2021 Brings on a Record-Shattering Number of Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation in the U.S.

2021 Brings on a Record-Shattering Number of Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation in the U.S.

By: Isidora Roskic, RightsViews staff writer. At the start of May, Montana broke the United States’ record for enacting the highest number of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in a given calendar year. On May 7th, Governor Greg Gianforte signed a new athletic bill that barred transgender athletes from participating in school and university sports teams that don’t correspond with their sex assigned at birth. Supporters of the ban believed it would ensure transgender women did not have an unfair advantage over cisgender women in sports competitions. Despite the lack of research supporting such claims, similar bills have been passed in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia.  Much to the dismay of the LGBTQ+ community, Montana’s latest attack on queer youth is not surprising, 2021 quickly became one of the worst years in the country for sexual and gender minorities. Alphonso David, President of Human Rights Campaign, warned that the wave of discriminatory legislation is the result of national anti-LGBTQ+ groups coordinating with anti-equality...
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What the Storming of the U.S. Capitol tells us about Contemporary Human Rights

What the Storming of the U.S. Capitol tells us about Contemporary Human Rights

By: Noah Smith, RightsViews Staff Writer January 6, 2021, will live in infamy as the day American citizens defiled the United States Capitol. A day in which violent insurrectionists brandished the Confederate flag in the Capitol’s hallowed halls, sacked the empty Senate chamber, attacked and killed Capitol Police officers, and called for former Vice President Mike Pence’s execution. All in a miscarried attempt to forcibly overturn the results of the 2020 United States presidential election. Five people died and more than 140 were injured. The atrocities of January 6, 2021, will leave an indelible scar on the conscience of our nation, reminding us all that democracy is fragile and human rights even more so. In the aftermath of the Capitol attack, prominent conservative voices largely downplayed its severity. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) expressed his anger at the perpetrators just hours after the attack, stating “some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters and...
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SCOTUS Set to Abort Roe v. Wade?

SCOTUS Set to Abort Roe v. Wade?

By guest contributor Apurva Ambasth, an undergraduate student of B.A.LL.B.(Hons.) at NUSRL, Ranchi, India. The announcement of the Supreme Court on May 17, 2021 to take up the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization caused quite a stir. The case deals with the constitutionality of the Gestational Age Act, the 2018 Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Court has stated that it would be dealing with the issue “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional?” The hearing of the case would commence in October and the Court is likely to deliver a judgment by spring 2022. This move is a direct, lethal threat to the landmark judgment of Roe v. Wade which guarantees the constitutional right to abortion throughout the United States.  The District Court of Mississippi and the Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit both being bound by the precedent held that states cannot ban abortions before the fetus becomes viable,...
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UK’s Overseas Operations Bill: A Pretext for Abuse or a Protection for War Veterans?

UK’s Overseas Operations Bill: A Pretext for Abuse or a Protection for War Veterans?

By guest contributor, Indrasish Majumder* In 2019, the British government attempted to pass a bill that would prevent British soldiers from being prosecuted for crimes committed while serving abroad. The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill (“Operations Bill”) was introduced in light of some UK operations in Iraq and Afghanistan which prompted an unprecedented number of criminal cases against British soldiers years after these operations. The UK government argued that the allegations raised were baseless and that it had proposed the Bill to shield its troops from false accusations. The Operations Bill seeks to safeguard British personnel by establishing a five-year statute of limitations on prosecution of suspected crimes committed by British troops while stationed outside British territory. It also sets time restrictions for such cases as well as claims brought under the Human Rights Act of 1998. The Operations Bill has been criticised for being unconstitutional and misleading, and it has been claimed that it breaches obligations of the UK government under international human rights,...
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The Vital Role of Women in Peacebuilding

The Vital Role of Women in Peacebuilding

By Susy Prochazka, RightsViews staff writer and graduate student in the human rights MA program. In modern conflicts, women make up the majority of those displaced from their homes and communities, endure more property and economic damages, and suffer extreme physical harm and sexual violence at the hands of militia groups, but peace negotiations fail to incorporate their voices. Despite being those most harmed by conflict and regardless of evidence that their meaningful participation is vital in implementing a lasting peace, women are consistently and conspicuously absent from the peacebuilding process.  Last year marked the 20-year anniversary of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1325, which recognized, for the first time, the unique impact conflict has on women and the critical role women play in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Resolution 1325 emphatically stressed the importance of women’s leadership and meaningful participation in conflict resolution and repeatedly reaffirmed the necessity of women’s “full, equal and meaningful participation” in peace processes. Even with the adoption...
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The Plight Of The Rohingyas: The Indian Supreme Court’s Abdication in Upholding India’s International Obligations

