International Weekly Monitor 26 August 2022


  1. Labour Minister Phila Buthelezi urges ILO to assist eSwatini recover from COVID-19 economic recession
  2. Venezuela: Maduro Slams Attempts to Stall Recovery of Economy
  3. Embassy of Cuba in South Africa participates in virtual seminar of solidarity with Cuba
  4. Israeli suppression of Palestinian rights organizations ‘illegal and unacceptable’
  5. Erdogan says warming Israel ties won’t weaken Palestine support
  6. South African Workers Protest Against Rising Cost of Living


Thursday, 25th August, 2022

By Bongiwe Dlamini

MBABANE: Phila Buthelezi, the Minister of Labour and Social Security has urged the International Labour Organization(ILO) to assist eSwatini recover from the COVID-19 economic recession.

Speaking during the launch of “The Next Normal’: The Changing Workplace in Eswatini” report at Hilton Gardens on Wednesday, the Minister said COVID-19 affected many business, resulting to job losses.

The report comes after a study conducted by ILO in collaboration with Business Eswatini.

“It is not an exaggeration that COVID-19 destroyed many jobs as much as it did business establishments. Crucially, however, the pandemic took away productive souls from our midst. One is therefore encouraged that as we begin to pick up the pieces as a country we will do so with a trusted partner such as the ILO on our side.The study informed how labour relations and business processes could be managed at a time when confusion and shock were the order of the day. Not only did the assessment inform and empower business; it also helped the Ministry to tailor some of its services appropriately and equip other organs of state which are working very closely with businesses,”said the Minister as quoted by Government online platforms.

Addressing participants during the presentation of the report, ILO Director Dr Joni Musabayana said the study raised several extremely pertinent issues related to Eswatini’s labour market and more broadly, the priorities outlined in the Abidjan Declaration.

“The disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will leave a legacy in respect of how, where and when we work,” said the ILO Director as quoted by eSwatini Government online platforms.

On another note, Business Eswatini Chief Executive Officer(CEO)Nathi Dlamini emphasized the importance of creating jobs even for the future generation.

“We have to create the jobs needed by emaSwati so that we may not fail our future generations.We would also love to extend our appreciation to the International Labour Organisation for their support towards improving the Private Sector and we are looking forward to having a continuous fruitful relationship as this is a tripartite affair,” said the Business Eswatini CEO.


Venezuela: Maduro Slams Attempts to Stall Recovery of Economy

25 August 2022

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said Thursday that sectors in the country intend to stall the economic recovery process experienced by the Caribbean nation this year.

"Then a group comes to shoot up the parallel dollar in a fictitious way, so that a group of traders comes to steal from the people (...), that no one tries to torpedo and damage the economic recovery, that rather we all help the country to recover fully and absolutely", detailed the President during a broadcast of the Venezolana de Televisión network.

During the last week, in Venezuela, there have been accelerated increases in the exchange rate of foreign currencies parallel to the one established by the country's Central Bank.

Since 2003, the Caribbean nation has had exchange control, which gives the Government the power to sell and buy foreign currency.

Amid the exchange control and the economic blockade denounced by the Venezuelan Government, a parallel market has emerged in the Caribbean country, in which Venezuelans can acquire, albeit at a higher price, the foreign currency of their choice.

According to what some pages on social networks report about the parallel dollar rate, on August 25, its value was 9.30 bolivars (local currency) per dollar and the official rate was 7.01 bolivars per dollar.

In such a sense, Maduro highlighted that this parallel dollar strategy responded to some sectors' dossier and mentioned that they are using it again, intending to disturb the economic recovery process of this last year.

"We have had four quarters of record economic growth in the world, of more than 18 percent of the economy, record economic growth; there are those who intend to disrupt the economic recovery and are again using the parallel dollar", he said.

The President highlighted that, despite the sanctions imposed by the United States, the country is still standing and called on citizens to defend the rate of the Central Bank of Venezuela, which is governed by the dynamics and rules of the exchange market.

