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First Published: September 24: 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Support ILO Protocol P029 to End Forced Labour 50forfreedom

 

 

 

 

Liberty Amnesty International

“Although statistics about these crimes are difficult to compile, experts estimate that nearly 21 million people are enslaved in our world today. We have a responsibility to them, and to all those at risk, to end this outrage.” Ban Ki-moon: United Nations Secretary General: December 2, 2015.

This is what we are asked and led to believe that this is the pinnacle of what we could build and that this is what 'civilisation' is. And in this 'civilisation' that we have built where 21 million humans are wasting away, enslaved; let alone what other endless number of ills that humanity is suffering! Look at the face of this 'Civilisation'! This is a bonded child labourer in Pakistan: Image: ILO:M.Crozet: just one tiny helpless face of those 21 millions, a great many of these millions are like this face, children and they just don't live in one place of the world, they are spread across the globe. Readmore

Bonded child labourer, Pakistan. Image: ILO:M.Crozet    Posted on: December 03, 2015

UNESCO Deplores the Destruction of Al Nuree Mosque and Minaret in Iraqi City of Mosul

 

 

|| June 23: 2017 || ά. The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation:UNESCO deplored the destruction of historic religious architecture in Iraq's Mosul city by Da'esh fighters. “The Al Hadba Minaret and Al Nuree Mosque in Mosul were among the most iconic sites in the city, and stood as a symbol of identity, resilience and belonging.” said Ms Irina Bokova.

“When Da'esh targeted the mosque and minaret a few months ago, the people of Mosul formed a human chain to protect the site, proving once again that the protection of heritage cannot be delinked from the protection of human lives.” she added. Located in the Old City area of western Mosul, the Great Mosque of Al Nuree was considered one of the main historical mosques in Iraq. It was originally built by Nureddine Zangi in 1172AD, during the Abbasid Caliphate.

It underwent several renovations and restorations throughout the years. Its outstanding iconic feature was the leaning minaret known as Al-Hadba, the hunchback, which had retained its authentic architectural and structural features for hundreds of years.

“This new destruction deepens the wounds of a society already affected by an unprecedented humanitarian tragedy, with three million internally displaced persons and 06.2 million in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. This calls for immediate and strengthened international mobilisation.” she said.

Since the Iraqi Government's launch of an offensive to oust Daesh from Mosul in October 2016, around 750,000 to 800,000 people have been displaced from the city. Many are trapped or being used as human shields.

“Despite all odds, the spirit of resilience embodied by Al Hadba must prevail and UNESCO will continue to stand by the people of Iraq to regain their heritage and fight back against all forms of extremism and violence through culture, education and human rights.” Ms. Bokova declared.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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We are The Eleventh: Where are You, World: Hurry and Sign Up: Finland Ratifies ILO Protocol P029 to End Forced Labour

Terhi Hakala, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Finland to the International Organisation in Geneva and Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General.
Image: International Labour Organisation:Marcel Crozet

|| February 01: 2017 || ά. Finland has given a clear sign of its commitment to combat forced labour by becoming the eleventh country to ratify the 2014 Forced Labour Protocol, on January 27.  It is the fifth European country to ratify the Protocol, after France, Estonia, Norway and the United Kingdom. On receiving the instrument of ratification at the headquarters of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder said, “Finland has signalled its determination to join the global drive to end this scourge once and for all.”

Finland’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Terhi Hakala, described forced labour as, 'a severe violation of the human rights of workers'. “It is urgent to strengthen the ILO work as well as the commitment of its constituents to prevent forced labour, to protect the victims and to provide access to remedy for them.” she added. Ambassador Hakala also underlined the importance of the Forced Labour Protocol in fighting forced labour, which affects nearly 21 million people worldwide. “The Forced Labour Protocol supports action to protect the most vulnerable victims of modern slavery worldwide.

The Protocol requires governments to take measures to better protect workers, in particular migrant workers, from fraudulent and abusive recruitment practices. It also stresses the role of employers and workers in the fight against forced labour. Finland is committed to global co-operation and national action in this respect.“

Finland was among the first countries to ratify the Forced Labour Convention, 1930:No. 29, in 1936, and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957:No. 105, in 1960. It has developed a strong legal and institutional framework to combat trafficking in persons, which has been a criminal offence in Finland since 2004. A first National Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings was adopted in 2005. More recently, a National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings was appointed.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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UNESCO Sends Mission to Assess Extent of Damage at Nimrud Archaeological Site in Iraq

A statue of a lamassu, an Assyrian protective deity, at the North West Palace of Ashurnasirpal in
Nimrud, Iraq. Image: UNESCO
 

|| December 15: 2016 || ά. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation:UNESCO is conducting an inspection of the Nimrud archaeological site in Iraq to assess the overall state of conservation of the site, in particular, the extent of damage resulting from the deliberate destruction by Daesh terrorists over the past two years. “In Nimrud, large-scale, systematic and deliberate destruction of the site's archaeological remains have occurred over the past years.'' said Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, in a news release.

“UNESCO reiterates its full determination to work with the Iraqi authorities to ensure the safeguarding of what remains and lay the foundation for a progressive recovery of the site.” she added, stressing that this is important for the people of Iraq, for the security and stability of the region, and for the history of humanity. The assessment mission, which started yesterday, led by the UNESCO office in Iraq, also aims to identify emergency safeguarding measures that could be taken in order to prevent any further loss at the site in Nineveh Governorate. Layla Salih from the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage of Iraq, and Seedo Takani from the Provincial Council of Nineveh also participated in the assessment.

According to the news release, at the ziggurat, built structures and carved reliefs have sustained considerable damage as a result of explosions and bulldozing, emergency measures will entail the immediate physical protection of the site in order to allow for detailed documentation and preventing potential looting of remaining fragments.

Actions for the safeguarding and longer-term recovery of the site will be presented by UNESCO and discussed with key national and international stakeholders at an International Co-ordination Meeting on the Cultural Heritage in the Liberated Areas of Iraq to be held at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, on February23-24, 2017.

Nimrud, also known as Kalhu, is one of the main archaeological sites of the Assyrian period in Iraq. Established during the 13th century BC, the city was built by the Assyrian King Shalmaneser I, 1274-1245 BC, and later became the second capital of the Assyrian Empire under King Ashurnasirpal II, 883-859 BC.

Archaeological excavations started in 1845 and have revealed the remains of palaces, fortifications, a ziggurat, the temples of Nabu and Ishtar, as well as several royal tombs. Distinctive Assyrian artistic and architectural remains include large statues, panels and reliefs that adorned the Palace of Ashurnasirpal, recounting his military campaigns and his achievements, and providing further understanding about ancient Mesopotamia.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery: It All Must End: Forced Labour, Bonded Labour, Child Labour, Slavery of All Kinds

 

|| December 02: 2016 || ά. Noting that the number of children engaged in the worst forms of child labour has decreased and frameworks to tackle contemporary slavery and trafficking have expanded, senior United Nations officials, including the Secretary-General and the head of the UN labour agency, today called for concerted action to save those who remain trapped in extreme exploitation, abuse and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence.

“Those suffering multiple forms of discrimination, including women, children, indigenous peoples, minorities, people of African descent, and persons with disabilities, all too often face extreme vulnerability to exploitation and abuse.” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. Further noting that the 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals:SDGs call for immediate steps to eradicate forced labour, human trafficking and the worst forms of child labour; and to end all forms of child labour, by 2025.

The UN-Head added: “Achieving this goal is not only a matter of prohibiting slavery in law throughout the world but also fighting its root causes, expanding access to justice for victims and increasing provisions for rehabilitation.” Mr. Ban also urged increased contributions to the UN Voluntary Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery that supports thousands of victims and their families, who have been deprived of their human rights and dignity.

Similarly, in a separate message, Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation:ILO, highlighted that experience had shown that ending slavery and forced labour required a balanced and integrated approach. According to the ILO, there are some 21 million people, including children, trapped in forced labour around the world, generating $150 billion in illicit profits for those who exploit them. “Forced labour takes many forms, including commercial sexual exploitation, debt bondage or traditional slavery, and is present in many sectors, such as agriculture, construction, domestic work or fishing.” Mr. Ryder said.

He, however, said that he was encouraged by growing global attention on slavery and stressed that that this brought to light not only the circumstances in which people are trapped, but also that regional and national frameworks need to be strengthened in order to fight this scourge. The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, commemorated on December 02, marks the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.

