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An objective view to worldwide social issues

Category Archives: European Union

World Day Against Child Labour

Last Sunday 12th June, one of those international days that try to attract wide world interest on essential facts was celebrated. It was especially remarkable, as it was International Day Against Child Labour, a day to remember article 32 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which establishes that it is the state’s responsibility to protect children from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.

The promulgation of this convention as a Law in 1990 ended the efforts of progressive awareness started in the Renaissance to protect childhood from hard jobs and promote their education and health, especially needed with theemergence of the Industrial Revolution and the use of children as cheap labour. Since 20th century, western world adopted the idea of childhood as a social good that must be protected and respected to get its optimal development, health and education to promote progress. But nowadays in a changing social and economic situation, we are surprised to know that many commonly used products are manufactured by child labour in other places.

Sin título

Regarding this commemoration, we should think at least about two different aspects. One is about the validity of the last indicators (from 2012) released by the International Labour Organization, indicating that 168 millions of children work (11% of global child population), more than half on dangerous jobs, as the extraction and handling of hazardous substances, as cobalt for mobile batteries, collection of tea and coffee, gold mining, clothes and shoes manufacturing, sorting through garbage, etc.… and the lack of interest shown by the poor update of the figures.

The other issue to think about is that the world changes and faces migration crisis, people escaping from war, violence or poverty, and this may break the idea that child labour is a phenomenon of distant countries in Asia, Pacific or Sub-Saharan Africa, and it may reach the outskirts of Europe, affecting not only to minorities traditionally unconnected to the education system, but also to refugees.

This is a dull crisis, in an exceptional situation that lead some European borders to be closed, in countries that used to accept refugees with the same rights as any western citizen. And it is even worse as many of them are redirected to countries like Turkey, where the right to child education is more relaxed. There are many testimonies of employment of 11 to 13 years old migrant children to help sustain their families; children like Ahmad Suleiman, who was reported by the New York Times to be one of the thousands minor refugees working for poor salaries in bad conditions, not attending school, situation close to a kind of extortion or slavery, but understood by others as a help to families with no other resources that the work of their own people.

Fragility of the childhood, which is the reservoir for a full adult life, and needs plenty of links, education and health. What is the future of these lives and these societies growing lost generations?









End of Ebola in Africa?

At 14 January of 2016 the WHO (World Health Organization) declared the end of the Ebola virus disease that punched Africa, taking with it millions of African lives. But, is this the end of the Ebola virus in Africa? The WHO insists in the fact that there is no chain of transmission now, at least in West-Africa, but they also warn about the possibility of the appearance of new flare-ups. Many countries were declared free of having the virus, for example Liberia, but this country has had two more outbreaks. Anyway, today there is no infected patient in the most likely countries to have the virus but Dr Alex Gasasira (2016); a WHO representative in Liberia says that “The rapid cessation of the flare-up is a concrete demonstration of the government’s strengthened capacity to manage disease outbreaks. WHO will continue to support Liberia in its effort to prevent, detect and respond to suspected cases.” Read more of this post

Political honesty: does it really exist?


Europe is ill. Everyday the newapapers talk about political corruption in Spain, France, Greece or Italy wich has been recently extimated to be one of the most corrupt countries in Europe; recently the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi released an interview in wich he pointed out that:

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David and Goliath

Today there is talking a lot about the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), a treaty that is being negotiated now between the United States and the European Union. This treaty is seeking increased trade and investment between the EU and the US creating a large transatlantic market to generate new opportunities internally that greatly benefit all members. But is it really a deal that would benefit all? It is something that many people put into question. Read more of this post

A new best seller?

We start 2016 no in the best way possible, it has been made public that the rights of Mein Kampf finish this in 2015 and that the book of Adolf Hitler could now be reissued. It is one of the main bases of Nazi ideology, after 70 years as a  responsibility of Bavaria, the last residence of Hitler. Now, with the resurgence of the far right wing in Europe, due to the massive influx of Syrian immigrants, it is feared that the publication of this book again  could spread this ideology one more time. Read more of this post

Allemagne : les réfugiés stigmatisés après des violences

             D’après Thibaut Madelin, les allemands sont en émoi suite aux nombreuses agressions sexuelles de la part des réfugiés qui ont eu lieux dans leur propre pays près de la gare de Cologne. La nouvelle a aussitôt fais réagir la chancelière allemande qui n’a pas hésité à s’exprimer face à l’attitude « primitive » des réfugiés et son parti a exposé des mesures à prendre contre les coupables mais la Gauche est intervenue avant que toute décision ne soit prise. Des évènements similaires s’étant présentés dans d’autres villes d’Allemagne, les habitants semblent tendus quant à une possible collision aves les réfugiés (Les Echos, Janv. 2016). Read more of this post

L’Europe sous pression

              D’après Jean-Pierre Stroobants et Benoît Vitkine, la montée du nombre de refugiés dans les Balkans mettrait l’Europe sous pression. En effet, le continent est touché par une grande vague de réfugiés qui décident de trouver refuge en Europe en passant soit par les Balkans, soit par la Grèce dû au fait que plusieurs pays européens aient décidé de fermer leur frontière afin de limiter le nombre de nouveaux venus dans leur pays (ONM, 2015). Toutefois, l’arrivée des étrangers n’est pas le seul problème qui se pose à l’Europe : des centres spécifiques pour venir en aide aux réfugiés ont été mis en place dans quelques pays européens mais ces derniers ne veulent pas s’y soumettre, voyant dans ces systèmes un moyen pour les autorités de les priver de leurs droits. Face à ces différents problèmes, les représentants européens ont pris des mesures consistant à départager équitablement les réfugiés dans divers pays de l’Europe et ils espèrent même obtenir de l’aide de leurs voisins turcs qui possèdent déjà à l’intérieur de leur pays 2 millions de réfugiés syriens (Le Monde, Oct. 2015). Read more of this post

An introduction to nowadays globalized world: Babel

Babel is a film by Alejandro González Iñárritu based on a Bible story in which God is angry because mankind wanted to build a tower to heaven. The punishment consisted on making them speak different languages ​​so they could not understand,got confused and eventually, not succeed in building it. That sets up a parallelism with the difficulties and contradictions of the globalized world in which we live. All those express together the reason for the big problem of communication between the different cultures that this movie introduces, such as Americans, Mexicans, Arabs and Japaneses. Read more of this post

Animal testing, how much does your skin cost?

No Animal Testing

As Belen Tobalina brings up, is it ethical the suffering of animals for cosmetic testing? Every year 115 million animals were used for scientific purposes. Only in the European Unión in a year 12 million animals were used, what means that every minute 137 animals were being tested for cosmetics or other kinds of scientific research. In 2013 the European Unión forbid the experimentation with animals for cosmetics, tooth pastes, shampoos ,deodorants and more. Belen Tobalina and Cristina Fernández say that the animals that were used the most for this kind of “research” were rats, mouses, rabbits and guinea pigs. Until 2013 it was obligatory the use of animals for testing products that later would be available for human consumption, as there was no other way to prove that they were not going to cause any bad or dangerous reaction to humans. Read more of this post