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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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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