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Rights Perspectives on Laws Assigning Gender

People whose identities do not fit into a rigid female/male gender binary have, in many countries, been on a years-long quest to obtain official documents that reflect their identities by using a non-binary “X” marker in lieu of the typical “F” or “M…
201911US_lgbt_rights
News
An ongoing legal case in London could provide the impetus for significant reforms to improve human rights protections for workers in the garment industry. The UK legal action doesn’t relate directly to clothing companies, but it sounds a warning that…
Women Garment Industry
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New Zealand has banned semi-automatic firearms, magazines, and parts that can be used to assemble prohibited firearms after 50 people were killed and dozens wounded in a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15. …
201905arms_newzealand_parliament
News
A new treaty to deepen the link between environmental protection and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean has the potential to reduce the conflicts that lead to the murders of so many environmental defenders in the region.  The…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
News

Provide Information, Protect Livelihoods When Mines Move In

  Information is key to protecting the health and the livelihoods of people in areas affected by economic development. And that is why a 10 percent cut in the Malawi Human Rights Commission's budget announced recently is such bad news. The…
Mining machinery left behind at Eland coal mine at Mwabulambo after closure in 2015.
News
In a moment when some countries have stepped back on LGBT rights, a January 9th decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has opened a window of opportunity for Latin America to lead the way.   In a landmark…
People celebrate after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica and Latin America to recognize equal marriage, in San Jose, Costa Rica, January 9, 2018. The sign reads: "The court said yes".
News
After everything that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people experienced in 2017 — from roundups and torture in Chechnya to antigay witch hunts in Egypt and Indonesia, closure of queer-friendly health facilities in…
The Indian Supreme Court building in New Delhi, India.
News
It is a rare law enforcement officer or intelligence agent who doesn’t want access to more information. Yet total information awareness, to use a term from the George W. Bush administration era, has never been possible. Some people whisper to avoid prying…
News
Children across New Zealand are back in school for the new academic year, and many will be looking forward to studying, playing sport, and maybe singing in the school choir. This isn't the case for many children around the world who are denied…
Children sent to Nauru by Australia for “offshore processing,” August 2016. Parents and children reported that students from families of refugees and asylum seekers are frequently bullied by Nauruan students.
News

Governments Signal Continued Support for Court

The recent decisions by South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) are generating wide attention and speculation about a mass exodus from the court by African countries.  But think it’s clear where Africa stands on…
Stella Ndirangu of ICJ Kenya
News
  Malita had high hopes when she first heard that foreign and domestic companies would start mining in her area of Malawi. The government and the companies promised jobs, better schools and improved access to healthcare in her village. They…
Malcoal mine in Kayelekera.
News
New Zealand was in “listening mode” at the second multilateral meeting on “killer robots” at the United Nations in Geneva this month. No other country with similar disarmament credentials was as quiet, except perhaps Belgium. It was an…
News
When she was 12, Chimwemwe, from a rural village in southern Malawi, married a 17-year-old boy. She had started having sex with him when she was 10 because, she said, he gave her money and small gifts, while her parents could not afford to feed her or buy…
News
Australia has found a new export product: punitive asylum policies. Its overwrought reaction to asylum seekers arriving by boat has now taken hold of New Zealand's political leadership, who appear to be moving forward this month with a "mass arrivals"…
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The Fight for Human Rights

In 2008, recently out of Yale Law School, I traveled to Malawi with a development organization and met a local prosecutor over lunch. Making conversation, I asked her what type of cases she prosecuted: "Murders," she said. When I asked why a career as a…
News
The new Malawi government took an important step in June when it indicated it could not host the African Union summit if it meant welcoming President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan to its territory, given that he is an International Criminal Court suspect for…
News
At a news conference shortly after she was sworn in as Malawi’s president, Joyce Banda announced her government’s intention to decriminalise homosexuality. It is unclear how she will achieve this, but the move is in stark contrast to the approach of her…
News
This past weekend, New Zealand found itself in the midst of a loud public debate over the case of a teenager who procured an abortion with the support of her school counselor, without informing her parents. The parents were angry, and much was said about…
News
For years now, women’s groups in Southern Africa have campaigned tirelessly to ensure that the Southern African Development Community adopt the Protocol on Gender and Development. Yesterday, the SADC finally took that historic step. Member states will be…