Courts and Global Norms on Freedom of Expression

Courts and Global Norms on Freedom of Expression

By RightsViews Staff Writer Carina Goebelbecker Is it fake news, fact, or some form of the truth? Freedom of expression holds space for all these possibilities. The “Courts and Global Norms on Freedom of Expression” two-part conference programmed by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression illuminated all these possibilities and their implications within a larger national and international setting. The streamed session on Thursday October 21st explored the cultural context of freedom of expression and how norms intersect with policy, practices, and beliefs. Columbia Global Freedom of Expression was founded in 2014 with the intention of connecting international professionals and activists with their communities and networks of support. The goals of the conference were for the speakers to share their experiences with courts to the public and to promote dialogue. Columbia University President and Founder of the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Lee C. Bollinger delivered the opening remarks, noting how global norms of freedom of expression have been established and continue to...
Read More
Young Activist Spotlight: An Interview with Tabitha Boyton, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Res Publica

Young Activist Spotlight: An Interview with Tabitha Boyton, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Res Publica

By RightsViews Co-Editor Noah Smith  I recently spoke with Tabitha Boyton, founder & editor-in-chief of Res Publica, a highly commended interdisciplinary magazine of politics, law, art and culture led by student and volunteer contributors across the globe. The fundamental goal of Res Publica is to provide an engaging as well as an academically rigorous platform where ideas and concepts of interest to the public at large can be debated and explored. What is particularly unique about Res Publica is their attempt to bridge the gap between the academic and unscholarly on all things political. Helping to show how even in the age of Twitter mobs and sloganeering it is still possible to have serious thought and discussion over the things that matter. I spoke with Tabitha to query what inspired her to establish this magazine and the privileges and challenges she faces as a young activist.  Tell me a little about yourself, and what motivated you to found Res Publica? Thank you so...
Read More
Political Apologies Database: Discussion with the Historical Dialogues Justice & Memory Network Seminar Series

Political Apologies Database: Discussion with the Historical Dialogues Justice & Memory Network Seminar Series

By: Lindsey Alpaugh, staff writer. On Tuesday, October 12th, the Historical Dialogues, Justice, and Memory Network Seminar Series hosted a discussion via Zoom, “Trends in Political Apologies Across the World: Insights From the Political Apologies Database,” featuring Dr. Juliette Schaafsma and Ph.D. Candidate Marieke Zoodsma from Tilburg University. Dr. Schaafsma and Zoodsma spoke about the nature of political apologies, as well as their recently launched resource, the Political Apologies Database. The database is part of a larger project the scholars are conducting, funded by the European Research Center, looking into the key questions surrounding political apologies.  The researchers began their lecture by outlining the larger discussion around political apologies. As states offer, or are asked to offer, political apologies for human rights violations, they may face skepticism or criticism for their motivations. Questions of sincerity, and how this apology might relate to norms of governance emerge for both those affected by the human rights violations, as well as the public at large....
Read More
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...
Read More
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...
Read More
It’s High Time to Upgrade Consumer Rights to Human Rights

It’s High Time to Upgrade Consumer Rights to Human Rights

By guest contributor Swetha Somu* The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked a series of misleading advertisements claiming to cure and protect us from the deadly virus. As a result, the consumer protection regulatory authorities across the world have sprung into action by identifying and taking down false and inaccurate advertisements. Consumer rights in the pandemic era "A consumer is a shopper who is sore about something."  - Harold Coffin Coffin is no entrepreneur but a humor columnist and yet his famous quote aptly portrays why a consumer is a consumer. He asserts that a consumer is someone who has a problem or is made to think that he has one and that it can be resolved only if he buys a particular product. The need for an international instrument addressing consumer rights was strongly advocated for back in 1985 which subsequently led to the adaptation of the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP). It was later revised in 1999, however, only recently in 2015, UNGA’s resolution...
Read More
The Future of Human Rights: Interview with ISHR alum, Bárbara Matias

The Future of Human Rights: Interview with ISHR alum, Bárbara Matias

By Anna Miller, RightsViews co-editor and graduate student in the human rights M.A. program. This spring, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights had the opportunity to connect with a graduate of the program who has endeavored on a remarkable career. Read on to learn more about international professional Bárbara Matias, and her career that spans across countries, cultures, and job sectors.  Please introduce yourself, your relation to Columbia University, and ISHR.  My name is Bárbara Matias, I am a professional in the field of international affairs who identifies as both a citizen of Portugal and of the European Union on top of a global human rights advocate, and I am a proud Columbia University alum. I moved to New York in 2016 to undertake a graduate degree in Human Rights Studies at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR), as a Fulbright Scholar. Throughout my Master’s degree I was a Teaching Assistant for the undergraduate Introduction to Human Rights...
Read More
Rerouted, Rerooted: Oral Histories of Syrian-Armenian Refugees

Rerouted, Rerooted: Oral Histories of Syrian-Armenian Refugees

By Larissa Peltola, Editor, RightsViews.   The Armenian Genocide, which took place 106 years ago, today, claimed the lives of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians. While people around the world are now more aware of what occurred in 1915, following a global push for recognition of the genocide, few are aware of the lasting implications of the genocide which have carried on to this day. HRSMA alumna Anoush Baghdassarian (‘19) and Pomona College graduate Ani Schug (‘17) have undertaken the important and necessary work of collecting the oral histories of Syrian-Armenian refugees - the descendants of genocide survivors - to keep the memories of those who have perished alive. What was the Armenian Genocide?  Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish lawyer who coined the term genocide, was moved to do so after hearing about the systematic annihilation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Before WWI, Armenians - in what is now Turkey - totaled over two million. But by 1922, there were fewer than...
Read More
ISHR’s 2021 Human Rights Career Panel: Pursuing a Human Rights Career During and After a Pandemic

ISHR’s 2021 Human Rights Career Panel: Pursuing a Human Rights Career During and After a Pandemic

By Anna Miller, RightsViews co-editor and graduate student in the human rights M.A. program. On March 24, 2021 Gergana Halpern and Monica Olveira hosted the Institute for the Study of Human Rights Annual Career Panel. Since the global community has been living through the COVID-19 pandemic for more than one year now, some wonder if there are still job opportunities for students interested in human rights careers. Human rights professionals say yes - perhaps now more than ever before.  Meet the Panelists  Rebecca Brown is the Senior Director of Global Advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Before joining the Center, Rebecca was Deputy Director of the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), where she oversaw the organization’s program work and coordinated the Women and ESCR Working Group. Rebecca has published numerous pieces on reproductive rights, equality rights, economic, social, and cultural rights, and disability. Ryan Heman is Senior Manager of Forced Labor & Human Trafficking at Humanity United, and supports...
Read More
The Neoliberalization of Academia: Why the Columbia University Graduate Workers Strike is a Human Rights Imperative

The Neoliberalization of Academia: Why the Columbia University Graduate Workers Strike is a Human Rights Imperative

By Noah Smith, RightsViews staff writer and a graduate student in the human rights MA program. The opinions expressed in this article are Noah’s own and are not representative of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) or Columbia University.  Thousands of graduate students and student workers at Columbia University began striking on March 15, 2021 after many stalled negotiations with school administrators. A strong majority of student workers, 96%, voted  yes to authorize a strike and with a  deadline of March 15, 2021. The Graduate Workers of Columbia University (GWC) and all those in solidarity call on the university to agree to a fair contract. According to GWC bargaining committee members, the strike is a last resort after years of unsuccessful negotiations with university representatives, and assert that withholding their labor is the final means of forcing the university to recognize their demands. Columbia University has had a long and tumultuous history in regards to treating graduate workers as employees....
Read More