Category Archives: United Nations

“Refugees are not the problem, the Germans are” – Leftist Party

Posted by EU Times on Mar 25th, 2016

A recent tweet from Germany’s Left Wing Party, Die Linke, shows its true colors.

“Refugees are not the problem, the Germans are”

the official Die Linke Twitter account tweeted.

They tweeted this to an account called Firoze Manji, who claims to be a director of group which “promotes diversity“. Continue reading “Refugees are not the problem, the Germans are” – Leftist Party

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Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon | UNRWA

Some 450,000 refugees are registered with UNRWA in Lebanon, with many living in the country’s 12 refugee camps.

Palestine refugees represent an estimated ten per cent of the population of Lebanon. They do not enjoy several important rights; for example, they cannot work in as many as 20 professions. Because they are not formally citizens of another state, Palestine refugees are unable to claim the same rights as other foreigners living and working in Lebanon. Among the five UNRWA fields, Lebanon has the highest percentage of Palestine refugees living in abject poverty.

Continue reading Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon | UNRWA

Fallacy and lies- “Cardinal Turkson on long term impact of Laudato Si'”

The article by Vatican Radio can be read below – but before that let’s put it in perpspective:

 

Copenhagen and Global Warming: Ten Facts and Ten Myths on Climate Change

Originally published by GR in 2009

Ten facts about climate change

1.     Climate has always changed, and it always will. The assumption that prior to the industrial revolution the Earth had a “stable” climate is simply wrong. The only sensible thing to do about climate change is to prepare for it.

2.    Accurate temperature measurements made from weather balloons and satellites since the late 1950s show no atmospheric warming since 1958.  In contrast, averaged ground-based thermometers record a warming of about 0.40 C over the same time period. Many scientists believe that the thermometer record is biased by the Urban Heat Island effect and other artefacts.

Continue reading Fallacy and lies- “Cardinal Turkson on long term impact of Laudato Si’”

Gore’s Dual Role: Advocate and Investor

By JOHN M. BRODER NOV. 2, 2009

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Al Gore thought he had spotted a winner last year when a small California firm sought financing for an energy-saving technology from the venture capital firm where Mr. Gore is a partner.

The company, Silver Spring Networks, produces hardware and software to make the electricity grid more efficient. It came to Mr. Gore’s firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital providers, looking for $75 million to expand its partnerships with utilities seeking to install millions of so-called smart meters in homes and businesses.

Mr. Gore and his partners decided to back the company, and in gratitude Silver Spring retained him and John Doerr, another Kleiner Perkins partner, as unpaid corporate advisers.The deal appeared to pay off in a big way last week, when the Energy Department announced $3.4 billion in smart grid grants. Of the total, more than $560 million went to utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts. Kleiner Perkins and its partners, including Mr. Gore, could recoup their investment many times over in coming years. Continue reading Gore’s Dual Role: Advocate and Investor

None So Brave – “De Oppresso Liber”

“De Oppresso Liber”

(To Liberate the Oppressed) ~~Motto of the U.S. Army Special Forces

A poignant Afghan proverb declares,

“Cowards cause harm to brave men.”

This ancient Pashtun adage reflects the shocking story of U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Charles Martland; Martland is the brave man, a soldier who saved the life of an Afghan boy who was abducted, held, and abused as a sex slave by an Afghan police chief, Abdul Rahman, the vicious, powerful, and arrogant coward. The incomprehensible harm to Martland resides in the inexplicable action taken by the U.S. Army. The Army disciplined Martland, relieved him from his duty post in Afghanistan, and is now seeking to involuntarily discharge him from military service.

What was the dreadful and discharge-able infraction by the highly decorated Green Beret Charles Martland? Continue reading None So Brave – “De Oppresso Liber”

31,487 Scientists say NO to Climate Change Alarmists

The Global Warming Petition project;
Started by Dr Art Robinson in response to the false alarm over CO2;
http://www.petitionproject.org/seitz_…
and Continue reading 31,487 Scientists say NO to Climate Change Alarmists

Worldwide humanitarian vaccination projects are for depopulation

Saturday, June 28, 2014 by: Paul Fassa

Just a very few years ago, Bill Gates publicly declared before a live audience that using vaccinations strategically may help reduce the world population by 15 percent. Many claimed it was a slip of tongue, like a verbal typo. The audience and mainstream media apparently ignored it.

