A Story About Modern Slavery

With International Women´s Day on March 8th, human rights is a topic that is close to my heart and one of the main issues I have been researching for many years now. In one of my previous posts from November 24th 2017, What is Gender Equality in The 21st Century?, I discussed the current state of gender equality and referred to for instance the World Economic Forum´s Global Gender Gap Report 2017.
The 2018 version of WEF´s Global Gender Gap Report can be accessed here: WEF The Global Gender Gap Report 2018. Research on gender equality is a human rights question, and the need for this kind of research indicates how much work there still is to do worldwide before we can speak about gender equal societies. With females representing around 50 % of global population it is actually ridiculous that we even have to discuss the fact that females have the right to equal treatment and possibilities as males. Equally or even more concerning is that in addition to females facing many kinds of discrimination for instance in workforce around the world, our world deals with serious human rights violations such as modern slavery.
According to ILO (International Labour Organization), forced labour i.e. modern slavery includes any work that is performed involuntary and under the threat of any penalty if the individual refuses to participate in this kind of activity. With a few exceptions to forced labour, such as work in emergency situations, the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention No. 105 clearly prohibits the use of forced labour for instance as a means of labour discipline. Finland ratified this agreement on May 27th 1960. Almost 59 years ago.
Nevertheless, the current employment system in Finland, led by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland allows for corporations/organizations to employ unemployed citizens of the country with state allowances/subsidies, thus signifying that this kind of system makes modern slavery possible: in Finland, a modern welfare society where citizens currently have access to many public services that are financed mainly through a progressive taxation system, all unemployed people and job seekers have the right to receive state allowances while in-between jobs. What makes this problematic, however, is that unemployed people can basically be employed by companies/organizations with fixed-term contracts without paying any kind of salary.
Year after year politicians from certain political groups in Finland have been discussing how these company subsidies should be abolished and made illegal, yet no one actually does anything. Empty talk.
 
In the meanwhile, the Finnish state is allowing for companies and organizations to legally employ and recycle unemployed people with fixed-term contracts and without any kind of obligation to pay a salary or to even insure the unemployed worker, who during this fixed-term “employment” period continues to have the right to receive state allowances while working up to 30 hours per week for an organization that pays him/her no salary, and that usually “employ” another unemployed individual as soon as the maximum fixed-term period of the previous unemployed has come to an end.
 
This is all legally taking place in a western country that has been a member state of the European Union since 1995.
How does this kind of system support sustainable economic growth?
How does it support the birth of new employment and jobs?
How does it improve equality on the job market?
How does it improve the purchasing power of consumers? 
How does it improve the national economy of the country?
The system was first legalized and introduced after Finland’s great slump in the early 1990’s, when the state had to devalue its old currency and save a few banks from bankruptcy, which led to disastrous consequences for many Finnish citizens and entrepreneurs.
What this kind of system leads to in a welfare state is:
  • A growing gap between the rich and the poor.
  • Less new jobs, since unemployed people are forced to work for free and thus preventing companies and organizations from new (paid) job openings.
  • More inequality on the employment market: some people get paid for their work, while others do the same jobs for free (on a state allowance).
  • It leads to increasingly much poverty among population, since state allowances are at a level that are officially below the poverty rate in Finland and living with such conditions on a market like Finland is definitely worsening the purchasing power of consumers/citizens/unemployed people who must try to live under such economic conditions, regardless of amount of previous educational level or years of work experience.

A country´s labor force participation rate on the employment market is one of the key indicators for a country´s sovereign credit ratings that are officially being issued by credit rating agencies such as Moody´s, Standard & Poor´s, and Fitch Ratings. Hence, in national economy, general unemployment rates have a direct impact on the credit rating and state lending terms of a country. The better the official credit rating of a country, the better the terms and conditions for state loans.

For example S&P Global Ratings´ Sovereign Risk Indicators 2018 Estimates takes into consideration factors such as nominal and real GDP, investments rate on GDP and unemployment rate of a country in its country risk analysis. Furthermore, S&P country risk assessment includes four sub-factors: economic risk, political risk, financial system risk, payment culture and rule-of-law risk (S&P).

