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  • Author: Marijke Deleu
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) used to make international headlines for the conflict that has flared up repeatedly over the past 20 years. When the M23 rebel group was defeated in November 2013, there seemed to be a shift away from these repeated cycles of violence. The country appeared to be turning a corner into a post-conflict phase. However, new research presented in this briefing paper shows that citizens continue to experience widespread exploitation. In many areas they are still vulnerable to brutal violence from armed groups and in some cases from government, including the police, army and local officials. The challenge - how to consolidate the authority of the state, in a way that serves its people and ensures a lasting peace - remains a huge but vital priority.
  • Author: Ben Murphy, Scott Paul, Anne-Marie Schryer-Roy, Ed Pomfret
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Every year, the Somali diaspora sends home approximately $1.3bn. Remittances account for 25–45 percent of Somalia's economy and exceed the amount it receives in humanitarian aid, development aid and foreign direct investment combined. As Somali money transfer operators lose their bank accounts, Somali families are losing their only formal or transparent channel through which to send money. Somalia needs long-term support to build sustainable financial institutions, and urgent help to maintain its current remittance flows. This briefing reviews international efforts to facilitate remittances to Somalia and focuses on the US and the UK, where the threat to the Somali remittance system is most acute. It also looks at the uncertain future viability of the Somali remittance industry in Australia.
  • Political Geography: Somalia
  • Author: Jessica Hamer, Maria Dolores Bernabe, Mark Fried
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Asia is at a Crossroads. Rising inequality poses a dire threat to continued prosperity in Asia, where an estimated 500 million people remain trapped in extreme poverty, most of them women and girls. The huge gap between rich and poor hinders economic growth, undermines democratic institutions and can trigger conflict. If Asia's policymakers hold tight to yesterday's truths, hoping against hope that growth and prosperity will trickle down to all, they will put everyone's welfare at risk. But if there are courageous leaders, willing to tackle inequality head-on, they can ensure inclusive and sustainable development for all of Asia's people. Oxfam is calling on Asia's governments to make a determined effort to combat discrimination and improve policies on taxation and social spending. This is needed now if the region is to secure a stable and prosperous future.
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Ellen T. Hoen
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: According to the World Health Organization, cancer is one of the leading causes of death around the world, with 8.2 million deaths in 2012. More than 60 percent of the world's new cases of cancer occur in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America and these regions account for 70 percent of the world's cancer deaths. In low- and middle-income countries, expensive treatments for cancer are not widely available. Unsustainable cancer medication pricing has increasingly become a global issue, creating access challenges in low-and middle-income but also high-income countries. This report describes recent developments within the pricing of medicines for the treatment of cancer, discusses what lessons can be drawn from HIV/AIDS treatment scale-up and makes recommendations to help increase access to treatment for people with cancer.
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Asia
  • Author: Liesbeth Goossens, Soazic Dupuy, Baptiste Chapuis
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Sahrawi refugees are forced to live in very insecure humanitarian conditions. This situation in and of itself is a source of serious concern. It is, however, the exceptionally long duration of this crisis and the total lack of any prospects which is making this situation all the more unbearable for the men and women living in the Sahrawi refugee camps. The Sahrawi refugees – especially the young – are desperate to take control of their own lives. Even if they are particularly well informed and well educated, their options are severely limited. The frustration which stems from this is exacerbated by the sheer uncertainty of what their future holds. The words of young Sahrawis are growing sharper, and their views more critical, faced with an international community they consider incapable of ensuring that their rights will be respected. The majority we have spoken to are openly questioning whether their cause would not make more progress if they took up arms once again. Much of the responsibility for reaching a just and lasting resolution lies with the parties of the conflict, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front. However, in view of the two parties‟ inability to find such a solution, the cards are now in the hands of the international community, in particular the United Nations (UN) and the member states of the UN Security Council. Today, these bodies must demonstrate to the Sahrawi refugees that they are fully engaged in defending their rights. This report calls attention to the responsibility of the international community. The Security Council and members of the Group of Friends must do more to foster conditions conducive to bringing the decolonization process to an end and finding a solution to the conflict, in accordance with international law. They must also persuade the parties in the conflict to make changes to their positions, which are currently irreconcilable. Only a solution such as this can put an end to the refugee crisis and strengthen stability in the region.
