International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By Nina Giraudel, Sweekruthi Keshavamurthy, Manon Clayette,  Ayushi Kalyan 

International

Democracy ‘showing greater strain’ than at any time in decades, UN chief – UN News

Hurricane Florence vs. Typhoon Mangkhut: The difference between the 2 major storms – Global News

Global hunger continues to rise, new UN report says – UNICEF News

Security Council extends mandates of UN peace operations in Libya, Colombia through next September – UN News

Extreme Hunger Could Kill 600,000 Children in War Zones This Year – Save the Children News

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Big Brother Watch and Others v. the United Kingdom – Some initial thoughts

By Daragh Murray & Vivian Ng

On Thursday, 13 September 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) handed down their decision in Big Brother Watch and Others v. the United Kingdom. This decision addressed the legality of the United Kingdom’s (UK) bulk interception programme, intelligence sharing, and the obtaining of communications data from communications service providers and was prompted by the 2013 Snowden revelations.

This is a complex decision which is likely to have significant ramifications for mass surveillance programmes. As such, it is too early to offer detailed analysis, and this post intends to highlight some of the interesting elements that we will be thinking over in the coming weeks and months. Our focus here is on the bulk interception programme.

For an excellent initial post on the implications for the UK’s Investigatory Power’s Act, please see ‘Big Brother Watch v UK – implications for the Investigatory Powers Act?’ at Cyberleagle. Continue reading

International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By  Besir OzbekAgathe ArtusÖvünç GüneşFrancesca Fazio

International

International Criminal Court says it has jurisdiction over alleged crimes against Rohingya – Reuters

‘Legally binding’ nuclear-test ban essential to prevent ‘catastrophic impact’ says UN chief – UN News

“Good progress” at Bangkok climate talks on draft Paris accord rules – UN official – Reuters

UN media seminar on peace in the Middle East, highlights ‘power of words over weapons’ – UN News

‘5 Minutes to Midnight’: Amnesty Warns Catastrophic Climate Change Is Near – Global Citizen

With AI, jobs are changing but no mass unemployment expected – UN labour experts – UN News

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As Myanmar sends journalists to jail, pressure mounts on Aung San Suu Kyi

By Dr Andrew Fagan

This blog originally appeared on The Conversation

Aung San Suu Kyi.jpg

Image: Aung San Suu Kyi, Shutterstock

The government of Myanmar and its de facto head, Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, are facing renewed international condemnation after two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were sentenced to seven years in prison for breaking an official secrets law. Their crime: receiving documents detailing the killing of ten Rohingya men and boys by Myanmar security personnel in 2017, during the military’s genocidal response to isolated attacks conducted by Rohingya militants.

Unusually, the authorities admitted that the killings did take place, and a military tribunal has sentenced the perpetrators to prison and hard labour. For their part, the two Reuters journalists were detained by police moments after receiving the documents, adding credence to the suspicion that they were the victims of a somewhat bizarre conspiracy against Myanmar’s already very vulnerable press.

The UN, the EU and various governments who’ve been particularly supportive of Myanmar’s stuttering democratic reforms have all condemned the verdict. But given how little concern Suu Kyi and her government have shown in response to allegations of genocide and ethnic cleansing, it’s hard to see another wave of international criticism turning the government away from its potentially disastrous current direction.

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A Brief Review of the OHCHR Consultation on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age

By Vivian Ng

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) conducted a consultation on the right to privacy in the digital age, convening an expert workshop in Geneva from 19-20 February 2018 and invited relevant stakeholders to submit contributions for a report on the right to privacy in the digital age. The Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project participated in the expert workshop and submitted inputs to OHCHR. The report has now been published. This post will highlight the key elements of the expert workshop, outline HRBDT’s contributions, and summarise OHCHR’s outcome report.

