Tribute to the victims of
terrorist attacks worldwide
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Mariela Baeva
Mariela Baeva
Member of the European Parliament for Bulgaria
2007 - 2009
(first direct EP elections in Bulgaria);

LEED to OECD partner (Nanotech)

Charter 4 Mobile

Charter 4 mobile

Anyone interested in fundamental rights in the European Union (EU) can now have easy access to the text of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in all official languages on their mobile device: http://fra.europa.eu/en/charter4mobile



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The pursuit of gender equality: How to win an uphill battle?*

Though there has been progress, gender equality is still a long way off. That is the key message in our latest report, The Pursuit of Gender Equality: An Uphill Battle, released 4 October. As I write in this OECD Observer article, policies are changing for the better, but much more improvement is needed to close gender gaps in all areas of social and economic life. No country is immune. The challenges are varied: more women should be encouraged to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), for instance, and more men should be encouraged to do their fair share of unpaid care-giving. Women should be better represented as entrepreneurs, in public life, and at the highest levels of the private sector.

There’s a lot to do, but we believe there is cause for optimism. Continue reading

Rohingya refugee children need urgent help to deal with their trauma*

Safe spaces and schools are vital if huge numbers of children fleeing from violence in Myanmar are to recover from their toxic stress.

Almost 60% of the Rohingya refugees fleeing ethnic atrocities in Myanmar are children – and many are escaping on their own.

Stories of violence against women and children – villages burned, infants thrown in rivers, toddlers and mothers shot – abound from makeshift camps in neighbouring Bangladesh, where survivors are struggling to find clean water, food and proper shelter.

Hundreds of children at the camps have been separated from their families and the numbers are growing daily.  Continue reading

A portrait of family migration*

Migration is all over the news in Europe, North America and Australia. When people think about migration, they tend to picture either refugees driven to undertake dangerous journeys in order to escape threatening situations or people coming to a new country to pursue studies or work. Yet there is a large category of migrants all too often overlooked: family migrants. Such migrants accounted for 40% of migration to the OECD area in 2015 and they typically make up 25-50% of an OECD country’s foreign-born population – and as much as 70% in the United States.

Why is family migration receiving so little attention? Continue reading

Building the Future: Children and Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries – Innocenti Report*

Building the Future: Children and Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries is the latest in the Innocenti Report Card series, which analyses inequality in 41 high-income countries. It looks at how far children are falling behind in the dimensions of income, education, health and life satisfaction. Continue reading

Excerpts from PEN International Women Writers Committee Statement on Turkey

February, 2017

Since July 15, 2016, when there was an attempted coup d’état in Turkey, many aspects of freedom of expression have been limited, cut off or abolished.

News agencies, TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, magazines and publishers have been shut down. 4,464 academics have lost their jobs.

Many women journalists and academics are among those who have lost their jobs, been detained, called to court, sentenced, or fined. This includes some very high-profile women writers such as Asli Erdogan Displaying asli erdogan.jpg(no relation to the president), who spent 132 days in jail in Istanbul for being listed as a consultant to a pro-Kurdish newspaper.

Most of the journalists, academics and writers targeted have nothing to do with the coup attempt. The government doesn’t even allege that they do. They wrote something pro-Kurdish, criticized the government or just signed a declaration stating that they want peace.

Another woman writer, the sociologist Pinar Selek Displaying pinar selek.jpg, who has been acquitted by the courts many times, recently has had the government’s case against her renewed. The government continues to ask for a life sentence, claiming that she set a bomb in a market, though all expert sources say the explosion was caused by a gas leak. However, Pinar Selek is a supporter of Kurdish people.

Kurdish writers and those who work in media in the Kurdish area are in even worse shape. All schools teaching the Kurdish language have been closed. Christian churches, including Surp Giragos, the newly-restored Armenian church in Diyarbakir, have been confiscated by the government in the wave of growing Islamism. Government forces raided the offices of Kurdish PEN, destroying their equipment and files.

Many Kurdish writers have been detained. Mujgan Ekîn Displaying mujgan ekin.jpg, a journalist, editor and presenter for GUN TV in Diyarbakir, was taken away in October 2016. Though witnesses saw her abducted by the police, the government consistently denied all knowledge of her whereabouts. She was found two months later . She had been tortured and taken to Jerablus, an area of Syria under Turkish control.

PEN International, PEN Turkey and Kurdish PEN have all been working constantly to try to preserve or restore freedom of expression. This month a large international mission of PEN delegates went to Turkey to try to help. However the situation continues to worsen.

