Jumat, 20 Januari 2012


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Human Trafficking: For the young Ukrainians, a dream come true quickly turned into a nightmare


For the young Ukrainians, it was a dream come true—the promise of well-paying jobs and free room and board in the United States. Once they arrived, however, it quickly turned into a nightmare. They were forced to endure 16-plus hour workdays, usually with no pay. Their living conditions were wretched, with up to 10 workers in often-unfurnished apartments or row houses. And they faced intimidation, threats of physical harm, or actual violence to keep them in line.Members of the organized criminal enterprise responsible for these workers’ misery were ultimately identified and charged in a conspiracy to operate a human trafficking scheme. But, as we observe National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we’re reminded that there are still thousands of victims in the U.S.—and millions worldwide—being forced into both legal and illegal activities.
Human trafficking generates billions of dollars of profit each year, making it one of the world’s fastest growing criminal activities.The FBI investigates it as a priority under our civil rights program, but we see human trafficking activities in other investigative areas as well, including organized crime, crimes against children, and gangs.
To address the threat, we work cases with our local, state, federal, and international partners and participate in approximately 70 multi-agency human trafficking task forces. We also offer our counterparts—as well as non-governmental organizations, including non-profits—human trafficking awareness training. And to help get a better handle on human trafficking within the U.S., the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program plans to start collecting human trafficking data from law enforcement in 2013.
Many of our human trafficking cases are based on information from our partners and from criminal sources, but we also can and do receive tips from the public.
That’s where you come in. Please keep your eyes out for the following indicators that suggest the possibility of human trafficking:

  • Individuals who have no contact with friends or family and no access to identification documents, bank accounts, or cash;
  • Workplaces where psychological manipulation and control are used;
  • Homes or apartments with inhumane living conditions;
  • People whose communications and movements are always monitored or who have moved or rotated through multiple locations in a short amount of time;
  • Places where locks and fences are positioned to confine occupants; and
  • Workers who have excessively long and unusual hours, are unpaid or paid very little, are unable take breaks or days off and have unusual work restrictions, and/or have unexplained work injuries or signs of untreated illness or disease.

Bear in mind: human trafficking victims can be found in many job locations and industries—including factories, restaurants, elder care facilities, hotels, housekeeping, child-rearing, agriculture, construction and landscaping, food processing, meat-packing, cleaning services…as well as the commercial sex industry.
And here’s one more thing to consider: while the majority of human trafficking victims in our investigations are from other countries and may speak little or no English, approximately 33 percent of victims are Americans. They come from a variety of groups that are vulnerable to coercive tactics—like minors, certain immigrant populations, the homeless, substance abusers, the mentally challenged and/or minimally educated, and those who come from cultures that historically distrust law enforcement or who have little or no experience with the legal system.
If you suspect human trafficking activities, do us and the victims a big favor: call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888 or contact the FBI through our Tips webpage.
Human Trafficking Myths
Be aware of these enduring myths about human trafficking:

Myth: Trafficking must involve the crossing of borders.Fact: Despite the use of the word “trafficking,” victims can actually be held within their own country—anti-trafficking laws don’t require that victims must have traveled from somewhere else.

Myth: U.S. citizens can’t be trafficked.Fact: They can and they are.

Myth: Victims know what they are getting into or have chances to escape.Fact: They’re actually duped into it and may not even think of escaping because of threats against them or ignorance of the law.

Myth: Victims are never paid.
Fact: Sometimes they are paid, but not very much.

Myth: Victims never have freedom of movement.
Fact: Some victims can move about, but are coerced into always returning, perhaps with a threat against their families back home.

One last note: human trafficking is often confused with alien smuggling, which includes those who consent to smuggling to get across a border illegally.

JORDAN: Drop Charges for "Undermining Royal Dignity" in Yordan

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jordan: Drop Charges for ‘Undermining Royal Dignity’

Source: Human Rights Watch
(Beirut) – Jordan’s military prosecutor should drop charges of “undermining his majesty’s dignity” against a youth who burned the king’s image on January 11, 2012, Human Rights Watch said today. Although prosecutions for general criminal damage of other people's property may be permissible, criminalizing insults against a head of state is not compatible with international human rights standards protecting the right to freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said.

