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UN experts call for protection of trafficked workers from Viet Nam in Saudi Arabia

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Some women and girls being recruited in Viet Nam to serve as domestic workers in Saudi Arabia, are suffering sexual abuse and torture, leading a group of UN independent human rights experts on Thursday to call on both nations to curb human trafficking. 

“We are seeing traffickers targeting Vietnamese women and girls living in poverty, many of whom are already vulnerable and marginalized. Traffickers operate with impunity”, they said in a statement

After signing on with labour recruitment companies in Viet Nam, some girls and women found themselves sexually abused, beaten and subjected to torture and other cruel treatments by employers once they arrived in Saudi Arabia. 

Often these women are denied food and medical treatment, not paid at all, or paid less than stipulated in their contracts. 

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Urging the two countries to do more to combat trafficking and to protect these workers, the experts warned that all cooperation should be based on human rights’ principles, and assure accountability. 

“Saudi Arabia should bring migrant domestic workers under its labour law protections and extend the reforms of its kafala system to such workers”, they said, referring to a mechanism used to monitor migrant laborers, working primarily in the construction and domestic service sectors.  

The group highlighted “truly alarming allegations” that some companies in Viet Nam recruited girls as domestic workers and forged their age on documents, to hide the fact they were children. 

They share the case of one 15 year-old Vietnamese girl who became ill because of beatings inflicted by her employer, who also denied her food and medical treatment. 

She arranged to return home, but died before she could board her flight back. Because her documents had been forged, her family has not yet received the body, so they can lay her to rest. 

‘Alleged involvement of public authorities’ 

In less than a two month span, between 3 September and 28 October 2021, nearly 205 women, many alleged victims of trafficking, have been repatriated to Viet Nam. 

The experts called on the southeast Asian country to strengthen the welfare services and assistance provided to these women, including legal assistance, medical and psychosocial care. 

They also urged both governments to conduct an impartial and independent investigation, including allegations of involvement of public authorities. 

“We further remind Viet Nam and Saudi Arabia of their international legal obligations to cooperate in order to combat trafficking in persons, including in criminal justice investigations, provision of effective remedies and assistance to victims of trafficking,” they concluded. 

The experts have been in contact with both countries and, according to their statement, would like to continue this “constructive engagement”. 

The statement was signed by four experts: Siobhán Mullally, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children; Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Tomoya Obokata, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences;  and Felipe González Morales, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. 

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Europe accuses US of ‘profiting from war’

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Top European officials are furious with Joe Biden’s administration and now accuse the Americans of making a fortune from the war, while EU countries suffer. “The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the U.S. because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons,” one senior official told POLITICO.

Washington announced a $369 billion industrial subsidy scheme to support green industries under the Inflation Reduction Act that Brussels went into full-blown panic mode. “The Inflation Reduction Act has changed everything,” one EU diplomat said. “Is Washington still our ally or not?”

“We are really at a historic juncture,” the senior EU official said, arguing that the double hit of trade disruption from U.S. subsidies and high energy prices risks turning public opinion against both the war effort and the transatlantic alliance. “America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries.”

The biggest point of tension in recent weeks has been Biden’s green subsidies and taxes that Brussels says unfairly tilt trade away from the EU and threaten to destroy European industries. Despite formal objections from Europe, Washington has so far shown no sign of backing down.

As they attempt to reduce their reliance on Russian energy, EU countries are turning to gas from the U.S. instead — but the price Europeans pay is almost four times as high as the same fuel costs in America. Then there’s the likely surge in orders for American-made military kit as European armies run short after sending weapons to Ukraine.

Officials on both sides of the Atlantic recognize the risks that the increasingly toxic atmosphere will have for the Western alliance.

“The U.S. is following a domestic agenda, which is regrettably protectionist and discriminates against U.S. allies,” said Tonino Picula, the European Parliament’s lead person on the transatlantic relationship.

Cheaper energy has quickly become a huge competitive advantage for American companies, too. Businesses are planning new investments in the U.S. or even relocating their existing businesses away from Europe to American factories. Just this week, chemical multinational Solvay announced t is choosing the U.S. over Europe for new investments, in the latest of a series of similar announcements from key EU industrial giants.

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American view: ‘Putting an end to Volodymyr Zelensky’s follies!’

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“Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true,” – writes Philip Giraldi from Ron Paul Institute.

One week ago, he reminds, the Ukrainian government may have deliberately attacked neighbor Poland in an attempt to draw the NATO alliance into its war with Russia. The incident involved a missile that hit a grain processing site inside Poland and killed two farmers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately blamed Russia for the incident even though he surely must have known that the missile had been fired from Ukraine, meaning that he may have been using a so-called “false flag” to create a false narrative of what had occurred.

Given the fact that Zelensky has been saying and doing everything possible to draw the US and NATO into fighting Russia on his behalf, I believe that the missile strike was quite plausibly a deliberate “false flag” attempt to start a much broader war.

That such a war could easily turn nuclear reveals just how reckless Zelensky can be. One NATO country foreign diplomat based in Kiev told “The Financial Times”, that “This is getting ridiculous. The Ukrainians are destroying [our] confidence in them. Nobody is blaming Ukraine and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”

There has been considerable speculation that the unregulated and unmonitored flow of billions of dollars of US taxpayer provided money through Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government provided a perfect mechanism for large scale money laundering.

Even assuming that the Ukrainian missile strike on Poland was due to some malfunction, Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true.

He is using his contrived narrative to dramatically expand the war by creating a situation which would bring NATO directly into the conflict and which could easily go nuclear.

Indeed, he is attempting to compel NATO participation.

Beyond that, the US and NATO, burdened with such an “ally,” should take immediate steps to disengage from supporting the fighting and call for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.

To be sure, Zelensky is capable of anything and no lie is too mendacious for the former comedy actor who is now basking in the glow of his celebrity, writes Philip Giraldi.

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Iran’s Parliament approves bill on accession to SCO

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Iran’s Parliament has approved by a majority vote a bill on the Islamic republic’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), according TASS information.

205 parliamentarians voted for the bill, 3 voted against and 4 abstained.

On September 30, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi signed a bill on the country’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. According to the Young Journalists Club news agency, Raisi sent the bill to the country’s parliament for consideration.

Iran signed a memorandum on liabilities for joining the Organization.

The Organization’s summit in Uzbekistan on September 15-16 launched the procedure of admitting Belarus as a full-fledged member.

Egypt and Qatar were granted a dialogue partner status, while Bahrain, Kuwait, the Maldives, Myanmar, and Saudi Arabia began the procedure for obtaining this status.

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