Archive for June, 2013


June 28, 2013 New Prisons Are Being Built For YOUR Children

Brand new, million-dollar prisons are springing up across the nation in the midst of massive school closings. What does this mean? Our children are in grave danger. See on www.yourblackworld.net


Too late! Much too late! “We have decided that Andrew Cain is no longer the Wanted Person of the Week…he is the Wanted Person for the Month of June. congratulations!”

Teenager Commits Suicide After Police Launch Social Media Campaign Against Him

by up2xxi – found a better Version: up2xxi  thank You!

See on Scoop.itup2-21

When a teenager failed to appear in court on substance abuse charges, the police began cyber-bulling him on Facebook.

See on www.alternet.org

Teenager Commits Suicide After Police Launch Social MediaCampaign Against Him! JESUS CHRIST!

I sent informations about this Petition to USA, EU, Ca, Au…

Recently I signed a Petition for banning CAFO-Systems for pigs:
1 Million and some hundred thousands signed the Petition..

I think about to quit…I am loosing my hope…


Published on Alternet (http://www.alternet.org)

/ By Kristen Gwynne [2]


Teenager Commits Suicide After Police Launch Social Media Campaign Against Him

June 28, 2013 |

Nineteen-year-old Pullman, Washington, resident Andrew Cain took his own life on Saturday. Now his sister, Alise Smith, is asking for an apology from the local police department who allegedly cyber-bullied the young man just days beore his death.

Cain was reportedly wanted [3] for controlled substance charges and failure to appear in court. According to local media, a Latoh County, Idaho, Sheriff’s Office deputy assigned to Cain’s case posted a photo of the teenager on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, along with this message:

“We have decided that Andrew Cain is no longer the Wanted Person of the Week… he is the Wanted Person of the Month of June. Congratulations!”

Smith, Cain’s sister, says the officer also harassed the teenager with private Facebook messages. Meanwhile, false rumors about Cain began circulating across social media, all sparked by the Sheriff’s Office initial posts.

“It all exploded into people sharing it and rumors starting about other things that Andrew had done, crimes that he has never committed,” Smith told KLEW [4], “And people started harassing him.”

Smith says Cain texted her earlier in the week, saying he felt like putting a bullet in his head.

“The text came along with a screen shot of a private Facebook conversation from Sergeant Doug Andersen to Andrew saying that if he turned himself in, he would give him a copy of the wanted poster, basically teasing him,” she said.

According to KLEW, Smith stressed that she is not blaming the Latoh County Sheriff’s Office for Cain’s suicide, but “believes the Facebook activity was belittling and she hopes it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Latah County Sheriff Wayne Rausch told KLEW that Facebooking wanted posters has helped procure arrests, but understands that this particular post was inappropriate. “It has never been my policy to include editorializing in media releases pertaining to the location and apprehension of persons wanted by the court,” Rausch said in statement. According to the KLEW, he apologied to Smith personally.

“That he felt necessary to end his life over facing consequences is tragic,” Rausch said in a statement

Smith told the Associated Press [3] she grasps the usefulness of posting wanted posters to Facebook, but felt the “congratulations” comment and the private messages were an ‘abuse of power.’



Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/teenager-commits-suicide-after-police-launch-social-media-campaign-against-him


Orphans by Thomas Kennington

Orphans by Thomas Kennington (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Donations (Photo credit: Matthew Burpee)

Cambodian orphans donate to help Alberta flood victims.

By Valerie Fortney,
Calgary Herald
June 27, 2013
They are children who have no home of their own, let alone cherished material possessions. When the wife of their prime minister came to visit recently, they were thrilled when she gifted each one the equivalent of about $12 Cdn.

On Wednesday, those children handed over half of their new windfall to the Paul Brandt Build It Forward Foundation, specifying that they wanted the money to go to victims of the Alberta floods. Together with donations from orphanage staff, the final tally came in at $900 — impressive from children of any socioeconomic background.

These children, though, are the neediest of the world’s needy. They live in a place called Place of Rescue Orphanage, a Cambodian sanctuary for children and adult AIDS patients and other unfortunates.