This year’s observance also coincides with the 90th anniversary of the signing of the 1926 Slavery Convention, and the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery. Also, ILO’s Forced Labour Protocol, adopted in 2014, entered into force this November. The Protocol has strong provisions on remedies and compensation, making it less profitable to those who may result to the use of forced labour.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Argentina Ratifies ILO Protocol P029 to End Forced Labour

José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs: ILO Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Gerardo Martínez: Workers representative, Argentina and ILO GB Regular Member, Workers, Ernesto G. Leguizamón: Head of Cabinet, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, Argentina, Guy Ryder: ILO Director-General, Marcelo Cima: Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Argentina to the International Organisations in Geneva

|| November 22: 2016 || ά. Argentina has strengthened its commitment to ending modern slavery by becoming the 9th country to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol. The ratification occurred on November 09, the same day the Protocol entered into force. The Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, Guy Ryder, said that he welcomed this ratification, which was further testimony to Argentina’s ongoing commitment to promoting and implementing fundamental rights at work.

Depositing the ratification instrument, Mr. Ernesto Legizamón, Head of Cabinet at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security of Argentina, said: “Argentina has a long-standing commitment to combating forced labour, having played an active role in the adoption of Convention No. 29 and in the development of best practices for banishing this abhorrent form of exploitation. The ratification of the Protocol of 2014 to Convention No. 29 reaffirms this commitment towards a fairer and more inclusive world.”

Argentina has steadily strengthened its legislative and institutional framework to combat all forms of forced labour. In 2012, it adopted the law on the prevention and punishment of trafficking in persons and assistance to victims and in 2013, the Executive Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Exploitation and to Protect and Assist Victims was set up. Also of importance is the work done by the Prosecutor office of Trafficking in Persons and Exploitation:PROTEX in order to combat impunity of perpetrators.

Aligning with Target 08.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals, governments and social partners have welcomed Argentina’s proposal to broaden the scope of the next Global Conference on Child Labour to include forced labour. The conference will be hosted by the Argentinian Government and will take place in November 2017 in Buenos Aires.

In Target 08.7, leaders committed to 'take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst form of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms'. Alliance 08.7, the global partnership to achieve Target 08.7, was launched earlier this year.

The Forced Labour Protocol is a legally-binding treaty that requires governments to adopt new measures designed to prevent forced labour, protect its victims and guarantee them access to justice and compensation.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The World is Closer to Ending Modern Slavery as UN-Backed Protocol on Forced Labour Comes Into Force

Bonded child labourer, Pakistan. Image: ILO:M.Crozet  

|| November 10: 2016 || ά. An international protocol on forced labour has entered into force, a major milestone in the fight to end the practice, which the United Nations labour agency estimates victimises 21 million people worldwide. The International Labour Organisation Forced Labour Protocol “requires countries to take effective measures to prevent and eliminate forced labour, and to protect and provide access to justice for victims” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in a joint statement with the heads of the International Organisation of Employers:IOE and the International Trade Union Confederation:ITUC.

A good day but the fact remains that only nine countries of the world have ratified the Protocol. Where are the other World Countries? Does this issue not concern the rest the world? Does this issue not stir people across the globe to demand that all countries of the world ratify this Protocol as soon as they could for this evil that devastates the lives of millions of human beings cannot end soon enough! Please, do all you can in your country to demand that your country ratify this Protocol as soon as possible. The number nine, of the countries that ratified the Protocol, should kick us all to action. Yet, we celebrate this fact that, even if nine, theses nine nations of humanity, these nine countries of the world, have lit up a candle of hope, that will carry on calling, inviting, encouraging and inspiring others to join their flickers of light and make this lamp of hope grow bigger and larger illumining wider and more lives.

According to a news release from ILO, the Protocol, adopted by the International Labour Conference in 2014, entered into force yesterday, a year after it gained its second ratification. It means that all countries that have ratified, Niger, Norway, United Kingdom, Mauritania, Mali, France, Czech Republic, Panama and Argentina, now have to meet the obligations outlined in the Protocol. Argentina signified their commitment to ending modern slavery by becoming the ninth country to ratify the Protocol. Argentina will also host the upcoming IV Global Conference on child labour and forced labour in November 2017 in Buenos Aires.

An estimated 21 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour. They include farm workers, migrants, domestic workers, seafarers, women and girls forced into prostitution and others who are also abused, exploited and paid little or nothing. The ILO estimates that forced labour generates $150 billion in illegal profits every year.

“We all have a role to play, and if we join forces, the end of forced labour is within reach.” said IOE Secretary-General, Linda Kromjong. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation stressed the legally binding nature of the Protocol. “That means the more governments that ratify and ensure it is implemented, the closer we’ll be to eliminating slavery once and for all.” she said.

The ILO, together with the ITUC and IOE, is leading the 50 for Freedom campaign with the aim of raising awareness about the issue and encouraging at least 50 countries to ratify the Protocol by 2018.
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ILO Protocol P029 to End Forced Labour: Panama Ratifies the Protocol to Become the 8th Country to Do So

 

|| November 06: 2016 || ά. We’re happy to share the news that Panama has become the first country in the Americas to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol. As the eighth country to ratify the Protocol, Panama follows the footsteps of the Czech Republic, France, Mali, Mauritania, United Kingdom, Norway and Niger.

The ratification occurred one year after the visit of President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, to the International Labour Conference, when he signed the 50 for Freedom panel to show his support for the ILO campaign to promote ratification and raise awareness about modern slavery. "This ratification is a reaffirmation of the vision of Panama to not tolerate forced labour and child labour.

The signing has been brought about thanks to two key players, the Ministry of Labour, under the leadership of the Minister Luis Ernesto Carles, with support at State level from President Juan Carlos Varela. "said Rorix Javier Nuñez, Head of the Office of International Technical Co-operation. "We were surprised to be the first country in Latin America to ratify. It is important that the Protocol has the support of all ILO member States." he added.

Please, do all you can to seek to promote the message in your country so that it ratifies the Protocol.
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ILO Protocol P029 to End Forced Labour: Czech Republic Ratifies the Protocol to Become the 7th Country to Do So


 

|| September 08: 2016 || ά. A little good news. The Czech Republic has ratified ILO Protocol P029 to End Forced Labour to become the 7th Country to do so.

As the seventh country to ratify the Protocol, the Czech Republic joins Niger, Norway, United Kingdom, Mauritania, Mali and France in committing to ending modern slavery and ensuring decent work for all.

“Nearly 21 million people worldwide are trapped in forced labour. We are delighted that the Czech Republic has signalled its determination to join the global drive to end this scourge once and for all,” said Beate Andrees, Chief of the International Labour Organisation’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch, which implements programmes to combat forced labour.

The Campaign 50forFreedom says: ''We are excited by this progress but the campaign still has some way to go. We’ve set a target for 50 countries to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol by the end of 2018. Help us achieve this by encouraging your friends, colleagues and network to sign up to show their support.''
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All of Humanity is Part of This Story: UNESCO on the Day to Remember Slavery and Its Abolition

 

 

|| August 23: 2016 || ά. The courage of the men and women who in August 1791 revolted against slavery in Haiti “has created obligations for us,” the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation:UNESCO said on the day set aside for remembrance of that rebellion, noting that “all of humanity is part of this story” and efforts to teach the history of the slave trade will help build a better world.

“The uprising was a turning point in human history, greatly impacting the establishment of universal human rights, for which we are all indebted,” said Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General in her message for the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, marked annually on August 23 to commemorate the night in 1791 when people who had been torn from Africa and sold into slavery revolted against the slave system to obtain freedom and independence for Haiti, gained in 1804.

She said that UNESCO is marking the Day of Remembrance to pay tribute to all those who fought for freedom, and, in their name, to continue teaching about their story and the values therein. “The history of the slave trade and slavery created a storm of rage, cruelty and bitterness that has not yet abated,” said the Director- General, “but the courage of these men and women has created obligations for us.”

She acknowledged that the success of this rebellion, led by the slaves themselves, is a deep source of inspiration today for the fight against all forms of servitude, racism, prejudice, racial discrimination and social injustice that are a legacy of slavery. “All of humanity is part of this story, in its transgressions and good deeds,” Ms. Bokova noted.

Through its project The Slave Route, UNESCO intends to find in this collective memory the strength to build a better world and to show the historical and moral connections that unite different peoples.

