Rape as a Crime versus Rape as a Punishment: What is going on in India?

Written By Garima Tiwari

Indian village council orders sisters to be raped and paraded naked after their brother elopes with married woman.[i]

This recent news and few other similar incidents evoke a number of sentiments. Of course, it is an illegal order with no statutory backing, yet it is an order of the “members of the society” or as are called “Kangaroo Courts” . And it raises pertinent issues about the perception of women in India within a complex web of Caste, Culture, Religion and a family –community system still very patriarchal. While the Nirbhaya Delhi Gang rape case is still sore and the Government’s “security regime” -in place, headlines of “sentencing to rape”, create a mismatch in legal and societal standards. This post loosely  puts forth ideas on how the simple formula of merely punishing the offender does not even look like a step forward in acknowledging the deep seated problem in a complex society like India. Continue reading


Author: Elias Offor

A horrendous crime against humanity being committed daily by the Boko Haram terror group where casualty figures are quoted to near accuracy- a replication of what used to happen in distant lands that looked peculiar to a particular people and sounded like mere myths to the rest of us in a way that the mind is less troubled- is now a practical reality in our midst. Yet the horror and mind-bugling impact continues to recede to the extent, a mere tale of woe which in Shakespeare terms, are all sound and fury signifying nothing.   Continue reading

The Right to Belong: Dealing With Statelessness in Sub-Saharan Africa

Author:  Michael Addaney

‘Statelessness is a profound violation of an individual’s human rights. It would be deeply unethical to perpetuate the pain it causes when solutions are so clearly within reach.’

Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

In recent years statelessness has become a major concern in various contexts and levels particularly within Africa. Often, statelessness is associated with displacement through armed conflicts as well natural disasters and hence overlaps with the flow of refugees and Internally Displaced Person (IDPs). With Africa’s colonial heritage, critical issues arose from the succession of states and the determination of national status within emerging and transitional states. Moreover, most African states have different approaches in determining nationality and civil status which inadvertently conflict with the legal and policy frameworks of other states. All the above situations create statelessness. Continue reading

Family Reunification Under International Law

Author: Giovanni Giudetti

Family reunification can be seen as “on the one hand, as a humanitarian or human rights issue, and, on the other hand, as an immigration matter which might place a strain on the labour market and social facilities, such as housing, education and medical facilities”[1]. Continue reading

UN Peacekeeping and Sexual Violence

Author: Regina Paulose

As early as 2013,[1] the French government received reports from the UN that French troops had sexually assaulted young children in the Central African Republic (CAR). Apparently frustrated with UN inaction, Anders Kompass, a Senior UN Official, leaked an internal report regarding these crimes to French officials. Despite the prior knowledge, France only recently took decisive action recently.[2]  Officials in the CAR have also opened an inquiry into the matter. UN Human Rights Chief Zeid has noted the abuse is likely the “tip of the iceberg.”[3]   Continue reading

X v Y: Italy and Kafalah

Author: Giovanni Giudetti

The Islamic institution of kafalah, which finds its origins in northern Africa, has given rise to different opinions and ways of dealing with family reunification in European countries[1]. In order to better understand this issue with a deeper analysis of the measures adopted by EU member States[2], we examine this through the lens of the Italian Corte di Cassazione[3], which denies the right to family reunification for children in care through kafalah. In the case X v. Y an Italian citizen of Moroccan origin applied for and obtained custody through kafalah of his two nephews from the Moroccan authority, in order to provide his brother’s children, who were left fatherless, with accommodation, maintenance, education and protection in his country of residence, Italy. Continue reading

The Modern Slave Trade? Not Quite

The trafficking of human being across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe has been on the news last month. The death of almost 900 people as they sought refuge and a better life in Europe so much pricked our collective conscience that at last there seems to be some movement to prevent these events from re-occuring. Former leaders of European countries for example described it as “a stain on the conscience of our continent”[1].  Continue reading