When I set out to investigate child labor on United States tobacco farms last summer, I never imagined our research would end up on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Poor Latino kids from rural communities working 60 hours a week on tobacco farms, getting poisoned by nicotine and pesticides – it seemed like tough material for a comedy show.
But in a segment on last night’s show, there was the Daily Show’s “Most Senior Correspondent” Samantha Bee, interviewing a Kentucky tobacco farmer, three North Carolina child tobacco workers – and me.
I’ve done dozens of interviews about child labor in tobacco farming, both as the one asking the questions and the one answering them. But none of them were quite like my interview with Samantha Bee.
I was given two instructions ahead of the taping: 1) don’t laugh, and 2) answer her questions and correct her when she’s wrong.
For the next 90 minutes, I tried not to laugh.
I told her how children described wearing black plastic garbage bags over their clothes because they weren’t given any gear to protect themselves from the toxins in the tobacco plants. But there’s a childhood obesity epidemic in this country, she countered – wearing a bag helps you slim down (she claimed that she always wears a trash bag to pilates).
I told her children shouldn’t have jobs that make them throw up at work. I said that I don’t get sick at work. She said clearly I must not be working hard enough.
You get the idea.
I watched the segment from the Daily Show studio in Manhattan last night. Bee had the audience laughing. And cringing.
It felt good to laugh at the absurdity of a broken system where 12-year-old children are legally working on tobacco farms, and the biggest tobacco companies in the world are profiting from child labor.
But it’s hard to keep laughing when I know the kids I interviewed are heading back to the tobacco fields in a few weeks. Last night, Bee called us “the killjoys at Human Rights Watch,” and I know I’m living up to that reputation.
Watch Samantha Bee’s segment on child labor in tobacco farming, and laugh. And then sign our petitionto urge tobacco companies to protect kids from dangerous work on tobacco farms in their supply chains. We’re going to keep being the killjoys until children are protected from hazardous work on tobacco farms.
Posts tagged human rights
Texas police looking for a missing woman and her two children found something else on Wednesday — 108 people imprisoned in an overflowing, squalid stash house where human smugglers had reportedly locked them up while waiting for payment.
Good link for clicking.
Spolier: the woman and her two children were discovered here.
Leaked documents prove Myanmar government ordered Rohingya abuse | UCA News
Documents leaked to a Thailand-based rights group show evidence that the persecution of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar is official state policy, with copies of government directives released that order authorities to restrict Rohingya families to two children and tightly control the Muslim group’s movement.
The documents, released on Tuesday by Fortify Rights in a report titled “Policies of Persecution: Ending Abusive State Policies Against Rohingya in Myanmar,” represent the first proof that abuses against the group are codified in law and ordered by the highest level of government.
One order dating from May 2005 and circulated among authorities in northern Rakhine state’s Maungdaw says that “those who have permission to marry must limit the number of children, in order to control the birth rate so that there is enough food and shelter”.
FULL ARTICLE (UCA News)
Photo: DFID - UK Department for International Development/flickr
Follow up (on going)
Protests by Eritrean and Sudanese refugees at the Holot Prison:
The Holot Detention Center is one of several detention centers Israel has opened specifically to imprison Asylum Seekers referred to as “Infiltrators” by The State of Israel. Most if not all of those imprisoned are Eritrean or Sudanese.
The 4th photo in this photoset shows some of those who are currently being held in Holot joining in the protests from behind the prison gates. Protestors spent the night on the grounds outside the prison to be ready for day 2 of the protests.
The protestors are demanding that Holot and other prisons like it be shut down, those being held and all Asylum Seekers have their applications processed and that their human rights be observed and respected.
H/T: A Ní Mhurchú, University of Manchester
Jim Goldberg: Open See
Open See tells the story of refugees, immigrants, and trafficked individuals journeying from their countries of origin to their new homes in Europe. This project addresses the struggle of immigrants to leave conditions where war, disease, and economic devastation prevail. It also addresses their struggle to adapt to new European cultures and the reciprocal struggle of those cultures to adapt to them in turn. Goldberg spent four years documenting the stories of Greek refugees from Iraq, Somalia, Congo, Ukraine, Albania, Russia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, Sudan, Kenya, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Palestine and Moldavia.
“In a world of global migration, who is taking care of the rights of migrants?” asked a UN human rights expert recently. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, UN special rapporteur Francois Crepeau called for the creation of a UN body to address global migration issues.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants to hear your views on justice and why it matters. A report capturing views shared will be presented to the UN General Assembly – so have your say on the rule of law at http://blogs.un.org/ruleoflaw
Another great outreach/survey by the UN. Click and contribute!
