- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2002

Slavery reported rising
LONDON An international rights group said today that an increasing number of people, an estimated 27 million, are forcibly employed.
In a report issued to coincide with the opening of a special U.N. session on slavery, Anti-Slavery International said the practice is fueled by "poverty, vulnerability and lack of political will." The U.N. session on slavery will run in Geneva until Friday.
The British-based group urged governments to stamp out the practice and highlighted sexual exploitation of children, forced labor in Sudan and trafficking of child camel jockeys to the United Arab Emirates.
It said millions of girls working as domestics were being forced into sexual slavery. Citing research by the International Labor Organization, the group estimated that more girls younger than 16 were employed in domestic labor than any other form of work.
"Although the numbers that this represents are unknown," the report said, "it is likely to run into the millions worldwide."

Cyprus progress cited
ISTANBUL Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was quoted as saying yesterday that prospects for a solution on Cyprus were improving as a June deadline approached for progress in talks to reunite the divided island.
But Mr. Denktash suggested the two sides still differed sharply about how to resolve the island's division. Turkish Cypriots advocate a union of states, while Greek Cypriots want a bizonal federation. "The primary difficulty is the determination of the Greeks not to abandon the title of the only legitimate government," he said.
During a visit to the island this month, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the two leaders to speed peace talks and make progress on core areas of dispute. Mr. Denktash and Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides have been meeting regularly first three times a week, then twice a week for longer meetings since January.

U.N. worker released
NAIROBI, Kenya A U.N. worker kidnapped in Somalia was freed on Saturday, the world body said.
But a U.N. official said renewed fighting in Somalia could delay the resumption of U.N. programs in the capital, Mogadishu, which were suspended early this month to push for Mohamed Ali Abukar's unconditional release. His kidnapping in the southern part of Mogadishu on April 28 was the second abduction of a Somalian U.N. worker in the city in three months.
Mr. Abukar, a staff member of the United Nations Development Program's (UNDP) Somalia office, was in charge of a UNDP humanitarian project in Mogadishu that would support governance and civil society groups.
The U.N. official here in Nairobi said the UNDP had yet to decide when to resume its suspended programs on health, water, sanitation, education and teacher training. She said the United Nations had no information on who kidnapped Mr. Abukar.

Iraq says crops burned
BAGHDAD Iraq's agriculture minister yesterday charged that American and British warplanes enforcing no-fly zones burned crops in northern Iraq, Baghdad Radio reported.
"U.S. and British planes dropped incendiary bombs on fields in the Nemrud region of Nineveh province on Friday, burning crops of wheat and barley," Abdel Ilah Hamid charged. "Through these acts, the enemy prove their implacable hatred for the Iraqi people," he said.
Iraq does not recognize the zones, imposed by the two countries after the 1991 Gulf war and not covered by any U.N. Security Council resolution. Baghdad says U.S. and British air strikes have killed 1,477 persons and injured 1,358 since imposition of the zones.

Betsy Pisik is on assignment; her column will resume when she returns.

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