Blog Archive

Children Deported without Representation

The failure of the United States government to appoint lawyers to represent migrant children facing deportation violates their basic rights under international law. There is now what is called an Amicus Brief in the Federal Appeals court on this issue. An amicus brief is a “friend-of-the-court” brief that lets people put their opinions on a certain issue upon the court. In immigration proceedings, unlike criminal cases, there is no guaranteed right to a lawyer paid for by the government for those who cannot afford one.

LGBT Bullying

In an article I read this week, a 20 year old #@$%anese woman spoke about her life. She talked about being accused of not being “girly enough,” and how she was frequently swarmed by students and beaten with a roll of paper. Her teachers witnessed the abuse again and again but did nothing. She begged her junior high classmates for help -- but they told her to endure the abuse, that high school would be easier. She said that this was too commonly the case in #@$%an, as is the case in many places around the world.

Nepal's Girl Summit

On March 23, the Nepal government had a “Girl Summit,” with speakers including the country’s president and the United Kingdom’s Prince Harry, a follow-up to the first summit held in London in July 2014. They have started a global effort to end child marriage and female genital mutilation. Child marriage is an urgent issue in Nepal, where 41 percent of girls marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by 15. Boys also often marry young in Nepal. In late 2015, Human Rights Watch interviewed married children in 14 of Nepal’s 75 districts.

Solitary Confinement to Meet its End

In a report released last week, the United States Justice Department (DOJ) has called for a number of substantial reforms to the use of solitary confinement in the US, including banning solitary confinement for children. The report's call for an end to the use of solitary confinement for children is great to hear.

Asylum Seekers in Australia

On February 3, the High Court of Australia ruled that the country’s offshore processing arrangements with Nauru are authorised under Australian law - but the court did not consider whether the policy complies with international law. Now let me explain what that means. It means that Australia is going to be conducting processing of Asylum Seekers off of the mainland in Nauru in order to clear space in Australia.

Schools in Ukraine

Hostilities in eastern Ukraine have damaged or destroyed hundreds of schools, many of which were used by parties to the conflict for military purposes, Human Rights Watch said in a report released earlier this week. The 65-page report, “Studying Under Fire: Attacks on Schools, Military Use of Schools During the Armed Conflict in Eastern Ukraine,” documents how both Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed militants have carried out deliberate attacks on schools.

Valentines Day and Jewelry

I love jewelry and respect the workmanship of jewelers who turn raw metals and stone into beautiful, symbolic objects. Jewelry is like an art. Art that many wear on their body and that tells a story. But this Valentine's Day it was worth remembering that many jewelers betray that love by ignoring the rights and safety of the people who supply them with their raw materials. Too often, jewelers don't do enough to find out where the precious metals and stones they trade in come from. Precious metals and stones are sometimes mined under terrible conditions.

The Girl in the River

They planned to shoot 19-year-old Saba Qaiser in the head, put her body in a bag, and dump it in the river. It’s pure luck that they didn’t succeed. Saba was wounded by them but not dead. They threw her into the river and she managed to drag herself out. Her attackers were her own father and her uncle, who wanted revenge on Saba after she married without their permission. Killings like these are referred to as honor killings. Saba is in “A Girl in the River – The Price of Forgiveness,” a documentary by Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, nominated for a 2016 Academy Award.

Women Must Be Protected in Afghanistan!

The photo is shocking. A young woman lies in a hospital bed, cradling her infant, with a bandage where her nose should be. This is Raiza Gul. She married at age 15, in Afghanistan’s north, to a man named Muhammad Khan, the same man who Raiza Gul said tied her hands and cut off her nose with a pocket knife. This horrific act, only the latest in a series of abuses throughout the couple’s marriage, was reportedly prompted by arguments over Khan’s recent engagement to a six or seven-year-old girl he planned to take as a second wife.

Central Aisan Countries Need to Redirect their Attention

Central Asian governments ramped up pressure on nongovernmental groups and activists in 2015. The governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan arrested and imprisoned government critics, closed down independent groups and opposition parties, and adopted legislation restricting the rights of nongovernmental organizations. Central Asian governments are becoming increasingly intolerant of dissent, criticism, and human rights scrutiny as of right.