In this same frame of mind, the UN proclaimed the International Decade for People of African Descent:2015-2024. UNESCO is contributing to it through its educational, cultural and scientific programmes so as to promote the contribution of people of African descent to building modern societies and ensuring dignity and equality for all human beings, without distinction.
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France Ratifies the ILO Protocol P029 to End Forced Labour

Image: ILO

|| July 25: 2016 || ά. France has become the latest country to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol, the third European country to do so; making the number of ratifying countries to six. It comes a year after President François Hollande signed the 50 for Freedom signature panel and pledged to ratify the protocol during his attendance at the 2015 International Labour Conference in Geneva.

“It is a great honour and an immense pleasure for me today to deposit the instrument of ratification of the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930. The commitment to this ratification was made in this very place by the President of the Republic one year ago,” said Ms Myriam El Khomri, French Minister for Labour, Employment, Vocational Training and Social Dialogue.

“As the sixth State to ratify the Protocol, just two years after its adoption by the ILO, France is demonstrating its desire to be in the front line of the fight to eradicate forced labour, particularly in its most modern forms. We cannot remain mere spectators when faced with these practices which were thought to be a thing of the past but actually affect over 20 million people across the world.”

The ratification occurred just one year after the visit of President François Hollande to the International Labour Conference, when the French Head of State personally signed the 50 for Freedom signature panel. ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said: “I welcome this ratification, which is further testimony to France’s ongoing commitment to promoting and implementing fundamental rights at work. This commitment is also visible in the support that France has been providing since 2000 for the Programme supporting the implementation of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work:PAMODEC.”

“At the national level, France has constantly reinforced its legislative and institutional apparatus to combat all forms of forced labour. In 2013, France adopted a National Plan for combating trafficking in persons and amended the Penal Code with the adoption of provisions to criminalize, in addition to forced labour and trafficking in persons, the enslavement of persons and the subjection of vulnerable persons to working conditions that are an affront to human dignity.”
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Our Hearts Have Gone Dark: South Sudan War and Mental Health:  Amnesty International


|| July 07: 2016: Amnesty International News || ά.  People forced to eat human flesh and to disembowel dead bodies during South Sudan’s civil war that began in 2013 are among thousands suffering from trauma and psychological distress amid a chronic shortage of mental healthcare services in the country, Amnesty International said today as the country marks its fifth anniversary.

In a new report, “Our hearts have gone dark”: The mental health impact of South Sudan’s conflict, Amnesty International documents the psychological impact of mass killings, rape, torture, abductions and even a case of forced cannibalism, on the survivors and witnesses of these crimes. “While the death and physical destruction caused by the conflict and preceding decades of war are immediately apparent, the psychological scars are less visible and neglected,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

Based on interviews with 161 victims of and witnesses to human rights violations, as well as mental health professionals, government and UN officials, and representatives of non-governmental organisations, the report reveals a dire lack of mental health services across the country for people in need of support and care.

This almost total absence of services is resulting in mental health conditions such as Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) going untreated. There are currently only two practicing psychiatrists in the entire country of 11 million people and mental health patients are routinely housed in prisons instead of receiving the care and treatment they desperately need.

Many of the people interviewed described a range of symptoms consistent with PTSD and Depression, including nightmares, irritability and the inability to concentrate. Malith, a survivor of one of the war’s worst incidents in December 2013 when government security agents shot dead about 300 men in Gudele, a neighbourhood of the capital city Juba, told Amnesty International: “Sometimes I dream that I died with those who were killed. I wake up sweating and trembling … I think about how I survived. Why did these others die? It makes me feel bad.”

Another survivor of the Gudele massacre, Phillip, described how he hid under a pile of bodies during the massacre. When he was discovered by soldiers, they forced him to drink the blood and eat the flesh of the dead or be killed. He said: “At night when I sleep, those who were killed come back in my nightmares.” He added, “I can’t eat, I don’t want anything I am offered. I don’t think the way I am feeling will ever change.”

The government has consistently detained its perceived opponents since the conflict began. Detainees have spoken of killings, beatings, insufficient food and water among other horrors, leading to prolonged psychological distress. Lual told Amnesty International he was forced by National Security Service:NSS: officers to disembowel the bodies of his murdered fellow detainees at a facility in Juba, so that they would not float when dumped in the river.

He told Amnesty International: “I feel hopeless … I feel depressed, I am never happy … I think about committing suicide … All of this makes me feel bad, and I hate myself.” Doing more to address mental health needs is not only essential for individuals’ wellbeing, it is also critical for South Sudanese to effectively rebuild their communities and country

In Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, which has the largest Protection of Civilians:PoC: sites in the country, women venturing out of the site for food, fuel or medicine have experienced sexual violence leading to significant psychological distress. Nyawal said she and her friend were raped twice in one day by two sets of government soldiers in Bentiu when venturing off-site in 2015.

She said: “I am very angry about what happened … It has changed my life. I am nothing. I have nothing good … I am ashamed.” The vast majority of those interviewed said they had not received any psychological support or mental care.

“The government, supported by the international community, must honour its international legal commitments to respect, protect and fulfil the right to health, including mental health. It must also prevent and impartially investigate and prosecute acts such as torture that continue to cause psychological harm to many,” said Muthoni Wanyeki.

“Doing more to address mental health needs is not only essential for individuals’ wellbeing, it is also critical for South Sudanese to effectively rebuild their communities and country.”
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On International Day, Ban Ki-moon Urges End to 'Dehumanising' Practice for Victims of Torture

Singers wearing hats advocating “No Torture” line up before performing at a Human Rights Day
event outside of Mogadishu Central Prison in Somalia on December 10, 2013. Image: UN Photo:Tobin Jones
 

|| June 27: 2016 || ά. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed support for and solidarity with the victims of torture and their families throughout the world, and underscored that torture must never be used under any circumstances, including during conflict or when national security is under threat. “Despite its absolute prohibition under international law, this dehumanising practice remains pervasive and, most disturbingly, is even gaining acceptance,” Mr. Ban said in his message on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

He recalled that the Convention Against Torture, ratified by 159 UN State Parties to date, obligates States to prevent torture and ensure that a victim of torture under their jurisdiction obtains prompt redress, compensation and appropriate forms of rehabilitation. The UN chief strongly urged States to stand by victims and support the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, established by the UN General Assembly in 1981.

The Fund requires a minimum of $12 million in annual voluntary contributions and supports hundreds of organisations that provide legal, social, psychological and medical assistance to some 50,000 victims every year.

Mr. Ban said: “When States neglect their obligation to prevent torture, and fail to provide torture victims with effective and prompt redress, compensation and appropriate forms of rehabilitation, the UN Voluntary Fund …... is a lifeline of last resort.”

“Assisting victims of torture and stopping this crime will benefit whole societies and help provide a future of safety and dignity for all,” concluded the Secretary-General.
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We Should Never Get Used to Child Labour

Image: ILO

|| June 19: 2016: Geneva: ILO News || ά.  Akissi Delta is a well-known actress in the West African country of Côte d’Ivoire. For years, she was one of the stars of a popular TV comedy show broadcast on national television RTI. Some may wonder why such a celebrity found herself among the group of Ivoirian singers who came together to form the “Choir for the Abolition of Child Labour”. However, it was a very natural thing to do for Akissi since child labour is part of her personal history and she is still paying the price for it.

“It is very difficult for me to read and write. This is a major handicap in my professional life. The reason is that I never went to school,” she admits. Akissi tells us about her childhood in Côte d’Ivoire. “From the age of two until eight, I was with my grandmother spending almost all my time in the fields. Then, when I was 8 years old, my aunt came and took me with her to Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire. I was treated well but I never went to school.”

“Then, at the age of 13, because I had no education, I started to work as a maid. I was earning barely enough to survive even though I had to work nonstop from six o’clock in the morning until one ‘o clock at night,” she recalls.

A change for the better

Akissi’s story is not exceptional in many developing countries. But after being exploited and physically abused, her life suddenly changed for the better when she met a famous Ivorian musician who asked her to work with him. She became an actress and was given the opportunity to play a leading role in popular comedy shows such as “Ma famille” and “Comment ça va” which have aired on Cote d’Ivoire’s national TV for many years.

As soon as she heard there was a project for a song to be recorded by Ivoirian artists against child labour, she immediately contacted the leader of the group, music producer and former journalist Guy Constant Neza and offered her support.

Neza only developed an interest in the issue of child labour in 2012.

“I was a journalist at that time and was asked to attend a child labour awareness raising course set up by the International Labour Organization (ILO). I had no particular expectations related to this course but it came as a shock to me. We Ivoirians tend to get used to child labour, when actually, it shouldn’t happen,” he said upon his arrival in Geneva.

