In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared drugs as public enemy number one and introduced a war on drugs called “Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act 1970.
The act was to set out to reduce or eliminate the production, supply and consumption of illegal drugs. As Nixon made the war official, it was actually Woodrow Wilson who had set a Narcotics Tax in 1914 and Reagan that left a lasting legacy in 1980s. After a year in the office, Reagan stated: “We’re taking down the surrender flag that has flown over so many drug efforts; we’re running up a battle flag.” With this, his administration introduced mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences resulting in an explosive rise in the American prisons that continues today.
Many consider the 1960s as a colorful time and the heyday of drug use where hippies smoked marijuana, children living in the ghettos pushed heroine and Timothy Leary, and a Harvard professor urged the world to try LSD. But in fact some data of surveys done then tells another story. In a 1969 Gallup poll, only 4% of American adults said they had tried marijuana and parents would use scare tactics saying that marijuana would cause acne, blindness and sterility.
In the 1970s drugs became glamorous but were still misunderstood. The1981 book “The Truth About Drugs — The Body”, “Mind and You” by Gene Chill and John Duff asserted that cocaine wasn’t addictive and Gallup poll in 1973, 12% said they had tried marijuana.
During these 42 years, the U.S Government has spent $2, 5 trillion dollars fighting the “war”. Despite the ad campaigns, increased incarceration rates and a crackdown on smuggling, the number of illicit drug users in America has risen over the years and now sits at 19.9 million Americans and a large portion of their supply makes its way into the country through Mexico. The U.S. International Narcotics Control Strategy has reports that 90% of cocaine, for example, reaches the United States through its southern border and drug-related violence in Mexico has gotten so bad that it is now spreading over into states such as Arizona, which has suffered a rash of kidnappings and ransoms as well as Arizona’s 370-mile border with Mexico serves as the gateway for nearly half of all smuggled marijuana.
In the beginning…
How did this menace hit the continent? Well it started around 30 years ago when hundreds of thousands of Central Americans immigrated to the US, many illegally. While the generation that immigrated to seek a better life for themselves and their family worked hard, unfortunately many of their children grew up to become gang members involved in different criminal activity.
The Latin Kings are said to be the largest and most organized Hispanic street gang in America. This gang can be dated back to the 1940s in Chicago, Illinois when Puerto Ricans on the north side of the city and the Mexicans on the south side organized themselves into a defense group to protect their communities. Their main intention was to unite “all Latinos” into a group against any oppression and to help each other to overcome racism and prejudice.
The next and most vicious and dangerous of them all is MS”, “Mara”, or “MS-13, a criminal gang that originates from Los Angeles and has spread to Central America, Canada and many parts of the United States. The ethnicities vary from Salvadorans, Hondurans, Guatemalans and Nicaraguans.
The third largest is called 18th Street gang also known as M18, Calle 18, Barrio 18, La18 or Mara-18 in Central America. It’s a ruthless, multi-ethnic transitional criminal gang that started in Los Angeles, California and has tens of thousands of members in the city alone. Their membership goes from USA, Central America, South America and as far as to Australia.
FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initiated in September 2005 a huge raid against suspected gang members making 660 arrests across the country. As many gang members were deported back to Central and South America, the crime and murders rose rapidly across Latin America. By 2005, homicides in Honduras had risen to nearly 2,500 a year for instance and these countries became a route for drug trafficking quite fast. The major findings in a report by the Justice Department’s National Gang Intelligence Center, which has not been publicly released, states that about 900,000 gang members live “within local communities across the country,” and about 147,000 are in U.S. prisons or jails. Same report also concludes that many states will experience an increased gang membership and crime activity as the gang member’s recruits new members from campuses and rural schools. The gang also uses the internet more sending encrypted emails either to recruit or communicate throughout the U.S. and other countries.
MEXICO – A country ravaged by drug
The exotic landscape draws many tourists every year and the financial district houses the Mexican headquarters of major corporations, Hewlett Packard and IBM including Mexico’s top private schools with heavily armed guards but as the fight against the drug cartels escalates, attackers and cartel members have reached into the most guarded districts.
When the United States Coast Guard shut down the Caribbean cocaine route, the trade shifted to Mexico.
This drug war has gone so far that it is threatening the stability of the countries in central and South America. Around 50,000 have died in Mexico including 3,000 public servants, policemen, soldiers, judges, mayors and dozens of federal officials and the violence is getting worse. The corruption and infiltration of cartels has spread to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and some Caribbean nations as well.
The Guatemalan government has lost large areas of the country and including some of its prison as the government has been infiltrated by the mafia. The countries of Central America’s northern triangle (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) are now among the most violent places on earth and has become more deadlier even than most conventional war zones.
When Texas requested more National Guard protection from the Mexican drug cartels, the Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair stated that the Mexican government had lost control of its own territory. President Felipe Calderón responded by pointing out that his nation shared a border with “the biggest consumer of drugs and the largest supplier of weapons in the world.”
The Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared a war against the drug cartels just day after being sworn into office in 2006 when he sent 6,500 troops to end the execution style killings between the two rival drug gangs. The following year, Calderón’s public security minister Genaro Garcia Luna removed 284 federal police commissioners; all suspected of corruption and replaced them with a hand-selected group of officers who successfully arrested several drug lords. The drug cartels answer to this was vicious violence where 5,300 people were killed in drug-related crimes in 2008 and over 1,000 have died this year.
The boys are searching for something they can be a part of, and the gang offers them all the things they miss in their life. Money, attention, unity and brotherhood but all this has a price. The boy says that the gang becomes their family and that they look after each other. The young boys who are picked up as members starts working as lookouts or guardians (little drug shops) and then they start getting paid for killing people. In Mexico Juarez, a person can get killed for 1000 pesos equals to $85. On the surface it looks like the perfect thing to join but the membership results in two things and that is either in prison or 6 feet under.
The city of Juarez, Mexico is right next to El Paso, Texas and it is the murder capital of the world and so far this year, more than 2,000 people have been murdered in the city. Despite the efforts of the Mexicans government to tackle the situation, corruption has spread to all levels of the government that they feel like they are losing the fight. Some have even gone so far to state that it is far safer to travel to Afghanistan and Iraq today rather than to cities like Juarez.
