Tag: Human Rights

Our North is the South: A New Human Rights Agenda?

It has become more or less acceptable in the critical field, when working with contributions from Latin America, to use the map created by the Uruguayan Joaquín García in 1943 that shows the South facing upwards. It is not often recalled that, already in 1154, Al Idrisi had anticipated the convention of placing the South…

Law and Coloniality: An Interview with Brenna Bhandar

English version of interview with Brenna Bhandar* by Olivier Chassaing, translated by Chayma Drira for Période, the French online journal of Marxist theory, available here. Olivier Chassaing (‘OC’): By studying law, one can explore how capitalist societies rest upon and strengthen different social hierarchies: class, gender, race dominations, as well as persisting colonial structures and…

Human Rights for Martians

The human rights movement can be seen as the ongoing but failing struggle to close the gap between the abstract man of the Declarations and the empirical human being. Has it succeeded? Yes and no. 2015 and 2016 have been marked by the heart-breaking images of a moving humanity of refugees and immigrants who leave…

Reading Christian Human Rights in Latin America

Samuel Moyn’s most recent book, Christian Human Rights (University of Pennsylvania University Press 2015), tells the story of the relationship between European Human Rights and Christianity, both during the interwar period and after World War II. Among other things, Moyn argues that Catholicism met human rights once the Church abandoned its prior authoritarian corporatist commitments…

Their Law: The New Energies of UK Squats, Social Centres and Eviction Resistance in the Fight Against Expropriation (Part 1 of 2)

For anyone old enough to remember themselves as a teenager during the nineties, with fond memories of piercing their own ears (multiple times) whilst listening to the second album of The Prodigy ‘Music for a Jilted Generation’ [self-piercing nostalgia optional], they will recognise ‘Their Law’ as the musical response to the criminalisation of rave culture’s…

The In/determinacy of Human Rights: A Response to O’Connell

Paul O’Connell recently argued that human rights are not a trap for emancipatory and radical projects. They can be productively placed with different discourses like anti-capitalism, anti-racism or queer politics, generating productive moments of resistance. He argues against what he calls a ‘monolingual’ idea of struggle where movements can only engage with one discourse at…

Human Rights: Contesting the Displacement Thesis

As a general rule, the precise significance of historical shifts, developments or movements can take a long time to reveal themselves. This is no doubt also true for human rights. For good or ill, and in many ways that remains to be seen, the language of human rights has become ubiquitous in moral, philosophical and…

Gay Rights in Russia 

  Homosexuality is not a criminal offence in Russia — since 1993. In 1999 it ceased to be regarded as a mental illness. Indeed, Russian history has many famous homosexuals — the poet Alexei Apukhtin; Sergei Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballets Russes; and of course the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The younger brother of…

On the Horns of the Moon: 5 More Years Of Pain

2015 UK General Election: Did voters defy the polls because of deeply rooted ideas about masculinity, race and political power? As I walked along the pavement early yesterday morning to get the papers, under the heavy grey sky, cussing the cold temperatures and contemplating all that a Tory majority will mean for the next five…

The Strange Lightness of History

The zones of sub-humanity are regions of non-being, where if you are not truly human you cannot claim to be treated as human, that is to say, to be a subject with human rights. Some people are just too small to be human, and maybe that has always been the case. But ever since Western…

JHRE Editorial: The Discourse of ‘Biocultural’ Rights

The discourse of ‘biocultural’ rights and the search for new epistemic parameters: moving beyond essentialisms and old certainties in an age of Anthropocene complexity? Journal of Human Rights and the Environment (JHRE) Editorial (Vol 6, Issue 1, 2015).There can be little doubt of the multiple complexities facing law in the twenty-first century. Climate change alone…

A Right to Breathe

When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.The air is taken away from us; “we cannot breathe”. This is a commentary which draws inspiration from an evocative piece of writing by Jerome Roos which appeared earlier in Reflections on a Revolution. The…

Lessons from Gaza: Human Rights (2009/2014)

Gaza represents much more than a metaphor for other ongoing struggles. According to UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Navi Pillay, “there appears to be a deliberate defiance on the part of Israel in complying with its international obligations. We should not allow this kind of impunity. We should not allow this to go uninvestigated, or…

Demanding the Future: The Right2Water and Another Ireland

The American abolitionist Frederick Douglass once observed that if you find out ‘just what any people will quietly submit to … you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them’ and that such injustices ‘will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with…

Guantanamo is still there … and the number of Guantanomos is multiplying.

When it comes to dis­reg­arding human rights and in­ter­na­tional legal ob­lig­a­tions, Guantanamo is easily matched by the 400 mi­grant de­ten­tion centres across Europe.One of the reasons why President Obama’s mandate has fallen many miles short of expectations is his clear lack of will — let’s dispense with euphemisms — to deliver his promise to close…