Monthly Archives: July 2008

No justice for abused maid


Wednesday, 30 July 2008
 The Jakarta Post

 Saturday, July 26, 2008

 Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

 

 No justice for abused maid

 

 Anwar Rosadi, the father of a 12 year old, who had worked as a

 maid for Renata Tan, looked worried. His daughter was being

 questioned by policewomen at West Jakarta police station. She

 had seen another maid allegedly tortured to death by her

 employer.

 

 He had every reason to be concerned. She told the police and her

 father she had often been subjected to similar treatment.

 

 Nevertheless, Anwar, a farmer and part-time construction worker

 from Purwokerto in Central Java, said he would not sue the woman

 who had tortured his daughter, Anisa Dwi Jayanti.

 

 “I think I will not sue her because it would take time and

 money. I cannot afford to repeatedly go back and forth from my

 home town to Jakarta to accompany my daughter,” Anwar told The

 Jakarta Post on Friday.

 

 His eyes looked empty when he said he did not know that Anisa

 was often beaten by her employer during her eight-month stay as

 a maid in Renata’s house in West Jakarta.

 “Every time I called my daughter she always said she was fine

 and she enjoyed her work,” he said.

 

 Anwar later found out that Renata always waited next to Anisa

 when she took phone calls, carrying a rattan stick.  

 “She said her two fellow maids had become her employer’s new

 targets for her anger in the past weeks,” he said, adding that

 he would bring her home today, if police permitted it.

 

 Anisa gave testimony to police over the death of Septiana

 Maulina, 16, Renata’s third suspected murder victim, who was

 allegedly abused to death. She also stood as witness for another

 housemaid, Satini, who suffered burns from boiling water at the

 hands of Renata.

 

 Head of the Women’s and Children Service at West Jakarta

 precinct Adj. Comr. Sri Rahayu Lestari, said Renata was formerly

 known as Maria Ursula Tangguh and was previously found guilty of

 torturing two housemaids to death in 1992 and 1996.

 

 Renata was freed after being pronounced insane by doctors in the

 first case. In 1998, she escaped another prison sentence because

 she was diagnosed as mentally ill and was sent to Jakarta

 Pyschiatric Hospital in Grogol, West Jakarta for one year for

 treatment.

 

 “Her identity card now shows her name as Renata and we are using

 that name now. We discovered that she was also Maria after

 senior detectives here recognized her face,” she said.

 

 West Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Iza Fadri said he did not

 know when Renata changed her name or why.

 

 A crime expert at the University of Indonesia, Adrianus Meilala,

 said that judges in the previous trials had already forbidden

 the family from ever again employing domestic workers.

 

 “Both husband and wife clearly violated the law. Unfortunately,

 our police and courts do not have clear procedures under which

 we can charge them for violating this rule,” he said

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Bush Signs Burma Jade Act, Adds to Sanction’s List


source from Irrawaddy news, posted by Naing, 30 July 2008

WASHINGTON — US President George Bush on Tuesday signed into law the Burma Jade Act, restricting the import of precious Burmese gems and stones and extended existing import sanctions on Burma.

As many as 10 Burmese companies were added to the sanction’s list.

Political observers said the US is sending a message not only to the Burmese regime but also to China, a major supporter of the military junta.

The move was welcomed by Burmese leaders in exile and human rights organizations.

 

US President George W Bush looks back at Annette Lantos, the wife of late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA) after Bush signed HJ Res. 93, the renewal of import restrictions on Burma and HR 3890, the Tom Lantos block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008 in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, July 29. (Photo: Reuters)

“We are tightening financial sanctions against Burma’s repressive junta and the companies that finance it,” said Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Adam Szubin.”The regime’s refusal to protect and allow relief to reach the Burmese people as Cyclone Nargis devastated their country is but another example of the regime’s heartless neglect of its people,” Szubin said, after announcing the list of Burmese companies.