The PEN International Women Writers Committee realizes that there are freedom of expression and human rights crises going on in many other places, such as the alarming situations presently unfolding in the United States and in the Philippines. They deserve attention too. At this moment our interest is to support our Kurdish and Turkish colleagues, women writers who are trying to do their work in a dangerous and extremely challenging situation. We want to make sure that PIWWC members and supporters know about them.

 

OECD countries need to address the migration backlash*

The public is losing faith in the capacity of governments to manage migration. Opinion polls in a wide range of countries suggest that the share of the public holding extreme anti-immigration views has grown in recent years and that these extreme views are more frequently heard in public debates. In part, this is due to the perception that no end is in sight for large migration inflows and that countries have lost control over them. People are concerned about the short-term impact of large inflows of migrants, and refugees in particular, and many feel that migration is threatening their economic, social as well as personal security. Common concerns are that migration is unmanaged and borders are not secured; immigrants stretch local services, such as social housing, health and education, to the detriment of local populations; immigration benefits the rich, with the poor finding themselves competing with immigrants for jobs, and wages for low-skilled work depressed; and many migrants do not want to integrate and may even oppose the values of host societies. Continue reading

To have and have more: Wealth management and the growth of global inequality*

When it comes to global wealth inequality, we know how bad it’s getting, but what do we know about who is responsible? When Oxfam reports that 1% of the world population owns more than the other 99% put together, the question arises: who or what is making the rich so much richer, and the poor so much poorer?

It turns out we know surprisingly little about the key actors behind this momentous change. This creates a problem for policy makers who want to stop or reverse the growth of wealth inequality. The trend cannot be arrested without understanding its sources.

The research I’ve conducted over the past eight years suggests that some of the most important players have been overlooked: wealth managers. They are an elite group of lawyers, accountants, bankers and others who protect the fortunes of their high-net-worth clients from tax authorities and creditors, among others. To achieve these ends, wealth managers design complex, often multi-national structures composed of trusts, foundations and offshore corporations—the building blocks of tax avoidance, and law avoidance more generally. There are at least 20 000 wealth managers spread across 95 countries, and their control of billions in private capital flows plays a major role in the extreme concentration of wealth worldwide.

Making the rich richer  Continue reading

Update of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The human rights instrument of international dimension is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Human dignity lies in the fundament. The massive abuses of human rights during World War II provoked the drafting of the Declaration in 1948.

Several decades after, in October 2013, a Global Citizenship Commission (GCC) was convened to assess the document and provide revisions and recommendations to governments and the international community.

As a former member of the European Parliament, I could take part in an event shedding light on the general idea of the Commission at Bonn University in May 2014. After the meeting, I submitted proposals related to different aspects of the Declaration, among others: the right against poverty, and the grave violations of children’s rights affected by armed conflict; children facing disability in that respect; schools at risk of armed conflict when used as military facilities, or when being attacked. All those issues are not explicitly stipulated in the document. Remark: within some days, it will be a second year of the mass abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, and – yet – a replacement school has not been built. Education in emergencies is demanding of embracing around 80 million affected children. The big news is that the EU will provide aid to help educate more than 2.3 million children in 42 countries living in emergencies.

On April 18, 2016, the GCC report will be presented in New York, focusing on the update of the Declaration as a living document in a changing world. Continue reading

OECD and UNHCR call for scaling up integration policies in favour of refugees*

In 2015, more than 1 million people crossed the Mediterranean Sea to look for international protection in Europe, and about 1.5 million claimed asylum in OECD countries. This is an all-time record and almost twice the number recorded the year before. Asylum seekers represent about 0.1% of the total OECD population, and less than 0.3% of the population in Europe.

OECD and UNHCR have called on governments to scale up their efforts to help refugees integrate and contribute to the societies and economies of Europe, during a joint high-level Conference on the integration of beneficiaries of international protection held in Paris on 28 January 2016.

Both organisations stressed the moral imperative and the economic incentive to help the millions of refugees living in OECD countries to develop the skills they need to work productively and safely. Continue reading

Empower a Girl. Change the World.

Dear Colleagues,

Throughout the world, adolescent girls are at risk of disappearing from the international development agenda and public awareness.

Despite progress in many arenas, adolescent girls risk disappearing from lack of education. They are disappearing because of preventable diseases. They are disappearing because of child marriage. They are disappearing from lack of investment in policies, interventions and services tailored to their specific needs and concerns.

At the same time there are nearly 600 million girls aged 10 to 19 in the world today, each with limitless individual potential. Continue reading

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