The members of the drug cartels has done their part by guaranteeing that their drug reaches the U.S. this was shown when U.S. officials raided a southern California warehouse and discovered a lighted and ventilated tunnel that was 4 feet (1,21 meters) high and 1,800 feet ( 548,6 meters) long crossing into Mexico. 25 tons of Marijuana was seized during the raid. This tunnel was just one of the 75 tunnels along the Mexican border discovered in the last 4 years.
In 2011, there were 1,200 National Guard Troops along the Mexican border while there are deployed more than 28,000 U.S. troops along the South Korean border with North Korea. It is being spent millions of dollars to secure this border and not one single unauthorized entry has happened across the Korean border and at the same time, the U.S. government has said that it cannot secure the U.S. border with Mexico as some in the Obama administration believes it would be “a violation of human rights” to put up a fence or to implement extra security on the border while the drug trafficking and violence continues to cross over the border and into the U.S.
Although Obama and his administration won’t admit it, it is in fact a shared war that they all have to take part in. The cocaine and other drugs smuggled and sold by the cartel is bought and used by Americans making them the largest consumers. The relationship is give and take and in return the cartels purchase weapons. The automatic weapons, from AK-47s to M4’s are almost 90% American made and purchased in the US legally. More than 6,700 licensed gun dealers have set up shop within a short drive of the 2,000-mile border, from Texas to San Diego, California. “Straw Buyers” purchase these weapons for traffickers at small gun shops and large gun shows. One Mexican -American once bought more than 100 assault rifles, 9-mm handguns and other high-powered weapons at multiple shops over several months and the cartel paid him $40 per gun.
According to Mexican government officials, as many as 2,000 weapons enter Mexico from the US daily and fuel an arms race between competing Mexican drug cartels and since 1996, a total of 63,000 guns have been smuggled into Mexico. This has leaded to that the Mexican cartels now control large areas of Mexican territory and dozens of municipalities as well as having influence in the politics.
Since 2007, a total of 7,882 drug cartel related deaths have occurred. In Iraq, the number of US soldiers killed since 2003, is less. The Mexican government has spent $7 billion to fight the drug cartels. In some cases, the government has sent 6000 soldiers to a province to fight the cartels.
The U.S. Justice Department has stated in the previous months last that the Mexican gangs are the “biggest organized crime threat to the United States.”
In Phoenix, Arizona, homicides have increased with kidnap and execution style killings. In Southern California, Americans have been abducted by armed groups tied to the Tijuana drug trade. In the past month, the town of Juarez, right across the US border had over 250 deaths and President Calderon ordered 5,000 more troops and federal police to the town but it seems like it hasn’t done any difference.
The drug traffickers working for the drug cartels are recruiting young boys and the younger they are, the better. Texas high schools have reported that cartel members have visited their campuses many times in search for young boys. In 2010, a 14 year old was arrested as he had become a head-chopping cartel assassin with no remorse. “I slit their throats,” he stated and his sister helped him to dump the bodies on the freeways. The boy with the nickname “El Ponchis” (The Cloak) was found guilty of torturing and beheading and was sentenced to three years in Mexico.
In September 2011, a sack of heads was found near an Acapulco elementary school and a blogging reporter’s headless corpse was dumped in front of a major thoroughfare in the Texas border town of Nuevo Laredo. Her head, along with headphones and computer equipment, was found in a street planter.
For decades, the Colombians would have the Mexicans transport cocaine for them unless they sent the cocaine directly into the U.S. on planes or speedboats but this came to an end in 1990 when the United States tightened the Colombians main smuggling point in the Caribbean and Florida and cooperated with the Colombian government to fight the cartels. The Colombians then had to rely on the Mexicans who used to smuggle across areas that was difficult to monitor. The Mexicans saw this as an opportunity and bought out every last single competitor and within few years, they gained dominance in the global illicit drug trade.
The number of people murdered in the drug war inside the United States between 2006 and 2010 exceeds the US-troop death toll in the Iraq War since it was launched in 2003, according to a Narco News analysis of FBI crime statistics.
The US drug-war homicide also is nearly three times greater than the number of US soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001, the same analysis shows.
Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, had the highest number of violent deaths at 1,206; followed by the beach resort town of Acapulco, with 795. But despite the high numbers of deaths, the Calderon administration takes credit for capturing 22 of 37 most important cartel leaders. Chris Sabatini, policy director for the Americas Society, stated naively that he didn’t expect the violence to spread over into the U.S. He doesn’t care much of it as long as the violence stays south of the border but the facts show that the cartels and violence is consuming the U.S; slowly but surely.
Legalized drugs – Desperate or a clever move?
Presidents from Guatemala and Colombia have raised the possibility of legalization in their countries and the region, with politicians from Costa Rica, Mexico and El Salvador joining the debate and possibility.
Although decriminalization doesn’t guarantee and end to the violence and crime, it could give the government some free space and profit the supporters suggest. This suggestion is supported by many business man as well as the drug war and crimes has caused problems for Latin America’s business and economics by weakening the state institutions, infiltrating judicial systems and the government.
The debate over the legalization was brought by the Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina. When he met with the Salvadorian President Mauricio Funes at the summit, he proposed decriminalizing the drug war in Central America as a way to put an end to the violent cartel activity that is moving through the region leaving many deaths behind them. Funes seemed to like the idea in Guatemala City but by the time he returned home, he had a change of heart. “I am not in agreement with decriminalization of production, trafficking or consumption of drugs,” he said in an attempt to “avoid erroneous interpretations.” This did not come as a surprise as the region is dependent and under a strong influence of the U.S. who is against legalization. To legalize is a bold move and it would most probably not work for the U.S. if the government legalizes the use of marijuana, then that means that people will be able to buy it from other places rather than only from drug dealers leaving other stronger drugs behind. To sell these other drugs will either be easy or hard since people will use more marijuana than other drugs because its legal and drug dealers and cartels will become more violent and aggressive to sell the other drugs as well. For one thing, if marijuana makes up 60 percent of the cartels’ profits, that still leaves another 40 percent, which includes the sale of methamphetamine, cocaine, and brown-powder and black-tar heroin. If marijuana were legalized, the cartels would still make huge profits from the sale of these other drugs as people can buy marijuana from drug dealers who can push stronger drugs on them at the same time.
