It’s High Time to Upgrade Consumer Rights to Human Rights

It’s High Time to Upgrade Consumer Rights to Human Rights

By guest contributor Swetha Somu* The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked a series of misleading advertisements claiming to cure and protect us from the deadly virus. As a result, the consumer protection regulatory authorities across the world have sprung into action by identifying and taking down false and inaccurate advertisements. Consumer rights in the pandemic era "A consumer is a shopper who is sore about something."  - Harold Coffin Coffin is no entrepreneur but a humor columnist and yet his famous quote aptly portrays why a consumer is a consumer. He asserts that a consumer is someone who has a problem or is made to think that he has one and that it can be resolved only if he buys a particular product. The need for an international instrument addressing consumer rights was strongly advocated for back in 1985 which subsequently led to the adaptation of the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP). It was later revised in 1999, however, only recently in 2015, UNGA’s resolution...
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Qatar 2022 : A World Cup Built on Blood

Qatar 2022 : A World Cup Built on Blood

By guest contributors Abhishek Ranjan* and Shruti Yadav*   This year in March, Germany lined up in Duisburg for their first Group J qualifying match against Iceland, donning jerseys with letters spelling 'HUMAN RIGHTS' embossed on each jersey. Norway's players organized a protest of the same kind in the same week before their match against Gibraltar, wearing T-shirts with the message "Human rights, on and off the pitch." During the national anthem, the Norwegian players also raised five fingers in reference to Article 5 of the Human Rights Act, which stipulates that "everyone has the right to liberty and security of person." The 22nd FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Qatar in 2022, has been the subject of intense scrutiny and controversy since Qatar was given the right to host the quadrennial football tournament in 2010. The hosting rights acquired by this Gulf nation have often instigated disputes ranging from accusations of misconduct in tenders and acquisition of rights to allegations of mass...
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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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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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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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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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