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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A Glance at the Life of Sex Workers in India

A Glance at the Life of Sex Workers in India

By guest contributors Kanika Chugh* and Srishti Ray*   With the advent of COVID-19 we all turned to the safety of our homes and accepted the culture of work from home, but the daily wagers of the informal sector didn’t have that choice and were the worst hit. While the work for most of them resumed with several precautions once the lockdown ended, sex workers in Red Light Areas are still struggling to get their lives back on track. On March 26, 2020 government of India announced Rs.1.7 lakh crore as a relief fund for migrant workers, rural and urban poor, and frontline health workers. There are over 800,000 sex workers in India who could not avail that benefit because sex work is not recognised as legitimate work in India. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on October 7, 2020, issued an advisory requesting that states recognise sex workers as informal workers for protection of their rights in the wake of COVID-19, but it...
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The Fukushima Disaster and Indigenous Rights in Japan

The Fukushima Disaster and Indigenous Rights in Japan

By Philip Alexander, a law student at at the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata.  Introduction In 2011, the Tohuku earthquake and tsunami destroyed three of the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) six nuclear power plants located in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan, resulting in the emission of several volatile radionuclides into the air and water. Recently, TEPCO announced the Japanese Government’s approval to dispose of 1.25 million tonnes of decontaminated radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean over the next two years. Presently, the wastewater is treated by the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) operated by Toshiba and Hitachi General Nuclear Electric before disposal. The ALPS has been qualified as an inefficient method in treating radioactive waste as 72% of the water in storage tanks were required to be processed a second time. Additionally, researchers at the University of Nagoya found the presence of high quantities of Cesium-137 and Carbon-14 in the accumulated groundwater. The ALPS cannot filter Carbon-14, implying that the...
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The Point of No Return: Climate Apocalypse, Human Rights: Code Red

The Point of No Return: Climate Apocalypse, Human Rights: Code Red

By guest contributor Shelal Lodhi Rajput* Human Rights Code Red While the world is dealing with the adverse effects of its own actions,  the UN’s climate change panel dropped a bombshell in its latest report. Antonio Guterres termed our climate crisis as a “Code Red for Humanity”. We are on the brink of an impending apocalypse as we have failed time and again, gentle reminders, half-hearted summits, and conferences have not worked. Maybe the severe warning in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) report will inspire the international community to save what we can. Our seas are rising, forests burning, our islands are sinking and countries are at risk of catastrophic collapse. The effects of what many experts are calling “climate chaos” are ubiquitous and cannot be overlooked. The 42-page Climate Change 2021 report was authored by 200+ people, referenced over 14,000 climate studies, and was published with support from 195 countries. The climate emergency is a reality facing current and future...
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Recognition of “Marital Rape” As a Valid Ground for Divorce – An Affirmative Step towards Marital Equality and Women’s Rights in India

Recognition of “Marital Rape” As a Valid Ground for Divorce – An Affirmative Step towards Marital Equality and Women’s Rights in India

By guest contributor Yamika Khanna* The Madras High Court in a remarkable judgment (case name was redacted due to the sensitive nature) upheld that marital rape, although not penalized under the Indian Penal Code, is a valid ground to claim divorce. The judgment is a light at the end of a very dark tunnel in recognizing the heinous nature of marital rape as a gross violation of bodily autonomy, privacy, and dignity of a married woman, especially under a legal regime that considers non-consensual sexual intercourse with the “wife” by the “husband” as an exception to the crime of rape. An appeal was filed before the Hon'ble Court against the judgment of the Family Court. The Family Court vide its judgment allowed the petition for divorce sought by the wife on the ground of cruelty. The gravest contention of the wife with reference to cruelty against her pertained to the worst forms of sexual perversion including unnatural intercourse against the wife’s will. In...
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An Alternative Path Forward: Pivoting LGBTI Rights to Corporate Korea

An Alternative Path Forward: Pivoting LGBTI Rights to Corporate Korea

By guest contributor Haley Son*   On 14 June 2021, for the first time in over a decade, South Korea’s lawmakers agreed to hear proposed national laws geared toward protecting the fundamental human rights of LGBTI people. While these bills have garnered international support, prospects for passage of an anti-discrimination bill are dim due to intense lobbying by conservative factions and faith groups. Given the challenges of LGBTI equality under South Korea’s legal framework, an alternative avenue would be for corporate Korea to implement LGBTI rights based on global standards in the meantime.  South Korea, the world’s 10th largest economy, still has no laws preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, making it a rarity among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in that regard. The South Korean Constitution, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the “UDHR”), sets forth global human rights standards, such as establishing legal equality between the sexes, and prohibiting political, economic, and social discrimination on...
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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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Inadequacy of Laws Against Cross-Border Sex Trafficking Between Nepal and India

Inadequacy of Laws Against Cross-Border Sex Trafficking Between Nepal and India

By guest contributor Ayush Kumar* Globalisation has caused the emergence of new technologies that facilitate trade and transport, making business more rewarding. A negative ramification of this change is the proliferation of cross-border human trafficking. The UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) defines Human Trafficking as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of people through force, fraud, or deception, intending to exploit them for profit.” Men, women, and children of all ages and from all backgrounds can become victims of this crime, which occurs in every region of the world. There are nearly 36 million victims of human trafficking in the world, out of which two-thirds are from Asia, making it the third-largest crime in magnitude and profit after arms and drug trafficking. With Covid-19, the situation is anticipated to turn grimmer. Open Borders: A Facilitating Factor Nepal is an indispensable neighbour of India because of its cultural, historical, and economic connections. It also holds a vital place in India’s foreign policy...
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