The positive and negative sides of this issue can be seen in countries and cities that has legalized and liberalized the law are: `
In 2001, Portugal became the first European country officially to abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs. Those found guilty of possessing small amounts are sent to a panel made up of a psychologist, a social worker and a legal adviser who will advise on appropriate treatment.
Drug laws were relaxed in 1993 to define very small amounts of drugs (usually less than half a gram) as being for personal use. People found with smaller amounts do not face criminal prosecution, though they are placed on a users’ register.
The passing into law of Proposition 215 in November 1996 did not legalise marijuana in California but created a new exemption from criminal penalties for its medical use for those with a doctor’s recommendation, which can be made either in writing or verbally. This November the state will vote on a plan, called Proposition 19, to let adults possess small amounts of marijuana and let local government tax its sale.
The Dutch classify cannabis in all its forms as a soft drug and the smoking of it, even in public, is not prosecuted. Selling cannabis, although technically illegal, is widely tolerated in coffee shops which, however, must keep to a five gram maximum transaction and sell only to adults. Recent moves have been made to tighten these controls in response to drug tourism.
Zurich’s Platzpitz park needle exchange project in the mid-1980s led to the decision by authorities not to police the park on the grounds that it would focus drug use in one place. The experiment ended after the number of addicts in the park rose from a few hundred in 1987 to more than 20,000 in 1992.
Obama’s failed war
When President Obama head to Colombia last week for the Summit of the Americas, he was going to face some difficult and important questions that no president before him has really had to answer. As the U.S. drug war entered its fourth decade, the leaders of South and Latin America are demanding changes and reforms from the largest importer and consumer of drugs but they failed to come to an agreement as several key leaders failed to show up to the meeting.
Since the 1970’s, the U.S. government has pursued a militarized and aggressive policy against illicit substances. Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil have all taken steps towards decriminalization as they have suffered the most from ruthless cartels. Guatemala’s new President, Otto Perez Molina, a former general believes in decriminalizing the narcotic trade saying this would get remove money laundering, smuggling, arms trafficking and corruption not to mention the violence and deaths.
President Obama admitted in January 2004 that the war on drugs was failing:” The war on drugs has been an utter failure. We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws… We need to rethink how we can operate the drug war”. Since then, he has shown little interest on the war on drugs. He knows that he cannot end the drug war but has urged to focus on increased prevention and treatment over incarcerations after being too much focused on arrests.
U.S. authorities say that there are now over 1 million members of criminal gangs operating inside the United States and according to federal statistics; these 1 million gang members are responsible for up to 80% of the violent crimes committed in the U.S. each year. A growing percentage of It is Spanish speaking gangs are becoming a dominant key factor in every city in the United States.
The White House on their side defenses their approach by presenting some facts:
•Overall drug use in the United States has dropped substantially over the past thirty years. The number of Americans using illicit drugs today is roughly half what it was in the late 70’s.
•There has been a 46% drop in current cocaine use among young adults over the past five years, and a 68% drop in the rate of people testing positive for cocaine in the workplace since 2006.
•The potential production capacity for pure cocaine in Colombia has declined from an estimated 700 metric tons of potential cocaine production in 2001 to only 280 metric tons in 2009 —a 60% drop.
•Legalization remains a non-starter “because research shows that illegal drug use is associated with voluntary treatment admissions, fatal drugged driving accidents, mental illness, and emergency room admissions.”
When Nixon announced the war on drugs in 1971, the US kept just 0.2% of its population behind bars but today, it incarcerates close to 0.8% of its population – 2.25 million Americans. A further 5 more million are on parole or probation. In total, more than 7 million people in the US are under correctional supervision. If they were all gathered together they could form the 13th biggest state of the union by population. Most of the prisons are overcrowded and private prisons are increasing as it profits unbelievably. Human rights organizations have long condemned the “inhuman exploitation in the United States” where it is said that the prisons house over 2 million – mostly African-American and Hispanics coming as no surprise. For the tycoons who have invested in the private jails, this is a working goldmine for them. Here the prisoners come to work every single day and work full time without any excuse and vacation, and if they aren’t happy about the 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they just get locked up in isolation cells. Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations. Some of the companies are IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., but reached its height in 1990 under William Clinton, when Wall Street stocks were selling as warm bread.
Corporate stockholders making money off the prisoner’s do everything they can for longer sentences in order to expand their employment rather than rehabilitate the inmates. A study presented by the Progressive Labor Party accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.” An example of this is the prison in Virginia, Lawrenceville where the CCA has an ultra-modern prison where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for “good behavior,” but for any infraction, they get 30 days added - which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost “good behavior time” at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons.
Another helpful thing was the passage of the “three strikes law” (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies). This made the already existing prisons overcrowded and necessary to build 20 more new federal prisons.
According to California Prison Focus, no other society in the world and in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens. From less than 300,000 in 1972, inmates increased to 2 million by the year of 2000, minus those with probation. This is the opposite of what Obama suggested years ago, rehabilitation rather than punishment but it has obviously been failing as notorious gang members who enter prison continues to commit crimes inside and outside when they are released. Other Gang leaders give orders from prison to those on the outside such as selling drugs and committing murder. But it doesn’t stop there, because the drugs reach all the way into the prisons as well. Most of it is smuggled in by visitors or sent in by different techniques or smuggled in and sold by “dirty” prison guards.
The National Survey on Drug Use estimates that almost 23 million Americans are illicit drug users making it 8,9% of its adult population from 2008-2009 when it was only 8%. The number of marijuana users has gone up from 14.4 million in 2007 to 17.4 million in 2010. As illicit drugs, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and some other prescription drugs was used making marijuana the most commonly used drug with more than 17 million users in 2010. This is because marijuana is the most common drug for first-time users, according to the study. Among people who started using drugs in the year before the survey, 62% said they first used marijuana, 26% first used prescription drugs like tranquilizers and stimulants, and 9% first used inhalants.
