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2009

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Human Rights Law

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Hope Over Experience?, Cath Collins Dec 2009

Hope Over Experience?, Cath Collins

Human Rights & Human Welfare

Writing about US human rights policy from the outside is always a disconcerting experience. All bets are off, and all assumptions are turned on their head. Assumptions from the South looking North are that, rhetoric aside, US interests rarely if ever feature human rights protection and promotion in first place. What’s more, they have very frequently featured the opposite: dirty tricks, torture and rendition were sadly familiar to students of Latin American history long before Guantanamo. The Clinton years went some way towards reining in the more blatant contradictions of the 1980s, but they also set in train the easy …


Change We Can Believe In?, Katherine Hite Dec 2009

Change We Can Believe In?, Katherine Hite

Human Rights & Human Welfare

We were warned to temper our high hopes for a bold new Obama era of human rights. After all, President Obama would have “a lot on his plate”: a serious economic crisis, high unemployment, over forty million people without health insurance, “two wars,” global volatility. But it’s very hard not to be dismayed by some of the continuities from the Bush to the Obama administration, as well as by some Janus-faced policy decisions with damning human rights implications. When it comes to US-Latin America relations, such decisions include: professing support for progressive immigration reform while expanding regressive anti-immigration measures; claiming …


From Inspiring Hope To Taking Action: Obama And Human Rights, Stephen James Dec 2009

From Inspiring Hope To Taking Action: Obama And Human Rights, Stephen James

Human Rights & Human Welfare

While President George H. Bush spoke of a new world order, and his “misunderestimated” son mangled the English language at countless press conferences, with Barack Obama the USA now has a talented orator as a president. There is a new word order. But does the new and skillful rhetoric match the reality when it comes to human rights?


December Roundtable: Introduction Dec 2009

December Roundtable: Introduction

Human Rights & Human Welfare

An annotation of:

Obama's speech to the United Nations General Assembly (September, 2009).

and

Does Obama believe in human rights? By Bret Stephens. The Wall Street Journal. October 19, 2009.


The Statesman's Dilemma: Peace Or Justice? Or Neither?, Henry Krisch Dec 2009

The Statesman's Dilemma: Peace Or Justice? Or Neither?, Henry Krisch

Human Rights & Human Welfare

Just as I sat down to comment on President Obama and human rights, I glanced today's (November 19, 2009) The New York Times and found several opinion essays-careful in fact, thoughtful in tone, reasonable in argument-critical of Obama's approach during his recent visit to China toward Chinese human rights violations (mainly concerning Tibet but including also imprisoned lawyers, internet censorship, and persecution of Falun Gong.) The essayists considered various tactics for exerting American pressure on China regarding human rights. Common to all of them was a tone of rueful admiration for the political and diplomatic skill with which China fended …


The Hidden Costs Of Terror, Cath Collins Nov 2009

The Hidden Costs Of Terror, Cath Collins

Human Rights & Human Welfare

In this month’s featured article, former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006) gives a thoughtful and insightful account of how post-atrocity accounting and reconstruction feels ‘from the top’. What can an incoming head of state possibly do or say that will redress and repair the social and human costs of decades of violence? What about the centuries of injustice and inequality that fueled the flames? In fact Toledo did perhaps as much as he could, and more than many thought he would be able to, in recognising and beginning to address the ethnic, class, and institutional faultlines that tore Peru apart …


The Peruvian Precedent, Katherine Hite Nov 2009

The Peruvian Precedent, Katherine Hite

Human Rights & Human Welfare

In the early days of September 2009, former Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) president Salomón Lerner received a series of sick anonymous messages: “We will do to you what we did to your dogs.” Lerner’s two pet dogs had been fatally poisoned. The poisoning and the death threats against Lerner joined other vicious retaliations, including continuous attacks on another powerful human rights symbol, Lika Mutal’s “The Eye that Cries,” a sculpture in Lima that mourns the tens of thousands of Peruvian victims of internal armed conflict. In a twisted way, the poisoning, death threats, and attacks show that Peruvian …


November Roundtable: Introduction Nov 2009

November Roundtable: Introduction

Human Rights & Human Welfare

An annotation of:

Healing the Past, Protecting the Future. By Alejandro Toledo. Americas Quarterly. July 13, 2009.


