Senators Up In Arms Over State Department Plan To Deliberately Ignore Malaysian Mass Graves Just To Get TPP Deal
from the maybe-fast-track-wasn't-such-a-good-idea,-huh? dept
Earlier this week, we wrote about a troubling move by the US State Department to “upgrade” Malaysia from a “tier 3” country to a “tier 2” country regarding human trafficking. This move came despite a near total lack of evidence of any improvement by Malaysia. In fact, just two months ago 139 mass graves were discovered for migrant workers who had been trafficked and/or held for ransom. And the US ambassador to Malaysia had publicly criticized the country for failing to tackle its massive human trafficking problem.
So why would the State Department magically upgrade Malaysia? Well, because of a tiny provision in the fast track “Trade Promotion Authority” deal that Congress recently passed. It noted that fast track authority would not apply to trade deals involving countries that were categorized as “tier 3” by the State Department. In other words, this should have given the US tremendous leverage to push Malaysia to really tackle the problem. Instead, because it appears that the administration is so focused on getting the TPP officially finished and ratified, it got the State Department to just magically upgrade Malaysia, and effectively spit on the graves of those murdered migrant workers.
It appears that this may have been a move too far for some Senators, as 19 of them are demanding some answers from Secretary of State John Kerry about this decision to “upgrade” Malaysia.
In the letter, senators said that upgrading Malaysia would weaken the U.S. government’s international credibility on human rights issues.
“Fighting human trafficking is one of the great moral challenges of our time,” the senators wrote. “It is therefore with grave concern that we now hear Malaysia may be upgraded in this year?s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report based on developments that occurred after the end of the review period. A premature upgrade of Malaysia would undermine the integrity of the TIP report process and compromise our international efforts to fight human trafficking.”
You think? But, really, to this administration is the integrity of a program on things like human trafficking really that important when compared to getting the TPP agreement and its bundle of gifts to corporations moving forward again? In the grand political calculus, migrant workers in Malaysia get screwed over again. But, no worries, at least Phillip Morris can sue countries that try to warn people about the dangers of smoking. Either way, it’s just poor helpless people getting totally screwed over, while giant corporations get richer. No big deal, I guess.