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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Understanding Gender, Migration, and Transnational Advocacy: A Talk with Chaumtoli Huq

Understanding Gender, Migration, and Transnational Advocacy: A Talk with Chaumtoli Huq

What is the connection between gender and migration? Between the garment industries in Bangladesh and the United States? And what advocacy strategies can we learn from these connections? These were some of the questions addressed by Chaumtoli Huq on Monday, November 5 in her talk on “Gender and Migration: The Front Lines of Gender Justice,” facilitated by Professor Katherine Franke of the Law School and the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia. This discussion was part of a series of talks in Professor Franke’s Law class “Gender Justice” this semester. Chaumtoli Huq is an Associate Professor of Law at the CUNY Law School and the founder of non-profit organization Law at the Margins. Huq is a self-proclaimed “social justice lawyer,” interested in working not only top-down from elite institutions and courts to gain victories for clients and communities, but more importantly in working in and through the communities, she assists, taking the lead from those who would be...
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New Zealand’s Push for Sustainable Development

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Push for Sustainable Development The International Conference on Sustainable Development provided a forum for academia, government, civil society, UN agencies and the private sector to come together to share discussion on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year, from September 26 to 28 2018, the Conference took place on multiple campuses around the world, making it a truly global event. On the second day of the 6th annual International Conference on Sustainable Development, Columbia University had the privilege of hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand speak on the SDGs. Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, introduced Prime Minister Ardern to roaring applause in Alfred Lerner Hall. To begin her speech, Ardern discussed injustice and the impact of politics around the world. Ardern says, “if there is one thing we hate, it is injustice. We try to do it right by one another. Perhaps it comes from being a thousand miles from...
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Columbia Students Stand in Solidarity with Jailed Reuters Journalists

Columbia Students Stand in Solidarity with Jailed Reuters Journalists

By Ashley E. Chappo, editor of RightsViews and a graduate of Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and Columbia Journalism School Walk into Pulitzer Hall lobby at Columbia Journalism School today, and you might notice the students dressed in all black, holding signs that read “#FreeWaLoneKyawSoeOo” and "Journalism is not a crime." It’s a moment of advocacy and solidarity on Columbia’s Morningside campus on behalf of Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who were sentenced to seven years in prison on September 3, 2018 by a Myanmar judge after being found guilty of violating a decades-old law on state secrets. The Burmese nationals had been investigating military crackdowns and human rights violations in Rakhine state, including the massacre of 10 Rohingya men in Rakhine's Inn Dinn village on September 2, 2017. The advocacy effort at the journalism school in New York City was organized mainly by students in professor Ann Cooper's reporting class. Beginning at 11 a.m. in Pulitzer...
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Children Languishing Behind Bars: A Grim Reality of Indian Prisons

Children Languishing Behind Bars: A Grim Reality of Indian Prisons

By Vasudev Singh and Karan Trehan, students of law in India at RML National Law University and NALSAR University of Law, respectively.  A recent revelation by the Government of India concerns the condition of children residing in prisons with their mothers and raises an important question regarding the basic human rights guaranteed to these children. As of 2015, Indian prisons accommodate some 419,623 prisoners (including pre-trial detainees/remand prisoners). Out of them, 4.3 percent— or around 18,000— are women. Women who face trial or who are found guilty of a crime are allowed to keep their children with them during their time in jail. Approximately 1,866 children lived in prison with their mothers at the end of 2015, according to prison statistics.  According to the Indian constitution, the state governments are assigned to the administration and management of prisons. This means that the state governments can make prison laws according to their own discretion and requirements. However, these state powers remain subject to other centrally-enacted laws such as the Prisons Act, 1894. As a result,...
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Ensuring Healthcare in India by Going Beyond Politics

Ensuring Healthcare in India by Going Beyond Politics

By Ananye Krishna, a student at Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad, India The government of India launched the Ayushman Bharat - National Health Protection Mission in late March 2018 to provide health coverage of Rs. 5 Lakh (or approximately $7,335) per year for all Indian families. This was a much needed reform measure in the Indian healthcare system, but the question remains whether the government made required infrastructural changes in order to ensure the full benefits that would allow the Indian people to access their fundamental human rights to healthcare. The poor state of healthcare in India was illustrated last year when more than 60 children died in a government hospital because of inadequate infrastructure. This was not an isolated incident. There have been cases of fires breaking out in hospitals and of surgeries being conducted en masse under extremely poor conditions. Such incidents demonstrate that the right to health as guaranteed by the Indian constitution is being violated through lack of adequate reform. Reports suggest that...
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Death Penalty for Child Rapists in India: Populist, Hasty, Counterproductive