The Department of Treasury said the sanctions target two conglomerates, the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (UMEH) and the Myanmar Economic Corporation. Both have extensive businesses in a variety of sectors critical to the Burmese government, including the gem, banking and construction industries. 

Four of UMEH’s subsidiary companies—Myanmar Ruby Enterprise, Myanmar Imperial Jade Company Ltd., Myawaddy Trading Ltd., and Myawaddy Bank Ltd—have been added to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list. 
The sanctions also target the No 1 Mining Enterprise, No 2 Mining Enterprise and No 3 Mining Enterprise, all owned by the Burmese Ministry of Mines. 

The Cooperative Import-Export Enterprise, a trading company under the Burmese Ministry of Cooperatives, was also sanctioned.      

The sanctions freeze all assets subject to US jurisdiction of the designated businesses persons and prohibit all financial and commercial transactions by any US person with the designated persons.

Arvind Ganesan, the director of Business and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, said: “Burmese gemstones are tainted by gross human rights abuses. The jewelry industry should take firm action to assure its customers—as well as law enforcement officials—that it is doing all it can to avoid buying from Burma.”

Bush and his wife are scheduled to meet with Burmese politicians and activists in Bangkok during their trip to Thailand prior to the start of the Beijing Olympics.

US first lady Laura Bush has an unconfirmed plan to visit with the Burmese community including Dr Cynthia Maung’s migrant clinic in Mae Sot, a border town in Tak Province, Thailand.

During his last visit to Asia before his term as president expires, Bush and his wife will also meet with Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to commemorate 175 years of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Bush met with prominent Chinese activists at the White House on Tuesday “to discuss his concern about human rights in China,” and he promise that he would carry that concern to Beijing where he will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintoa, according to a White House spokesperson. 

Violet Cho contributed to this story.

Malaysian Immigration Giving Refugees to Traffickers, Say Activists


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Filipino Refugees from Sabah: Twice Displaced and Many Times Wronged


source from BY BULATLAT.COM
The non-government Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC) this week revealed that the deportation of undocumented Filipinos in Malaysia has long been going on, albeit without the uproar attending the arrivals last year. It placed the number of undocumented Filipinos in Malaysia facing deportation from a low 60,000 to a high 500,000.
The Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC) is holding a resource-generation campaign for Filipino refugees deported from the nearby Sabah, Malaysia.
The campaign was launched after CDRC fielded an assessment team to Western Mindanao to look into the situation and assess the needs of the deportees, to determine the level of preparedness of the humanitarian agencies responding to the event.
CDRC is appealing to individuals and organizations to give material and financial contributions, or donate their time for legal, health and social services. It is also encouraging the holding of discussions on disaster preparedness and the plight of Filipino deportees.
According to its flyer, a P300 donation will give a family food for one week: eight kilos of rice, one pint of cooking oil, half kilo of sugar, half kilo of dried fish, three cans of sardines, half kilo of mongo and one-fourth kilo of salt.
Donations may be sent to CDRC Bldg., 72-A Times Street, West Triangle, Quezon City, Philippines. It’s email address is cdrc@i-manila.com.ph.

Deportation Julie Passi of CDRC’s operations department said that the deportation of undocumented Filipinos in Malaysia has long been going on, albeit without the uproar attending the arrivals last year. It placed the number of undocumented Filipinos in Malaysia facing deportation from a low 60,000 to a high 500,000.