From Atrocities To Security: A Parable From Peru, Stephen James Nov 2009

From Atrocities To Security: A Parable From Peru, Stephen James

Human Rights & Human Welfare

I have no expertise on the domestic politics of Peru, but I know that its often violent past shares much with its Latin American neighbours. Though not a practice confined to this region, I also know that events in the region have made notorious the chilling euphemism “disappearances.”


The Limits Of Executive Action For Human Rights, Henry Krisch Nov 2009

The Limits Of Executive Action For Human Rights, Henry Krisch

Human Rights & Human Welfare

Between 2001 and 2006 Alejandro Toledo served as President of Peru. He entered office committed to, in his words, “restoring the democratic institutions that had suffered from a steady deterioration during the previous decade,” (that is, during the rule of former President Alberto Fujimori). Moreover, he took up the task of providing Peruvian society with “a full accounting of the atrocities that had occurred in previous decades.” This personal commitment to re-establishing a functioning democracy based on the rule of law, a commitment based in part on his participation in the anti-Fujimori demonstrations, lead him to seek an honest accounting …


A Human Rights-Oriented Approach To Military Operations, Federico Sperotto Oct 2009

A Human Rights-Oriented Approach To Military Operations, Federico Sperotto

Human Rights & Human Welfare

Counterinsurgency is the dominant aspect of US operations in Afghanistan, and since ISAF—the NATO-led security and assistance force—has assumed growing security responsibility throughout the country, it is also a mission for the Europeans.1 The frame in which military operations are conducted is irregular warfare, a form of conflict which differs from conventional operations in two main aspects. First, it is warfare among and within the people. Second, it is warfare in which insurgents avoid a direct military confrontation, using instead unconventional methods and terrorist tactics.

© Federico Sperotto. All rights reserved.

This paper may be freely circulated in electronic or …


Repression And Punishment In North Korea: Survey Evidence Of Prison Camp Experiences, Stephan Haggard, Marcus Noland Oct 2009

Repression And Punishment In North Korea: Survey Evidence Of Prison Camp Experiences, Stephan Haggard, Marcus Noland

Human Rights & Human Welfare

The penal system has played a central role in the North Korean government’s response to the country’s profound economic and social changes. Two refugee surveys—one conducted in China, one in South Korea—document its changing role. The regime disproportionately targets politically suspect groups, particularly those involved in market-oriented economic activities. Levels of violence and deprivation do not appear to differ substantially between the infamous political prison camps, penitentiaries for felons, and labor camps used to incarcerate individuals for misdemeanors, including economic crimes. Substantial numbers of those incarcerated report experiencing deprivation with respect to food as well as public executions and other …


A Few Drops Of Oil Will Not Be Enough, Stephen James Oct 2009

A Few Drops Of Oil Will Not Be Enough, Stephen James

Human Rights & Human Welfare

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn provide a rich description of the various kinds of violence, deprivation, depredation and exploitation that women experience on a vast scale in the developing world. They write of sex trafficking, acid attacks, “bride burning,” enslavement, spousal beatings, unequal healthcare (something the USA still struggles with), insufficient food, gendered abortions and infant and maternal mortality. They are right to identify the education of women and girls as part of the solution to the widespread “gendercide.” However, their approach focuses too much on the capacity, indeed the virtue or heroism, of individual women. It does not take …


The Gaza War Of 2009: Applying International Humanitarian Law To Israel And Hamas, Justus Reid Weiner, Avi Bell Oct 2009

The Gaza War Of 2009: Applying International Humanitarian Law To Israel And Hamas, Justus Reid Weiner, Avi Bell

San Diego International Law Journal

This Article explores the many international legal issues raised by the Palestinian-Israeli tension along Gaza's borders. It first examines legal issues raised by Palestinian conduct and then turns to legal issues raised by Israeli conduct. As will be demonstrated, criticisms of Israeli behavior ... lack any basis in international law. By contrast, Palestinian behaviors that are rarely criticized constitute severe violations of international law.


