United Nations

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United Nations

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon May 08, 2006 10:57 am

The BBC reports that the United Nations still has not stopped its aid workers and peacekeepers from turning female refugees into prostitutes in order to secure food and water. Some of the victims are as young as eight years old, and the problem is widespread, according to Save The Children:

”Young girls in Liberia are still being sexually exploited by aid workers and peacekeepers despite pledges to stamp out such abuse, Save the Children says.

Girls as young as eight are being forced to have sex in exchange for food by workers for local and international agencies, according to its report.
The agency says such abuse is becoming more common as people displaced by the civil war return to their villages.”


This horrific behavior was first revealed four years ago, and two years ago the scope of the problem became common knowledge, thanks to a series of reports in the British newspaper The Independent. Since then, the UN has repeatedly promised to clean house and to put an end to a practice they themselves define as both a war crime and a form of genocide. Two years later and God knows how many victims later, the UN still says it is "investigating".

Can anyone name anything that the UN has done in the last ten years that has actually been beneficial to anyone?
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Postby DavidS » Mon May 08, 2006 11:36 am

Wasn't it Ben-Gurion who coined the term "UN-SchmUN" about 50 years ago?
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Postby OperaTenor » Mon May 08, 2006 3:38 pm

It's a good thing we can speak from a psition of righteousness on this issue.

What's that about the sweatshops in the Marianas?
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Mon May 08, 2006 4:25 pm

OperaTenor wrote:It's a good thing we can speak from a psition of righteousness on this issue.

The BBC is we?
OperaTenor wrote:What's that about the sweatshops in the Marianas?

A clear case for barfle's position. Vote out all the bastards, we need new ones. And, yes, US protectorates should have the benefit of US law and rights.
>^..^<
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Postby Haggis@wk » Mon May 08, 2006 5:49 pm

A sweatshop in the Marianas is analogous to forcing 8 y.o.s into prostitution for food and water? Food and water, I might mention, that is supposed to be distributed to them anyway?

I hate to say this OT, but sometimes your moral compass seems to drift a bit. Your anger seems to move you to support some rather unsupportable issues on occasion.

And if the sweats = UN sex for food scandal is analogous, then that means as long as the sweats are there you are okay with the whole UN-peacekeepers-forcing-children-into-sex thing?
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Postby OperaTenor » Tue May 09, 2006 2:09 am

Nope, just a reminder about glass houses.
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Postby Haggis@wk » Tue May 09, 2006 7:18 am

Okay, give me the example of glass houses that you refer to.

I would like to see what, exactly, is so egregious in the Marianas that it instantly equated itself in your mind with rape and pedophilia by blue helmets. Is someone there forcing people into sexual slavery? Betraying a supposedly global mandate?

Does every evil event in the world immediately equate itself in “Well, we’re just as bad” in your mind?

Besides, my original question still remains. Name something good the UN has done for the world in the past 10 years?
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Postby Nicole Marie » Tue May 09, 2006 8:03 am

Actually Haggis... the Northern Mariana Islands issue involving Abramoff and DeLay forces thousand of Asian women into sweatshops by day and the sex industry by night. These women are also forced into abortions on this island that is a US territory. So when OT says the glass house issue, we should look at what our US reps were doing to Asian women.

"Three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines, with a population of just over 80,000, these U.S. territories acquired after World War II are the central locale of a "dirty drama of bondage" that enmeshes disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, House leader Tom Delay. That's because the Marianas (and particularly the main island, Saipan) are also the site of America's most shoddy labor practices. Human "brokers" bring thousands there to work as sex slaves and in cramped sweatshop garment factories where clothes (complete with "Made in the U.S.A." tag) have been produced for all the major brands: Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne, The Limited, J.C. Penney, and Wal-Mart. The workers are "paid barely half the U.S. minimum hourly wage," and are "forced to live behind barbed wire in squalid shacks minus plumbing, work 12 hours a day, often seven days a week, without any of the legal protections U.S. workers are guaranteed."


