Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Slavery/Human Rights

Currently Great Britain is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the end of the slave trade, but slavery and human rights violations still exist today as pointed out in the March 18, 2007 edition of the Houston Chronicle. What has 110th Congress done to address these problems? First, a sampling of the measures undertaken in Congress includes the observation by both the House and Senate of the anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade. The House of Representatives has also encouraged the abolition of modern-day slavery, established an anti-slavery day, and recommended authorizing appropriations for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Both the House and the Senate have supported the goals of International Women's Day. (More women than men serve as present-day slaves). House Resolution 146 also encourages members of the United Nations to meet obligations agreed to in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 which emphasizes implementing an international law to protect the rights of women and girls during and after conflicts. Other measures that deal with protecting human rights during conflicts include House Resolution 125 (an expression of concern about using human shields during war such as when Hezbollah embedded its forces among civilians during the conflict with Israel) and House Concurrent Resolution 75 which condemns the use of child soldiers and asks the international community to find remedies to end the practice. Furthermore, in similar resolutions both the House and the Senate asked President Bush to ensure that United States foreign policy reflects "appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide." Finally, Senate Resolution 295 supports the National Archives and Records Administration efforts to establish a servitude and emancipation archival research database.