Passi also observed that should these undocumented Filipinos be rounded up and deported en masse to the Philippines within a very narrow time frame, the potential for a humanitarian emergency to arise becomes highly probable if the preparations for receiving them prove inadequate.
CDRC also confirmed the cases of deaths, rape, torture and other physical abuse of deportees while in detention and in transit, denial of food and medical care, and burning of houses.
Lack of government support CDRC reported that government assistance to deportees is only up to providing free transportation to deportees as they are sent back to their places of origin. Housing and livelihood assistance that will enable deportees to start the process of their successful reintegration into normal community life is not being addressed. This puts the survival of the deportees in jeopardy, especially those who were forcibly deported and unable to bring any cash, clothing, bedding materials, trade tools and equipment.
The personal support network of most of the deportees as they are brought to their places of origin is negligible. Many of them left Mindanao many years back, some as far back as the 1970抯 when the Moro rebellion against the Marcos dictatorship broke out. When the deportees arrive in their places of origin, they would have no homes of their own, no land to farm, no tools and assets to start some kind of livelihood activities, and no food on the table. They will then have to depend on the generosity of their relatives. Given the situation of war and poverty in Mindanao, however, this would most probably be in the form of limited material support to the deportees. Many are not even sure if their immediate relatives would still be there to welcome them, given the displacement of entire communities due to the unrest in Mindanao.
The best that the government’s reintegration program could offer is livelihood skills training. It is however still looking for funds to finance the program.
This lack of housing and livelihood support has already resulted in a host of social problems. The Zamboanga City government, for example, already noted a rise in criminality, where 50 percent of the incidents in the immediate period involving deportees. Some female deportees have also been traced already by city health officials to the city’s nightspots. Talks are also rife that the deportees will be easy recruits of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group and of criminal syndicates.
Migrante International, Bayan Muna and Bayan, the groups that participated in a fact-finding mission on the deportees?plight, reported tracing significant concentrations of deportees in communities in Sulu and Basilan.
The problem of reuniting separated family members must also be addressed, noted CDRC. There are several cases of undocumented Filipinos getting arrested, detained and deported to the Philippines, while their families are still in Malaysia (See article on Mohammed Palani). These separated family members are looking for ways to communicate with their families without giving away to the authorities their locations in Malaysia. Most of them also have no work contracts that will legalize their reentry into Malaysia. A passport is not sufficient. They also have to show that they are gainfully employed in Malaysia.
Some of these separated family members are unaccompanied children now in the custody of DSWD. Their continuing separation is a violation of Philippine laws and international conventions.

The rape victims and victims of torture and other forms of physical abuse also need a wide range of assistance including legal and psychiatric care.

Legal assistance CDRC also noted that legal and other forms of assistance should be extended to those who were rape, tortured, physically and emotionally harmed, divested of property, or whose rights as a human being have been violated to seek redress. This course of action may also act as a deterrent for the commission of similar acts of future deportees.
It believes that the Philippine and Malaysian governments must be constantly put to pressure by the power of public opinion so that the human rights of undocumented Filipinos, especially those arrested, detained and deported, shall be protected.

It scored unnecessary deportation of Filipinos who have valid or justifiable reasons for extending their stay in Malaysia on legal, humanitarian and other grounds. It urged both governments to sit down and determine the number of undocumented Filipinos that will still be deported, and agree on the time frame. The time frame must take into consideration the need for the Philippine government to start in earnest preparations for receiving the deportees. The preparations should include setting in place a comprehensive resettlement program for the deportees. Philippine government inaction as it exhibited during the four-month amnesty period set by their Malaysian counterpart must not be

Related articles:
Filipino Refugees from Sabah: Twice Displaced and Many Times Wronged
Mohammed Palani: Jobless and Separated from Family SABAH-REFUGEES 4 KOTA KINABALU “Today, we are lucky the Malaysian government only wants to flush out illegal immigrants. Tomorrow, it could be a different story. We don’t know, exactly, the government’s next course of action. Our future is actually hanging in the balance,” she said. Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the operation to repatriate between 100,000 and 150,000 illegal immigrants in Sabah would start in August, and it would begin in the west coast of the state before moving towards the east coast. Daliat’s worries stem from the fact that the granting of the IMM13 document is only a temporary respite, especially for those displaced by the war in the southern Philippines, with the condition that they would go back to their country of origin when the situation there returns to normalcy. Her family’s predicament is just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of other Filipino refugees, who are in possession of the IMM13 document and live in different resettlement camps throughout Sabah, are hoping for a change of fortune. Locals and state leaders alike are wondering how their life will be by 2020 when Malaysia attains developed nation status.
I am very aware of Gov’s trying to advantage to next generation Rohingya by IMM-13, it could be occassionally replace as 30 years based Sabah-Philipino refugees.

