8th and last lecture


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8th and last lecture

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  3. 3. 6-Labor Rights, Child Labor, and Corporate Accountability.<br />7-Gender Discrimination and Women’s Rights.<br />8-Environmental Protection and Rights.<br />
  4. 4. Despite the shrinking world, borders have not disappeared and globalization is taking place in an international political structure that is still based on the state system. Within this system borders may be porous for some but have been firm for others. <br />For example, while capital tends to be free and mobile, people/workers cannot move freely. Those who hold “migrant worker status” are subject to mistreatment and exploitation; lacking citizenship, they fall into a particularly vulnerable category. On the other hand, seeking cheap labor, many multinational corporations move their production to low-income, low-wage countries. This trend triggers the spiral effects of declining wages and unionization, as well as the problems of child labor and sweat shops, which epitomize unsafe working conditions and labor exploitation.<br />
  5. 5. Forming and joining unions are human rights, and unions are essential to the protection of labor rights. Historically, unionization in a country increases as the country becomes more-industrialized; thus, older industrial countries have registered higher levels of unionization.<br />However, according to an International Labor Organization (ILO) survey that included ninety- two countries, trade union membership has been declining rapidly; more than seventy countries experienced a sharp decline between 1985 and 1995, and in only fourteen countries did the union membership rate exceed 50 percent of the national work force. In Africa, where only 10 percent of the work- force is in the formal sector, union members are estimated to be only 1—2 percent of the total workforce.<br />
  6. 6. As unionization declines, working conditions and wages decline. Dismal wages increase families’ need for more wage earners and elicit the problem of child labor. Since this practice is illegal in most countries, obtaining the exact count of child laborers is impossible.<br />According to an ILO estimate, however, in the late 1990s, 250 million children, 140 million boys and 110 million girls, between the ages of 5 and 14 were working, and 120 million of them worked full time; approximately 95 percent of these child laborers were in developing countries (ILO, 1998). Rich countries are not immune to the problem either. For example, the United Kingdom and the United States are estimated to have 2 million working children each.<br />
  7. 7. When the findings of various country studies and surveys are combined, it becomes clear that child labor emanates from poverty and persists with a host of other interrelated problems such as unskilled adult labor force, poor and exploitative work conditions, weak labor laws and unions, inadequate social services, and wrongheaded economic policies formulated by governments and international financial organizations.<br />All of these have been more arresting in developing countries<br />
  8. 8. The international community has been concerned about child labor for a long time and attempted to curb it at the first session of the ILO in 1919, by establishing fourteen years as the minimum age for children to be employed in industry.<br />In 1973, the Minimum Age Convention of ILO defined child labor as economic activity performed by a person under the age of fifteen and prohibited it for being hazardous to the physical, mental, and moral wellbeing of the child as well as for preventing effective schooling. <br />
  9. 9. In 1999 the ILO adopted a new convention, Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention. <br />The Convention, which entered into force on November 19, 2000, prioritizes the struggle against the worst forms of child labor and calls for their elimination for all persons under the age of eighteen.<br />
  10. 10. Article 3 defines the worst forms of child labor as comprising<br />(a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage, and serfdom and forced labor or compulsory labor, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict,<br />(b) the use, procuring, or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography, or for pornographic performance; <br />(c) the use, procuring of, or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties;<br />(d) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety, or morals of children.<br />
  11. 11. On November 20, 1989, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which also includes several articles against economic exploitation and abuse of children. Among all UN conventions, the Convention on the Rights of the Child enjoys a special status and popularity; it was ratified by practically all member states of the UN, except the United States and Somalia.<br />
  12. 12. The solution to the problem of child labor has to be a comprehensive one that would target eliminating the poor family’s need for child labor and creating educational opportunities for children.<br />
  13. 13. Poverty and deteriorating economic opportunities have become a feature of Eastern European countries and former Soviet Republics after the collapse of the “communist regimes.” <br />
  14. 14. Political and economic freedom in these societies came at the cost of economic security, In addition to moving away from full employment, access to education, and comprehensive social services, which were guaranteed in the previous planned economies, the transition to market economies and loosened state control and regulations created conditions most opportune for corruption. <br />Organized crime and trafficking of consumer goods, drugs, arms, and human beings have reached a level that has undermined not only human security and rights but also peace.<br />
