Foreign Affairs Last Month:

Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued three recent announcements about its activities:

Canada has been reelected for a third consecutive three-year term to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. Canada played a key role in creating two new offices: the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women.

Canada's foreign affairs minister, André Ouellet, congratulated the people of South Africa on the historic occasion of their first truly democratic election. Parliamentary assessments by Canada and various international organizations determined that, despite certain incidents, the balloting was essentially conducted in a free and fair manner. Some 180 Canadians travelled to South Africa to observe the election, including an official Canadian delegation led by Mrs. Christine Stewart, Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa.

CIDA has provided $3 million in food aid to victims of the conflict in Rwanda. The food consists of Canadian beans and flour, channeled through the International Red Cross to feed Rwandan refugees in Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda, and Zaire, and those displaced in Rwanda. The conflict has resulted in an exodus of more then 250,000 refugees.

Disarming Prisons

Based on "Armed and Dangerous" by Raymond Luc Levasseur, Prison News Service.

UNICOR (Federal Prison Industries, Inc.) is a manufacturer of military equipment for the bloated U.S. war machine. The Federal Bureau of Prisons (FOP) boasts that prison labor contributes significantly to the military.

During the Korean War 80% of UNICOR's sales went to the military, and during the Gulf War prisoners were pressed into overtime. UNICOR products are rerouted to such client states as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and many of the world's most bloodthirsty regimes.

Only 25% of federal prisoners work for UNICOR. Most prisoners opt to work in other areas, such as food service, or pursue the few available educational or vocational programs. However, the only work at United States Prison Marion is military; prisoners are required to work for UNICOR as a condition of transfer.

Vietnam Veterans Against the War member Raymond Luc Levasseur is being denied a transfer to a less secure institution because of his refusal to work in war production. At Marion, abuse of prisoners has been documented by Amnesty International. Many are in Marion for radical political activities. Levasseur faces additional punishment for refusing to support the military industry. Punishment can consist of a denial of visits, access to education, recreation, or parole. It leaves the inmate subject to harassment, including physical assault. Yet resistance to military production continues.

The U.S. accused China of human rights abuse for using prison labor for manufacturing Christmas tree ornaments that were exported to the U.S. No one has been killed by tree ornaments, but U.S. prisoners have manufactured items that have been are exported to bomb, blast, and terrorize.

Contact Friends of Political Prisoners, Box 3113, Madison, WI 53704.

World Unemployment Worst Since Depression

Nearly one out of three workers in the world's labor force either has no job or is earning too little to live decently, the International Labor Organization reports. The United Nations organization calls the situation "the worst global employment crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. "The ILO said 120 million people are registered as unemployed around the world and millions more are either tired of looking for work or never bothered toregister.

"Practically half of the 35 million unemployed workers in Western Europe have been off the employment rolls for a year or more," said Michel Hansenne, ILO director general. His report estimates that another 700 million are earning less than needed to support a minimum standard of living.

The World Bank found that the average Ethiopian for example, earned the equivalent of $150 Canadian in 1992 According to U.N figures the average income of the world's 5.5 billion people may have fallen slightly in 1993 for the fourth year in a row.

School Of Managed Terror

In January, U.S. war veterans and peace activists held a rally outside Fort Benning, Georgia, demanding the closure of the infamous "School of the Americas." For 45 years, the school has trained Latin American military officers in tactics of "managed terror" and low-intensity conflict.

Work is starting on a bibliography of human rights abuses committed by those connected with the school.

Contact: Librarians at Liberty, Crises Press, 1716 SW Williston Rd, Gainesvile FL 32608 (904/3352200).

Peace Magazine May-Jun 1994

Peace Magazine May-Jun 1994, page 24. Some rights reserved.

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