The roadmap is the worst way forward


posted by James,
The roadmap is the worst way forward. The roadmap is accepting the lies, the fake referendum, the questionable reform of the constitution, excluding people who won the election.
— Jody Williams, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate

Huge fire destroys historic pier


posted by Naing, source from bbc news,

Advertisement

Views of the Weston fire from the BBC helicopter

A huge fire has destroyed the historic Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare.

Dozens of firefighters fought to tackle the blaze which took hold of the partly wooden pier in the North Somerset seaside resort at about 0700 BST.

No-one was injured in the fire, which firefighters said started in an area containing deep fat fryers. Black smoke was visible as far away as Cardiff.

The owners, who have recently bought and refurbished the pier, were said to be “absolutely devastated”.

The fire broke out at the foot of the West Tower. Photo: Penny Broomhall

Dee Williams, deputy manager of the Grand Atlantic Hotel, which lies 200 yards from the pier, described the fire as “an inferno” and heard loud bangs which she believed to be fireworks left over from a recent display.

“It is part of our identity and would really affect trade if we were to lose it,” she said.

Jacquie Whelan, owner of Sunfold Hotel on Beach Road, said it was a “horrendous” sight, with massive red flames, hundreds of feet in the air, all over the pier.

“[It looked] like a huge bonfire. It is not going to survive,” she said.

Police have placed a cordon around the pier and beach and advised people to avoid the area.

The quarter-of-a-mile-long pier, which attracts thousands of visitors a year, reopened in April after a massive revamp.

It first opened in 1904 and was later bought by the Brenner family who sold it earlier this year in a multi-million pound deal to brother and sister Michelle and Kerry Michael.

Mr Michael is said to be on his way home from holiday in Spain.

The Grand Pier: Then and now

“He had only just got there but has cut it short to come back,” said his spokesman Nigel Heath.

“He is absolutely devastated. Mr Michael bought the pier in February and spent around £1m – he’s installed a go-kart track, a climbing wall and fitted a bar for the first time.

“His whole plan was to turn it into a premier tourist attraction, in fact he already had.

“He had a huge personal involvement in the project and was totally committed to it.”

Avon Fire and Rescue Service said the fire was well-developed by the time crews arrived and officers had to battle against “intense radiated heat”.

Chief fire officer Kevin Pearson said: “Indications are that there were some deep fat fryers in the area where we believe the fire first started.

“We’re fairly clear about where we think the fire first started and obviously our investigations will concentrate on that area.”

The foundations of the structure, which is supported by iron girders, were said to be sound and not at risk of collapse.

Rod Brenner, who owned the pier until six months ago when he sold it to the current owners, said: “I think that what has happened is, fortunately it had a very thick hardwood floor, and I think that has held, from what I can see here.

Picture by Peter Tyler

“The entire pavilion has gone admittedly, and it’ll be obviously a huge project to rebuild it, which will take a considerable amount of time.

“I mean, when it burnt down last time, in 1930, it took three years and they probably moved a bit quicker then than we do nowadays.”

Christopher Donkin, manager of Seaquarium aquarium in Marine Parade, some 500 yards from the pier, was alerted to the fire by a colleague as he drove to work. He said: “Fortunately, we’re not in danger, no other properties are in any other danger.

“The fire brigade have put a wall of water along the walkway between the seafront and the end of the pier.

“Traffic this morning was absolutely chock-a-block.

“When I first saw the fire, to be honest my first thoughts were for the livelihoods of people who work here.

“It’s Weston’s number one attraction. It’s full of childhood memories.

Grand Pier - pic from Weston-super-Mare website

“All those people’s livelihoods and businesses – where will they go?”

Tory MP for Weston-super-Mare John Penrose said he was “shocked and dismayed” by the scenes at the Grand Pier.

