a foundation based on good governance and social justice, this key to economic sustainability runs a high risk of increasing conflict and insecurity in an already fragile country, in turn threatening the very economic returns the government desperately seeks and needs.

In January, local civil society organizations and resource-rich communities organized and joined forces to form the Civil Society Natural Resources Monitoring Network, with a mission to pursue the goal of promoting effective, transparent, balanced, sustainable, and peaceful utilization of natural resources for economic and social development of Afghanistan.  It was one of the Network members, Afghanistan Watch, which invited Global Rights’ Director of Natural Resources and Human Rights, Lien De Brouckere, to Afghanistan in early November to train local civil society organizations, members of resource-rich communities, as well as geologists and minerals experts on the social and human rights impacts of large-scale mining, and various strategies to manage mining-related issues.  After a four-day training in Kabul, Lien traveled with Network members on a field visit to listen to resource-rich communities in Bamiyan province, including those in Bamiyan city, the village of Syadara, and Hajigak.

This province also has a rich cultural history and is the site of the Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.  The network members met with Bamiyan civil society organizations, where community members were concerned about corruption, security and whether mining would actually generate new jobs for them.  Network members also traveled for several hours to the more remote village of Syadara to meet with community council members, stopping on the way to visit former small-scale marble and iron ore sites, as well as another of Afghanistan’s natural jewels, Band-e-Amir, a stunning lake in a mountainous area that showcases Afghanistan’s natural wealth and beauty.

Communities around the Hajigak mine have vowed not to let what happened at Aynak happen to them, and civil society activists from Logar are generously sharing their experiences and lessons with Hajigak and other community members, all coordinated through the Network in an attempt to bridge the information gap between Kabul and the other provinces. 

Front and center for any civil society or community member with whom Lien spoke was the issue of security. Past troubling incidents and other security concerns include: Aynak communities’ forcible resettlement by soldiers in armored vehicles that resulted in two deaths; recent beheadings of several provincial leaders and kidnapping of foreigners in Aynak; insecure roads to Hajigak where engineers have disappeared over the past few years; threats to human rights defenders from government, business and insurgents; US-supported commercial extraction of chromite by Afghan Local Police in Kunar province; ethnic conflict resulting from laborers who come from other provinces; and  general worry about what will remain after NATO forces leave Afghanistan in 2014.  

Corruption was another major concern cited repeatedly, and Transparency International’s latest report  released Tuesday has a three-way tie again with Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia for most corrupt country in the world.  These corruption concerns touch all aspects of resource governance, including the tendering process, employment and training opportunities, contract negotiation, government independence, political leaders owning private companies, and misusing recruitment of mine workers for fraudulent voter registration in the upcoming elections.  

Aside from security and corruption, civil society and community members also voiced grave concerns about local hiring.  For instance, at the Aynak mine it was promised that at least 70 percent of newly created jobs would be reserved for people from Logar; however, today only one manager at Aynak comes from Logar.  Many other concerns were also voiced, including concerns about whether the government and foreign companies will consult with communities about the mining process. (It is incredibly telling that communities around Aynak, civil society organizations and provincial council members only learned through the media that the contract for Aynak had been signed.) Other concerns pertained to land tenure and property rights (especially resettlement, and absent or woefully inadequate compensation), impacts on women, a host of social and environmental concerns, adequate working conditions, and rampant child labor.  

Global Rights has a wealth of experience working with local communities that have suffered injustices at the hands of the extractive industry.  Today, we are working in Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda to increase the knowledge of civil society, host communities, industry, and government officials about the human rights implications of the extractive industries that are, in part, fueling Africa’s current economic growth. We have also worked in the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Liberia and Equatorial Guinea, where we helped local organizations monitor violations in extractives operations, and trained them on their economic, social and cultural rights.

Global Rights will continue to monitor the status of mining in Afghanistan. We welcome the opportunity to continue working with Afghan civil society to raise awareness in the country about land rights and to connect Afghan organizations to our broad, international network of community organizations that are engaged in the same human rights work.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New Report: Global Rights' 13-year Journey Advancing Women's Rights in Morocco

For 13 years, Global Rights worked with local women's organizations to advance women's rights in Morocco. Through various seminars, workshops and training sessions, we directly reached about 65,000 Moroccan women. 

A demonstration in support of Amina Filali, a 16-year-old Moroccan girl who committed suicide after she was forced to marry the man who raped her.
During one initiative in 2009, we and our partners met with 2,000 women from 33 different cities, towns, and villages during a three-week trip to spread awareness of Violence Against Women (VAW) legislation that we and our partners drafted. We then lobbied the Moroccan government and the United Nations for the legislation to be adopted into Moroccan law.

We began our work in Morocco in 2000 intent on raising women’s awareness about their rights and providing them the tools and knowledge to defend these rights. The overarching goal was to create a broad and influential women’s rights movement; it was up to the country’s emerging women’s groups to chart the movement’s course. After more than 12 years of activism, the situation of Moroccan women changed dramatically. Throughout the country, many individual women and women’s groups learned skills about grassroots mobilization, articulating the case for women’s rights, and working patiently and strategically with government at both local and national levels to improve their status and position in society. The report documents how Global Rights worked with the women of Morocco to effect this dramatic change. It is also a tribute to the power of civil society and to the indomitable will of those who take risks and work tirelessly every day to assert their rights.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Global Rights Releases New Report on Human Rights Abuses of Afro-Brazilian Trans Women

An LGBT person was murdered every 26 hours in Brazil in 2012.

Among the more than 300 murders , more than half were trans women.  Moreover, from January 2008 to December 2011, there were 826 reported murders of trans persons worldwide, and 426 of them occurred in Brazil. In 2013, there have already been 251 deaths of LGBT persons in Brazil, which include trans women.