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International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By Nina Giraudel, Sweekruthi Keshavamurthy, Manon Clayette,  Ayushi Kalyan 

International

US military to cancel $300m in Pakistan aid over terror groups – The BBC

Donors to increase UNRWA support and funding despite US cuts – Al Jazeera

Governments Pressure Russia to Act on Chechnya Abuses – Human Rights Watch

As conflicts become more complex, ‘mediation is no longer an option; it is a necessity’, UN chief tells Security Council – UN News

Iran Takes US to Court Over Alleged Treaty Breach – Human Rights Watch

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International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By  Besir OzbekAgathe ArtusÖvünç GüneşFrancesca Fazio

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

Remembering slave trade offers chance to raise awareness, ‘oppose all forms of modern slavery’ – UNESCO – UN News

UN remembers Kofi Annan: A leader who put people at the centre of the Organization’s work – UN News

UN/Tokyo: Brazen treaty violations overshadow arms control conference – Amnesty Canada News

Big Cities Are Vowing to Make New Buildings Carbon Neutral by 2030 – Global Citizen

Embrace ‘people-centered multilateralism,’ UN-civil society forum urges – UN News Continue reading

International Human Rights News: Weekly Roundup

By Sweekruthi Keshavamurthy, Manon ClayetteNina GiraudelAyushi Kalyan 

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

Former UN chief Kofi Annan dies at 80 – Al Jazeera

Ukraine, Iran and human rights on agenda for talks with Putin – Merkel – Reuters

China ‘training for strikes’ on US targets – The BBC

Terrorists potentially target millions in makeshift biological weapons ‘laboratories’, UN forum hears – UN News

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How Does Content Moderation Affect Human Rights? Commentary on the Case of Infowars

By Vivian Ng and Sabrina Rau

On 6 August 2018, Apple, Facebook and Spotify removed content from Alex Jones’s Infowars pages and accounts on their platforms, which were seen to be spreading conspiracy theories and hate speech. YouTube also terminated Alex Jones’s channel. These recent actions followed the takedown of four of Infowars’ YouTube videos earlier last month. While Twitter did not immediately take any action, they later suspended Alex Jones’s account for seven days on 15 August, citing violation of their rules on abusive behaviour and inciting violence. These companies have removed content or terminated these accounts on grounds that they violated the terms of service.

Much of the reporting has been critical of companies who are perceived to have not done enough, or acted quickly enough, to remove content from Alex Jones and Infowars. The attention seems to centre on whether such platforms have acted appropriately and adequately to combat misinformation and disinformation spread by entities like Infowars. For example, while Twitter has since taken action regarding Alex Jones’s account, it had been criticised for not suspending the separate Infowars Twitter account as well. Google and Apple have also been criticised for not removing the Infowars app on their app stores. These issues are important but commentary has been lacking on the broader significance of the current news around the actions platforms are taking regarding the content and accounts of Infowars and Alex Jones. More fundamentally, what role do companies have in content moderation, and how should that role be carried out? This post will look at the role that social media platforms play in the realisation of the right to freedom of expression in particular, and consider if and how content moderation by private companies that own and control such platforms can be compliant with human rights standards and norms.

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Gender, War and Technology: Peace and Armed Conflict in the 21st Century

By Emily Jones 

Technology is vastly changing contemporary conflict. While there has been a lot of recent focus by international lawyers on topics such as drone warfare and autonomous weapons systems, very little has been published on these issues from a gender and law perspective. Seeking to bridge this gap, I recently co-edited a Special Issue for the Australian Feminist Law Journal on Gender, War and Technology: Peace and Armed Conflict in the 21st Century alongside Yoriko Otomo and Sara Kendall. The issue brings together a wide array of voices. Several different technologies are discussed; from drone warfare to lesser known technologies being used in conflict settings such as evidence and data collection technologies and human enhancement technologies.

As the introduction to the Special Issue notes, gender is used throughout the Special Issue in multiple ways, highlighting women’s lived experiences in conflicts as combatants, victims, negotiators of peace agreements, military actors and as civilians, as well as being used as a theoretical tool of analysis, ‘considering issues of agency, difference, and intersectionality, and contesting gendered constructions that presuppose femininity, ethnicity, and passivity.’ Intersectionality is also a key theme throughout the issue, with articles also ‘considering issues of race, colonialism, ability, masculinity and capitalism (and thus, implicitly, class).’ War is understood in light of feminist scholarship on conflict, noting how war and peace work on a ‘continuum of violence’ with neither war not peace being as easy to define as legal categorisations suggest.

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