Neza explained that the course immediately reminded him of an example in his own family:

“One of my cousins, Angèle, was living in a remote village in the countryside. Angèle and myself were about the same age. My mother brought Angèle to Abidjan. We treated her very well except that I was going to school while Angèle was not. When I think about it, it was so unfair: if I was able to be successful in my carrier, it was precisely because I was given the chance to go to school.”

After attending the ILO course, Neza decided that everyone in his country needed to see child labour in a different way – not as something that was part of everyday normal life but as something that needed to be recognized for what it was – a violation of children’s rights to be free from economic exploitation.

He got in touch with famous song writer Serge Bilé who wrote the words of the song “Mon enfant ”, and he brought in David Tayorault, one of the country’s best arrangers. Then he convinced several singers representing different music trends to join in: Bamba Amy Sarah, Nuella, Odia, Priss K, Sead, Spyrow, Tour 2 garde, to name only a few. The song was recorded and a professional video was produced.

Neza insisted that every artist also needed to attend a training course to be fully committed to the cause of combatting child labour. The song was widely broadcast by national television RTI as well as Ivorian radio stations.

But Neza also wanted to reach people in remote areas far from Abidjan. So he set up three successful concerts in the cities of Soubré, Abengourou and Bouaflé. Up to 10,000 people showed up in Soubré alone.

Marking World Day Against Child Labour

Far from Côte d’Ivoire, the Ivoirian singers were among this year’s guests of honour at the official ceremony organized by the ILO at the Palais des Nations in Geneva to mark World Day Against Child labour on June 12.

“Child labour can only be eliminated if local communities fully understand and take action and agree to stop being blind to the reality of child labour. Because of this, the ILO has provided support to the Choir,” says Mary Read, Head of the Advocacy and Partnerships Unit in the ILO’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch .

Guy Constant Neza is hoping that their trip to Switzerland will make it possible for them to set up more concerts in Côte d’Ivoire. Meanwhile, Akissi is already preparing a new script and screenplay for another series of the “Ma famille” comedy show, this time highlighting the topic of child labour so that everybody watching the show in Côte d’Ivoire and in neighbouring countries becomes aware that child labour can ruin the future of a child.

“I know what I am talking about since I always need support to write screenplays or even send an e-mail, just because I did not go to school as I was a child labourer,” she concludes. ω.

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Mali Becomes the Third African Country to Ratify the Protocol of 2014 on Forced Labour

 

|| June 02: 2016: Geneva: ILO News || ά. Mali has just ratified the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 , thereby reinforcing the global movement for combating forced labour in all its forms, including trafficking in persons. Through this ratification, Mali follows in the footsteps of Niger, Norway, the United Kingdom and Mauritania, the first States to make a formal commitment to implement the Protocol.

The Protocol, adopted in 2014 by a very large majority by the International Labour Conference, complements the Forced Labour Convention, 1930:No. 29 . It requires States to take effective measures to prevent forced labour and to provide victims with protection and access to justice and compensation. Fassoun Coulibaly, National Director of Labour, reaffirmed his government’s commitment to eliminating forced labour. “The Republic of Mali has always wanted workers to have access to decent jobs and to be protected from the abuses arising from forced labour, child labour, trafficking in persons and modern slavery.”

“By ratifying the Protocol, Mali is making a commitment to ending forced labour and mobilizing the necessary resources to achieve this. We hold the ILO leadership in high esteem and we appeal to other countries to combat this global scourge,” he added. A total of 21 million people are victims of forced labour around the world. The ILO estimates that this exploitation generates some US$150 billion a year in illicit profits.

Victims are exploited in agriculture, fishing, domestic work, construction, industry, mining and other economic activities. Forced labour takes different forms, from forced sexual exploitation to debt bondage or even trafficking in persons and slavery. “With the ratification of the Protocol by Mali, following on from Niger and Mauritania, Africa is demonstrating its involvement in efforts to eradicate forced labour on the continent,” said Beate Andrees, Chief of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch at the ILO.

“This ratification by Mali sends a strong message to other countries in Africa and elsewhere to also take immediate measures and fulfil their obligations with regard to the Protocol: to prevent forced labour, to protect the victims by providing them with effective remedies, and to prosecute the perpetrators. The concept of a world without forced labour will only become a reality through international support,” concluded Ms Andrees.

This ratification demonstrates the ongoing commitment of Mali to combating forced labour. By becoming a member of the International Labour Organization in 1960, Mali immediately accepted the obligations arising from the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), and then, in 1962, those of the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105). Recently, in 2012, Mali reinforced its legislative framework for combating forced labour by adopting the Act on action to combat trafficking in persons and similar practices and by establishing the National Coordinating Committee to combat trafficking in persons and similar practices.

Furthermore, Mali has shown a remarkable commitment to international labour standards by ratifying, alongside the Protocol on forced labour, three employment instruments relating to the public employment service , employment policy and private employment agencies , and also two occupational safety and health instruments: the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981:No.155, and the Protocol of 2002 to that Convention. ω.

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June 12: A 30-Day Countdown to World Day Against Child Labour 2016

|| May 13: 2016: Abidjan: ILO News || End child labour in supply chains: It's everyone's business! Join the ILO Global Campaign to raise your voice against child labour and call for action to end child labour in supply chains! The focus of the 2016 World Day against Child Labour, on June 12, 2016, will be on child labour and supply chains.

Global number of children in child labour has declined by one third since 2000, from 246 million to 168 million children. Yet a lot remains to be done! Today more than half of them, 85 million, are in hazardous work.

With 168 million children still in child labour, all supply chains, from agriculture to manufacturing, services to construction, run the risk that child labour may be present. Enterprises need to be vigilant to ensure that their supply chains are free from child labour or risk having their reputations ruined and their business seriously damaged.

The World Day is an opportunity to shine a light on what can be done to keep child labour out of supply chains.

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UN Expert Calls on El Salvador Government to Protect Victims of Contemporary Slavery

Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Urmila Bhoola. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

|| April 29: 2016 || A United Nations human rights expert today called on the Government of El Salvador to develop and implement a wide range of initiatives to protect the victims of contemporary forms of slavery, such as forced labour and domestic servitude.

“All measures should include children forced do hazardous work, children forced to conduct illicit activities for gangs and girls and women forced into sexual slavery by gang members,” said Urmila Bhoola, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery at the end of her first official visit to the country.

“These forms of slavery are both a cause and consequence of poverty, social exclusion, internal and external displacement of communities, as well as crime,” Ms. Bhoola said, stressing that “protecting the human rights of victims of slavery is of paramount importance as they are often the most vulnerable and discriminated against with women and children invariably being amongst the most severely affected.”

The Special Rapporteur noted that a comprehensive legal framework exists in the country that penalizes slavery and slavery-like practices, and praised the positive progress made by stakeholders.

“Such progress was most clearly noted in the reductions in the number of children engaged in the worst forms of child labour and their reintegration into schools,” she said. “However, prevention and protection of victims through robust and effective law enforcement remains a key challenge.”

During her visit, the Special Rapporteur identified a number of issues of concern in the current context of escalating gang-related violence. She was deeply shocked to hear of the forced recruitment of children as young as 9 years old into such gangs, as well as coercion of girls, adolescents and women into participating in sexual activity with gang members, including as so-called “brides” of gang members forced to conduct conjugal visits with them in prison.

“Such activities prima facie constitute contemporary forms of slavery and are prohibited in international human rights law,” Ms. Bhoola noted. “As such the Government is obligated to take measures to eliminate these practices, prosecute perpetrators and provide effective access to justice and redress to victims whose rights have been violated.”

“Protection and prevention measures are necessary as an immediate solution to address the high incidence of these crimes and the violence that occurs when victims refuse to comply with demands made by the gangs,” she added.

In this context, the Special Rapporteur noted that the Government has developed a comprehensive plan to address the high levels of criminal violence that occur as a result of gang-related activity, and commended the “El Salvador Seguro” plan that has the support of all key stakeholders.

“I strongly urge the Government to play close attention to avoiding any criminalization of victims, particularly children and women, who have been subjected to slavery-like practices that force them into criminal behaviour,” she stated.

The expert also expressed concern about other forms of contemporary forms of slavery and slavery-like practices in El Salvador, including continuing child labour in hazardous and dangerous work, forced labour conditions for workers in a number of sectors, including those producing garments in factories known as “maquilas,” home-based embroiderers, and those working in private security services, children being forced to beg or perform in the streets, and situations of domestic servitude.