Against this backdrop of unspeakable violence, Global Rights, in close partnership with Brazilian trans activists, professors, and local human rights organizations, produced the first-ever comprehensive report on human rights violations against Afro-descendant trans women in Brazil, who suffer discrimination for being trans and black. Global Rights and our partners presented the report October 29 to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which is part of the Organization of American States (OAS).

The report, information for which was collected from July 2012 to March 2013, revealed that Afro-descendant trans women in Brazil experience chronic human rights violations including racial discrimination, transphobic and racial violence, and arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings by police officers and individuals. Furthermore, they receive inadequate access to education, employment and healthcare because of racial and gender-identity biases. Estimates are that 90 percent of trans women in Brazil are functionally illiterate, and many Afro-descendant trans women find sex work as their only way to earn money.

“Racism is a thing that traverses all strata of society…A person already grows up knowing that black is ugly, that black smells, and black is not worth anything…and for black transsexuals, it would be an even greater problem. And if she doesn't have the looks of a woman, the problem, it would be even greater because she causes nausea in people,”

said Alessandra Ramos, a coordinator for Grupo Pela Vidda Rio de Janeiro, a group that was founded in 1989 to support people in Brazil with HIV and AIDS.

Currently in Brazil, there is no law that specifically prohibits acts of discrimination or violence committed on the basis of sexual orientation and gender. The Brazilian Constitution, however, does outlaw racial discrimination and protects the cultural and religious rights of ethnic minorities, including Afro-Brazilians. In addition, Brazil established in 2010 the National Council for Combating Discrimination, a special council formed within Brazil’s human rights commission to combat discrimination and promote and defend the rights of LGBT persons.

Brazil also permits same-sex marriage. The country’s National Court of Justice ruled on May 14 that marriage licenses cannot be denied to same-sex couples. However, like in Argentina, which also has progressive laws for LGBT persons—including a law that allows individuals to change their gender identity on official documents—conservative societal attitudes toward LGBT persons often clash with the progressive spirit of the law, particularly in rural areas.

Furthermore, the fact the Afro-descendant LGBTI movement in Brazil is relatively small, unorganized and nascent adds to the difficulty of protecting the rights for the community. The movement lacks funding, public support and resources, and it does not receive enough support from the government or other civil society organizations to compensate for its lack of financial and public support.

Global Rights views this report as the first step in a multi-step process. After having identified key issues facing Afro-descendant trans women in Brazil, Global Rights will now work to build and train the fledgling movement to more effectively advocate for and protect its marginalized community. Specifically, we will work to foster more collaboration between Afro-descendant trans women and other Brazilian human rights groups, like those that advocate for women, Afro-descendants and LGBT persons. We will also work with local organizations to document human rights violations and then present our findings to human rights commissions at the state, regional and international levels.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Live video today at 12 pm: Afro-Colombians Push for Inclusion in FARC-Colombia Peace Talks

Despite the relative progress in the Colombia-FARC peace process, the conflict continues to leave a disproportionate scar on Afro-Colombian communities. As negotiations progress in Havana, Cuba, mass displacement has continued along the primarily Afro-descendant Pacific coast; 2012 saw a 22 percent increase in displacements compared to 2011. Despite bearing the brunt of Colombia’s conflict, though, Afro-Colombian voices have been notably absent from the ongoing negotiations. Watch this live event, where two noted Afro-Colombian leaders will share their perspectives on the conflict and chart how Colombia can include some of its most marginalized voices in the talks.

The event will be streamed live today at 12:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Kenyan LGBT Activist Visits Global Rights

In Kenya, a man who has sex with another man can face up to 14 years in prison. The Kenyan Penal Code describes such a crime as “against the order of nature,” and Kenyan society reinforces this message, with schools, churches and government officials branding Kenyan LGBT persons as outcasts and stains on Kenyan society.

Eric Gitari, an LGBT activist and lawyer, described the deplorable conditions for LGBT persons in Kenya at a recent talk at Global Rights' office in Washington:

"As someone who has a lived experience of being queer in Kenya, growing up in the rural village, and going to public schools which are funded by churches, you're taught every day that you don't belong, that you're shameful, that you're a stigma, that you're not part of the society, that something is wrong with you. And what that does to you, especially at an early age, is that it destroys your dignity, it stains you, with so many questions of your respectability, desirability and your thriving in society."

To learn more about LGBT persons in Kenya and their fight for equality, take a look at the following short video, where Mr. Gitari talks about everything from the changes in sexual norms following the British colonization of Kenya in 1895 to cases involving LGBT rights that are currently before the High Court of Kenya.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Global Rights Executive Director Visits Afghanistan

Global Rights Executive Director Susan Farnsworth returned this week from a 10-day trip to Afghanistan, where she met with local Global Rights staff, international funders, and the many Afghan lawyers, law students and everyday Afghan people who benefit from Global Rights’ legal services and education initiatives.

On October 8, Susan visited one of our Legal Advice Bureaus in Kabul. The Bureaus were established in 2009 to help marginalized Afghans, particularly women, gain free access to lawyers who help them understand, and sometimes defend in court, their legal rights. Since 2009, about 5,000 individuals have benefited from legal services received at one of the four Bureaus that Global Rights’ partner organizations operate in the provinces of Kabul, Herat, Nangarhar, and Balkh. The partner organization that runs the Kabul Bureau is Justice for All.