Silencing The Silk Road: China's Language Policy In The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Aurora Elizabeth Bewicke Oct 2009

Silencing The Silk Road: China's Language Policy In The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Aurora Elizabeth Bewicke

San Diego International Law Journal

As part of its push for mono-culturalism throughout China in general, and in the XUAR in particular, China's language policy is at the forefront of what some have labeled China's program of "cultural genocide." While most agree that this provocative terminology is overstated, China's language policy may well be at the root of various human rights violations. Part II of this article will describe the historical context and modern realities of China's language policy in the XUAR, which is compromised of both overt policies in the form of laws, regulations, and policy statements as well as more covert policies, which …


Towards A New Transitional Justice Model: Assessing The Serbian Case, Roozbeh (Rudy) B. Baker Oct 2009

Towards A New Transitional Justice Model: Assessing The Serbian Case, Roozbeh (Rudy) B. Baker

San Diego International Law Journal

This Article will survey the key episodes of transitional justice in various countries since the 1970s, and then apply the lessons gleaned to the transition of Serbia during the first five years following the deposition of authoritarian ruler Slobodan Milosevic in October 200, and the subsequent establishment of democratic rule...This article will show that the empirical evidence demonstrates that the outcome of the transitional justice process a country undertakes, upon its political stability, needs to be taken into account when fashioning said process.


De-Cloaking Torture: Boumediene And The Military Commissions Act, Alan W. Clarke Oct 2009

De-Cloaking Torture: Boumediene And The Military Commissions Act, Alan W. Clarke

San Diego International Law Journal

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) marked the high tide and endgame for hiding torture. It's unraveling did more to uncover the Bush administration's secret interrogation practices than did the political change in Washington. International and domestic backlash against the government's embrace of harsh interrogation techniques, frequently rising to the level of torture, also played a role. However, the Supreme Court's decisions ending in Boumediene v. Bush played the decisive role. Boumediene, and the Supreme Court decisions that led up to it, made inevitable that which politics had left contingent and reversible. It also provided legal and political cover.


From Outrage To Action, Henry Krisch Oct 2009

From Outrage To Action, Henry Krisch

Human Rights & Human Welfare

Kristof and WuDunn provide a vivid panoramic view of problems faced by women (primarily in the “developing” world), what has been done and what more could be done to help them achieve dignity and autonomy in their lives, and how vindication of their rights could contribute to the broader social development of their societies. In this they provide us with important insights into how human rights might be effectively proclaimed and successfully implemented. In reviewing their considerable contributions, I shall also suggest some limitations on both their analysis and their policy recommendations.


Violence In The House, Katherine Hite Oct 2009

Violence In The House, Katherine Hite

Human Rights & Human Welfare

There was something particularly haunting in reading this Kristof and WuDunn piece during the week’s major US headlines: a girl in California had been imprisoned for eighteen years in the home of a man who kidnapped and raped her, fathered her children, and employed her in his small enterprise—a business card design and printing agency. Business clients interviewed for the story appeared completely taken aback. Clients had always found the now twenty-nine-year-old Jaycee Dugard “professional, polite, and responsive” as well as “creative and talented in her work.” Others expressed similar shock, recounting that Ms. Dugard “was always smiling.” Ms. Dugard’s …


October Roundtable: Introduction Oct 2009

October Roundtable: Introduction

Human Rights & Human Welfare

An annotation of:

The Women's Crusade. By Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The New York Review of Books. August 17, 2009.


"The Female Entrepreneur"?, Cath Collins Oct 2009

"The Female Entrepreneur"?, Cath Collins

Human Rights & Human Welfare

I read the “Women’s Crusade” article that forms the centrepiece of this month’s roundtable with initial interest, gradually turning to a vague sense of disquiet spiced with occasional disbelief. After a few more readings, I tried highlighting the passages that bothered me and stringing them together. Countries “riven by fundamentalism”— that’s presumably the Islamic variety, rather than the Christian variant which holds such sway in the US. The suggestion that “everyone from the World Bank to the US [...] Chiefs of Staff to [...] CARE” now thinks that women are the answer to global extremism hides too many questionable assumptions …


Sex And Slavery: An Analysis Of Three Models Of State Human Trafficking Legislation, Melynda H. Barnhart Oct 2009

Sex And Slavery: An Analysis Of Three Models Of State Human Trafficking Legislation, Melynda H. Barnhart

William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice

No abstract provided.


