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.


Social media
Content regulation
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

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