While such an act of generosity is jaw-dropping — the poorest of the poor giving to citizens in one of the wealthiest cities in the world — it doesn’t surprise someone like Brandt.

Full story:

Cambodian orphans donate to help Alberta flood victims.

Iraq-Vet Kills Himself … Writing Before A Powerful Indictment…

He has parents…loving parents



Iraq war veteran Daniel Somers committed suicide following an arduous battle with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that was caused by his role in committing “crimes against humanity,” according to the soldier’s suicide note.

Somers was assigned to a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad which saw him involved in more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee, in addition to his role in conducting interrogations.

Somers’ suicide note is a powerful indictment of the invasion of Iraq and how it ruined the lives of both countless millions of Iraqis as well as innumerable US troops sent in to do the dirty work of the military-industrial complex.

“The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity,” wrote…

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Mom claims son was abused while in DCS-Custody (East-TN)

http://www.wbir.com/news/article/278255/2/East-TN-mom-claims-son-was-abused-while-in-DCS-custody VIDEO
Some lines ….
WBIR, Sevier County) A state agency has found itself at the center of more controversy after an East Tennessee family claimed their son was abused while in the state’s care.

It’s been a rocky year for the Department of Children’s Services. The department has come under fire for the amount of children who have died while under its care. The Tennessean newspaper broke the story that more than 190 children have died over the last two years while in DCS’ system.

The controversy led to DCS appointing a new chief last month, after the old department head stepped down.

6-year-old ‘transgender’ boy must be allowed to use girls’ bathroom: Colorado officials


See on Scoop.itup2-21

by Johanna Dasteel DENVER, CO, June 25, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Colorado governing body has ruled that a 6-year old boy, who his parents claims is ‘transgender,’ was discriminated against when officials at his elementary school prohibited him…

See on www.lifesitenews.com

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Rest in Peace, Little Ezra Raphael, 1 Year Old Domestic Violence Victim,

3305631t9jQC_Em_56The Miami Herald

Posted on Wed, Jun. 26, 2013

DCF roiled by another child’s death

By Carol Marbin Miller

DCF received a report that 1-year-old Ezra Raphael died allegedly at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, Claude Alexis.

DCF received a report that 1-year-old Ezra Raphael died allegedly at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, Claude Alexis.

For the fourth time in six weeks, the state Department of Children & Families is investigating the death of a Florida child who, only weeks or months earlier, had drawn the attention of agency administrators.
The latest to die is Ezra Raphael, age 2. Police say they were “summoned” to Ezra’s home at 15664 NE 10th Ct. in North Miami Beach, at 11:08 p.m. last Thursday to check on a “sick and unresponsive child.” When paramedics arrived, police said in a statement, they found Ezra unconscious on the dining room floor. The toddler was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived at Jackson North Medical Center.

An autopsy showed that Ezra had sustained trauma to his back and body, and the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the boy’s death was a homicide, police said. At the time when Ezra was mortally injured, North Miami Beach police said, the boy had been left alone with 32-year-old Claude Alexis, his mother’s boyfriend. He has a lengthy arrest record. Alexis remains without bond at the Miami-Dade County Jail on first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse charges.

Ezra’s mother, 22-year-old Cierrah Raphael, was charged with neglect because “over a course of time, evidence showed that Cierrah repeatedly left [the boy] home completely uncared for and unattended,” a press release said.

The last time Florida child welfare investigators were aware of Ezra Raphael, the infant had been abandoned by his mother with a virtual stranger in Gainesville. A DCF investigator was told last February that then-1-year-old Ezra had been left with a woman his mother “does not know” because his mom was working as a prostitute and could not raise him.

“Risk is high,” a report said, because Raphael, who was a former foster child herself, already had permanently lost custody of an older child because she was deemed unfit as a mother.

Despite the risk, DCF closed its investigation about 20 days after initiating it — without taking any actions to protect the infant.

When Ezra next appeared on DCF’s child abuse hotline, it was in a report of his death.

