Tuesday, October 28, 2008

400 Academics Write to Senator Obama

Anticipating a democratic victory in the November 4 presidential elections, four-hundred academics specializing in Latin America urge Senator Barack Obama to become a partner, rather than an adversary, concerning to the changes already under way in Latin America. Above all, they ask Senator Obama to understand the current impetus for progressive change in many of the region’s countries: the rejection of the “free-market” model of economic growth that has been imposed in most countries since the early 1980s, and the adoption of more socially just and environmentally sustainable development styles. The group expresses the hope that an Obama administration will embrace the opportunity to inaugurate a new period of hemispheric understanding and collaboration for the welfare of the entire Hemisphere. Most of those signing are members of the Latin American Studies Association, the largest and most influential professional association of its kind in the world.

Thanks go to Arturo Escobar, professor of anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill, for developing the petition, as well as all those involved in drafting the final version.

AAA has posted the letter along with signatories here [pdf].

Thursday, October 23, 2008

CfHR Responds to US Census Bureau

Last month, the AAA's Committee for Human Rights wrote to the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives [pdf] and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce [pdf] urging them to "take appropriate legislative action to (1) pressure the U.S. Census Bureau to refrain from classifying any speakers as 'linguistically isolated' due to its inaccurate and discriminatory nature, and (2) to add a question concerning proficiency in languages other than English to the national census in order to arrive at a more accurate picture of language in the U.S.A." Comprehensive language information will allow our nation's institutions to better implement and tailor programs to meet local needs. CfHR will follow up with House Representatives to ensure that their concerns are addressed.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Child Soldiers Accountability Act is Signed by President Bush

Human Rights Watch reported that the Child Soldiers Accountability Act of 2007 has been signed by President Bush. The bill allows the US to arrest, prosecute, deport, and deny entry to individuals who have recruited and used children in armed conflicts. In 1998, the International Criminal Court declared the recruitment and use of children as soldiers a war crime. Despite efforts to curb recruitment, children are currently used as combatants in at least 17 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

New Development Agency

In Japan, Sadako Ogata, the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, received a huge influx of financial resources for her aid organization—the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The agency swallowed a government bank that offers grants and low-interest loans, effectively raising its available financial reservoirs by $10.3 billion. The amount, which is approximately 2.5 times that of USAID, makes it the world’s largest bilateral development agency. Ogata plans on collaborating with other aid agencies and nations to fight poverty and provide relief to crisis areas, such as Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.