Ms. Bhoola visited San Salvador and labour sites and communities in Usulután, Puerto El Flor and Puerto Parada, where she met with a broad range of national and local government officials. She also met with the Human Rights Ombudsman, a range of coordination bodies, representatives from the legislature, the Supreme Court, UN agencies, NGOs working on issues relating to her mandate, trade unions, private-sector representatives, and individuals affected by slavery-like conditions of work.

The independent expert will present a report containing her conclusions and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2016. Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

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UNESCO Team Assesses Damages to Syria's Palmyra World Heritage Site

UNESCO/Silvan Rehfeld Palmyra (Syrian Arab Republic)

 

|| April 27: 2016 || The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has completed a visit to the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria as part of a technical rapid assessment mission to take preliminary stock of destruction at the World Heritage site.

Headed by the Director of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, the mission, from 24 to 26 April inspected both Palmyra's museum and archaeological site, taking stock of “considerable damage to the museum, where they found that most of the statues and sarcophagi that were too large to be removed for safekeeping were defaced, smashed, their heads severed and their fragments left lying on the ground,” UNESCO said in a press release today.

“Palmyra is a pillar of Syrian identity, and a source of dignity for all Syrians,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. “UNESCO is determined to ensure the safeguarding of this and other sites with all partners as part of broader humanitarian and peace building operations,” she added.

The experts participating in the mission, who were escorted by UN security forces, identified emergency measures to consolidate and secure the building and the work that will be required to document, evacuate, safeguard and restore whatever is possible. Work to match and document the fragments of destroyed statues has already begun.

At the archaeological site, the experts took stock of the state of conservation of the grand colonnade and agora. They observed the destruction of the triumphal arch and Temple of Baal Shamin, which was “smashed to smithereens,” UNESCO said.

The members of the mission observed a minute of silence in memory of the victims murdered at the amphitheatre.

The experts had to examine damages to the Temple of Bel from a distance, as the edifice is still inaccessible and demining operations have not been completed. Likewise, the Mamluk Citadel, overlooking the ancient city, which also sustained serious damage, remains inaccessible.

The Director-General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria, Mamoun Abdoulkarim, accompanied UNESCO's experts and heads of several departments in charge of World Heritage museums, architecture and sites.

“The participants paid tribute to the courage of all those who work to document and safeguard the heritage of Syria, especially the Directorate-General of Syria's Antiquities and Museums for its dedication to protect this heritage which belongs to all Syrians and to the whole of humanity,” UNESCO stressed.

The mission considered that despite the destruction of several iconic edifices, the archaeological site of Palmyra “retains a large part of its integrity and authenticity.”

UNESCO said it will work with its partners to adopt emergency safeguarding measures.

A full report on the site will be presented to the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session, in Istanbul, Turkey, in July, with a view to determining recommendations for emergency safeguarding measures that need to be taken.

UNESCO plans to send an international mission of experts to examine in greater detail the state of conservation of heritage sites of Syria, including Palmyra.

An international meeting of experts on the preservation of Syria's heritage sites will be held on 2 and 4 June in Berlin, Germany.

The mission completed yesterday followed on a decision taken by the World Heritage Committee during its 39th session in Bonn, Germany, this past July, and a decision unanimously adopted during the 199th session of UNESCO's Executive Board concerning the Organization's role in “safeguarding and preserving Palmyra and other Syrian World Heritage sites.”

The World Heritage site of Palmyra, an oasis in the Syrian Desert north-east of Damascus, contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world. From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Greco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.

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The Lone Pen of Four Lone Nations That Took Up the Pen to Sign to Ratify the ILO Protocol P029, 2014 to End All Forms of Forced Labour and Slavery

 
The Four Lone Countries That Ratified the Protocol

Mauritania: Feb 09, 2016
Niger: May 14, 2015
Norway: Nov 09, 2015
United Kingdom: 22 Jan 22, 2016

Join the Campaign 50forfreedom.org to Get Your Country to Ratify the Protocol

Forced Labour, child labour, enforced slavery of many a kind and type are taking place across the globe today. There can be no civilisation while these forms of brutal inhumanity go on and we tolerate, accept and ignore it. This must stop. Every single person can do something about it, to stop this barbarity, to end this viciousness, to eradicate this scourge, to eliminate and 'terminate' this 'evil' that shows absolute contempt and disregard to humanity and human decency. Please, join 50forfreedom support the campaign. Launch a 'Lone' Campaign in your country. Even if you are alone, that is one candle that will call on others to join. So, Begin Your Lone Campaign Today in Your Country and send us an email about it. The Humanion

March 31, 2016: P029 - Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930: Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (Entry into force: 09 Nov 2016)Adoption: Geneva, 103rd ILC session (11 Jun 2014) - Status: Up-to-date instrument.

 To End All Forms of Forced Labour and Slavery: The P029 - Protocol of 2014
 
To End This Happening in the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preamble
 

The General Conference of the International Labour Organization,

Having been convened at Geneva by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, and having met in its 103rd Session on 28 May 2014, and

Recognizing that the prohibition of forced or compulsory labour forms part of the body of fundamental rights, and that forced or compulsory labour violates the human rights and dignity of millions of women and men, girls and boys, contributes to the perpetuation of poverty and stands in the way of the achievement of decent work for all, and

Recognizing the vital role played by the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), hereinafter referred to as “the Convention”, and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105), in combating all forms of forced or compulsory labour, but that gaps in their implementation call for additional measures, and

Recalling that the definition of forced or compulsory labour under Article 2 of the Convention covers forced or compulsory labour in all its forms and manifestations and is applicable to all human beings without distinction, and

Emphasizing the urgency of eliminating forced and compulsory labour in all its forms and manifestations, and

Recalling the obligation of Members that have ratified the Convention to make forced or compulsory labour punishable as a penal offence, and to ensure that the penalties imposed by law are really adequate and are strictly enforced, and

Noting that the transitional period provided for in the Convention has expired, and the provisions of Article 1, paragraphs 2 and 3, and Articles 3 to 24 are no longer applicable, and

Recognizing that the context and forms of forced or compulsory labour have changed and trafficking in persons for the purposes of forced or compulsory labour, which may involve sexual exploitation, is the subject of growing international concern and requires urgent action for its effective elimination, and

Noting that there is an increased number of workers who are in forced or compulsory labour in the private economy, that certain sectors of the economy are particularly vulnerable, and that certain groups of workers have a higher risk of becoming victims of forced or compulsory labour, especially migrants, and

Noting that the effective and sustained suppression of forced or compulsory labour contributes to ensuring fair competition among employers as well as protection for workers, and

Recalling the relevant international labour standards, including, in particular, the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87), the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98), the Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100), the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111), the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138), the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97), the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143), the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189), the Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (No. 181), the Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No. 81), the Labour Inspection (Agriculture) Convention, 1969 (No. 129), as well as the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998), and the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization (2008), and

Noting other relevant international instruments, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), the Slavery Convention (1926), the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery (1956), the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000), the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (2000), the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (2000), the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (1990), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979), and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006),and

Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals to address gaps in implementation of the Convention, and reaffirmed that measures of prevention, protection, and remedies, such as compensation and rehabilitation, are necessary to achieve the effective and sustained suppression of forced or compulsory labour, pursuant to the fourth item on the agenda of the session, and

Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of a Protocol to the Convention;

adopts this eleventh day of June two thousand and fourteen the following Protocol, which may be cited as the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930.

Article 1

1. In giving effect to its obligations under the Convention to suppress forced or compulsory labour, each Member shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate its use, to provide to victims protection and access to appropriate and effective remedies, such as compensation, and to sanction the perpetrators of forced or compulsory labour.

2. Each Member shall develop a national policy and plan of action for the effective and sustained suppression of forced or compulsory labour in consultation with employers’ and workers’ organizations, which shall involve systematic action by the competent authorities and, as appropriate, in coordination with employers’ and workers’ organizations, as well as with other groups concerned.

3. The definition of forced or compulsory labour contained in the Convention is reaffirmed, and therefore the measures referred to in this Protocol shall include specific action against trafficking in persons for the purposes of forced or compulsory labour.

Article 2

The measures to be taken for the prevention of forced or compulsory labour shall include:

(a) educating and informing people, especially those considered to be particularly vulnerable, in order to prevent their becoming victims of forced or compulsory labour;

(b) educating and informing employers, in order to prevent their becoming involved in forced or compulsory labour practices;

(c) undertaking efforts to ensure that:

(i) the coverage and enforcement of legislation relevant to the prevention of forced or compulsory labour, including labour law as appropriate, apply to all workers and all sectors of the economy; and

(ii) labour inspection services and other services responsible for the implementation of this legislation are strengthened;

(d) protecting persons, particularly migrant workers, from possible abusive and fraudulent practices during the recruitment and placement process;

(e) supporting due diligence by both the public and private sectors to prevent and respond to risks of forced or compulsory labour; and

(f) addressing the root causes and factors that heighten the risks of forced or compulsory labour.