A DCF spokeswoman in Tallahassee, Alexis Lambert, declined to discuss the case in detail Tuesday, though the agency did release a report to the Herald in response to a public records request. In a short statement, Lambert said: “The death of a child so young is a tragedy that is beyond comprehension. We will now focus our efforts on helping determine the circumstances that led to this child’s death and working with law enforcement to hold those responsible accountable.”

Ezra’s death comes at one of the most troubling times in the agency’s history: Since May 16, at least four small children have died — three of them in either Miami-Dade or Broward.

Debra Elder, who had been Raphael’s foster mother in Miami Gardens, said Raphael visited her Monday to tell her Ezra was dead. Elder described the toddler as tall, well-mannered and “lovable.” Ezra was walking and talking at only 11 months.

“She loved her kids,” Elder said.

“It’s hard to believe she would have left him [with Alexis] if she thought he was in danger,” Elder added.

Miami Herald reporters Benjamin S. Brasch, David Ovalle, Carli Teproff, and Chabeli Herrera contributed to this story.


© 2013 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/25/v-print/3470536/dcf-roiled-by-another-childs-death.html#storylink=cpy

Phillip Wiggins, disabled Allamanda Elementary fourth grader, says he was wrongly disciplined

Phillip Wiggins, disabled Allamanda Elementary fourth grader, says he was wrongly disciplined.

Human Rights Bulletin Posted

Mom asks for apology from school after DCF report calls incident in bathroom “misunderstanding”

My Neighborhood | Common Dreams

My Neighborhood | Common Dreams.



Father Speaks After Autistic Child Tased

Father Speaks After Autistic Child Tased

From http://www.youtube.com – June 22, 1:50 AM

When police found a confused and naked 11-year-old girl wandering a stretch of highway along the I-5 corridor in Oregon, they didn’t exactly offer her a ride…”

Randy L. Dixon Rivera’s insight:

She was a naked 11 year old girl! WTF is wrong with this cop??!!
Taser Used on Naked I-5 Wanderer http://youtu.be/rI2_mKnfwnw

I am a girl: Poisoned in Afghanistan: Education Today!

Friend Nature: Artist D.A. Hartley

100612 PP 2 (Medium)

125 girls, 3 teachers poisoned at Afghan school

Posted on: 11:03 am, May 23, 2012, by Cary Docterupdated on: 08:53pm, May 23, 2012

Girls poisoned in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — Some 125 girls and three teachers
 were admitted to an Afghanistan hospital on Wednesday, May 23rd,
after being poisoned in their classes with a type of spray, a Takhar provincial official said.

The incident occurred in the provincial capital of Talokhan,

in the Bibi Hajera girls school, said Dr. Hafizullah Safi,

the province’s director of public health.


Forty of the girls were still hospitalized, he said, with symptoms including

dizziness, vomiting, headaches and loss of consciousness.


Blood samples have been sent to Kabul in an effort to determine the substance used, he said.

“A number of girls from 15 to 18 were brought from a school to hospital today,”

said Dr…

View original post 1,264 more words

A Comeback for Kids: Illinois a National Leader in Reducing Number of Youth in Confinement

Chicago Youth Justice Data Project

New national report (PDF) showcases how state improved conditions for kids and communities through key juvenile justice policy reforms

CHICAGO – The number of youth confined in Illinois state and county facilities (public and private) declined by 38 percent from 2001 to 2010, according to a new report, “Comeback States,” released today by the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) and the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice (TPPF).

The report found that youth confinement in public facilities in Illinois peaked at 3,074, in 2000, up from 1,534 in 1985. By 2010, however, Illinois’ confined youth population was reduced to 1,949 in public facilities, and the state’s youth incarceration rate overall declined to 119 confined youth for every 100,000 young people (age 10-to-16 years old) in the state’s population.

“In Illinois, there is a growing recognition that incarcerating children must be a last resort chosen only after all less…

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States fight discrimination toward gay foster kids

Homophobic slurs in Rome, Italy.

Homophobic slurs in Rome, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

June 22, 2013

States fight discrimination toward gay foster kids

See on Scoop.it – up2-21

Sixto Cancel says his ultra-religious foster family frequently talked about their disdain for his homosexuality at the dinner table, trashed his room and called him homophobic slurs.

