Asean Summit, Malaysia on Nov 21, 1015

Asean Summit, Malaysia  on Nov 21, 1015
Asean Establishes Landmark Economic and Security Bloc
"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.) - Text version)

“….. Here is the prediction: China will turn North Korea loose soon. The alliance will dissolve, or become stale. There will be political upheaval in China. Not a coup and not a revolution. Within the inner circles of that which you call Chinese politics, there will be a re-evaluation of goals and monetary policy. Eventually, you will see a break with North Korea, allowing still another dictator to fall and unification to occur with the south. ….”

“ … 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 ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk
North Korean defector and activist Hyeonseo Lee, who lives in South Korea, poses as she presents her book 'The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story' in Beijing on March 26, 2016 (AFP Photo/Fred Dufour)

US under fire in global press freedom report

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cambodia Maids Barred From 'Abusive' Kuwait

Jakarta Globe, June 30, 2011

Related articles

Phnom Penh. Cambodian recruitment agencies have decided not to send maids to Kuwait after complaints by human rights groups of abuse by employers, a recruitment official said on Thursday.

Impoverished Cambodia is one of Asia’s biggest exporters of maids abroad, a valuable source of foreign exchange.

An Bunhak, president of the Association of Cambodian Recruiting Agencies, said Cambodia had not yet sent any maids to Kuwait and the agencies had decided against so doing because of the country’s record of abuse.

“We have received a report from our embassy in Kuwait about abuse of maids and also the report from Human Rights Watch,” An said.

“We would only send there when there is safety,” he said.

“According to studies, the respect for maids has not been good so we will not send them to Kuwait and we are doing studies on another country,” he said, referring to Qatar.

Human Rights Watch says domestic workers in Kuwait who try to escape abusive employers face criminal charges for “absconding” and are unable to change jobs without their employer’s permission.

Indonesia, which has come under fire for its use of the death sentence, has barred its citizens from working in Saudi Arabia after an Indonesian maid was beheaded for murdering her Saudi employer.


Saudi to stop hiring Indonesian, Filipino domestic workers

The Jakarta Post, Thu, 06/30/2011

The Saudi Arabian government has announced plans to stop issuing visas for domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines amid stricter requirements and “unfair” regulatory provisions imposed by the two countries.

“The Ministry of Labor will stop issuing work visas to domestic workers from the Philippine and Indonesia as of Saturday [July 2],” Saudi Ministry of Labor spokesman Hattab Bin Saleh Al-Anzi said Wednesday as quoted by

Al-Anzi said that Saudi recruitment agents would seek to recruit domestic workers, including maids, from countries other than Indonesia and the Philippines.

The ministry’s decision comes after several other “labor exporting countries evinced a keen interest” to send domestic helpers to work for Saudi families, he said, adding that the ban on recruitment would be followed strictly.

Earlier, Indonesia had also imposed a moratorium on the export of labor to Saudi Arabia after an Indonesian migrant worker, Ruyati binti Satubi, was executed by Saudi authorities after she was convicted of murdering her Saudi employer.

The Indonesian government said the moratorium would come into effect on August 1 and remain in place until the Saudi government agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding to protect the rights of Indonesian workers.

Al-Anzi said the Labor Ministry had been working with other countries to meet the shortfall expected from the stoppage of recruitment from Indonesia.

The decision to also suspend recruitment from the Philippine comes after Manila put forward several strict conditions on the recruitment of domestic helpers.

On Wednesday, Albert Q. Valenciano, the labor attaché at the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, said he was saddened and amazed at the outcome.

Valenciano added that the embassy had sent a note verbale to the Saudi Foreign Ministry on June 19 to request a joint follow-up meeting, but had received no response. On April 27, the Kingdom had sent a delegation to the Philippines to negotiate the labor dispute, but talks broke down.

Based on estimates from the Philippine government, there are more than 1.2 million Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia, of which about 15 percent or 180,000 are domestic workers such as maids and drivers.

Meanwhile, more than 1 million Indonesian workers are said to be in Saudi Arabia, most of whom are employed as maids.

Previously, Saudi officials announced plans to employ more domestic workers from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Mali and Kenya.

Related Articles:

5 Reported Detained as Saudi Women Drive

New York Times, by NADA BAKRI, June 29, 2011

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The religious police in Saudi Arabia arrested five women on Tuesday for driving in defiance of a ban on women getting behind the wheel in the conservative kingdom, according to activists and local media reports.

