Sunday, June 20, 2004

Gya: The U.S. can't talk about us

FOR all of its own problems and challenges, the United States government still finds it relevant not only to speak against the scourge of human trafficking, but to identify countries it claims to be violators and to warn them against punitive sanctions that include denial of economic aid.

No one should be angry with the USA for engaging in the exposure of this crime against humanity. Human trafficking must not be condoned in any form or anywhere -either for sexual exploitation or as a source of cheap labour.

Nor should the American authorities be upset with criticisms by governments of countries that exercise their right to question the assessment of the US State Department Report as it affects them by a unilateral and unfair assessment.
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Rather, the concern is over "fairness". The State Department must understand that in its overall assessment of violations of fundamental human rights, including the specific issue of human trafficking, it certainly has an obligation to be even-handed, to be objective in what it says about the situation in any given country under review.

The State Department would be reminded of recent complaints from some other CARICOM states about "unfairness" in aspects of its annual human rights report.
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It would not only be unfair, but quite hurtful for a country that has been making a conscious effort to deal with serious human rights problems such as human trafficking, to have to contend with sanctions from the superpower that can unilaterally impose them without having to bother about sanctions for its own violations of any established human rights standards.

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