Unsafe Peace Corps Policy, Here we go again!

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: January 2004 Peace Corps Headlines: January 1, 2004 - Peace Corps Report to the US Senate: Peace Corps Volunteer Safety and Security (Part 1) : Unsafe Peace Corps Policy, Here we go again!

By bankass.com (0-1pool136-38.nas12.somerville1.ma.us.da.qwest.net - 63.159.136.38) on Thursday, January 08, 2004 - 3:35 pm: Edit Post

Nice Pie Chart. Too bad the center of chart, the center of the "whole program, the volunteer" did not have two volunteers serving in a village in pairs. The Pie chart and the plan is the same plan they have had for years and look what those policies have produced.

1. 31 Volunteers killed, died or missing since. These are the facts. 86% percent who are victims of violence were alone at the time of thier attack.

2. Where is the lawyer to protect volunteers from fear of reprisal from the agency for reporting an incident.

'Approximately, one fourth of the cases of Physical violence, another volunteer was present." What about the other 75 Percent, "know it all"? PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST VOLUNTEERS WILL BE REDUCED WITH ANOTHER VOLUNTEER PRESENT.

Notice how they use the word ,"Regardless" in their arguement against pairing volunteers for safety,as if the assumption is that it would be safer, but they are trying not to present that fact.

The most important part is that any threat, violence, safety incident, rape, death should be and should have been an alarm bell for Policy change.

Thousands of us today who have been victims of violence, don't work in development today directly as a result of our Peace Corps service. Peace Corps tries to hush this up, but the fact is that they are discriminating against a population who served and Gaddi Vasquez and some of his staff did not. Additionally the woman working on my particular case never served in peace corps and never went through a safety breech. That is why we need a lawyer working for us, so the lies stop, cover up stops at Peace Corps and Peace Corps volunteers are safer, healthier and provided real job development.

By JillGatwood (198.67.60.90) on Friday, June 04, 2004 - 10:08 am: Edit Post

My husband and I are RPCVs (Jamaica 89-91), and now live and work in Trinidad and Tobago. I just sent a letter of complaint to the director of my organisation yesterday that I think is worth sharing here:

Dear Dr. Hospedales,
There is a lot of rage, frustration and distrust toward the U.S. government right now from the rest of the world and this is very understandable. I feel much of the same rage and frustration about the U.S. military activities in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world (including the Caribbean region). This, however, I cannot abide:

A member of the SPSTI staff, (name), has stated openly several times in my presence that the U.S. Peace Corps is ďa front for the CIAĒ: that they are undercover operatives pretending to be development workers. I have confronted her about these statements, but she continues to adamantly support this view. Unfortunately this staff person is also in a position to cause a lot of damage with this viewpoint, because her role with CAREC is to coordinate work with NGOs in the Caribbean. This also causes me serious concern because Sheila says this knowing that I myself served as a Peace Corps volunteer in her home country of Jamaica. Although interestingly enough, Sheila and I have very similar politics on many issues, this perception/belief of hers makes it difficult for me to work in this environment.

Many of our Caribbean member countries have Peace Corps volunteers actively working with Ministries of Health, often specifically in HIV/AIDS prevention and care. A Peace Corps volunteer in Suriname has been credited with building and strengthening the HIV/AIDS surveillance system there, allowing that country to more accurately understand the trends in the epidemic and to design appropriate programmes. I recently met Peace Corps volunteers working in Dominica where they are providing assistance to the National AIDS Committee and to the National Epidemiologist. Like any group, individual volunteers vary in their experience, expertise and productivity, but the fact is that there is a strong Peace Corps presence in the Caribbean that will probably continue to grow.

This Peace Corps/CIA connection is a dangerous myth that at the least compromises CARECís ability to utilize this resource in the Caribbean.

At worst, and more importantly, spreading such misinformation endangers the personal safety of every Peace Corps volunteer in the field. Rapes and murders of Peace Corps volunteers are increasing, and in some cases, these assaults have been connected to a locally-held belief that they are spies. I can provide documentation on this if you desire.

Please let me know how I might proceed.

Regards,
Jill Gatwood

By Joanne Marie Roll (198.202.202.43) on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 6:11 pm: Edit Post

It is federal crime to identify a CIA agent. But there is absolutely no penalty for falsely accusing peace corps volunteers of being intelligence agents. There should be.
It is not illegal for Americans, not associated with the Peace Corps, to claim peace corps status.
It should be.

I urge my fellow RPCVs to contact Congress and urge that the pending legislation on Peace Corps Safety and Security be amended to make it illegal to accuse peace corps volunteers of being involved with intelligence gathering or to use the peace corps name if one is not officially associated with the peace corps. I urge harsh penalities for such crimes.

JMRoll Colombia 63-65

By Joanne Marie Roll (198.202.202.43) on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 6:13 pm: Edit Post

It is federal crime to identify a CIA agent. But there is absolutely no penalty for falsely accusing peace corps volunteers of being intelligence agents. There should be.
It is not illegal for Americans, not associated with the Peace Corps, to claim peace corps status.
It should be.

I urge my fellow RPCVs to contact Congress and urge that the pending legislation on Peace Corps Safety and Security be amended to make it illegal to accuse peace corps volunteers of being involved with intelligence gathering or to use the peace corps name if one is not officially associated with the peace corps. I urge harsh penalities for such crimes.

JMRoll Colombia 63-65


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