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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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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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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The U.S.-EU Summit: Next Steps for Human Rights

The U.S.-EU Summit: Next Steps for Human Rights

By Ali Cain, RightsViews staff writer. President Biden’s summit with European leaders on June 15, 2021, was an important step in rebuilding the United States-European alliance. Contrary to former President Trump’s belief that the European Union (EU) is a ‘foe,’ Europe remains one of the United States most important allies, especially in promoting human rights and democratization. Biden’s statement that “Europe is our natural partner…we are committed to the same democratic norms and institutions, and they are increasingly under attack” summarizes why the U.S. and Europe must persist in using their shared values as a platform for cooperation. Despite the summit’s optimism, many challenges lie ahead in a renewed transatlantic relationship, especially in promoting human rights.  The COVID-19 pandemic remains the most pressing issue for all countries. However, geopolitical concerns present the largest obstacle to an effective transatlantic response to human rights abuses. The U.S. and EU face a combative China that utilizes investments, technology, and trade as successful foreign policy carrots...
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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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UK’s Overseas Operations Bill: A Pretext for Abuse or a Protection for War Veterans?

UK’s Overseas Operations Bill: A Pretext for Abuse or a Protection for War Veterans?

By guest contributor, Indrasish Majumder* In 2019, the British government attempted to pass a bill that would prevent British soldiers from being prosecuted for crimes committed while serving abroad. The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill (“Operations Bill”) was introduced in light of some UK operations in Iraq and Afghanistan which prompted an unprecedented number of criminal cases against British soldiers years after these operations. The UK government argued that the allegations raised were baseless and that it had proposed the Bill to shield its troops from false accusations. The Operations Bill seeks to safeguard British personnel by establishing a five-year statute of limitations on prosecution of suspected crimes committed by British troops while stationed outside British territory. It also sets time restrictions for such cases as well as claims brought under the Human Rights Act of 1998. The Operations Bill has been criticised for being unconstitutional and misleading, and it has been claimed that it breaches obligations of the UK government under international human rights,...
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Macron, Laïcité, and a Fight for the Rights of French Muslims

Macron, Laïcité, and a Fight for the Rights of French Muslims

By Lindsey Alpaugh, staff writer, RightsViews, Human Rights MA student.   French Muslims and French Electoral Politics France is stomping on the freedom of religious expression of its Muslim population. This spring and winter have seen a slew of anti-Muslim legislation in France, with some political commentators believing these measures come in advance of a right-wing-oriented election in 2022.  On December 2nd, 2020 the Council of Ministers announced that it was dissolving the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF). The CCIF was founded in 2003 to fight discrimination against Muslims in France, and to provide legal aid to those fighting discrimination cases. Criticizing this decision, Human Rights Watch stated that “under international and European human rights law, states can only restrict the rights to freedom of association, freedom of religion and belief, and freedom of expression in a way that is lawful, necessary, and proportionate. Dissolving associations under international human rights law should be a measure of last resort taken because an association advocates...
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