I was born and grew up in Cameroun, a country of 22 million inhabitants, located in West Africa, which became “independent” (if at all this word means anything in Africa) in 1960 after a colonial history involving the Germans, the English and the French. Since 1960, Cameroon has had only two heads of state: the first ruled from 1967 until his sudden resignation in 1982. The second, his then prime minister, took over in 1982 and is still in power at 85 years old and there are indications that he wants to seek another term. During these 58 years of political independence, there have been many elections but only God knows whether any of these has ever been democratic. In other words, in my 48 years of existence, I have known only two heads of state. The sad truth is that after many years of poor governance, Cameroon in now confronted with a quasi-civil war, which is basically a crisis of social justice. It is from this context, which of course, is not representative of the whole African continent, that I am speaking about political crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Stressing the urgent need to protect social rights, the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe:

- Urges the European Union and its Member States to translate their political commitment to protect social rights  into concrete actions, reaffirming the indivisible, interdependent and inseparable nature of all human rights;

- To  this  end, calls on  the  European  Union  and  its  Member  States  to  accede  to  the Revised  European  Social  Charter  as  the  social  constitution  of  Europe,  detailing  a roadmap to promote the effective guarantee of social rights for all;

It’s a general statement that our society is based on a production and exchange mechanism whose operation escapes the citizens as it does escape in part to the States.  The Council of Europe is then a crucial regulator of the consequences suffered directly by the population and, therefore, its Conference of INGOs committed to  safeguarding  all human rights and especially to fighting against poverty.

Event and ceremony organised by the Conference of INGOs to mark the 17th of October

Each year, the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe marks the 17th of October, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and organises an event which brings together all those who are dedicated to overcoming poverty all year round and those who live with it on a daily basis.

This year’s event takes place at the Council of Europe on Friday 16 October and will focus on child poverty in Europe.  A ceremony will be held at 12h30 on the forecourt of the Palais de l’Europe in front of the replica of the commemorative stone symbolising the refusal of extreme poverty.

Registration necessary and access only with badge: if you would like to participate, contact Maritchu Rall,  Working Group Extreme Poverty and Human Rights of the Conference of INGOs, by 13 October.

Programme

1. At the beginning of this New Year, which we welcome as God’s gracious gift to all humanity, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace to every man and woman, to all the world’s peoples and nations, to heads of state and government, and to religious leaders. In doing so, I pray for an end to wars, conflicts and the great suffering caused by human agency, by epidemics past and present, and by the devastation wrought by natural disasters. I pray especially that, on the basis of our common calling to cooperate with God and all people of good will for the advancement of harmony and peace in the world, we may resist the temptation to act in a manner unworthy of our humanity.

(Vatican Radio)The World Meeting of Popular Movements has issued a statement at the beginning of their three day conference in Rome.

The culture of encounter at the service of poor people and poor nations

As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills.

     The thinking of Pope Francis, and how he has constantly accompanied the excluded in their struggles and their efforts to organize, have inspired and motivated us to hold this World Meeting of Popular Movements. We wish to bring to God, to the Church and to the world the voice of the voiceless. Not so that they raise their voice no more, but because they are silenced by those who hold economic power.

The Conference of INGOs has organized a workshop "Building Europe through Human Rights: Acting Together against Extreme Poverty on 17 October. The workshop has identified areas that can give impetus to the Declaration adopted by Council of Europe bodies on 17 October 2012.

This event was held at the Council of Europe's Palais de l'Europe in Strasbourg on 21-22 February 2013.

Jérôme Grosnon, member of the Pax Romana delegation to the Council of Europe attended this event and produced the attached excellent report. Thanks to him.

The Conference pointed out the roots of the present crisis, its dangers regarding Human Rights and Democracy, moreover it proposed different solutions to eradicate poverty and promote a sustainable future for Humanity.