Juvenile Justice: California locking up far fewer young people

BakersfieldNow.com – KBAK and KBFX News


Juvenile justice: California locking up far fewer young people

By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press Published: Jun 18, 2013 at 3:54 PM PDT

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Not In the Child’s Best Interest

List Price: $34.95

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About the author:

Ron and Sherry Palmer are a husband and wife writing team that have become experts by learning how to protect their rights to their children the hard way. Both have been through difficult divorces with protracted custody battles. Both have acted as their own attorneys at times. Ron even won his own appeal. The one belief they shared through all of this is the idea that parents have rights to their children even in divorce.

They both fought for rights when the Divorce Courts acted as if they had none. They found that family law attorneys actually practice little law and spend most of their time on having to emotionally manipulate the parents, the children, and the judges. Every time they asked about parental rights they received a run-around answer about why parents in divorce have NO rights.

They knew in their hearts that this was a very un-American system that denied liberty to parents and children and that assumed complete and permanent unconstitutional authority over the children of divorcing parents.

The Supreme Court strongly supports parental rights yet Divorce Courts ignore the Supreme Court every day. This book uncovers a degree of fundamental bias and prejudice against divorced parents reflected in Court opinions that is simply unacceptable and needs to be stopped.

This book destroys the twisted logic of bias and prejudice. It provides a roadmap to respect for Parental Rights and equal protection for the rights of divorced parents. It provides sound argument for parental rights in divorce, it backs those arguments up with Supreme Court opinions, and provides a strategic approach for recognition of parental rights. This approach will change divorce custody determinations forever. This book is for parents who want to fight for their constitutional rights, for attorneys who prefer to practice law not play games with parents, children, and judges emotions, for Judges who want to make rulings based on legal principle not psychological guess work, and for legislators who want to create constitutional laws that protect parents and children alike.

The authors of this book have since tested some of the material in this book by coaching attorneys on articulating these arguments in their pleadings and defending those pleadings in court. They help parents expose these methods and constitutional principles to their attorneys, who, are experiencing great success at bringing the conflict to a much quicker end.

Not In the Child’s Best Interest

How Divorce Courts get it all Wrong and How the Constitution can fix it
Authored by Ron B Palmer
Authored with Sherry L Palmer
Edition: 2013-01

Are your children being stolen from you by a Divorce Court •Did you foolishly believe that your attorney would protect your Parental Rights in divorce
•You shouldn’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in a futile effort to keep your child?
•Divorce Courts ARE violating our constitutional rights
•Attorneys WILL NOT tell you about this!
•Divorce Courts ARE hurting our children!
•Divorce Courts ARE acting without constitutional authority!
•They get away with it BECAUSE you do not fight them properly!

The Divorce Industry takes BILLIONS of dollars from our children every single year!

This book will show you what your constitutional rights are and where they come from. It will show you how Divorce Courts are able to violate your rights, at will. Most importantly, this book will show you how to put a stop to this travesty.

Your right to the care, custody and control over your child is a Fundamental Liberty, just as your right to free speech is, or your right to freedom of religion is a Fundamental Liberty. Your child has the right to associate with you and to have you as a parent, not a visitor, in their life. You and your child have privacy rights in your family life that are between you and your child as individuals. They do NOT come from the marriage, and, if you are a natural parent, they do NOT come from the Government.

Knowledge is Power!

Know your Rights!

Defend your Rights Effectively!

Publication Date:Mai 25 2013ISBN/EAN13:1489520562 / 9781489520562Page Count:332Binding Type:US Trade PaperTrim Size:6.69″ x 9.61″Language:EnglishColor:Black and WhiteRelated Categories:Law / Family Law / Divorce & Separation

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My Neighborhood | Common Dreams

My Neighborhood | Common Dreams.

PressTV: Half of Canada indigenous children live in poverty: Study

“Should Students Who Skip School Go To Jail?”

by Judy Molland
June 20, 2013
4:00 am

Should Students Who Skip School Go to Jail?

Students skipping school or being tardy are perennial topics for faculty meetings. Over the course of my teaching career, I’ve seen my share of proposed solutions, including Saturday school attendance, detention or suspension, campus clean-up, and even forcing parents to spend the day with their child at school.