America is clearly going on the wrong track when it comes to the counter drugs and their imprisonment habits. Instead of focusing on putting drug users behind bars to profit from them, they should focus more on treating this as an illness, not as a crime. People need help to fight the need and urge for drug or to treat the problem that pushes them to use drugs. Those who are guilty are the drug smugglers and sellers who profits from consumers. U.S. should rather target the big fish in the pound and legalizing is not the answer. That would mean going from bad to worse.
Azerbaijan an unsung kingdom of Ilham Aliyev has remained world’s worst open prison for being a journalist.
The tyrant leadership of Aliyev’s presidency has lead country into severe crisis of human rights. Journalists are kept under constant monitoring and under vigil. Whether it is online social media / emails / even a simple reporting on a particular issue comes under the brutal scissors of the government.
The brutal assault on Idrak Abbasov has once again exposed the ground reality of how the journalists and other media agencies work in Azerbaijan. The crisis of being free and live free are of the most acute nature where journalists are not only threatened but also face violent attacks and in even worst scenario death or life long imprisonment where in jails they face mal treatment, sexual abuse and much more heinous acts which are being committed by Aliyev regime.
The families of journalists too face the wrath of government agencies or even public enterprises just like the one in case of Idrak Abbasov whose house was bulldozed by the national oil company Global Energy Azerbaijan Ltd and SOCAR. In the cases like these families, relatives are also barred from taking them to hospital for medical treatment or even visiting them in jail.
The international community in particular western countries who act as global advocates of human rights and democracy have also turned blind eye towards the worsening situation in Azerbaijan and the atrocities being committed by the country’s premier Ilham Aliyev.
Is the oil for the world so important and valuable that human lives needs to compromised for it. Is the thirst of developed and growing economies is so necessary that the people strife for freedom and justice has become dwarfed. Azerbaijan sits on the most lucrative Caspian oil fields and shares the major chunk of the total available. The business of oil has now overshadowed the voice of crying people who wants peace, freedom and justice against the crimes which are being committed by this tyrant leader of this Central Asian republic.
Is the blood and sacrifices of the people of Azerbaijan is cheaper than the people of Libya and Syria. With the diplomatic stand of Western lobby towards Azerbaijan and the cooperation with the autocratic leader Ilham Aliyev has been proven that the world just work for money and the governments who says and speak about democracy and human rights are just false illusions of once real life dream.
As the power of money and resource has always been heavier than the plight of those who compromise their lives for their freedom; the case of Azerbaijan and the Journalists who are struggling for truth and justice for their people has been following on the deaf ears of those who just want to quench their thirst of oil rather taking a stand as the global leader which they propound to show the world. Just like when Idrak Abbasov was awarded with the Guardian journalism prize at the Index on Censorship free expression awards for his brave reporting and for standing up to state intimidation in Azerbaijan said “Listing the threats of detention and harassment Azerbaijani journalists face, Abbasov said at the Index awards:
This is the price that my colleagues in Azerbaijan are paying for the right of the Azerbaijani people to know the truth about what is happening in their country. For the sake of this right we accept that our lives are in danger, as are the lives of our families.
But the goal is worth it, since the right to truth is worth more than a life without truth.”
It is true as one of the assailant reportedly said: “Tell Idrak to get smarter or we will cut off his ears.”
Education for all campaigned promoted by Armed For The Quill in Bangladesh
Childhood is much like spring, the blooming phase of a human being’s life. It is a phase when we are carefree and when we can indulge in acts of fun and leisure without worrying about the experiences of the upcoming future.
It never crosses our mind and besides, it’s a proposition tough to imagine but it’s a reality for many children, who are forced to succumb to the exploitations of child labour. It is one of the most heinous violations of human rights existing in our society even today.
Moreover, this violation is very common in the Indian city of joy – Kolkata. Much ironical to its title, this city has no joy to offer to those children who toil day and night to earn just a handful of rice to survive. So much so, that even the innocence glow of childhood fails to illuminate the lives of these children. They miss the nitty-gritties associated with the process of growing up and as a result, the transition from a child to an adult, often comes without the slightest of notice.
One of the most common reasons for this is the grinding poverty which abounds in the city. It makes the families of these children unable to provide even a roof over their heads. Therefore, they rely on their own children to fulfill the basic needs of life. In fact, their basic need just stops at earning a handful of rice to feed their stomachs.
Overpopulation is another factor contributed to the extremity of the situation. Illiterate parents add to this exploitation because they are unfamiliar with and so, least bothered about the physical, emotional and cognitive development of a child and also these parents are unaware of the fact that lack of education will lead their child ’s future only to the dungeons of sorrow and miseries. In most cases, the child is forced to work due to unemployment of the elders because of some physical disability or on account of the parent being a single parent,especially in cases of single mothers or alcoholic fathers.Orphans, by default, are left with no other option but to work because of the lack of elderly and important support of guardians.
One of the root causes of child labour is the willing exploitation from the factory owners, industries, small tea shacks, and shops where maximum numbers of cases of child labour are tracked. These owners exploit the children as not only do little children offer them services at a much cheaper rate than adults, but also because children have to be fed much less than an adult worker. Also these children won’t protest or form a union against the owners or fight back on being physically abused. These innocent facts about these children make them prone to the exploits from these notorious businessmen.
Due to so many limiting factors the lives of these innocent children take a turn for the worst. In a phase of life where they are supposed to study, grow mentally, spiritually, psychologically and physically, their very right to education is betrayed and consequently their future becomes anything but bright. The child is thus condemned to a life of unskilled, badly paid work and ultimately the vicious circle entraps them, shelling out generations after generations of poor children under cutting wages.
In many cases children are handling hazardous substances specially hose working in factories and due to that they become prone to chronic health diseases. Immigrant child labourers have more to face as they become victims of sexual exploitation too, majority of them being girls. The most glaring example being the red light area in Shobha bazaar where sexual exploitation of the girl child is in abundance and little boys begging around the signal is common sight that greets you. Not only in Shobha bazaar but the situation around Sealdah station is also similar. Suraj, a boy of 12 was seen polishing shoes of the travellers at the station.On being asked, he said he was doing this since the age of ten, since when his father died. His mother being psychologically ill can’t work.
