Diplomat says Manila must stand ground in dispute

Updated 24 November 2012
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Diplomat says Manila must stand ground in dispute

MANILA: The Philippines’ top diplomat has told the country’s future military leaders that they must stand their ground in any territorial disputes with China.
The comments from Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, which were released Saturday, come as disputes over the South China Sea have escalated recently. China has enraged several neighbors with a map printed in its newly revised passports that show it staking its claim on the entire South China Sea.
A statement published Saturday on the foreign ministry’s website quoted del Rosario as telling Philippine Military Academy cadets: “What is ours is ours and we should stand up to protect what is ours.”
It said del Rosario gave the lecture Friday on the challenges the country faces in defending its claims to areas in the South China Sea.
The academy supplies the officer corps of the armed forces.
The Philippines, a close ally of the United States, has poorly equipped forces that are no match to China’s military. A 45-year-old US Coast Guard cutter acquired last year has become the navy’s flagship.
The Philippines claims some areas in the Spratly Island chain to which China has staked ancient ownership. The countries also claim the Scarborough Shoal west of the main Philippine island of Luzon where Chinese and Filipino ships were locked in a tense standoff early this year after the Philippine navy accosted Chinese fishermen there.
In the latest incident, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan have criticized China for putting a map in its new passports that show all of the disputed areas as belonging to China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Friday the passport’s design was not directed at any particular country.
The United States has said it takes no sides in the territorial disputes but that it considers ensuring safe maritime traffic in the waters to be in its national interest.
The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam are set to meet Dec. 12 to discuss claims in the South China Sea and the role of China.


Murder of teenage Indian maid sparks calls for tougher laws urgently

Updated 12 min 57 sec ago
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Murder of teenage Indian maid sparks calls for tougher laws urgently

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: The murder of a teenage maid in India triggered calls on Monday for the government to urgently pass laws to curb trafficking and update legislation that lets children work as domestic help.
Police said the 16-year-old girl from eastern Jharkhand state was strangled and her body chopped up and dumped in a drain earlier this month after she demanded a year's unpaid salary from the employment agency that hired her.
A man, who worked at the agency that brings girls from poor families in rural areas to work in Delhi, was arrested late last week, senior Delhi police officer Rajender Singh Sagar told reporters.
"How can we allow our little daughters to be brutally killed after trafficking and exploitation? Where is the rule of law?" Indian Nobel laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi said on Twitter.
The case has put the spotlight on the abuse of domestic servants in India where millions of people, including children trafficked from remote and impoverished states, toil for long hours in homes with little freedom or protection.
Satyarthi urged the government to pass India's new anti-trafficking bill, that was cleared by cabinet in February but has not been tabled in parliament yet, and called for the enactment of another bill to regulate employment agencies.
With stringent punishment for traffickers and quick relief for victims, campaigners believe the anti-trafficking law will result in more arrests and convictions.
About 60 percent of the more than 23,000 trafficking victims rescued in India in 2016 were children, government data shows.
Campaigners have blamed the dilution of the country's child labour act for more children being trafficked for domestic work.
India's parliament approved a controversial law in 2016 allowing children to work for family businesses, despite widespread concern that it would push more of them into labor.
Anti-trafficking charity Shakti Vahini demanded a rollback of amendments in the law and quick enactment of legislation to monitor unregulated employment agencies to stop them withholding salaries from workers or using violence against them.
"It is getting worse after the law was amended," Ravi Kant, founder of Shakti Vahini, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"There is no fear of law under the current child labour act."