“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

1 - TUNISIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017 (AFP Photo/ Zacharias ABUBEKER)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Arab governments are failing on human trafficking

The poor record of Middle Eastern countries on trafficking stems from the primacy given to protecting regimes over individuals

guardian.co.uk, Brian Whitaker, Tuesday 28 June 2011

Hillary Clinton speaks at the Interagency Task Force on human trafficking.
The US global report for 2011 has been released. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Efforts to combat human rights abuses are easily undermined by politics. Often – and with good reason – the US and other western countries are accused of highlighting abuses by their enemies while turning a blind eye to similar abuses by their friends.

One way of pushing political considerations into the background is to look at the problem comparatively, by considering where each country stands in relation to others. That is what the US state department has been doing for 11 years now, with its global reports on human trafficking.

The result, as seen in the latest report issued on Monday, is a robust critique, which places some of the staunchest US allies – Kuwait and Saudi Arabia – in the same rotten boat as long-time foes such as Cuba, North Korea and Iran.

"Trafficking in persons" covers various forms of exploitation including, in the words of the international Palermo protocol, "sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs".

The state department's report divides countries into three categories according to their performance. In the top tier are those that fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In the second tier are those that do not fully comply but "are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance" and the bottom tier is for those that "neither satisfy the minimum standards nor demonstrate a significant effort to come into compliance".

The second tier also includes a watch list of countries "requiring special scrutiny". Countries in the bottom tier may be subjected to certain kinds of sanctions.

This year, two countries – Portugal and the Slovak Republic – have moved up into the top tier and 19 have been taken off the watch list. Nine others have been moved on to the watch list and 11 have slipped into the bottom tier.

The bottom tier has grown rapidly over the last three years, from 14 countries in 2008 to 23 today. Just over a third of these are Arab or Middle Eastern countries. Iran, Kuwait, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia and Sudan have been joined this year by Algeria, Lebanon, Libya and Yemen, and four others are on the watch list: Iraq, Qatar, Syria and Tunisia. No Middle Eastern country figures in the top tier.

A large part of the problem in the wealthier Arab countries is the extensive use of foreign labour – especially those employed in domestic service, construction and sanitation. Referring to Kuwait, the report says:

  • "Although most of these migrants enter Kuwait voluntarily, upon arrival some are subjected to conditions of forced labour by their sponsors and labour agents, including nonpayment of wages, long working hours without rest, deprivation of food, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and restrictions on movement, such as the withholding of passports or confinement to the workplace."

It continues:

  • "Kuwait's sponsorship law effectively dissuades workers from reporting abuse by their sponsors to government authorities; workers who abscond from their sponsors face criminal and financial penalties of up to six months' imprisonment, over $2,000 in fines and deportation for leaving without their employers' permission, even if they ran away due to abuse by the sponsor."

It's a similar picture in Saudi Arabia, where workers who complain to the police about abuse may find themselves returned to their employers or pressured into dropping charges.

"Some employers file false counter-claims against foreign workers for theft, witchcraft, and adultery in retaliation for workers' claims of abuse," the report says. "As a result, in many cases, the workers rather than the employers are punished, which discourages workers from reporting abuse."

Saudi Arabia is also accused of failing to take action to reduce the demand for prostitution or child sex tourism by Saudi nationals or even to acknowledge "that trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation was a problem affecting the kingdom".

Unlike torture, say, and arbitrary arrest, trafficking in persons is a human rights abuse perpetrated by societies rather than governments but it is one that governments should take steps to prevent. In some parts of the region – Yemen, for example – constant turmoil and the limited capabilities of government make prevention difficult. But Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have no such excuse: they lack the will to deal with the problem, or at least to give it any kind of priority.

That, in turn, stems from a wider problem that has plagued the region for decades: a philosophy of government that is more about ensuring the survival of the regime than serving the needs of the public or protecting the weaker elements in their societies.

The Arab spring has provided a sharp reminder that these regimes must do more for their own citizens, or risk the consequences, but the impoverished foreigners – who in many cases keep these countries running – are still treated as inferior beings whose rights count for little or nothing.

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