Posted: June 15th, 2013 | Author: Lorenz | Filed under: Human Rights | Tags: human trafficking, philippines
Many young girls and women are being kept as personal slaves
Flight attendants, hotel front desk clerks and travelers all around the world; all of them are oblivious to a crime happening right in front of them: human trafficking. The type of crime does not seem to have any boundaries, human trafficking can be found in every corner of the world and that on a daily basis. Often the trafficked person travel in plain sight without anyone around her noticing what is about to happen. A person is moved to its destination just like any other material good. The people being trafficked are being used for different purposes. Some end up in involuntary labor others in sexual exploitation. This happens on a regional as well as international level. According to humantrafficking.org, a website with the purpose of supporting the combat against trafficking, internal trafficking in the Philippines is a big issue. The non-profit organization ecpat (end child prostitution and trafficking) stated in a publication in 2009 that in fact 79% of all human trafficking worldwide happens for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 15th, 2013 | Author: Malte | Filed under: Governmental Policies, Human Rights, Politics | Tags: chinese, dhamendran, indian, minorities, race-based politics
A case of institutional racism: Indian Mr. Dhamendran was killed by Malaysian police men.
Usually, police officers are the ones who solve crimes and arrest those who commit them. Last Wednesday however, three Malaysian officers were accused of murder of truck driver Mr. Dhamendran. The Bangkok Post states the ethnic Indian wanted to make a statement about a fight he was involved in, whereas The Star claims the truck driver was arrested for attempted murder. No matter why he was at the police station, he was found dead there ten days later, injured with a stapler and badly hit. While police force mentioned a heart attack as cause of death, post-mortem examinations identified that he was beaten to death. According to the Bangkok Post, 160 deaths by the hand of police men were reported since 2000, most of them involving ethnic Indians. Mr. Waythamoorthy, an Indian rights activist stated that these “custodial deaths clearly show the police force is institutionally racist and the Indians are seen as soft targets.”
Malaysia is a country of many races. The three biggest groups among the 28 million inhabitants are 60 per cent Malays and indigenous people, 23 per cent Chinese and 7 per cent Indians. After independence from British colonial rule in 1957, the Chinese minority in the country was wealthier than the majority of Malays and controlled much of the Malaysian economy. This finally led to riots in 1969, when many Chinese shop owners were killed and their houses burned down. Afterwards, the government introduced the New Economic Policy, which gave preferences to Malay citizen with regards to business, jobs, education scholarships and access to loans, as stated by Pang in the New York Times. More than four out of five civil service jobs are nowadays held by Malays and 70 per cent of university entrants are reserved for them. Chinese and Indian citizen are considered to be second-class citizen, according to an article in The Economist. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 12th, 2013 | Author: Nina | Filed under: Government, Governmental Policies, Human Rights, International Relations, Politics | Tags: media censorship, police, Protests, Taksim Square Istanbul, Turkey
It started out small, but by now the protests have taken a life of their own. On Monday 27 May, a handful of peaceful protesters occupied Gezi Park on Taksim square in Istanbul, in protest against the plans to replace a public park with a mall.
May 31st: Thousands crossing the Bosphorus Bridge to get to Taksim Square in Istanbul
On Wednesday police attacked the protesters with teargas and burned down their tents. The situation has been reported by many media outlets such as CNN, BBC, Aljazeera, The Economist and more. By now protests have spread to other areas, crowds have grown bigger, thousands have been injured and the first confirmed death in protests has engulfed the country, as stated in the Hurriyet Daily News, one of Turkey’s leading international media. What started as a sit-in protest to protect an Istanbul park has become a nationwide outcry against the government and the heavy-handed police response. Der Spiegel article dated 3 June 2013 mentions that Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has had a tight grip on power; however it seems that he might be losing control. But does this mean we are about to see a Turkish Spring?
Just weeks ago, according to The Guardian article dated 2 June 2013, protests against the destruction of a historic cinema for yet another shopping mall were silenced with brutal police attacks, but there was no public outcry. During last elections, with a mandate of 50% of voters, there seemed no real challenges to Erdogan’s increasing authoritarianism. Recently restrictions were introduced on the sale and consumption of alcohol, the morning-after pill and abortion, public displays of affection and a draft bill supporting LGBT rights was rejected. Nevertheless, demolishing the Gezi Park was the tip of the iceberg. The protests which started in Istanbul spread to other cities and even Greeks marched on June 2nd in Athens to show their solidarity for the Turkish protesters, according to the Hurriyet Daily News. The Greek newspaper ERT stated that unrest was quickly spread to other cities like Madrid, Brussels, London and New York where demonstrations were organized by Turkish citizens and activists. This issue caused the most widespread civilian unrest in Turkish history. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 7th, 2013 | Author: Marc | Filed under: Corruption, Economics, Elections, Human Rights, International Business
A countries development is often considered as being advanced if the economic sector is sophisticated and successful on the long-run. Cambodia is still considered to be a developing country as earlier events in history were dominated by regional economic crises, political infighting and civil violence. This had a major influence on the country’s economic development; as stated by Economy Watch, tourism and foreign investments faced major setbacks due to the crises in the late 90´s. The challenge for Cambodia now is to achieve sustained economic long-term growth, by keeping productivity high and exploit new resources that can benefit the country.