As we move more far towards Barasaat region a family consisting of a father, mother and two sons were seen picking plastics, which they then sold to feed their stomachs. These are just a few instances seen around but on a macro level, there are thousands of Surajs who either start working at a very tender and impressionable age or beg around to sustain their lives.
There are specific clauses in the draft of Indian constitution dated 26 January 1950, about the child labour policy in India. They fall under different articles in the fundamental rights and the directive principles of the state policy. They lay down four specific policy rules regarding child labor.
The main legislative measures at the national level are the Child Labor Prohibition and Regulation Act -1986 and the Factories Act -1948. The first act was categorical in prohibiting the employment of children below fourteen years of age, and identified 57 processes and 13 occupations, which were considered dangerous to the health and lives of children. The details of these occupations and processes are listed in the schedule to the said act.
The Factories Act again prohibits the employment of children less than fourteen years of age. However, an adolescent aged between 15 and 18 can be recruited for factory employment only after securing a fitness certificate from an authorized medical practitioner. The act proceeds to prescribe only four hour’s work period per day for children between 14 and 18 years. Children are also not allowed to work in night shifts.
Moreover, in the year 1996 the Supreme Court of India came out with a judgment in court that directed the state and union government to make a list of all children embroiled in hazardous occupations and processes. They were then told to pull them out of work and asked to provide them with proper and quality education. The judiciary also laid down that child labor and welfare fund beset up. The contribution for this was to be received from the employers who contravened the Child Labor Act.
India is also a signatory to the UN convention on the rights of the child, ILO Abolition of Forced Convention – no 105 and ILO Forced Labor Convention – no. 29. A national labor policy was also adopted in the year 1987 in accordance with India’s development strategies and aims. The national policy was designed to reinforce the directive principles of state policy in the Indian constitution.
In spite of so many initiatives from the state government as well as the union government, the existing scenario of child exploitation through child labor is still the same. Despite so many projects undertaken by the government, offering proper and quality education, supplementary meals etc, and the reality is unchanged.
Why are so many children still devoid of their basic rights? Why is the future of these children hooded under the canopy of misery and exploitation?
The questions are infinite but answers are none. Children are innocent and do not know their rights so if the government does not take a strict initiative for the proper education of these little ones, the problem will never perish and continue to effect generations after generations.
The disparity between educated and illiterate will never reduce, how can we then expect the economy of the country to swell? This developing country can never be developed if attention is not paid to strengthening the foundation.
North Korea is the last Stalinist state, a one-man dictatorship that also joined the nuclear club in 2006. Kim Jong-un, the youngest son of Kim Jong-il, was declared as his father’s successor after the latter passed away. It is in essence a failed state trying to suppress its people. It could be called fascism in its worst form as there is no free opinion, people are murdered in case someone speaks out against the “Great Leader”, citizens are being watched at all times, everything is being censored and foreigners who enter the country are closely monitored and cannot speak with locals about what is going on in the country. Citizens are being told what to do, what to say and even what to wear at all times. A good example of this is when Kim Jong-il died and the whole country was mourning, throwing them on the ground and crying their eyes out.
Loss of face:
In late February 2012, North Korea agreed to suspend all nuclear weapon tests and uranium enrichments as well as allowing international inspectors to verify and monitor activities at its main reactor. This was a part of a deal for American food aid to the isolated nation.
Although North Korea has agreed before to halt its nuclear program, only to back out and demand more concessions, still, both South Korea and Japan saw it as the first step towards improvement even though they were somewhat skeptical.
Then came the launch of the $450 million satellite “Bright shining star”, which exploded in mid-air about a minute after liftoff and plunged into the Yellow Sea. This failed project came at a time when Kim Jong-un wanted to mark his political power as the country marked its biggest holiday ever; the 100th birthday of his grandfather and North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung.
The failed launching brought broad international condemnation including the suspension of food aid by the United States amid suspicions that North Korea might have more tricks up its sleeve. The government tried it’s hardest to frighten the West including its neighbour in the South but instead suffered loss of face and 240,000 tons of food aid worth $200milion. South Korean foreign minister Kim Sug-hwan was quick to comment after the rocket launch. “It is very regrettable that North Korea is spending enormous resources on developing nuclear and missile capabilities while ignoring the urgent welfare issue of the North Korean people such as chronic food shortages”.
The Legacy of Kim Jong-Il:
Called the “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il had been the eccentric ruler of North Korea, which was founded by his father, Kim Il-sung. The two Kims have been the only leaders the country has known and have managed to lead the country into disaster with their policies.
The problem is in the sociopathic behavior that has been transferred from father to son for three generations. When Kim Jong-un was unveiled as his father’s heir in 2010, he was given two powerful military titles: four-star general and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. With his father’s death, the support of the military is crucial if Kim Jong-un is to consolidate power.
The bizarre mind of Kim Jong-un can be explained through his still immature state where he orchestrates temper tantrums and threats of punishments to get his way in the international world.
Provocative attitude and self imposed isolation:
Kim Jong-il transformed North Korea into a nuclear power as well as the most isolated state in the world, while a huge number of people starved as money flowed into the country’s military programs. The United States and its allies have for years been unable to find a solution except for applying sanctions and appealing to China.
Even though malnutrition has improved marginally, still one in five North Korean children are underweight according to the World Food Programme. Malnutrition has been caused by years of economic mismanagement and underinvestment, and was made worse in 2011 by poor weather and a reduction of food imports from China and South Korea.
Apparently North Korea hasn’t learned from past mistakes. In 2009, South Korea donated $13 million for a World Health Organization program to send medicine and medical supplies to the North, but then asked the United Nations to suspend the distribution of the aid following the sinking of its warship, the Cheonan, in March 2010.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused Obama of being incompetent and naive in handling North Korea.
"Instead of approaching Pyongyang from a position of strength, President Obama sought to appease the regime with a food-aid deal that proved to be as naive as it was short-lived. This incompetence from the Obama administration has emboldened the North Korean regime and undermined the security of the United States and our allies," Romney said.
