HR & Tech Weekly News Circular

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.

AIDS
Algorithms and AI
Data Protection
Health
Social Media

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

Constructively Confronting Right-Wing Populism

By Andrew Fagan

This post addresses what may be identified as some of the more significant implications for human rights contained within two recent Ipsos global surveys. The first survey, conducted in 2018, studied attitudes towards human rights amongst over 23,000 adults in 28 countries. The second survey, conducted in 2019, sought to measure support for populism and nativism amongst over 18,000 adults across 27 countries. Taken together, these two surveys graphically illustrate some of the core challenges facing the human rights project today.

These are deeply troubling, anxiety-inducing times. The greatest cause for concern for many is the ongoing full-frontal attack upon the liberal rights-based paradigm, which, in so-called Western societies, has provided the institutional and conceptual scaffolding for the modern human rights movement. Right-wing “populism” has emerged as the single greatest political threat to liberal democracy and, it seems, human rights. Punctuated by the election of Trump, the manner in which the Leave campaign conducted itself during the UK’s EU referendum and a subsequent series of other right-wing populist electoral and political gains, a politics fuelled essentially by hate and fear seeks to lay claim to truly representing the majority sovereign will of the (no longer) silent majority.  Continue reading

Human Rights & Tech Weekly News Circular

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.

Surveillance

Privacy
Security
AI
Health

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

Human Rights at “home”

By Katya Al Khateeb

On the 2ndof July, I participated in the organising of a public meeting held by the Essex Human Rights Centre in collaboration with community groups in Jaywick to discuss the contribution human rights can make to communities in the UK that are experiencing extreme poverty. This meeting was a follow up to the UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty’s visit to Jaywick in November 2018, as part of his UK country visit. Jaywick is the most deprived community in the UK and thus particularly relevant to any focus upon poverty and deprivation.

This meeting in Jaywick also provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the similar need people have for human rights protections in otherwise very different parts of the world.

Continue reading

Poverty & Inequality in the UK: Proud to be British?

By Andrew Fagan

Today the UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty, Philip Alston, presents his report on the UK to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Publish following his visit to the UK in November 2018, Alston’s report attracted a great deal of media attention. His report unequivocally condemns the UK government for its systematic violation of many of its obligations under international law, particularly core economic and social rights.

The picture he presents of the acute and chronic symptoms of poverty in the UK tallies with other studies and will be all-too familiar to those whose lives the report documents. It may also have caused some shock and consternation to those who imagined that contemporary Britain was a fair and equitable place to live.

Alston’s account of the extent of poverty and destitution across the UK continues to attract commentary and analysis. In this short piece, I shall consider the UK government’s response to Alston’s report. I situate my analysis by drawing upon  a variously attributed and variably paraphrased quotation: “The greatness of a nation can be judged by how it treats its weakest members.”  In considering the government’s response to Alston’s report, I extend the moral frame of the quote to include not only how the government is treating the very many vulnerable people living in the UK, but also how it evaluatesand assessesits own track-record in this area. An already calamitous situation can be made so much worse if those who created it refuse to take responsibility for the harm others must endure. Continue reading

‘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