“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.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Watershed Moment in Migrant Maids' Rights?

Jakarta Globe, October 09, 2011

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Washington. When governments from around the globe passed a treaty in June to protect domestic workers, labor experts called it a surprising breakthrough for millions of exploited women.            

Even countries that fail to ratify the pact will eventually be judged by its standards, they said, and the campaign to pass it had enlisted fresh allies, newly mindful of abuses from unpaid wages to rape.                  

Two days later, Saudi Arabia, a major destination for domestic workers, beheaded an Indonesian maid — at once highlighting the need for protections and the challenges of putting them in place.              

The execution followed reports from maids who said their Saudi bosses had burned or beaten them, and the condemned woman, who killed her employer, said she had been abused. But when the Indonesian president protested, the Saudis stopped hiring Indonesians and pointedly turned to cheaper workers from countries less likely to complain.              

The twin developments — accord in Geneva and maid wars in Riyadh — show opposing forces in a global campaign to protect domestic workers, an overlooked group of as many as 100 million people.                

More broadly, that campaign tests the effort to raise work standards in a world of cheap and mobile labor. Many domestic workers are migrants, and the precedents could shape the treatment of other migrant groups. On Sept. 30, for example, Hong Kong's High Court struck down a law that had excluded domestic workers from the residency rights offered to other foreign citizens, potentially allowing 100,000 maids to gain the right to stay.              

The events show that "officials have not forgotten about migrant workers," said Philip Martin, an economist at the University of California, Davis. "But they are also a reminder of the difficulties of extending effective protections to them."               

''The receiving countries can always say, 'We will get workers somewhere else,'" he said.              

While acknowledging such challenges, the treaty's supporters say that it establishes vital new principles and that it will accelerate changes already under way. Before the pact was approved, Singapore, Jordan and New York State had passed new laws, and proposals are being considered in places as different as California and Kuwait. Even Saudi Arabia, a source of frequent abuse complaints, is considering changes that officials may feel more inclined to accept after voting for the pact.               

''The treaty was a watershed event," said Nisha Varia, a researcher at Human Rights Watch. "There is now a global consensus that these women deserve the same rights as other workers. All the governments involved in this conversation will be under pressure to examine their labor laws."               

As a labor force composed mostly of women who work behind closed doors, domestic workers are hard to organize and vulnerable to attack. Many countries exclude them from labor laws, leaving no legal boundaries on their hours or pay.            

In the United States, domestic workers are covered by minimum-wage laws, but they are excluded from federal statutes on occupational health, overtime and the right to organize.             

As long ago as 1965, the International Labor Organization, a branch of the United Nations, saw an "urgent need" to protect domestic workers, whom it called "singularly subject to exploitation." But interest in formal action waned, and women flooded the workplace, making nannies and maids a cornerstone of modern economies.           

The export of domestic workers became big business in migration hubs like Indonesia and the Philippines, where more than half the migrants are women. Both countries celebrate the sums the women send home and simmer at the stories of mistreatment that percolate in the news media.            

Saudi Arabia is a prime destination for both countries. In 2008, a study by Varia cited dozens of cases that amounted "to forced labor, trafficking, or slavery-like conditions." While abuses occur everywhere, the report said, Saudi Arabia prosecuted few cases and sometimes allowed bosses to pursue retaliatory charges, like theft, against victims who complained.             

A spokesman for the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington declined to comment. In the past, Saudi officials have accused critics of exaggerating isolated cases of abuse, and noted that legions of women still seek the jobs.              

When the international labor group turned to domestic workers in 2010, Persian Gulf states, speaking as a bloc, called for nonbinding recommendations. In a reversal this year, they supported a binding treaty. What is more, they strengthened it, with calls for stronger language on contract rights, overtime pay and access to courts during employer conflicts.             

''It really made an impression," said Ellene Sana of the Center for Migrant Advocacy in Manila. "When you think of abuses, you think of the gulf — yet here they are, standing up for domestic workers." Pressure from the Arab Spring, Sana said, may help explain the change. Others note that the rotating leadership of the bloc passed to the United Arab Emirates, which is conscious of the region's global reputation.             

Of the 128 governments that voted, only Swaziland opposed the pact, which says domestic workers should enjoy rights equivalent to those given to other workers in the same country, including limited workweeks, overtime pay and paid vacations.            

While the United States pushed hard for the pact, the Senate rarely approves labor treaties that would require changes in federal law, as this one would if ratified. Legally the pact applies only in countries that ratify it, but its uses as a yardstick may be broader.             

Even as support for the treaty grew, so did reports of abuse in Saudi Arabia. Keni binti Carda, an Indonesian maid, went home in 2008 with scars spread across her back and face. She said her employer burned her with an iron and forced her to eat excrement. A Sri Lankan maid, L.D. Ariyawathie, arrived home last year with two dozen nails in her body — hammered there, she said, by her employer.          

After an Indonesian woman, Sumiati binti Salan Mustapa, was hospitalized in Medina last year with broken bones and a mutilated face, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned her "extraordinary torture." But the conviction of her employer was overturned.            

On June 18, two days after the Geneva vote, Saudi Arabia beheaded an Indonesian named Ruyati binti Sapubi. Yudhoyono denounced Saudi "norms and manners," and the Saudis stopped admitting new Indonesian maids. They had already placed a similar ban on the Philippines, after several Philippine lawmakers visited in January and wrote they were "shocked into speechlessness by the tales of rape and abuse." Saudi recruiters then described plans to hire thousands of Bangladeshis at wages of $170 a month, less than half what the Philippine government demanded.             

More battles may be pending. Under a new law, the Philippine government must identify which countries are acceptable destinations for domestic workers, which could prompt more conflicts like the one with the Saudis.              

Still, Philippine officials say the treaty, by laying out common principles, has given them a new weapon in an old fight.           

It is "a landmark accomplishment," said Carlos Cao Jr., who runs the Philippine government's overseas work program. "But you don't change cultures overnight."  

Associated Press  

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