However, actual worldwide events indicate that population control is part or the world vaccination agenda. Continue reading Worldwide humanitarian vaccination projects are for depopulation

The Guatemala Human Rights Commission Expresses Concern over U.S. Reaction to Child Migration Crisis

Read our report on conditions facing Guatemalans deported from the US.

(Information from August 2014)

Each week, an estimated 120 Guatemalan children, many unaccompanied, are arriving at the U.S. border. When they arrive in the U.S., they have already survived a long and perilous journey through Mexico, where extortion, kidnapping, rape, and murder are common; many survive these horrors only to die crossing the U.S. desert. Often these children make the journey north not by choice but because they face daily violence and life-threatening poverty; some are literally running for their lives. In a study by the UNHRC, almost 40% of Guatemalan children interviewed who had entered the U.S. unaccompanied and undocumented raised international protection concerns due to violence in society or abuse in the home; close to 30% spoke of deprivation.

In the face of this humanitarian crisis, the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA (GHRC) calls for the U.S. government to treat all migrants with dignity, and accept its legal and humanitarian responsibilities to protect refugee children and youth.

The root causes of forced migration in Guatemala are linked to a complex set of factors that include rampant violence, acute poverty, corruption and high rates of impunity — conditions long exacerbated by U.S. policies. GHRC condemns misguided or inhumane responses, such as expedited deportations, that will not only send children back to situations of dire violence, but will also contribute to a cycle of forced migration. Instead, the U.S. response must include deeper analysis of these root causes, including our own role in exacerbating forced migration.

GHRC calls for a humane U.S. response, in line with international protection obligations, to address the immediate needs of children and vulnerable populations.

  • The U.S. should fully comply with international obligations and provide comprehensive screening for possible international protection needs. To do so, The U.S. should guarantee legal representation for migrants and refugees that arrive at the U.S. border, especially for vulnerable populations such as unaccompanied minors.
  • The U.S. should maintain protections under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (“TVPRA”) for Central American children.
  • The U.S. should base all decisions regarding the treatment of child migrants on the best interest of the child; family reunification in the U.S. should be top priority.
  • The U.S. should halt all deportations until a system is in place to provide both legal representation and screening for international protection needs for all migrants. This is important because the Guatemalan government does not have established programs to support the safe and effective reintegration of deported migrants, and does not have the capacity to receive large numbers of unaccompanied minors, particularly those at risk.

GHRC calls for a long-term strategy that addresses the root causes of migration and focuses on helping people to stay in their communities, instead of a militarized or “mano dura” enforcement approach that will only provoke further fear and instability.

  • The U.S. should halt security assistance to Guatemala’s police and military, both through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) and other bilateral security assistance programs, until credible evidence shows they are protecting human rights and effectively combating internal corruption and links to organized criminal networks. If security assistance is provided, it should be contingent upon strict compliance with human rights conditions and should focus on prevention programs as well as services for at-risk populations such as women’s shelters and witness protection programs.
  • The U.S. should re-negotiate the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) to create more balanced trade regulations and address ongoing poverty and inequality in the labor, textile, agricultural, and service sectors. USAID programs should prioritize support for local and community-based programs to alleviate poverty, and increase access to education, social services and employment opportunities. The U.S. should ensure that any assistance program meets priority needs identified by the local population. To address displacement due to large-scale extractive industry projects, the U.S. should also urge Guatemala to meet its obligation to indigenous communities of free, prior and informed consent before any development project is carried out.
  • The U.S. should continue to provide support to strengthen the judicial system and accountability mechanisms; this includes support for the high risk courts and the International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG) in Guatemala and efforts to increase judicial independence. The U.S. should also encourage full compliance with Guatemala’s human rights obligations under regional and international law.
  • The U.S. should support increased protections for human rights defenders, many of whom faced targeted threats and violence due to their work to improve social and economic conditions in Guatemala.

Background:

U.S. policies in the region have been a significant factor contributing to decades of forced migration from Guatemala.

GHRC has documented conditions in Guatemala for over three decades, during which time forced migration has been inextricably linked to social and political factors rooted in historic poverty, inequality and state-sponsored violence – conditions aggravated by U.S. policies, particularly over the last 60 years.

