Hijab Mandate and Women’s Agency: Navigating Autonomy in Afghanistan

Hijab Mandate and Women’s Agency: Navigating Autonomy in Afghanistan

Article by Staff Writer Nazeela Elmi Image by Kiana Hayeri from The New York Times In September 2021, a few days after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, a group of women in black head to toe niqab covering went out in Kabul University and Kabul streets to demonstrate their support for the Taliban regime. Many rightfully assumed that, as all of the signs held by the protestors had the same blueprint and all of them wore the same article of clothing, the demonstrations were staged by the Taliban against women who held anti-Taliban views and who protested following the collapse of the former Afghan government. This kind of covering was unprecedented in Kabul or anywhere in Afghanistan.  Women’s veiling varies across Afghanistan given their roles in society, agriculture, throughout their historical junctures, and in various geographical and cultural regions. Veiling has not been mandated under the law in the former government in Afghanistan, though the burqa was imposed during the first rule of...
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Accountability Dilemma: The Use of AWS in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Accountability Dilemma: The Use of AWS in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

By Guest Writer Harsh Bansal INTRODUCTION The Russia-Ukraine conflict has reached an unprecedented level of intensity, fueled by advancements in military technology and modern warfare systems. As the possibility of the conflict being brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) looms – which is likely in the backdrop of the issuance of Arrest Warrants by the Pre-Trial Chamber II – questions regarding assigning responsibility and accountability for the use of Autonomous Drones such as the USA's Switchblade, Turkey's Bayraktar TB2, Iran's Shahed-136, and most recently Ukraine's UJ-22 on the Kremlin Senate will arise.  AWS These drones possess the remarkable capability of autonomous functioning, allowing them to operate independently without direct human control, hence dubbed Autonomous Weapon Systems (AWS). USA’s Defense Directive No. 3000.09 defines AWS as a system that "once activated, can select and engage targets without further intervention by a human operator.” All drones have different degrees of autonomy, hence making it more difficult to identify the perpetrator. Degrees of autonomy can be divided...
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Democratic Republic of Congo v. Uganda: A Decade of Negotiations and Unfounded Judgment

By Guest Writer Pritika Negi and Eilin Maria Baiju By honoring and upholding the victim’s right to receive remedies and reparations, the international community maintains strong empathy for the victims of gross violations of International Humanitarian Law. After more than a decade, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on February 9 2022, delivered a contentious judgment with respect to the international armed conflict between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda after the failure to reach a consensus in negotiations. Contrary to the goal, the mode of reparation was restricted to a mere $325 million in monetary compensation. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were to pay this amount in five annual installments instead of the initially claimed lump sum of $11 billion. The court awarded this compensation on an exceptional basis in the form of “global sums''—a rough estimate of the amount of damages that a court may grant when there are serious evidentiary difficulties, after denying all the...
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Voices from the Turkish Rubbles: From Natural Disaster to Humanitarian  Crisis

Voices from the Turkish Rubbles: From Natural Disaster to Humanitarian Crisis

By Guest Writer Ayush Singh and Yuvraj Mathur The earthquake that rocked Turkey in 2020 not only caused widespread catastrophe and loss of life but also resulted in a severe human rights crisis. Beyond the fundamental right to life, the disaster infringed upon other fundamental rights, including the right to privacy, a healthy environment, property, education, and housing. Inopportunely, the Turkish government's response to the earthquake was inadequate, exacerbating the suffering of vulnerable populations and leaving them exposed to the rudiments. This article explores how the earthquake in Turkey turned from a natural disaster into a humanitarian crisis and sheds light on the Turkish government's derelictions in managing the repercussion of the disaster.  The earthquake laid bare a severe deficiency in the enforcement of building regulations in the country. The 6.6 magnitude earthquake wreaked havoc in the western Turkish province of Izmir, causing significant damage to infrastructure and resulting in a considerable loss of life. The aftermath of the disaster exposed the...
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A Different Approach to Justice

By Staff Writer Laïssa A.  The Black Radical Tradition has long dwelled on how best to end white supremacy, and achieve something called Black liberation. Liberation, emancipation, freedom, whatever one may call it–is the goal of many politically engaged Black people. In this essay, I will ponder the possibilities of human rights practitioners taking the Black Radical Tradition seriously, focusing particularly on Black anarchist politics. The purpose is not to propose a way for human rights to decolonize or progress, but for those concerned with ‌human rights to think of the possibilities of other methods of changing the world. What might taking seriously Black radicals look like? What do Black anarchists, in particular, offer in their critical engagement with the state?  In the last decade or so, abolitionist frameworks, specifically related to the carceral system, have reached a mainstream audience in the United States. Abolitionists have torn down assumptions, forcing people to rethink the meaning of justice and punishment. They have...
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#StopCopCity: The National (and International) Movement to Defend an Atlanta Forest

