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by DVB, 16 July 2014
Eight women’s rights activists were questioned yesterday in two separate legal cases in Matupi Township Court in Chin State for staging unauthorised public protests against sexual violence by the Burmese military.
In June, about 400 protesters in Rezua took part in a demonstration that was prompted by the alleged attempted rape of a 55-year-old woman by a Burmese army soldier from Light Infantry Battalion No. 269. In Matupi, roughly 200 people showed up for a similar protest.
Although event organisers had requested permission from local authorities to stage their demonstrations, they were rebuffed – but forged on anyway. Four activists in Matupi and four more in Rezua were then charged with the violation of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Processions Law.
According to a press release yesterday by the Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO), the trial for the four women from Rezua will continue on 22 July. The trial of two men and two women from Matupi is set to continue on 23 July.
Urging authorities to “immediately and unconditionally drop the charges against the activists”, CHRO reiterated its call for an impartial and independent international investigation into “serious human rights violations in Burma, including sexual violence, in order to deter further violations and help end the culture of impunity.”
CHRO has documented five cases of sexual violence perpetrated by the Burmese military in Chin State since the nominally civilian government of President Thein Sein came into power in 2011.
However, Cherry Zahau, a prominent Chin activist, said that these recorded instances are just the “tip of the iceberg”, and that the Burmese military is using sexual violence and rape against Chin women to assert power.
“So far, those perpetrators have not been brought into any court system and justice has not been done in the favour of the victims,” Cherry Zahau said. “Clearly, it is a power issue [to show] that the soldier can do whatever he wants to do in that village. That is the message they want to indicate.”
Cherry Zahau added that the way the Burmese military and the government have been dealing with these complaints indicates a lack of political will.
“If there is a functional government or a more democratic government, they should look at the cases and the problems the women are raising instead of arresting the people who are raising the concerns and their voices,” she said.
This undated letter (left) was published in the 1990s and expressed how MANY PEOPLE in Canada felt about the media's irresponsible focus on the mass murderer.
Fast forward to June 7, 2014, and please read the latest article on the subject...
by Elizabeth Renzetti, The Globe and Mail, Jun. 07 2014
The whole country watched Moncton, first with horror, then with caught breath. For a day, a gunman was on the loose, a city terrorized. And three people were dead, all RCMP constables: David Ross, Fabrice Georges Gévaudan and Douglas James Larche.
A suspect is in custody. Police have released his name, too, but I’m not going to repeat it here. There are plenty of other places to find his identity and read about the trail of unearned grievances on his Facebook page. In the coming days, I’m sure we’ll learn more. I imagine it will be a familiar story of alienation and misplaced rage completely unattached to any actual injustice.
Police have apprehended the suspect in the shooting deaths of three RCMP officers in Moncton, New Brunswick. One resident who lives a few doors down from where the arrest was made says she is relieved.
This man is a suspect at the moment, nothing more. But he’s already succeeded in one thing: turning the attention of an entire country on himself. For a day, he and his stupid guns were the star of international cable news.
I’m not sure we want these guys taking up any more of our public space, sucking our valuable air. It’s what they want, to live in infamy, on a public stage where the spotlight is always on them. This is why they dress like cut-price Sylvester Stallones when they go out hunting humans, and make videos to be endlessly played on YouTube, and write “manifestos” about how the world has done them wrong.
We give them the attention they crave. Last Dec. 6, when I wanted to mark the anniversary of the murderous rampage at l’École Polytechnique that left 14 women dead, I realized that I knew the killer’s name but not the names of any of his victims. I went and looked them up, and it occurred to me that this was a second indignity committed against them. They are unknown, while his name lives on.
The 22-year-old who killed six people in Isla Vista, Calif., two weeks ago did his best to ensure that his electronic ghost would persist after he’d taken his own life. Affluent, pampered and troubled, he felt ignored, especially by the women who “owed” him something. He left a trail of poisonous videos and letters behind to ensure he’d have the attention in death he felt so grievously deprived of in life.
There are people who want to make sure that doesn’t happen. Richard Martinez is the father of Christopher Martinez, one of the victims of the Isla Vista killer. Mr. Martinez is incandescent in his rage, and he’s aiming that fury at America’s gun laws and a culture that he thinks inadvertently glorifies these criminals.
