Thailand Feature | Migrant Burmese Women

Working Under Threat

As Burmese women have crossed Myanmar’s southeastern border to pursue undocumented domestic work in Thailand, the attractiveness of relatively high wages has been offset by the threat of exploitation at the hands of their employers. The lack of legislation protecting foreign domestic workers has left them vulnerable to mobility restrictions, overworking, and isolation. Migrant advocacy groups struggle to connect with the women, who are housed in private homes and prevented from participating in the public sphere. Voice of America provides a brief look at some of the challenges the women face while seeking opportunity across the border.

View the video on VOA News’s YouTube channel.

U.S. News | Mental Illness

Texas prepares to execute man despite recognition of mental illness
  • Adam Ward was convicted of the 2005 murder of a code enforcement officer and sentenced to death, now set to become the fifth person executed in Texas in 2016.
  • On appeal, the federal district court acknowledged Ward’s documented bipolar disorder and paranoid delusions, which had been recognized and treated off and on since Ward was 3, but argued that it was insufficient to disqualify him from the death penalty.
  • Ward’s lawyers have appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, including an argument that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Read more:
Execution Set For Man Courts Recognize as Mentally Ill” (The Texas Tribune)
Texas Set To Execute Man Amid Claims Of ‘Severe Mental Illness’” (BuzzFeed News)
Texas to execute Adam Ward unless Supreme Court intervenes” (AP via AL.com)

(Image Credit: tdcj.state.tx.us, via BuzzFeed News)

Honduras News | Indigenous Activists

Indigenous activist murdered days after famous campaigner in Honduras
  • Nelson García, member of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), was gunned down on his way to his family home.
  • His murder follows that of fellow activist Berta Cáceres, the co-founder of COPINH killed in her home after having received threats from police and anonymous individuals.
  • The deaths come as government officials have subjected COPINH affiliates to illegal surveillance and coercive detention, part of an anti-environmentalist environment in Honduras that saw more than 100 killed between 2010 and 2014.

Read more:
Fellow Honduran activist Nelson García murdered days after Berta Cáceres” (The Guardian)
Another Member of Berta Caceres’ Group Assassinated in Honduras” (teleSUR English)
Berta Cáceres, Honduran human rights and environment activist, murdered” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

Mexico News | Journalists

Sharp uptick in attacks on journalists in Mexico in 2015
  • There were 397 attacks against journalists reported in Mexico in 2015, a 22% increase over 2014 and the most violent year on record, according to a report by an international media advocacy group.
  • Most prevalent in Mexico city and the southern state of Veracruz, the attacks, which included seven murders, involved public officials 41.5% of the time.
  • The year was also a record for attacks on women journailsts, with 84 incidents having been reported.

Read more:
A Mexican Journalist Is Attacked Every 22 Hours: Report” (teleSUR English)
Mexico’s Media Faced a Record Number of Violent Attacks in 2015” (VICE News)
Media group: Attacks on Mexico journalists up 22 pct in 2015” (AP via Yahoo! News)

(Image Credit: Reuters, via teleSUR English)

DRC News | Activists

DR Congo activists go on hunger strike as detention without trial continues
  • Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala, members of the group Struggle for Change (Lucha), began their strike after the Supreme Court refused to release them from jail, despite their having been held for more than a year without trial following their arrest at a pro-democracy workshop.
  • An additional 30 members of Lucha have been arrested as the group has held demonstrations to move elections in the country up and secure basic resources for their neighborhoods.
  • Founded in 2012 on the principle of non-violent demonstration, Lucha has no centralized organization except that necessary to maintain communications, strategy, ideology, and funding, and the group, part of a growing constellation of youth movements across Africa, have so far refused external funding.

Read more:
Congolese activists on hunger strike after court refuses release” (The Guardian)
Law and disorder in the DRC: Who is Fred Bauma, Congo’s jailed Mahatma Gandhi?” (International Business Times)
Congo police arrest 18 pro-democracy activists: U.N.” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: via The Guardian)