Culture


Sexual harassment and assault rife at United Nations, staff claim

19th jan 2017

The United Nations has allowed sexual harassment and assault to flourish in its offices around the world, with accusers ignored and perpetrators free to act with impunity, the Guardian has been told.

Dozens of current and former UN employees described a culture of silence across the organisation and a flawed grievance system that is stacked against victims.

Of the employees interviewed, 15 said they had experienced or reported sexual harassment or assault within the past five years. The alleged offences ranged from verbal harassment to rape.

Seven of the women had formally reported what happened, a route that campaigners say is rarely pursued by victims for fear of losing their job, or in the belief that no action will be taken.

“If you report it, your career is pretty much over, especially if you’re a consultant,” said one consultant, who alleged she was harassed by her supervisor while working for the World Food Programme. “It’s like an unsaid thing.”

The UN conceded that under-reporting is a concern but said the organisation’s secretary general, António Guterres, has “prioritised addressing sexual harassment and upholding the zero tolerance policy”.

Employees working in more than 10 countries spoke to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, partly because they are precluded from talking publicly by UN rules governing staff, partly for fear of retaliation.

Three women who reported sexual harassment or sexual assault, all from different offices, said they had since been forced out of their jobs or threatened with the termination of their contract in the past year. The alleged perpetrators, who include a senior UN official, remain in their posts.

One of the women, who alleges she was raped by a more senior UN staff member while working in a remote location, said: “There are no other options to get justice, and I have lost my job too.”

She said that despite medical evidence and witness testimonies, an internal investigation by the UN found insufficient evidence to support her allegation. Along with her job, she says she has lost her visa and has spent months in hospital due to stress and trauma. She fears she will face persecution if she returns to her home country.

In internal documents seen by the Guardian, two of the women cite concerns with the investigations. They claim that the UN’s investigation’s team, the office of internal oversight services (OIOS), failed to interview key witnesses. They also say that transcripts contain errors and information from inquiries has been leaked.

Alleged perpetrators have been allowed to remain in senior positions – with the power to influence proceedings – throughout investigations.

One woman allegedly assaulted while working for the UN says she was told by her agency’s ombudsman that there was nothing more he could do to help her pursue a complaint, because he was being threatened by senior UN staff. Seven other alleged victims who spoke to the Guardian were told by an ombudsman or colleague that they should not try to pursue a complaint.

Four current or recent UN employees, including some who did not pursue formal complaints, said they were not given adequate medical care or counselling. One woman who lost her job said she saw three separate gynaecologists in the 24 hours following an assault, because the first medical team provided by the UN lacked the expertise to deal with such cases. She said she did not receive crisis rape counselling until six weeks later.

“There is no justice”

“I was in a manic state. I was fluctuating between being very precise and knowing exactly what to do and severe traumatic episodes while crying loudly,” she said.

A lawyer in such cases, who was initially consulted by the woman, said the victim had “a significant amount of evidence” and that, to date, she had been let down by the UN system.

The UN has long been criticised over its failure to properly investigate reports of sexual abuse and exploitation by its peacekeeping forces against local people, not least in Central African Republic and Haiti. Campaigners point to a culture of impunity in UN offices, with accusers routinely silenced.

In cases involving the exploitation of local people or occurring within the UN, complaints are difficult to pursue because of the organisation’s international nature. Many senior staff have diplomatic immunity, meaning they can avoid national courts.
The UN flag is raised at the opening ceremony of the UN Mission in Support of Justice in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Even if alleged perpetrators do not have immunity, incidents often take place in countries where the judicial system is dysfunctional.

 

 

 

source/read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jan/18/sexual-assault-and-harassment-rife-at-united-nations-staff-claim

L’Oreal Chooses Hijab-Wearing Muslima in New Hair Campaign …. no seriously

19th Jan 2017

This is the level of insanity in the West’s appeasement of Islam – a hair advertisement featuring a hair-covered model.

Google translate: L’Oréal chooses a veiled mannequin for a shampoo advertisement L’Oréal cosmetics giant has chosen model Amena Khan for its new advertising campaign in the UK. It lays veiled to promote a shampoo – a decision intended to embody a “disruptive image” according to the company.