Maduro has denounced on several occasions that since 2015 more than 500 sanctions have been executed against Venezuela that affected the entire national productive system, which generated the country's loss of 99 percent of foreign exchange income.

However, despite the effects caused to the global economy by the covid-19 pandemic and the direct damage to the Venezuelan productive system caused by the sanctions, the Caribbean country is expected to experience the highest growth in the region, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).


Embassy of Cuba in South Africa participates in virtual seminar of solidarity with Cuba


The Embassy of Cuba in South Africa participated in the virtual seminar United against the illegal US economic blockade on Cuba. The event was convened by the Western Cape National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) Division and also participated members of the South African Communist Party (SACP), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the Friends of Cuba Society (FOCUS)also participated in the seminar, as well as the president of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), Michael Mzwandile Makwayiba.

Solidarity with the Cuban Revolution against the US blockade was the central theme of the meeting. Besides, the role of Cuba in the liberation of the South African people was recognized, as well as the support that the island has provided to this nation, in the areas of health and education.

The president of the WFTUrecognized the meritorious work of the Cuban government and people in the face of the covid-19 pandemic. Mzwandile called for the lifting of the blockade and sanctions against the Cuban people, which constitute an obstacle to the socioeconomic development of the island.


Israeli suppression of Palestinian rights organizations ‘illegal and unacceptable’

24 August 2022

During a raid last week, the Israeli army broke into and shut down the offices of seven Palestinian human rights and humanitarian groups operating in Ramallah, located in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

“These actions amount to severe suppression of human rights defenders and are illegal and unacceptable,” the experts said, encouraging UN Member States to use international law to end the abuses.

‘Unlawful’ designations

Last Thursday at dawn, Israeli forces raided the offices of seven Palestinian human rights groups causing extensive property damage and issuing military orders to shut them down.

This followed Israel’s earlier characterization of those organizations as “terrorist” and “unlawful”.

“These designations and declarations are illegitimate and unjustifiable and no concrete and credible evidence substantiating Israel’s allegations has ever been provided,” said the experts, echoing observations that they had made in April.

Hurling accusations

On 18 and 21 August, Israeli security service Shin Bet interrogated the directors of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Al-Haq and Defence for Children-Palestine – three of the seven shuttered organizations.

The experts were particularly concerned over alleged threats made by Shin Bet against the organizations, including a public statement regarding Al-Haq’s director, Shawan Jabarin.

“The Israeli Government has taken multiple measures to undermine civil society organisations – restricting and repressing the legitimate activities of human rights defenders – which also has a disproportionate impact on women human rights defenders,” the experts said.

Rights infringements

They upheld that Israel’s actions have resulted in “serious infringements” on the rights to freedom of association, opinion and expression as well as to participate in public and cultural affairs, “which Israel is fully obliged to fulfill, respect and protect”.

“Civil society is what is left to the Palestinians for their minimum protection,” the maintained UN experts, adding that “shrinking this vital space and resource is illegal and immoral”.

They reminded that information presented by Israel to justify its decision to blacklist human rights groups as terror organizations had failed to convince donor governments and international organizations.

Moreover, the experts noted that a review of Al Haq by the Anti-Fraud Office of the European Union (EU) confirmed that “no suspicions of irregularities and/or fraud affecting EU funds” had been found.

Call for action

The independent experts called on the EU, the five permanent Security Council members, and all UN Member States to take concrete measures to protect the Palestinian organizations and staff whose offices were raided and closed.

“Such protection depends on Israel revoking once and for all its designations and declarations of these organizations as ‘terrorist’ and ‘unlawful,’” they said.

“The EU and its member States in particular, must urgently use their leverage to stop these aggressive attacks on civil society, in line with their commitments and obligations to protect human rights defenders and civic space”.

Apply ‘diplomatic pressure’

The experts concluded by pointing out that “once again, it is clear that statements condemning, and regretting Israel’s unlawful measures are not sufficient”.

