FM Alert, Vol II, No. 28

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Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 08:22:52 +0300 (EET DST)
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Subject: FM Alert, Vol II, No. 28

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FM Alert, Vol II, No. 28

FM Alert, Vol II, No. 28
July 17, 1998
A June conference, attended by over 100 people from 36 countries,
urged that nongovernmental organizations play a larger role in
devising strategies that prevent the illegal trafficking of women. The
Budapest meeting, a "Transitional Training Seminar on Trafficking in
Women," held June 20-14, also said international governmental efforts
to combat trafficking should be concentrated on preventing human
rights abuses against female victims, rather than treating them as
criminals or illegal migrants. Participants additionally said the
international community could better utilize existing mechanisms to
combat trafficking.  There are a variety of international treaties and
conventions - including the 1956 Supplementary Convention on the
Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices
Similar to Slavery, and the 1957 Abolition of Forced Labor Convention
- that could be used to combat the trafficking of women, who are often
forced to work in the sex industry against their will in
industrialized nations, especially in Western Europe. Many trafficked
women come from formerly communist countries in Central and Eastern
(For background information consult FM Alert of October 22, 1997).

Estonia's presidential Minorities Roundtable has scheduled a
conference for September 11 to examine the issue of granting
citizenship to stateless children in that Baltic republic. The meeting
would take place one week before the Estonian parliament is expected
to vote on the second reading of amendments to the country's
Citizenship Law, allowing stateless children to acquire automatic
citizenship. The amendments have prompted sharp debate in parliament.
The legislative vote was originally scheduled to take place on June
18, but was suspended until September 18. The Minorities Roundtable
conference would draw participants from leading nongovernmental
organizations and international organizations, including the Forced
Migration Projects. Hundreds of thousands of people, mainly Russian
speakers, did not qualify for automatic Estonian citizenship when the
country regained its independence in 1991, and are effectively
stateless. Their status has been the source of a political conflict
with neighboring Russia. The proposed amendments to the current law,
which would grant automatic citizenship to any child born in Estonia
to stateless parents, could help defuse tension between Estonia and
(For additional information see FM Alerts of April 24, March 13, and
February 27).

The CIS Research Council on Migration held its inaugural general
meeting, including the participation of international advisory board
members, on July 17-18 in Moscow. In a paper prepared for the session,
Forced Migration Projects Director Arthur C. Helton, who is also
chairman of the international advisory board, outlined the possible
agenda for the Research Council. Among the top priorities are: the
development of methodologies and reporting mechanisms that produce
accurate data on population movements in the former Soviet Union; the
study of internationally accepted standards for the humane management
of forced migration; the examination of opportunities for the
development of preventive action in post-conflict situations; and the
analysis of the effectiveness of implementation of the Program of
Action, which was adopted at the 1996 CIS conference on
migration-related issues. "CIS Countries are in a period of transition
while they formulate laws and policies concerning forced migration,"
Helton's paper said. "Many topics would be appropriate for study." The
CIS Research Council, which began as an FMP pilot project, was
formally registered in November 1997, and has received funding from a
variety of sources, including the Ford Foundation. Scholars and
experts from across the CIS attended the general meeting. 
(For additional information see FM Alerts of May 15 and February 13).

For more information contact:
The Forced Migration Projects
400 West 59th Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10019
tel: (212)548-0655
fax: (212) 548-4676

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