  15. 15. While desperate situations force desperate people to take risks and participate in illegal trade and immigration voluntarily, many others are lured into trafficking under false pretenses and end up in “modern day slavery” in sweatshops or the sex industry.<br />For the latter, kidnapping of girls and young women has become common in Eastern Europe, as it has been for some time in the Third World. Nepali girls average thirteen years of age when they are trafficked to India. In the Sudan, women and children are kidnapped and sold into slavery. <br />The men are killed or left behind to raise ransom. Girls become concubines, children tend animals, and women become servants. <br />Although there are numerous conventions against slavery in place, some governments have done little to stop it. <br />Thailand, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Nepal all have laws against slavery, kidnapping, and child prostitution, but enforcement is minimal.<br />
  16. 16. The poor labor conditions and increasing trafficking alarmed the UN members and led them to develop a new convention.<br /> The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families was adopted as General Assembly resolution of 45/158 on December 18, 1990, and entered into force July 1, 2003. <br />The worsening labor conditions in developing countries and highly publicized reports on labor abuses in firms owned or contracted by multinational corporations attracted public attention as well. <br />In order to control the damage caused by bad publicity, in the 1990s certain corporations took some initiatives to improve and promote labor rights.<br />
  17. 17. These initiatives were in the form of corporate codes of conduct and involve rules and procedures to which corporations commit themselves to uphold labor rights and environmental protection; they define the company’s level of accountability for working conditions in the contracted supplier factories. Being voluntary commitments, they involve no external mechanism of enforcement. <br />Thus, it is not clear whether these agreements will serve any meaningful end other than corporate risk management and image change. <br />To be effective, the codes of conduct should be comprehensive and include clearly set standards, auditing systems that are established and run by agencies independent of corporations, and penalties for noncompliance.<br />
  18. 18. However, there is now an increasing interest in addressing the responsibility of non state actors, including corporations, with regard to the protection or violation of human rights. <br />The UN Secretariat and General Assembly have been taking some initiatives and appreciating the crucial role played by non state actors and their potential contribution to the promotion of human rights.<br />A resolution of the UN General Assembly (53/114), adopted in March 1999 indicates that “individuals, groups, institutions arid non-governmental organizations have an important role to play and a responsibility in... promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms” <br />
  19. 19. Despite the common tendency to treat women as a homogenous and unified group, they hardly constitute a monolithic group with identical problems. <br />They live in countries with diverse historical experience and development levels; and within each country the issues pertaining to women vary according to race, ethnicity class, religion, residence, educational levels, and other characteristics. <br />Nevertheless, the common denominator of women in all societies, including the industrialized ones, is their subordinate status. Women compose the poorest and the least powerful segment of the population throughout the world; they are denied equal access to education, job training, employment, health care, ownership, and political power.<br />
  20. 20. The oppression of Third World women is even more intense because of the legacy of Western imperialism, which culminated in economic dependency. <br />Moreover, the economic and political structural changes introduced by colonial powers, and later imposed by international lending and development agencies, have further widened the gender gap in these countries.<br />Women in many developing countries are denied the right to inherit property, and in some places where they have property rights, they cannot control the land to which they have title, or manage the shops they own. <br />
  21. 21. Women usually work in family farms and businesses as unpaid laborers. <br />When employed, they tend to hold lower positions and are paid less than men who do the same or comparable work. In some countries women still cannot enjoy full citizenship rights; they are denied the right to vote or run for office. Where women’s political rights are recognized by statute, their de facto denial is common.<br />Women are consistently underrepresented in their country’s parliament (the average being 10 percent) and cabinet posts (less than 5 percent). Moreover, the progress in women’s participation in decision making has been unsteady<br />
  22. 22. Discrimination against women becomes most obvious when health indicators are examined.<br />In addition to the health problems they share with men, “since women also face such physical changes as menarche, menstruation, pregnancy, childbearing, lactation, and menopause, the crisis in world health is a crisis of women” .<br />Yet, women’s health receives very little medical attention, they lack equal access to the health care system, and their health suffers from physical hardships and malnutrition. In developing countries 50 percent of all women of childbearing age and 60 percent of pregnant women suffer from nutritional anemia.<br />
  23. 23. In many countries, the mortality rate of female children is higher than that of males. <br />Due to the preference for males, female infanticide and—more recently, where sonogram technology has become available—the abortion of female fetuses is high; both the nutritional quality and quantity of food for the female tend to be poor; and girls and women are less likely than males to receive preventive health care or curative medicine when they fall ill. In the 1980s, in Bangladesh, malnutrition was about three times more common among young girls than among boys, and in rural Pun- jab of India, families spend more than twice as much for the care of male infants as for female babies.<br />