“It is time that words are followed by swift and determined action by the international community to put diplomatic pressure on Israel to restore the rule of law, justice and human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory”.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not paid for their work.


Erdogan says warming Israel ties won’t weaken Palestine support

23 August 2022

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks come after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a week after Turkey and Israel announced a decision to establish diplomatic ties.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that recent steps to normalise Ankara’s ties with Israel will not weaken the country’s support for Palestine in the conflict between the two sides.

Erdogan’s remarks come as he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday as part of the latter’s official visit to Turkey’s capital city, Ankara.

Abbas’s three-day visit comes as Turkey and Israel take steps to normalise ties. Last week, Turkey and Israel said they would reappoint ambassadors, four years after they were expelled over the killing of 60 Palestinians by Israeli forces during protests in Gaza against the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.

Erdogan told a joint news conference that Ankara continues its long-standing solidarity with Palestine in the strongest way.

He said that Turkey, which has recognised the Palestinian state from the moment it was proclaimed, defends the vision of a two-state solution on every platform.

“We have clearly demonstrated our response to the Israeli attacks and civilian casualties,” he said.

Erdogan has been a fervent supporter of the Palestinian cause who has branded Israel a “terrorist state”.

Abbas welcomes Turkish support

Erdogan said that Palestinian authorities, including different political factions, welcome the normalisation of ties between Turkey and Israel and that they want the dialogue to continue.

“On the contrary, our Palestinian brothers also express that these steps will contribute to the solution of the Palestinian issue and the improvement of the situation of the Palestinian people,” Erdogan said.

Abbas did not mention Turkish-Israeli relations in his comments, but thanked Erdogan for his past support.

“I would like to thank you for the close attention and hospitality you have shown us,” Abbas told Erdogan.

“I would like to reiterate my gratitude for the fact that Turkey and the Turkish government are on the side of Palestine.”

The veteran Palestinian leader’s visit is widely seen as an attempt by Turkey to show that it stood by old allies even as it repairs relations with more recent rivals.

Turkey has gradually mended fences across the region as it seeks new deals and investments to help recover from its most profound economic crisis in more than two decades.

The warming with Israel is being accompanied by plans to restore direct flights by Israeli airlines between the two countries, which could bring in more tourists to Turkey’s resorts.

Ankara is also hoping to revive an east Mediterranean natural gas pipeline project that won tentative backing from the US last year.

Separately, in a televised interview with broadcaster Haber Global on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who visited Israel in May, said an ambassador candidate for Israel will be presented to Erdogan in the “coming days”.

“The steps that we are taking do not mean that Turkey will make concessions,” he said.


South African Workers Protest Against Rising Cost of Living

24 August 2022

"We demand the government changes the structure of the economy which is widening the gap between the rich and the poor," SAFTU Secretary Vavi said.

On Wednesday, with calls from the country's two leading union groupings, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), workers marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where President Cyril Ramphosa's offices are located.

"We want the government to address corruption and neo-liberation policies. We are fighting capitalism and demand that the government changes the structure of the economy which is widening the gap between the rich and the poor. We are facing high food and oil prices," SAFTU Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said.

While some businesses opened in Pretoria and Johannesburg, other shops owned by foreigners remained closed due to fears of looting.The taxi industry ignored the call for a national shutdown and continued ferrying passengers.

The Ramphosa administration should find the right formula urgently to stimulate the economy and address the challenges facing the South African society, Vavi said, adding that the government should address underfunded health and education, and improve service delivery and work to ensure that the police are well-equipped to combat crime.

The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) anounced that it will implement "no work no pay" on the government employees who took part in the shutdown.

"The principle of no work no pay will apply for absence for a full day as well as part of a working day. In addition, leave will be strictly managed, and no leave will be granted unless under extreme and compelling situations," DPSA warned.

South Africa is facing internal and external challenges, citing erratic electricity supply, policy uncertainty, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Global economic factors have resulted in the increase in fuel and food prices exacerbated by the disruption in international supply chains.


Issued by NEHAWU International Service Centre
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