The global recession in 2008 had a major impact on Cambodia´s economy as the per capita income is lower compared to neighboring countries. Further a demographic change over the last decades resulted in a majority of the population being under the age of 21, which means that there is a negative imbalance and the level of education is extremely low. But it also has to be stated that Cambodia made incredible progress over the course of the last two decades. As remarked by the Worldbank, Cambodia has made great progress with regard to peace and stability, healthcare and economic growth despite the challenges. However, Cambodia´s economy is dependent on primary products, which means being too focused on few industry sectors that make the country vulnerable to negative developments in those one-sided areas. Further the rice sector in Cambodia faces productivity and infrastructure problems that keep them from reaching their full potential in production. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 31st, 2013 | Author: Tingdong Lu | Filed under: Asia-Pacific, Government, Governmental Policies, Human Rights, Indonesia | Tags: ASEAN Social-Culture Community, migrant worker, United Nations Development Programme, Vulnerable group
Along with the ASEAN Community implementation by 2015, each ASEAN Member State is preparing strenuously for the final stage, not even excepting Indonesia. Vulnerable group protection can be considered as one vital element of ASEAN Social-Culture Community (ASCC) which is one crucial pillar of ASEAN Community. It can be known from ASCC Blueprint that ASEAN has been dedicated to promoting social justice and guiding people’s rights into its policies and all range of life. The rights and welfare of disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalized groups such as women, children, disabled and migrant workers will be protected and enhanced. According to statistics from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), although Indonesia has recently graduated to become a lower middle income county, half of the country’s 240 million citizens still live on less than US$2 a day. Hence, how to protect the right of vulnerable groups is still one urgent challenge to Indonesia. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 14th, 2013 | Author: Nina | Filed under: Asia-Pacific, Government, Governmental Policies, Human Rights | Tags: Cambodia, International Labor Day, Labor rights
Protesters marching towards the National Assembly building on May 1st, where they gathered to listen to speeches and present petitions to the government.
With regard to International Labor Day on May first, workers around the world united to protest over low pay, rising living costs and difficult working conditions. In Cambodia thousands of garment workers hit the streets of Phnom Penh. According to LICADHO, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, between six and seven thousand workers, union leaders, local communities, students, NGO’s and others marched to the National Assembly, calling for improvement of working conditions. In last weeks’ blog, the human rights situation in Cambodia was highlighted. According to the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), an advocacy organization dedicated to achieve just and humane treatment for workers worldwide, one of the most violated human rights in the workplace is the right to associate freely around the world. That means that a large number of workers continue to be denied of their fundamental, internationally recognized right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. This limits workers to contribute actively to the improvement of workers’ rights in many aspects, although there are several projects and organizations present trying to contribute in favor of labor rights in the country. A stronger voice of the public could be the next step.
Cambodia is a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) since 1969. Nevertheless, it is only since the 1990’s that the ILO has been an active partner in Cambodia’s economic, social and democratic recovery. The state of poverty is declining in the country; however rural poverty remains high, at 40 percent. According to the ILO, 85 percent of the population works in agriculture, forestry, fishing and in small and micro-enterprises. The sectors of garments and tourism are currently the main engines of growth, with garment manufacturing accounting for 85 percent of Cambodia’s exports and employing approximately 350,000 workers. According to Brett Eisenbrown, a fellow blogger and intern at ILRF, Cambodia has the reputation of being one of the more socially responsible nations when it comes to labor rights. That is because of the passage of the 1997 labor law that was co-written by the Cambodian Government, the ILO, and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. In addition, an independent Cambodian Arbitration Council was established in 2003, which now receives funding from the US Department of Labor to support its Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) Project. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 10th, 2013 | Author: Marc | Filed under: China, Governmental Policies, Human Rights, Politics
Self-immolation is the most severe form of protest and displays deep beliefs and dedications of its performer. In this case people are willing to die for something they strongly belief in, as it showed in the case of Tibetan Monks suicides on February 24, 2013 in the Qinghai province, in eastern Tibet´s Amdo region. As remarked by Kate Saunders, Communications Director of the International Campaign for Tibet, over 107 Tibetans have killed themselves for conscience sake and their conviction that Tibet should be free. The issue whether Tibet belongs to China or should be an independent state has raised conflicts since decades. Still, today China claims sovereignty over Tibet and does not accept an uprising of its population. It is important to resolve this conflict in a diplomatic way in order to guarantee for more stability and peace among China and Tibet.
