ISHR’s 2021 Human Rights Career Panel: Pursuing a Human Rights Career During and After a Pandemic

ISHR’s 2021 Human Rights Career Panel: Pursuing a Human Rights Career During and After a Pandemic

By Anna Miller, RightsViews co-editor and graduate student in the human rights M.A. program. On March 24, 2021 Gergana Halpern and Monica Olveira hosted the Institute for the Study of Human Rights Annual Career Panel. Since the global community has been living through the COVID-19 pandemic for more than one year now, some wonder if there are still job opportunities for students interested in human rights careers. Human rights professionals say yes - perhaps now more than ever before.  Meet the Panelists  Rebecca Brown is the Senior Director of Global Advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Before joining the Center, Rebecca was Deputy Director of the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), where she oversaw the organization’s program work and coordinated the Women and ESCR Working Group. Rebecca has published numerous pieces on reproductive rights, equality rights, economic, social, and cultural rights, and disability. Ryan Heman is Senior Manager of Forced Labor & Human Trafficking at Humanity United, and supports...
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The Neoliberalization of Academia: Why the Columbia University Graduate Workers Strike is a Human Rights Imperative

The Neoliberalization of Academia: Why the Columbia University Graduate Workers Strike is a Human Rights Imperative

By Noah Smith, RightsViews staff writer and a graduate student in the human rights MA program. The opinions expressed in this article are Noah’s own and are not representative of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) or Columbia University.  Thousands of graduate students and student workers at Columbia University began striking on March 15, 2021 after many stalled negotiations with school administrators. A strong majority of student workers, 96%, voted  yes to authorize a strike and with a  deadline of March 15, 2021. The Graduate Workers of Columbia University (GWC) and all those in solidarity call on the university to agree to a fair contract. According to GWC bargaining committee members, the strike is a last resort after years of unsuccessful negotiations with university representatives, and assert that withholding their labor is the final means of forcing the university to recognize their demands. Columbia University has had a long and tumultuous history in regards to treating graduate workers as employees....
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COVID-19 in Africa: Responses and Prospect for Recovery

COVID-19 in Africa: Responses and Prospect for Recovery

By Lindsey Alpaugh, staff writer, RightsViews, Human Rights MA student.  On Wednesday, January 27th, Columbia University held an event examining the impact of COVID-19 on the African continent. Panelists included Belinda Archibong, an Assistant Professor of Economics at Barnard College, Pedro Conceicao, the director of the Human Development Report Office and lead author of the Human Development Report, UNDP HDR office, and Dr. Wilmot James, Senior Research Scholar in the Institute for Social and Economic Research Policy. This event followed a series in the fall looking at COVID-19 in Latin America and was sponsored by the Economic and Political Development concentration at SIPA, the Institute for African Studies at Columbia University, Center for Development Economics and Policy, and SIPA Pan-African Network. African countries were able to have a significantly smaller first wave than predicted due to the dramatic measures that countries took to prevent the spread, such as closing schools and limiting travel. While this had a very successful impact on combatting the...
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Myanmar’s Coup: Unearthing its Constitutional Roots

Myanmar’s Coup: Unearthing its Constitutional Roots

By guest contributors Namrata Rawat* and Rishav Devrani.* February 1, 2021, the world witnessed Myanmar succumbing to a military coup after a 5-year run of a democratically elected government. The coup happened on account of alleged fraud in the 2020 elections wherein the National League for Democracy (NLD) Party, headed by Aung San Suu Kyi saw a landslide victory with 83% votes in its favour. Myanmar, currently under a year-long state of emergency, would be under military rule. The coup d’état has been condemned by countries and international organisations across the globe, who have called it a serious blow to democratic reforms. However, this state of events is not unprecedented, a similar narrative presided over the 1990 election as well. The imposed state of emergency is provided for under Section 417 of the Constitution of Myanmar. It becomes pertinent to discuss this as a military rule can have unavoidable violations of human rights across the country. In this article, the authors...
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Making a Statement: Whose Land Are You On?

Making a Statement: Whose Land Are You On?