When a country like Finland wants to keep or improve its country credit rating, it is thus important for its government to enhance workforce participation on the labor market, whereby a low unemployment rate gives the country more credibility on international lending markets and helps it attract investors. It is, however, questionable when a country uses certain methods to “clean up” its unemployment records, such as removing unemployed people from the unemployment statistics if and when they participate in labor market activities such as basically forced labor with state allowances in corporations and organizations around the country. Is this not a distortion of facts and reality?

 

 

Who Cares About Yemen´s Starvation?

Every 10 minutes a child dies in Yemen due to malnutrition/no food/related diseases. Please try to remember this every time you feel like complaining about minor things.

There are millions of people in this world who would be grateful to have even a tiny slice of what you have, even if you are not rich.

If you have a roof over your head, food to eat every day, clean water, and clothes to wear you are wealthier than most people on this planet.

Please share to spread awareness.

Any comments on this serious issue are more than welcome.

 

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Für diejenigen, die weder Französisch noch Englisch verstehen: in Jemen stirbt alle 10 Minuten ein Kind vor Hunger. Versuch Dich immer daran zu erinnern, bevor Du Dich über etwas beschwerst. Es gibt Millionen von Menschen auf der Erde die glücklich wären, hätten sie nur ein wenig davon was Du hast. Ein Dach über den Kopf, etwas zu essen jeden Tag, sauberes Wasser zu trinken und etwas zum anziehen. Anne-Maria Yritys

Pedophilia And Rape Are Serious Human Rights Violations That Should Be Taken Seriously

Nothing personal against immigrants or refugees since I have myself been an immigrant many times during my life, and I know that many crimes are committed by locals in all countries, for instance what sociopath Breivik did in Oslo a few years ago. However, we have to understand that refugees from very different cultures may have serious problems with integration into another country´s culture, unless receiving enough support and instructions.

Moreover, if “imported” from war zones, including countries that exploit children as soldiers, such as Kongo, please remember that many of these people are most likely deeply traumatized. This does not signify that all of these people become murderers, rapists, or pedophiles, but I am deeply devastated when finding out that in the past two years, refugees from a number of countries have committed horrible crimes in Finland. In 2015, a refugee male assaulted, raped, and burned alive his young Finnish girlfriend because she had broken up with him a month earlier. She was only 17 years old. This year, another refugee assaulted and raped a 10-year-old girl in Finland.

Since sentences in Finland are ridiculously short for rapes and pedophilia, the man who assaulted and raped the 10-year-old was sentenced “only” for assaulting a minor (pedophilia) but not for rape! Apparently there was not enough evidence to prove that he had forced the 10-year-old girl to have sex with him. As if a 10-year-old could decide for herself if she wants to have sexual intercourse with an adult man, when she is still a child!

Now our country´s Minister of Justice questions whether rape sentences should be harder in Finland. F*CK YES they should be! Pedophiles and rapists should be sentenced to lifetime in prison. It is unacceptable that men think that they can rape children, girls and women and get away with it. In Finland, the average time in prison for a rapist is less than two years. Especially if it was the predator´s first rape, he gets away with a shorter sentence. As if raping someone for the first time would be a justification to shorten the sentence.

Pedophilia and rape are ILLEGAL in ALL COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE. These are violations against human rights, women´s rights and children´s rights. All countries should take action to change and to improve their legislation regarding pedophilia and rape.

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.

 

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UN Women: Women To Be Heard When Tackling Climate Change

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“UN Women. UN Women calls for women to be heard at all levels of decision-making, from households to political arenas.”

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On October 24th is the annual United Nations Day which marks the anniversary of the UN Charter that entered into force in 1945. On this day, it is worthwhile to remember WHY the United Nations was established in the first place. Do you know WHY the UN was established?

The original purpose of the United Nations, as an intergovernmental organization, was to ensure peace (and, peaceful resolution of conflicts) after World War II. Gradually, the organization grew its original role from maintaining peace to the protection of human rights, the promotion of social and economic development, and disaster aid/relief in times of famine, natural disasters and armed conflicts. (United Nations Day, 24 October).