While the advertising field is under the spotlight of many critics about posters considered racist or stigmatizing, the company L’Oreal decided to promote one of its shampoos in a way to say the least original. The face for the United Kingdom of the cosmetics giant’s new campaign, model Amena Khan, is indeed veiled.

This Muslim blogger specialized in the field of beauty care, whose hair is therefore paradoxically not visible on posters, was chosen in particular because it embodies a “disruptive image”, according to Adrien Koskas, head of L’Oreal at UK, interviewed by the Huffington Post. In a world of clichés, Amena Khan’s face is supposed to embody an assumed change on the part of the company.

 

source/read more :  https://pamelageller.com/2018/01/loreal-hair-covered-muslims-hair-ad.html/

 

Canada schoolgirl attacked by man over hijab: Police

16th Jan 2018

An 11-year-old girl was assaulted in Toronto by a man who twice tried to cut off her hijab with scissors and then fled, police said

Khawlah Noman told reporters that she was walking to school with her younger brother when the man came at her with scissors.

“He tried cutting (off) my hijab two times,” she said. “I felt really scared and confused. I didn’t feel comfortable that people are doing this.”

Police described the assailant as an Asian male wearing a black hoodie and glasses. He was said to be about 20, nearly six feet tall and with a medium build.

Authorities are investigating the incident, which occurred at about 9 am (1400 GMT) near the Pauline Johnson school in Toronto’s east side, police spokeswoman Katrina Arrogante told AFP.

Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu told a press conference that Noman had turned and confronted her assailant, making loud noises to scare him off and then she ran away with her little brother in tow.

Afterward, according to Sidhu, the girl noticed a 12-inch cut from the bottom up on the back of her hijab.

She and her brother joined a group of other students also walking to school, for safety, but the siblings became separated from the group and from each other at an intersection crossing.

At that moment, less than 10 minutes after the first assault, the same man suddenly returned. Smiling, he allegedly tried again to cut off her hijab, before fleeing.

“This is a cowardly act of hatred. It does not represent who we are (as Canadians),” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a Twitter message.

“We must stand firm in our support of this young girl who was assaulted simply for wearing a hijab,” she said.

(((This original article was posted by SBS here : https://www.sbs.com.au/news/canada-schoolgirl-attacked-by-man-over-hijab-police))))

The only problem is….like with all of these “attacks” on women wearing their repressive garb in Western countries it was later found to be complete BULLSHIT.

The local police department handling the investigation released this statement;

 

Man wanted in Assault with a Weapon investigation,
Birchmount Road and Bay Mills Boulevard area,
Update,
Investigators determine events described in news release
did not happen

Broadcast time: 10:38
Monday, January 15, 2018

42 Division
416-808-7100

Case #: 2018-70367

On Friday, January 12, 2018, the Toronto Police Service requested assistance identifying a man involved in an Assault with a Weapon investigation.

See previous release.

After a detailed investigation, police have determined that the events described in the original news release did not happen.

The investigation is concluded.

 

 

source; http://torontopolice.on.ca/newsreleases/40089

 

Experts sound alarm as biometric data from driver’s licences added to government database

 

15th Jan 2017

Your face is becoming the latest weapon in the world of digital surveillance, and the humble driver’s licence looms as a game-changer in tracking individuals through both the real and virtual world.

Experts warn your biometric data may already be vulnerable to misuse by criminals and terrorists, as the proliferation of mobile cameras combined with social media and ubiquitous CCTV feeds mean we’re caught on screen more than ever before.

Driver’s licences will be added to the Commonwealth Government’s already vast biometric databases after it struck an agreement with the states and territories, handing authorities access to an unprecedented level of information about citizens.

A system known as “the interoperability Hub” is already in place in Australia, allowing agencies to take an image from CCTV and other media and run it against a national database of passport pictures of Australian citizens — a process known as “The Capability”.

But soon driver’s licences will be added to the system, allowing both government and private entities to access your photo, age and address.

It is a $21 million system being sold as a way to tackle terrorism and make commercial services more secure.

But experts warn people now risk losing control of their biometric identity entirely as commercial interests, governments and organised crime gangs all move to capture more personal metadata for their own gain.