School officials in Dallas, Texas, think they have the answer: truant and tardy students are fined, and sometimes they are sent to jail.

We are not talking about a few isolated cases here: according to Alternet, Texas adult courts in one recent year handled 113,000 truancy cases, while Dallas County truancy court alone collected nearly $3 million in fines. It also sent 67 students age 17 and older to jail because of truancy violations, and 53 students younger than 17 to juvenile detention centers.

Outraged by this, advocacy groups have filed a civil rights complaint with the Justice Department on behalf of seven students in Texas.

The complaint, filed on June 12 by Texas Appleseed, the National Center for Youth Law and Disability Rights Texas, says that the truancy courts in Dallas County have prosecuted more than 36,000 students in four school districts, more than any other Texas county.

Children Prosecuted As Adults

The complaint urges the Justice Department to force reforms and “declare the practice of criminally prosecuting children as adults for truancy” a violation of their constitutional rights. It also asserts that the program unfairly targets minorities and underprivileged students, and routinely puts youngsters in jail rather than keeping them in school.

Alternet explains:

• Students have been taken out of school in handcuffs, held in jail for days at a time, and fines have totaled more than $1,000 for students who miss more than 10 days of school.
• The students who are hauled into court to face truancy or lateness charges are not provided with legal counsel. The only lawyers in the courtroom are the judge and a member of the district attorney’s office, unless the student’s family can afford their own representation.
• Defendants are charged court fees even if they prevail in fighting the accusations, discouraging people from exercising their right to a full hearing.

The school-to-prison pipeline is not a new idea: indeed, last year the Department of Justice accused officials in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, of operating just such a pipeline, because a disproportionate number of students who were African-American and/or had disabilities were arrested and incarcerated for alleged minor infractions of school discipline.

Dallas County has apparently found another way to operate a school-to-prison pipeline.

No one denies that truancy is a huge problem. Across the U.S., 7,000 high school students drop out every day: that’s one every 26 seconds. Since research suggests that teens who regularly skip school are more likely than their peers to drop out of school, experts are deeply concerned about truancy.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins believes he’s got the problem nailed. In a statement, he defended the program:

“The Dallas County system offers the best chance for truant students to get back in class and graduate,” said Jenkins, adding that the courts are staffed by attorneys who specialize in juvenile justice issues, and make use of agencies who work to solve the underlying issues behind the truancy of students.

The truancy court “offers the best chance for truant students to get back in class and graduate”? Does Mr. Jenkins really believe that having truant kids sit in jail, thereby missing even more school days, is the best way to help them graduate?

Restorative Justice

More enlightened thinking in educational circles these days is even questioning the use of suspensions as punishment. As many teachers are aware, kids often enjoy those days at home, when they can play games, watch TV, do just as they please all day long.

Restorative justice is the name of a program increasingly offered in schools seeking an alternative to “zero tolerance” policies like suspension, expulsion and truancy courts.

Since suspending students, or sending them to court, often leads to academic failure, thereby perpetuating the very behavior it is seeking to address, restorative justice instead provides a way of addressing negative behavior by keeping a student at school and using various means to encourage the offender to take responsibility and make amends.

The approach, which is now taking root in schools in Oakland, California, as well as Chicago, Denver and Portland, tries to nip problems and violence in the bud by creating stronger and more open relationships between students, teachers and administrators.

There are myriad reasons for students to skip school. Students are homeless, responsible for younger siblings, have children of their own, must work to help make ends meet, or care for ailing relatives. Some enroll in schools far away and get tired of taking three buses. Others say they are bored, while still others may be afraid to attend school.

Fining these students or sending them to jail will only succeed in ensuring they never want to return to school.

What do you think?

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/should-students-who-skip-school-go-to-jail.html#ixzz2Ws5xX2Pp

UN: Palestinian Children Tortured, Used as Human Shields by Israel

UN: Palestinian Children Tortured, Used as Human Shields by Israel.

UN: Palestinian Children Tortured, Used as Human Shields by Israel

New UN human rights agency report claims Israeli forces arbitrarily arrest Palestinian children in Gaza and West Bank, subject them to degrading treatment, exploit them to scope out potentially dangerous buildings and use them as shields to deter stone throwers.

