The promised to be a premiere full of fans and buyers looking to get the new iSlave6 has been brought into reality by the protest of several members of the NGO Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, popularly known as SACOM.
Protesters of that organization have come to the premiere of the phone on the Apple store in Hong Kong to protest against the working conditions of Apple employees.
The protest has achieved its objectives as SACOM activists have hung a banner on which was written the name “iSlave 6″, referring to the working conditions endured by workers in the factories that produce the smartphone Apple. Continue reading →
[That barbarism, feudalism, monarchism, and imperialism present an undivided front of arrogant impunity–of acting like nothing’s wrong–is shocking and disgusting, but expected, given their history and nature. But that the story is so hidden, in the highly touted “information age,” is a shameful crime of media who claim, falsely, that they are objective, the basis for an informed democracy. No, they are premeditated co-conspirators with the barbaric powers-that-be. — Frontlines ed.]
Rizana is not the only migrant worker to have been executed in Saudi Arabia – at least 27 were executed in 2010 and more than 45 foreign maids are facing execution on death row according to Amnesty International. Rizana’s deadly fate highlights the plight of migrant workers all around the world.
Like many migrant workers’ Rizana’s story began when she left her home country Sri Lanka in 2005 for Saudi Arabia to work as a housemaid where she could earn enough money to support her relatives. In the same year she was arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced to death for murdering her employers’ four-month-old son, Kayed bin Nayef bin Jazyan al-Otaibi. Rizana said the child choked on milk and died. The child’s family believed Rizana had strangled the child after attempting to bottle-feed him.
Once arrested Rizana battled with an unjust Saudi legal system. “Defendants are rarely allowed formal representation by a lawyer and in many cases are kept in the dark about the progress of legal proceedings against them,” Amnesty International said. The Sri Lankan government and human rights organisations campaigned for Rizana to have a fair trial.
Rizana did not have legal representation prior to her trial – and – she was physically assaulted and forced to sign a confession under duress, which she later retracted. Under international law Rizana at the age of 17 was too young to receive the death penalty. As a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Saudi Arabia is prohibited from sentencing a child under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged offence to death. It is unlikely Saudi Arabia will be subject to any stringent sanctions for violating international law, which led to the death of a young woman. Continue reading →
by Shui Mui, China Left Review (Issue # 4) — (researcher, mainly focusing on migrant workers and labor-capital relations)
In March, 2009, I interviewed a Shenzhen based migrant workers’ rights activist. The interview helps us better comprehend the current conditions of migrant workers in China.
1. Workplace Injuries
A Hong Kong NGO put out a report (Arms and Legs), which discussed workplace injuries in China. At present in Shenzhen, many factories adopted new machinery equipped with infrared technologies, which could help prevent workers’ injuries. But that didn’t mean that older machinery left the Chinese scene altogether, it just moved inland. Still, Shenzhen’s rate of workplace injuries did not decrease, they only became more intense. Many 18-25 year old workers who just started working were injured in the first few days of work. This was because at many factories there was no training for newly hired workers.
Small factories owned by local investors are well below standard. When workplace injury related incidents occur, bosses frequently jump ship. Many workers’ injuries are not covered by regulations on the books that ensure workplace injury insurance. Electronics and shoe factories use a great amount of chemicals during production, without needed measures to prevent workplace poisoning. Smaller scale factories are especially weak in this area. Most of the workers in electronics factories are women, accounting for 70-80 percent of the workforce. Their work has a great impact on their reproductive systems, and the frequency of their falling ill is quite high. This is not only a problem for individual women workers, it also affects the next generation of offspring. One of the staff at University of Science and Engineering opened a battery factory where the majority of women workers fell ill to cadmium poisoning. One of these workers gave birth to an infant with a large black stripe on its body, which no one could explain. There have emerged many new chemicals used in factories are not covered by Chinese law. It’s estimate that in the next few years, rates of factory dust related lung disease will surge. This amounts to the end of the incubation period for diseases acquired since the process of economic liberalization began. Grinder’s disease, especially prevalent among miners, has already ended countless workers’ lives. Others with the disease are simply waiting to die.
Since the labor shortage that started in 2004, it should be noted that women workers are also finding it easier to secure jobs. Because women are regarded as more physically nimble, more obedient thanks to traditional culture in the countryside, much like previous generations of women workers in Korea, factory owners are predisposed to hiring them. Furthermore, if women workers look to fight for their rights, they typically have a much harder time than male counterparts. Continue reading →
Around 10 groups that offer help to the millions of migrant workers living and working in Shenzhen have suffered random inspections and evictions, some of which turned violent, said the letter seen by AFP on Monday.
“Police have failed to prevent labour organisations from being evicted from their offices for unknown reasons, sometimes even violently,” said the letter signed by 20 scholars and sent to the city and provincial governments Sunday.
The Dagongzhe Migrant Worker Centre was one of the first to be caught in the crackdown, with workers evicted from their offices in July after the water and electricity supply to their office was shut off by local authorities.
Another, the Hand in Hand Workers’ Home, was evicted from its offices on Sunday, while local government staff confiscated property belonging to a group called The Little Grass Workers’ Home last month, staff there told AFP. Continue reading →
An intense protest of enraged migrant workers broke out on Tuesday in Ruian, China. The city is located in the Zhejiang, a wealthy province in China. Reuters reports that about 1,000 migrant workers proceeded to turn over an iron gate, and damaged at least a dozen cars during their protest, which was centered on a government office building.
The demonstration began in the early morning after a young worker was allegedly killed by his employer over a payment dispute. The demonstration finally ended at midday after the family of the murdered man was given 300,000 yuan in compensation, which is the equivalent of about $47,000.
Worker uprisings have been extremely common in the last decade throughout China. Just a month ago, about 200 workers threatened to protest Apple’s Foxconn factory. The protesters, who were demanding “workplace adjustments” according to Reuters, threatened to jump off the roof of the factory in a show of solidarity. Although the disagreement was quickly settled in negotiations, the incident illustrates the often tense relationship between workers in factory settings and the large corporations that run the factories. Continue reading →
This is a video about an ongoing migrant hunger strike taking place in Greece. 300 people, mainly from North Africa, are on their 39th day of holding a hunger strike in a push for the legalization of all Greek migrants, but the Greek authorities are yet to budge. As of this writing at least 98 hunger strikers have been hospitalized in Athens and Thessaloniki, and strikers have pledged to die for their cause.
In front of the Saudi Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka: This angry protest was triggered by the brutal torture of a domestic worker by her employers in Saudi Arabia--who had hammered nails throughout her body. (See article below)
The Media Line Staff, November 18, 2010
Saudi Arabia (TML) – An international human rights group has called on Arab countries to better protect their foreign domestic workers, following recurring reports of abuse suffered by Asian maids.A Sri-Lankan housemaid working in Jordan told Human Rights Watch that her employer forced her to swallow nails, while another, employed in Kuwait, claimed her employer drove nails into her body.
Fleeing extreme poverty and harsh living conditions, millions of migrant domestic workers from across Asia and Africa flock to the oil-rich Persian Gulf. Leaving underdeveloped countries such as Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Nepal and Ethiopia, the workers seek higher salaries which they send home as remittances. However, higher wages often come at a high cost in human rights abuses and labor violations.
“I had no day off. There was no rest,” Sanju, a 33 year-old domestic worker from Sri Lanka working in Kuwait, told Human Rights Watch. “The Madam always beat me; she would beat me on the head […] she told me ‘I can kill you; I can beat you. No one cares about you.'” Continue reading →