Monday, November 17, 2008

US Government caves to political pressure on Human Rights report

You may recall recently that Oman received a Tier 3 (the lowest ranking) on the US Government's State Dept report on human trafficking, released in June. This was followed by a well organised campaign of howling complaints from the Foreign Ministry, the local press, and multitude of other Government controlled or influenced bodies, on how unfair and incorrect such rating was.

It seems that the US Government has agreed to undo that, as reported in the Oman Tribune and Observer.
Sultanate hails US on trafficking list move
WASHINGTON The Sultanate has welcomed the US decision to remove it from a certain list in the report on human trafficking by the State Department.

Deputy US Secretary of State John Negroponte has received a written message from HE Sayyid Badr Bin Hamad Bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, Secretary-General at the Foreign Ministry, that included the Sultanate’s welcoming of the US president’s decision to cancel the statement about the Sultanate cited in the US Department of State’s report on human trafficking and removing its name from the third category in that report.

The message was delivered by Haneenah Bint Sultan Al Mughaireyah, the Sultanate’s Ambassador to the US, when she was received by the US deputy secretary of state in Washington.

While the full Tribune article tries to take all the credit for the revision for the Tribune [really, read the full article for a good example of OTT reporting], there is no mention on the US State Dept website I could find. Readers should note the article is quoting the wording contained in a letter send by Oman to the US, rather than a proactive statement by the US.

Presumably this is an official 'follow up' to place in the official written record something from a verbal statement made by the US, and therefore more probably related to the recent visit of dep. Sec State Negroponte last month when he met HM.

So, yes, I think its pure politics, and just because of HM's involvement, and probably due to a loose verbal statement made by Negroponte to HM, possibly combined with the continuing battle in the US to get full implementation of the US/Oman free trade agreement ahead of the new administration. It's also one of those moments when no-one mentions that it's something good for Oman coming from the so-called 'authority' of the hated GW Bush. It is not a technical revision from the civil servants who drafted the original report, but Omanis will probably not care about this subtle difference.

I think it merely shows the real politic of the US Administration in response to a personal appeal from HM, and not so much that the original rating was actually flawed.

I'm sorry Oman that you felt insulted, and yes I totally agree the UAE did not deserve at all to be Tier 2 while you were Tier 3. But I stick with my original opinion that Oman should concentrate on real effective change in their actual enforcement and establishment of institutions to support and protect vulnerable women expats from the third world, make some prosecutions, and not just complain that good intentions were not apparently enough.

And yet another reason to see the end of this terrible Bush administration...


  1. Also coincides with the establishment of a human rights commission in Oman by royal decree. Coincidence?

    -Omani in US

  2. Very well said. Merely creating institutions is not sufficient. They should be manned by upright people and not sychophants.

  3. Or ..

    It could have been a confession of the mistake it was. Not a display of political musclery, but an acknowledgment of that someone somewhere in the US government (not the GW one) screwed up and this is their half assed apology for it.

    I won't sleep any better tonight.

  4. Yeah T3ib, Neither will the trafficked hookers at the "virgin touch" massage spa in ghubra.

    How lucky that you dont take it in the ass every night, and be rewarded for trying to escape with jail time and pennyless deportation.

  5. Actually, there's sort of an explanation on the Embassy website - and it's not a total cave (and sorry, Ti3gib, not even little bit an "oops"). Oman's not off the list, just back up to the next-to-worst status. The Sultanate (and Moldova!) did enough after the report came out to get taken off "worst offender" status.

    'Til next year, at least...

  6. Next to Worst status ?
    OMG YAY !

    Everybody's here for a reason. Theirs is to solicit as much men as possible for the most amount of money possible.

    To assume that ALL hookers are here doing what they do by force is demeaning and insulting to their intelligence. I happen to know that they can be exceptionally smart and superbly business minded.

    Not that anyone really cares, but had your reports accounted for any of that, perhaps we wouldn't been having a problem.

    Just like you, we simply chose not to deal with it. We do it be keeping it under wraps, you do it by clearing morgues and inviting trucksters to do your dirty work for you.

    How much is the US scoring in this tier 3 business ?

  7. T3ib,

    Obviously. Everybody is here for a reason, and not ALL the prostitutes are trafficked slaves.

    A significant minority however, are. and they diserve protection, and help. Housemaids diserve the right to escape from abusive employers, and Labourers diserve to have access to thier pasports at any time.

    Taking into account the issues you raised (Gitmo, Abugharib, Iraq) I expect that the US would be tier two on thier own human rights report.

    I would like to think that since we generally view ourselves as superior to Americans, and America, we would want to do the utmost to ensure that we actually are better on issues like Human rights.

    A little like the US, you are now a pot calling a kettle black.

  8. Sub (Yummy),
    This is a far cry from your initial response. We're now on the same page.

    So how do you know the Virgin's Touch people take it in the ass ?



If you wish to post anonymously, please pick a nickname by selecting the Name/URL option, or at least sign off your comment with one! I will delete comments I find objectionable or needlessly inflammatory. Sorry for the word verification.... OMG the spam has gotten BAD these past 12 months... trying to avoid making one log in...