India: A Hidden Apartheid for Dalits?
To what extent do India's 165 million Dalits continue to face caste-based discrimination in housing, education, economic opportunity, and access to justice? The Indian government's answer to the international community, and that of NGOs that advocate on behalf of Dalits, will be highly scrutinized on Feb. 23 and 26th in Geneva. There, a United Nations Committee will evaluate India's compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which India ratified in 1968. SMITA NARULA, professor of law at New York University School of Law and director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) joins us to
discuss the findings of Human Rights Watch and CHRGJ's "shadow report" that was released released last week.
SMITA NARULA is a professor at the New York University School of Law and faculty director of its Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. She is a former researcher for South Asia at Human Rights Watch where she investigated and authored a number of Human Rights Watch's reports on caste discrimination and discrimination against religious minorities in India. She is a co-founder of the International Dalit Solidarity Network. The February 2007 report is entitled, "Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimination against India's 'Untouchables.'"
Protections for Whom? Minimum Wage for Workers Northern Mariana Islands
We look at the politics of protectionism: in this case, the garment industries of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam where low-wage, "guestworkers" labor in factories for labels including Ann Taylor and J. Jill for far less than the present minimum wage, and are exempted from U.S. immigration laws. However, the factory interests have furiously lobbied—both Democrats and Republicans alike—to close off the commonwealth and territory from labor protections such as the minimum wage hike that passed the House and Senate last month. Investigative reporter REBECCA CLARREN, who has visited Saipan and reported extensively on worker abuses there for Ms., joins us to explain.
REBECCA CLARREN is an investigative journalist based in Portland, Oregon, where she writes for national magazines such as Salon, Ms., and The Nation about labor and environmental issues. Clarren's work has been frequently supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
Iran: A Second Look
February 21, 2007, marks the deadline set by the United Nations Security Council for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made clear that he wants talks around Iran's nuclear program, and is even willing to stop uranium enrichment, but will not accept the U.N. precondition to talks unless "Western" nations also cease uranium enrichment. To give us some context for the current state of play, we talk to HAMID DABASHI of Columbia University about his new book "Iran, A People Interrupted" and the modern history of Iran and Iran-United States relations. With the current heightened tensions around nuclear capabilities and UN sanctions, Iran is seen in the United States largely in black and white terms, within dichotomous constructs like Good vs. Evil, Islam vs. the West, Medieval vs. Modern. To the contrary, Dabashi argues that a view of Iran in terms of such polar opposites is mistaken—that Iran should be seen as fundamentally a modern, anti-colonial state, and that the Islamization of the country is a historical aberration.
HAMID DABASHI is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, NY. He is the author of highly acclaimed scholarly books and articles on Iran, mediaeval and modern Islam ( Authority in Islam: Theology of Discontent), Iranian cinema (Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present and Future) and an edited volume Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema.
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