By guest contributor Ruthie Tucker* It is becoming trendy for institutions of higher education to recognize Indigenous land by issuing a “land acknowledgment statement” (LAS). Typically, a team of faculty and staff begins by researching the history of the ancestral land of the Indigenous Nation occupied by the institution. From there, the group crafts a statement that honors the ancestral land of the Indigenous Nation. Many national organizations provide models and suggestions for such statements, and it is common for colleges and universities to look to each other for wording. The institution will usually post the LAS on its website, and the LAS may make its way onto class syllabi, might be read at some campus events, and one might find the odd poster about it here and there on campus. These are all good things. My institution, St. Norbert College, is located on the ancestral land of the Menominee people. As a member of the Menominee Nation, I can’t help...
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Social Isolation or Social Death: How Covid-19 is  impacting LGBTQ+ Adolescent Mental Health

Social Isolation or Social Death: How Covid-19 is impacting LGBTQ+ Adolescent Mental Health

By Isidora Roskic, RightsViews staff writer and a graduate student in the human rights MA program. With a total of 28 million infected, the United States stands as having the highest number of total virus cases in the world. Among those impacted, Covid-19’s effects are felt most acutely by LGBTQ+ youth who are challenged with battling stressors unique to their marginalized identities and young age.  As the pandemic rapidly evolved, the country implemented several state-based health mandates that, among other things, required citizens to self-isolate and socially distance. To further minimize the spread of the virus, supplementary measures were put in place which included the closures of K-12 schools, universities, local businesses, recreational facilities, businesses, and even some public spaces. While the extent to which these actions take place can vary from state-to-state, even short-term closures can have significant negative impacts on the mental and physical wellbeing of adolescents. Above all, healthcare practitioners believe the switch from physical to digital education is particularly...
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Brexit and its International Implications on Religious Communities in the United Kingdom

Brexit and its International Implications on Religious Communities in the United Kingdom

By guest contributor Dr. Ozgur H. Cinar.* The United Kingdom (UK) is frequently on the international agenda on account of Brexit. Finally, the European Union (EU)-UK Trade Agreement was signed on 31 December 2020. It came into force on 1 January 2021. Although the debate over the political, economic, social and cultural effects of Brexit continues to rage, its effects on the religious communities has not been explored. In particular, when considering the rise in hate crime following the EU Referendum of 23 June 2016, especially religious communities are wondering what is happening to the British lifestyle, traditionally founded as it is on tolerance and pluralism.  In a cosmopolitan country such as the UK where there are people of many different nations and beliefs, it is necessary for the state to take an active role in safeguarding. This freedom has a significant place in human rights in regard to the shaping of individual and social identity by enabling individuals to act in...
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Student Debt Forgiveness is a Human Rights Issue

Student Debt Forgiveness is a Human Rights Issue

By Noah Smith, RightsViews staff writer and a graduate student in the human rights MA program. Americans owe over $1.7 trillion in student loan debt and the Federal Reserve projects that 31% of all U.S. adults have student loans. House and Senate Democrats have frequently implored President Biden to forgive up to $50,000 of federal debt through an Executive Order, an action Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has articulated Biden should take during his first 100 days in office. During a recent CNN town hall, an audience member asked President Biden what actions his administration will take to forgive up to $50,000. He quickly responded by stating “I will not make that happen.” President Biden has given several reasons for why he does not support large student debt forgiveness, namely, he believes such action would disproportionately benefit students who go to “elite” private colleges. “It depends on whether or not you go to a private university or public university,” he said...
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Understanding the LGBT Rights Movement in Indonesia

Understanding the LGBT Rights Movement in Indonesia

By guest contributors Harsh Mahaseth* and Ishita Goel*   Although homosexuality is legal in most parts of Indonesia, it is widely believed that the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia is anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), with government officials making the four-letter acronym a toxic symbol. In November, Indonesian police arrested Millen Cyrus, a trans-woman Instagram influencer, for alleged drug possession. Police placed her in a male detention cell at the Tanjung Priok Port Police Station, a move that received criticism from Indonesians and the international community. Millen Cyrus was arrested on November 22, 2020, after police raided her hotel room and discovered 0.36 grams of crystal methamphetamine in her possession. Police revealed later that Cyrus had been placed in a male detention cell because her I.D card identified her as a male. She was moved to a special cell following public outrage, not because police realised their mistake. They removed her from the male detention cell in order to “stifle anger,”...
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The State vs. The People: The Indian Government’s War Against Farmers and Dissent

The State vs. The People: The Indian Government’s War Against Farmers and Dissent

By guest contributors Saba Kohli Dave* and Namrata.*   In the wake of the historic farmer’s protests in India, on February 8th, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hailing from the country’s contentious Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), compared protestors to parasites in Parliament. This politically motivated comparison comes as no surprise as there has been a steady state-led crackdown on those asserting civil rights and liberties through protest. However, the state made a miscalculation when it promulgated three agriculture-related ordinances in June 2020, which were passed in Parliament under controversial circumstances in September 2020. Since November, farmers across India have been the major voices of dissent, outraged at laws that were passed without their consultation. Why are the farmers protesting? The 3 farm laws were passed blurring legal and constitutional lines. The bills were arrived at without pre-legislative consultation, tabled without scrutiny, and passed through a dubious “voice vote.” They have been perceived by a majority of farmers as the government abrogating its...
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