:::: MENU ::::

The Upstream Journal

A magazine on social justice since 1975

  • The critical voice of South Sudan: An interview with Mading Ngor

    The critical voice of South Sudan: An interview with Mading Ngor

  • Can we create a framework to help businesses prioritize human rights?

    Can we create a framework to help businesses prioritize human rights?

  • More than 109,000 children work in Cote d'Ivoire's cocoa industry...

    More than 109,000 children work in Cote d'Ivoire's cocoa industry...

The Upstream Journal

  • 2011 / May
  • By Timothée Labelle
  • 3
Journal

La stigmatisation et répression des Montagnards de Vietnam

«Les Montagnards sont victimes d’un nettoyage ethnique. Leur monde est détruit par la mondialisation, la modernisation et les répressions du gouvernement vietnamien» dit Scott Johnson de la Montagnard Foundation Inc.

La nuit du 16 octobre 2007, alors qu’elle y dormait avec ses trois enfants, la maison d’H’Aner a été brûlé par des policiers vietnamiens. Ils avaient appris quelques jours plus tôt que son mari supportait une organisation américaine défendant les droits du peuple montagnard au Vietnam, la  Montagnard Foundation Inc. (MFI). À ce jour, le sort de la famille d’H’Aner est inconnu de la MFI.  Photo: MFI

La nuit du 16 octobre 2007, alors qu’elle y dormait avec ses trois enfants, la maison d’H’Aner a été brûlé par des policiers vietnamiens. Ils avaient appris quelques jours plus tôt que son mari supportait une organisation américaine défendant les droits du peuple montagnard au Vietnam, la Montagnard Foundation Inc. (MFI). À ce jour, le sort de la famille d’H’Aner est inconnu de la MFI. Photo: MFI

La répression des Montagnards par les autorités vietnamiennes prend plusieurs formes, visibles et invisibles. Des manifestants pacifiques battus en pleine rue, des prêtres chrétiens montagnards assassinés après avoir refusé de se joindre aux groupes religieux autorisés par le Parti communiste vietnamien (PCV), nombre de prisonniers torturés et des femmes stérilisées de force sont les traces visibles de la répression. Continue Reading

share this articleEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit
Journal

How young people can prepare for a life in international development

How young people can prepare for a life in international development
Breaking into the field:
How to get your career in international development started

A recent graduate of political science, I studied human rights and international development. I am especially interested in how good governance is a key component of recovery and stability in post-conflict countries. But how to get a job that’s relevant to my studies and interest?

For information and advice on how to get a job in human rights and international development, I contacted some NGOs that work in these fields and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Volunteering and interning

Volunteer experience is key to starting a career in international human rights and development, according to Bonnie Harnden, Executive Assistant at Amnesty International Canada, especially when jobs are scarce. AI Canada hires an average of two or three people a year, including fund raisers, selecting from about 200 applicants. Continue Reading

share this articleEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit
Journal

World Bank strengthens its human rights policy

“Consulation” no longer good enough:Consent of local indigenous people now required for commercial projects

The World Bank division that funds private sector projects, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), recently revised its operating guidelines to require the “free, prior and informed consent” (FPIC) of indigenous people for projects affecting them. This replaces a much-criticized policy that only required “consultation” with local people.

Human rights groups are pleased with the change, for which they have lobbied for years, but are concerned that the new policy – set out in what are called “Performance Standards” – does not go far enough and that the IFC will limit its use. In February, several international NGOs sent a letter to the IFC claiming, among other things, that the “IFC’s current approach does not include a clear commitment to ensuring that human rights are respected and protected in the context of its activities. IFC’s approach is also inconsistent with, and undermines, the emerging international consensus on the responsibility of companies to take concrete actions to ensure that they respect human rights.” Continue Reading

share this articleEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit
Journal

Killers target youth leaders in Guatemala

Victor Leiva was one of the instructors of Caja Ludica, an art collective in Guatemala providing troubled youth with art and culture as alternatives to violence and gang-membership. The organization incorporates drama, dance, acrobatics, stilt-walking and juggling.

Victor Leiva left gang violence to pursue a life in art and community involvement. At 24 years old, he was murdered.

Victor Leiva left gang violence to pursue a life in art and community involvement. At 24 years old, he was murdered.
Photo courtesy of Christian Aid. (UK)

Although he turned to street gangs in his early years, Leiva eventually found art as an alternative. He was one of the collective’s founding members and also participated as a clown and stilt-walker. “I did my first parade in 2002. I’ve never forgotten it. I teach young people juggling and stilt-walking. It makes me very happy, and it makes me humble,” he told Christian Aid, a UK-based NGO, in 2007. Continue Reading

share this articleEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit
Journal

Saskatchewan First Nations communities’ new relationship with private sector

Native people signing

The James Smith Cree Nation, the Chakastaypasin Band of the Cree Nation and the Cumberland 100A First Nation/Peter Chapman Band have joined Brookfield Renewable and Peter Kiewit Sons Co. to develop the Pehonan project. Photo courtesy John Kim Bell

As part owners, the communities are active participants in planning their future, hoping to avoid the problems facing other reserves where oil royalties brought more social strife

In Saskatchewan, some First Nations have partnered with corporate investors in the single largest development ever to be conducted on a First Nations reserve in Canada. Not inclined to just receiving royalties, they are equity participants, part owners of the Pehonan hydroelectric project. They’re also taking a more proactive stance by planning for the economic and social impact this project will have on their communities. Continue Reading

share this articleEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit
Journal

Sex Trafficking in Canada

poster
Human trafficking is the fastest growing industry criminal industry in the world. The International Labour Organization estimates that criminals make a profit of almost US$ 32 billion per year from trafficking, mainly from sexual exploitation.