After backing a coup against Guatemala’s democratically elected president in 1954, the U.S. supported the reversal of democratic reforms for economic equality and, for the next forty years, funded, trained and supported the brutal violence unleashed against Guatemala’s civilian population. During Guatemala’s internal armed conflict, which reached the peak of brutality in the early 1980s, over one million people were forcibly displaced, and an estimated 200,000 fled to Mexico, the U.S. and other countries as war refugees.

The long-term legacy of this violence is complex and includes family and community disintegration, high rates of generalized violence, outmigration, and a myriad of related social problems. These challenges were not resolved with the signing of the 1996 Peace Accords and instead have become more acute over the past decade. A history of violence and impunity has also contributed to structural violence, as well as high levels of domestic violence, organized crime, corruption, and weak state institutions. These conditions often violate the universal right to life, liberty and security.

The U.S. response to post-war instability and violence in the region has in large part exacerbated the factors that contributed to forced migration.

1) The U.S. continues to fund security policies in Guatemala that have failed to reduce generalized violence in the region and, in some cases, has reduced Guatemalans’ sense of security.  Bilateral and regional assistance has increased steadily from 2008 to today, including over 100 million dollars of security assistance to Guatemala through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI).

Over this same period, violent crime in the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) has escalated and the region now has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Guatemalan women suffer particularly high rates of domestic and sexual violence. In 2013 Guatemala registered the second highest rate of femicide [1]; over 50% of migrants from Guatemala that year were women [2] and GHRC has supported numerous asylum cases of women who fear persecution and violence if forced to return.

While U.S. support for the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has been important, aid to Guatemalan security forces has not succeeded in reducing overall levels of organized crime. Organized criminal networks continue to operate freely throughout Guatemala, trafficking drugs, guns, and human beings. Gangs control entire sections of Guatemala City and other urban areas through extortion, forced recruitment, and other acts of intimidation and violence.

Children are the most vulnerable of all. Every 17 hours a child or teen dies from gun violence. And every two hours a child younger than five years of age dies of preventable causes [3]. Children suffer widespread abuse, sexual exploitation, prostitution, and forced marriage [4]. Where gangs are present, children and youth are specifically targeted for forced recruitment and threatened with severe retaliation if they refuse to join gangs and perform criminal activities or serve as coerced sexual partners [5].

The Guatemalan government is often unable to offer its citizens protection from violence. Impunity for all crimes is one of the highest in the western hemisphere, and impunity for crimes committed against women, children and other vulnerable populations can reach 98%. The police are undertrained, understaffed, underpaid, and often corrupt. Rather than focus on reforming the civilian police, Guatemala has increasingly relied on the military for law enforcement, a strategy that has proven ineffective and, in many cases, counterproductive.

Moreover, there are credible allegations of collaboration between organized criminal groups and members of the Guatemalan military and police [6], as well as police and military involvement in serious crimes [7], exacerbating impunity and denying victims the right to security and justice. Such abuses are often not investigated or prosecuted.

The infiltration of Guatemala’s security forces by organized criminal networks also leads to concerns that ongoing U.S. aid to these institutions inadvertently strengthens the very groups it seeks to combat, and ultimately increases the risk of violence and human rights abuses against vulnerable populations.

2) U.S. economic policies have reinforced poverty and undermined employment opportunities, both of which continue to be important push factors for forced migration. According to the UNDP, more than 51% of Guatemalans live in poverty, with 17% surviving on less than US $1.25 per day [8]. Over half of children under age five suffer from stunting due to malnutrition and 23% of the entire Guatemalan population is undernourished. Chronic under-nutrition in indigenous areas reaches 70% [9].Guatemala continues to be one of the lowest spenders on social programs of any country in Central America, and many Guatemalans lack of access to basic healthcare, social services, and education.

U.S. economic policies such as the Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) have further contributed to impoverishment and economic instability at the community level. CAFTA has failed to provide sustainable economic opportunity. Steady, long-term employment in many regions is few and far between; 75% of working people are employed in the informal sector, with no job benefits or security, and no guarantee of earning the minimum wage [10].

Many people in rural communities are heavily dependent on subsistence agriculture. CAFTA has increased the trade imbalance between the U.S. and Guatemala and imports of U.S. subsidized crops have undercut local markets [11], forcing people to find work elsewhere, including in the United States. Meanwhile, labor violations and abuse in the workplace are an ongoing reality for those employed in the textile and service sectors. The open CAFTA complaint against Guatemala, filed by U.S. and Guatemalan labor unions in 2009 for the government’s failure to address persistent and systematic labor rights violations, has not produced any results [12].