Driver’s licences change the biometric gamw

Technology and legal expert Professor Katina Michael said about 50 per cent of the population already had some kind of visual biometric stored in a nationally-accessible database, but the inclusion of drivers licenses would see the proportion of Australians scooped up in the net swell to about 80 per cent.

She said one of the biggest risks of the collection of biometric data was not deliberate misuse by the AFP, ASIO or another government agency, but rather vulnerabilities in the way biometrics work.

“It’s not like a one-on-one match, where you put (in) an individual’s face and say: ‘they’re a suspect’,” Professor Michael said.

“But rather what you get returned is a number of possibilities … you might get back 15, or 20, or 30, or 50 matches.

So you might have 50 innocent people being suspects, rather than the person that you’re trying to catch.

Professor Michael said this meant that while over time a person’s name might be cleared, their data could remain in a database linked to a criminal investigation.

“And then I’m thinking, what happens to their level of innocence as time goes on, because they accidentally look like a minority group?” she said.

She said real criminals and terrorists would opt out of the system, choosing not to have passports and driver’s licenses in a bid to escape the net.

“Of course, if you’ve done nothing wrong, the old adage says you’re fine. But increasingly, we don’t know if we’re fine,” she said.

The rise of ‘uberveillance’

Professor Michael said modern surveillance methods employed by law enforcement were not just limited to CCTV — they now incorporated vast amounts of metadata and social media, leading to a concept known as “uberveillance” in which people were constantly monitored.

“What we have now are digital footprints that we all leave behind,” she said.

“Phone call records, internet searches, credit cards and even the data on your electronic train or bus ticket can be used to track your movements and activity.

“It brings together all these various touchpoints, telecommunications records, travel data via tokens, facial recognition on federal databases, your tax file number … that’s accessible depending on the level of crime and social media.

“You’ve got this very rich almost cradle-to-grave kind of data set that’s following you.”

Photo Even transport cards like the NSW Opal card can reveal your personal data.

Organised criminals want your identity

Stephen Wilson runs Lockstep Consulting, a Sydney-based firm which researches and tracks trends in biometrics in the corporate and government spheres, and advises clients on best-practice.

He said at the moment very secure biometric systems took quite a long time to process images accurately.

Problems arose when consumer convenience, such as being able to unlock a phone or access a bank account with a quick face or fingerprint scan, trumped security.

“No police force, no public service, no business is ever perfect, there is always going to be corrupt people,” Mr Wilson said.

“The more exposure we have to electronic databases, the more exposure we have to biometric matching, it’s only a matter of time before these bad actors succumb to temptation or they succumb to corruption and they wind up using these systems inappropriately.”

Your biometric twin is out there

Photo New technology can more easily track people’s faces in crowds.

Mr Wilson said biometrics were creeping into consumer services like bank accounts and online betting facilities, with customers asked to send a picture of their licence and a “selfie” that will be run through an identity matching service.

“The real risk is that bad actors will take people’s photos, ask for a match, and get back a series of matches of people that are kind of like your biometric twin,” he said.

“We’ve all got doppelgangers, we’ve all got people in public that look just like us.

“If you’re trying to perpetrate a crime, if you’re organised crime, and you’re trying for example to produce a fake driver’s licence, it’s absolute gold for you to be able to come up with a list of photos that look like ‘Steve Wilson’.”

Technology companies like Apple and Samsung have championed the use of biometrics such as fingerprints, and this has taken a step further with facial recognition becoming more common thanks to the release of the iPhone X.

Photo Apple’s iPhone X has championed facial recognition technology.

However Mr Wilson said a key difference was that information stayed on the phone, while banking and other commercial interests trying to use your biometrics to confirm your identity could be storing it on a server anywhere.

“Do you really want your photo, which is a pretty precious resource, sent off to a company perhaps on the other side of the world just so you can get a quick bank account or quick betting service set up?” he asked

What will happen next?

An annual industry survey conducted by the Biometrics Institute, known as the Industry Trend Tracker, has nominated facial recognition as the biometric trend most likely to increase over the next few years.

