Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Child Maids Posed As Family In The US?

Huffington Post- IRVINE, Calif. — Late at night, the neighbors saw a little girl at the kitchen sink of the house next door. They watched through their window as the child rinsed plates under the open faucet. She wasn't much taller than the counter and the soapy water swallowed her slender arms.

To put the dishes away, she climbed on a chair.

But she was not the daughter of the couple next door doing chores. She was their maid.

Shyima was 10 when a wealthy Egyptian couple brought her from a poor village in northern Egypt to work in their California home. She awoke before dawn and often worked past midnight to iron their clothes, mop the marble floors and dust the family's crystal. She earned $45 a month working up to 20 hours a day. She had no breaks during the day and no days off.

The trafficking of children for domestic labor in the U.S. is an extension of an illegal but common practice in Africa. Families in remote villages send their daughters to work in cities for extra money and the opportunity to escape a dead-end life. Some girls work for free on the understanding that they will at least be better fed in the home of their employer.

The custom has led to the spread of trafficking, as well-to-do Africans accustomed to employing children immigrate to the U.S. Around one-third of the estimated 10,000 forced laborers in the United States are servants trapped behind the curtains of suburban homes, according to a study by the National Human Rights Center at the University of California at Berkeley and Free the Slaves, a nonprofit group. No one can say how many are children, especially since their work can so easily be masked as chores.

Once behind the walls of gated communities like this one, these children never go to school. Unbeknownst to their neighbors, they live as modern-day slaves, just like Shyima, whose story is pieced together through court records, police transcripts and interviews.

"I'd look down and see her at 10, 11 _ even 12 _ at night," said Shyima's neighbor at the time, Tina Font. "She'd be doing the dishes. We didn't put two and two together."

Read More

Thankyou Knowledgium for the heads up.

Am I Not Human Participant Posts

To streamline the area where you share your links, we've created this post to collect the links you share to your human rights posts offered on the 27th of the month for the 'Am I Not Human' campaign. There's been a wealth of information shared among us and we are truly grateful for your participation. Some of your pieces may be re-posted here on the main blog with your permission, of course and a link back to your original blog.

Thankyou for participating and know your voice is assisting in raising the awareness needed to shed light across the world, until there are no more dark corners for cowards and tyrants that abuse others to hide behind.

We will be attempting to go back and add many previous links, but do encourage you to share your links each month so others can come back to check for them.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Am I Not Human? (Dec 2008)

We truly appreciate all bloggers and blog readers who support our monthly 'Am I Not Human?' campaign on the 27th of each month. Here is a list of blogs (human rights abuser in parenthesis) supporting the blogging campaign this month:
  1. Electronic Village (United Nations)
  2. From My Brown Eyed View (United Nations)
  3. Lisa C Writes (Somalia)
  4. Living Life Abundantly (Africa)
  5. Sojourner's Place (United States)
  6. Stop Genocide (Zimbabwe)
  7. The Jose Vilson (United States)
  8. thinkbridge (India)
  9. Ultraviolet Underground (Chad)
  10. Why Am I Not Surprised (US)

Please let us know if we've missed any blog posts from this month's campaign!

Am I Not Human: The Relationship between Chad and Darfur


With the roads between Chad and the Sudan border becoming passable at the end of the rain season, there are worries that conflict will resume, leaving civilians at risk.

A high ranking official in the Chadian government spoke with Enoughproject.org and told them: “We know the rebels are just across the border [in Sudan]. They are coming as soon as the roads are accessible, but we are ready for them, because we monitor their moves.”

An ongoing conflict between the Chadian government and several groups of rebels quickly ignited in violent confrontation in Jan of this year, causing many Chadians to flee in Nigeria and Cameroon. This attempt at a coup (government overthrow) is the 3rd in 3 years. What you is key here, however, is who is supporting the rebels and causing instability in Chad.

The Sudanese government responsible for the scourge of genocide in Darfur, supports the Chadian rebels in an effort to block the Chadian government's support of rebels in Darfur, and no doubt refugees, as well as the deployment of a United nation peacekeeping mission to Eastern Chad.
The effect this has on the people of Chad, as well as Darfur Refugees is unacceptable, especially considering the Chadian government's influence which is said to be far from stainless, and responsible for the consistent disenfranchisement of the people.
Something must be done to ensure the stability and end conflicts.
The Sudanese government must be made to pay a price for supporting coup (usurping/imposition of a new regime) attempts of the Chadian government.
The call for Bashir's arrest, must be fulfilled with an actual arrest. The people of Darfur have paid for the soulless evil of the Sudanese government and the people of Chad have been made to feel its effects as well (as if the effects of their own corrupted government have not been enough).

Please spread the word, and urge your representatives to push for more action to be taken to hold the Sudanese government accountable for genocide, and what is a blatant attempt to spread their influence over more territory..

While I am still learning as I research and read differing viewpoints, I know one thing for sure, action must be taken. Talk upon talk only leaves a window of opportunity for the already cowardly and tyrannical to grow bolder and exact more horrors. The ICC must take action.

Uhurunews has another take on the problems in Chad, blaming French imperialism. You can read about it here: Uhurunews.com

Action. Meditation. Word of Mouth. Prayer. Research. These are all things we can do with the little privilege we've been afforded by the actions of our own less than stainless (understatement) government.

We owe solidarity, because we are one.

Thankyou to all of those who participate in this campaign on the 27th of every month.