Furthermore and inclusive to the protection of human rights, the United Nations organization UN Women is dedicated to enhancing and protecting the rights of girls and women around the world, with a focus upon campaigning especially for and in regions where girls and women´s rights need attention and ought to be developed and improved e.g. through legislation and enabling equal rights for girls and women in terms of education and work life opportunities.

Even developed countries, including Finland, have work to do in order to ensure 50/50, i.e. complete gender equality. Every country on this planet has work to do in terms of gender equality, be it eradicating domestic violence or ensuring that human beings have equal rights e.g. in terms of equal payments/ salaries. Iceland will be the first country in the world to end salary inequality and discrimination through changing its legislation to enable this.

UN Women is one of the leading organizations worldwide driving gender equality issues, including the fact that girls and women should be heard and involved concerning climate change issues equally much as boys and men. It is important to enable this,  allow women to participate, and empower women especially in developing countries to get their voices heard on every level in the society. Only by giving women the possibility to use their knowledge, resources, and take the lead in terms of climate change related activities can we reach our goals to end anthropogenic climate change and create sustainable change across societies worldwide.

Watch International Labour Organization´s video “Why gender matters in climate change financing”:

 

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.

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Climate Change Major Threat To Human Rights

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“Amnesty International and Greenpeace International: States must abide by their human rights obligations in all aspects related to climate change. They must end all forms of discrimination and guarantee gender equality; guarantee the right to information; ensure the right to participation of affected people; and ensure the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.” (Joint Statement: Greenpeace – Amnesty International. December 8th 2015).

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Note from author: In (Western) democracies, citizens are used to freedom of speech, which is, however, not the case in many countries around the world. According to a survey conducted by PEW RESEARCH CENTER in 2015 (Spring 2015 Global Attitudes Survey) and with reference to an article with these indicators/results published by the The World Economic Forum (WEF), the United States ranks as number 1. globally regarding freedom of speech. Where Finland and the other Nordic countries rank according to this particular survey from 2015 is unclear. Furthermore, according to Reporters Without Borders´ Press Freedom Index 2013, Finland ranks as the best nation in the world when it comes to press and speech freedom. As a citizen of a county where you can freely and safely express yourself, it is not always easy to understand how different the situation is in many other countries around the world.

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys – for climate-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank & to receive my articles/posts delivered personally to you, do subscribe to my newsletter at Leading With Passion – thank you.

Climate Change Causes More Deaths

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“Amnesty International and Greenpeace International: Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.” (Joint Statement: Greenpeace – Amnesty International. December 8th 2015).

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Note from author: The in/direct causes of climate change are manifold, one event leading to another, like a domino effect as I wrote in one of my previous posts. Extreme heat waves, for example, pose an increased risk for people who already are suffering from some disease, e.g. those with cardiovascular problems. For example this report: Heat-waves: risks and responses, published by the WHO, suggests that high air temperatures can affect human health, possibly leading to additional deaths even during current climatic conditions.

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys – for climate-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank & to receive my articles/posts delivered to you personally, do subscribe to my newsletter at Leading With Passion

Climate Change Increases Population Displacements

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“Amnesty International and Greenpeace International: With the impacts of climate change rapidly enfolding, the risk of displacement may soon reach catastrophic proportions – storms, floods, sea level rise, droughts, will impact an even larger number of people, all around the world.” (Joint Statement: Greenpeace – Amnesty International. December 8th 2015).

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Note from author: When I drafted this post about a month ago (created an illustrated presentation about climate change using a number of sources, including Amnesty International and Greenpeace International), there were yet no signs of hurricanes Harvey or Irma, that hit coastal areas in Texas, U.S.A., the Caribbean and Florida hard in the past three weeks. Natural disasters are more common in some places around the world. These have a common denomination: climate hot spots.