Article 3

Each Member shall take effective measures for the identification, release, protection, recovery and rehabilitation of all victims of forced or compulsory labour, as well as the provision of other forms of assistance and support.

Article 4

1. Each Member shall ensure that all victims of forced or compulsory labour, irrespective of their presence or legal status in the national territory, have access to appropriate and effective remedies, such as compensation.

2. Each Member shall, in accordance with the basic principles of its legal system, take the necessary measures to ensure that competent authorities are entitled not to prosecute or impose penalties on victims of forced or compulsory labour for their involvement in unlawful activities which they have been compelled to commit as a direct consequence of being subjected to forced or compulsory labour.

Article 5

Members shall cooperate with each other to ensure the prevention and elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour.

Article 6

The measures taken to apply the provisions of this Protocol and of the Convention shall be determined by national laws or regulations or by the competent authority, after consultation with the organizations of employers and workers concerned.

Article 7

The transitional provisions of Article 1, paragraphs 2 and 3, and Articles 3 to 24 of the Convention shall be deleted.

Article 8

1. A Member may ratify this Protocol at the same time as or at any time after its ratification of the Convention, by communicating its formal ratification to the Director-General of the International Labour Office for registration.

2. The Protocol shall come into force twelve months after the date on which ratifications of two Members have been registered by the Director- General. Thereafter, this Protocol shall come into force for a Member twelve months after the date on which its ratification is registered and the Convention shall be binding on the Member concerned with the addition of Articles 1 to 7 of this Protocol.

Article 9

1. A Member which has ratified this Protocol may denounce it whenever the Convention is open to denunciation in accordance with its Article 30, by an act communicated to the Director-General of the International Labour Office for registration.

2. Denunciation of the Convention in accordance with its Articles 30 or 32 shall ipso jure involve the denunciation of this Protocol.

3. Any denunciation in accordance with paragraphs 1 or 2 of this Article shall not take effect until one year after the date on which it is registered.

Article 10

1. The Director-General of the International Labour Office shall notify all Members of the International Labour Organization of the registration of all ratifications, declarations and denunciations communicated by the Members of the Organization.

2. When notifying the Members of the Organization of the registration of the second ratification, the Director-General shall draw the attention of the Members of the Organization to the date upon which the Protocol shall come into force.

Article 11

The Director-General of the International Labour Office shall communicate to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for registration in accordance with article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations, full particulars of all ratifications, declarations and denunciations registered by the Director-General.
 

Article 12

The English and French versions of the text of this Protocol are equally authoritative.

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Mauritania Becomes the Second African Country to Commit to Ending Modern Slavery



The country is among the first to formally implement the 2014 Protocol to the ILO’s Forced Labour Convention No.29.

 

Mauritania has ratified the 2014 Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 , reinforcing thereby the global movement against forced labour in all its forms, including human trafficking.

Mauritania follows Niger, Norway and the United Kingdom, as one of the first states to formally commit to implement the Protocol. The Protocol, adopted in 2014 by an overwhelming majority by the International Labour Conference, supplements Convention (No. 29) 1930 , requiring States to take effective measures for prevention, protection of victims and ensuring their access to justice and compensation.

Hamoud Ould T’Feil Ould Bowbe, Mauritania’s Director General of Labour, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to stamping out forced labour: “It goes without saying that the Protocol will strengthen and supplement the framework for penalizing slave or similar forced labour practices, in particular by promoting access to rights, public information and awareness raising among those at risk, including minors and employers, and the development of training enabling professionals to identify and protect victims.”

The ILO estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour worldwide, generating approximately US$ 150 billion in illicit profits annually. Victims are exploited in agriculture, fishing, domestic work, construction, industry, mining and other economic activities. Forced labour takes different forms, from forced sexual exploitation to bonded labour, human trafficking and slavery.

Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa, Aeneas Chapinga Chuma said that “the Regional Office for Africa welcomes Mauritania’s renewed efforts towards combatting slavery-like practices. The ratification of the ILO Convention is a first concrete step in putting in place the legal framework to protect people from the scourge of human exploitation and forced labour. We commend Niger and Mauritania for becoming the first African countries to ratify the ILO Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention.”

Since independence in 1961, Mauritania has ratified the Forced Labour Convention (No. 29) 1930 , and in 1997, the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No. 105), 1957 . Since then, Mauritania has continued to strengthen the legislative framework to fight against forced labour enacting a law on suppression of trafficking in 2003, and others in 2007 and 2015 criminalizing slavery and slavery-like practices.

Mauritania has joined the Bridge project which aims to strengthen the capacity of the relevant ministries and stakeholders to develop, implement and monitor policies and national action plans on forced labour, provide capacity building to improve law enforcement, and support public awareness campaigns to address all forms of forced labour. Besides Mauritania, the four-year project, which is funded by the US Department of Labour, will also be implemented in Nepal and Peru.

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When Cultural Heritage is Under Attack, Human Rights are Under Attack: UN Cultural Rights Specialist

A manuscript from the 14th century, part of Mali’s invaluable ancient manuscript collection. UN Photo:Marco Dormino

March 04, 2016: The destruction of cultural heritage is a violation of human rights, a United Nations-appointed expert said today, as the international criminal tribunal began a pre-trial procedure for the first-ever case in which charges were brought against the destruction of cultural and religious sites.

“It is impossible to separate a people's cultural heritage from the people itself and their rights,” Karima Bennoune, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on cultural rights, said in a press statement. “Clearly, we must now understand that when cultural heritage is under attack, it is also the people and their fundamental human rights that are under attack.”

On 1 March, a pre-trial procedure, known as a confirmation of charges hearing, was opened in The Hague by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for a case related to alleged cultural destruction in Timbuktu, Mali.

While stressing that she does not want to prejudge the ongoing individual case before the ICC,

Ms. Bennoune said that the destruction of cultural heritage by States and non-State actors must be urgently addressed by the international community.

“When mausoleums – as well as ancient Islamic manuscripts - were being destroyed by armed groups during their 2012 occupation of Northern Mali, various forms of cultural practice were also under attack, including music and religious practices,” she said.

The UN expert welcomed the decision of the ICC Prosecutor's Office, for the first time, to charge the destruction of cultural and religious sites, as well as historical monuments, as a stand-alone war crime.

In a report to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday 10 March, the expert will address further the links between destruction of cultural heritage and violations of cultural rights. She will also make key recommendations, including for international cooperation and technical assistance.

She said that cultural heritage professionals on the frontlines of the struggle against destruction must be provided with the conditions necessary to complete their work, and asylum when necessary.

“We must not wait to rally to the cause of at-risk cultural heritage defenders until we are mourning their deaths,” the human rights expert said, while honouring the memory of Syrian archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad, retired chief of antiquities for Palmyra, killed in 2015.

Moreover, tribute should be paid to ordinary people who step forward to defend cultural heritage, like those in Northern Mali who reportedly hid manuscripts beneath the floorboards of their homes to protect them or those in Libya who tried to peacefully protest destruction of Sufi sites, Ms. Bennoune said.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Independent human rights experts, appointed by the Council, address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

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UNESCO and Italy to Create Task Force for Cultural Heritage Conservation in Crises

Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Syria are being used for military purpose and this raises the risk of imminent and irreversible destruction. Photo: UNESCO, UNESCO/Ron Van Oers

15 February 2016 – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) plans to sign an agreement with the Government of Italy tomorrow to establish a task force of experts focusing on the conservation of cultural heritage affected by crises around the world.

In the framework of UNESCO's global coalition Unite for Heritage campaign launched this past year, under the agreement the agency will be able to ask the Italian Government to make the experts available for deployment on matters related to the conservation of cultural heritage in crises, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a press release.

“The agreement is a major and innovative step in our effort to gain recognition for the importance of cultural heritage in cementing identity, building social cohesion and fostering resilience in times of crisis,” Ms. Bokova said.

“The establishment of a Task Force bringing together cultural heritage experts and the Italian Carabinieri force specialized in the fight against the illicit trafficking in cultural property will enhance our capacity to respond to future emergencies,” she added.