Afghanistan Picture1
A client (left) works with a Legal Advice Bureau lawyer in Kabul to secure alimony for her and her two children.
Afghanistan Picture 2
Global Rights Executive Director Susan Farsnworth speaks with Mahfuza Folad, Executive Director of Justice For all

Below are some of Susan’s impressions a day after visiting the Kabul Legal Advice Bureau on October 8:
“Yesterday, I visited the Legal Advice Bureau (LAB) in Kabul, where part of our work focuses on increasing access to justice for poor and vulnerable populations.  The LAB is located in the government complex, where people come to deal with a myriad of legal papers: licenses, registrations, claims, etc.  It is well known that engagement with the various parts of the justice system often requires additional expenses to have one’s case heard and to push the paperwork through for a decision. The LAB offers a pro bono service to the poor, ensuring that they can participate in the justice system at no additional cost.  During my visit, I met with the four defense lawyers who staff the Bureau, three women and one man. I also met one of the clients, a young woman wearing a burka that had been thrown back across her head. She was seeking alimony and child support from her husband for herself and her two daughters.  The client’s grasp of the law and her rights was inspiring. Not only was she determined to move the case forward so that she could receive the alimony due her under law, but through the work with the LAB lawyer, she had strong knowledge of her rights and how the law should work to protect those rights. It was clear that the lawyers go the extra mile to educate their clients, and in doing so, they are educating many others and breaking down real and perceived barriers to the justice system.  The client’s case is dragging through the system, but she and her lawyer are determined to push and push until it is resolved.  Seeing their determination gives me hope that she will receive her alimony and that her case will demonstrate to others that Global Rights’ work in providing legal advice for the poor opens up a door previously closed.”

Susan also chatted with one of Global Rights Legal Fellows, a select group of promising graduates from our Young Lawyers in Training Program (YLTP). Fellows are chosen to work in Afghanistan’s justice sector and in local human rights and justice non-governmental organizations (NGOs.) Global Rights established the YLTP in 2005 to supplement universities’ Sharia and law school curricula with educational content related to human and women’s rights, topics that were not covered in the traditional curricula. The program also provides practical training in civil and criminal procedure, which adds a new dimension to the students’ mostly theory-based pedagogy.  So far, more than 2,700 young men and women have successfully graduated from the program.  Mohammed, who met with Susan on her recent trip, is a graduate of the YLTP and a current Legal Fellow. The fellowship provides Mohammad and his recent graduate peers with a unique opportunity to begin working immediately on legal cases under the supervision of practicing lawyers, judges and human rights activists.

After spending some time with Mohammed, Susan was impressed by his conviction and passion for women’s rights:
“The other day I met Mohammed, who is now working as a Legal Fellow to promote gender equality in the Ministry of the Interior. He was presenting his experiences to the new class of Fellows, and his enthusiasm and excitement was catching. I wanted to further understand his passion for gender and equal rights.  He explained to me that his understanding of the importance of treating men and women equally is grounded in the life of the Prophet, who treated each of his wives equally and with respect. His support and understanding of Afghanistan’s decree to eliminate violence against women is grounded in this deep moral conviction.  He also explained to me how the articles contained in the Afghanistan decree to eliminate violence against women are derived from the Koran.   Meeting Mohammed and understanding his commitment to gender equality and the passion with which he purses this in his work at the Ministry reconfirmed my belief that our work is indeed building the next generation of legal practitioners who will promote rights and equality for all Afghans.”

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Global Rights Reports from Colombia at UN Summit on Business-Related Human Rights Issues

A few weeks ago in Colombia, the United Nations convened its first-ever regional gathering to address business-related human rights issues. More than 400 people participated in the event, including representatives from businesses, governments, grassroots and non-governmental organizations. Also in attendance was Lien De Brouckere, Global Rights’ Director of Natural Resources and Human Rights.

The forum was organized by the United Nations Working Group on Business & Human Rights, which is charged with implementing the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, a landmark set of global standards ratified by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011 that clarified the respective roles of governments and companies to help ensure that companies respect human rights while they operate.  This was the first-ever regional forum and was held in Colombia’s second largest city, Medellín. The results of the forum will feed into the second global forum that the Working Group is organizing in Geneva in December 2013.

After participating in the plenary sessions, Lien said that it was encouraging to hear representatives from companies and governments speak about “human rights” in relation to business activities, which marks progress in the attention companies now give to these issues.  
“To have governments and companies use this language of ‘human rights,’ and to develop policies and speak on public panels to address these issues is definitely a positive development that would not have happened at this scale a few years ago,” she said.
At the same time, she was deeply concerned that the forum failed to capture the realities on the ground for individuals and communities, and that the panels painted a misleading picture that obscured the main goal of protecting human rights for vulnerable and marginalized groups.  None of the panel discussions addressed the fundamental challenges of protecting affected communities’ rights, which include significant asymmetries of power, information and resources between companies and communities.  There was also little participation of affected communities (especially indigenous communities), grassroots organizations, or unions. 

On the third day, however, community groups finally took center stage during a session organized by ACCESS Facility, Futuro Sostenible and Fundacion Cambio Democratico, which addressed the question “What is effective remedy?” During that session, participants from community organizations shared their many (many!) repeated attempts at seeking remedy for human rights abuses, and Lien heard familiar stories from across the continent of the grievances suffered by communities.  At the Tintaya mine in Peru, for example, communities faced land expropriation without compensation, harmful environmental impacts, dangerous company infrastructure, and a lack of benefit sharing by the company with the communities.  At the Marlin mine in Guatemala, communities were not properly consulted about the mine project and were largely opposed to the mine’s operation due to  grave concerns about dangerous metals in the water that could harm the communities’ health and ecosystem.  At Chevron’s oil operations in Ecuador, toxic substances released into the water harmed community health and traditional life, and at Cerrejón’s operations in the village of Tabaco, Colombia, Afro-Colombian communities suffered violent expropriation from their lands. 

Gatherings such as the one in Medellín a few weeks ago have the potential to bear witness to the impacts, harms, and abuses, challenges in the region, in addition to providing a space for participatory dialogue that critically examines issues facing communities and how business and government can prevent those harms.  Lien felt that realizing such potential—whether of bearing witness or engaging in meaningful dialogue—would require some changes, such as bringing more voices into the room, adjusting the format of the sessions, and encouraging companies to view affected communities not as objects but as human beings deserved of respect and dignity.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hate Crime Victim Turned LGBT Activist Speaks to Washington NGOs

In March, 22-year-old Pedro Robledo and his then-partner were violently attacked at a party in Buenos Aires by a group of homophobic religious conservatives who spotted the gay couple kissing.