‘Uday Abu ‘Isa, an 18-year-old activist from Madaba, 40 kilometers south of Amman, and a member of the Youth Movement for Reform, ignited a large banner showing King Abdullah II that was hanging on the municipal building in Madaba, witnesses told Human Rights Watch. Such images adorn nearly every official building and office in Jordan. Security forces immediately arrested Abu ‘Isa, who is already on trial on similar charges for shouting slogans in December. The prosecutor also charged him with burning property.

“Burning a royal’s image as a political statement should not be criminally prosecuted,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch. “To prosecute this act would send a chilling message that criticizing the king is off limits.”

Abu ‘Isa’s father and fellow activists said on January 12 that they did not know his whereabouts, but media reports later that day said the military prosecutor at the State Security Court had charged Abu ‘Isa with “undermining his majesty’s dignity.” The charge is among several acts of lèse majesté, or insulting the king, for which article 195 of Jordan’s penal code imposes sentences of between one and three years in prison.

The prosecutor also charged Abu ‘Isa with setting property on fire, a person who spoke with Abu ’Isa told Human Rights Watch. The crime is punishable, under penal code articles 368 to 375, with hard labor.

While destroying public or other people's property may be legitimately prosecuted, officials should not treat the act of burning the banner as tantamount to criminally offensive speech merely because it had the king’s image printed on it, Human Rights Watch said.

In early December 2011, the State Security Court, a special court dominated by judges and prosecutors appointed by Jordan’s armed forces, whose head is the king, detained and charged Abu ‘Isa for lèse majesté after he shouted slogans deemed insulting to the king during a protest in Madaba in solidarity with a fellow youth activist, Abdullah Mahadin. Mahadin had been arrested following an earlier protest in Amman. The trials against Mahadin, in civilian court, and against Abu ‘Issa for the December charges, at the State Security Court, are currently in progress.

Human Rights Watch has documented several cases of prosecutions for lèse majesté against people who expressed opinions deemed insulting to the king at a barber’s shop, during parliamentary campaigning, to a colleague, and for poetry published on Facebook, and other internet sites.
Abu ‘Isa’s father told Human Rights Watch that the earlier arrest had greatly upset Abu ‘Isa because he missed school examinations as a result. When Ahmad Matarna, a former employee of the Greater Amman Municipality, set himself on fire in downtown Amman on January 9 to protest his family’s poor living conditions, Abu ‘Isa’ was deeply affected, fellow activists said.

Abu ‘Isa’s father visited his son in Muwaqqar 1 prison on January 13 and 17, and told Human Rights Watch that he saw marks on his body Abu ‘Isa said were the result of a beating by police at Madaba’s Public Security Directorate on January 11. A representative from the National Center for Human Rights also visited Abu ‘Isa in prison. It was not yet clear whether Abu ‘Issa had filed a complaint for ill-treatment or whether judicial authorities had opened an investigation into the matter.

In early August the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which issues authoritative guidance on interpreting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, issued a new General Comment on the covenant’s article 19. “The mere fact that forms of expression are considered to be insulting to a public figure is not sufficient to justify the imposition of penalties,” the committee wrote. The committee found that, “[I]n any case, the application of the criminal law should only be countenanced in the most serious of cases [of dangerous speech] and imprisonment is never an appropriate penalty.”

In September, Abdullah signed into law constitutional changes that restricted the State Security Court’s jurisdiction over civilians to four types of offenses – high treason, espionage, terrorism, and drug trafficking – but allowed three years before these changes go into force. Members of parliament had voted down proposals to abolish all jurisdiction over civilians by the State Security Court. Human Rights Watch opposes all jurisdiction over civilians by State Security Courts on the grounds that exceptional courts have tended to infringe on fair trial rights of the accused in deference to state security interests.

