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Human rights

  • India’s Supreme Court Decriminalizes Homosexuality

    September 6, 2018

    This afternoon, the Supreme Court of India delivered a landmark judgment that overturned a colonial era law that made homosexuality a crime. The ruling was delivered by a five-judge bench headed by India’s outgoing Chief Justice Dipak Misra and was unanimous. When reading out the operative portion of the historic verdict, Chief Justice Dipak Misra said: “Any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates fundamental rights”. “Social morality cannot be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual […]Constitutional morality cannot be martyred at the altar of social morality,” he added. India now joins 17 commonwealth nations that have overturned laws criminalizing homosexuality, a legacy stemming from British Colonial Rule.

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  • Argentina To Report Venezuela to the ICC for Alleged Crimes Against Humanity

    September 4, 2018

    On August 20, the President of Argentina, Mr. Mauricio Macri, announced during a press meeting that he intends to report Venezuela to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged crimes against humanity. President Macri stated that his plans to refer the Venezuelan government to the ICC are supported by Colombia, Chile and Paraguay. If Argentina succeeds, it will be the first time in history that a state party to the Rome Statute refers a fellow member to the ICC.

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  • Men and Boys as Hidden Victims of Sexual Violence

    July 5, 2018

    Generally, victims of rape and other types of sexual violence are reluctant to speak out. Unfortunately, exclusion and stigmatization are the unavoidable corollary of acts of sexual violence. While there still is limited awareness, focus and advocacy on women’s rights in sexually violent circumstances, it is even less so when men are the victims of these crimes. Reflections on the male victims’ perspective to sexual violence in unrest inspired Sophia Ugwu and her team at Centre for African Justice Peace and Human Rights, a non-profit Foundation based in The Hague, to organise a Symposium on sexual violence perpetrated against the Male gender.

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  • Four Freedoms Awards 2018

    May 18, 2018

    On Wednesday, the Four Freedoms Awards were presented in Middelburg, The Netherlands. At the ceremony HM King Willem-Alexander, HM Queen Maxima and HRH Princess Beatrix were present at the Nieuwe Kerk in Middelburg. The International Four Freedoms Award, the overarching awards for the four freedoms, has been presented to Christiana Figueres Olsen from Costa Rica. Together with her colleagues she spent years in achieving the Paris climate agreement in 2015.

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  • The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Reflections on Recent Progress

    March 21, 2018

    Recent years have seen the African Court begin to find its stride. Its willingness to expand its jurisdiction and defend vulnerable groups against powerful states has shown it to be a bold court with a desire to vigorously uphold its mandate to protect human rights on the Continent. Whilst it indeed seems that the Court has the aspiration to assert itself, the fact that so few states have deposited their Special Declarations allowing individuals and NGOs direct access to the Court continues to hamper its effectiveness. The Court’s outreach efforts to engage with states and civil society in response to this paucity of Special Declarations do appear to be having some success, however, progress has been slow and the Court may have to have recourse to other means to improve state engagement in future.

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  • Perspectives on Mass Violence: Peace and Conflict Studies and Genocide Studies Compared

    March 1, 2018

    This week’s compelling guest blog compares the fields of Conflict Studies with Genocide Studies, its intriguing differences and similarities and the general lack of cross-pollination between them, even though they both deal with questions of collective violence and individual participation in violence. The author, Kjell Anderson, is a jurist and social scientist and works in both fields of Conflict Studies and Genocide studies.

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  • Robots and Rights

    November 16, 2017

    Recently, an intelligent and human looking robot named Sophia made global headlines when Saudi Arabia granted the humanoid robot Saudi citizenship. According to the headlines, Saudi Arabia became the first country to grant a robot citizenship. The news caused quite a stir – the female looking robot was not wearing a hijab, she was not accompanied by a male guardian and the robot was awarded citizenship, which made it look like a humanoid intelligent robot was given more rights than women and migrants living in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is known for its restrictive policy concerning women’s rights and Saudi women have only recenly been given the right to drive a car. Perhaps it is a bit premature to give an AI humanoid robots like Sophia citizenship rights. Was it a publicity stunt? Yes.

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  • Targeted Killing of European Foreign Terrorist Fighters in Syria and Iraq

    October 25, 2017

    In recent years, a significant number of European nationals have travelled to Syria or Iraq to train and fight with terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (IS). This flow of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) has posed serious security concerns for Europe, in particular with regards to the threat posed by FTFs returning to Europe to carry out terrorist attacks. In this context, it appears that a number of States have resorted to targeted strikes against their citizens in Syria and Iraq.

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  • In Memoriam M. Cherif Bassiouni

    September 26, 2017

    A global ‘champion of justice,’ has died last Monday. Benjamin Ferencz, who at 98 is the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg war crimes trials, said that Mr. Bassiouni “was a real contributor to international criminal law and the rule of law to protect human rights.” No less than 334 publications on his name in our Catalogue!

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  • Turkey: Constitutional Referendum during a State of Emergency

    March 30, 2017

    Turkey’s upcoming constitutional referendum on 16 April 2017 is deeply polarizing Turkish society and concurrently threatening its foreign relations with Western allies. According to the latest polls, the battle for the constitutional reform package is a neck and neck race, with the opposition having a slight lead for now. So far neither side has taken a convincing lead but if president Erdoğan gains the necessary support for the referendum, eighteen amendments will alter the Turkish constitution in a way that will grant the president sweeping powers and mark the biggest changes since the inception of the 93-year old Turkish Republic. Prior to the referendum, Turkey’s already brittle democracy had been dealt a huge blow by the declaration of the State of Emergency after the failed coup in July 2016, which initiated a purge of nearly unprecedented scale.

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