Ms Magazine did a great undercover on this. Please read this article, it highlights the issues best: http://www.highbeam.com/library/docfree ... emium=BOTH

Letters have also been posted on the House website about this: http://www.house.gov/georgemiller/marianasupdate.html
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Postby Serenity » Tue May 09, 2006 8:47 am

Checkmate
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Postby Jeff Dutton » Tue May 09, 2006 10:04 am

Apparently it is more important to hate the United States in general, and the current administration in particular than it is to agree as to whether any other entity is corrupt.

Haggis has brought up a valid concern with the UN, but some would rather turn it into yet another opportunity to bash the U.S.

OT and YRH - I guess your point is that we should not worry about the UN or anyone else, until there is nothing to criticize about the U.S.? Let the rape and corruption continue, because WE are so evil, we don't dare criticise evil in anyone else.

Oh, by the way. from the Ms. article:
"Then, in 1975, the islands' indigenous population of subsistence farmers and fishermen voted to become a commonwealth of the United States-a legal designation that made them U.S. citizens and subject to most U.S. laws. There were two critical exceptions, however: The U.S. agreed to exempt the islands from the minimum-wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (allowing the islands to set their own lower minimum wage, currently $3.05, compared to $5.15 in the U.S.) and from most provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. "

The islands became a commonwealth, and the exceptions were made, when both the House and Senate were in firm control of the Democrats. :shock:
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Postby Shapley » Tue May 09, 2006 10:16 am

A little more on what has been happening historically in the Northern Marianas:

http://www.atimes.com/oceania/AH11Ah01.html

Keep in mind that, at half the minimum wage, the wages of the workers is well above the standard for the Pacific Rim Islands. Reform is also working its way into the island's economy, apparently despite the local government's efforts to resist such change. It would be very interesting to get tan's viewpoint on this, since the Cambodian economy is probably the closes thing to the Nortern Marianas that we will find on this board.

V/R
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Postby Nicole Marie » Tue May 09, 2006 10:17 am

Jeff-

Do not put words into my mouth. I agree with Haggis that the UN issue is horrible. I think the UN needs to do some massive house cleaning and (for a long time) I have never agreed with how they hire people to work in areas of the world. (Their screening process and policy on how people are monitered are terrible, it needs to be fixed... obviously with this new problem.)

I am just pointing out that the UN is not the only governing body in the world that has issues with the sex trade industry and unfair labor. Try sending a letter to your state reps on what the US is doing in Asia.
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Postby Shapley » Tue May 09, 2006 11:03 am

It's worth noting that the situation in Darfur, first mentioned on this board in 2002, has not improved since that time. It was announced earlier this month that the food shipments to the region would be halved because donors are growing tired of giving while seeing no progress made towards improving the situation. Who can blame them? The US has responded by increasing food shipments from this nation, to help offset the shortfall. Even so, this continues to be a band-aid approach to a problem that calls for real solutions, and the UN isn't offering any.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4954096.stm
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Postby Jeff Dutton » Tue May 09, 2006 11:48 am

Nicole - I wasn't putting words in your mouth. You agreed with OTs "glass houses" reference:

"So when OT says the glass house issue, we should look at what our US reps were doing to Asian women. "

The saying is "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones". Therefore, your implication (and OTs) is that we cannot criticize others until we cannot be criticized. I was merely responding to the implication of your statement, which you reinforced by continuing the off-topic discussion about the Marianas.

This thread was originally about the U.N.

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Postby OperaTenor » Tue May 09, 2006 1:04 pm

Hi Y.R.H.,

Thank you for jumping in and explaining my comment. :)

Hi Jeff,

The statement can also mean, "take a good look in the mirror before you go criticizing others", as a means of setting perspective.

No, I don't think we need to not worry about what is happening with the UN. I think it's despicable, and a stop needs to be put to it.

