Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, May 12, 2006

Riot police beat Egyptian demonstrators as they demand independence for judges

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Kristof praises Ambassador Miller for anti-trafficking efforts

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof today offered high praise to Ambassador John Miller, head of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, for TIP's efforts to end modern day slavery. In the piece, "Bush Takes On Brothels" (premium content - subscription required), Kristof writes:
"...the heaviest lifting has been done by the State Department's tiny office on trafficking — for my money, one of the most effective units in the U.S. government. The office, led by a former Republican congressman, John Miller, is viewed with suspicion by some career diplomats..."

"Yet Mr. Miller and his office wield their spotlight shrewdly. With firm backing from the White House (Mr. Bush made Mr. Miller an ambassador partly to help him in his bureaucratic battles), the office puts out an annual report that shames and bullies foreign governments into taking action against forced labor of all kinds."

"Under pressure from the report, Cambodia prosecuted some traffickers (albeit while protecting brothels owned by government officials) and largely closed down the Svay Pak red-light district, where 10-year-olds used to be openly sold. Ecuador stepped up arrests of pimps and started a national public awareness campaign. Israel trained police to go after traffickers and worked with victims' home countries, like Belarus and Ukraine. And so on, country by country."

LCHR applauds the work of TIP, Sen. Sam Brownback, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and all others who have led the fight against trafficking. Kristof couldn't be more right when he writes that "it's difficult to think of a human rights issue that could be more important than sex trafficking and the other kinds of neo-slavery that engulf millions of people around the world, leaving many of them dead of AIDS by their early 20's."

He adds:

"Just as one of Jimmy Carter's great legacies was putting human rights squarely on the international agenda, Mr. Bush is doing the same for slave labor."

The modern day abolition movement, as Ambassador Miller calls it, continues to grow as more and more members of the human rights community unite to stamp out the horrible practice of human trafficking.

Radio Free Europe: Afghan Legislator Abused by Colleagues

The following news report has been reprinted from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

COLLEAGUES... Malalai Joya, a member of People's Council (Wolesi
Jirga) in the Afghan National Assembly representing the western Farah
Province, was pelted with empty water bottles by other female
representatives while male colleagues made death threats against her
during a legislative session on May 7, AP reported. The melee began
after Joya accused some former Afghan mujahedin of mass murder.
Referring to the resistance groups who first fought against the
Soviet troops and the communist regime in Afghanistan and later
turned their guns on their rivals, Joya said that there were "two
kinds of mujahedin in Afghanistan: One kind fought for independence,
which I respect, but the other kind destroyed the country." A number
of liberal lawmakers circled Joya in order to protect her from their
conservative colleagues. Shukria Barakzai, a female legislator from
Kabul, said the reaction to Joya's comments "creates concern for the
future of parliament." "They may kill me, they may slash by neck.
[But] I will never stop my words against the criminals, against the
drug dealers," Joya was quoted as saying by AP. Joya gained
international attention when she criticized the participation of
mujahedin leaders in the Constitutional Loya Jirga of 2003, and again
when the parliament was inaugurated in December (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," December 18, 2003, and December 20, 2005). AT