“When the media puts the shooter’s name out there, they put his picture out there, they put his videos out there, they’re doing exactly what the shooter wanted – they’re completing his plan,” Mr. Martinez told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Mr. Cooper has a policy of not naming or showing the pictures of mass killers on his program, partly prompted by the impassioned plea of the father of another shooting victim, a young man killed in the 2012 Aurora, Colo., theatre rampage. Megyn Kelly of Fox News has the same policy, saying she doesn’t want to reward murderous “infamy.” 60 Minutes recently ran a story about a football coach who confronted a student after he’d killed three classmates; the killer was deliberately not named or shown.
Does denying one killer his moment of glory keep others from following? It’s impossible to know, because you can’t measure absence. But there is evidence that some mass murderers play to an audience, and are well aware of their predecessors: “Many other perpetrators pay obsessive attention to previous massacres,” Ari Schulman wrote in The Wall Street Journal last year. “There is evidence for a direct line of influence running through some of the most notorious shooters – from Columbine in 1999 to Virginia Tech in 2007 to Newtown in 2012 – including their explicit references to previous massacres and calls to inspire future anti-heroes.”
It goes against every fibre of journalistic instinct to suggest that there should be less information out there, rather than more. We are always pressing for more detail, more information, on the grounds that the public deserves all the facts possible in order to make clear-headed decisions.
But there are many instances in which the media shield certain information, by law or by custom – publication bans imposed by judges, for one thing, or not naming minors involved in court cases. Perhaps that custom could extend to people who go on murderous rampages.
What if, after initial identification, they were quietly ignored, and pictures of their Rambo costumes and their big-boy guns weren’t reproduced incessantly? That way, the act would be greeted with the contempt it deserves. That way, there would still be room to remember the victims: David Ross, Fabrice Georges Gévaudan and Douglas James Larche.
by Andrew Buncombe, The Independent, Delhi, 02 June 2014
The protesters, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which controls India’s federal government, were demonstrating outside the headquarters of the administration of Uttar Pradesh state, which has been the location of a flurry of rapes and attacks.
The BJP protesters demanded that the state government, headed by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, do more to improve security for women. They have accused Mr Yadav and his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav, who heads the ruling party in UP, of being soft on crimes against women.
The protests follow the rape and murder last week of two cousins, who were seized and assaulted after they went into the fields to relieve themselves. The girls, believed to be aged between 12 and 14, were then hanged from a mango tree on the edge of the village using their own scarves.
Relatives said when the girls went missing, police refused to investigate the case and abused them over their low-caste status. The family’s caste is at the very bottom of the Hindu social structure, whereas the three alleged attackers and the police officers on duty belong to the yadav caste, which is the “dominant” caste in the area. Five people - the three suspects, who are brothers, and two police officers - have been detained.
Since the discovery of the girls’ bodies last Wednesday morning, a number of politicians have made their way to the simple shack occupied by the girls’ extended family in the village of Katra Sadatganj, 150 miles west of the state capital, Lucknow. The most recent of them was Ram Vilas Paswan, a central government minister who is also from a low caste.
During a visit on Monday, he also criticised the UP state government for failing to do more to protect the girls.
“If you are not being able to provide right to life, then what kind of government this is,” he asked, according to reports in the Indian media.
The state government in UP is run by the the Samajwadi Party, which draws much of its support from the yadav caste. During India’s recent election campaign, the head of the party, Mulayam Singh Yadav, sparked controversy by saying rapists should not receive the death penalty because “boys will be boys”.
The sprawling state of UP is has a population of around 200 million people and is considered India’s most important state politically as it returns 80 seats to the country’s parliament. But it is also known for poor social indicators, a lack of amenities and development, and widespread crimes against women.
Experts say that since the December 2012 gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in Delhi, there is a greater willingness to report such attacks and greater pressure on the police to investigate them.
“UP seems to be a place which is notorious for these things,” said Dr Prabha Kotiswaran of King’s College London. “The fact that Mulayam Singh Yadav was able to say those things and get away with that is indicative of the mindset that is prevailing.”
Dr Kotiswaran said that in the aftermath of the Delhi gang-rape, the government had introduced new legislation for dealing with such crimes and a fast-track system of courts. The problem was enforcing such laws. “The criminal justice system is a shambles,” she added.
On Monday it was also revealed police were trying to ascertain the identity of a young woman who was strangled to death and had acid poured on her face. The attack took place about 60 miles from the village where two girls were murdered last week.