Despite the incident, Argentina—in many respects—is at the vanguard globally of LGBT rights. In May 2012, for example, the country became the first to pass a gender identity law, according to which Argentinian citizens can officially change their gender identity based on self-identification. The country also legalized same-sex marriage in July 2010, and since that time, there have been more than 7,000 same-sex marriages.

The progressive legislation, however, does not reflect Argentinian society as a whole. Robledo, who spoke last Friday to LGBT advocacy organizations in Washington at the Inter-American Dialogue, said that much of Argentinian society still maintains religiously conservative views that are intolerant of the gay community. He said that Buenos Aires is unique to the rest of the country in that LGBT people in the capital city are generally free to express their sexuality in public without fear of being targets for hate crimes. He added that outside of Buenos Aires, many LGBT members face discrimination. To expose this situation, Robledo, who has become a political activist for the LGBT community, went with a television crew to a hospital in northern Argentina, where he was denied condoms because of his sexual orientation and then kicked out by a police officer.

Carlos Quesada, Global Rights’ Advisor on the Rights of LGBT people and a speaker at last Friday’s discussion, said that the LGBT movement in Latin America needs more support from mainstream human rights organizations, which typically choose not to adopt the LGBT movement because they consider it too controversial or because they simply do not view LGBT rights as human rights. Human rights organizations are well-established in various countries and have positive and enduring relationships with governmental and international organizations. Therefore, the efficacy of the LGBT campaign would improve drastically if the two groups were to work cooperatively.

At the national and regional level of governments, LGBT organizations also need to improve their advocacy skills, Carlos said. Fruits of a successful advocacy campaign were borne in June this year at the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), which adopted the Inter-American Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, an agreement containing specific language that protects, among others, victims of discrimination based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The Convention needs to be signed and then ratified, at which point it will become legally binding for countries that ratified the new instrument.  After the Convention is ratified, any decision made at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the judicial body of the OAS, will set a precedent for all nations that ratified the Convention.

Global Rights is highly active in promoting the rights of the LGBT community in Latin America. Our organization will soon draft a policy paper that we expect to present at a hearing in October to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights about the precarious situation of Afro-Brazilian transgender women in Brazil. In Colombia, we are working to strengthen the capacity of Afro-Colombian transgender women to combat impunity and to document human rights abuses. Last Monday, Global Rights joined our fellow members in the International Coalition of Organizations for Human Rights in the Americas to censure Venezuela's denunciation of the American Convention on Human Rights, a treaty the OAS first adopted in 1969 that provides the foundation for human rights norms in Latin America. Venezuela last week also withdrew officially from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Carlos Quesada, Global Rights' Advisor on the Rights of LGBTI people, discusses the challenges and opportunities for LGBTI rights in Latin America and the Caribbean at a conference organized by the Inter-American Dialogue.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Addressing Discrimination Against the Sierra Leonean LGBT Community

The National Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone and the local police chief of Freetown said in 2010 that there were very few complaints about discrimination and violence against the country’s LGBT community. These statements, however, are very misleading because LGBT people are afraid to report rights abuses. After spending more than a year collecting information in the field, Global Rights—in collaboration with Sierra Leonean LGBT organizations Pride Equality and Dignity Association—confirmed that the country’s LGBT people suffer from pervasive discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation.

In May, Global Rights published a report about its findings, and Friday morning Carlos Quesada, Global Rights’ Advisor on the Rights of the LGBTI people, shared the findings of that report with a group of more than 30 people from the U.S. State Department and various human rights organizations. A main issue the report highlights is that members of the LGBT community in Sierra Leone receive less medical care than their heterosexual counterparts, in part because doctors and nurses simply refuse to treat people who have medical issues linked to homosexuality, and in part because LGBT people are too embarrassed or fearful to see doctors for such issues because of the resulting humiliation and violence they will face if their sexual orientation is discovered. Among 80 participants of a survey, 33 percent did not go to doctors for fear of being discovered as gay; 39 percent simply “self-medicated” to avoid seeing doctors; and 28 percent were denied treatment because their ailments were linked to homosexuality. Moreover, for the same reasons that they will not see a doctor, LGBT people seldom report incidents of discrimination to the police or other authoritative bodies.

Meeting Friday about the Sierra Leonean LGBT community, which took place at Global Rights' office and included representatives of the U.S. State Department and various human rights organizations.
One way to address the discrimination is through the state’s court system. Matthew Swinehart, an associate with Covington & Burling LLP, talked Friday about possible legal avenues to pursue when addressing this issue. Although Sierra Leone won independence from England in 1965, the country retained the same British laws that were used during its colonial history. The legal code has not been updated since the end of the 19th century and includes an anti-sodomy law, which is enumerated in the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. The law is not often enforced, but it does contribute significantly to the pervasive stigma against homosexuality in the country.

Challenging the law would be difficult—but not impossible. There are four individual rights protected under charters to which Sierra Leone is a signatory. They are: non-discrimination, privacy, life and liberty, and equality. The two agreements to which Sierra Leone is a signatory are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Although sexual orientation is not a type of identity group explicitly protected by any of these two charters, Mr. Swinehart said that with enough political and legal pressure, the Sierra Leonean judiciary could take the view that discrimination based on sexual orientation constitutes a violation of these treaties. Mr. Swinehart also mentioned that there is a legal precedent where former British colonies abrogated British law and, in doing so, decriminalized sodomy. One such country is South Africa.