Location of Tibet
Looking back at the history of Tibet it can be pointed out that Britain as well as China made attempts to claim Tibet. Finally in 1913 Tibet reasserts independence after decades of invasions made by those two nations. However, in 1950 China enforces a long-held claim to Tibet and Tibetan leaders are forced to sign the so called, “Seventeen Point Agreement” in 1951. As stated by BBC News, this treaty guarantees Tibetan autonomy but at the same time also allows the establishment of Chinese civil and military headquarters at Lhasa. Since the 50´s conflicts and protests against Chinas policies continue and a concrete agreement on terms has not been established ever since. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 8th, 2013 | Author: Lorenz | Filed under: Asia-Pacific, Human Rights | Tags: Buddhist, Muslims, Myanmar, Sanctions
In March 2013 a couple enters a goldsmith’s shop in Meiktila, Myanmar. It is not entirely clear what happened next, the only thing that is known is that a fight started between the Muslim goldsmith and the Buddhist couple that entered and the owner hit one of the customers in the head.
Muslim neighborhoods appear like images out of a war zone
The resulting consequences were horrific and unforeseen. Several mobs of Buddhists swarming through the streets equipped with wooden clubs and knifes killing Muslims, even children, and burning down buildings. The world watched in horror as videos show the brutal reality of the riots in which Buddhists in Meiktila basically started hunting down Muslims and burned down mosques. The violence started to spread to other towns as well. As a consequence the government quickly imposed curfews. President Thein Sein declared state of emergency and deployed between 600 and 700 police officers to get the situation under control. But the CNN reported of policemen standing by while rioters torched down buildings unable to cope with the situation. In the end more than 40 people were killed and over 12,000 Muslims were displaced from their homes. At the end of March the local police reported eight destroyed houses and a mosque in the Natalin township and 40 destroyed houses in the Zigon township as well as a destroyed mosque. A bizarre fact is that much of the existing tension has been spurred by Buddhist monks, of which some actually led parts of the mob. What has happened in Myanmar? Why would a situation like this occur and what is the appropriate way to deal with it? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 7th, 2013 | Author: Nina | Filed under: Asia-Pacific, Elections, Government, Governmental Policies, Human Rights | Tags: Cambodia
Cambodia has experienced dreadful human rights records over the course of the last thirty years. The worst period was between 1975 and 1979 under the Communist Party of Kampuchea, the “Khmer Rouge”, who carried out crimes against humanity on a scale that left more than one quarter of the population dead. According to Craig Etcheson of the Equipa Nizkor, an international organization working for the respect and promotion of human rights in different topics and areas, the situation has improved markedly in Cambodia after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge regime. However, although the Cambodian government has ratified 13 human rights instruments and the Constitution has incorporated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the impact of the 70’s still remains visible. Unfortunately, improvement has been unsteady and relative and a wide range of human rights abuses are often committed by State personnel. In November 2012 Cambodia signed the “ASEAN Human Rights Declaration”, which caused many concerns to human rights groups worldwide. The declaration seems to be incomplete since it misses out fundamental human rights. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 26th, 2013 | Author: Tingdong Lu | Filed under: Governmental Policies, Human Rights, International Relations | Tags: Arakan Project, Burma, human rights, Rohingya
Rohingya refugees’ shelter in Bangladesh (1997)
Rohingya, a Muslim minority mainly living in the northern Rakhine state of Burma, are considered one of the most persecuted and oppressed groups in the world by the UN. Due to the historical ethnic conflict between Muslim and Buddhist and Rohingya helped British for colonial domination during the World War Two, they are not recognized by the military-backed government in Burma based on the “Burma Civil Law” since 1982. “Death would be better than this life”, Nasima, a Rohingya refugee said. They do not have any human rights, land rights, marriage rights, and even no nationality. The domestic Arakan in Rakhine state considers the Rohingya immigrated to Burma during the colonial domination period by British, but the Rohingya do not think so. The Burmese government treats them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Hence, the domestic citizens are generally hostile to the Rohingya and call them Bengalese. Meanwhile, the interesting point is that Bangladesh government considers the Rohingya Burmese. Thanks to the historical and ethnic origin’s reasons, Rohingya have been suffering more agony than any other ethnic minority the world. The future of Rohingya should be paid attention to by the international community. Read the rest of this entry »