Suffering , Grievability and Covid-19 – An Indian Nightmare

Suffering , Grievability and Covid-19 – An Indian Nightmare

By Guest Contributor Yash Karunakaran. Yash is an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Law and the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR). He is currently an advocate practicing before the Supreme Court of India and the Delhi High Court. He is also involved with a civil society organization that helped arrange for travel, food and medicine for migrant workers stuck as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown in India. This organization has filed Petitions before various Courts challenging state restrictions placed on the return of migrant workers. The primary weapon used to counter epidemic outbreaks within the Indian subcontinent has, for the past 123 years, remained the 1897 Epidemics Act. The legislation grants special powers to State Governments, allowing them to make their own regulations to counter the spread of disease. This piece analyses the colonial history of the Indian response to epidemics, highlighting how it colours the manner in which the Indian...
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Turkey’s Alarming Regional Intervention Continues to Affect Minority Communities with Impunity, This Time in Azerbaijan

Turkey’s Alarming Regional Intervention Continues to Affect Minority Communities with Impunity, This Time in Azerbaijan

By Guest Contributors Anoush Baghdassarian and Sherin Zadah Tucked away into the southern caucasus is a region struggling for survival, not against COVID-19, but against yet another offensive by Turkey, this time in Azerbaijan, targeting the region's minority populations.   On Sept. 27, 2020, a war broke out in the Republic of Artsakh, also known as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). The conflict is mainly between Armenia, the ethnic Armenians of NKR, and Azerbaijan, but Turkey is also a player in the conflict; it has pledged support for Azerbaijan, closing its border with Armenia and reaffirming Azerbaijan’s claims to territorial integrity.  Amid the current crisis, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to “support our Azerbaijani brothers with all our means as always,” including military assistance. This manifested into a coordinated premeditated attack against one of its historic minority communities — the Armenians. This follows shortly after Turkey’s crimes against the Kurds, another one of its repeatedly persecuted ethnic groups. Turkey launched a targeted military campaign...
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Indigenous Environmental Justice: A Need for Substantial Recognition of Indigenous Voices

Indigenous Environmental Justice: A Need for Substantial Recognition of Indigenous Voices

 By Guest Contributor Sakshi Aravind, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge. She works on Indigenous environmental justice in Australia, Brazil, and Canada.  In the last week of May, the mining colossus Rio Tinto blasted the 46,000 years old Juukan Gorge rock shelters in Western Australia (WA) during its operations in Brockman 4 mines. The caves were of profound cultural and spiritual significance to the traditional owners, the Indigenous Puutu Kunti Kurrama (PKK) peoples, while also carrying immense historical and archaeological value. Rio Tinto had obtained ministerial consent from the state Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to carry out the blasts under Section 18 of the obsolete WA Aboriginal Heritage Act, 1972 ('Heritage Act'). In response, the destruction of these culturally significant sites evoked shock and anger around the world. There were calls for addressing the deficiencies in the law, which does not make provisions for consultation with traditional owners or review of the ministerial consent in light of subsequent discoveries. Following this...
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Stranded in Near Statelessness: The Coronavirus and Nepali Migrant Workers

Stranded in Near Statelessness: The Coronavirus and Nepali Migrant Workers

By Kelly Dudine, staff writer for RightsViews  Men, women and children spend days in an open field, hungry, thirsty, exhausted, and abandoned. Unable to stay in India due to job loss following the Coronavirus pandemic, and prevented from traveling back to their homes in Nepal amid fears of spreading the virus, these Nepali migrant workers and their families are stranded at the Nepal-India border in a form of temporary statelessness. “How many days can children go without food or water? How many days? This is a human rights violation,” says Maggie Doyne, Co-Founder of the BlinkNow Foundation. The non-profit is among many local and international organizations responding to the growing humanitarian crisis in Nepal, including the Nepalgunj Medical College, ODA Foundation, Mottey Gang, Nepal Red Cross, and NYEF - Kathmandu Chapter, among others.  Stepping in where the State is failing to meet the needs of its people, relief efforts are establishing food distribution banks and providing essential care services to thousands of returning migrant...
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Social Media Platforms: A Theater for Exercising Free Speech

Social Media Platforms: A Theater for Exercising Free Speech

Guest contributor Maanya Vaidyanathan is the Policy and Engagement Manager at The Dialogue, a tech policy think-tank in India. She specialises in International Law, Gender Policies, Intermediary Liabilities and Foreign Policy.  Guest contributor Kazim Rizvi is a Public-Policy Policy Entrepreneur and Founder of The Dialogue, a tech policy think-tank in India. Kazim is one of the leading voices in India’s tech policy discourse. “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” ― John Milton, Areopagitica Freedom of speech and expression gives individuals the right to freely express themselves without the fear of being reprimanded. This right, however, is neither absolute nor devoid of responsibility. It is a complex right that comes with reasonable restrictions, as given in Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution.  Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19(2) of the International Convention for Civil and Political Rights provide for freedom of speech and expression in any medium, including...
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Fait Accompli: Singapore Again Upholds Section 377A Criminalising Homosexuality