Strengthening the grassroots level has been the focus of our work in Sierra Leone. Speaking to this, Scott Busby, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State, noted that even if Sierra Leonean law is changed, the situation for the LGBT community will not likely change until public opinion changes. In furthering this cause, Global Rights continues to work with local civil society organizations (CSOs)—both LGBT groups and other human rights organizations—to improve their advocacy skills at the local, regional and international levels. As a result of our work, a coalition was formed by committed individuals called the Coalition of Equality and Gender, which comprises four LGBT groups and four non-LGBT human rights groups that advocate on behalf of all marginalized populations, including the LGBT community.

Going forward, Global Rights and the local CSOs now know—thanks in large part to their research and data presented in the report—of the challenges the Sierra Leonean LGBT community faces. However, the evidence-gathering and report-writing phase was only the first of a two-phase initiative, both of which are being funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The second phase will involve Global Rights’ continued collaboration with the Coalition and other interested CSOs to empower the local LGBT community to advocate on behalf of their members, who routinely are victims of discrimination and violence. In a few weeks, for example, the coalition plans to meet with two, local lawyers to discuss ways to prepare a legal challenge to the anti-sodomy law.

We are optimistic that with the dedicated work of the local CSOs, combined with our oversight and training, the LGBT and human rights community of Sierra Leone will continue moving closer to their mission of creating a just society for all the country’s citizens. As Carlos said in his closing remarks, 
Unlike other African countries, Sierra Leone represents a unique opportunity. Sierra Leone is actually a place where things can be done.”


Thursday, August 15, 2013

U.N. Expert Answers Questions from African NGOs about Protecting Human Rights around Business Activity

Last Saturday, Global Rights sat down (virtually) with Dr. Michael Addo, one of five members of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, to discuss how African civil society organizations can engage with their governments, businesses and the UN to ensure that human rights are protected where businesses operate.

During the Q&A, Lien De Brouckere, Global Rights’ director of natural resources and human rights, asked Dr. Addo questions she received from 11 civil society organizations (CSOs) in Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ivory Coast. These organizations expressed concern that because the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are voluntary, it is unclear what, if any, sanctions or penalties will be issued when states or companies fail to comply.

Responding to this, Dr. Addo invited civil society organizations to reimagine their relationship with businesses—to shift from an adversarial approach to one marked by collaboration. He added that human rights issues often originate from a lack of understanding among governments, businesses, CSOs and communities affected by business activity:
“As much as I would like to think in a sense of perpetrators and victims, we can also think of it in a slightly different way in terms of misunderstandings, errors, and completely different expectations. But as we put our individual expectations together, and express them, we begin to understand each other.”
The U.N. expert emphasized that the UN Guiding Principles are based on the idea of “collective ownership” and not on sanctions and penalties. Each stakeholder has a distinct contribution to make, and by making that contribution together, the outcome will be more effective. At the same time, the UN Guiding Principles also draw on legally-binding standards already established under national law. What can be done, however, when states do not exercise enough political will to enforce these laws? Dr. Addo responded to this concern by sharing valuable insights on how CSOs can effectively and directly approach and work with governments and companies. He also offered suggestions about how organizations can reach out directly to the UN Working Group.

Dr. Addo also lent the UN Working Group’s support for this initiative, which Global Rights has launched, in partnership with the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) and the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ), to strengthen the voices of civil society organizations that are engaged in addressing human rights issues related to business development in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America . So far, Global Rights has reached out to more than 20 civil society organizations in 15 countries from Western, Eastern and Southern Africa in this initiative.

We welcome you to watch the fascinating interview with Dr. Addo in its entirety!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

No Tolerance for Discrimination

The movement for human rights in the Americas passed a major milestone that Global Rights has been behind for more than 10 years.  

Hi there, it’s Carlos Quesada, Global Rights’ Racial and Ethnic Equality Program director. I just returned from the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Guatemala where I witnessed history in the making.

Two very important Inter-American conventions were approved at the General Assembly this month and signed by Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Ecuador:
  • The Inter-American Convention Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Related Forms of Intolerance
  • The Inter-American Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance

Global Rights and our Afro-descendant civil society partners have been working to pass these conventions for more than 10 years.  For the past decade, in every thematic hearing and in every General Assembly, our partners asked member states to speed up the process of approving these regional mechanisms to better protect individuals from harmful and unfair discrimination.

In 2004, Global Rights and our partners pushed Brazil to lead the working group to draft the Inter-American Convention Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Related Forms of Intolerance. After a shift in working group leadership over the years, we were stuck in a declining process and draining uphill battle.    

 It has been a long journey but the Assembly finally listened.

The Convention against racism emphasizes the state’s need to adopt affirmative action policies to ensure equal access to rights and the creation of an Inter-American Committee for the Prevention and Elimination of Racism.  Evidently, these new Inter-American instruments to combat racial discrimination and intolerance in the Americas are critical to hold governments accountable for treating all people, regardless of race or ethnicity, equal.

I am very happy that Antigua and Barbuda took the lead in pushing for both conventions. This is especially important because the Inter-American Convention Against all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance includes a clause about protecting people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Antigua and Barbuda and other Caribbean countries still have sodomy laws that criminalize same-sex practices. I hope that Antigua and Barbuda can be a leader in the Caribbean in decriminalizing these practices and pushing for gender equality.

I am so thrilled that our partner's advocacy was heard and that our hard work has paid off. Now, we must encourage more countries to sign and ratify both conventions to protect all people in the region. I look forward to keeping you updated on the process!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Countering Conflict

Training Participants
Hi there. It’s Don Rukare, Global Rights’ Uganda country director. Last week I returned to the remote Bundibugyo District in southwestern Uganda to continue training our local partners on conflict prevention. This time, I brought with me officials from the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and the Centre for Dispute Resolution (CECORE).

Although Uganda has made strides toward democratic governance, it is subject to tensions, including those fueled by ethno-religious and political differences, disparities in access to resources, and unemployment, all of which can and have spilled over into violence. As demonstrated by our current work, some of our paralegal partners have already diffused local tensions through efforts to mediate between ethnic communities embroiled in conflict.

