What the Hazaras in Afghanistan Need From All of Us

What the Hazaras in Afghanistan Need From All of Us

By Guest Contributor Farid Noori. On September 30, 2022, 18-year-old Marzia Mohammadi started somewhat of a different day. A special day, some might say. She was going to take the practice version of Afghanistan’s national university entrance exam in a country where schools are closed for girls past sixth grade. Smart, beautiful, and ambitious, Marzia kept a diary in which she wrote lofty dreams like one day meeting in Paris her favorite author, Elif Shafak, and going for a bike ride. Her entry on September 22 reads:  “When national results are out, Marzia, daughter of Bostan Ali, will score in the top 10.” Eight days later, while preparing for that same exam, instead of showing the world her talent and grit, Marzia was torn to pieces. A suicide bomber entered the classroom and detonated himself among the students killing Marzia, her cousin Hajar, and 55 other students. Besides being mostly girls, the victims shared another identity: all were Hazara, an ethnicity heir...
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Legalized Masculinity, Human Rights and Male Rape in Bangladesh

By Guest Writer Arifur Rahman* The conception that a man needs to be virile, powerful, tough and impenetrable is dominant in a country like Bangladesh. Being a male rape victim, therefore, is considered a flagrant violation of the code of heterosexuality– such an individual no longer belongs to the sphere of masculinity. In effect, most male rape cases in Bangladesh remain under-reported. However, in recent years, the country has witnessed a notable spike in male rape cases. Data from a leading human rights organization reveal that, in the year 2021, a number of 31 male rape cases were reported. Recently, a madrasah teacher was arrested for the alleged rape of his 12 year old male student. Despite the presence of male rape in Bangladesh, the legal redress for male rape victims stands somewhat as a legal quandary and reflects the societal expectation of ideal masculinity. The Penal Code 1860, for instance, blatantly affirms hegemonic masculinity. The 100-year-old legal instrument bears a colonial...
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Australia can Advance Justice for People with Disabilities in Papua New Guinean Prisons

By Guest Contributor Rachel Sadoff* [John Sikowel, age 36] was brutalized, beaten and forced to walk although he is disabled. He had to crawl into his cell. […] He received some medication, but no proper medical treatment. He is locked in his cell most of the time. – Manfred Nowak, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Torture.   *** Globally, people with disabilities (PWDs) are “more likely to experience victimization, be arrested, be charged with a crime, and serve longer prison sentences once convicted, than those without disabilities,” reports the US National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability. This group includes people with intellectual and developmental conditions like Down Syndrome and blindness, as well as psychological ones like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In Papua New Guinea (PNG), this structural violence is enabled by legal neglect, torpid reform, and a lack of enforcement of disability policies. As PNG’s largest source of aid and investment – constituting 80% of its foreign development assistance – Australia is uniquely...
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Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Rights with Ajita Banerjie: The Right to Love

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Rights with Ajita Banerjie: The Right to Love

By RightsViews Staff Writer Sydney Smith On March 10 2022, SOGI rights researcher and activist Ajita Banerjie (she/they) spoke about the legacy of the landmark Supreme Court of India decision, Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India. On September 6, 2018, in a unanimous decision by the court, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (1860), which criminalized unnatural sex between two individuals, was considered unconstitutional on the grounds that it violated the rights to expression, equality, privacy, and human dignity.  Banerjie details three reasons why this judgment is unique. First, the judgement not only decriminalized same sex acts, but went above and beyond to recognize LGBTQIA+ members as equal rights-holding citizens who deserve a life free of persecution. Second, the judgment offered an expansive interpretation of the right to privacy. The court recognized Section 377’s unreasonable restriction on privacy and freedom of choice. Additionally, privacy was no longer only relevant in the private sphere; rather, the court recognized social privacy and...
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Ghost Children in South Korea: Call for International Solidarity for the Implementation of Universal Birth Registration

Ghost Children in South Korea: Call for International Solidarity for the Implementation of Universal Birth Registration

By Guest Contributor So Yeon Kim*   “I have lived in South Korea as a ghost. I want to be acknowledged as a living person,” said Marina in her interview in Children That Exist but Don’t Exist. In contrast to her peers who were preparing for the college entrance exam, turning 18 did not mean one step towards her future; instead, it has been a cause of her anxiety. When she turns 19, she could get kicked out of South Korea where she was born, and be moved to Mongolia, the homeland of her parents but a foreign country to her. Marina is a stateless, undocumented migrant child in South Korea.   South Korea has seen a steady increase in the number of migrants that come to achieve the “Korean Dream” and migrants have become an integral part of the economy. South Korea also saw a deep increase in the number of asylum seekers since the implementation of its own domestic Refugee Act in...
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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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