The U.S. has done little to address conflict in many rural and indigenous communities, which has spiked due to the rise of international investment in mining, hydroelectric power, petroleum extraction, and other large-scale commercial agriculture. These land-intensive projects create few jobs and leave immense environmental devastation in their wake. By means of community referendums Guatemalans have expressed their overwhelming opposition to this model of imposed “development,” yet the Guatemalan government has refused to recognize the results of these plebiscites and has even questioned their legitimacy. Meanwhile the government has neglected to carry out its own consultations with the indigenous populations affected by these projects, in direct violation of obligations under international law. Instead, the Guatemalan government has relied on repressive policies and, in some cases, martial law, to protect the economic interests of transnational companies rather than the safety of its citizens. Facing displacement, contaminated water, polluted environments, and repression from the government, Guatemalans may be forced to seek their livelihoods elsewhere.

3) The U.S. has not done enough to protect human rights defenders, many of whom are working to improve social and economic conditions at home. Those who seek to address root causes of migration – including violence, impunity, land rights and economic inequality – face defamation, persecution and targeted violence. In 2013, Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit of Guatemala documented 18 assassinations of human rights defenders. That same year, the International Trade Union Confederation called Guatemala the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist, citing 68 documented assassinations of trade unionists since 2007. Suspects have been arrested in only one of the murder cases [13].


[1] UN Human Rights Council, Update Paper, World Model United Nations 2013. See also “Guatemala es el segundo país del mundo con más casos de femicidios, según ONU” lainformation.com, November 20, 2012. Available online at http://noticias.lainformacion.com/asuntos-sociales/conducta-abusiva/guatemala-es-el-segundo-pais-del-mundo-con-mas-casos-de-femicidios-segun-onu_qrUtoDkn9B83D3LYp9OGD7/.

[3] Oficina de Derechos Humanos del Arzobispado de Guatemala, Situación de la Niñez Guatemalteca, Informe 2012-2013

[4] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013

[5]See, for example: Marked for Death: The Maras of Central America and those who Flee their Wrath, Jeffrey D. Corsetti, 20 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 407, 2005-2006. Available online at http://www.uscrirefugees.org/2010Website/5_Resources/5_3_For_Service_Providers/5_3_9_Gangs/MarkedForDeath_Part1.pdf

[6] Gonzalez, Rosmery Austria deniega permiso de venta de armas a gobierno de Otto Pérez, El Periodico, (May 2, 2014) available online at http://elperiodico.com.gt/es/20140502/pais/246662/

[7] U.S  Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013

[8] UN Human Development Report 2013.

[9] World Food Program. “Guatemala.” 2013. Available at http://www.wfp.org/countries/guatemala

[10] Taken from World Bank at http://www.voxxi.com/latin-american-workers-swallowed-by-informal-employment-low-wages/

[11] See reports from the Stop CAFTA Coalition from 2006, 2007, 2008. Available online at http://www.ghrc-usa.org/resources/publications/other-publications/.

[12] See http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Global-Action/Enforcement-Plan-Fails-to-End-Murders-Violence-Against-Trade-Unionists-in-Guatemala

[13] See http://es.panampost.com/marcela-estrada/2014/06/04/guatemala-tras-anos-de-impunidad-en-homicidios-de-68-sindicalistas-detienen-a-primeros-tres-sospechosos/