Understanding the different types and causes of conflict, and how to use early response systems, such as the UHRC and the CECORE, to prevent conflict is essential to create a climate in which rule of law is honored in Uganda.  

As part of our USAID-funded project to enhance civil society’s ability to respond to mass human rights atrocities that often provoke full scale conflict, we’re training our partners  on the types and causes of conflict, how to undertake a conflict analysis, early warning mechanisms and ways to partner with the UHRC and CECORE to prevent conflict.

Our partner paralegals will act as the frontline ears and eyes of the UHRC. Throughout this project, they will
  • Engage in conflict mediation; 
  • Identify and document human rights violations;
  • Recognize drivers of conflict and escalating patterns;
  • Convene “town hall” meetings of stakeholders to address grievances in collaboration with the UHRC, thereby raising awareness of conflict drivers and atrocity prevention methods;
  • Channel observations through a structured early warning/early prevention system to be coordinated with the UHRC.

Group Work
I’m also happy to share with you that this month, five law students from the Public Interest Litigation Clinic at Makerere University’s Law School will spend two months in Bundibugyo providing technical support to our conflict mediation paralegals.  This is the first time these students will be in be in the far-removed Bundibugyo District—we are very excited to have them work with us!

I look forward to keeping you updating on our conflict prevention work this summer.


Global Rights thanks USAID for their generous support of this groundbreaking project.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Education: The Most Powerful Tool

It’s that time of year again! School children are getting out for summer vacation and graduation season is in full swing. I’ve been thinking a lot about education and how it is at the core of Global Rights’ philosophy and approach to human rights. 

Global Rights educates women in Afghanistan on family law
Just last week, a donor made a generous donation to Global Rights in honor of her son’s middle
school teachers, acknowledging the extraordinary work they do each day.  The Global Rights team knows the power of education.  How can individuals advocate for their rights if they don’t know they have them? How can civil society use international mechanisms to protect their rights if groups and individuals don’t know how to use them?

I invite you to join this donor and follow her example, honoring teachers who have had an impact on your life or those in your family by making a tribute gift in their names.

Global Rights transforms lives in Africa, Afghanistan and Latin America by providing activists with the most powerful tool known— education.  We work with our local partners in some of the toughest areas to help vulnerable and marginalized populations discover and exercise their voices to demand their rights.
  • We provide Law and Shar’ia university students in Afghanistan with a hands-on, practical education on human rights and international law, an invaluable course that is not offered in the standard curriculum. These students are the vanguard of a new generation of lawyers who will defend human rights in Afghanistan.
  • We educate women’s groups in Morocco about effective advocacy strategies to secure specific violence against women legislation.  They are now using these strategies to advocate for the passage of a violence against women law.
  • We train paralegals in Nigeria and Uganda to educate the most underserved communities about their rights and to provide need paralegal services to ensure those rights are respected and protected.

By conveying knowledge, we convey power. We are creating skilled and successful rights advocates who bring positive, sustainable change to their societies.


Posted by Susan M. Farnsworth

Friday, May 17, 2013

LGBTI Rights are Human Rights

This week, Global Rights and our local partners in Sierra Leone, Dignity Association and Pride Equality, crossed a milestone. Together, we released the first ever published report on the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals in Sierra Leone, Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Access to Health Care and Violence/Bias: A Sierra Leone Case Study

Report Cover
We celebrated this achievement with a special launch event on Thursday in Freetown, Sierra Leone.  It was very rewarding to see the unified support from the U.S. Embassy in Sierra Leone, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the Coalition for Civil society for Health Rights and Accountability, the Sierra Leone Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (SLANGO), and the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone.

The Honorable Michael S. Owen, Ambassador of the United States to Sierra Leone, and Paula Schriefer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs, highlighted the report’s significance both for Sierra Leone and for the greater African context in their opening remarks.

Ambassador Owen mentioned that it is “inspiring to a lot of people and this [the report] will do a lot to improve the situation of LGBTI people in Sierra Leone.”

Ambassador Owen with Global Rights' Partner, George Freeman
The report is the compilation of two research projects initiated in 2012 as part of our project to strengthen Sierra Leonean LGBTI civil society organizations' monitoring and documentation of human rights violations. In addition to presenting the problem of discrimination against the LGBTI community, the report also offers concrete recommendations to the government, Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, local police and the international community to better protect the rights of the Sierra Leonean LGBTI community.

We have provided activists in Sierra Leone with an essential tool for increased advocacy work on policy and laws to influence critical structural and behavioral changes in the country— something that is essential for the fulfillment of human rights. 

As Ms. Shallac Sony Davies from SLANGO said during the launch, “we don’t want the government or other stakeholders to look at the report as a tool to accuse them for wrongdoings, but, to look at it as an eye opener on the issue of violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, a topic that has never been formally addressed.”

I hope this report encourages other LGBTI communities – in Africa and beyond – to hold their governments accountable for upholding international human rights norms and standards so that all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are entitled to their inherent human rights.


Global Rights would like to thank the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) for making this work possible.

Posted by Susan M. Farnsworth

Thursday, April 4, 2013

First Time on the Fringes

Hi, there! It’s Donald (Don) Rukare, Global Rights’ Uganda country director. I am spending this week over 210 miles away from our headquarters in Kampala in the remote Bundibugyo district with a team of 10 lawyers. We are bringing the justice system to one of the most underserved regions in the country.

After a nine hour drive down windy roads and rocky dirt paths, the team and I were finally greeted by our partners in Bundibugyo. For the first time, qualified lawyers are present in the district. This week, they will play an important role in strengthening the skills and knowledge of our partner paralegals and providing access to the justice system for some of the most underserviced citizens.

Training participants role play
The lawyers will spend 11 days mentoring our Global Rights’ trained partner paralegals, providing them with valuable technical support. The lawyers will conduct human rights and legal awareness sessions, complimented by presentations on the local FM radio. Together with the paralegals, the lawyers will also conduct mobile legal aid clinics where they will provide much needed advice and guidance to the community.