Officers said the body of the woman, believed to be aged 22, was discovered on Saturday in a field in the village of Aithpura, close to the city of Bareilly.
Initial reports said the woman had been raped, made to drink acid and strangled. Her face had later been mutilated with acid and petrol, apparently in an attempt to hide her identity.
But the senior investigating officer, Supt Ravindra Gaur, told The Independent that while the woman had been murdered and her face destroyed by acid, post-mortem examination results showed she had not been raped.
“We are still trying to identify the body,” he said. “[We believe] the acid was poured on her to conceal her identity.”
Millions of women and girls around the world are exploited in the commercial sex industry, mainly in prostitution, which is often the end destination of sex trafficking. While most activists, lawmakers and international and regional organizations agree that the trafficking of women and girls for prostitution is a serious problem and a human rights violation, there is disagreement as to the best way to prevent sex trafficking and exploitation in prostitution.
An effective approach to preventing trafficking and exploitation is the ‘Nordic model’ (also known as the ‘Swedish model’), a set of laws and policies that penalizes the demand for commercial sex while decriminalizing individuals in prostitution and providing them with support services, including help for those who wish to exit prostitution.
The Nordic model has two main goals: to curb the demand for commercial sex that fuels sex trafficking, and promote equality between men and women. It is based on an approach first adopted in Sweden in 1999, and followed by Norway and Iceland.
CURBING THE DEMAND FOR SEX TRAFFICKING
Sex trafficking is a criminal industry that operates on the market principles of supply and demand. Demand is created by the (mainly) men who pay for commercial sex. Traffickers, pimps, brothel owners and other facilitators profit from this demand by supplying the women and girls who are exploited every day in the commercial sex industry. Sex trafficking does not just exist because its victims are vulnerable - it exists because there is a demand for commercial sex that traffickers can exploit and profit from. Thus, addressing the demand for commercial sex is a key component of any plan to prevent sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Men who buy sex and thereby create the demand that fuels trafficking have stated that greater criminal penalties, having their name publicized and having a letter sent home stating that they were arrested for buying sex would deter them from buying sex.
PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY
Women and girls who are trafficked and exploited to satisfy the demand for commercial sex are treated as commodities to be bought, sold, exploited and abused.
An estimated 98% of sex trafficking victims are women and girls and the vast majority of commercial sex “buyers” are men. Buyers often have specific preferences regarding the women and girls they buy - including “young” or “fresh” girls, specific races/ethnicities, and body shapes and sizes – but most importantly, they want on-demand sexual access to a diverse supply of women and girls. Exploitation of women and girls in the commercial sex industry is both a cause and consequence of gender and other inequalities. It entails numerous human rights violations, including of the right to equality and non-discrimination, dignity, health and to be free from violence, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.
It perpetuates the idea that it’s acceptable to buy women’s and girls’ bodies as long as a buyer can pay for it. The Nordic model challenges this construct and tries to redress these inequalities by promoting women’s and girls’ right to safety, health and non-discrimination, and by challenging men’s perceived – but nonexistent – “right” to buy women’s bodies for sex. Unsurprisingly, 3 of the top 4 countries with the highest level of gender equality have adopted the Nordic model.
Sex trafficking does not just exist because its victims are vulnerable - it exists because there is a demand for commercial sex that traffickers can exploit and profit from. 3 of the 4 countries with the highest level of gender equality have adopted the Nordic model as a way to combat sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT:
WWW.EQUALITYNOW.ORG SWEDEN–PIONEERING A NEW APPROACH
In 1999, as part of a Violence Against Women bill, Sweden passed a law that criminalized buyers of sex while keeping the person who sold or was sold for sex decriminalized. Sweden understood that gender inequality and sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking, could not be combated effectively as long as it was considered acceptable to purchase access to another – often more vulnerable and disadvantaged – person’s body.
Alongside this law, the Swedish government made a significant investment in exit programs for those who wish to leave prostitution
and to provide comprehensive social services for victims of exploitation, which is essential for a victim-centered, human rights-based approach to combating trafficking. Since the introduction of the law, street prostitution has decreased (while increasing dramatically in Sweden’s neighbors) and Sweden has become an undesirable destination for pimps and traffickers.