September Roundtable: Introduction Sep 2009

September Roundtable: Introduction

Human Rights & Human Welfare

An annotation of:

The Rape of the Congo. By Adam Hochschild. The New York Review of Books. August 13, 2009.


Overcoming Collective Action Failure In The Security Council: Would Direct Regional Representation Better Protect Universal Human Rights?, Noah Bialostozky Sep 2009

Overcoming Collective Action Failure In The Security Council: Would Direct Regional Representation Better Protect Universal Human Rights?, Noah Bialostozky

Buffalo Human Rights Law Review

No abstract provided.


Hanging In A Balance: Freedom Of Expression And Religion, Puja Kapai, Anne S Y Cheung Sep 2009

Hanging In A Balance: Freedom Of Expression And Religion, Puja Kapai, Anne S Y Cheung

Buffalo Human Rights Law Review

When the liberty to freely express oneself is at odds with another's right to freedom of religion, we are confronted with the classic dilemma of choosing between two equally fundamental, constitutionally and internationally protected rights. The contours of the said two rights however, are far from clear. Whilst freedom of expression is not an absolute right, its limits are controversial. Equally, while it is undisputed that freedom of religion is an internationally protected human right enshrined in various international instruments, there is no comprehensive international treaty which addresses as its subject the content and extent of the right of freedom …


Rights And Duties Of Minorities In A Context Of Post-Colonial Self-Determination: Basques And Catalans In Contemporary Spain, Jorge Martínez Paoletti Sep 2009

Rights And Duties Of Minorities In A Context Of Post-Colonial Self-Determination: Basques And Catalans In Contemporary Spain, Jorge Martínez Paoletti

Buffalo Human Rights Law Review

No abstract provided.


Power And Cooperation: Understanding The Road Towards A Truth Commission, Ming Zhu Sep 2009

Power And Cooperation: Understanding The Road Towards A Truth Commission, Ming Zhu

Buffalo Human Rights Law Review

Truth commissions, usually described as a softer transitional justice alternative to trials, gained traction in academic circles following the establishment of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Though they are praised for their value in societal reconciliation and widely recognized for their flexibility; little is understood of their causal factors or requirements. This Article turns to this hole in the research and examines the effects of one potential causal variable, the balance of power between the warring parties. Through an in-depth examination of four case studies, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, and East Timor, this Article finds that truth commissions are …


From Armchair Reading To Action: Acknowledging Our Role In The Horror Of The Democratic Republic Of The Congo - And Doing Something About It., Shareen Hertel Sep 2009

From Armchair Reading To Action: Acknowledging Our Role In The Horror Of The Democratic Republic Of The Congo - And Doing Something About It., Shareen Hertel

Human Rights & Human Welfare

Reading Adam Hochschild's extraordinary account of ordinary people caught up in the horrific ravages of a civil war raging in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), I was struck by how incongruous my own encounter with this suffering is. I read his article over lunch, safe in the comfort of my own home. As a woman, I live largely without fear of the kind of brutal sexual violence that Hochschild opens his article with, as he related the story of a Congolese NGO worker who is herself a victim of multiple rapes.


Human Rights Law On Trial In The Drc, William Paul Simmons Sep 2009

Human Rights Law On Trial In The Drc, William Paul Simmons

Human Rights & Human Welfare

The ongoing tragedy in Eastern Congo contains so many tragic lessons that it should shake to their very foundations all comfortable ideologies about human rights and politics. The atrocities in the DRC should implicate all but have so far resulted in almost limitless impunity. Here, I briefly put human rights law on trial for its role in perpetuating this tragedy.


Natural Resources And Wealth Of The Democratic Republic Of Congo (Drc): Of Benefit To Whom?, Nicola Colbran Sep 2009

Natural Resources And Wealth Of The Democratic Republic Of Congo (Drc): Of Benefit To Whom?, Nicola Colbran

Human Rights & Human Welfare

When asked to discuss the humanitarian tragedy in the DRC, the question really is where to start? The article by Adam Hochschild discusses some of the most horrific events and experiences imaginable: widespread killings of unarmed civilians, rape, torture and looting, the recruitment of child soldiers, and the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. The immediate human response is who is to blame, how did it happen and how can the world apparently do nothing?