Source: ghrc-usa.org

Conditions Facing Guatemalans Deported from the US

The Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA | October 2014

An average of two ICE planes arrive every day at the Guatemala City airport carrying Guatemalans deported from the US; some individuals are detained in the desert a few days after crossing into the United States while others have lived in the US for years. An ICE official recently estimated that a total of 50,000 Guatemalans were deported from the US in FY 2014.
In order to stem the tide of children fleeing Central American countries, a situation that made headlines over the summer, the Obama Administration is aiming to deport unaccompanied children and families with children as soon as possible, including a “last in, first out” rapid deportation of recent arrivals.
However, Guatemala’s rampant corruption and poor social services call into question that country’s ability to safely and humanely absorb increasing numbers of its deported citizens, especially children. It is also unlikely to be a successful strategy in the long term, while the reasons underlying migration remain unchanged.
What is the Process for Return and Reintegration?
US officials have cited Guatemala as having a model intake process for deported migrants. In late August, GHRC staff observed the intake process for a plane of deportees that arrived from Brownsville, Texas. Over 100 people walked across the tarmac to a small building set up
to process returned migrants. The majority of people that deplaned were young men, many wearing
matching jeans and white t-shirts, but there were also about two dozen women.
Each person was briefly interviewed and allowed to make a local call and exchange money. Afterward, they were given a small mesh bag containing their personal effects,which in most cases appeared to be almost empty. In interviews conducted by GHRC staff, many deportees mentioned
being coerced into signing their deportation papers, including some that recounted a US border agent threatening to sign the papers for them if they didn’t sign voluntarily.
Women interviewed spoke of the lack of basic sanitary items such as toothbrushes in ICE detention,
and lack of access to showers for extended periods of time. One described an infant, lying on the
floor, blue from cold – workers at the facility would not give the baby milk or diapers, she explained.
Outside, a few NGOs had tables set up to provide resources on temporary migrant housing and to
offer international phone calls. After this intake process, we were told, deportees are taken to the central bus station and given bus tickets at least part-way to their home towns. No further services are provided.
What Happens to Unaccompanied Children?
Unaccompanied children deported to Guatemala are turned over to the Secretariat of Social Welfare. The Secretariat has two shelters to receive the children, and if they can’t be handed over to their families within a few days, they are sent to one of the permanent shelters the office runs. In a damning report from August 2013, Guatemala’s Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office wrote that these shelters were unhygienic and provided poor quality food, inadequate clothing, no recreational activities and poor healthcare. The facilities are overcrowded, with children sleeping
two to a bed, and understaffed.
Last year, a 14 year-old girl who was a resident of the Guatemala City shelter was murdered by two other girls after they were locked into a bathroom together and left there. According to an ICE official, there were 72 minors deported from the US to Guatemala between January and late August 2014. There is reportedly no risk assessment carried out before the child is turned over to a family member, and no follow-up with the children by the government. GHRC even received information that the government may have, in some cases, mistakenly handed children over to people who
are not family members, including individuals linked to human trafficking networks.
Violence is a Daily Fact of Life in Guatemala
Generalized Violence According to a UNHCR report on unaccompanied child migrants, the majority of unaccompanied children from Guatemala are from the Western Highlands, which has high rates of poverty and very few government services. The region doesn’t have the highest homicide
rates in the country, but other forms of violence are commonplace, particularly for women and children. Twenty-three percent of the unaccompanied children the UNHCR interviewed mentioned violence they suffered in the home. Guatemala City has a 70% rate of impunity for homicide (down from 98% just a few years ago); other violent crimes are very rarely reported and almost never successfully prosecuted. A further 20% talked with the UNCHR about violence in society as being a major cause for their migration. Organized criminal networks continue to operate freely throughout Guatemala, trafficking drugs, guns, and human beings. Gangs control entire sections of Guatemala City and other urban areas through extortion, forced recruitment, and other acts of intimidation and violence. Children and youth are specifically targeted for forced recruitment and threatened with severe retaliation if they refuse to join gangs and perform criminal activities or serve as coerced sexual partners.
Every 17 hours a child or teen dies from gun violence in Guatemala, and every two hours a child
younger than five years of age dies of preventable causes. The Guatemalan government is often
unable to offer its citizens protection from violence – especially those most vulnerable, such as children. Moreover, there are credible allegations of collaboration between organized criminal groups and members of the Guatemalan military and police, as well as police and military involvement in serious crimes, exacerbating impunity and denying victims the right to security
and justice. Such abuses are often not investigated or prosecuted.
Poverty and Deprivation, Upheld Through Violence
Twenty-nine percent of the children interviewed mentioned deprivation as a major factor in their decision to migrate. According to the UNDP, more than 51% of Guatemalans live in poverty, with 17% surviving on less than US $1.25 per day. Over half of children under age five suffer from stunting due to malnutrition and 23% of the entire Guatemalan population is undernourished.
According to a recent World Bank report, the poorest Guatemalans are only sinking deeper into poverty, largely due to extremely low rates of spending by the Guatemalan government, especially on social programs. This deprivation is more extreme in rural areas, where many people are
heavily dependent on subsistence agriculture. The Central American Free Trade Agreement, signed by Guatemala in 2006, has increased the trade imbalance between the US and Guatemala and imports of US subsidized crops have undercut local markets, forcing people to find work elsewhere, including in the United  States.