Death Penalty for Child Rapists in India: Populist, Hasty, Counterproductive

by Shardool Kulkarni, a law student at the University of Mumbai This January, an eight-year-old girl hailing from a minority shepherding family in India was abducted, gang raped and brutally murdered in the Kathua region of Jammu and Kashmir. In the subsequent months, the incident generated polarized reactions in India and around the world, with public outcry juxtaposed against the response from individuals in authority and alleged politicization of rape owing to the victim’s minority status. The ensuing public discourse has placed the ruling dispensation headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under intense scrutiny, particularly in relation to the government's stance and policies regarding child rape. In April 2018, the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2018 was promulgated. The said ordinance brought in several changes to the existing legal framework pertaining to child rape in India, the most significant being the imposition of the death penalty as punishment for rape of a girl below the age of twelve years. The move, while hailed by...
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What does the Rohingya crisis mean for Myanmar’s Nobel Laureate?

What does the Rohingya crisis mean for Myanmar’s Nobel Laureate?

By Olivia Heffernan, a master’s candidate at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs  On November 14, the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University hosted a lecture titled “Understanding the Rohingya Crisis.” Panelists addressed the historical roots of ongoing violent conflict in Myanmar, including the “othering” of the minority Rohingya Muslims and escalating fear of Islam, as well as the responsibility of the international community to respond to the country's human rights crisis. The lack of response raises questions about the international community’s commitment to protecting peace and precipitates another interesting discussion: What does an ethnic cleansing overseen by a Nobel Peace Prize winner mean for the credibility of the award itself? Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader and first state counselor, was conferred the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her admirable fight for democracy in Myanmar during 15 years under house arrest as a political prisoner. However, actions speak louder than words. Aung San Suu Kyi’s complicity to the killings...
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Lankesh and Free Speech: Gagged, Tortured and Shot

Lankesh and Free Speech: Gagged, Tortured and Shot

By Malcolm Katrak, a guest blogger and judicial clerk to Justice S.N. Variava The Asian News International (ANI) tweeted on September 5th, “There has been a shootout at Gauri Lankesh’s house this evening; she is no more. Body found in the veranda.” Another tweet swiftly followed, “This is a cowardly act, she is just a writer & journalist, not a terrorist or a naxalite.” Gauri Lankesh, a senior journalist from Karnataka, had been portrayed as a critic of Hindu right-wing extremism by journalists and news outlets around the country after she was shot dead in Karnataka, India. A total of seven bullets were fired, four missing the target and three hitting Lankesh. The Chief Minister of Karnataka termed the murder as brutal and further stated that this was an “assassination on democracy.” Freedom of press and protection of free speech has long been debated in the halls of parliament and the corridors of the judiciary in India. Be it the First Amendment in...
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The Saddest Bride I Have Ever Seen…

The Saddest Bride I Have Ever Seen…

By Sameera Uddin, graduate student of Human Rights at Columbia University ___________________________________________________________________________ "In Bangladesh, 65% of girls are married before they turn 18." (UNICEF) "She was withdrawn, quiet, and appeared very sad throughout the entire day," said Allison Joyce, an American photojournalist who documented the wedding of 15-year-old Nasoin Akhter to a 32-year-old man, in her blog. The international community greeted Joyce’s photos of Nasoin’s wedding with shock and disappointment. According to UNICEF, nearly one-third of Bangladeshi girls are married by the age of 15, the highest rate for that age group in the world. South Asia is home to almost half (42 per cent) of all child brides worldwide, and India alone accounts for one-third of the global total. Currently, it is illegal for girls to get married under the age of 18 in Bangladesh, yet the statistics suggest that the reality is otherwise. Why is it that a country often highlighted as a development success story is facing these challenges? Bangladesh has reduced...
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