#StopCopCity: The National (and International) Movement to Defend an Atlanta Forest

By Staff Writer Idalia Gonzalez Stop Cop City is at once, a movement, a hashtag, and a call to action. The decentralized, autonomous movement has quickly risen in digital popularity, amassing tens of thousands of Instagram followers since it began in 2018. It exists as part of “Defend the Forest,” though the two slogans are used interchangeably. Its main purpose is to stop a police training facility, which would be the largest in the country, from being built in Atlanta’s Welaunee Forest.  A deep dive into a few of the many interviews online indicate a movement backed by a core group of activists – also known as forest defenders, who range from abolitionists to anarchists—and supported by thousands of students, artists, socialists, educators, elders, environmentalists, eco-activists, Indigenous leaders and tribes, historians…and so on. The movement’s strength poses questions about the future of mobilizing digital resistance. How does such an intersectional, decentralized movement sustain itself? Do multiple narratives dilute or strengthen mobilization? Long Live Tortuguita  On...
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Systematic Discrimination in the French Police

Systematic Discrimination in the French Police

By Guest Writer Tatiana Gnuva Excessive Use of Police Force to Shut Down Protests France, a country that prides itself on being the home of “human rights” and whose very motto is “liberté, égalité, fraternité,” (“Freedom, equality, fraternity”)  is responsible for a number of human rights violations related to police brutality and overreach. In fact, the UN Human Rights Council condemned France on May 1st for police brutality, ethnic profiling, and excessive use of force in large-scale police operations to regulate protests. The Council strongly recommended that the state intensify its efforts to combat anti-Muslim hate and reduce the systematic racism that pervades French police activities.  Several NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have identified countless instances of police brutality that have only increased in frequency. During the “Gilets Jaunes” demonstrations of 2019, the police used excessive force to harm peaceful protestors and bystanders—including journalists—by violently shutting down protests with tear gas and disproportional physical force. These actions are problematic and...
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Challenging Gender Norms: Critiquing the Statement Made by CJI DY Chandrachud on Same Sex Marriage

Challenging Gender Norms: Critiquing the Statement Made by CJI DY Chandrachud on Same Sex Marriage

By Guest Writer Surjit Raiguru In a seminal statement, Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud shines a spotlight on the intricate tapestry of gender identity and expression, deconstructing long-held misconceptions. Departing from reductionist notions, this article explores the profound interplay between biology, psychology, and society in shaping an individual's gender identity. By elucidating the nuanced nature of gender, CJI Chandrachud calls for an inclusive society that respects and validates diverse experiences, unravelling the complexities of gender, heralding a new era of acceptance and understanding. Gender identity and expression are complex and multifaceted concepts that cannot be reduced to simplistic notions based on reproductive organs. In a recent statement by CJI DY Chandrachud, he rightly acknowledged that there is no absolute concept of man or woman based on reproductive organs. However, his statement has been misunderstood by some, leading to misguided criticisms. CJI Chandrachud's statement highlights the fact that gender is not solely determined by biological sex. It goes beyond the physical characteristics...
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Establishing Justice in U.S. Veteran Disability Claims

Establishing Justice in U.S. Veteran Disability Claims

By Guest Writer Nicholas Sweitzer Ex-servicemembers of the United States are routinely being denied fundamental human rights by their federal government, despite their honorable service for the common national defense. In the 2020 census, the U.S. Government estimated the veteran population to be roughly 19.4 million, meaning this demographic is anywhere between 6.4% to 7.5% of the American adult population. Tragically, all stages of the disability-related claims process have become increasingly difficult for United States Veterans. For 33 years, The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a government agency overseeing the benefits and healthcare for ex-servicemembers and the family members that survive them, has fundamentally neglected their duty of care and eroded the very social contract the United States was constituted on. Several structural issues in the claims process lead the nation’s protectors down a tumultuous path for compensation, reconciliation, and justice.  In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department temporarily closed its 56 regional offices to the public, sites where veterans...
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No Law, No Order: The Perplexing Case of Extra-Judicial Killings in ‘New’ India

No Law, No Order: The Perplexing Case of Extra-Judicial Killings in ‘New’ India

By Guest Writer Shaharyaar Shahardar The right to life and the corollary right to be free from the arbitrary deprivation of life constitutes an essential human right that was formally codified in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1976. Article 6(1) of the ICCPR states that “every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” This principle now has attained the jus cogens status as a peremptory norm in international law. Nevertheless, States continue to engage in this practice, justifying such killings as necessary to maintain law and order, combat terrorism, or suppress dissent. Similarly in India, neither extrajudicial killings nor the indifference of authorities towards them is new. What is worrisome this time, however, is authorities’ explicit support for extrajudicial killings.  Recently, Asad, son of Atiq Ahmed (a former Parliamentarian) and his aide, Ghulam, were killed in an ‘encounter’ in Jhansi,...
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