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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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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Rerouted, Rerooted: Oral Histories of Syrian-Armenian Refugees

Rerouted, Rerooted: Oral Histories of Syrian-Armenian Refugees

By Larissa Peltola, Editor, RightsViews.   The Armenian Genocide, which took place 106 years ago, today, claimed the lives of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians. While people around the world are now more aware of what occurred in 1915, following a global push for recognition of the genocide, few are aware of the lasting implications of the genocide which have carried on to this day. HRSMA alumna Anoush Baghdassarian (‘19) and Pomona College graduate Ani Schug (‘17) have undertaken the important and necessary work of collecting the oral histories of Syrian-Armenian refugees - the descendants of genocide survivors - to keep the memories of those who have perished alive. What was the Armenian Genocide?  Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish lawyer who coined the term genocide, was moved to do so after hearing about the systematic annihilation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Before WWI, Armenians - in what is now Turkey - totaled over two million. But by 1922, there were fewer than...
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A Year After Jamal Khashoggi’s Assassination, The War On Truth Continues

A Year After Jamal Khashoggi’s Assassination, The War On Truth Continues

By: Kyoko Thompson, staff writer at RightsViews “A commission is coming from Saudi Arabia tomorrow; they have something to do in the Consulate. They will have something to do on my floor in the office.” - October 1 2018, 21:48 At 1:15 PM on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, Washington Post contributor and longtime journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, and was never seen again. His death was not the first of its kind. According to the United Nations, more than one thousand journalists have been murdered since 2006. Yet it drew international attention from governments and individuals alike, many of whom demanded justice. The events that followed challenged the limits of international law and U.S. foreign policy. One year later, an investigation yields more questions than answers, such as: What does justice for Khashoggi look like? Is his death a manifestation of a deeper, more insidious trend? And: What is the future of free speech in an era...
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Gaza On Screen: An Interview with Film Festival Curator, Nadia Yaqub

Gaza On Screen: An Interview with Film Festival Curator, Nadia Yaqub

By: Laura Charney, RightsViews Staff Writer This April, the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University hosted the “Gaza on Screen” film festival highlighting films made by Gazans and about Gaza. Curated by Dr. Nadia Yaqub, “Gaza on Screen” offered an invitation to not only bear witness to the lived struggles and resilience of Gazans, but also the opportunity to engage the ways that Gazans articulate and envision their own experiences. For over twenty years, Palestinian film festivals across North America and Europe have brought Palestinian stories to international audiences. However, Palestinians in Gaza face particularly prohibitive measures that inhibit the communication of their stories. Since 2007, Israel has maintained a blockade on Gaza, controlling its airspace, coastline, and borders, and restricting the movement of goods and humans entering or leaving the territory. It was not until this past April at Columbia University that a film festival focusing exclusively on Gazan stories came to life. In an attempt to shine light on the...
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Technology and Privacy in Refugee Aid

Technology and Privacy in Refugee Aid

By: Parima Kadikar, guest contributor. Parima is a rising senior at Columbia College studying Middle Eastern Studies and Human Rights. In an exceedingly digital world, humanitarian aid for refugees is being revolutionized by technological innovation. International non-profit organizations and UN agencies have begun to employ strategies like biometric scanning and blockchain technology to streamline aid delivery and prevent identity fraud. While these strides are noteworthy examples of progress, it is also important to address the potential privacy concerns that could result. In the context of conversations sparked by the Patriot Act-- Congress’s response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks which expanded federal jurisdiction over private data and communications for the purpose of intelligence gathering-- and, more recently, by the Cambridge Analytica data-mining campaign which harvested the data of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge or consent for conservative political campaigning, many Americans are protective of both their physical and digital privacy. The evidence of this can be seen from taped webcams...
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Manufacturing Citizenship : The Ongoing Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill in Northeast India

Manufacturing Citizenship : The Ongoing Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill in Northeast India

The following is an opinion piece authored by ISHR visiting scholar and activist, Binalakshmi Nepram. "When you single out any particular group of people for secondary citizenship status, that's a violation of basic human rights" ~ Jimmy Carter, Former US President & Nobel Peace Laureate History show us that in the 1500s, an estimated 10 million plus Indigenous people lived on land now known as the United States of America (US). In 1830, the US passed the Federal Indian Removal Act, which forced thousands of Indigenous people out of their homelands. For hundreds of years, conflicts with colonizers, introduction of diseases, atrocities and discriminatory policies devastated the Indigenous People of North America. It is estimated that over 9 million Indigenous People died during this time. In the present day, many Indigenous Peoples in the US now live in areas designated as “Reservations.” The story of what happened to Indigenous People in the US is the story which many Indigenous People living in...
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Israel’s Two Minutes Hate: Netanyahu Reneges on Refugee Deal

Israel’s Two Minutes Hate: Netanyahu Reneges on Refugee Deal

by Ido Dembin, a blog writer for RightsViews and a M.A. student in Human Rights Studies at Columbia University During the climax of 1984’s “Two Minutes Hate,” the image of the despised enemy of the state, the cowardly traitor (and probably the entirely made-up) Emmanuel Goldstein, is replaced with that of the supreme leader— the beloved, worshipped, unparalleled Big Brother. This infamous scene from George Orwell’s dystopian society is grotesque, violent and extremely emotionally charged. Yet it is this same scene currently flashing across the Israeli social network in reality. The role of Goldstein is being played by an NGO called the "New Israel Fund" (NIF), and the part of Big Brother is, appropriately, occupied by another "BB"— Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister. The book 1984 has experienced quite a rejuvenation of late. Perhaps it is in preparation for the 70th anniversary of its publication, or maybe it is the never-ending war, the terribly partisan political sphere or just a few certain...
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Does the Israeli High Court Uphold Palestinian Rights?

Does the Israeli High Court Uphold Palestinian Rights?

By Olivia Heffernan, a blog writer for RightsViews and a M.P.A. candidate at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs  Michael Sfard, an Israeli lawyer representing Palestinian victims of civil rights violations, has encountered numerous ethical dilemmas in his work. In his newly published book, "The Wall and the Gate: Israel Palestine and the Legal Battle for Human Rights," Sfard offers "a radically new perspective on a much-covered conflict and a subtle, painful reckoning with the moral ambiguities inherent in the pursuit of justice." Speaking at Columbia Law School in February, Sfard opened his lecture by posing to the audience the ethical dilemma that was the impetus for his book: “By working in the Israeli courts, am I a naïve and involuntary collaborator to the scam that Palestinians have recourse to justice?” In Israel, Palestinians seeking redress for abuse are often reliant on the Israeli High Court of Justice— which, according to Sfard, is adjudicated by judges often unsympathetic toward the plight...
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Out of Sight, Out of Mind: War, Gender, and the Silent Victims of the Syrian Conflict

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: War, Gender, and the Silent Victims of the Syrian Conflict

By Philip Belau, guest blogger from Connecteer Over the last few years, the topic of sexual violence in armed conflict has received an unprecedented level of attention from the media. It seems that not a single day passes without horrific reports about the crimes committed by the so-called Islamic State. In a veritable ‘war of images’, the media coverage of relief organisations, press agencies, and social media activists alike depict a world in which women are illustrated as defenceless, suffering from sexual harassment and exploitation. However, while it is true that women are disproportionately affected, they are not the only victims of sexual violence and rape within the Syrian conflict. It seems that our belief in a rigid gender binary has biased perceptions, prohibiting us from developing a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of the conflict. In other words: “Patriarchy has been stealing the feminists’ clothes”. In the environment of war, gender binaries appear reified, and while it would of course be exaggerating...
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