However, why aren't we outraged that sexual slavery and forced abortions are being carried out in our name?! Why aren't we outraged that scores of innocent people are being needlessly killed every day in our name, for no good reason?! Why aren't we outraged that our own children are starving and never get the benefit of an education?! Why aren't we outraged citizens of the U.S. die because they don't have enough money to get health care, while the rich get tax cuts?
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Postby Jeff Dutton » Tue May 09, 2006 1:30 pm

Hi OT,

Many of us ARE outraged, as you know. So, why does it seem that nothing gets done about these terrible things going on around us? I am probably as frustrated as you are. Many of us do what we can, by getting involved, contacting our representatives, giving money and time.

Unfortunately, we tend to get hung up debating what is evil and what is not, and what evil is worst or needs to be fixed first. But evil is evil and while we can fix it here and there, it will not disappear on its own.

Unfortunately there is no single reason why the problems aren't defeated, except for the nature of human beings. Our nature displays itself in greed, corruption, power hunger, apathy, cruelty and every base motive that you can think of. Individually we have good intentions, we do good things and we want justice and peace. However, everywhere you care to look you can find the bad, injustice and strife. Blame individuals, parties, governments, or whoever. Replace them and the problems remain. Its been done over and over.

The only answer I know of is to fight evil as best we can. Maybe we'll never agree on which battles should take precedence, or on the best way to carry on that fight. Sometimes, that disagreement puts us in conflict with each other, but we have to continue the fight in the best way each of us knows how.

God save us all.

Jeff
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Postby DavidS » Tue May 09, 2006 2:09 pm

What's in vogue today is "compromise" or "mediation", or in the words of Psalm 34:14:
On the one hand, only partially to "turn from evil"; on the other hand, not so much to "do good"...
People ought to remember the next part of that verse: "Seek peace and pursue it".
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Postby Shapley » Tue May 09, 2006 2:15 pm

Actually, Reading the Ms article, it appears that the problem does not lie in Saipan, it lies in the lone sharking and extortion schemes of the recruiters in the workers' native countries. If the labour laws are passed, the cost such recruiters charge will increase proportional to the workers pay, and the overtime limits will further hamper their ability to pay off their loans.

Essentially, any increase in pay in Saipan will find it's way into the pockets of the same crooks who are benefitting from the current practice, and I don't mean the U.S. Politicians. Their cut is 'small potatoes' to the overall racket. In that part of the world, bribing officials is part of the cost of doing business.

A minimum wage of 3.05/hr. is a very good wage for that part of the world.

V/R
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Postby Jeff Dutton » Tue May 09, 2006 2:28 pm

DavidS wrote:What's in vogue today is "compromise" or "mediation", or in the words of Psalm 34:14:
On the one hand, only partially to "turn from evil"; on the other hand, not so much to "do good"...
People ought to remember the next part of that verse: "Seek peace and pursue it".


I may be the only one who was a little confused by your post, David, but if you'll permit me to clarify:

The text of the verse is "Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."

I believe your point is that people tend to compromise on this and end up falling short. Is that correct?
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Postby Haggis@wk » Tue May 09, 2006 4:14 pm

Nicole,
I was peripherally aware of the "sweatshop" allegations but the sex angle was a revelation. Thanks for the clarification and I've written my Congressman Sam Johnson in Texas asking for his position on this issue.

I'm only vaguely aware of how government works in Saipan and am too busy to look for it. Can anyone tell me what the U.S.'s authority is in a Territory? Is there a local elected govt beside a federally appointed....governor?

I agree with Shapley point, however, the villains in all this are the recruiters and the gangsters who prey on these victims, if the government is at fault, it mainly through inaction rather than aiding and abetting.

The UN scandals have been wholly of their own making. These are people in position of trust and authority abusing their position in the most evilest of ways and have been doing so in Africa for over four years with no signs of quitting or that the UN authority are going to make them quit.
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