Saudi Women for Driving, an informal coalition of leading Saudi women’s rights activists, bloggers and academics, said in a statement that the women were arrested in Jidda, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city.

“If Saudi police think arresting women drivers is going to stop what has already become the largest women’s rights movement in Saudi history, they are sorely mistaken,” the coalition said in a statement released by, a Web site where members can create and promote online petitions for social change. “On the contrary, these arrests will encourage more women to get behind the wheel in direct defiance of this ridiculous abuse of our most basic human rights.”

The coalition said that the religious police arrested four of the women when they were driving in the Dorat al Arous neighborhood in Jidda, a port city along the Red Sea. The four, ages 21 and 22 and riding in one car, were taken to a police station, where they signed a pledge not to drive again, the group’s report said. A fifth woman was arrested later Tuesday night when driving in the neighborhood of Suleimaniyah.

Eman Al Nafjan, a Saudi blogger and a member in the coalition, said that all the women have been released. “This will not scare us,” she said.

Sabq, a Saudi news Web site, reported one of the women was arrested after residents told the police about an unveiled woman driving a car. The Web site said that the woman was driving with her brother and that they were both taken into custody.

On June 17, a group of Saudi women launched a nationwide right-to-drive campaign, in which 42 women took to the road. They said their campaign was inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia where street protests toppled the authoritarian governments of Hosni Mubarak and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of the United States and European female leaders announced support for the right-to-drive campaign.

The campaign came a month after Manal Al-Sharif, a Saudi mother, was arrested for driving her car in late May.

The arrests Tuesday were the first to be reported in the oil-rich kingdom since the campaign began.

Saudi Arabian law does not forbid women from driving, but a religious fatwa dictates that Saudi women must be driven by male drivers or male family members.

Women in the kingdom live under many restrictions. They must also have written permission from a male guardian — a father, son, husband or brother — to leave the country, work or undergo a medical operation.

Related Article:

Saudi envoy: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) accepts
Saudi Arabian envoy Ambassador Abdulrahman Mohammed Amen Al
Khayyat (left) at the State Palace in Jakarta on Tuesday.
(Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Dutch move to ban slaughter of livestock which hasn't been stunned

The Australian, AP June 29, 2011

The Dutch parliament has passed a bill banning the slaughter of livestock
without stunning it first. (Source: Supplied)

THE Dutch parliament has passed a bill banning the slaughter of livestock without stunning it first, removing an exemption that has allowed Jews and Muslims to butcher animals according to their centuries-old dietary rules.

If enacted and enforced, religious groups say observant Jews and Muslims would have to import meat from abroad, stop eating it altogether, or leave the Netherlands.

However, the bill must still pass the Senate, which is unlikely before the summer recess, and the Cabinet said the law may be unenforceable in its current form due in part to ambiguity introduced in a last-minute amendment.

The move comes after Australia banned the export of live cattle to Indonesia over animal cruelty allegations.

It also follows revelations that livestock in Australia were routinely killed without first being stunned, despite the Gillard government's encouragement of Indonesia to adopt the practice nationally.


If the Netherlands outlaws procedures that make meat kosher for Jews or halal for Muslims, it will be the second country after New Zealand to do so in recent years. It will join Switzerland, the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, whose bans are mostly traceable to pre-World War II anti-Semitism.

"The Cabinet will give its judgment over the proposed law after it has been treated by both houses," said Deputy Secretary of Economic Affairs and Agriculture Henk Blekers.

The Cabinet will "also look at how it fits with freedom of religion," he said, citing the European Convention on Human Rights.

MP Marianne Thieme of the Party for the Animals, the world's first animal rights party to win seats in a national parliament, welcomed the approval of the bill that she had first introduced in 2008, and said she was now prepared to defend it in the Senate.

"It's a great honour," she said. She has argued that sparing animals needless pain and distress outweighs religious groups' rights to follow slaughter practices "no longer of our time."

But the threat of a possible ban has led to outcry from Jewish and Muslim groups who say it infringes on their right to freedom of religion.

Around one million Muslims live in the Netherlands, mostly immigrants from Turkey and Morocco. The once-strong Jewish community now numbers 40,000-50,000 after more that 70 per cent were deported and killed by the Nazis during World War II.

"The Dutch Jewish community is small and the Jewish kosher meat consumption is smaller still, but the impact on our community is deep and large," said a committee of rabbis pleading with parliament not to pass the law in an open letter Tuesday.

