#CUonStrike: A Discussion with the Student Workers of Columbia Bargaining Committee

#CUonStrike: A Discussion with the Student Workers of Columbia Bargaining Committee

By Noah Smith, RightsViews Co-Editor 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.       As of November 3, 2021, the Student Workers (SWC-UAW Local 2110) of Columbia University went on an indefinite strike, prolonged by the unwillingness of Columbia University’s administration to offer a fair contract to student workers. With the end of the John Deere strike earlier this week, the Columbia student workers strike is now the largest strike action in the country. The SWC-UAW Local 2110 has been legally recognized by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) since 2017, and there are over 3,000 members in the unit, making it one of the largest student worker unions in the country.  Columbia’s student workers are demanding a fair contract that includes a living wage, better healthcare, union recognition for all student workers, and protections from...
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The Direct Challenge to Roe v. Wade Coming before the Conservative Supreme Court

The Direct Challenge to Roe v. Wade Coming before the Conservative Supreme Court

By: Susanne Prochazka,  RightsViews staff writer.   While the contentious Texas 6-week abortion ban, S.B.6, has caught the national spotlight, on December 1st, 2021 the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of a pre-viability abortion prohibition for the first time since 1973’s seminal ruling in Roe v. Wade. In this case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Court will be hearing the state of Mississippi’s appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down a Mississippi law banning abortions following 15 weeks of pregnancy. Since 2010, over 300 laws limiting the right to abortion have been enacted by various state legislatures. Many of these laws remain on the books, even where legal challenges have delayed or halted implementation of the laws going into effect. Twelve states have passed restrictions regarding “admitting privileges” laws, laws that require any doctor who performs abortions to hold active admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, similar to laws overturned in Texas and Louisiana. In 2019 and...
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Ethiopia’s Year Long Tigray Conflict Advances to the Capital

Ethiopia’s Year Long Tigray Conflict Advances to the Capital

By RightsViews Staff Writer Emily Ekshian A year of conflict rages across the border in Ethiopia, constituting a genocidal war against the non-Oromo peoples of the region. The Ethiopian government launched a military offensive in the north, and is fighting opposition forces in Tigray, closing off the region. Ethiopia’s yearlong Tigray conflict threatens to tear the country apart. Tensions emerged between the Ethiopian Federal Government troops and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), where the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, executed a military offensive against the ruling faction in Tigray on November 4, 2020. Thus, in the north, Tigray rebels are fighting Ethiopian government forces and their allies. Tigray, where most of the fighting has been happening, is located in the North, where the government is called the Tigray People's Liberation Front. The government even has its own regional army - militias and special forces. The TPLF ran the country for almost 30 years, even though they made up a minority, only 6%....
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Extraterritorial Corporate Accountability for Transnational Human Rights Violations: SCOTUS Ruling in Nestle USA Inc. v. Doe et al

Extraterritorial Corporate Accountability for Transnational Human Rights Violations: SCOTUS Ruling in Nestle USA Inc. v. Doe et al

By guest contributors, Priya Garg* and Krati Gupta**   Consequent to an arduous legal battle spanning over more than fifteen years, the Supreme Court of the United States of America (“SCOTUS/Supreme Court”) on June 17, 2021, reversed the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Nestle USA Inc. v. Doe et al. (together with Cargill, Inc. v. Doe) (“Nestle”) that allowed the respondents, a group of Mali citizens to implicate U.S.-based multinational food corporations, Nestle USA and Cargill for child slavery allegations under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”).  Enacted as a part of the Judiciary Act of 1789, the ATS confers jurisdiction upon the federal courts of U.S. to hear lawsuits filed by non-U.S. citizens for tortious violations of customary international law or a treaty of the United States. The claimants in Nestle were a group of Malian citizens who brought about claims under the ATS that they were trafficked to the Ivory Coast and tortured to work as child slaves...
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How is Climate Change Affecting Southern Madagascar? The Climate Crisis and Extreme Drought

How is Climate Change Affecting Southern Madagascar? The Climate Crisis and Extreme Drought

By RightsViews Staff Writer  Emily Ekshian MADAGASCAR - Four years of prolonged drought has taken a toll on Madagascar as the country is on the brink of the world’s first climate change-induced famine. Madagascar is an island-nation off the southeastern coast of Africa. Currently, the country is suffering from a destructive drought, where more than a million people are left food insecure and 400,000 people are confronted with a famine in the south, the epicenter of the crisis.  The drought poses an imminent threat to the right to life, and opportunities for health, access to clean water, sanitation and food of people in southern Madagascar. As the crisis intensifies , people in the south have been left with no other choice than to  migrate in search of food. Tens of thousands of people were already suffering from the catastrophic levels of hunger and food insecurity after four years without rain. The drought has played a role in isolating farming communities, generating water...
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Courts and Global Norms on Freedom of Expression