Crossposted at UltravioletUnderground

The Universal Declaration for Human Rights

Eleanor Roosevelt considered the signing of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights to be her greatest triumph. It was signed by the United Nations on December 10, 1948.

Roosevelt once said, "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."

Universal Declaration for Human Rights

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, therefore, The General Assembly proclaims
This Universal Declaration of Human Rights

as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

I encourage you to review the 30 articles that make up the complete UDHR.

Once we realize that the nations of the world accepted human rights as being inalienable it becomes more difficult for us to sit by idly when we learn about human rights abuses. Our hope is that you will take action!
Please make a note on your calendar to join our blogging campaign, 'Am I Not Human?' on the 27th of each month. We want all concerned bloggers and blog readers to support this effort. It is one way that we can lift up the powerful example set 60 years ago by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and the United Nations.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Darfuri Youths Raised In Camps Form Opposition


"(NY Times) Angry Youths Become a Force in Darfur: The sheik was in a panic. The agitated youth in this West Darfur refugee camp, young men and adolescents who traditionally would have deferred to his authority, had gotten wind of his presence at a ceremony also attended by an official with the Sudanese government, their longtime antagonists.

Terrified that the youths would accuse him of treason, the sheik begged United Nations officials to rush to his aid and vouch that he had not even broached the topic of compromise involving his people’s cause.

The youths are known collectively as the “shabab,” the Arabic word for young men. And they have become a vehemently pro-rebel political force in the camps for the 2.7 million people displaced by years of war between the Arab-dominated Sudanese government and rebels in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Increasingly angry and outspoken about their uncertain fate, the generation that came of age in the camps is challenging the traditional sheiks, upending the age-old authority structure of their tribal society and complicating efforts to achieve peace."

Read More

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bush to meet Darfur activist, bloggers

US President George W. Bush was to mark Human Rights Day by meeting with an activist from Sudan’s troubled Darfur province and speak with bloggers from Belarus, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, and Myanmar, the White House said. [SOURCE]

First, Bush will meet in the Oval Office with doctor and writer Halima Bashir “to get a first hand account of the horrible conflict and suffering taking place in Darfur,” said spokesman Carlton Carroll.

Bashir, the co-author of “Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur,” has spoken out internationally “about the atrocities committed” in Darfur, the spokesman said.

Bush, who hands the reins to successor Barack Obama on January 20, will also talk — in person and by videoconference — with the bloggers “to discuss their use of blogs to push for democratic change and greater freedom,” said Carroll.

Those from Egypt and Venezuela will join in by teleconference, while those from Belarus, China, Cuba, Iran and Myanmar will be in the Roosevelt Room in person, said the spokesman.

The bloggers from China, Cuba, Iran and Myanmar now live in the United States, he said.

Does anyone know who the US-based bloggers are?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The girls of Kenya are fleeing female genital mutilation a.k.a "circumcision"


Though its against the law in Kenya, traditionalists still practice female circumcision to the horror of what has numbered 200 young girls subjected to the torture each day.
Parents, even when in disagreement with the disfiguring and infection-causing 'rite of passage' have faced pressure from traditionalists, to the extent that some of the parents encourage their daughters to run for shelter during the ritual times between November and December, when it is practiced.

Despite the high infant mortality of newborns born to mothers who have had their genitals mutilated, the practice has persisted, as a rite of passage into womanhood. Many girls have dropped out school in January after the practice thinking of themselves as commodities who will be married off, with no further need of school after the process.

But not all the girls are willing to be tortured for tradition. At least 300 girls have fled Western Kenya to avoid having their genitals mutilated, seeking refuge in churches that are guarded with the aid of police. The girls are in the care of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, two churches that have formed an organization to aid young women in their evasion of the illegal rite of FGM.
The organization has expressed praise for the assistance of the police in their efforts to carry out their mission as providers of sanctuary whose purpose coupled with the protection of the police spell hope in a dismal mess where tradition has, at least until now, defied the rights of women and literally, babies anywhere from infancy to age 15, despite the protection the law is meant to provide.

Let's hope the practice of hacking at the genitals of innocent young women, or older women for that matter is put to a stop. The women's body is designed without error, and should be revered as such. The dangers of patriarchy must be put to rest, if the world in its entirety is to ever regain its sanity.

Crossposted at Ultraviolet Underground

Intel: BBC

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Blood Coltan

Blood Coltan is a full documentary that details the reality surrounding the coltan use in our wireless devices, and the Congolese who have paid the price in blood.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

School Violence Correlation with Prescription Drugs

An online reader writes:

We have an inadequate school system within a culture that is lacking and we medicate ourselves with substances that we really don't even understand. Virtually every school shooting has involved people taking these meds.

Eddie G. Griffin (BASG) investigated the data and found an astounding 2,736 cases of people going berserk while taking or withdrawing from psychotropic prescription drugs. There is a frightening correlation between meds and violence. This now tilts the scales of sanity, which begs to ask: How much of our sanity is influenced by prescribed medication?


Monday, December 1, 2008

'Am I Not Human?' Blogging Campaign

Please let us know if you plan to participate in our monthly campaign. We seek bloggers interested in sharing information about human rights violations with their blog readers on the 27th of each month.

All of us need to do something. Protest. Meditate. Pray.

In the case of bloggers ... we want you to blog on the 27th of each month. Just share information on behalf of our human siblings in all suffering areas who are either barred from communication by their governments, or lacking in technology to ask: Am I Not Human?

Will you join us?