"Older Jews are frightened and wonder what the next law will be that limits their religious life. The youth are openly asking whether they still have a future that they can or want to build in the Netherlands."

A solid majority of Dutch voters say they support the ban, and parliament voted for it by a margin of 116 for to 30 against.

Ritual slaughter rules prescribe that animals' throats must be cut swiftly with a razor-sharp knife while they are still conscious, so that they bleed to death quickly.

Support for the ban came from the political left, which sees ritual slaughter as inhumane, and from the anti-immigration right, which sees it as foreign and barbaric.

Only Christian parties were opposed, arguing the ban undermines the country's long tradition of religious tolerance.

Centrist parties were initially divided, with many of them loath to lose support of Muslim voters. Last week they introduced an amendment that says ritual slaughterers may still be granted licences, if they can "prove" that it does not cause animals more pain than stunning.

Animal slaughter methods have been in the spotlight in Australia, where the government recently banned the live cattle trade to Indonesia earlier following concerns about animal rights abuses, including animals being killed without first being stunned.

Related Article:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Suu Kyi delivers prestigious BBC annual lecture

The Jakarta Post, Associated Press, London, Tue, 06/28/2011

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has delivered the BBC's annual Reith Lecture, speaking to an international radio audience via recordings smuggled out of the country.

In Tuesday's lecture the Nobel laureate drew parallels between the uprisings shaking the Arab world and her country's failed revolt against its military rulers.

Suu Kyi says that people in Myanmar, also known as Burma, look to the Arab world with envy. Myanmar's own pro-democracy rising was crushed in 1988.

In a question-and-answer session following the broadcast, Suu Kyi said that Myanmar's democracy movement stalled because it didn't benefit from the information revolution and because, unlike in Egypt or Tunisia, the army opened fire on the people.

Related Article:

SBY receives visit from Saudi Ambassador in RI

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 06/28/2011

Saudi envoy: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) accepts
Saudi Arabian envoy Ambassador Abdulrahman Mohammed Amen Al
Khayyat (left) at the State Palace in Jakarta on Tuesday.
(Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf)

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received a visit by Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia Abdulrahman Mohamed Amen Al-Khayyat at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday.

The agenda of the meeting, which comes amid mounting protests following the execution by beheading of Indonesian maid Ruyati binti Satubi in Saudi Arabia, remained unclear prior to its commencement.

Presidential special staff on international affairs Teuku Faizasyah confirmed the meeting between Yudhoyono and Al-Khayyat.

"Yes, the meeting was scheduled for 3 p.m.," he told The Jakarta Post.

The Saudi Embassy in Jakarta in its press release earlier accused Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa of lying when he said the former had apologized for and regretted the beheading of Ruyati.

Ruyati was executed after being found guilty of killing the wife of her Saudi employer, Khairiya binti Hamid Mijlid.

North Korea soldiers malnourished: report

Google/AFP, 27 June 2011

SYDNEY — North Korea is struggling to feed its army, according to new footage obtained from within the secretive state which shows a soldier complaining his unit is weak from a lack of nutrition.

Relief groups say that impoverished North Korea faces
imminent shortages with people again eating grass and
tree bark (AFP / KCNA via KNS / File)
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said the video was taken by an undercover North Korean journalist over several months earlier this year and smuggled out of the communist country to China.

It shows orphaned children begging for food in the streets and a party official ordering a vendor at a private market to give her a donation of rice for the army -- once quarantined from food shortages.

"Everybody is weak," one young North Korean soldier is filmed saying to the reporter's hidden camera.

"Within my troop of 100 comrades, half of them are malnourished."

The ABC said the exclusive video also showed labourers building a private railway track near the capital Pyongyang for ruler Kim Jong-Il's son and apparent heir Kim Jong-Un.

"This rail line is a present from Kim Jong-Il to comrade Kim Jong-Un," the undercover journalist is told when he asks the building site supervisor what they are doing.

Japanese publisher Jiro Ishimaru, who instructed the undercover reporter on how to use the camera, told the ABC the footage was important because it showed the weakening of Kim Jong-Il's regime.

"It used to put the military first, but now it can't even supply food to its soldiers," Ishimaru, who edits a magazine featuring insider accounts of life in North Korea, told the ABC.

"Rice is being sold in markets but they are starving. This is the most significant thing in this video," he said.

Impoverished North Korea has requested overseas food and relief groups have said that the state faces imminent shortages, saying people are again eating grass and tree bark.