The international community must focus its attention to the plight of the North Korean people. The countries and agencies involved in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear crisis should come second and measures should be taken to relax the stringent rules for providing essential food supplies and basic commodities to North Koreans. The nations that advocate human rights and democracy must give serious thought to the people dying of hunger and disease. Sometimes values needs to put on the back burner and the helping hand must be provided irrespective.
The murder of 16 Afghan civilians on March 11th 2012 shocked the international world and brought more tension to the already strained relationship. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly killed the civilians in cold blood but according to the Pentagon, Bales had been treated for a traumatic brain injury that he suffered in Iraq in 2010.
Other information leaked by military officials indicated that Bales, who was on his fourth deployment, may have “snapped” under pressure due to a brain injury and/or alcohol abuse.
Robert Bales had broken into three homes in three different locations in Panjwai district -villages of Alkozai and Najeeban and another settlement known locally as “Ibrahim Khan Houses”.
By the end of the attack, 16 people, 9 of them children were dead and 5 wounded. Some of the bodies had also been set on fire. According to pictures, some of the victims had been killed by a single gunshot to the head.
Suicide and health problems
It’s no surprise that U.S. military personnel and veterans are plagued by substance abuse, depression and suicides.
In various studies, researchers surveyed nearly 600 veterans returning from war zone deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan, finding out that they were at increased risk for mental health problems and alcohol and drug abuse.
Nearly 14% of the veterans screened positive for probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 39% for probable alcohol abuse, and 3% for probable drug use. Men reported more alcohol and drug use than women, but there were no gender differences in PTSD or other mental health conditions.
Another important founding was the difference between veterans returning from Iraq who reported more depression or functioning problems and more alcohol and drug use than those returning from Afghanistan.
The studies were published online on Jan. 25th in the American Journal of Public Health and are scheduled to appear in the March supplement print issue of the journal.
In a second study, researchers found that major depression and substance use disorders have increased among active duty combat-exposed veterans. The finding comes from an analysis of data from 678,382 active personnel that served between 2001 and 2006.
"Given the continuing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and other parts of the world, and the increasing trend in major mental health conditions reported in the U.S. military, it would be important for the Department of Defense to assess whether the current system has adequate resources and manpower to handle the increasing number of active duty personnel who need mental health services," the researchers concluded.
The third study found out that suicide rates for all U.S. military services increased between 2005 - 2007, particularly for members of the regular Army and National Guard. The increased risk of suicide in 2007 compared with 2005 may be due to the extended duration of war and increased lengths of deployment for Army and Air force personnel the researchers concluded.
Already in 2008, researches had presented study results where 300,000 U.S. troops were suffering from major depression or post-traumatic stress in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and 320,000 received brain injuries and only half of them had applied for help according to the nonprofit RAND Corporation. Terri Tanielian, the project’s co-leader and researcher at RAND already warned about the health crises 5 years ago. -“There is a major health crisis facing those men and women who have served our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unless they receive appropriate and effective care for these mental health conditions, there will be long-term consequences for them and for the nation,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press.
The 500-page study was the first large-scale, private assessment of its kind, including a survey of 1,965 service members across the country, from all branches of the armed forces and including those still in the military as well veterans who have left the services.
RAND researchers also found:
• About 19% or some 320,000 services members reported that they experienced a possible traumatic brain injury while they were deployed. In wars where blasts from roadside bombs are prevalent, the injuries can range from mild concussions to severe head wounds.
• About 7% reported both a probable brain injury and current PTSD or major depression.
• Only 43% reported ever being evaluated by a physician for their head injuries.
• Only 53% of service members with PTSD or depression sought help over the past year in 2008.
• They gave various reasons for not getting help, including that they worried about the side effects of medication; believing that family and friends could help them with the problem; or that they feared seeking care might damage their careers.
• Rates of PTSD and major depression were highest among women and reservists.
The report is titled “Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery.” It was sponsored by a grant from the California Community Foundation and done by 25 researchers from RAND Health and the RAND National Security Research Division, which does work under contracts with the Pentagon and other defense agencies as well as allied foreign governments and foundations.
Another study which has been published in Injury Prevention, it has been revealed that American soldiers are not able to tackle situations at work front and this has led to commit suicide. The study was being conducted by Kathleen E. Bachynski and colleagues from the U. S. Army Public Health Command in Aberdeen.
They found that from 2007 and 2008, there have been 255 suicides in the US and the majority of the deaths that took place in 2008 were mainly associated with troops who were deployed in the 2003 Iraq war.
In addition, the study authors found soldiers to be suffering from mental illnesses as well like post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorder, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders. It is said mental disorders have contributed a major portion to increase the number of suicides taking place in the US Army.
Who is responsible to see the signs?
The commander on the ground is supposed to be responsible to look out for the mental health of those under his command. It’s something they are thought to do and should do as people understand when someone shows signs of disorder.
The signals vary from high-risk behavior, such as self-medicating with alcohol, anger management, involvement in partner abuse, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse. I personally see the families of the soldiers as responsible as well to some point. Last year for instance, an Army private accused of killing a Taliban prisoner by shooting him in the face agreed to plead guilty in the slaying, despite his diagnosis of schizophrenia. His parents said he had repeatedly told them through email and phone conversations that he was hearing voices. If parents or partners see signs of disease or other, they should report it, so that both sides should be spared of damages.
What is obvious from past and present studies is that there is a stigma closely tied to getting help for mental health problems.
The Army has tried to prevent suicides in the past year through training, a suicide prevention task force, and a day of standing down from official duties to focus on suicide prevention. Top military officials including former Defense Secretary Robert Gates have encouraged military personnel to seek counseling.
While PTSD can be treated effectively with talk therapy, the military has also begun focusing on whether the problem might be prevented in the first place — for instance by identifying those at high risk and preparing them psychologically for conflict.
In the new study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, more than 22,000 soldiers completed a health questionnaire before they were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and again after they returned.
Just over 3% had some mental illness, including PTSD.
