The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund: Diverting Aid and Undermining Human Rights

The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund: Diverting Aid and Undermining Human Rights

Report for Global Justice Now (December 2017)

The UK government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) raises all kinds of questions about the future of UK aid, the nature of the UK’s relations with states abusing human rights and the government’s openness with the public. Established in 2015, the CSSF is a £1 billion annual pot of money operating in dozens of countries which supposedly promotes the UK’s national security interests. Yet there are such fundamental problems with the CSSF that a complete overhaul is needed: It is increasingly using aid money to fund military and counter-terrorism projects which do not appear focused on what aid should be about: eradicating poverty and promoting inclusive development; It is funding ‘security’ forces in several states involved in appalling human rights abuses, thus the UK risks complicity in these violations; It is not transparent. Despite some improvements recently made to the Fund, programme details are scant and some appear to be misleading.

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Open Letter from Catholic Bishops to mining companies in South Africa urging greater transparency in their use of tax havens

Open Letter from Catholic Bishops to mining companies in South Africa urging greater transparency in their use of tax havens

29 November 2017

The Southern African Catholics Bishops Conference (SACBC) has today written an open letter to 21 mining companies operating in South Africa asking each to explain why it is using tax havens. New research conducted for the SACBC shows that these 21 companies, which include some of the largest in the country, such as Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Impala Platinum, LonMin and Petra Diamonds, all have subsidiaries in tax havens, also known as secrecy jurisdictions: these include the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Mauritius, Jersey, the Netherlands and Bermuda. The 21 companies collectively have 117 subsidiaries in such tax havens.

Open letter is here

Media release is here

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Eritreans Exploited: UK Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Abuses

Eritreans Exploited: UK Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Abuses

Report for War on Want (January 2017, published online October 2017)

Eritrea’s totalitarian state is extreme and includes a ratified Constitution that hasn’t been implemented; the absence of national elections since independence from Ethiopia in 1991; its Parliament does not meet; the President, Isaisa Afwerki rules without institutional restraint; the government owns all media; and non-governmental organisations are not permitted. Much of Eritrea’s foreign exchange income comes from foreign gold and copper mining company projects in which the Eritrean government holds a 40% stake. The state control of these revenues is enhanced by the complete lack of mining revenue transparency in the country, a fact that has been persistently documented in various UN reports. There are several ways in which Britain is connected to Eritrean mining, thereby being complicit in the practices of this repressive regime. This includes not just the mining companies involved in exploration in the country, but the financial institutions that have invested in UK and other mining companies operating in Eritrea.

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The New Colonialism: Britain’s Scramble for Africa’s Energy and Mineral Resources

The New Colonialism: Britain’s Scramble for Africa’s Energy and Mineral Resources

Report for War on Want (July 2016)

This report reveals the degree to which British companies now control Africa’s key mineral resources. It reviews the operations of all the companies listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) that have mining interests in Africa, focusing on key minerals and metals such as gold, platinum, diamonds, copper, oil, gas and coal. It finds that 101 companies have mining operations in 37 sub-Saharan African countries. These companies, which are mainly British, now control an identified $1.05 trillion worth of resources in Africa in just five commodities — oil, gold, diamonds, coal and platinum. Of the 101 LSE-listed companies, one quarter are incorporated in tax havens. A determination to plunder the natural resources of Africa is taking place, with the active support of the British government; this is contributing significantly to a net drain of resources from Africa, already the world’s poorest continent.

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DFID’s Controversial Support for Private Education

DFID’s Controversial Support for Private Education

(September 2015)

Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) is increasingly funding and supporting private education in developing countries. Indeed, it has become the world’s leading bilateral donor in promoting not only ‘low cost’ private schools but also in promoting the role of multinational companies as funders of education in developing countries. This report documents how DFID is promoting an increasing role for the private sector in education in three main ways: by promoting an enhanced role for multinationals in funding education; by funding a range of private education providers and ‘low-cost’ private schools in other bilateral projects; and by funding research and dissemination of information on private education and aiming to change government policies

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New Alliance, New Risk of Land Grabs: Evidence from Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania

New Alliance, New Risk of Land Grabs: Evidence from Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania

Report for ActionAid International (June 2015)

Ten African countries have signed up to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition – the G8 countries’ main strategy for supporting agriculture in Africa that was launched in 2012. As the New Alliance has been under way for three years, some of its likely impacts are becoming clearer. This briefing – covering Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania and Senegal – shows that some large companies involved in the New Alliance are already accused of taking part in land grabs in some countries. It also presents new research to argue that the initiative is further increasing the risk of rural communities losing their access to and control over land to large investors, largely through policy commitments on land titling and land reform. Implicated in these reforms and risks of land grabs are the G8 donor countries bankrolling the New Alliance and the European Union. These governments must stop all engagement in and support for the New Alliance and replace it with genuine initiatives to support small-scale food producers and advance sustainable agriculture.

French version here –  Nouvelle Alliance, Nouveaux Risques

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Profiting from Poverty, Again: DFID’s Support for Privatising Education and Health

Profiting from Poverty, Again: DFID’s Support for Privatising Education and Health

Report for Global Justice Now (April 2015)

Britain’s overseas aid programme is being reconfigured to promote the privatisation of education and health in developing countries. The Department for International Development (DFID) has become the world’s leading donor in spearheading a push for profit making companies to manage and deliver schooling and health care in Africa and Asia. British taxpayers’ money is increasingly being used to pave the way for private companies to access new markets in basic services and thus to profit from the current gaps in the public provision of these services. This briefing exposes DFID’s strategy and warns of the dangers to the real need – which is to ensure better public education and health services that genuinely serve poor people.

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Afghanistan in Limbo: New aid priorities and the funding crisis putting future progress at risk

Afghanistan in Limbo: New aid priorities and the funding crisis putting future progress at risk

Report for Islamic Relief (March 2014)

Curtis Research wrote the first draft and contributed much of the research to this report. A new and uncertain chapter has begun in Afghanistan’s bloody and poverty-stricken recent history as foreign troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014. Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with extremely low development indicators. This report argues that the international community must not abandon Afghans to their fate but prepare for future challanges. Poverty is killing more people in Afghanistan than direct fatalities from the ongoing conflict. The internaitonal community should support sustained aid funding, improve the quality of aid, focus on basic services, ensure community and NGO involvement, build resilience and strengthen governance.

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The UK Energy-Finance-Government Nexus

The UK Energy-Finance-Government Nexus

(May 2013)

This briefing, based on research commissioned by the World Development Movement, outlines the role played by British companies in controversial energy projects in developing countries. It shows the nexus of interests, and revolving door, between these companies and former and current civil servants and Ministers. Many British companies currently promoting dirty energy projects are managed or advised by former British officials. Furthermore, senior executives in these companies serve on government-linked advisory boards which shape the UK’s financial and trade policies. The nexus goes to the heart of government. Several Cabinet ministers have past or present links to the energy or finance companies under analysis.

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The Role of European Development Finance Institutions in Land Grabs

The Role of European Development Finance Institutions in Land Grabs

Report for Aprodev (May 2013)

This briefing, the result of a longer piece of research commissioned by Aprodev, analyses the involvement of nine European development finance institutions (DFIs) in investments where land grabs have been reported: FMO (Netherlands), DEG (Germany), CDC (UK), Norfund (Norway), Finnfund (Finland), Swedfund (Sweden), SIFEM (Switzerland), OeEB (Austria) and IFU (Denmark). It also analyses the internal guidelines of these DFIs and finds that they have insufficient safeguards in place to ensure that they are not involved in land grabs.

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