Racial injustice in the United States and the international response

Author: Dr. Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan, PhD (NUI Galway), LL.M. (Maastricht University) Lecturer for International Law at Griffith College, Dublin/Ireland

Introduction:

In 2016 the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (hereafter: the Working Group) visited the United States of America (hereafter: USA), one of the many special procedures under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council, in order to assess the treatment and situation of people with African Descent in the country. With their report, the Working Group concluded that

[C]ontemporary police killings and the trauma that they create are reminiscent of the past racial terror of lynching. Impunity for state violence has resulted in the current human rights crisis and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.[1]

The current atmosphere in the USA reveals a quite blunt manifestation of a deeply divided and troubled society, a society that is haunted by its past and offers a bare view of the remnants of slavery that preoccupies the public discourse and society’s consciousness. Continue reading

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LGBT Rights: Colonisation and International Human Rights Standards

Written by Garima Tiwari

While 18 countries, home to more than 10 percent of the world’s population, now recognize same-sex marriage, 77 countries still outlaw sodomy.[i]  In seven of these countries, same-sex acts are punishable by death! Just recently, the Supreme Court of India reinstated a sodomy law recriminalizing same-sex relationships in a country home to 1.2 billion people. [ii] Max Fisher says that, “That’s more than the combined populations of the next 20 most-populous countries where same-sex acts are criminalized. If we assume that rates of homosexuality are consistent worldwide, then the number of gay men and women who can be jailed for their sexuality may well have just doubled.”[iii] Continue reading

How High are High Officials: Analyzing Obama’s Speech on Syria

The early hours of August 21, 2013 saw a drastic turn in the Syrian conflict as a chemical weapons attack on civilians living in the agricultural belt around Damascus took place. Three days after the attack, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres confirmed that three hospitals it supports in Damascus had treated about 3,600 patients with “neurotoxic symptoms” on the day of the attack; 355 of these had died.[1] Ever since there’ve been mutual accusations of the use of chemical weapons by the countering parties, namely Assad’s regime and the rebels,[2] which also caused a split of views and stances on the international plane. Yet, despite the absence of the forthcoming United Nations [hereinafter UN] report on the attack,[3] the parties to the conflict and the international community are all of no doubt that the attack has taken place. 10 days after the beginning of the political turmoil within the ‘concerned’ international community President Obama issued a statement on Syria accusing the Assad’s regime of the attack on its own people and calling for a targeted military strike to deter the regime from using the chemical weapons ever again.[4]

Continue reading