Posted for Kathleen Kanet:
I recently saw the movie The Whistleblower, a powerful and very disturbing story. It is an account based on a true story of the human trafficking of young women in post-war Bosnia. Kathryn Bolkovac, a policewoman from Nebraska is hired on to a US government-contracted U.N. security force. Serving as a peacekeeper in Bosnia, she finds out that the peacekeeping forces, from contractors, employees of DYNCORP, on up through the U.N. command, are either complicit or active participants as criminals. Many are involved in using the women in brothels and some are involved in the buying and selling of them.
Trafficking was evil in chattel slavery, and today’s trafficking of humans is even worse in that it is practiced in the face of an international convention on slavery! Unfortunately, as this story is told there is not much progress on criminal prosecution of these kidnappers, torturers and murderers. The film reveals that, under the rule of diplomatic immunity, the traffickers were only lightly reprimanded. Some were sent out of Bosnia but continued their employment with the company.
I hope the film will bring attention and action to correct this horrendous violence that gets little public attention outside feminist and human rights circles.
How could we develop a movement toward prosecution of these criminals? The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) offers some suggestions in an appeal to the Human Rights Community which follows this note.
To the US Human Rights Community:
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is spearheading a national campaign that addresses Human Trafficking and Women’s Human Rights. These issues are themes in the soon to be released feature length action film “The Whistleblower” based on a book by Kathryn Bolkovac which exposes a human trafficking ring in postwar Bosnia composed of employees of DYNCORP, a US contractor. The current Secretary-General of WILPF, Madeleine Rees, played a major role in revealing this scandal as part of her earlier job with the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. (Her part is played by Vanessa Redgrave). The film reveals that, under the rule of diplomatic immunity, the traffickers were only lightly reprimanded. Some were sent out of Bosnia but continued their employment with the company.
The US government needs to be responsible for the actions of its contractors in upholding Human Rights treaties and resolutions. We need to push for the end of contracts with companies that tolerate violations of these rights. We need to establish Human Rights training for all parties engaging in peacekeeping including private contractors. But that is only the beginning. Protecting the human rights of women both here and abroad must be understood as a highest priority of the U.S.’s security policy.
The campaign that WILPF is initiating addresses the Secretary General of the United Nations as well as the United States State Department, which is currently formulating a National Action Plan for implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1325 in support of women, peace and security. US WILPF would like to convene regional meetings of women in the US to hammer out domestic initiatives to 1325 that could protect and empower women. Too often, developed and/or occupier countries such as the US, adopt SCR 1325 as an external framework to measure its impact on women and girls in occupied countries, without regard to domestic applications. We believe that the U.S. should use compliance with SCR 1325 as a framework to advance women’s status within the U.S.
We invite you to
1. Endorse our policy statement on the U.S. SCR 1325 National Action plan, calling for broad civil society consultation and changes to domestic policy. For a copy of the White Paper see:
2. Promote participation in our on-line survey to determine civil society priorities for the U.S. SCR 1325 NAP by publicizing the WILPF + Whistleblower facebook page.
3. Activate your members to distribute postcards and leaflets outside theatrical screenings of The Whistleblower during the month of August.
4. Suggest creative ways that WILPF might partner with your organization to increase the impact of this policy intervention.
Although less well known than the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), SCR 1325 builds on CEDAW’s human rights framework to protect and empower women. Unlike CEDAW, SCR 1325 is already recognized as international law by the U.S. government. Please join us in ensuring that this opportunity to bring women’s human rights home to the U.S. is not ignored.
For more information contact the President of US WILPF, Laura Roskos at < wlmailhtml:firstname.lastname@example.org>.