HRBDT Weekly News Circular

By Vivian Ng

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 15 – 22 September 2017.

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

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Human Rights, Environment, and Migration of Mongolia’s Herders

by Rachael Diniega

This month, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John Knox, will travel to Mongolia on an official country visit. By creating the mandate in 2012, the Human Rights Council acknowledged the increasing recognition of governments and civil society that a safe and sustainable environment is needed to fully enjoy many human rights, such as the rights to food and water. For Mongolia, a healthy environment is particularly important for the one-fifth of its population who are nomadic pastoralists, as their livelihoods are intricately tied to the environment. This post will discuss how rural-urban migration of Mongolian herders highlights the connection between environmental concerns and human rights.

Facing threats of climate change, poor rangeland management, and pollution, Mongolia is falling behind on many of its environment-related human rights obligations. For my dissertation for the MA Human Rights & Cultural Diversity at the University of Essex last year and as a National Geographic Young Explorer, I interviewed herders about environmental change, natural disasters, and migration, focusing on learning what a local human rights-based approach to climate change displacement could look like. One former herder’s story highlighted the human rights and environment issues that Mr. Knox will need to address in his upcoming country visit.

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International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By   Tola Akindipe and Giulia Carlini

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

Resignation of Vitit Muntarbhorn as Independent Expert on SOGI – for Health & Family Reasons – ILGA.org

UN report attacks austerity budgets for growing inequality – The Guardian

  • Africa

Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi (A/HRC/36/54) – Relief Web

Kenyan police fire tear gas after women attacked at election meeting – Reuters Africa

Congolese Troops Shoot Dozens of Burundian Refugees – All Africa

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Professor Paul Hunt’s timely Social Rights are Human Rights – but the UK System is Rigged is a welcome call to action for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party

By Gen Sander[*] and Nathan Derejko[†]

We live in an age of neoliberalism and austerity, characterised by privatisation, profits over people and cutbacks on social spending and protections. Their impacts are far reaching and felt most intensely by the world’s most disadvantaged, including in the UK. They represent a direct attack on social rights, including the rights to an adequate standard of living, food, health, housing, social security and education. As poverty and inequality intensify, people are understandably looking to change the status quo, and it is precisely this mounting public discontent that has fanned the flames of populist movements and led to shocking outcomes, such as Brexit and the elections of Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. It has also led to progressive social and political movements, such as the rise of Jeremy Corbyn and the promise of a radically different, more engaged and socially progressive Labour Party in the UK. Underpinning many of the recent struggles for meaningful and progressive change is a demand for social rights. But the transformative potential of these important rights is still so often ignored by those in positions of power, as is the case in the UK.

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International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By Tommaso Poli,  Udita Sharma, Diana Figueroa,  Elizabeth Mangenje,  Giulia CarliniTola Akindipe

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. 

  • Africa

Rwanda police arrest critic of president for forgery, tax evasion – Reuters

Burundi: UN independent panel calls for ICC probe into possible crimes against humanity – UN News Centre

Togo blocks Internet as protesters march for second day – Reuters

Mali: Unchecked Abuses in Military Operations – Human Rights Watch

Address election-related sexual violence – Daily Nation

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Book Review: “Arab National Media and Political Change: Recording the Transition” (Fatima El-Issawi, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

By Sahar Khamis

A lot of the literature dealing with the role of the media in the so-called “Arab Spring” uprisings focused on the notion of “cyberactivism,” or how and why new media, especially social media, exhibited the potential to act as catalysts for speeding up public mobilization against authoritarian regimes.

Moving beyond assumptions of technological determinism, which focus on what social media can or cannot do to aid socio-political transformation, Fatima El-Issawi’s book: “Arab National Media and Political Change: Recording the Transition” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) sheds light on an extremely important, yet understudied, dimension, namely: The “voice” of the media actors and players, i.e., those who are producing mediated messages in mainstream media in some of the transitioning countries in the Arab region.

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‘Doxing’ and White Nationalist’s Right to Privacy

By Ajay Sandhu & Daniel Marciniak

Introduction

The recent clash in Charlottesville, Virginia between rival protestors over a statue memorialising a general in the Confederate Army has raised long-debated questions about the extent to which members of hate groups – in this case white nationalists – can expect the protections of certain rights and freedoms. The most recognisable of these questions is “to what extent does the freedom of speech protect racist comments publicly stated by white nationalists?” This question has made its way to the US Supreme Court several times, including earlier this year when the justices denied the possibility of a “hate speech exception” to the first amendment. As white nationalists have found a safe haven in the freedom of speech and support from free speech advocates, anti-racist movements have found alternative methods of trying to silence expressions of racism.

In an era of social media, these alternative methods have included “doxing” which refers to the online collection and exposure of private and/or identifying information about white nationalists, often in an effort to critique racism, stigmatise white nationalists, and deter further expressions of white nationalism. As doxing requires the exposure of personal information online, new questions about the rights and freedoms of white nationalists has emerged; to what extent can members of hate groups expect their privacy to be respected? and what are the present and future consequences of denying white nationalists’ privacy? This blog expands on these questions by considering the potential impact of anti-racist doxing campaigns including the risky consequences of denying white nationalists’ their privacy. Continue reading

International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By Udita Sharma, Diana Figueroa,  Tommaso Poli,    Elizabeth Mangenje,  Giulia CarliniTola Akindipe

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

African and European leaders agree action plan on migration crisis – The Guardian

U.N. Security Council to meet Monday on North Korea nuclear test – Reuters

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