By Reuters

June 20, 2013 “Information Clearing House – “Reuters” — A United Nations human rights body accused Israeli forces on Thursday of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields.

Palestinian children in Gaza and the West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 war, are routinely denied registration of their birth and access to health care, decent schools and clean water, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said.

“Palestinian children arrested by (Israeli) military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released,” it said in a report.

The Foreign Ministry said it had responded to a report by the UN children’s agency UNICEF in March on ill-treatment of Palestinian minors and questioned whether the UN committee’s investigation covered new ground.

“If someone simply wants to magnify their political bias and political bashing of Israel not based on a new report, on work on the ground, but simply recycling old stuff, there is no importance in that,” spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

The report by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child acknowledged Israel’s national security concerns and noted that children on both sides of the conflict continue to be killed and wounded, but that more casualties are Palestinian.

Most Palestinian children arrested are accused of having thrown stones, an offense which can carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, the committee said. soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces had testified to the often arbitrary nature of the arrests, it said.

The watchdog’s 18 independent experts examined Israel’s record of compliance with a 1990 treaty as part of its regular review of a pact signed by all nations except Somalia and the United States. An Israeli delegation attended the session.

The UN committee regretted Israel’s “persistent refusal” to respond to requests for information on children in the Palestinian territories and occupied Syrian Golan Heights since the last review in 2002.


“Hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed and thousands injured over the reporting period as a result of the state party military operations, especially in Gaza where the state party proceeded to (conduct) air and naval strikes on densely populated areas with a significant presence of children, thus disregarding the principles of proportionality and distinction,” the report said.

Israel battled a Palestinian uprising during part of the 10-year period examined by the committee.

It withdrew its troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, but still blockades the Hamas-run enclave, from where Palestinian militants have sometimes fired rockets into Israel.

During the 10-year period, an estimated 7,000 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17, but some as young as nine, had been arrested, interrogated and detained, the UN report said.

Many are brought in leg chains and shackles before military courts, while youths are held in solitary confinement, sometimes for months, the report said.

It voiced deep concern at the “continuous use of Palestinian children as human shields and informants”, saying 14 such cases had been reported between January 2010 and March 2013 alone.

Israeli soldiers had used Palestinian children to enter potentially dangerous buildings before them and to stand in front of military vehicles to deter stone-throwing, it said.

“Almost all those using children as human shields and informants have remained unpunished and the soldiers convicted for having forced at gunpoint a nine-year-old child to search bags suspected of containing explosives only received a suspended sentence of three months and were demoted,” it said.

Israel’s “illegal long-standing occupation” of Palestinian territory and the Golan Heights, continued expansion of “unlawful” Jewish settlements, construction of the separation fence into the West Bank, land confiscation and destruction of homes and livelihoods “constitute severe and continuous violations of the rights of Palestinian children and their families”, it said.

Israel disputes the international position that its settlements in the West Bank are illegal. It says the wall it built there during the uprising stopped Palestinian suicide bombers from reaching its cities.

In March, Palmor, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, had said that officials from the ministry and the military had cooperated with UNICEF in its work on the report, with the goal of improving the treatment of Palestinian minors in custody.

“Israel will study the conclusions and will work to implement them through ongoing cooperation with UNICEF, whose work we value and respect,” he said, in response to the UNICEF report.


Maids for Sale: Child Exploitation Bonanza http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35343.htm#.UcK16AFo7Rg.twitter

Maids for Sale: Child Exploitation Bonanza
By Ramzy Baroud
June 19, 2013 “Information Clearing House –  Last night at the hotel lobby of an Arab Gulf country, a family walked in aiming for the westernized café that sells everything but Arabic coffee.
The mother seemed distant as she pressed buttons on her smart phone. The father looked tired as he buffed away on his cigarette, and a whole band of children ran around in refreshing chaos that broke the monotony of the fancy but impersonal hotel setting.
Chasing behind the children for no other reason but to be constantly vigilant to any unexpected harm was a very skinny Indonesian teenager wearing a tightly wrapped headscarf, worn out blue jeans and a long shirt. She was the maid, or khadama as maids are called here, meaning a servant.