Myanmar | October 2, 2013
Terrified Muslim families hid in forests in western Myanmar on Wednesday, one day after fleeing a new round of deadly sectarian violence that erupted even as the president toured the divided region. The discovery of four bodies brought the death toll from the latest clashes up to at least five.
Tuesday’s unrest near the coastal town of Thandwe, which saw Buddhist mobs kill a 94-year-old woman and four other Muslims and burn dozens of homes, underscored the government’s persistent failure to stop the sectarian violence from spreading.
"Like in Korean movies, they have swords and sticks," said Muslim resident Tin Win. "There’s no law and order in this town. We’re in a serious situation, we’re really worried."
Another resident of Thandwe, Myo Min, said a small mosque in Kyikanyet, about 43 kilometers from Thandwe, was burned by attackers Tuesday night. Police said they were trying to confirm that report.
Myo Min said he was concerned about the safety of families who fled Tuesday’s violence. Many families in Thabyuchaing, he said, fled into forests when their village was attacked.
"Many of them, including women and children, are still hiding, and they are cornered and unable to come out," Myo Min said. "They need food and water, and Muslim elders are discussing with authorities to evacuate them or send food."
Most of those targeted in Rakhine state have been ethnic Rohingya Muslims, considered by many in the country to be illegal migrants from Bangladesh, though many of their families arrived generations ago. But in the latest flare-up this week, the victims were Kamans, another Muslim minority group, whose citizenship is recognized.
Muslims, who account for about 4 percent of Myanmar’s roughly 60 million people, have been the main victims of the violence, but they have been prosecuted for crimes related to the clashes far more often than members of the Buddhist majority.
Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims since June last year have killed at least 237 people in Myanmar and 192 of those deaths were in Rakhine state, where Rohingya Muslims, most of whom are stateless, bore the brunt of the attacks.
(Photos by Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)
follow-up of the year…
Gunmen ambushed a United Nations peacekeeping team on Saturday in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, killing seven and wounding another 17 in the deadliest ever single attack on the international force in the country.
The joint African Union-UN peacekeeping force, dubbed Unamid, was established to protect civilians in Darfur, but also contributes to security for those providing humanitarian aid, verifying agreements, political reconciliation efforts and promoting human rights.
Truly international civil service: honouring fallen comrades in service of peace.
from the Guardian.
This post doesn’t warrant personal reflection, but I’ve found the position I’d like with the UN - Humanitarian Affairs Officer; for the most part, you spend 2 years in the field and 2 in Geneva, Nairobi, or New York. I cannot help but feel pangs of guilt and sorrow when I see job openings for this position, as they are possibly the jobs of my fallen comrades. Each time UN personnel are killed in the field, I feel a deep sense of sorrow and reflect on the value of dying in the name of peace that so few voice as valuable and desirable. And I am at a loss for words.
See also this video of Eddie Izzard with UNICEF in a Syrian refugee camp. Give if you can.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt will ask GPs to crack down on the use of free NHS services by non-Britons, under controversial plans to be unveiled this week. A registration and tracking system, possibly linked to NHS numbers, will allow practices to spot people who do not qualify for free healthcare.
It is one of several measures to be announced by Hunt that are designed to close so-called “NHS tourism” loopholes that allow non-eligible immigrants access to care without being identified or charged. These will not restrict access to emergency treatment, but some people will be required to pay for anything else. It is understood the plans will be developed, working with GPs, to ensure that people can use services when they really need to.
The government is keen to address concerns that such proposals could force doctors to break their Hippocratic oath to act in the best interests of their patients. Some critics claim the coalition is unfairly targeting immigrants in response to the success of Ukip in recent local elections.
Right, I’ll admit the NHS needs help, financially. But sweet baby unicorns, Britain, you cannot be any more immigrant-phobic; it’s just not possible!
I may be a ‘non-Briton’, but I LIVE HERE … for 5 years. I HOLD A UK VISA AND HAVE NO NEED FOR ‘NHS TOURISM’. What I do need, is to be able to see my GP when I’m poorly, or need a ‘lady exam’, or have a breast cancer scare, or have an infection that left unattended proves deadly, without a fee; because I’m a PhD student and this government has already bled me dry just PAYING to migrate under 2.7% inflation.
I remember living in the US when I’d have to choose between eating/paying bills and health care. …so we’re back to this, are we?
Source: the Guardian