HRBDT Weekly News Circular

By Manuel Fernandez Sierra

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 7-14 June 2019.

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

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‘The Birmingham LGBT protests’: A reimagining of the decision in Lee v Ashers

By Damilola Ojuri

On 31 May, an interim injunction was granted to Birmingham City Council in its claim against the Anderson Park Primary School “LGBT teaching” protesters, led by Shakeel Afsar. The without notice claim was brought to “protect staff and pupils” who encountered the protesters. On 10 June, the interim injunction was quashed, and was replaced by an interim order which bans the lead protestors, including Mr Afsar, from engaging in or coordinating the protest.

The protests have garnered much media attention, with some campaigners alluding to a dismissal of their Article 10 right to Freedom of Expression. Save for examinations of the conditions of the injunction, the legal world has yet to consider the practical merit of the two sides of argument as it relates to discrimination law and human rights law.

Such cases, where two sets of rights are opposed, have the potential to engage the age-old debate of the superiority of certain liberties over others. Continue reading

Essex Human Rights Clinic Digital Verification Unit Participates in Amnesty International Summit in Hong Kong

By Daragh Murray

From Sunday 2 June to Wednesday 5 June 2019, the Human Rights Centre Clinic Digital Verification Unit participated at the annual Amnesty International Digital Verification Corps (DVC) Summit, held this year in Hong Kong.

The summit was organised by Amnesty International, and hosted by the Human Rights Hub at Hong Kong University. Students from the University of Essex, the University of Pretoria, the University of Toronto, the University of Cambridge, Hong Kong University, and the University of California Berkeley all participated, along with expert speakers from Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Team, Witness, the Mekong Club, Diginex, and Amnesty International China.

The purpose of the summit is to bring together student teams from around the world in order to share their experiences of working within the Digital Verification Corps, to identify lessons learned, and to plan for the coming years. The first annual summit was held in Berkeley in 2017, with the second event taking place in Cambridge in 2018. The Essex Digital Verification Unit is one of the founding members of the Corps, and has been undertaking work in this area since 2016.

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Businesses and Enforced Disappearances: The Mexican State of Coahuila transfers its human rights obligations to business actors

By Paulina Madero Suarez

The international humanrights frameworkdefines enforced disappearance as a deprivation of liberty by the State or persons acting with its authorisation, followed by the refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty and the concealment of the whereabouts of the disappeared person, placing the individual outside the protection of the law. Enforced disappearances place specific international legal obligations on the State, including the duty to provide victims with reparation.

Human rights law primarily concerns States, although there is a growing international consensus that non-state actors, including corporations, should respect human rights. An interesting question that arises, however, is whether States can transfer their human rights obligations to private entities? Continue reading

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.

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.

Continue reading