What we witnessed in 2004 in South East Asia, perhaps the worst tsunami throughout history of mankind, hit not only a number of countries in South East Asia including Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia, but also affected many countries indirectly, especially with all the tourists visiting the countries that were hit by the massive tsunami in 2004 that caused at least 250.000 human deaths, and who knows how many animals on land, and underwater. The lessons learned from this catastrophic event that shocked everyone around the world included the fact that the countries that were hit by the tsunami, since then introduced early warning systems. Nevertheless, rebuilding a society after a major natural disaster takes time, and we can only guess what kinds of traumas these kinds of events leave in people.

Nothing in comparison with the South East Asian tsunami in 2004, we experience more and more floods and rain in Europe too. In 2016, a good old friend of mine who lives in Germany, personally told me about floods in Nordrhein-Westfalen, and how devastated citizens were since they felt that they did not receive the support they needed from the state. In Finland too, we have had increasingly much rain, wind, and floods this year. So far it seems like this is no major problem, but if glaciers keep melting at the current pace, causing more rainfall around the world, what can we expect?

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys – for climate-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank – to receive my articles/posts delivered personally to you, do subscribe to my newsletter at Leading With Passion – looking forward to receiving your comments and feedback. Thank you.

Climate Change A Major Threat To Human Rights

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“Amnesty International and Greenpeace International: The human rights consequences of failure are stark. Up to an additional 600 million people could face hunger by 2080 due to climate change.” (Joint Statement: Greenpeace – Amnesty International. December 8th 2015).

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Note from author: The above mentioned numbers are estimations. Currently a significant amount of food production is been thrown away, according to a number of sources, including FAO  (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). As a report published by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers  reveals, currently at least 50% of all food produced worldwide is wasted, i.e. thrown away. In Finland alone, more than 120 million kilos of food is being thrown away by households annually, with a total of more than 400 million kilos of food waste throughout the Finnish society, an average of more than 23 kilos of food waste per citizen. (Saa syödä! 2017). Overweight and obesity have become larger problems than hunger and malnutrition in majority of countries worldwide. Nevertheless, with a rapidly growing world population, the FAO estimates that food production would have to increase with up to 70 % by 2050.

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys – for climate-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank – to receive my articles/posts delivered to you personally, do subscribe to my newsletter at Leading With Passion – thank you.

Climate Change AND Human Rights Closely Interlinked

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“Amnesty International and Greenpeace International: All states have obligations under international human rights law to prevent harm to human rights, including the rights to life, to housing, food, water, sanitation and to a healthy environment.” (Joint Statement: Greenpeace – Amnesty International. December 8th 2015).

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Note from author: Access to clean, fresh water is a basic human right. In Finland, water management/treatment is on such a high level that it is safe across the whole country to drink tap water. Nevertheless, many people still prefer to filter even our clean tap water, since they feel that tap water may still include residues from e.g. fluorine, medical waste and so on. Of course we have bottled water, both still and sparking, for sale in groceries, but there is no real need to consume bottled water unless someone prefers to do so.

The situation with fresh water around the world is problematic in many areas/regions, with a lack of access to clean water. E.g. according to the WWF, water scarcity affects at least 1.1 billion people around the world on a regular basis, and up to 2.7 billion people lack access to clean, fresh water during some periods in a calendar year. 1.1 respectively 2.7 billion are high numbers, taking into consideration that world population is currently at 7.5 billion people, with an estimation of up to 10 billion by 2050. With all the resources and technologies available today, it is difficult to understand why we have not yet been capable of solving the global clean water problem.

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys and for climate-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank – to receive my articles/posts delivered personally to you, do subscribe to my newsletter at Leading With Passion – thank you.

NGO´s Cooperating To Tackle Climate Change

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“Amnesty and Greenpeace close the gap between climate change and human rights.”

(Greenpeace Press release. December 8th 2015).

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Note from author: Co-operation between organizations is becoming increasingly commonplace especially since there is an interrelatedness between climate change, human rights, health factors and so on. The consequences of climate change are leading to a domino effect where natural disasters cause problems in all areas of life on earth.

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys – for climate-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank – subscribe to my articles/posts to receive them delivered directly to you. Thank you.