In addition, the new law has influenced attitudes regarding the purchase of sex: from 1996 (before the law) until 2008, the
number of male sex buyers decreased from 13.6% to 7.9%.
A GROWING MOVEMENT
Several countries have followed Sweden’s example, and many more are considering this approach. Norway and Iceland passed similar laws in 2008 and 2009, respectively, while in a growing trend sweeping across Europe, Nordic-model style legislation has recently been discussed in the parliaments of France, Ireland, Northern Ireland,
Scotland and England and Wales. In early 2014, the parliaments of the European Union and the Council of Europe both adopted non-
binding resolutions recommending member states to consider the Nordic Model.
An increasing number of activists and organizations across the globe, many of which are survivor-led, including in countries such as South Africa, India, the U.S. and Canada, are calling for lawmakers to recognize the realities of prostitution and to enact the Nordic model. This is in line with countries’ international legal obligation to address demand.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the former head of UN Women have also called for countries to combat the demand for commercial sex in order to prevent sex trafficking and promote gender equality.
Learn more at www.equalitynow.org.
CAASE, Deconstructing the Demand for Prostitution: Preliminary Insights from Interviews with Men who Buy Sex, May 2008, available at: http://g.virbcdn.com/_f/files/40/FileItem-149406-DeconstructingtheDemandForProstitution.pdf;
Jan Macleod, Melissa Farley,Lynn Anderson, and Jacqueline Golding, Challenging Men’s Demand for Prostitution in Scotland, 2008, available at:
International Labour Organization, Minimum Estimate of Forced Labour in the World, April 2005, p. 6.
Iceland is 1, Norway is 3 and Sweden is 4. World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2013, available at: http://www.weforum.org/issues/global-gender-gap.
Swedish Ministry of Justice, English summary of the Evaluation of the ban on purchase of sexual services (1999-2008), 2 July 2010. The report acknowledges the limitations in determining the prevalence of illegal activities, but even with these limitations, it is confident in the statements above.
See also Presentation by Simon Haggstrom, Stockholm police, 2013: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6O4xzzTqSU
Kajsa Claude, Targeting the sex buyer, the Swedish Institute (2010), available at: http://www.si.se/upload/Human%20Trafficking/Targeting%20the%20sex%20buyer.pdf.
European Parliament resolution:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20140221IPR36644/html/Punish-the-client-not-the-prostitute; Council of Europe resolution:http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/News/News-View-EN.asp?newsid=4964&cat=8.
Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, Article 9(5); General Assembly resolution 67/145, para 22 (‘Encourages Governments and relevant United Nations bodies...to discourage, with a view to eliminating, the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation’).
See e.g. CEDAW Committee Concluding Observations for Finland (UN Doc CEDAW/C/FIN/CO/7 (2014), Para 21; Republic of Korea (U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/KOR/CO/7 (2011), para. 23(f); Botswana, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/BOT/CO/3 (2010), para. 28.
Michelle Bachelet, “Fighting Human Trafficking: Partnership and Innovation to End Violence Against Women and Children”, United Nations General Assembly Interactive Dialogue, 3 April 2012.
(April 23rd 2014) a letter signed by over 800 international women's advocates, including women and men involved with REED, calls on politicians to look towards the Nordic Model - a model which decriminalizes prostitutes, criminalizes pimps and johns, and institues services and supports for those wishing to exit the industry - as a solution to the issue of prostitution and sex trafficking in Canada. The model has been successful in Sweden since 1999, has since been adopted by Norway and Iceland, and has been recommended by French Parliament and EU Parliament. This model focuses explicitly addresses the gender inequality inherent to the sex industry.
If you are in support of the Nordic Model consider writing to tell your elected officials that you want to see prostitution treated as a form of violence against women. Gather your community group, church circle, book club, class, men's group, etc. and write letters or fill out the postcards (see below) together. It's a great way to learn and take a step towards collective action!
To order postcards contact email@example.com.
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Historians believe Japan forced up to 200,000 Chinese and Korean women to be sex slaves during WWII. Women who survived — and weren't shamed into silence – have described being recruited for labor, then beaten and raped by as many as 40 Japanese officers a day.
The Japanese government still won't admit these…
Please sign the Avaaz Petition:
Recognise that Amnesty International’s draft Policy on Prostitution endorses condone and promote the violation of human rights if passed at the Australian National AGM.
A PLEA FROM AN AUSTRALIAN…