  24. 24. In these countries, as well as others where social biases against women are strong, life expectancy and the child survival rate for males have been higher than those for females. <br />Consequently, despite their natural disadvantages, males outnumber females. <br />The “masculine sex ratios” are particularly high in the oil- rich Gulf states; in 1990 the number of females per 100 males was 48 in- the United Arab Emirates 60 in katar, 73 in Bahrain, 76 in Kuwait, 84 in Saudi Arabia, and 91 in Oman.<br />Sex ratio by country for total population. Blue represents more women, red more men .<br />
  25. 25. Women are further overburdened by work, even though their work is usually not compensated. <br />According to the United Nations for entity for gender equality and empowerment of women, UNIFEM reports, “Women in developing countries produce, process and market up to 80 percent of the food,” and in Africa “88 percent of rural African women work in agriculture... [and] 80 percent of the family’s food is produced, processed and stored by women”; in order “to transport water, fuel and goods to and from market, women spend 2,000 to 5,000 hours a year or the equivalent of an eight-hour job... [and they] run 70 percent of micro-enterprises”. In agriculture, women’s workload does not show much of a decline during the slack seasons, and women have practically no leisure time because they are held responsible for household activities and domestic chores throughout the world. It is estimated that women typically work about 25 percent longer hours than men, and according to a UN survey of 1990, if women’s unpaid work in house and family care were counted as productive output in national income accounts, global output value would increase by 20 to 30 percent .<br />
  26. 26. Although both the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognized equality between men and women in the 1940s, these principles of equality and nondiscrimination were not enforced to improve the status of women.<br />Even the UN has failed to promote women to top offices until very recently and is still far from achieving gender equality within its own ranks.<br />However, starting in the 1970s, some significant efforts to address gender disparities have been initiated by various intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, as well as by government agencies.<br />
  27. 27. A very important stimulus was the UN General Assembly resolution of December 1972 that declared 1975 as the International Women’s Year. The International Women’s Year Conference in Mexico City in 1975 was flooded by over 900 proposals and amendments presented by countries and delegates. The Conference led the UN General Assembly to approve its World Plan of Action and to- declare the-period of 1976-1985 –to be the United Nations Decade for Women. These changes initiated within the UN context, <br /> the most visible and comprehensive intergovernmental organization, put women on the agenda of other conferences and organizations. <br />
  28. 28. The UN itself created specialized agencies to foster the programs and policies developed at these conferences. Seventeen months after the Mexico Conference, the Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Decade for Women was established by the UN General Assembly. The Fund’s name was changed to UNIFEM in 1985. Working in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNIFEM “provides direct financial and technical support to low-income women in developing countries, who axe striving to raise their living standards. It also funds activities that bring women into mainstream development decision-making”.<br />The flow of new information on the extent of social and economic contributions of women, as well as on their detrimental conditions and subjugation, expedited the preparation and ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979. The Convention included a provision on the creation of a committee of experts to oversee the implementation of the CEDAW, through the examination of periodic reports submitted by the states parties and by issuing general recommendations.<br />
  29. 29. A global financial organization, the Women’s World Bank, was established, also in 1980. Distinct from the World Bank, the Women’s World Bank tries to create credit opportunities for female owners of micro-enterprises. By serving as a guarantor, the Bank encourages commercial banks to lend to women who lack property or collateral, and are thus normally denied credit. <br />Microcredit opportunities for poor women are also created by the Grameen Bank, which was established in Bangladesh in 1983 and became a model emulated in several other countries. <br />
  30. 30. Women’s groups have worked closely with UN agencies and other organizations and have pressured their governments to ratify human rights treaties and fulfill their obligations. Major international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, started to revise and broaden their missions to address women’s rights. In the 1990s, women started to address the male biases in the international human rights law and in its interpretation, and the motto of the international women’s movement became--Women’s Rights -as Human Rights.”<br />
  31. 31. In 1993, the UN Commission on the Status of Women drafted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against women, and the Second World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna, recognized women’s rights as human rights.<br />
  32. 32. UN Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995<br />It identified twelve critical areas in eliminating gender discrimination. <br />They include the persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women; inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to education and training; inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to health care and related services; violence against women; the effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under foreign occupation; inequality in economic structures and policies, in all forms of productive activities, and in access to resources; inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision making at all levels; insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of women; lack of respect for and inadequate promotion and protection of the human rights of women; stereotyping of women and inequality in women’s access to and participation in all communication systems, especially in the media; gender inequalities in the management of natural resources and in the safeguarding of the environment; and persistent discrimination against and violation of the rights of the girl child. <br />