Fait Accompli: Singapore Again Upholds Section 377A Criminalising Homosexuality

Co-authored by guest contributors Paras Ahuja and Rahul Garg.  Paras Ahuja is an undergraduate student pursuing law at the National Law University, Jodhpur. Her research interests include human rights, constitutional law and feminism.  Rahul Garg is an undergraduate student pursuing law at the National Law University, Jodhpur. His research interests include gender studies, human rights and international humanitarian law. On 30th March, 2020, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Singapore in Ong Ming Johnson v. Attorney-General upheld the constitutional validity of Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code, 1871. Section 377A punishes any male person who commits an act of “gross indecency” with another male person, whether in public or in private. The judgement marks itself as a regressive touchpoint in Singapore’s progression towards inclusiveness and equality.  Article 14(1) (a) of the Constitution of Singapore guarantees every citizen the right to freedom of speech and expression. The petitioners in this case contended that Section 377A derogated this right by failing to recognize one’s...
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The Tibetan Model of Resistance: Human Rights in Tibet

The Tibetan Model of Resistance: Human Rights in Tibet

Guest Contributor Divya Malhotra is pursuing her Ph.D. from the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and is a non-resident fellow at the Middle East Institute, New Delhi where she monitors and documents Pakistan-Middle East relations. Her areas of interest include human rights studies. Her writing has appeared in the Times of Israel blog.  The world today is riddled with violence and conflict. Countries across Asia and Africa are engaged in a perpetual struggle for political and religious autonomy and self-determination. Be it West Asia’s Arab Spring, Israeli-Palestinian conflict over land, the Baloch and Pashtun separatist movements in Pakistan, or the turmoil in Kashmir, violence has become accepted as a status-quo in these areas. However, one community’s struggle for separation has had an intriguingly peaceful and spiritual dimension: the Tibetan resistance movement.      Historical Background The Tibetan independence movement is a political movement for the independence of Tibet and the political separation of Tibet from China. It has been principally been led...
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A State’s Responsibility in an Epidemic: Human Rights and the Coronavirus Outbreak

A State’s Responsibility in an Epidemic: Human Rights and the Coronavirus Outbreak

Guest Contributors Bodhisattwa Majumder and Devashish Giri are penultimate year students at Maharashtra Law University Mumbai. Their interests include Constitutional Law, Public International law and Maritime law. Any discussion related to the paper can be made via mail at [email protected] or [email protected] The outbreak of Coronavirus or COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) from Wuhan, China (“People’s Republic of China “) has engulfed as many as twenty four countries across the globe with a medical emergency and has claimed more than 3,800 lives as of now.  This strain of the virus is graver than the other types of Coronaviruses as it has never been identified in humans before. Coronavirus belongs to the zoonotic group of viruses which can affect a human being with a range of health ailments ranging from the common cold to serious problems such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The World Health Organization and other countries including the US have declared it as a “Global Public...
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Non-Violence in Communal War in Central Nigeria

Non-Violence in Communal War in Central Nigeria

By James Courtright, Staff Writer for RightsViews On January 30th Dr. Jana Krause came to speak with students and faculty at Columbia’s School for International and Public Affairs about her new book, “Resilient Communities: Non-Violence and Civilian Agency in Communal War.” Her work centers on communal conflict - non-state armed conflict between identity groups - in Plateau state in Nigeria and Maluku province in Indonesia. In both places the violence tended to be simplistically referred to as Christian against Muslim, but upon further investigation she found it was deeply rooted in local political and economic dynamics and narratives. After explaining how communal violence was organized, she then delved into neighborhoods in Nigeria and Indonesia where violence did not occur, analyzing how the choices of civilians and their collective efforts to prevent fighting saved the lives of hundreds of people. Conflict in Jos When she first visited Jos, Nigeria in 2010, Dr. Krause had to pass through multiple checkpoints along the road from the...
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Is Tolerance of Human Rights Abuses out of Fashion? A Cautionary Tale for Retail Giants

Is Tolerance of Human Rights Abuses out of Fashion? A Cautionary Tale for Retail Giants

By Kelly Dudine, staff writer at RightsViews In a Bangladeshi garment factory, a woman works seven days a week, morning to night, and still cannot afford to feed and clothe her children at home. In India, young women working in cotton mills face appalling work conditions, low pay, violence and exploitation. This is the cost of fast fashion, poorly regulated labor markets, and ultimately, the tolerance of human rights abuses by the business community.  However, shifts in public opinion, consumer behavior, and investment strategies are testing business-as-usual more than ever before. The bare minimum is no longer enough - the rules are changing and the business community will need to make drastic, meaningful changes in order to adapt. The recent filing of bankruptcy by Forever 21 is a strong cautionary tale to all retail giants. The company has been in troubled waters for years. It expanded too quickly and carelessly, and faced lawsuits and accusations of worker exploitation. Despite the adaptation of a social...
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