Targeted Violence Against Activists and Community Leaders Working for Positive Change
Human rights defenders who advocate for policies that would reduce inequality and poverty
are killed with near impunity. For example, in 2013, the International Trade Union Confederation called Guatemala the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist, citing 68 documented assassinations of unionists since 2007. Suspects have been arrested for only one of the murders. According to the Guatemala’s Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit, 18 defenders were killed last year for their work. The government’s reaction to social conflict has been increasingly
repressive. Across the country, communities have opposed the construction of mines and
hydroelectric dams; in response, the police and military have been mobilized in large numbers to
break up peaceful protests. Various military outposts have been opened in regions with ongoing conflicts over these “development” projects instead of in regions with the highest levels of violence, or identified as hotspots for organized crime. The Guatemalan government has also repeatedly used states of siege –similar to martial law – to suspend constitutional guarantees, raid homes, and detain community leaders.
In October of 2012, 15,000 indigenous protesters blocked Guatemala’s main highway demanding lower electricity prices and rejecting proposed reforms to teacher training and to Guatemala’s
constitution. Soldiers opened fire on the crowd, killing at least six people and injuring dozens of others. The soldiers and their commanding officers still have not been tried.
Flawed Proposals
As part of the Supplemental Budget Request, the Obama Administration asked Congress for $300 million to address the root causes of migration and to aid in reintegration. However, the proposed uses of these funds replicate US policies that in the past have deepened poverty and exacerbated inequality, or that have simply proven ineffective. In addition, President Obama asked for permission to waive protections granted to Central American children in order to deport them more quickly. However, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, rapid deportation could threaten the wellbeing of returnee children given that adequate humanitarian attention and protection in their home countries are not guaranteed.
While in Washington, DC, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina requested that $2 billion be invested in “Plan Central America,” along the lines of Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative. However, many of the security policies carried out to date in Guatemala have served not to improve security, but to uphold entrenched inequality and poverty and thus contribute to reinforcing some of the very “push factors” that lead migrants to seek better opportunities in the US.
Recommendations
A Humane Response, in line with International Protection Obligations, to address the immediate needs of Children and Vulnerable Populations
1)The US should fully comply with international obligations and provide comprehensive screening for possible international protection needs. To do so, The US should guarantee legal representation for migrants and refugees that arrive at the US border, especially for vulnerable populationst such as unaccompanied minors.
2)The US should maintain protections under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 for Central American children.
3)The US should base all decisions regarding the treatment of child migrants on the best interest of the child; family reunification in the US should be top priority.
4) The US should halt all deportations until a system is in place to provide both legal representation and screening for international protection needs for all migrants.
A Long-term Strategy that addresses the root causes of Migration and Focuses on Helping People to Stay in their communities, instead of a Militarized Enforcement Approach
1)The US should halt security assistance to Guatemala’s police and military, both through the Central America Regional Security Initiative and bilateral security assistance programs, until credible evidence shows they are protecting human rights and effectively combating internal corruption and links to organized criminal networks. If security assistance is provided, it should be contingent upon strict compliance with human rights conditions and should focus on prevention programs as well as services for at-risk populations such as women’s shelters and witness protection programs.
2)The US should re-negotiate the Central American Free Trade Agreement to create more balanced trade regulations and address ongoing poverty and inequality in the labor, textile, agricultural, and service sectors. USAID programs should prioritize support for local and community-based programs to alleviate poverty, and increase access to education, social services and employment opportunities. The US should ensure that any assistance program meets priority needs identified by the local population. To address displacement due to large-scale extractive industry projects, the US should also urge Guatemala to meet its obligation to indigenous communities of free, prior and informed consent before any development project is carried out.
3)The US should continue to provide support to strengthen the judicial system and accountability mechanisms; this includes support for the high risk courts and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala and efforts to increase judicial independence. The US should also encourage full compliance with Guatemala’s human rights obligations under international law.
4)The US should support increased protections for human rights defenders, many of whom face targeted threats and violence due to their work to improve social and economic conditions in Guatemala.
STATISTICS ON BASIC CONDITIONS IN GUATEMALA:
• Guatemala is one of the lowest spenders on social programs of any country in Central America: the national budget invests approximately 3% in education, 1% on health and 0.4% on housing.
• Over 50% of children are chronically malnourished; chronic under-nutrition in indigenous communities is an estimated 70%.
• 60% of the population lives on less than US $2/day. 26% of the population lives in multidimensional poverty.
• 75% of working people are employed in the informal sector, with no job benefits or security, and no guarantee of earning the minimum wage.
• The homicide rate of almost 40 murders per 100,000 inhabitants is one of the highest in the world.
• 748 women suffered violent deaths in 2013, an average of 2 every day, which is a 10% increase from 2012. The impunity rate for these cases is 98%.
• 68 labor activists have been killed since 2007, making Guatemala the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist.
• At least 54 drug trafficking organizations reportedly operate within the country.
Source: The Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA | http://www.ghrc-usa.org