Although trafficking is commonly identified with Asia or Eastern Europe, the domestic aspect of the problem is mostly absent from current discourses on sex trafficking in Canada. Up to 60% of prostituted women are aboriginal girls, and more than 75% of aboriginal girls under the age of 18 have been sexually abused. Since 1980, over 500 aboriginal women have disappeared, presumably murdered or involved in sexual exploitation. Continue Reading

share this articleEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit
Journal

Enemies of the Islamic Republic

Grand Ayatillah Yousuf Sannei

– Grand Ayatollah Yousuf Saanei, now considered the most prominent clerical reformist, commenting on the anti-government protesters in Iran. Saanei is a leader with the Green Movement, pushing for greater freedom and an accountable democracy.

“Their action is in defence of their rights and against the injustice and oppression they suffer at the hands of that ruling system. Such an action is not only permissible but also, in some cases and stages, obligatory.”

– Grand Ayatollah Yousuf Saanei.

Ayatollah Seyyed Hossein Kazemeini Boroujerdi is an Iranian political prisoner, jailed in Evin prison since 2006. An outspoken critic of the Islamic Republic, Boroujerdi is an advocate for democracy, human rights, religious freedoms and the separation of religion from politics. He is opposed to Vilayet – i Faqih, the system that rules Iran by clerical jurisprudence. Continue Reading

share this articleEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit
  • 2010 / Sep
  • By Julia Pyper
  • 0
Journal

Profile of a life of dissent: Activist Dexter X

Growing up in Winnipeg, Dexter X felt that the people who created change throughout history, such as Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, were just historical abstractions. Myths even.

“It took a leap for me to realize those were real human beings and real social problems,” he said. “They made an effort and there were real changes.”

Once he realized that this kind of change was still taking place, he made the decision to devote himself to political activism. It was difficult for Dexter to pinpoint the moment he got involved with advocacy because as he describes it, activism is more than just an extra-curricular activity – it’s a way of life.

While speaking with Dexter it was almost impossible to keep track of how many groups he has been involved with. The list includes Hands Off Mother Earth, Fruit Nut Bombs, Act Up, and Ruckus, to name a few. Dexter is a film editor by trade, but outside workplace he has protested at events in Quebec City, Copenhagen, parts of Italy and elsewhere around the world. He has also DJ’d for a 30,000 person demonstration, scaled buildings to hang banners (once in 40˚ below), been arrested over two dozen times and been the victim of police brutality. Continue Reading

share this articleEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit
  • 2010 / Sep
  • By Kaitlyn Shannon
  • 2
Journal

Foreign Service: What it takes to represent Canada abroad

My interest in Canadian Foreign Services was sparked by a presentation last spring by Canadian diplomat Ariel Delouya, the Canadian Ambassador in Tunisia. Like him, I am a Canadian who loves to travel and is interested in politics. But what else does it take to become involved in international affairs? Is this the career path for me, and for other students like me? Ariel Delouya’s presentation left out one important thing: how hard he had to work to get to where he was.

In the recruitment campaign in Fall 2009, Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) interviewed 800 of the 9,500 applicants. Of these, about 200 were hired.

The first stage in the application process involves taking three tests to examine proficiency in writing, reasoning skills, problem solving, and judgment in work-related situations. An assessment board of two or three people, including a hiring manager, an expert in the field, and a human resources representative, interviews those that pass.

Applicants choose between one of two streams: the Commercial/Economic Stream, which focuses on investment and trade policy, or the Political Economic Stream, which addresses foreign policy issues generally, including security, disarmament or human rights. Continue Reading

share this articleEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit
Journal

Working for a better world: Good work for no pay

How young people can prepare for a life in international development
Why unpaid internships are the norm

Internships can be key to your career development. They allow you to experience a new type of work, learn skills, network with people who matter in your field and build a killer resume. But in organizations working in human rights, social justice and development sectors, internships are rarely paid. Are internships just free labour, or are they necessary and rewarding additions to your university experience?
To find out what an internship at a nongovernmental organization might mean, I spoke with three specialists: Sylvain Schetagne, a labour market economist at Canadian Labor Congress; Iris Unger, the Executive Director of YES Montreal (Youth Employment Services); and Jessica Lockhart, Programs Administrator for Youth Challenge International (YCI).

Nonprofits and charities use volunteer power and modestly-paid professionals to undertake most development, human rights and social justice work. The notion of an internship – especially an unpaid one – is considered normal by most students and recent graduates in those fields. Interns may accept meager or no pay because they know compensation in the nonprofit sector is typically lower than the for-profit sector. And NGOs pursue goals that attract young university graduates who forego compensation for the chance to work on social issues they feel are important.

“In NGOs the level of compensation is lower because they are dependent on federal and provincial government revenues, donations, and memberships, to survive” said labour market specialist Sylvain Schetagne. “NGOs also tend to use more of their resources on achieving their goals than on compensating their workers.” Continue Reading

share this articleEmail this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit
Support Upstream Donate Now »