CODEPINK Says KBR Should be Barred from Iraq Contracts for Not Protecting Female Employees
February 25th, 2008
Calls for new laws to protect the 20,000 US Women Contractors in Iraq
The peace group CODEPINK: Women for Peace is calling upon the U.S military to debar Halliburton/KBR from future contracts in Iraq due to its failure to protect its women contractors and for new measures to be taken to protect female contractors in Iraq. Jamie Leigh Jones, a former Halliburton/KBR employee in Iraq who was drugged and brutally gang-raped by her co-workers in 2005, recently testified at a
Congressional hearing that 38 other women, all contract employees in Iraq, have come forward to report crimes of sexual harassment and assault. Despite this appalling pattern, KBR fails to punish the perpetrators, provide adequate redress for the victims, or take sufficient steps to prevent future assaults. For this reason, CODEPINK is calling for Halliburton/KBR to lose its rights to make more money
on the backs of brutalized women.
CODEPINK has written to Mr. Robert Kittel, Suspension and Debarment Official of the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency, to stop future contracts. "Halliburton/KBR has failed to protect the safety of its contract employees, and, in fact, has fostered an environment wherein sexual violence is accepted. Moreover, the company requires employees to sign a private arbitration agreement, forcing them to give up their right to sue the company or have a trial by jury. This is undemocratic and a blow to all women who have served this country," states Medea Benjamin, Cofounder of CODEPINK in the letter Mr. Kittel.
There are presently some 20,000 female contractors in Iraq. CODEPINK hopes that holding KBR/Halliburton accountable will send a strong signal to other employers.CODEPINK is also supporting the efforts of the Jamie Leigh Foundation to put contractors under military jurisdiction, to stop forcing employees to sign mandatory arbitration clauses that eliminate their right to a trial, and to force companies to disclose criminal activity to employees and prospective employees.
"I appreciate CODEPINK's support for the Jamie Leigh Act of 2008, which mandates that companies report criminal violations and provide this information to new and perspective employees so they can make informed decisions about whether or not to work for the company," says Jamie Leigh Jones. "I also appreciate the support for eliminating the arbitration clauses in contracts that force employees into secret proceedings instead of giving them their day in court when they have been raped and assaulted by other American citizens. These abuses must stop."
Visit the Jamie Leigh Foundation (www.jamiesfoundation.org <http://www.jamiesfoundation
(www.codepinkalert.org <http://www.codepinkalert.org/> )