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Blogging about Human Rights from every Corner of the World

The death penalty in the US and the need for change

For the 11th consecutive year, the United States has remained the only country in the Americas to carry out executions. The use of capital punishment by developed countries has fallen significantly in recent times with no member of the Council of Europe carrying out an execution since 1997.  Therefore, the question must remain, why do… … Read more →

Dehumanising the dogfight: the next step in the unmanned arms race

In August of this year, an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm was pitted against a human pilot in simulated F-16 fighter jet dogfights. The AI pilot won, 5-0. The US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) hosted the ‘AlphaDogfight’ Trials as part of the Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program, which looks at future possibilities of teaming machines with humans to enhance defence capability through “complex multi-aircraft scenarios”. … Read more →

An Anthem for Condemned Youth on the World Day Against the Death Penalty

It is not often that in the world of human rights we celebrate positive news from Iran. However, on the 8 October, human rights defender and journalist Narges Mohammadi was released early from Evin prison, after spending more than 2000 days incarcerated in terrible conditions in a prison now rife with the coronavirus. It was… … Read more →

Home Rules

It’s a strange time to be taking my UK citizenship test. Strange because I’m being asked to assure the Home Office that I will respect the law. I am asked to be aware that in the UK the rule of law is one of the four main values that I will be asked to affirm if I am granted citizenship. … Read more →

The Disappeared: Turkey’s Ghosts That Never Stop Haunting

On July 25, an elderly lady by the name of Hanife Yıldız was dragged on the ground by police officers, simply because she wanted to leave cloves in İstanbul’s historic Galatasaray square. The incident was so horrifying that it even left the people at the scene fearing that she would have a heart attack. … Read more →

Foreign ISIS Children Deserve a Home

Western governments have shirked their responsibilities for far too long. Across the globe, hundreds of thousands of citizens have been evacuated to their home countries in recent months—the largest repatriation in history. But these coronavirus airlifts have passed over a particularly desperate group: the children of foreign Islamic State fighters. For years, the fate of… … Read more →

Hong Kong: What does the new security law mean for press freedom?

Hong Kong’s recently enacted National Security Law on Monday claimed its first major target, with the arrest of media boss Jimmy Lai and six others associated with his company Next Media, on charges of colluding with foreign powers. Lai, a long-time critic of Beijing and pro-democracy activist, is well used to the constabulary’s knock on… … Read more →

Ballots and bots: the threats to democratic elections

2020 is one phenomenal election year across the world. There have been, or there will be 20 elections across Europe, 15 across Africa, 14 across Asia, nine in North America, seven in South America, five in the Middle East, and eight in Oceania.  Elections are the bedrock of any democratic society. They are the most… … Read more →

Combatting disinformation: Why trust matters

The coronavirus crisis has substantially increased news consumption for mainstream media yet trust in the media and news remains low, especially in the UK. Trust in news and media matters, particularly during a time of crisis. As trust decreases people turn to alternative sources that exploit the weaknesses of traditional media outlets, often peddling conspiracy… … Read more →

The r/fight to protest #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

Protesters around the world are continuing to demand justice for 46-year-old George Floyd, who died one week ago under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis while other officers restrained his body. George Floyd’s death is a painful reminder of the African-American struggle against systemic racism. African-Americans have been the primary target of… … Read more →

The UK must stop compelling asylum seekers to risk their lives

When I was a teenager, a shy young man took a long distance National Express bus down from Newcastle to stay with my family in Essex for a few days. He was a distant relative who had left lran and travelled to the UK by clinging to the underframe of a lorry a few years before, breaking all his limbs as he wedged them into gaps on the underside of the vehicle for hours on end. He was struggling … Read more →

Disinformation kills: The Covid-19 infodemic

The right to access information is incredibly important, now more than ever. Yet amidst a barrage of coronavirus disinformation aimed at sowing further chaos, many governments’ reactions to the pandemic have been to crack down hard on media outlets and journalists who are trying to provide the accurate information and facts that so many of… … Read more →

Shielding Democracy from COVID-19

Across the world, COVID-19 has unleashed a tidal wave of state power. What can we do to ensure that the great pandemic of 2020 is not remembered for an unravelling of democratic values, a disintegration of the rule of law; an irreversible erosion of hard-won rights and freedoms? The risk is very real. Authoritarianism, the… … Read more →

Second reading of the Immigration Bill is delayed by coronavirus: time to reassess what constitutes a key worker?

The second reading of the government’s flagship Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill was scheduled for 21 April 2020. However, facing opposition from all sides of the political spectrum the Government struck the proposed “virtual” second reading off the order paper. Critics had suggested the government might take advantage of the unprecedented circumstances… … Read more →

Anti-LGBTQ groups in the US are on the rise and they’re targeting trans rights

Anti-LGBTQ+ hate is on the rise in the United States, with a 43% increase in the number of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic groups, compared to previous years. American civil rights organisation, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has issued its annual report analysing the different hate groups operating in the US. The report refers to 2019… … Read more →

International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action: Fifteen years on landmines still pose a threat to lives

Today marks the fifteenth International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. The day was initiated by the UN in 2005 with the goal of limiting states’ landmine capacities, particularly in countries where remnants of mines or live mines used in ongoing conflicts cause a serious threat to the safety and lives of… … Read more →

COVID-19: a crisis that could heighten crime?

COVID-19 has spread at an exponential rate, with over 700,000 confirmed cases across the world. As a result, governments have enacted unprecedented measures in order to limit its spread and increase healthcare to deal with the outbreak. The focus has been on protecting the economy and people’s livelihoods, but the COVID-19 outbreak impacts lesser-seen dimensions.… … Read more →

COVID-19 and the world’s most vulnerable people

The exponential transmission of COVID-19 is compounding the plight of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. While it took three months to reach the first 100,000 cases of the virus, it took only 12 days to double that, and in the words of Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) “Every day,… … Read more →

The Syrian war: the view from Idlib

With its beautiful landscapes embroidered with ever-green olive groves, cherry orchards, fig trees, and hundreds of historical sites, Idlib attracted tourists from all over the world. I was born there in 1969, one year before Hafez Assad became President-for-life of Syria. One whole year without an Assad regime, before our carefree life in Idlib was… … Read more →

Poland’s ‘LGBT-free zones’ pose an eerie threat to equality in Europe

A recent report of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) has shed light on the living conditions of LGBTI people living in Europe and five countries in Central Asia. While some countries, such as Switzerland, have implemented legislation to criminalise anti-LGBTI discrimination, the situation doesn’t seem as rosy in other parts… … Read more →

Creating a safety net to protect “the most vulnerable in our society”

The SafeToNet Foundation is a UK registered charity and is part of the SafeToNet safeguarding and wellbeing brand, which focusses on safeguarding children in the online digital context. At first blush this may seem a simple thing to achieve; after all there are “Parental Controls” that come with smartphones, all you have to do is… … Read more →

Automated threats of a digital dystopia are closer than you think

One of the common tropes of the digital age is that we should be worried about the AI robots that are coming to kill our jobs, kill our relationships, and ultimately even kill us. The problem is articulated often as a dystopian imagining, which we need to arrest before it becomes reality. Such discussions are… … Read more →

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