Violation of International Laws and Women’s Rights: Afghanistan, the Taliban, and the Price of Peace

Violation of International Laws and Women’s Rights: Afghanistan, the Taliban, and the Price of Peace

By guest contributor Shelal Lodhi Rajput, a student at Symbiosis Law School.  Uncertain certainties: An eclipse on human rights A country torn apart by war, a country that has seen 40 years of war, a country often referred to as ‘graveyard of empires,’ a country with the shattered dream of peace and a country with a million dollar question i.e., ‘Will the war ever end’? The country is Afghanistan, where things are going from bad to worse with the withdrawal of United States Combat troops. Once again history is repeating itself as the return of the Taliban spell suggests an end to civil liberty, basic human rights, prominently rights of women, and once again the regime of Talibanned as it existed in Afghanistan from 1996-2001. Previously, the Taliban regime banned several innocuous activities including kite flying, makeup artists and musicians. The Taliban’s return to power is evident with every passing day, their insurgencies are increasing day by day and with the alarming rate...
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Milieudefensie v. Shell: Anchoring Corporate Human Rights Obligation in Indian Jurisprudence

Milieudefensie v. Shell: Anchoring Corporate Human Rights Obligation in Indian Jurisprudence

By guest contributors Swetha Somu and Sanigdh Budhia, students at Gujarat National Law University.  INTRODUCTION The recent case of Milieudefensie et al. v Royal Dutch Shell has shifted the focus back to the dilemma of whether private corporations are outrightly liable for infringing human rights, as defined under the international laws and treaties, or whether only the state is liable for the actions of private corporations under its jurisdiction. The Hague District Court, in this case, ordered a private company, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS), to decrease its net emissions by 45%, in relation to the 2019 levels, by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement.  Generally, states are held accountable for any violation of private corporations as corporations  aren’t recognized as legal subjects. However, there’s a recent shift in the view that corporations are also subjects of international law since they are also contributors to it, even though there is no “hard” law in the form of treaties or conventions that legally bind...
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Plight of Sex Workers During COVID-19: A South Asian Perspective

Plight of Sex Workers During COVID-19: A South Asian Perspective

By Atika Chaturvedi, a third year law student at National University of Study and Research in Law at Ranchi, India.  As the world came to a standstill, the shock of the lockdown rippled through the various strata of society. The proliferation of COVID-19 in 2020 left the daily wage earners around the world scraping for money and struggling for survival. One such group was sex workers. Albeit, various South Asian governments formulated covid-relief packages, most of them left out sex workers out of the ambit of such packages. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and Article 3, that guarantees everyone the right to life, liberty and security of person, were denied to the sex workers as they were not only curtailed from earning their livelihood, but were also rendered ineligible for the relief packages. They were stripped off of the chance of continuing...
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Amnesty Philippines: Promoting Corporate Accountability and Indigenous Women’s Rights through Human Rights Education

Amnesty Philippines: Promoting Corporate Accountability and Indigenous Women’s Rights through Human Rights Education

By Noah Smith, RightsViews staff writer. Promoting Corporate Accountability and Indigenous Women’s Rights was a five-year project implemented by Amnesty International (Amnesty) Philippines under the larger global Education, Empowerment, Justice (EEJ) Program, which ran from 2013 to December 2017. The EEJ program was coordinated by Amnesty Norway with the goal of reinforcing basic human rights of people across the world and contributing to greater justice for thousands of human beings through human rights education and empowerment initiatives. Since its inception in 2013, the project distinguished itself in such a way by coalescing women’s empowerment within a framework of corporate accountability; courageous in its attempts to change the balance of power in three exceedingly patriarchal indigenous communities; and undaunted in targeting governance structures to perform their state obligations to protect, respect, and fulfill indigenous communities’ rights.  The project was implemented in the Caraga Region which is an administrative region in the Philippines occupying the northeastern section of the island of Mindanao. It is...
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The U.S.-EU Summit: Next Steps for Human Rights

The U.S.-EU Summit: Next Steps for Human Rights

By Ali Cain, RightsViews staff writer. President Biden’s summit with European leaders on June 15, 2021, was an important step in rebuilding the United States-European alliance. Contrary to former President Trump’s belief that the European Union (EU) is a ‘foe,’ Europe remains one of the United States most important allies, especially in promoting human rights and democratization. Biden’s statement that “Europe is our natural partner…we are committed to the same democratic norms and institutions, and they are increasingly under attack” summarizes why the U.S. and Europe must persist in using their shared values as a platform for cooperation. Despite the summit’s optimism, many challenges lie ahead in a renewed transatlantic relationship, especially in promoting human rights.  The COVID-19 pandemic remains the most pressing issue for all countries. However, geopolitical concerns present the largest obstacle to an effective transatlantic response to human rights abuses. The U.S. and EU face a combative China that utilizes investments, technology, and trade as successful foreign policy carrots...
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In a Win For Trans Rights, Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal Challenging Landmark Ruling

In a Win For Trans Rights, Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal Challenging Landmark Ruling

By Susy Prochazka, RightsViews staff writer.  On the 52nd anniversary of the start of the Stonewall uprising, advocates of LGBTQ rights scored a major victory when the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal challenging a landmark trans rights ruling. On Monday, June 28th, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal to a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that required a Virginia public high school to let a transgender student use the bathroom corresponding with his gender identity. The Supreme Court’s decision represents a major victory for trans rights advocates amidst the flurry of anti-trans policies targeting trans youth that have emerged across the U.S. this past year.  This case began in 2015 when Gavin Grimm, a then-16 year old transgender high school student, sued his public high school over a policy that prevented him from using the boys restroom. Beginning in his freshman year in high school, Grimm identified as male and started taking hormones. But...
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Environmental Justice for All in Gowanus, Brooklyn

Environmental Justice for All in Gowanus, Brooklyn

By Lindsey Alpaugh, RightsViews staff writer. Gowanus became one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in New York City in the 2010s, famous for its Whole Foods, art scene, and the canal. The Gowanus canal is a historic industrial site, hosting a combination of toxic chemicals and CSOs (Combined Sewage Outflows). The chemical and industrial pollution was so bad that in 2010, the Gowanus Canal was designated as a Federal Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This designation began a $500 million clean-up effort, which involved dredging contaminated sediment from the canal.  Despite these environmental hazards, the neighborhood experienced an influx of wealthier new residents. From 2000 to 2013, the average home value in Gowanus increased 145.78%. What does environmental justice look like in a gentrifying, formerly industrial neighborhood that sits in a flood zone and is home to one of the most toxic waterways in the United States?  The Gowanus canal first became an industrial zone by the mid 19th...
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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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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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