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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The Will To Work: Women’s Labor Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The Will To Work: Women’s Labor Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

By Kelly Dudine, a staff writer at RightsViews and a graduate student in the Human Rights MA Program   Globally, girls and women are simultaneously among the most overworked and most impoverished populations. Entire economies thrive due to the unrecognized and undervalued labor of women, including household work, care work, and informal and low-wage labor.  During the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, girls and women stand to lose even more. Women in varying levels of employment are now struggling to maintain dignified work, and many fear the loss of income more than the pandemic itself. “During the first lockdown, all the artisans were tense about not having enough orders to work and feared not getting paid,” said Rosna Kafle, Chair of the Kopila Valley Women’s Cooperative in Surkhet, Nepal.  The Cooperative employs some of the most vulnerable women in the community with work as tailors and weavers. Before the Cooperative, many of the artisans were unemployed, or performed hazardous work, like breaking stones or...
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National Security Versus the Rights of Conscientious Objectors

National Security Versus the Rights of Conscientious Objectors

By Donggeun Lee, RightsViews Staff Writer and a junior majoring in Human Rights. When one serves their nation against their will, who would be responsible for the trauma that they might receive? Some might join the military to avoid social pressure or jail, believing that military service will not be too bad. The problem is that it could be. Surely, hazing in the military is one source of trauma, but there are more. The trauma that roots in the memory of those serving the nation. Throughout history, the military forces, at times, were used in crimes, such as genocide. Not only the Nazi-led holocaust, but also the Armenian Genocide, Irish Genocide, and even the Turkish army invading the Kurdish region in 2019 were all done by use of military forces. Those who serve the nation believing that they were protecting national security may later find out that they were actually involved in mass-killing with no moral reasons. They could have tremendous...
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NeuroRights: The Need for Human Rights Guidelines for Neurotechnology & AI

NeuroRights: The Need for Human Rights Guidelines for Neurotechnology & AI

By Noah Smith, RightsViews staff writer and a graduate student in the human rights MA program.   On January 29, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights hosted Rafael Yuste, Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, to discuss the proposal from the Morningside group led by Yuste (Yuste et al., Nature 2017) to add new human rights articles to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to protect mental privacy, personal identity, personal agency, equal access to cognitive augmentation, and protection from algorithmic biases. The event commenced with moderator Lara J. Nettelfield, Senior Lecturer, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, introducing Rafael Yuste who began his presentation by discussing the fundamental biology of the brain as well as why we must study neuroscience in relation to human rights. The brain, which is composed of roughly 100 billion neurons, is what generates all of our cognitive and mental abilities. If we understood how this organ worked, we would recognize the mind...
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Sexual Terrorism and the Quest for Justice for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: The Digital Dialogue Series 

Sexual Terrorism and the Quest for Justice for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: The Digital Dialogue Series 

By Larissa Peltola, a Staff Writer at RightsViews and a graduate student in the Human Rights MA program. Sexual terrorism committed by militant groups like ISIS/ISIL, Boko Haram, and Al Shabaab has gone largely unacknowledged in domestic and international courts, despite its rampant use. Sexual violence is a widespread, endemic issue in all conflicts around the world, affecting individuals, communities, and societies as a whole.  The United Nations has identified that the extensive use of sexual violence perpetrated by terrorist groups globally has been used as an incentive for recruitment, a tool for financing, destroying, subjugating and controlling communities and societies, extracting information from detainees, forcing displacement, and as a means of controlling or suppressing women’s reproductive abilities. While the high numbers of sexual abuse have led to international calls to action by civil society, activists, the United Nations Security Council, and state governments, these crimes have still not been prosecuted before any national or international court.    What Can (and Should) Justice Look...
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