The United Nations has pleaded with international donors to overlook political difficulties in the face of a humanitarian crisis, saying six million people are in danger of not getting enough to eat.

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans died in a famine in the 1990s.

Related Articles:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Beatings instead of wages - domestic helpers in the diplomatic service

Deutsche Welle, 27 June 2011

Seeking a better life - maids from
A Saudi diplomat in Berlin is said to have maltreated his Indonesian domestic helper. A 50-year-old international convention guaranteeing diplomatic immunity means the attache will not face legal consequences.

Dewi Ratnasari left her home in Indonesia in hopes of a better life. Via Saudi Arabia, she travelled to Germany, where she started to work as a domestic helper for the family of a Saudi-Arabian diplomat in Berlin in April 2009.

She did not find a better life. Later, she told authorities that she was forced to hand over her passport, was not allowed to leave the house alone and was prohibited to get in touch with her family. She worked up to 18 hours daily in the diplomat's large household. She slept on the bare floor in one of the children's bedrooms.

Ratnasari - not her real name but a pseudonym - managed to escape in the fall of 2010, and showed up on the doorstep of Ban Ying, a Berlin based, city-funded human rights association founded in 1988 as a shelter and counseling center for migrant women from Southeast Asia. The center deals with up to ten cases a year from among the 249 domestic helpers currently employed by diplomats in Germany.

Ban Ying's Nivedita Prasad told Deutsche Welle that the Indonesian woman is an example of particularly shoddy treatment. The entire family regularly slapped the 30-year-old Indonesian household help, beat her with objects, humiliated her and insulted her. "The worst part is that they never called her by her name, but by the Arabic word for 'shit,'" Prasad said.

Exploitation is not isolated

Nevedita Prasad of Ban Ying, the
Thai term for 'House of Women'
NGOs across Europe are aware of the problem of exploitation of domestic help in diplomatic households. A common complaint is that employees are forced to work long hours without extra pay and that they have signed what amounts to a virtually worthless work contract.

Maltreating and locking up domestic help is regarded as a grave human rights abuse and a breach of the ban on slavery. In many European countries, stressful working conditions and measly pay violate both human rights and national legislation.

But the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations guarantees diplomats and their personnel legal immunity. Diplomats are immune from civil or criminal prosecution and no German civil court is allowed to, for example, require a diplomat to pay lost wages to an employee.

"This immunity blocks the legal process for domestic help in diplomatic households," Heike Raabe of the German Institute for Human Rights said. "It's a gap in the protection of human rights at the expense of women, who usually take on such jobs because of economic hardship."

Under the Vienna Convention, Dewi Ratnasari could have taken her employer to court in Saudi Arabia - in theory. In reality, according to Heike Raabe, that is impossible because of her gender, her family background, a lack of resources and visa limitations. "Without a male escort, women are forbidden to travel to or within Saudi Arabia. They also have to be accompanied by a man in court," she said.

Unrealistic legal claims

Ban Ying contacted the German Foreign Ministry, in the hope that it would negotiate compensation for Dewi Ratnasari, in exchange for a commitment not to go public about the case. But the sum the Saudi embassy offered was "outrageously low," said Nivesita Prasad.

Bertelsmann is up against slavery
and exploitation of foreign domestic
The Institute and other organizations helped to bring the case to trial, hiring labor lawyer Klaus Bertelsmann to take Dewi Ratnasari's case to Berlin's Labor Court. He filed a criminal complaint on the grounds of human trafficking and claimed 70.000 euros ($99,310) in back wages, overtime and compensation for personal suffering. On June 14, the court ruled against the complainant, citing her employer's diplomatic immunity.

Dewi Ratnasari has meanwhile returned to her native Indonesia. Ban Ying organized a fundraiser so she would not have to go home empty-handed, but she officially passed on her wage entitlement to Heide Pfarr, a women's rights activist who continues to act for her as claimant.

Lawyer Bertelsmann said he is appealing the Labor Court's ruling, and is confident of a solution along the lines of a ruling in a similar case earlier this year by France's top administrative court, which said that the state must pick up the tab for the foreign employee's back wages.

It can take up to six months before the next higher German court rules on Dewi Ratnasari's claim, but diplomats will in any case go scot free despite continuing human rights abuses and slavery practices.

But the situation will not be changed unless the 192 signatory states to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations decide to do so.

