HRBDT Weekly News Circular

By Sabrina Rau

Each week the Human Rights, Big Data & Technology Project, based at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre, prepares an overview of related news stories from the week. This summary contains news articles from 8-15 March 2019.

You can follow the HRBDT Project on twitter: @hrbdtNews.

 

Privacy
Regulation
Social media
Content regulation
Health
AI
Misinformation/Disinformation
New Tech

Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are the author(s) alone.

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Google’s pay audit and the meaning of ‘equality’

By Laura Carter

In March of this year, Google found that they were paying men and women unequally: but not in the way you might have expected. Their internal audit found that they were paying men less.

This seems to fly in the face of statistics, which continue to show that companies and organisations pay women less. In 2018, women in the UK earned on average 8.6% less than men per hour, and women in the USA earned only 85%of what men did. In the UK, since last year, companies with over 250 employees are required to publish their pay gaps: Google’s median pay gap rose to 20% in 2019. Continue reading

New HRC Publication: Torture and Human Rights in Northern Ireland – Interrogation in Depth

Dr. Aoife Duffy, based at the Human Rights Centre, has just published the new book ‘Torture and Human Rights in Northern Ireland – Interrogation in Depth‘.

The blurb reads as follows:

This book presents a compelling and highly sophisticated politico-legal history of a particular security operation that resulted in one of the most high-profile torture cases in the world. It reveals the extent to which the Ireland v. United Kingdom judgment misrepresents the interrogation system that was developed and utilised in Northern Ireland. Finally, the truth about the operation is presented in a comprehensive narrative, sometimes corroborating secondary literature already in the public domain, but at other times significantly debunking aphorisms, or, indeed, lies that circulated about interrogation in depth. The book sets out the theoretical reference paradigm with respect to the culture and practice of state denial often associated with torture, and uses this model to excavate the buried aspects of this most famous of torture cases. Through the lens of a single operation, conducted twice, it presents a fascinating exposé of the complicated structures of state-sponsored denial designed to hide the truth about the long-term effects of these techniques and the way in which they were authorised.

The book is now available with Routledge Press/


Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are the author(s) alone

International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By Floriane Borel and Mitch Paquette

Each week students at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre prepare an overview of the past week’s human rights related news stories from around the world. This summary contains news articles from 1-7 April 2019.

This week’s story in focus

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UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

On Wednesday, the country of Brunei implemented a new Sharia Penal Code which introduces cruel punishments including death by stoning for homosexual acts, adultery, and abortion as well as amputation of limbs for stealing. Children who have reached puberty and are convicted of these offences may also be subjected to the same punishment as adults under the new penal code. Human rights groups including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the UN have all criticized both the crimes and brutal punishments included in Brunei’s penal code for violating basic human rights and have called for its repeal.

The move by Brunei to implement these new laws has led to international public outcry and multiple company boycotts of the country and properties owned by the Brunei’s leader, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. Celebrities including George Clooney, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sir Elton John have all contributed to calls for boycotts until the laws are repealed. The new penal code violates many of Brunei’s human rights obligations including the right to life, freedom from torture and other ill-treatment, expression, privacy, non-discrimination, among others.

Continue reading

International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By Floriane Borel, Anene Negeri, and Mitch Paquette

Each week students at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre prepare an overview of the past week’s human rights related news stories from around the world. This summary contains news articles from 25-31 March 2019.

This week’s story in focus

Massive protests took place in Algeria this week against the regime of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika demanding that he end his two decades-long rule and resign immediately. In response to the protests, with crowds estimated in the hundreds of thousands, army chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaid Salah stated publicly that it is time for the country to invoke Article 102 of the constitution, which could allow Algeria’s Constitutional Council to remove the president on account of his failing health. However, demonstrations continue with participants asserting that they will accept nothing less than a complete change in government and a wholesale removal of the current ruling class from public office. On Sunday, Bouteflika named a caretaker cabinet, replacing 21 of the country’s 27 ministers, before announcing on Monday that he would step down as President before his mandate ends on April 28th.

Bouteflika is credited by his supporters for his role in the fight for Algerian independence against colonial France as well as ending the 1990s civil war, but after 20 years as head of state, Algerians appear ready for a change. Mass protests began in February when the president announced he would seek a fifth term, despite his ailing health after suffering a debilitating stroke in 2013, which has largely kept him from appearing in public. In response to these early protests, internet shutdowns took place across the country while human rights groups reported cases of arbitrary arrests and issued calls for the government to exercise restraint in quelling the demonstrations.

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Command Responsibility for Bloody Sunday?

By Aoife Duffy

Recently, Lance Corporal F of the British Army’s 1st Parachute Regiment was charged with the murders of James Wray and William McKinney, and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon, and Patrick O’Donnell in Derry on January 30th, 1972. Events surrounding ‘Bloody Sunday,’ the ten-minute window in which the shootings occurred, and the official response to the killings are critical to any understanding of the Northern Ireland conflict. 13 people were left dead (half of the victims were 17) and 16 more were injured by multiple shooters from the 1st Parachute Regiment’s Support Company.

Speaking more generally about the use of lethal force by the security forces in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Secretary, Karen Bradley, recently stated in the House of Commons, ‘the fewer than 10% [of conflict related killings] that were at the hands of the military and police were not crimes. They were people acting under orders and under instructions and fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way.’ Although she later apologised for her comments, it is interesting to focus on the ‘orders’ and ‘instructions’ that framed the military operation in the Bogside, because there is a view that Lance Corporal F is being scapegoated for Bloody Sunday. Continue reading

International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By Floriane Borel, Anene Negeri, and Mitch Paquette

Each week students at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre prepare an overview of the past week’s human rights related news stories from around the world.

International

Survivors’ needs must be at the forefront of efforts to tackle sexual violence in conflict – ICRC

Brazilian officer a ‘stellar example’ of why more women are needed in UN peacekeeping – UN News

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International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By Floriane Borel, Anene Negeri, and Mitch Paquette

Each week students at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre prepare an overview of the past week’s human rights related news stories from around the world.

This week’s story in focus

D1s0d5DXgAETr39On March 15, 2019, a group of international experts launched a new tool developed to ensure  human rights compliance in drug policy. The International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy provide insight into how states’ approach to drug control has had negative impacts on the safety, security, and well-being of many communities, and set out key human rights principles to guide reforms of global drug policy. The International Centre for Human Rights and Drug Policy, based at the University of Essex, played a lead role in the development of the guidelines.
These guidelines are a significant contribution to the ongoing debate concerning the inadequacy of harsh punitive approaches to drug control that have dominated this field for over a century. Particularly in the context of drug use and possession, state strategies that privilege punitive approaches and criminalization while rejecting harm reduction programs have been shown to result in harmful public health outcomes and negatively impact a range of human rights.

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