The Plight Of The Rohingyas: The Indian Supreme Court’s Abdication in Upholding India’s International Obligations

By guest contributor Reigha Yangzom, an incoming LL.M. candidate at School of Oriental and African Studies, London.  Background The United Nations has described the Rohingyas as the most persecuted minority in the world. The gross human rights violations and persecution faced by the Rohingyas have led to thousands of Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar to escape alleged genocide and crimes against humanity. The Rohingya population that remains in the Rakhine state of Myanmar are denied citizenship, disenfranchised, subjected to widespread atrocities such as torture, enforced disappearances, rape and mass killings. They are denied access to adequate food, healthcare, education, employment, land ownership, religious freedom and freedom of movement. The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar established by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations have provided detailed reports on the threats of genocide and other serious crimes against the Rohingyas.  On 23 January 2020, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in the case of The Gambia v. Myanmar took cognizance of the imminent danger faced by...
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The Future of Human Rights: Interview with ISHR alum, Bárbara Matias

The Future of Human Rights: Interview with ISHR alum, Bárbara Matias

By Anna Miller, RightsViews co-editor and graduate student in the human rights M.A. program. This spring, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights had the opportunity to connect with a graduate of the program who has endeavored on a remarkable career. Read on to learn more about international professional Bárbara Matias, and her career that spans across countries, cultures, and job sectors.  Please introduce yourself, your relation to Columbia University, and ISHR.  My name is Bárbara Matias, I am a professional in the field of international affairs who identifies as both a citizen of Portugal and of the European Union on top of a global human rights advocate, and I am a proud Columbia University alum. I moved to New York in 2016 to undertake a graduate degree in Human Rights Studies at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR), as a Fulbright Scholar. Throughout my Master’s degree I was a Teaching Assistant for the undergraduate Introduction to Human Rights...
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COVID-19 in India: Violation of the Right to Health and the Collapse of Healthcare Infrastructure

COVID-19 in India: Violation of the Right to Health and the Collapse of Healthcare Infrastructure

By guest contributor, Ayush Kumar is a law student at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, India.   On the 13th of March, as a gesture of accountability, Jordan’s health minister resigned after six Covid-19 patients died due to lack of oxygen at a hospital ward. Accountability is the linchpin of a functional democracy as it compels a State to explain what it is doing and how it is moving forward in times of crisis. In the past few weeks, India has faced a massive oxygen shortage as the healthcare infrastructure collapsed like a house of cards due to exponentially rising cases of  Covid-19. Alone in the capital city, twenty-five patients died due to the shortage of oxygen on 24th April. The government’s inadequacy in providing healthcare facilities to its people is a serious violation of their human right to health. Patna High Court’s division bench expressed strong displeasure over the deaths due to oxygen shortage and further stated that lack of adequate...
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Macron, Laïcité, and a Fight for the Rights of French Muslims

Macron, Laïcité, and a Fight for the Rights of French Muslims

By Lindsey Alpaugh, staff writer, RightsViews, Human Rights MA student.   French Muslims and French Electoral Politics France is stomping on the freedom of religious expression of its Muslim population. This spring and winter have seen a slew of anti-Muslim legislation in France, with some political commentators believing these measures come in advance of a right-wing-oriented election in 2022.  On December 2nd, 2020 the Council of Ministers announced that it was dissolving the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF). The CCIF was founded in 2003 to fight discrimination against Muslims in France, and to provide legal aid to those fighting discrimination cases. Criticizing this decision, Human Rights Watch stated that “under international and European human rights law, states can only restrict the rights to freedom of association, freedom of religion and belief, and freedom of expression in a way that is lawful, necessary, and proportionate. Dissolving associations under international human rights law should be a measure of last resort taken because an association advocates...
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Rerouted, Rerooted: Oral Histories of Syrian-Armenian Refugees

Rerouted, Rerooted: Oral Histories of Syrian-Armenian Refugees

By Larissa Peltola, Editor, RightsViews.   The Armenian Genocide, which took place 106 years ago, today, claimed the lives of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians. While people around the world are now more aware of what occurred in 1915, following a global push for recognition of the genocide, few are aware of the lasting implications of the genocide which have carried on to this day. HRSMA alumna Anoush Baghdassarian (‘19) and Pomona College graduate Ani Schug (‘17) have undertaken the important and necessary work of collecting the oral histories of Syrian-Armenian refugees - the descendants of genocide survivors - to keep the memories of those who have perished alive. What was the Armenian Genocide?  Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish lawyer who coined the term genocide, was moved to do so after hearing about the systematic annihilation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Before WWI, Armenians - in what is now Turkey - totaled over two million. But by 1922, there were fewer than...
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