Author: Ulrike Mast-Kirschning / db
Editor: Michael Lawton
Martin Kuebler

Media must highlight the plight of migrant workers, reporter says

Deutsche Welle, 27 June 2011

Seneviratne says many male migrant
workers seek jobs in construction
Remittances sent back from migrants make up a big share of some national economies – but many of those workers are exploited abroad. Journalist Kalinga Seneviratne says the media must do more to raise awareness.

Kalinga Seneviratne is a Sri-Lankan born journalist and head of research at the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) in Singapore. The center does research in media issues and provides training to journalists and community radio stations in various Asian countries, while promoting certain topics. DW spoke to Seneviratne during Deutsche Welle's Global Media Forum.

Deutsche Welle: I think one of the issues that is very close to your heart is the issue of migrant workers. Why is that a topic you think is so important to be reported about?

Kalinga Seneviratne: Singapore has a lot of migrant workers. They have about 70,000 maids from the Philippines, about 100,000 maids from Indonesia, about 5,000 from Sri Lanka, (and) tens of thousands of workers - male workers - working in the construction industry from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand … mainly from Asian countries.

One of the issues I notice is the issue of recruitment agents. They charge from these workers - male and female both - what is called a placement fee. It is like a loan, because they won't have the money to put it up front. And for about seven to eight months, most of the maids and also construction workers work for no pay, just to pay back this loan. But it is illegal under the laws of both countries - the sending country as well as the receiving country. And these girls take it for granted that they have to pay this amount to work overseas; it has not been questioned.

Then, on the other hand, when the workers come and work in these countries, they work for lower pay than locals … Local companies bring them in, pay them less than half of what a local would be paid, and they make big profits. The companies make big profits. The international media mainly talks about the remittances. When the economic crisis came, everybody was talking about how much less remittances the Philippines were getting from the workers. Now what about these workers who were laid off from the Middle East, especially? They may have debts that they have to pay. Not much has been spoken about that.

Many migrant workers fear
retribution for speaking out
So what the media is more interested in is the economic aspect and the importance of remittances because that's a major economic factor for many of these countries. But you say that the fate of these people - and there's 80 million migrant workers - are not reported enough, is that it?

Yes, and also sometimes you can't really blame the media for it, because the workers are afraid to speak out for many reasons. Some because they feel threatened speaking out, threatened in the sense that they could be sent back. Or the agents will harass their families back home. So it's not easy to get the stories out if you are outside.

So if I understand correctly, one of your aims would be to inform the people in the communities that would be vulnerable about going abroad, what it means to go abroad. I understand that you also want to reach out to the bigger media, because you want to make a bigger impact, is that correct?

In one way, the people who are going out need to know this information. But the people who are employing should also be aware. If the big media is not covering this and showing that getting somebody to work for you for six, eight months without pay is a modern way of slavery, if this is not put into the heads of people who are employing, if it's not in the national agenda, people won't care.

Earlier this week, the UN came out with a new agreement on how to treat domestic workers. (Ed. note: The International Labour Organization, ILO, adopted a convention that is set to improve the conditions of life of domestic workers, millions of whom are migrants.) What do you think of that?

I was reading about it, (and) it looks like a good agreement, but the thing is how to implement it; this is the question. Because it's not (only) an international issue, it's a domestic issue as well. I know in many Asian countries, you have what they call servants … They are not paid well, they are 24/7 jobs, and this addresses all that. But would it be implemented? Because you will also need the legislative changes domestically, and that's where the challenge is.

For example, in Singapore, the overseas workers don't come under the labor law. There's a lot of protection under labor law for local workers, but overseas workers don't come under the labor law, and I think this is the case in many other countries. That's something international pressure could force governments to legislate. But finally, it boils down to a domestic issue – the local parliaments have to legislate for this, and then ensure that it's implemented …

As you say, it's a huge issue. How hopeful are you that, for example, media reports can help change this for the better?

Seneviratne thinks that media exposing
human rights abuses helps improve the
Yes, this is really a big issue. I think the biggest area for this labor migration flow is the Asian region - that is, if you include West Asia, the Gulf States and all that. So it's not an issue between the west and the east, or the north and the south. It's within the south, and this type of slavery is happening within the south. So now, in some countries where the law works - now, Singapore is a good example where corruption is very low and the law works - and when the media has exposed certain things, the government has cracked down on it.