The girl was but a child, of the same build and overall demeanor of my 14-year-old daughter who is busy with her studies anticipating a very exciting summer ahead.

If she is lucky, the Indonesian ‘Khadama’ can only expect one day off per two weeks, as she spends all of her time toiling for numerous hours, has no rights, with little or no pay and cannot escape.

In most Gulf countries, cheap foreign laborers are asked to hand over their passports in a scheme involving authorities, employment agencies and employers. This is done to ensure compliance and obedience of young men and women that are mostly from Southeast Asian countries.

“Modern Slavery”

Some Arab countries have become a breeding ground for a form of modern slavery that capitalizes on existing miseries found elsewhere in order to feed the insatiable consumerism that permeates most societies.

It is particularly disheartening considering that Islamic doctrines emphasized labor rights many centuries ago, leaving no room whatsoever for alternative interpretations to religious texts that people are created equal, deserving of respect, freedom and dignity.

The injustice doesn’t start and end there. Rich Arab countries are but a mere manifestation of a relentless global phenomenon that requires more than unbinding international conventions but a major shift in cultural attitude.

June 12 was World Day Against Child Labor, an occasion that barely warranted some habitual mentioning by some news media, but certainly not enough to compete with headlines pertaining to the latest gadgets, and yet more revealing photos of one Kardashian woman or another. I wonder if we tend to avoid such topics because once they are truly discussed, to varied degrees, we all become culpable?

From the brand name clothes we wear, the fancy gadgets we haul around to pretty much everything else we consume, there is surely to be found traces of the sweat and tears of some oppressed laborer or a child with much potential but little hope.

No, this is not a guilt trip, but a pressing issue that can no longer be ignored or lumped into some vague notions about the world at large, being unfair and such.

Many forms of injustice are driven by conscious decisions made by all of us. They can also be reversed by conscious decisions made by some of us.

Is It Global?


There are an estimated 215 million children classified as child labors.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has done much to delineate the problem and tried to engage various governments around the world to alleviate the suffering of laborers, especially the children amongst them.

Most countries around the world ratified ILO Conventions into law, but most are yet to challenge the rooted exploitation in their own societies.

Browsing through the text of ILO’s fundamental child labor Conventions, (namely No. 138. No. 182 and the more recently No. 189, adopted at the International Labor Conference of 2011), there is enough clarity regarding the minimum age of admission to employment, the ‘worst forms of child labor’ in domestic work and many other related issues. Yet, while governments are giddily signing such Conventions- knowing that accountability is almost nonexistent- often time little changes on the ground.

In Burma, an activist, Hsu Hnget told Irrawaddy news, that child labor is “so deeply rooted in society that it had become a ‘tradition.’”

According to a survey conducted by Child Rights and You, and cited in the Huffington Post, “19 percent of people in South Delhi believe that an individual is a child if he or she is below the age of 10 and most did not know about the laws that prohibit child labor.”

In Indonesia, ILO estimates that almost 2.5 million children are toiling at work, while they should not be working in the first place. The Jakarta Post reported that 21 percent of them are domestic workers and 60 percent work in the tobacco industry. According to the ILO and other organizations, many of them work for no pay.

“The children in the tobacco fields worked three to seven hours per day, earning only Rp 15,000 (US$1.51) to Rp 25,000,” reported the Jakarta Post on June 15.

Bangladesh is particularly rife with such exploitation, the type that also involves many western companies seeking cheap labor and large profit margins. Many of those who perished under the rubble of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka on April 24 were children, and of course, exploited adults. Since then two relevant anniversaries came and went with little change in work conditions: Labor Day events on May 1 and World Day Against Child Labor on June 12.

There are an estimated 215 million children classified as child labors. Amongst them, according to the International Labor Organization, “10.5 million kids are employed to cook and clean homes, where they’re often subjected to hazardous conditions and sexual abuse.”