Evidence That UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Betrayed The West For Money

‘Why The UN Isn’t A Solution’ by Phyllis Schlafly (May 26, 2004)
Cited by Persecution Of The Dutiful by P Atkinson

Because of the hardships on Iraqi children from the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the Persian Gulf War, beginning in 1996 Iraq was allowed to sell limited amounts of oil to finance the purchase of goods and medicines for humanitarian purposes. This Oil-for-Food program was supposed to be under tight UN supervision, but the UN was the fox guarding the chicken coop.

The UN collected a 2.2 percent commission on every barrel of oil to pay for overseeing a flow of funds that totaled at least $67 billion, a task administered by ten UN agencies employing 1,000 staff. That was just the start of the giant Oil-for-Food rip-off.

The evidence is now pouring in that more than $10 billion in bribes and kickbacks were siphoned off under the noses of the UN monitors. Oil-for-Food was a giant scam that allowed Saddam Hussein to divert that incredible sum to finance his lavish lifestyle and to buy friends to keep himself in power.

The UN had no effective mechanisms of accounting or disclosure, and there never was any audit. Everything was secret: the price and quantity of the oil and of the goods for relief, the identities of the oil buyers, the quality of the food and medicines, the bank statements, and all financial transactions.

General Tommy Franks called the program Oil-for-Palaces. Others called it UNScam. But Saddam’s personal pocketing of an estimated $5 billion was only part of the racket; the rest of the illegal money financed a system of bribes to buy international support for his corrupt regime.

Now we know why the UN, and especially France and Russia, opposed our goal of toppling Saddam. It wasn’t because they are anti-American; it was because they were the chief beneficiaries of these secret deals with Saddam and they didn’t want to turn off the money spigot.

From 1996 to 2002, Oil-for-Food was a cover that invited and sustained huge transfers of corruption-laden transactions between Iraq and major UN members, particularly Russia, France and China. Their profitable party would still be going on if the United States hadn’t kicked Saddam out of power.

Here is how the scam worked. Saddam selected individuals, corporations and political parties to receive oil allotments at steep price discounts, which were then sold at the market price. Their part of the deal was to kick back a generous percentage of the profits to Saddam and to help keep him in power by giving him political support in the UN and elsewhere.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was a chief negotiator with Saddam. Annan’s secretariat collected fees of $1.4 billion to monitor, administer and audit the program, keep the records, and interact with Saddam, plus another $500 million for weapons inspection.

Annan picked UN Assistant Secretary General Benon Sevan to be Oil-for-Food’s executive director and report directly to him. He served for six years.

The Iraq Oil Ministry has now released a list of 270 companies and politicians from 46 countries, especially Russia and France, that profited from this scheme. The list includes former Iraqi officials, a former French Cabinet minister, a British member of Parliament, Benon Sevan who ran the program, a company with which Kofi Annan’s son was associated, and other UN personnel who were supposed to be monitoring the contracts.

The smoking gun is a letter to the former Iraqi oil minister obtained by ABC News. It describes the specifics of one deal that would have generated a profit of $3.5 million.

Some of the food delivered, mostly from Russia, was unfit for humans, and medicines were often out of date. Saddam also handed out vouchers instead of cash for other goods imported illegally in violation of UN sanctions.

The excuse for this program was an alleged desire to provide for needs of Iraqi people, but the people had no say in who bought or sold goods or food, what was bought, how it was distributed, or anything else. The deal was between the UN and Saddam.

Five investigations of what is probably the biggest financial fraud in history are now in progress. Two are by the U.S. House, one by the Senate, one by the Iraqi Governing Council, and one authorized by the UN and headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. A UN Security Council resolution calls on the 191 UN countries “to cooperate fully,” but much cooperation is unlikely since Volcker has no subpoena power.