Two years ago, there was a lot of exposure of exploitation of migrant laborers from Bangladesh, and after that reporting, there were lots of raids. And about 45 or something employers were charged and some were jailed for abusing foreign workers (and) abusing the law. In countries where government members themselves are involved in this trade, it's a big issue. That's where sometimes social media can come in, but then even the local media, even the commercial private media may not want to touch it.

There was this recent case that was in the international media: Sri Lankan maids who were tortured, some were killed, Sri Lankan maids in Saudi Arabia. And then there was also a lot of reporting in Sri Lanka. A lot of the private media in Sri Lanka and the government media (did) very emotional, very passionate reporting. And what I heard was the Saudis threatened to stop employing Sri Lankans. And the Sri Lankan government looked at how much remittance they were going to lose, and they have, in fact, basically asked the local media not to report too much on it, rather than taking action to improve the conditions of the laborers in Saudi Arabia.

So with frustrating examples like that, what makes you go on and try to stop it?

I think in a situation like that, you have to go on and on to hope there will be more networks built, and more and more media and NGOs will start talking about it and keep it on the public agenda. You have to keep on talking about this. There are a lot of governments, big business - they all are looking at money, how much profits they make. And if you don't make a noise, they won't care.

Interview: Anke Rasper
Editor: Sarah Steffen

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Israel warns media against boarding Gaza flotilla

Associated Press, by JOSEF FEDERMAN, June 26, 2011

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel on Sunday threatened to ban international journalists for up to a decade from the country if they join a flotilla planning to breach the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The warning reflected Israeli jitters about the international flotilla, which comes just over a year after a similar mission ended in the deaths of nine Turkish activists in clashes with Israeli naval commandos.

Israel is eager to avoid a repeat of last year's raid, which drew heavy international condemnations and ultimately forced Israel to loosen a blockade on Hamas-controlled Gaza. Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas from smuggling weapons into the territory.

It remains unclear when the current flotilla will actually set sail, but organizers have hinted it could be as soon as this week.

In a letter to foreign journalists, the Government Press Office's director, Oren Helman, called the flotilla "a dangerous provocation that is being organized by western and Islamic extremist elements to aid Hamas."

"I would like to make it clear to you and to the media that you represent, that participation in the flotilla is an intentional violation of Israeli law and is liable to lead to participants being denied entry into the State of Israel for 10 years, to the impoundment of their equipment and to additional sanctions," Helman said.

The letter, he added, had been reviewed and approved by Israel's attorney general.

Organizers of the flotilla say the mission is necessary to draw attention to the plight of Gaza's 1.6 million residents. The Israeli blockade has caused heavy damage to Gaza's economy: Unemployment is estimated at close to 50 percent, and the territory still suffers from a shortage of badly needed construction materials.

Israel has long had a strained relationship with the international media. During its invasion of the Gaza Strip 2½ years ago, Israeli-based journalists were prevented from entering the territory, forcing the Supreme Court to order the army to allow reporters in.

Israel imposed a land and naval blockade of Gaza after Hamas, an Iranian-backed group that has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings and other attacks, took control of the coastal strip.

The international uproar over last year's deadly flotilla raid forced Israel to greatly ease the land embargo, but the naval blockade remains intact.

Israel has already said it will block the flotilla this time. Naval officials say they will use different tactics though in hopes of avoiding bloodshed.

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Minister Announces Withdrawal of Migrant Workers from 'Dangerous' Middle East Countries

Jakarta Globe, June 25, 2011

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Minister for manpower and transmigration Muhaimin Iskandar said he considers Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries the most dangerous countries for Indonesian migrant workers (TKI) and promised to withdraw all workers from those regions.

“We will gradually withdraw our domestic workers in those countries because of the level of danger,” Muhaimin said in a public discussion held by news radio station Trijaya FM in Jakarta on Saturday.

Moreover, Muhaimin said that his ministry has tightened the requirements for sending domestic workers to Middle Eastern countries since January.

As a result, he claimed that starting this year Indonesia only sent 12,000 workers to the Middle East each month, far less than last year's 30,000 to 50,000 per month.

The recent execution of Indonesian maid Ruyati binti Sapubi in Mecca last week has sparked anger in Indonesia, with the public accusing the government of not doing enough to protect migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday condemned Ruyati's execution, saying that it “broke the norms and manners of international relations.” He said the government would form a task force to follow up on legal cases involving migrant workers.

“I have already decided to put a moratorium on sending migrant workers to Saudi Arabia until there is agreement on the framework to protect our workers,” President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Friday. “We must create more job opportunities.”