In the Middle East, exploiting laborers is also a ‘tradition’, where there is no uproar, or even a slightly serious protest at the dismal work conditions, especially those involving children. This is not limited to foreign workers, but nationals as well. According to a global interactive map on ILO website, “an estimated 13.4 million, or about 15 percent of all children in the (Arab) region are child laborers.”

In a separate study, the ILO explains the types of exploitation in Arab countries. “Working children in this region are vulnerable to participation in illicit activities such as drug trafficking and the commercial sex industry, recruitment by religious extremists, poor health, exposure to unsafe working environments, and lack of access to skills training.”

Syrian Kids

Of course, the Syrian civil war is expectedly important to any discussion related to exploitation as its horrible consequences are now extending all over the region. Many Syrian children are being exploited in Lebanon and elsewhere as laborers and prostitutes, reported Al Akhbar Newspaper  on June 11.

Similar reports are resurfacing elsewhere, throughout Arab countries, Turkey and Europe. “Not far from the Lebanese hot zones, media strategy expert Issam Azouri describes the situation of a child receiving $20 a day to throw a hand grenade or burn a tire,” according to Al Akhbar, which also reported on a 4-year-old boy that begs to survive.

In some tragic way, the Indonesian teenage ‘servant’ from the hotel lobby last night might not even qualify to be included under ‘worst forms of labors’ per ILO Convention No. 182 which defines the type of labor that is similar to slavery.

Regardless, we must not wait yet another year to make a passing mention of the tens of millions of exploited children, nod our heads in predictable tandem about how unfair the world is, and how lucky we are to be spared such injustice.

Child laborers would not exist if it were not for the many more millions of willing exploiters, seeking Khadamas, fine cigars and brand name garments.

The world, after all, is made up by us, so we’d better take responsibility for it and its exploited children.

Ramzy Baroud is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), now available on Amazon.com. Baroud’s website can be visited here: www.ramzybaroud.net.

YEMEN must improve Children´s Plight in new constitution: UNICEF

 Yemen must improve kids’ plight in new constitution: UNICEF
by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) June 17, 2013

The UN’s children’s agency called Monday for Yemen to improve safeguards for kids as it discusses how to draft a new constitution, by for instance ensuring access to clean water and battling child marriages.

Yemen is currently engaged in a national dialogue as part of a UN-brokered deal that eased former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh from power last year after an 11-month uprising against his 33-year rule.

The talks, which aim to pave the way for elections in 2014 and for the creation of a new constitution, “give us a once in a lifetime opportunity … to ensure that the rights of children are fully baked into the constitution,” UNICEF’s Yemen representative Julien Harneis told reporters in Geneva.

A major problem in Yemen, ravaged by years of factional strife and widespread poverty, is that there is no clear definition of what constitutes a child, making it difficult to battle child marriages, or to ensure that juvenile offenders are not tried — and executed — as adults, he said.

“Depending upon which bit of legislation (you look at), a child in Yemen can be somebody under 14, somebody under 15, somebody under 16 or somebody under 18,” Harneis pointed out.

This, on top of the fact that only around 21 percent of births are registered in Yemen, meaning many people do not know their exact age, and that there are no laws against child marriage, means the practice is widespread, he said.

“We see children who are married at the age of 9 or 10 years old,” he lamented.

Yemen does have laws against executing people who commit crimes as children, but, Harneis said, the laws are “insufficiently clear and there are difficulties in proving people’s age at the time of offence.”

As a result, there are currently 25 juvenile offenders on Yemen’s death row.

The lack of clarity around what constitutes a child and how old most people are has also contributed to making Yemen fertile ground for human trafficking of kids, especially boys, according to UNICEF.

From June 2012 to May 2013, 788 rescued children who had been trafficked were received at a UNICEF-supported care centre in Haradh, in central Yemen.

“Given that these figures only include children that have been rescued, they potentially represent just the tip of the iceberg,” the UN agency said.

In Yemen — one of the world’s most water-stressed countries — there is also a desperate need to legislate how water is distributed, Harneis said, pointing out that lacking access to clean water has especially devastating implications for children.

Today, only about six percent of Yemen’s water goes to households, with Yemenis on average having access to just 15 litres a day, instead of the 40 litres they should have, according to national standards.