“The Grand Pier is one of the icons of Weston’s seafront,” he said.

“Anybody who has ever visited the town or lives here permanently has probably strolled along the boardwalk, eating candyfloss, to play on the amusements at the far end.

“Kerry and Michelle Michael have been investing huge amounts of their own time and money into regenerating the pier. This is a tragedy for the town as a whole and for them in particular.

“The only piece of good news is that there are no reports of casualties. At least there is something to be thankful for.”

Deputy leader of North Somerset Council Elfan Ap Rees said: “The structure going out of the pavilion is intact, the main structure underneath looks reasonably intact.

“I am absolutely convinced that the owners of the pier, who are local Weston people born and bred, will make every effort to see the Grand Pier rise again and we will do what we can to support that.”

 

 


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“4 Burmese Refugees got sentence without proper trial”


reports of Habib collected from rohingyanet,

 
Four Burmese refugees got sentence without proper trial at Shah Alam court of Malaysia on 23 July 2008.

The victims are identified as UNHCR recognized ethnic Rohingyas. They had been worked at Restaurant with wage 1200 RM ( USD 325 ) per monthly and their working hour is 12 hours per day with no holiday, near 5 mile- Gombak Road- KL.
They were forced to worked at the restaurant unpaid for more than 4 months. Base on their wages, the disputation broke-out between them and Boss. When the boss was in way to hand over them to authority, the vulnerable refugees managed to escaped from the danger as they came to know it in advance.
Later they had to pass difficult lives in a bit safe place in Selayang-KL, they made phone call to the boss for their wages.
Despite paying wages, the boss conspired to push them into danger by handing-over to authority. Fixing a time to meet them at KFC shop near Warta-Lama market, Selayang Baru area, around 10:00 am of March 2006. The Boss followed by CID and Police forces chased them from the moment.
Unfortunately, four refugees were victimized with a fabricated case of ‘robbery’ and sent them to detention custody.
During the times of their detention, they got no legal aid or advocacy to represent them. Their families and friends had been approaching to UNHCR for necessary assistance. But in vein.

After all, they had to pass 29 months in detention because they did not plead guilty. Their relative said, “the judgement went against justice as there were no fair trial for them in the absence of lawyer”.
After long-term detention, one of them came to plead guilty with unavoidable circumstance. Hence, the Nulmahakim-18 was sentence for 4 years and the rest 3 are expected to be charge on 22 Aug 2008.

Mother of a victim, Laila-45 said, “there is no justice for being foreigner, our four boys have to stay in the prison. I need fair judgment for our children. I also need to get release of them as soon as possible”.

An aware refugee, who decline to mention his name said, “UNHCR-HQ must look into the matter and instruct urgently to UNHCR-Malaysia to render necessary representation for their release and protection within the boundary of international laws”.

He also added, “TENAGANITA would intervene for ‘workers right to get wages’, without further delay as the agency is struggling for the rights of migrant workers. The concern quarter must ensure their rights of adequate protection as well”.
According to ICCPR article (2) 1, they might be protected. But according to various sources, “many refugees get whipping in such kind of unfair trail.

Advantage on Illegal Status in Malaysia
reported by Habib at rohingyanet on 6 March 2008,

 
Today, Rela raid involved other enforcement authority arrest had continuously going on 4 weeks in Selayang Baru, KL area. Every night, at least 30 Myanmar refugees involving UNHCR recognized were arrested, and at least 2 or 3 were beaten in every raid. The raid also using the Crane for Rela members to take place early on the roof and then breaching the locks or door. For the advantage appendix, forfeit raids following from the rear and lifted refugees possessions by lorry.
Local source says,  “now we can order from Rela that goods and second-hand household tools with flea-price or cheap price.”
On 04 March 2008, at 17:45 pm, Rela raid started in Bukit Bintang Jalan Along. Rela members   demonstrated their activities by throwing their handle-gendarmes, kicking and beating to some who fled and escaped to nearest restaurant. The source from Bukit Bintang said that UNHCR recognized 10 Rohingyas and 18 Chins were arrested from ‘Restaurant One Plus One. They also faced physical abuses.
Again on 18 May 2007, 108 persons in Taman Willah-Selayang were arrested by Rela raid, including UNHCR recognized 18 Rohingya refugees. Firstly, they 18 Rohingyas were detained one night at Jing Jang police lock-up and transferred to Pudu Prison and then remanded 8 days. After completion of remanded 8 days, 14 of 18 were released by payment.