Courts and Global Norms on Freedom of Expression

By RightsViews Staff Writer Carina Goebelbecker Is it fake news, fact, or some form of the truth? Freedom of expression holds space for all these possibilities. The “Courts and Global Norms on Freedom of Expression” two-part conference programmed by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression illuminated all these possibilities and their implications within a larger national and international setting. The streamed session on Thursday October 21st explored the cultural context of freedom of expression and how norms intersect with policy, practices, and beliefs. Columbia Global Freedom of Expression was founded in 2014 with the intention of connecting international professionals and activists with their communities and networks of support. The goals of the conference were for the speakers to share their experiences with courts to the public and to promote dialogue. Columbia University President and Founder of the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Lee C. Bollinger delivered the opening remarks, noting how global norms of freedom of expression have been established and continue to...
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Young Activist Spotlight: An Interview with Tabitha Boyton, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Res Publica

Young Activist Spotlight: An Interview with Tabitha Boyton, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Res Publica

By RightsViews Co-Editor Noah Smith  I recently spoke with Tabitha Boyton, founder & editor-in-chief of Res Publica, a highly commended interdisciplinary magazine of politics, law, art and culture led by student and volunteer contributors across the globe. The fundamental goal of Res Publica is to provide an engaging as well as an academically rigorous platform where ideas and concepts of interest to the public at large can be debated and explored. What is particularly unique about Res Publica is their attempt to bridge the gap between the academic and unscholarly on all things political. Helping to show how even in the age of Twitter mobs and sloganeering it is still possible to have serious thought and discussion over the things that matter. I spoke with Tabitha to query what inspired her to establish this magazine and the privileges and challenges she faces as a young activist.  Tell me a little about yourself, and what motivated you to found Res Publica? Thank you so...
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A Person-Centered and Compassionate Health Care System

A Person-Centered and Compassionate Health Care System

By: Carina Goebelbecker, staff writer. How can we put “care” back into health care? This was the central question posed by the “A Person-Centered and Compassionate Health Care System” zoom webinar on Friday, October 15th at 8:30am EST, organized by the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health as a part of their Centennial programming. Current Yusef Hamied Fellow Dr. Vikram Patel used personal experience, research on class division within the system, and medical data to highlight the ways in which India’s healthcare system is failing its people while proposing concrete solutions for a promising way forward. Dr. Patel began the lecture with a story about his mother, who experienced intense mistreatment within India’s health care system over the course of more than fifty years until her death. Patel stated that through his mother’s encounters, he never came across “a physician who actually saw [his] mother as a person,” but rather viewed her as just a diagnosis. This lack of visibility is a...
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The Question of Constitutionality, International Law and Women’s Protection after Turkey’s Withdraws from Istanbul Convention

The Question of Constitutionality, International Law and Women’s Protection after Turkey’s Withdraws from Istanbul Convention

By guest contributors Sarthak Gupta* The ‘Istanbul Convention’ officially referred to as the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence is the first legally enforceable international instrument in Europe addressingviolence against women. Turkey was the first country to sign the Convention in 2011. In 2012, on International Women Day, the Turkish Parliament overwhelmingly adopted the Convention, and the Law on the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence Against Women (Law No. 6284) was enacted to integrate the Convention into domestic legislation. In March 2021, Turkey also became the first nation to withdraw from the Convention, ironically that too on International Women’s Day, following its 10th anniversary.  This withdrawal came during the time Covid-19 pandemic when women were more vulnerable to domestic violence. Istanbul Security Directorate statistics stated that there has been a 38% increase incases of domestic violence since March 2020. As per the Turkish Federation of Women’s Association, the physical violence...
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Political Apologies Database: Discussion with the Historical Dialogues Justice & Memory Network Seminar Series

Political Apologies Database: Discussion with the Historical Dialogues Justice & Memory Network Seminar Series

By: Lindsey Alpaugh, staff writer. On Tuesday, October 12th, the Historical Dialogues, Justice, and Memory Network Seminar Series hosted a discussion via Zoom, “Trends in Political Apologies Across the World: Insights From the Political Apologies Database,” featuring Dr. Juliette Schaafsma and Ph.D. Candidate Marieke Zoodsma from Tilburg University. Dr. Schaafsma and Zoodsma spoke about the nature of political apologies, as well as their recently launched resource, the Political Apologies Database. The database is part of a larger project the scholars are conducting, funded by the European Research Center, looking into the key questions surrounding political apologies.  The researchers began their lecture by outlining the larger discussion around political apologies. As states offer, or are asked to offer, political apologies for human rights violations, they may face skepticism or criticism for their motivations. Questions of sincerity, and how this apology might relate to norms of governance emerge for both those affected by the human rights violations, as well as the public at large....
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