Blog

NGOs need to step up and keep children safe – here’s what they can do

The wave of reports about abuses perpetrated by aid sector workers in Haiti and elsewhere, including allegations of the abuse of children, should sadly come as little surprise. International actors frequently fall into the gaps between national, regional and international law, and therefore need internal measures to ensure that they adhere to international standards. And of all the players in international interventions, NGOs perhaps need them the most.

Myanmar and Bangladesh strike a shameful deal on Rohingya refugees

Many Rohingya people who have fled the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar are now living as refugees in Bangladesh. And now, the two countries have reportedly struck a deal to return them home. Returning Rohingya people to the hands of their persecutors not only violates international law, but raises fundamental questions about how the world protects those fleeing the most heinous crimes and abuses.

Politics won out over international law in recent UN election

For the first time in the court’s history, the UK will not have a judge sitting at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Christopher Greenwood, who was seeking a second nine-year term, pulled out of the race on November 20, allowing India’s candidate to take the contested seat. This follows weeks of conflict and tension, with a sizeable majority of the UN General Assembly having voted in favour of Judge Dalveer Bhandari. The situation reveals a lot about the internal politics of the UN – because it was politics, not candidate suitability, that determined this recent election.

Why Gambia is not ideal to host Africa’s human rights watchdog

Rosa Freedman, University of Birmingham and Jonathan Fisher, University of Birmingham

When one thinks of human rights in Africa, The Gambia might spring to mind as an example of a country with a domestic record of grave violations. It is therefore rather surprising that the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights continues to be located in the country’s capital Banjul.

For the first seven years of its existence the commission’s hometown provided it with strong ideological support for its work. But in 1994 President Yahya Jammeh seized power. Since then the commission’s location has undermined its credibility and practical utility. Read more

Towards an alternative interpretation of UN immunity: A human rights-based approach to the Haiti Cholera Case

Rosa has co-authored an invited article on the Haiti Cholera Case with Nicolas Lemay-Hebert for Questions of International Law, an open-source peer-reviewed e-journal which aims to foster the debate on questions of public international law by providing a dynamic platform for scholars and practitioners.

Read Towards an alternative interpretation of UN immunity: A human rights-based approach to the Haiti Cholera Case at the QIL website.

 

How rights violators keep the UN Human Rights Council focused on Israel

Rosa Freedman, University of Birmingham

Another UN human rights report has been released about Israel and the human rights abuses it perpetrates in the Occupied Territories – yet another report that highlights ongoing violations of international law and that criticises state actors and organs, greeted with yet another symbolic resolution at the UN in Geneva. And of course, all the usual suspects are up in arms. Read more

Terror attacks on France and Tunisia are much more than a security issue

Rosa Freedman, University of Birmingham

‎As details emerge about an attack at a factory in France in which one person is dead and several injured, comparisons with the Charlie Hebdo killings in January are inevitable.

Following an explosion at a gas factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon, the body of a local businessman was found alongside a flag bearing Islamic inscriptions. Several suspects have been arrested, one of whom was thought to be known to police. Read more

New push to protect ‘family values’ is a brazen attack on human rights

Rosa Freedman, University of Birmingham

Once again, the Human Rights Council has been hijacked to promote the agendas of states who are trying to undermine the very same human rights the UN is supposed to protect.

A recently circulated draft resolution on “protection of the family” looks likely to be passed by the council, even though the text clearly plays into the hands of countries trying to make it legitimate to oppress individuals based on their gender or sexual orientation. Read more