The rest four Rohingyas left for they can not do payment as they need 5000 RM. Police’s allegation could be “the 4 Rohingyas involved in various crimes if they can not pay the amount”. That is why the four Rohingya men had been move to Intelligence Police Kuala Lumpur (IPK) lock-up and beaten inhumanly. They  been tortured by feeding chilly for six hours.
The next day, they were transferred to Sentul Police Station lock-up and detained 8 days there. Later of that, they were lifted to Kepong Police Station and kept again 7 days.

Eventually, those four were brought to the Court and the Judge ordered to released them. But Police brought them back and forced to paid 2000 RM for each released. So, they had  paid because authority knowing that they don’t have proper documentation even though they did not commit crimes. ( this is a testimony by one of those 4, Hamid UNHCR’s file no. 05/ROH/00850, DOB:01-01-1980 )

This story may explain what they needed therefore there are needing to chance old habits and resistants in humanitarian field.  The suggestion is that frontier UNHCR must end its unsatisfactory and inconsistent embark of Rohingya  into where unsignatory country which has no legislation for refugees’ protection.

Condolezza Rice attacks Burma


source from bbc news, posted by Naing, 24/07/08, Thursday afternoon
 
Condi Rice
Condi attacks Burma

The American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, has attacked a plan by the Burmese military for the gradual restoration of democratic government.

Dr Rice, who was attending a meeting in Singapore of the Association of South East Asian Nations, described the Burmese plan as a mockery going nowhere.
She accused Burma of being badly out of step with the rest of the region.

Dr Rice praised ASEAN for helping persuade Burma to accept international aid after the devastating cyclone in May, but said mediation should not have been necessary.

Kachin Independence Organisation gearing up to form a political party

Kachin

A ceasfire group KIO joined by NDA-K and Kachin Consultative Council held a meeting on Wednesday in Laiza to discuss about possible formation of a politcal party.

Representatives from the three groups have agreed to set up a preparatory group to plan for a possible politcal party.

The move is seen as an indication of KIO’s intention to take part in the planned 2010 elections.

RAIS: US did not refute explanation given on Anwar’s case


posted by James, 24/07/08, source from nst news

The United States respects Malaysia’s legal procedures and did not refute the explanation given on the alleged sodomy case involving Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, according to Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

Rais said he had briefed US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today on Malaysia’s laws and the legal procedures pertaining to Anwar’s case.

“Rice did not dispute the explanation,” he told Malaysian journalists covering the 15th Asean Regional Forum here, after a 15-minute bilateral discussion with Rice on the sidelines of the forum.

After this, Rais hoped that the US, via its officials or other parties, would no longer cast doubts on Malaysia’s internal affairs, hence showing respect and recognition for Malaysia and its laws.

Obama in talks with Iraqi insurgent foes


posted by James,

BAGHDAD – Barack Obama is wrapping up his Iraq stop by meetings with Sunni tribal leaders who have joined U.S. and Iraqi forces in the fight against insurgents. ADVERTISEMENT Obama traveled to Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province west of Baghdad, to meet Tuesday with Sunni leaders of the so-called Awakening Councils that rose up last year against al-Qaida in Iraq. The movement is credited with helping regain control of a former hotbed of the insurgency. A spokesman for Anbar province, Jamal Mashedani, says Obama’s talks included further efforts to battle al-Qaida in Iraq. He did not elaborate and a U.S. Embassy official did not give details of the meeting. Obama is scheduled to travel next to Jordan.

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