Upon returning, however, 8% had symptoms of PTSD. Those who had mental illness other than PTSD before deployment, had more than twice the odds of developing the condition after they returned home.
According to the Army Medical organization who conducted another study, the suicides rose 80% from 2004 to 2008. As many as 40 percent of these suicides may have been linked to combat experience in Iraq, yet nearly a third of the soldiers who committed suicide saw no combat at all, said the researchers, from the U.S. Army Public Health Command published in the March 7th online edition of the journal Injury Prevention.
The findings are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Army Behavioral Health Integrated Data Environment, a registry including consultations, diagnoses and treatment on suicides from many military sources.
Almost half (45%) of those who committed suicide were between 18 and 24 years old and what the researchers found out was that the soldiers who committed suicide were more likely to have been diagnosed with a mental illness in the year before their suicide.
The reasons behind the increase in the suicide rate was related to increased rates of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, personality and adjustment disorders, and serious mental illness, the researchers said. Those with severe depression were more than 11 times more likely to take their lives, and those with anxiety disorders were 10 times more likely to do so according to the researchers in Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
Diagnoses linked to a higher suicide risk included depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress, substance misuse, along with psychosis and adjustment disorders.
Past and present – what have we learned?
The authors of the study, the Army Public Health Command (APHC), estimated that 25% to 50% of the suicides were directly related to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of the key psychological issues affecting the approximately two million American troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 have been traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
One mistake made by the U-S- government was that there was a critical shortage of health care personnel, especially specialized on mental health to meet the demands of those who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan according to a 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine.
After the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Vietnam in 1973, the same thing happened. The rates of mental health problems went up. American soldiers had fought in harsh conditions both in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf where being ambushed and taken as hostage was a part of their daily life, but the combat and weapons have changed with the years and even if the wars are effectively fought, the mental problems remains the same. The U.S. government has been too busy with planning wars and sending Iraq veterans to Afghanistan instead of focusing on mental health issues.
Stigma – Wrapped in shame
Bottom line is; the Pentagon’s mental-health workers are fighting a war of their own for the minds of the nation’s soldiers and Marines, but they continue to lose ground on this matter.
Many veterans are aware of the mental state they are in but have not seeked help or treatment. Some of the most important reasons they have given for not seeking help includes:
• Concern over being seen as weak.
• Concern about being treated differently.
• Concern that others would lose confidence in them.
• Concerns about privacy
• They prefer to rely on family and friends.
• They don’t believe treatment is effective.
• Concerns about side effects of treatments.
• Problems with access, such as cost or location of treatment.
I believe that the sense of shame has kept these men away from treatment and that’s also one of the reasons that they have committed suicide. Sometimes the conscience plays a role in suicides when war crimes have occurred.
The American staff sergeant Bales who killed 16 Afghan villagers, had been drinking alcohol, something that is a violation of military rules in combat zones. He had served three tours of duty in Iraq and was deployed to Afghanistan for the first time in December serving a total of 11 years in the army.
With the alcohol running through his veins and stress because of being deployed on his fourth combat tour, Bales snapped American officials say. Bales also refused to speak to investigators asked for a lawyer shortly after he surrendered on the base.
Local journalists have said that the villages of Najeeban and Alkozai are about 5-7km (3-4 miles) apart. This immediately raises questions about if Bales walked by foot the whole time. An Afghan guard at the NATO base had also told the media that Sgt Bales left the base twice. He returned at 00:30 local time after the first trip out and was out between 02:00 and 04:00 for the second trip. In one village Sgt Bales reportedly went from house to house, trying the handles of several doors and entering the homes and killing those whose doors were unlocked. Although he had “snapped”, Bales had remembered to put on his night vision goggles before he killed the 16 villagers.
Apparently the U.S. military is quick to discover mental problems after the damages were done but isn’t that effective to examine them before. This man should never have been deployed out in the field, and he should certainly have never been sent back to America after the murders.
If an Afghan man had “snapped” and committed similar crime in Washington DC, I am sure, the U.S. would have never sent him back to Afghanistan to face trial but instead punish him in America as the US government has no problem in bringing “terrorists”, guilty or not to Guantanamo.
There is no doubt in my mind that this was planned from Bales’s side and he knew exactly what he was doing. His actions were not the results of PTSD and not only against military culture but against human behavior. When a person snaps, he does not put on his night vision, arm himself with weapons and walk several miles to nearby villages where he goes from door to door to kill and burn innocent people, mostly children. A person who snaps will instantly target those who are near him so why didn’t he shoot and execute the men and women around him on the base? I have no doubt that Bales has mental health problems but these killings were conducted effectively and in cold blood. This kind of act brings various consequences:
1.) Creates environment to encourage people to go on the path of extremism.
2.) Extremists exploit these kinds of situations.
3.) Opposing regimes of other neighboring nations takes advantage of such incidents.
4.) Whatever the percentage Afghan government leaders support US role in the region they become separated from its people and from those leaders who are already against the US; this makes the situation more badly.
5.) Afghanistan’s youth would slowly but gradually move towards extremism.
The country which has been affected and suffering unjustifiably would one day stand against the power that has made them victims. And Afghanistan has history of taking such unified stand against suppressive powers.
If America would not give justice to the affected family and may not maintain the transparency in punishing the culprit of the massacre then there would countless question marks which would raise against the leadership role and the system of America which it promote as democratic and justified.
Norway has always lived up to its repo of being great and efficient peace negotiator.
After the recession of 2008 the country has survived with many challenges faced by the major European Economies. Norway since then has grown in the leadership role to help out its European brothers with finances and even inviting large scale influx of jobless European immigrants to this peaceful piece of peace marked with great fjords. Norway being the second largest energy player and supplier after Russia has an important role to play in the crisis ridden European Economic Area?
After the bomb blasts in 2011 the political scenario of Norway has changed in drifting way towards more complexities and serious in terms of national and regional security. Many incidents have taken since then which have transformed the Norwegian role in regional politics. The soft spoken but being straight in their agenda are now seeking the excessive participation in the arena of power where either they have to stand by with pro EU or against their peaceful foreign policy.