We are also currently conducting a refresher training for our partner organizations and paralegals. The week-long session is focused on equipping 30 participants with a deeper knowledge of women’s, children’s and land rights, domestic violence, statutory rape and will writing.  I am excited to have two reputable human rights advocates, Sophie Dhatemwa and Ida Wadda, lead the trainings using a hands-on, interactive method. The group discussions and role plays are motivating the participants to learn how they can better serve their community.

There is no doubt that this groundbreaking collaboration will contribute to the legal empowerment of the vulnerable and neglected communities in Bundibugyo.  The lawyers are finding the experience very rewarding and enlightening, and the community could not be more appreciative of their guidance. It is evident that the paralegals are providing an essential bridge for their communities to access justice in some of the most rural communities on the fringes of Uganda.

I look forward to updating you on our work.


Global Rights thanks USAID for their generous support of this project.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fair Justice for All

For the first time, representatives of the government of Burundi participated in a Global Rights forum that addresses critical shortcomings in the justice system in that country.

Edouard Minani, Coordinator of Institutional Support to the MoJ
Last week,  Global Rights Burundi and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in Burundi gathered representatives of the MoJ, judges, and prosecutors together with civil society leaders and lawyers to discuss practical means to reduce judicial delays in general and the need to reduce impunity for rape and other gender-based violence specifically.  I had the opportunity to take part in this gathering and was truly inspired by the collaboration Global Rights was able to facilitate.

Officials from the MoJ shared with us their newly gained appreciation for the value of strategic litigation, particularly the impact such litigation can have to create precedence.  Additionally, they, with the rest of those in attendance, came to the understanding that if done well, strategic litigation is an effective tool for greater efficiency in the administration of justice.

We have been working with human rights organizations and lawyers over the past year to use strategic litigation to tackle systemic obstacles to access to justice – government inaction or delayed government action that results in denial of the right to a fair hearing due to unreasonable judicial delays and the failure to conduct effective investigations of gross human rights violations.

Our USAID-funded project has provided substantive law and skills training, practical mentoring, and financial assistance to improve civil society’s understanding of and ability to use strategic litigation as a means to highlight these systemic human rights violations.  

Indicative of the scope of fair trial violations, Burundi has a judicial backlog of nearly 60,000 cases.  Participants identified opportunities to make better use of Burundian laws in areas of interpretation and implementation, for example, that could reduce delays. The meeting developed concrete measures using specific provisions of Burundian law that are often overlooked by practitioners, which, if utilized could reduce delays.

Group work on legal aid
An important part of the forum focused on prosecution of rape cases. Participants acknowledged that widespread use by prosecutors and judges of the vaguely defined misdemeanor of “domestic rape“ has resulted in impunity for perpetrators of serious offenses through the imposition of extremely lenient sentences attached to this charge. Article. 554 of the criminal code reads: “Whoever is charged of ‘domestic rape’ shall be sentenced to 8 days of imprisonment and fined five (5) to twenty seven (27) US dollars or one of these two punishments.”

Representative of the urgency to effectively address gender-based violence, over 100 rapes are reported each month in Bujumbura alone.  There are no accurate statistics on the number of unreported cases.  Officials widely recognized the need to clarify the law to better ensure justice for survivors of rape.

I came away from the two day intensive dialogue and exchange of ideas knowing that our partners in the MoJ, prosecutors and civil society legal practitioners will be putting their action plans into practice.  Their commitment to carry on this work is clear – they are proud of their profession and they are determined to ensure that every Burundian citizen should enjoy an effective and fair justice system.


Posted by Susan M. Farnsworth

Monday, March 18, 2013

Equality for Ethnic Minorities

More than 65 ethnic groups call Uganda home—65! Living in a country so diverse, Ugandan civil society organizations agree that ethnic tensions are present, significantly as a result of discriminatory practices by the government.  However, the government denies the existence of any such ethnic discrimination. 

Most recently, development of the country’s oil resources has exacerbated tensions between those ethnic groups that stand most to benefit from newly found riches and those that are excluded. Although oil development will bring additional wealth to the country, ethnic minorities– those that do not have access to power or decision making – are excluded from what should be a shared benefit for all.

As you can see, the topic of ethnic minorities in Uganda is complex. I’ve witnessed this firsthand while visiting our Uganda country office and partners this past week.  During my trip, I attended the final workshop of our project for the development of advocacy strategies on key human rights issues for ethnic minorities.

The project, funded by the Ford Foundation, has made tremendous progress in one year, evidenced by the high level of workshop participation this past Thursday and Friday.  The 24 participants did a deep dive into the two advocacy campaigns that had been identified in the previous workshops – access to land and access to education for ethnic minorities.  Those campaigns have gained depth and commitment as a result of the project.   And, an informal network has even formed among the participants that includes two key state institutions, the Ugandan Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).

I was truly impressed by the honesty and the transparency of the conversation. The willingness to share personal stories with others in the room underscored the trust that Global Rights Uganda has built with the participants.  They recognized that to move this work of advancing the rights of ethnic minorities forward, there needs to be a more open dialogue rather than conversations behind closed doors that only deepen tensions. 

I’m excited to see the momentum grow. My hope is that this work will be able to develop and expand, bringing together even more civil society and government officials who are committed to change the discourse and open up dialogue. This is critical if Uganda wants to ensure a fair and equal access to all its citizens. 


Posted by Susan M. Farnsworth

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Discrimination in the Dominican Republic

Did you know that discrimination against people of Haitian descent (Dominico-Haitians) is hindering the lives and rights of thousands in the Dominican Republic? What if I told you the Dominican government isn’t doing anything to stop it, but rather, is promoting policies that would strip these individuals of their citizenship…

Hi there, it’s Carlos Quesada, Global Rights’ Racial and Ethnic Equality Program director, with some important news to share.  