  33. 33. Another concern that surfaced during the Beijing conference was the marginalization of women’s issues by delegating them to separate and underfunded agencies. Thus, the final document, Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, also called for mainstreaming women’s rights.<br />In 1999, the UN General Assembly adopted an Optional Protocol to the CEDAW.<br />The Optional Protocol is important for permitting individuals to bring their cases of violations to the attention of the CEDAW committee. Another important development for women has been the acknowledgment of the incongruous situation that while women suffer more at times of conflict and war, they are not integrated into peace talks and negotiations. Thus, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security on October 31, 2000.<br />
  34. 34. The outcome assessments of the Beijing conference, known as Beijing+5 and Beijing+10, highlighted the negative impact of globalization on women and the spread of HIV. However, some important issues such as discrimination based on sexual orientation and women’s reproductive rights have not been articulated in international documents, mainly due to the pressure asserted by the Holy like the Vatican and some conservative state governments and groups.<br />
  35. 35. Environmental destruction poses a grave threat to human rights. <br />Often destruction of forests, pollution of streams, and other environmental degradation threaten the ability of people who use traditional methods of hunting, fishing, and farming to get food and drink clean water.<br />One person in five in the world does not have access to clean water<br />. Additionally, the way that many countries have gone about developing natural resources has involved persecution of people protesting environmental destruction.<br />
  36. 36. In Nigeria in 1996, nine environmental activists, including one Nobel Peace Prize nominee, were executed after protesting against Shell Oil Company’s environmental destruction.<br />In irian Jaya, Indonesia, a U.S. corporation, Freeport-McMoRan, has been mining copper and gold since 1973. When this largest gold mine in the world, with an estimated value of $50 billion, became a target of criticism by the indigenous people whose lives it threatened, the Indonesian government stationed troops at the mine to protect it. In 1995, the military killed at least sixteen people and tortured others near the mine. The mine has created enormous environmental destruction; billions of tons of add-producing mine tailings dumped in the local river have contaminated the drinking water.<br />The Amungme people in the region filed a $6 billion class action lawsuit against the company. They failed in that effort but forced the company to take certain measures to improve its human rights practices (Shari, 2000).<br />
  37. 37. Environmental rights are considered in a new category of human rights, referred to as the “third generation rights.”<br />Neither the Universal Declaration of Human Rights nor the two UN covenants are explicit on environmental rights— although some would argue that the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights contains implicit references to environmental rights in several articles. <br />
  38. 38. Article 11 obliges the state parties to provide programmes to improve methods of production, conservation and distribution of food; disseminating knowledge of principles of nutrition; measures to achieve the most efficient development and utilization of natural resources; equitable distribution of world food supplies.” In addressing the right to health, the Covenant calls for “steps to be taken for the healthy development of the child, improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene” (Article 12).<br />
  39. 39. However, countries around the world are becoming more concerned about the environment and about overexploitation of resources. The UN and regional organizations issued several treaties that oblige states to uphold certain environmental standards and prevent environmental deterioration under the auspices of global or regional organizations. <br />
  40. 40. The first important international document that addresses environmental protection as a human rights issue was the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment. <br />Issued at the 1972 UN Conference on Environment, the document reads that “man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations”<br />
  41. 41. In 1990, the UN Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution that emphasized the link between the preservation of the environment and the promotion of human rights.<br />In 1994, the UN held a meeting of international experts on human rights and environmental protection in Geneva, where the principles of an environmental rights declaration were drafted. <br />The Draft Declaration of Principles on Human Rights and the Environment states that human rights, an ecologically sound environment, sustainable development, and peace are interdependent and indivisible. <br />It further asserts that all people have a right to a secure, healthy, and ecologically sound environment. <br />Other provisions cover healthy food and water and safe and healthy work environments.<br />
  42. 42. Environmental rights are promoted in various international conferences that do not necessarily focus on human rights. Many NGOs, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, and the Nature Conservancy also work hard on environmental issues and protection.<br />
  43. 43. Last lecture <br />Thank you<br /> my valuable students<br />