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This chapter briefly discusses the gay rights/queer movement, LGBTQ+/Queer studies, and queer theory. It reviews the concept of LGBTQ+ and the status of LGBTQ+/sexual minorities under international and regional human rights law. In particular, rights related to transgender people and intersex people, and the issue of same-sex marriage are explored in the regional contexts.
This chapter examines some of the most recent human rights concerns including genocide and racism. It also discusses the impact of COVID-19 on human rights including the relationship between government and human rights, the right to health, and technology, and human rights. The chapter highlights the erosion of democratic institutions but looks to the promising future of human rights.
Sadistic methods employed to extract information from those in custody date back to antiquity. The right against torture is considered a ius cogens, allowing no state to derogate from the obligation not to use such methods. This chapter provides a glimpse of the devastating techniques governments have used in various settings including medical experimentation. It also reveals methods by which officials, such as the CIA, circumvented their own laws in much-condemned efforts to obtain information deemed critical for national security. This includes extraordinary rendition via “torture jets” and use of medical professionals in illicit interrogations. The photographs used to expose the gross violations of human rights also constituted violations of human rights.
This chapter presents an array of institutions at many levels: international, regional, and national and municipal levels. The survey of mechanisms identifies the key features of each system, noting the relative strengths and weaknesses of each. Landmark decisions illustrate facets of the systems. The overview concludes with two famous success stories of enforcement in civil litigation, Filartiga v. Pena-Irala (US) and In Re Pinochet (UK).
This chapter first provides a glimse of the development of international labor rights movement. It then discusses the concept of labor rights including the right to strike. It explores the issues of equal opportunity and equal treatment, right to unionize and collective bargaining, freedom from forced and compulsory labor, and child labor, four so-called “core labor standards,” and their status under international and regional human rights law. The chapter also examines the relationship among labor rights, migration and globalization, focusing on the issues of how to promote workers’ rights effectively in developing countries in the global economy. Labor rights concerning migrant workers are considered as well.
This chapter first explores the marginalized condition of women around the world and traces the history of the transnational feminist movement. It discusses the relevant concepts such as public/private sphere, gender equality v. gender equity, and intersectionality. After a survey of the status of women’s rights under international and regional human rights law, it then examines various issues including the right to equality between men and women in marriage and family life, women’s rights in public and political life, sexual and reproductive rights, women’s land, property, housing rights, women’s rights to food, water, and sanitation, women workers’ rights in the workplace, and violence against women.
The introduction highlights the attraction of the idea of human rights. It affords insight into the development of the new international standards, considers the philosophical foundations, presents matters of cross-cultural interpretation, and broaches the subject of controversies. The controversies reveal the underlying tension between cultural relativism and universalism. By turning to difficult challenges, it is possible to come to grips with shared values or cross-cultural universals. The powerful idea of human rights appeals because of the peremptory norms, known as ius cogens, e.g., the rights against slavery and genocide.
This chapter discusses the theoretical controversies surrouding the death penalty, the status of the death penalty under international human rights law, the death penalty in the United States and China. It also explores other cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishments including mass incarceration, life imprisonment, shackling, and solitary confinement.
This chapter traces the international environmental rights movement, discusses international environmental law, and analyzes the theoretical deveopment and policy practices of environmental protection and human rights. It then examines the issue of environmental justice including environmental racism. Topics such as pollution and human rights, climate change and human rights, and environmental refugees and human rights are also explored.
Many cultural traditions are, to the surprise of many, actually protected under human rights law. This chapter reviews the jurisprudence of cultural rights including dress codes, language policies, foodways, call to prayer, sacred sites, and others. Whether individuals whose traditions clash with the national law should be allowed to invoke a cultural defense is also considered.
This chapter first provides a brief historical overview of the international indigenous rights movement. It then discusses the definitions of “indigenous peoples”. It also analyzes the content of “indigenous rights,” focusing on the issues of right to self-determination and economic, social and cultural rights, followed by an examination of the role of the UN and indigenous NGOs in protecting and promoting indigenous rights.
This chapter considers the role of the media in promoting and protecting human rights. With the rise of the Internet and highly offensive material “going viral” have come calls for more regulation. It is challenging to balance human rights to freedom of expression, access to information, freedom of assembly, and privacy against countervailing interests. While media freedom is important for the mobilization of shame, it carries risks explored here. Deciding how to balance competing considerations without adopting overbroad legislation should lead to lively class discussions.
This chapter tackles the challenge of characterizing those rights that constitute socio-economic rights. It offers a brief consideration of this catalogue/generation by assessing the rights to adequate standard of living, housing, food, water and sanitation, and clothing. After distilling the main idea of the specific right, illustrations are set forth. In this area, the tendency of states to deny they have resources necessary to guarantee these rights has largely undermined the progressive development of this set of rights.
The rights of children undergo close scrutiny in this chapter. Although the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Magna Carta of children’s rights, enjoys nearly universal support, it did not settle all interpretive questions. This chapter reviews definitional questions such as when the rights of the child are being, shown to ascertain, in practical ways, the difference between a child and an adult. Among the topics covered are the exploitation of child labor, “streetism” as it affects children, the participation of children in armed conflict and the landmark prosecutions of those who recruite them in international criminal tribunals. The global campaign to discourage child marriage is another matter considered. The chapter ends with a consideration of empowerment rights such as enfranchisement.