All posts in category human rights
Posted by dakini207 on September 1, 2013
Posted by dakini207 on September 26, 2012
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.” — Elie Wiesel
Posted by dakini207 on September 23, 2012
|My name is Li Qiang and I lead a group called China Labor Watch that investigates and exposes worker exploitation. As a rights lawyer committed to knowing every detail of China’s labor laws — and how they’re ignored and broken — I was shocked when I learned what’s happening in the Chinese factories supplying electronic giant Samsung.
Children as young as 14 years old work 11 hour night shifts, 28 days a month and are denied medical care and even pay.
The exploitation of workers at Samsung’s supplier factories must stop now — and I’m confident that if enough people speak out, the tech giant will be forced to respond just like Apple had to earlier this year.
When 14-year-old Xiaofang (an alias, for her protection) got hurt after she fell down a flight of stairs at the factory, the owners and managers wouldn’t even let her see a doctor. They wouldn’t give her sick leave to recover and docked 6 days of her pay. Then, she was fired without any compensation.
Our investigators heard dozens of similar accounts from employees at the factory — even workers being hit by managers or forced to stand all day as punishment for a mistake. In addition to laboring in dangerous conditions every day, we discovered that children like Xiaofang working in this Chinese factory are paid only 70% of what adults are paid.The factory owners know it, but create fake IDs for the children and exploit them with lower pay and part-time hours so the authorities won’t find out.
A few months ago, I saw the tremendous impact that a petition on Change.org had when it called for Apple to improve conditions in a supplier’s factory. More than 250,000 people signed that petition, started by an Apple customer in Washington, DC. It was also covered by worldwide news media extensively. And in the end, Apple listened. When we found out about the horrific working conditions at Samsung’s supplier factory, I knew we had to start a petition on Change.org right away.
I’m confident we can make a difference in the lives of these workers and in the way Samsung’s products are made. Please click here and sign my petition calling on Samsung to stop labor abuse in factories making its products now.
- Li Qiang
Posted by dakini207 on September 23, 2012
For Afghan Girl, Going To School Is Act Of Bravery
In Afghanistan, girls are required by law to go to school. However, many of them never do.
Death threats, acid attacks and bombings by Taliban militants and other extremists lead many parents who support female education to keep their daughters at home.
Sometimes, it’s the families themselves who stand in the way. School officials in conservative communities say relatives are often more interested in marrying off their daughters or sisters than in helping them get an education.
If it wasn’t a sin to commit suicide, I would. Life has become very bitter.
- Rahmaniya, an 18-year-old Afghan girl whose brother says he will kill her for attending school
But some girls, like 18-year-old Rahmaniya, are fighting back.
The 10th-grader in the southern city of Kandahar province says the moments she savors most in her life are those she spends learning.
Rahmaniya, whose last name is being withheld to protect her, says she didn’t dare go to school until her father passed away five years ago. He had vowed to disown her if she tried to get an education.
These days, the slight girl with big brown eyes dreams of going to college to study journalism.
But she adds that it’s hard to think about the future when her older brother keeps threatening to stab her to death with a knife he carries in his pocket.
“Several times he has beaten me up,” she says. “He tells me, ‘You go ahead and go to school, and I’ll throw acid on you like the Taliban. I’ll go to the Taliban, and they’ll protect me if I do this in this land of infidels where girls go to school.’ “
Driven Into Hiding
Rahmaniya believes her brother’s anger is rooted in jealousy, since he quit school a long time ago.
Her family, like many in Kandahar, is also struggling to make ends meet, and the teen says her brother wants her to marry. In Afghanistan, dowries bring in a lot of cash for the bride’s family.
“But I don’t want to get married, at least not before I finish my studies,” Rahmaniya says.
Her brother’s insistence that she wed is something Rahmaniya says she uses against him.
She explains that when he threatens to blind or maim her, she reminds him that disfiguring her will make it impossible to find a husband.
Still, the threats and beatings have driven Rahmaniya into hiding. She moves every few days from one sympathetic relative’s house to another to avoid being found by her brother.
Societal Taboos, Taliban
Last week, her mother agreed to help plan her daughter’s escape to a women’s shelter in Kabul so she could continue her studies in safety.
The plan fell apart when Rahmaniya’s mother caved in to family pressure that her daughter marry a relative.
The mother says the man will allow Rahmaniya to attend school after they wed. But her daughter believes that’s a lie and refuses to marry the relative.
Saying she feels trapped, Rahmaniya begins to cry.
“If it wasn’t a sin to commit suicide, I would,” she says. “Life has become very bitter.”
Ehsanullah Ehsan, who is director of the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies, where some 800 girls go to school, says Rahmaniya’s case is not unique. He adds that societal taboos are oftentimes as problematic for his students as the Taliban.
“There are many other threats … extremist threats, warlord threats, tribal lord threats, family honor threats, because still there are families in which education is an honor problem. So these women who are coming here, they are brave to come here for an education,” he says.
Ehsan says that bravery has translated into a brighter future for many young women; 300 of his graduates have gotten jobs in Kandahar.
But Rahmaniya says she doesn’t want to stay in Afghanistan.
She says she yearns to go abroad, but that she’s found no one who can help her.
Posted by dakini207 on September 3, 2012
California Lemonade Stand Earns More Than $30,000
One little girl in California has figured out the key to success when it comes to lemonade stands. She recently raised $30,000. For nearly 60 days, 8-year-old Vivienne Harr hawked glasses of the sweet and tart beverage. But she isn’t hoping for a big shopping spree. Harr wants to help stop human trafficking and slavery.
According to SF Weekly, Harr named her store, “Make a Stand! Lemonade: The Sweet Taste of Freedom.” She uses the hashtag #MAKEASTAND! to tweet about her stand and she created a website for her cause, makeastandlemonade.com, which leads to a Fundly donation page. Harr is donating funds received on the page and through her lemonade stand toNot for Sale, a non-profit dedicated to ending human slavery and trafficking. While not all of Harr’s $30,000 have been raised at her stand (most has been donated on the website fundraising page), Harr has committed to sitting at her lemonade stand until $150,000 has been raised. At first she charged $2 per cup, but soon left the price up to her customers. When she decided the lemonade should be free, strangers really began donating. Her father told the Marin Independent Journal, “We’re betting on the goodness of people, and we found that the average price went up $18 when we made it free. We said, ‘Pay what’s in your heart.'”
Harr got the idea when she and her family were on vacation in Sonoma and stumbled upon a book,Slavery, by journalist Lisa Kristine, who photographed enslaved workers around the globe. The family decided they needed to do something. Vivienne suggested putting up a lemonade stand in her neighborhood park. But her parents doubted the likelihood of raising their goal of $150,000. Through social media they have been able to promote her stand and in the process earn tens of thousands of dollars.
The lemonade isn’t too bad either. It’s made from fair trade lemons, agave nectar, fresh mint, and optional raspberries.
How much would you pay for a glass of Vivienne Harr’s lemonade?
Posted by dakini207 on August 25, 2012