How Should We Look at War?

How Should We Look at War?

By guest contributor Julie Uszpolewicz* There is nothing as powerful in making the viewer realise the atrocity and the suffering of war, as an image. Statistics are too dehumanising, words leave too much to the imagination, but photography has the rare power of being apparently objective. However, looking at documented conflicts has been criticised by several post-modernist thinkers (such as Jean Baudillard) as being passive. In the contemporary world of social media, we are faced with images of horror more than we have ever been before, therefore, perhaps the question of the role of photography requires revisiting. Is there a right way to look at the war in the reality that is saturated with photographs of distant conflicts and human rights abuses? Perhaps this article will raise more doubts than give answers, but it seems worthwhile to stop for a second and ask what kind of pictures we are bombarded within the news. The question of ethics in political photography is nothing...
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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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Anti-Media Law in Belarus: A Dreadful Attack on Press Freedom

Anti-Media Law in Belarus: A Dreadful Attack on Press Freedom

By guest contributor Astha Bhattacharya* INTRODUCTION Belarus ratified its new anti-media law in May 2021, primarily aimed at limiting journalists' freedom of expression and quelling protests against the Belarusian government. The new law makes it illegal for the media to report on any unauthorised public gatherings or to publish opinion polls unless the results have been approved by the government. This law also grants the government the authority to shut down media companies without judicial orders, which were previously necessary. Human rights organisations have slammed this law and the subsequent shutdowns of independent media outlets, claiming that the bill is intended to silence the growing criticism against the Belarusian government. The new law was introduced in the aftermath of the 2020 uprisings against President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power since Belarus broke away from the Soviet Union in 1994. There has not been a single free and fair election in Belarus since 1995, according to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Additionally, Lukashenko...
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The Fate of Afghan Women after the US Withdrawal: A Legal Analysis

The Fate of Afghan Women after the US Withdrawal: A Legal Analysis

By guest contributors Ashutosh Anand* and Kaustubh Kumar**   INTRODUCTION The deal between the US and the Taliban signed in February 2020 stated that the US and its allies would withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan within 14 months. On August 31, 2021, all American forces have already withdrawn from Afghanistan, which has consequently unleashed havoc on the rights of Afghani women. When the US and its allies waged war on Afghanistan, the defense of women’s rights was one of their prime reasons to justify their invasion and subsequent occupation. The post-Taliban constitution, enacted in 2004, provided women with most of the basic human and civil rights. Moreover, under American troops’ presence, the post-Taliban regime followed a liberal policy towards women by providing access to healthcare, education, and work. For women’s empowerment in politics, the government also offered a 27 percent reservation of seats for women in Wolesi Jirga (House of People) of Afghanistan, which helped uproot the conservative mindset for women in Afghan...
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Finding Refuge: An NGOs Mission to End the Homelessness of Migrants, Refugees, & Asylum Seekers in Athens, Greece

Finding Refuge: An NGOs Mission to End the Homelessness of Migrants, Refugees, & Asylum Seekers in Athens, Greece

By: Noah Smith, staff writer.   In July 2020, there was a surge in homelessness for refugees and asylum seekers in Athens, Greece due to evictions by the Greek government. “Forcing people to leave their accommodation without a safety net and measures to ensure their self-reliance may push many into poverty and homelessness,” warned UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic. “Recognized refugees have to vacate much-needed accommodation for asylum seekers waiting in crowded reception facilities on the Greek Aegean islands. Over 31,000 women, men, and children live in five island reception centers with capacity for fewer than 6,000,” said Mahecic. However, the UNHCR has expressed their concerns that government aid for many recognized refugees is ending far too soon and before they have access to employment and social welfare programs. In total, the government of Greece has evicted 8,000 recognized refugees from camps and accommodations across the country. The first phase of evictions led to nearly 200 people sleeping in Victoria Square in Athens, where...
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The Ongoing Battle of the Queer Community Against LGBTQ-Free Zones in Poland

The Ongoing Battle of the Queer Community Against LGBTQ-Free Zones in Poland

By guest contributor: Apurva Ambasth*   Discrimination and vilification of members of the LGBTQ+ community are not untoward or unheard of, rather it is, in fact, one of the most commonplace occurrences around the globe. The rights of the LGTBQ+ Community are in danger due to increasingly violent rhetoric in Poland. One-third of the country, around 100 municipalities have declared themselves “LGBTQ+ free zones.” This article discusses the situation of the LGBTQ+ community in Poland and provides an insight into the deteriorating relationship between Poland and the European Union due to its discriminatory policies. Political Homophobia in Poland The right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS), won the parliamentary election in October 2019 for a second term. One of the major themes of the election campaign of the party revolved around the opposition of civil partnerships, same-sex marriage, and adoption rights for same-sex couples. The party finds its ally in the Roman Catholic Church for promoting “traditional family values” and establishing Polish national values. A poignant...
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Pegasus: A Clampdown on Global Democracy and Human Rights?

Pegasus: A Clampdown on Global Democracy and Human Rights?

By guest contributors: Shubhangi Verma* and Anushka Verma**   With new advancements in technology, we are on the cusp of a new age of revolution. New innovations keep on arriving in leaps and bounds, but these advancements carry with them some callous and fiendish predicaments. BACKGROUND In Greek mythology Pegasus refers to a white horse with wings, coming from heaven, which symbolizes peace and stability in life. In contrast to the real meaning enshrined in Greek mythology, Pegasus spyware, developed by Israeli cyber giant NSO Group Technologies is wreaking havoc internationally. Its most distressing role includes tracking human rights defenders, journalists, and government officials. Pegasus spyware has the ability to take full control of individuals’ mobile phones including accessing messages, phone numbers, videos, and locations. It even allows hackers to read encrypted messages. Pegasus developed zero-click installations in which attackers could enable the spyware in a mobile phone without any interaction by the phone’s owner. NSO earlier claimed that Pegasus is exclusively used by Government intelligence...
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Hungarian Curtailment of LGBTQ Rights: A Critical Analysis

Hungarian Curtailment of LGBTQ Rights: A Critical Analysis

By guest contributor, Akshita Tiwary* Recently, Hungary has been in the news for adopting a slew of legislation in the past year that severely curbs the rights of the LGBTQ community. The Prime Minister of the country, Mr. Viktor Orban, and his right-wing political party ‘Fidesz’ have been accused of eroding democracy on several fronts, including attacking LGBTQ rights. This article aims to discuss three of these legislations and highlight how these laws contradict Hungary’s own Constitution and violate international human rights legal standards. Further, it also sheds light on certain legal precedents and measures that can be helpful in tackling this issue. THE CONTROVERSIAL LAWS On June 15, 2021, the National Assembly of Hungary passed Bill Number T/16365. This law prohibits children under 18 years of age from being exposed to any content (educational or otherwise) that promotes an understanding of sexual and gender diversity. This bill forms part of a broader law that seeks to restrict pedophilia and sexual crimes against...
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