Over the past decade, legal Haitian immigrants have been the backbone of the sugarcane, construction and service industries in the Dominican Republic. However, deep rooted racism has denied Dominicans of Haitian descent basic economic and social rights such as legal employment, education, access to social services and even marriage.  Most recently, this racism has been fueled by the Dominican government’s efforts to deny Dominican nationality to individuals of Haitian descent.  This process violates the American Convention on Human Rights, to which the government of the Dominican Republic is a party.

Last week, I accompanied our partner, the Jacques Viau Network—a group of organizations that advocates for the rights of Haitians and Dominico-Haitians in the Dominican Republic– to the  82nd Session of the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) in Geneva, Switzerland. There, I worked with members Maria Martinez and Manuel Dandre from the Movimiento Socio-Cultural de Trabajadores Haitianos and William Charpantier from Fundacion Etnica Integral preparing their brief to committee members on the situation of Dominico-Haitians.

Maria Martinez at UN CERD
Our partners presented the following recommendations to the committee for their official report to the Dominican government to address this serious human rights violation:
  • Recognize the existence of racial discrimination in the country
  • Stop the denationalization  process of Dominico-Haitians
  • Include specific data in the census on race and gender
  • Stop mass expulsions of Haitians and Dominico-Haitians
  • Appoint a human rights official in the country to investigate human rights concerns
We urge the UN CERD to consider these recommendations in their final report to the Dominican government, which must be held accountable to their duty to protect the human rights of all their citizens, regardless of race or ethnicity. Input and pressure from the UN CERD are critical steps in ensuring this accountability.
I look forward to keeping you updated on the process.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Rise Up for Women

It comes as no surprise that the rights of women are a significant focus of our activities. At Global Rights, we believe that all women, regardless of race, class or nationality deserve the same opportunities—and the same protection from violence. We know that true societal change only occurs when everyone’s rights are addressed, defended and insured.

That is why we work to empower women in some of the toughest places it is to be a woman.

  • In Afghanistan, where opportunities are far and few, we are committed to ensuring that women are safe from violence. Through our Legal Advice Bureaus  run by our Afghan partners, we are showing women how to access the justice system in five Afghan provinces. Global Rights has created an environment in which even the most marginalized women can ask questions and voice concerns about their rights, and file cases to defend those rights.

Legal assistance training workshop in Morocco
with our partner, Association Amal
  • For the past 12 years, Global Rights has also been working alongside 10 Moroccan women’s organizations, providing them with the tools and skills they need to teach women about their human and legal rights, and developing strategies to articulate and demand those rights. Currently, our Moroccan partners are spearheading efforts to push their government to adopt a specific violence against women (VAW) law. Domestic violence is pervasive in Morocco and a specific VAW law would legally grant women proper protection. If passed, it would be the first of its kind in the Arab world.
  • In some of the most underserved regions of Nigeria and Uganda, Global Rights works alongside local human rights and women’s organizations to ensure that women are protected from human rights violations under the law. Click here to hear our Nigerian partner, the Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, discuss how they are putting a stop to violence against women and children.  
  • In the first program of its kind in Burundi, Global Rights is coordinating an effort with our Burundian partners to bring high-impact strategic litigation to the courts for victims of gender-based violence.  In Burundi, there is currently no movement to promote the legal rights of victims of violence and to help them secure justice in court. Through strategic litigation, a change in the practice and policy of Burundi’s prosecutors in weighing evidence of gender-based violence is designed to increased prosecution of these crimes in the future.

  • In Brazil, Colombia and Peru, we know that women of African descent are more susceptible to discrimination and human rights violations, and particularly, violence. We’re working alongside some of the most dedicated Afro-descendant organizations in South America to help them with their struggle for equal rights. Click here to read more about the recent work of our Brazilian partner, Articulação de Mulheres Negras do Brasil (AMNB). 

As you can see, Global Rights continues to grow our network of advocates and activists to help women assert and defend their inherent rights around the world— a world in which we strive for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity or background, to achieve their full potential.


Posted by Susan M. Farnsworth

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Domestic Workers Deserve Protection

Last week, the International Labour Organization (ILO) released their first ever Global Report on Domestic Workers as follow up to their 2011 passage of Convention no. 189: Decent Work for Domestic Workers.  Upon reading the report, I immediately thought about Global Rights’ work in Brazil, and how Convention no.189 is critical to protecting more women from violence.

Global Rights' and AMNB's report on the
situation of Afro-Brazilian domestic workers
The ILO report captures the size of the global domestic work sector and the extent of legal protection enjoyed by domestic workers. The report concludes that domestic workers are a highly feminized sector (with more than 80% women) who remain largely excluded from the scope of labor laws and hence from legal protection enjoyed by other workers.

Coincidentally, this year, Global Rights and our partner, Articulação de Mulheres Negras do Brasil (AMNB), published a report on the situation of Afro-Brazilian domestic workers. 

We found that the majority of domestic workers in Brazil are of African descent (70%) and suffer from numerous human rights violations. They are at greater risk of violence—including physical, mental and sexual violence. Notably, less than 1/4 of these domestic workers have  legal contracts with benefits.

In February 2012, Global Rights and AMNB presented a shadow report on the situation of Afro-Brazilian women to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). We highlighted the issue of discrimination, especially that suffered by those working as domestic labor. It was at that same session that CEDAW recommended to the Government of Brazil to ratify Convention no. 189 in order to provide full protection for domestic workers.  However, the Government of Brazil has yet to act.

We strongly encourage the Government of Brazil to ratify this convention. By doing so, they will grant their citizens who are employed as domestic workers the legal protections from human rights violations that they deserve. This would be an important step forward not only for the Afro-Brazilian population, but for all domestic workers in Brazil.


Posted by Susan M. Farnsworth