Thursday, April 13, 2006
HUMAN RIGHTS NEED US SUPPORT
Sadly, recent US decisions concerning the new UN Human Rights Council indicate a retreat from our leadership role in human rights. For many years, both conservatives and liberals have criticized the ineffective UN Commission on Human Rights, which often included some of the worst human rights violators. Each region selected its own countries on the Commission, and certain regions just rotated countries through, rather than thoughtfully selecting their best representatives. As a result, countries like Libya, Sudan and Zimbabwe ended up on the Commission, undermining its work and credibility.
As a part of the UN reform process, after months of international negotiations, the General Assembly recently established a new Human Rights Council, by a vote of 170 to 4. Votes of 50 percent of General Assembly member states will be needed for a country to be elected, standards will be developed to prohibit human rights violators from serving.
Only the US, Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau were opposed. The US argued it wanted a stronger Council, with a two-thirds vote required for election, although some questioned if the US could even muster two-thirds itself, given its positions on human rights issues such as Guantanamo, torture, Abu Ghraib, the death penalty and juvenile justice.
Following the vote, the US announced that we would still “work cooperatively with other member states to make the council as strong and effective as it can be.”
This past week however, the US stated we would not stand for election to the first Human Rights Council, thus not participating in developing standards and building a more effective human rights monitoring process.Our government’s position is an affront to the American position as a champion of human rights around the world. —Larry Levine | Carmel
The letter-writer is President of the Monterey Bay Chapter of the United Nations Association.
TREAT ILLEGALS AS EQUALS
My mother also came from another county, and worked doing jobs that supposedly no one wanted to do. She scrubbed floors and walls for five cents a floor and 10 cents a wall. She did it proudly, knowing she was in a new country full of opportunities.
She learned the language, and paid taxes and even took the citizenship test. (A test that even some naturally born Americans couldn’t even pass.) She is 83 years young and still works for that company, not as a floor scrubber, but as the chef of that country club.
The truth is that business owners, who like to hire illegals so that they can exploit them, are part of the problem.
Why would I hire an English speaking person at $12 an hour when I can get three illegals for $5 each and not have to meet any standards that are normal for a company?
The contractors and the mom-and-pops that hire the men on the corner are undermining the work force.
We as Americans don’t help either, by mandating everything be written in Spanish (all previous immigrants had to learn English). Why would Mexican immigrants want to learn our culture when we make it easier for them to use their own here?
As for the Mexicans doing jobs that no one else would do, I say if we make companies pay a fair wage for this area, and meet all the normal health and benefits standards, everyone would apply for those jobs. But it’s way easier to hire the day worker who is willing to put his health in jeopardy for a lesser wage. —Salvatore Mario Carbone | Sand City
WHERE’S THE BEEF?
A $2,000 reward is being offered by Lightning Bolt Rodeo Productions for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the cold-blooded shooting of two top showtime rodeo bucking bulls. The bulls’ names are Malley Bear and Michi, valued at $150,000. They were shot at point blank range, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006 at around 5pm.
This shooting event took place at 1500 River Rd., Gonzales. It is suspected that the meat (1,800 lbs.) is being used to pay a specific debt.
These two bulls were legally branded and were on rented pasture. What happened was illegal and immoral. Other beef cattle have been reported missing in Monterey County as well. This is a very serious and grave concern to our community.
If anyone has any information please call the reward hotline at 751-0356. Your identity will be protected. —Lana Sargenti, Rodeo Secretary | Wellington, Nevada