Expressing hope that other countries will take similar steps to reinforce the international community's ability to respond to the growing threats facing cultural heritage in different parts of the world, Ms. Bokova stressed that the establishment of the task force directly implements the strategy adopted by Member States at UNESCO's general conference this past November.

The strategy sets out to reinforce UNESCO's action for the protection of cultural heritage and the promotion of cultural diversity and pluralism, and calls on Member States to contribute to the strategy, notably through mechanisms for the rapid deployment of national expertise in emergency situations under the agency's overall coordination.

Member States developed the strategy in response to the recent large-scale, systematic destruction and looting of cultural sites and attacks on cultural diversity and cultural and religious minorities infringing on their human rights and security.

Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage may be considered a war crime. The reinforcement of UNESCO's capacity to respond to current challenges builds on existing international legal instruments, notably the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and enhances the scope of their application.

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Timbuktu: 900-year-old Ceremony Re-consecrates Mausoleums Destroyed by Armed Groups

Residents of Timbuktu pass by Djingareyber Mosque, one of the historical architectural structures along with Sankore Mosque, Sidi Yahia Mosque and sixteen mausoleums and holy public places which together earned Timbuktu the designation of World Heritage Site by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation:UNESCO. Image: UN Photo:Marco Dorm

4 February 2016 – A consecration ceremony of the Timbuktu mausoleums, last held in the 11th century, was celebrated today at the initiative of the local community, the final phase of the United Nations-backed cultural rebirth of the age-old Sahara city after the destruction wrought by radical Islamists in 2012.

“These mausoleums are now once again standing,” UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova said in a message to the people of Mali, home to the city that was an economic, intellectual and spiritual capital and a centre for the diffusion of Islamic culture throughout Africa during its golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries.

“This is irrefutable proof that unity is possible and peace is even stronger than before. We did it and we can do it again,” she added.

The site was heavily destroyed by occupying Islamist extremists after fighting broke out in January 2012 between Government forces and Tuareg rebels.

Today's ceremony at the Mosque of Djingareyber began in the early morning with the sacrifice of animals and reading of Quranic verses to invoke the divine mercy to provide peace, cohesion and tranquillity, and concluded with a Fatiha (prayers), rites representing the rejection of intolerance, violent extremism and religious fundamentalism.

The mausoleums have long been places of pilgrimage for the people of Mali and neighbouring West African countries, and are widely believed to protect the city from danger. Sixteen of them are inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List and 14 were destroyed in 2012, representing a tragic loss for local communities.

The government of Mali in 2013 turned to outside partners, including UNESCO, for assistance. The preservation of ancient manuscripts and rehabilitation of the 14 destroyed mausoleums began in March 2014, when local masons under the supervision of Imam of Djingareyber, and with support from UNESCO and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), laid the first earthen brick to reconstruct two of the mausoleums.

It concluded in July 2015.

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Mongolia: Historic Vote Abolishes Death Penalty

Mongolia has set an example which we hope will quickly ripple across Asia. The countries that continue to execute have been shown a clear path to follow to end this cruel and inhumane punishment: Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

Amnesty International's Campaign Against Death Penalty

Overview

Every day, people are executed by the state as punishment for a variety of crimes – sometimes for acts that should not be criminalized. In some countries it can be for who you sleep with, in others it is reserved for acts of terror and murder.

Some countries execute people who were under 18 years old when the crime was committed, others use the death penalty against people who suffer mental problems. Before people die they are often imprisoned for years on “death row”. Not knowing when their time is up, or whether they will see their families one last time.

The death penalty is cruel, inhuman and degrading. Amnesty opposes the death penalty at all times - regardless of who is accused, the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution.

We have been working to end executions since 1977, when only 16 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Today, the number has risen to 140 - nearly two-thirds of countries around the world.

We know that, together, we can end the death penalty everywhere. Hafez Ibrahim was about to be executed in Yemen in 2007 when he sent a mobile text message to Amnesty. It was a message that saved his life. “I owe my life to Amnesty. Now I dedicate that life to campaigning against the death penalty.”

Readmore about End Death Penalty on Amensty International Website

Posted: December 6, 2015

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4 December 2015: Mongolia’s parliament became the latest to consign the death penalty to the history books, in a major victory for human rights in the country, said Amnesty International today.

On Thursday, lawmakers voted in favour of a new Criminal Code that abolishes the death penalty for all crimes. The new Criminal Code will take effect from September 2016, and would bring the total number of countries to have completely abandoned this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment to 102.

“Mongolia’s historic decision to abolish the death penalty is a great victory for human rights. The death penalty is becoming a thing of the past across the world,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

“Mongolia has set an example which we hope will quickly ripple across Asia. The countries that continue to execute have been shown a clear path to follow to end this cruel and inhumane punishment.”

Three countries - Fiji, Madagascar and Suriname - have already abolished the death penalty this year.

The last execution in Mongolia was in 2008 and the death penalty remained classified as a state secret. Since then, the country has taken a series of steps towards abolition culminating in yesterday’s historic parliamentary vote.

In 2010, the country’s President, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, commuted all death sentences and announced a moratorium on all executions. In 2012, Mongolia ratified an international treaty committing the country to the abolition of the death penalty.

President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj has repeatedly said Mongolia must turn its back on the death penalty in order to fully respect the right to life. He argued that the threat of executions does not have a deterrent effect and the risk of a miscarriage of justice is inherent in any system of justice.

“President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj exposed the fallacy of the death penalty. The political leadership shown in abolishing the death penalty in Mongolia needs to be repeated elsewhere in Asia. Countries that continue to execute are on the wrong side of history,” said Roseann Rife.

A minority of countries continue to use the death penalty, in ways that are completely contrary to international law and standards. Earlier this year, Indonesia resumed executions amidst worldwide criticism, while Pakistan has executed at least 300 people since it lifted a moratorium on executions in December 2014. In East Asia, China, Japan, North Korea, and Taiwan have all carried out executions in 2015.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.

An Amnesty International Report

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Posted: December 6, 2015

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On Slavery Abolition Day, Ban Ki-moon Warns of Enslavement, Trafficking Risks for Refugees, Migrants

 

2 December 2015 – With over 60 million people driven from their homes and millions more crossing borders to seek a better life, the risk of mounting human trafficking and enslavement with all its “horrific abuse” must be confronted, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today.

“Slavery has many modern forms, from the children toiling as domestic servants, farmhands and factory workers, to the bonded labourers struggling to pay off ever-mounting debts, to the victims of sex trafficking who endure horrific abuse,” he said in a message marking the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

“Although statistics about these crimes are difficult to compile, experts estimate that nearly 21 million people are enslaved in our world today. We have a responsibility to them – and to all those at risk – to end this outrage,” he stressed.

“This is all the more important in our era of severe humanitarian crises. More than 60 million people have been driven from their homes. They may be at risk of trafficking and enslavement – along with millions of others crossing borders in search of a better life,” the UN chief explained.

The Day marks the General Assembly's adoption on 2 December 1949 of the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.

Mr. Ban noted that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders at a UN summit in September offers a framework to fundamentally alter conditions fuelling poverty, specifically setting the goals of eradicating forced labour and human trafficking and ending all forms of modern slavery and child labour.

“As we strive to achieve these targets, we must also rehabilitate freed victims and help them integrate into society,” he said, noting that the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery has for over two decades extended humanitarian, financial and legal aid to tens of thousands of victims worldwide, making a meaningful difference in their lives.

“I urge Member States, businesses, private foundations and other donors to demonstrate their commitment to ending slavery by ensuring that this Fund has the resources to fulfil its mandate,” concluded the Secretary-General.

At the same time, International Labour Organization (ILO) Executive Director, Guy Ryder called on governments to ratify ILO's Forced Labour Protocol to make a real change in the lives of the 21 million people worldwide who are trapped in modern slavery.

“Slavery is a fundamental abuse of human rights and a major obstacle to social justice. It is an affront to our humanity and it has no place in the twenty-first century. And yet 21 million women, men and children are still trapped in forced labour all over the world, generating USD 150 billion in illicit profits for those who exploit them,” said Mr. Ryder in a message, marking the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

Mr. Ryder observed that each day men, women and children are “tricked or coerced into abhorrent situations including bonded labour, prostitution and exploitative domestic work”.

He also noted that while global commitment to end modern slavery has gained momentum, the current responses still fall short of addressing the entirety of the challenge or its root causes.

“Ending modern slavery requires strong legislation, strict implementation, joint commitment of countries and social partners, along with effective support systems for the victims. Effective measures on prevention, protection and access to justice are exactly what the ILO Forced Labour Protocol adopted by our Conference last year addresses,” said Mr. Ryder.