Respondents believed privacy and data protection concerns were the biggest constraint on the market, followed by poor knowledge of decision makers, misinformation about biometrics and opposition from privacy advocates.

The Australian law reform commission says biometric systems increasingly are being used or contemplated by organisations, including in methadone programs, taxi booking services, ATMs and online banking, and access to buildings

Dr Michael said governments needed to be very cautious about how they applied this rich new source of data in the future.

She said governments were building these agreements between themselves and corporations in a bid to stamp out fraud, but that goal was not always achieved and the potential for mistakes was vast.

“What we have is this matching against datasets, trying to find the needle in the haystack,” she said.

“Often what happens is we don’t find the needle.”

A statement from the Department of Home Affairs said the Australian Government was exploring making the Face Verification Service available to the private sector, but nothing had started at this point.

It said arrangements for private sector access would be informed by an independent privacy impact assessment and those using it would need to demonstrate their lawful basis to do so under the privacy act and where they had gained consent to use a person’s image.

Washington state will soon recognise third gender on birth certificates

9th Jan 2018
The landmark move means that non-binary and trans people will be able to have their gender recognised on official documents such as birth certificates, without a note from a doctor.
By Chloe Sargeant

8 Jan 2018 – 11:41 AM  UPDATED YESTERDAY 11:41 AM
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The state of Washington will soon allow residents to change their gender on their birth certificates to ‘X’, or the ‘third gender’, without confirmation from a doctor.

The change, which will occur on January 27 this year, was confirmed by the state’s Department of Health late last week after being proposed at the end of August last year.

The Department of Health confirmed ‘X’ to mean, “A gender that is not exclusively male or female, including, but not limited to, intersex, agender, amalgagender, androgynous, bigender, demigender, female-to-male, genderfluid, genderqueer, male-to-female, neutrois, nonbinary, pangender, third sex, transgender, transsexual, Two Spirit, and unspecified”.

As well as adding the ‘X’ option for gender and sex designation on birth certificates, the ruling removes the need for adults to legally provide a doctor’s confirmation, and also expands the list of medical professionals who can provide paperwork for minors wanting to make the change to their birth certificate. Minors will also need a letter of permission from a parent or guardian.

The change will not affect birth certificates given to newborn babies – only to those wanting to make changes to their gender on their birth certificate later in life. The change will also only apply to those born in Washington state.

Washington, DC just quietly became the first US state to issue gender neutral licences
Transgender and non-binary residents can now select a third gender option on their licence applications.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said that more and more LGBTQI+ young people today are rejecting traditional gender roles and the male/female gender binary, and so changes like this one are important in regard to these evolving narratives: “It is vital that states catch up and acknowledge the reality of the non-binary community,” she said.

“With LGBTQ people and especially trans and non-binary Americans under attack daily by the Trump Administration, as evidenced by Trump’s efforts to block trans Americans from serving in the military and rescinding of Title IX protections for trans students, designation ‘X’ is a powerful and reaffirming sign that our identities cannot and will not be erased.”

 

 

source/read more :https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/sexuality/agenda/article/2018/01/08/washington-state-will-soon-recognise-third-gender-birth-certificates

Anti-Terrorism Fantasy Camps Become Tourist Attraction In Israel

9th Jan 2018

These part-propaganda, part-morbid fantasy “terror camps” provide tourists a chance to play the role of IDF soldiers in dramatic situations.

Holidays are all about having fun, exploring new places and relaxing in the sun. However, the latest tourist attraction in Israel seems to be the complete opposite of that.

Apparently, half a dozen of fantasy terror camps have popped up throughout Israel and the West Bank, offering tourists from across the globe a chance to pretend-kill terrorists, who look suspiciously like Palestinian Arabs, only for $115 per person.

These facilities allow visitors to train like IDF soldiers and act in a variety of stimulated situations — including an explosion at a Jerusalem marketplace, a stabbing attack, a sniper tournament and a live demonstration with attack dogs.

The two-hour “training camp,” which is frankly part-propaganda and part-morbid amusement, provides travelers “a taste of the Israeli military experience,” according to Haaretz.

 

source/read more: http://www.carbonated.tv/news/anti-terror-fantasy-military-camps-become-tourist-attraction-israel