“Jordan should get rid of criminal offenses that restrict free expression, such as article 195,” Wilcke said. “No fear of state sanctions should overshadow peaceful expression through symbolic acts or speech.”
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Minggu, 15 Januari 2012


Indonesian Islamists wreak havoc screaming for a Sharia state

Posted by  on Jan 14th, 2012 and filed under Politics & Foreign. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
JAKARTA — Hundreds of protestors attacked the offices of Indonesian Home Ministry in Jakarta on Thursday, pressing the government to ban alcohol countrywide and to turn the country into an Islamic state.
Indonesian Islamists stormed the Home Ministry complex in Jakarta and wreaked havoc inside
Indonesia is a secular state with no official religion. It is the most populous Muslim nation in terms of population, and most of its citizens are moderates. Radical Muslim groups however, have in recent years formed syndicates to raid bars, nightclubs and the office of Indonesia’s Playboy magazine.
Around 500 angry protesters, including members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Islamic People’s Forum (FUI), stormed government office complex in Jakarta to protest a proposal to revoke anti-alcohol rules, damaging a security post, car park and glass panels before threatening to conduct sweeps on bars and beat up customers, Indonesian news agency Kompas reported on Thursday.
Indonesia has bylaws that regulate the sale of alcohol in the country. Under the regulations, alcohol is classified into three categories: A (with an alcohol content of 5% or less), B (above 5% to 20%) and C (above 20% to 55%). The sale of alcohol classified as B and C is limited only to places such as hotels and restaurants, while alcohol classified as A, such as beer, is being sold anywhere.
The new proposal to cancel the bylaw will allow sales of Class B and C alcoholic drinks elsewhere.
Indonesian radical group FPI, Osama bin what.
Protesters outside the interior ministry in the city’s main square wore white robes with the word “mujahideen” emblazoned on their shirts. “President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono must issue a decree to ban alcohol and to cut alcohol distribution in Indonesia to zero percent,” said FPI field coordinator Awit Mashuri.
“We will defend anti-alcohol bylaws and we will fight anything that is against the interests of Islam in Indonesia to make it a pure Islamic state,” Zulfi Syukur told the cheering crowd, many of whom pumped their fists in the air and shouted “jihad”, or holy war.
Indonesia Home Ministry complex – aftermath
FPI wants to transform Indonesia into an Islamic state with Sharia as its legislature. The group has launched a series of violent vigilante attacks since 2000, with targets including the US embassy and nightclubs.
The Indonesia Home Ministry responded angrily to the attack, Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi said the ministry would “evaluate” both the the FPI and the FUI. “If necessary, we will freeze them,” he said. The Constitution may respect the right of these groups to exist, he said, but they need to obey the law. “We have decided to take two courses of action,” Gamawan said.
However, it is questionable whether any action will really be taken against the FPI. The Muslim organization is believed to have the backing of both the National Police and the military. The group’s growing aggressiveness is worrisome to human rights groups, who say that the Islamist organization is nothing more than a collection of nearly uncontrollable thugs.
Critics say President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s attitude was reflected in the Oct. 7, 2010 appointment of Timur Pradopo, who has strong ties to FPI, as national police chief. Based on a Wikileaks report in the leaked US diplomatic cables, it was claimed the FPI receives funding from the police.
The FPI has often resorted to violence, ransacking bars, threatening pork sellers and attacking peaceful demonstrations. It has also tried to prevent Christian churches from being built in communities near Jakarta.
Indonesia’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but the country has struggled to deal with a radical fringe of extremists who have carried out numerous attacks including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.
Transforming Indonesia into an Islamic state however, may prove challenging. Since its inception in 1945, Indonesia has been guided by a nationalist philosophical construct known as the Pancasila rather than a state religion. Any establishment of Shariah-inspired state may risk the secession of almost the entire Eastern Indonesia, most of them Christian-majority, and the famed island of Bali, which is 92% Hindu. Ethnic and religious tensions had resulted in the separation of East Timor into an independent country in 1999, and Indonesia currently has active secessionist movements in both Christian Maluku and West Papua.