At the recent nuclear summit organized by IAEA at Seoul to which Norway too is a member has now made its stand clear where the Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in his speech made it clear that Norway is with US missile defense system for the safety and security of the European nations which are getting sleepless nights due the increasing Russian aggression in the eastern members of EU after the Georgian war.
His statement and committed support for the possible defense installments in favor of regional safety has come as surprise to the members of the IAEA where even the Russians which till now have enjoyed good cordial relations with their Norwegian counterparts under Medvedev. This stance of Stoltenberg would certainly give cold feet to Russia because if Norway as it has committed to provide operational help and strength by providing personnel for NATO defense shield against invading rockets would give new teeth to the NATO defense to which Norway has remained a loyal and major military supplier.
If the shield as proposed by Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg comes into place as an active system this will provide a complete security cover for NATO bloc not only in the East European countries or Turkey as planned but also in the Scandinavian and Arctic region which from last decade have been the limelight and the cause of major energy thirsty nations and the members of Arctic council which has saw major shifts in their diplomatic view points.
The commitment to form Norwegian defense shield and strengthen the proposed NATO defense shield by Norway would bring a definite shift in the Russian foreign policy and their stand at the regional groupings to which Russia has remained an active participant and major partner to its Norwegian colleagues especially in the Arctic Council which has now become a major bone of contention with regular lobbying of China as the observer or permanent member in the council to which both Norway and Russia are against.
This will also positioned Norway at the frontline at par with other supportive NATO member nations. This decision has come when Stoltenberg at home has been facing major outcry against the presence of Norway’s troops in Afghanistan along with the King Herald IV who too has faced the criticism in siding with Stoltenberg’s decision.
The recent developments in Norwegian politics has now positioned Norway as a major player not only in Scandinavian region but also in the entire EU which has now looking to its prosperous members and regional partners for their support in its possible bailout packages being offered to weaker members like Greece, Spain and Portugal to which Norway has come out as the last savior to the continent.
A form of violent assault, acid attack is formally defined as the act of throwing acid into the body of someone else with the intentions of disfiguring or injuring out of jealousy or revenge. The statistics show that more than eighty percent of the acid attack victims all over the world are women and children. Although quite prevalent even in states of America and other developed nations, acid violence seems to be almost unique to the Africa and South Asia region with most incidents happening in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
These acid attacks happen all over the world but are notably more prevalent in Cambodia and India as well due to the cheap prices and easy availability of acid.A large number of Indian households use concentrated acid to sterilize their kitchens and bathrooms, as Americans use bleach.
The studies carried out across the world have revealed that most of these acid attacks are used as punishing measures towards women who have refused to accede to the commands of the men. These acid attacks are used as tools against the women who have in general stood against the atrocities of men. The effect of these acid attacks on their lives has been destructive and these women are often forced to face social isolation and ostracism from their community. The physical and psychological trauma of such incidents is enormous and long-lasting. A large number of these acid attack victims also develop suicidal tendencies due to the fear of rejection and agony of living forever with these marks.
The results of these acid attacks are heinous. The acid generally eats through the skin and bone of the victims, leaving burn marks which can permanently disfigure, maim and kill them. Apart from personal reasons like family disputes, estranged lovers and domestic violence, these attacks are also widely used to mar the physical attractiveness of women in a lot of cases.
With the world moving towards complete transformation into a technological hub where men and women are given equal rights and opportunities to grow as a career oriented professional, it is gruesome to see that such heinous acts of crime are like a slap on the face of development.
Of the total registered cases of acid attacks, a large percentage is contributed by domestic violence and family disputes. It has been observed that in a lot of cases, men have attacked their wives with acid when they simply refused to succumb to their demands such as throwing themselves into prostitution to fend for money and refusing to give their consent for the second marriage of their husband.
“I screamed in pain. Acid burns immediately. It is like when you light a piece of paper and how fast the flames consume it. That is how the acid works. It moves inside, consuming you.” woman in Uganda who was a victim of acid attack recalled her memories.
In India, a large number of cases of acid attacks have been the result of love relationships gone sour. Often, a large number of rejected lovers tend to take up to this crime when they feel that the girl they love is not responding accordingly or has out rightly rejected their proposal. The fear of seeing the one you desire going up with someone else is something which takes the human out of the person’s mind.
In Afghanistan and Pakistan majority of women faced acid attacks as part of their domestic violence sufferings. Countless women have faced the horror of this in human acts of violence at the hands of their husbands and in laws. These incidents have not only ruined the lives of victim but also affect many others of the same gender psychologically.
The terror of acid in most these victimised regions are such that women now feel insecure to their very life and safety whether they are alone or at home.
This has also been observed that a large number of these cases remain unregistered and therefore a lot of victims fail to receive any help from the concerned agencies. In a large number of such cases, due to acute scarcity of money, these victims don’t even get proper medical treatment and have to live with this agony for the remaining parts of their lives.
Apart from the fear of being burnt and disfigured, perhaps the most dangerous thing about these acid attacks is the fear that is created by these attacks. Some time back, a case was reported in Afghanistan, where some bikers had thrown acid on a group of school going girls to create havoc and to send across a clear message to their parents to keep their daughters at home. Backed by Taliban, this attack was largely condemned all over the world.
It is high time that the people around the world should realise that they are humans and not mere animals who can kill or slaughter anyone else to fulfil their own petty interests or to avenge something which could simply be overlooked as something extremely trivial.
Besides, it needs to understood by men that women, often known as the fairer sex, are not mere toys to seek pleasure and be thrown once used. They are also human, who have equal intellectuality as men. This should now be accepted by people that women can actually contribute a lot to the development of the households and society at large and that they should be given equal opportunities like men. Not merely chopped and burnt when desired!
On behalf of the entire team of The Oslo Times, I strongly criticise these acid attacks that have tarnished the fabric of humanity all over the world and request to the authorities and influential people in various regions to come forward and help these women whose life is being spoilt by this act of tyranny by some inhuman cluster of people.
The governments around the world should banned and regulate the retailing of such harmful and destructive chemicals which are being sale openly in the consumer market and are easily available to any common person without any check or purpose. We should by all means try and make this world a better place to live in, not a hell where nothing good can be expected.