  • Author: Lani Frerichs, Grazia Careccia, Laura Grant, Kirsten Hagon, Willow Heske
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Operation Protective Edge – the codename used by Israel for the 51 day military operation and the associated conflict between Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups – has inflicted unprecedented destruction and human suffering in Gaza. This was the third such major military operation in six years, further complicating recovery for a civilian population sealed off by a blockade and separated economically, socially and politically from Palestinians in the West Bank. Shortly after Israel and Palestinian armed groups agreed to a temporary ceasefire, donors from around the world gathered in Cairo to pledge $3.5bn for the reconstruction of Gaza. Six months later, there has been no accountability to address violations of international law, only 26.8 percent of the money has been released, reconstruction and recovery have barely begun, and people in Gaza remain in dire straits. This paper outlines an achievable course of action that, if implemented, could make significant progress in addressing the root causes of the recurrent conflict and towards the realization of a just, durable peace that would benefit Israelis and Palestinians alike. By directly addressing the different actors that have distinct responsibilities towards Gaza – from Israel and the international community to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas – the signatories to this report outline what each party can and must do to end the conflict and ensure Palestinians in Gaza can realize their rights. It is time for these actors to work together effectively to change the course for Gaza before it is too late.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Kate Geary
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Increasingly, development money is being channelled through third parties such as banks or private equity funds. The world's leading proponent of this financing model, the International Finance Corporation, spent $36bn this way in just the four years leading up to June 2013. But what does this 'hands-off' form of development financing mean for people? Are the risks to communities and their livelihoods just too high given the weaker social and environmental protections entailed? This report tells the human story behind the high finance and statistics, and asks whether reforms to this model of lending have gone far enough to protect communities.
  • Author: Abigael Baldoumas, Daniel Gorevan, Joelle Bassoul, Camilla Jelbart Mosse
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The numbers of people in need as a result of the conflict in Syria continues to rise, but the international humanitarian response has not kept pace. The donor conference in Kuwait on 31 March 2015 is an opportunity to reverse that trend and put Syrian civilians first. Oxfam has developed indicators to help guide the fair level of commitment that each wealthy country should make in 2015 to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the Syria crisis: The level of funding each country makes available for the humanitarian response, relative to the size of their economy (based on gross national income); The number of Syrian refugees each country has helped to find safety through offers of resettlement or other forms of humanitarian protection, again based on the size of the economy.
  • Topic: Civil War, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Kuwait, Syria
  • Author: Himanshu Upadhyaya
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: For over five years now, the central government has been in the process of framing and enacting a new legislation to develop and regulate India's mines and minerals. However, in a short span of less than two months, the NDA government promulgated an Ordinance, introduced and passed a new version of a Bill in both the houses of Parliament. The Bill provides a legal framework to regulate the mining sector. A host of unaddressed concerns in the Bill question the government's intent of protecting the interests of the indigenous populations.
  • Political Geography: India
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Tax dodging is receiving increasing political attention in Europe. From corporate transparency legislation to early reflections on a European wealth tax, European institutions are promoting tax reforms that have the potential to reduce economic inequality in Europe and beyond - if they are well designed and implemented. The need to find financial resources to restore European growth, combined with recent media scandals, have opened up opportunities for progressive reforms to fight tax evasion and tax avoidance which costs the European Union around €1 trillion a year. The European and global political context has never been so favourable, with new European institutions having to deliver on fighting tax havens, harmonizing corporate taxation, improving tax transparency and ensuring greater tax cooperation. This briefing explores some of the solutions for fighting corporate tax avoidance that the European Union shoultad present in 2015, and explains why it is important to adopt them as soon as possible.
  • Political Geography: Europe