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

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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.

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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2019 needs to be the year in which human rights sit at the heart of AI governance

By Lorna McGregor

At the beginning of 2018, the MIT Technology Review forecast that one of the ten ‘breakthrough’ technologies for the year would be ‘AI for Everybody’, underscoring the transformational potential of AI to sectors such as health. In a new report by the ESRC Human Rights, Big Data and Technology project, we argue that it is critical for everyone to benefit from artificial intelligence’s (AI) advances, particularly those most marginalized in society. To do otherwise, only risks widening existing inequality, a point that was underscored by this year’s World Economic Forum. Continue reading

International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By Besir OzbekFloriane Borel, and Anene Negeri

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

Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review 2019 – International Federation for Human Rights

Only Six Countries In the World Have Full Gender Equality in the Work Place – UN Dispatch

International Women’s Day: Empowering more women decision-makers ‘essential’, says Guterres – UN News

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International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By Besir OzbekFloriane 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 week’s story in focus

General Assembly Seventy-third session, 47th plenary meeting - The situation in the Middle East - Item 38

UN Photo/Loey Felipe

According to their February 28th press release, the UN Commission of Inquiry into the 2018 protests in Gaza, has established “reasonable grounds” to believe that Israeli soldiers may have committed “violations of international human rights and humanitarian law” including war crimes and crimes against humanity during their suppression of Palestinian demonstrators. The Commission’s full 25-page report found Israeli forces responsible for 189 Palestinian deaths and more than 9,000 injuries during last year’s protests at the Gaza border.

The legal basis for finding such violations of international law, according to the report, is that Israeli forces fired on individuals who posed “no imminent threat of death or serious injury to those around them” as required under the right to life. The Commission of Inquiry also found “reasonable grounds” to believe that Israeli soldiers deliberately targeted medics, journalists, children, and disabled persons. The panel recommended that UN members impose individual sanctions on those responsible and called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to share the Commission’s findings with the International Criminal Court (although Israel does not recognize the Court’s jurisdiction). Israel has rejected the investigations findings and criticized the Human Rights Council for its “obsessive hatred of Israel.”

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