The ILO chief called on the governments, who “overwhelmingly” voted for the Protocol, to ratify and implement it.

Further, Mr. Ryder said that African countries have been leading the progress with Niger being the first country to ratify the Protocol and countries of the Southern African Development Community all calling for immediate ratification.

He also added that the second ratification by Norway in November will enter into force in one year's time.

“If fully implemented, the Protocol's provisions on remedies and compensation will not only provide justice to the many victims of forced labour - through damages and unpaid wages won back from perpetrators, it will also make it less profitable to use forced labour and help to combat unfair competition,” said Mr. Ryder.

Additionally, he also underscored the activities undertaken to help eliminating modern slavery, such as the 50 for Freedom campaign, which sets a target of 50 ratifications of the Protocol by 2018.

Speaking about the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 8 of the Agenda 2030, on promoting Decent Work and inclusive and sustainable growth, Mr. Ryder stressed that to achieve social justice forced labour must be eliminated and that “it is not negotiable”.

“To make a real change in the lives of the 21 million men, women and children in forced labour - let's not just be angry at slavery, let's make change happen,” concluded Mr. Ryder.

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Posted on: December 3, 2015

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Amnesty International Campaign: End Death Penalty: Justice Denied: Japanese Prisoner Died after 46 Years on Death Row

Japan’s justice system totally failed Okunishi Masaru. It is outrageous he was denied the retrial his case unquestionably merited. Hiroka Shoji, East Asia Researcher at Amnesty International.


The death in prison of a Japanese man who spent more than 46 years facing execution, after a conviction based on a forced “confession”, underlines the urgent need for a review of all similar cases, Amnesty International said today.

Okunishi Masaru passed away at Hachioji Medical Prison on Sunday, aged 89. He maintained his innocence and was determined to seek a retrial. Eight previous requests for a retrial were rejected. He was moved to the medical prison from Nagoya Detention Centre in 2012 after his health deteriorated.

“Okunishi Masaru may not have gone to the gallows, but Japan’s justice system totally failed him. It is outrageous he was denied the retrial his case unquestionably merited and instead was left to languish on death row for more than 46 years,” said Hiroka Shoji, East Asia Researcher at Amnesty International.

“It is too late for Okunishi Masaru but others remain on death row convicted primarily on the basis of forced “confessions”. The Japanese authorities must urgently review their cases to ensure that time does not run out for them to see justice.”

Okunishi Masaru had been on death row since 1969, after being convicted of the murders of five women. He “confessed” to the crime after being interrogated by police for many hours over five days and with no lawyer present.

During his first trial he retracted his “confession” and was acquitted due to lack of evidence. However, a higher court reversed the verdict and sentenced him to death.

For more than four decades, he lived in constant fear that each day could be his last. Death row inmates in Japan are only informed hours ahead of their execution, which takes place in secret. Like most prisoners facing execution, he spent nearly all his time locked up in solitary confinement.
Hakamada Iwao

One of the most pressing cases that demands a retrial is that of Hakamada Iwao, 79, who also spent more than four decades on death row. In March 2014, a court ordered his immediate release and a retrial. However, prosecutors immediately appealed the court decision to grant a retrial and a decision is pending.

“Prosecutors should allow Hakamada’s retrial to proceed before it is too late. By further delaying his quest for justice, prosecutors are only adding to the decades of psychological torture Hakamada and his family have endured,” said Hiroka Shoji.

Following an unfair trial, Hakamada was convicted of the murder of his boss, his boss’s wife and their two children. Hakamada “confessed” after 20 days of interrogation by police. He retracted the “confession” during the trial and told the court that the police had beaten and threatened him.

According to Hakamada’s lawyers, recent forensic tests results show no match between Hakamada’s DNA and samples taken from clothing the prosecution alleges were worn by the murderer. One of the three judges who convicted Hakamada in 1966 has publicly stated he believes him to be innocent.

Hakamada developed a mental disability as a result of the decades he has spent in isolation.
Tortured to confess

The Japanese justice system continues to rely heavily on “confessions” obtained through torture or other ill-treatment. There are no clear limits on the length of interrogations, which are not fully recorded and which lawyers are not permitted to attend.

Twelve people have been executed since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December 2012. The number of death row inmates, at 128, is at one of the highest levels in Japan in over half a century. Amnesty International has called on the Japanese government to introduce a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty, and for reforms of Japan’s justice system in line with international standards.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The death penalty violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

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Posted: December 7, 2015

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A Report from Anti Slavery International on Slavery in the UK

When we think about modern day slavery, we might imagine that it only happens in foreign countries, but slavery still thrives in the UK today.

Anti Slavery International : What is modern slavery?

Slavery did not end with abolition in the 19th century.

The practice still continues today in one form or another in every country in the world. From women forced into prostitution, children and adults forced to work in agriculture, domestic work, or factories and sweatshops producing goods for global supply chains, entire families forced to work for nothing to pay off generational debts; or girls forced to marry older men, the illegal practice still blights contemporary world.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) around 21 million men, women and children around the world are in a form of slavery.

There are many different characteristics that distinguish slavery from other human rights violations, however only one needs to be present for slavery to exist. Someone is in slavery if they are:

forced to work - through mental or physical threat;
owned or controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse;
dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as 'property';
physically constrained or has restrictions placed on his/her freedom of movement.

Contemporary slavery takes various forms and affects people of all ages, gender and races.

WHAT FORMS OF SLAVERY EXIST TODAY?

Bonded labour
Child slavery
Early and forced marriage
Forced labour
Descent-based slavery
Trafficking

Many forms of slavery involve more than one element or form listed above. For example, trafficking often involves an advance payment for the trip and organising a promised job abroad which is borrowed from the traffickers. Once at the destination, the debt incurred serves as an element of controlling the victims as they are told they cannot leave the job until the debt is paid off.  Readmore

In 2013 the UK’s victim identification and support process, the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), received over 1,746 referrals of potential victims of trafficking. This was a 47% increase on the number received in 2012.

But the official numbers of people referred to authorities are only a tip of the iceberg. The government’s own estimates put the number of people in slavery in the UK at 13,000.

The most common countries of origin were from Albania, Nigeria and Vietnam.  However there was also a significant rise in referrals of British nationals, which put the UK as the fifth most common country of origin for referrals.  

The number of women and girls identified as being trafficked, 1122, was almost double that of men and boys, which amounted to 624 referrals. A significant number of children were also identified, with the three most common countries of origin being Vietnam, UK and Albania.

Although most people associate trafficking with forced sexual exploitation, the most common purpose of trafficking is for forced labour.

Trafficking for the purpose of domestic servitude was the main reason women and girls (other than sexual exploitation) were trafficked. For men the main reason was for the purpose of labour exploitation.

Women and girls make up the vast majority of people trafficked for sexual exploitation, with 691 referrals in 2013.

There was also a significant rise in referrals of people who had been trafficked for the purpose of criminal activities.

WHAT’S BEING DONE?

Although modern slavery increasingly gets more attention both from the mainstream media and the government, the response by the authorities still largely fails many victims.

The government has begun to respond to the issue of slavery in the UK with setting up the so-called National Referral Mechanism (NRM), to which potential victims of trafficking can be referred to and have their cases assessed, officially recognised as victims of trafficking, and support services provided.

However, our research has indicated that, although making some positives changes, the system fails to systematically identify, assist and protect victims of trafficking.

One of the biggest problems of the UK’s system is that it looks at victims through context of their immigration status, causing the decision making to be unfair and discriminatory. Those whose migration status in the UK is irregular are four times less likely to be recognised as victims of trafficking than those from within the EU. It means that many of them are ordered to be deported rather than protected, many crimes not recognised and in some cases perpetuated.

Issues connected to immigration were also behind the government’s decision in 2012 to change the visa rules for migrant domestic workers, who according to the new rules are no longer legally able to change their employers even if they find themselves in an exploitative situation, which makes them much more vulnerable to abuse.

People who have been trafficked into the UK for exploitation in criminal activities such as cannabis cultivation, small thefts or benefit fraud are still widely prosecuted for crimes they were compelled to commit whilst their exploiters enjoy impunity.

In June 2014, the government introduced the draft Modern Slavery Bill in parliament signalling a renewed push to tackle slavery in the UK.  However, the government’s response is sadly lacking focus on victim protection, which is why we instituted the victim protection campaign.

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Posted on: December 4, 2015

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