2013 (26)
Dec 9 2013 2:00PM
You have no unread messages: Why Amnesty is taking action over surveillance concerns
Orwell was right. Big Brother is watching you. Every word you type online and every site you visit is being observed, and currently your only way to put a stop to that is to log off. In June the US whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed...
Nov 15 2013 2:12PM
Cameron raises Sri Lanka's war crimes - but is it too little, too late?
As David Cameron arrives in Colombo, fresh from a grilling in India about his choice to attend the Commonwealth head of government meeting (CHOGM) he seems to have found his voice at last on human rights concerns. But is his outcry abo...
Nov 6 2013 4:46PM
Sri Lanka - the Kings of Spin
There are just some issues that get under your skin. If you watched No Fire Zone on Channel Four this week you’ll understand why I’ve got the bit between my teeth about Sri Lanka . 40,000 civilians (or more) were killed at the end of t...
Nov 6 2013 3:06PM
The gunpowder plot, fireworks and the Lobbying Bill
Earlier this week I found myself emailing all Peers to urge them to vote for a pause of Part 2 Lobbying Bill, which was being debated in the Lords on 5 November. A couple things struck me as I did this. Firstly, I’m usually reluctant t...
Oct 25 2013 4:51PM
What do UN Women and the Great British Bake Off have in common?
On face value it might seem like UN Women (set up with the grand aim of championing the empowerment of women worldwide) has little in common with the humble Great British Bake Off (apart from the fact that I am a fan of both, important...
Oct 24 2013 1:10PM
The Sri Lanka the authorities don’t want you to see
To natter to politicians about human rights you need to head to their stalking ground…Party conferences. It is like a festival for political anoraks where we all queue up to see our favourite “acts”. However, this year among the many m...
Sep 16 2013 1:25PM
Trend-setting feminists, Liberal Democrat activists - who knew?
In yesterday’s Independent Jane Merrick suggested that you can tell a lot about a political party’s state of being by the makeup of its conference attendees and activists : younger and trendier activists hint at growing power, she says...
Sep 6 2013 11:17AM
Will the Lobbying Bill gag legitimate debate by charities?
The past week has seen a flurry of attention on what is being referred to as the ‘Lobbying Bill’. Media reports and a lively Commons debate have highlighted the concerns that charities and NGOs have with this legislation. The ‘Transpar...
Sep 4 2013 6:12PM
UK’s Action Plan on Business and Human Rights – a break with the past?
When two Secretaries of State – Hague and Cable - combine to launch a government plan for UK businesses to respect human rights , it’s safe to assume they consider it a Big Thing. But how much does the government really care what UK co...
Aug 20 2013 3:24PM
Eggs and bullets: the occupational hazards of a politician
Ed Miliband had an egg thrown at him last week . “These things happen” he said afterwards, shrugging off his coat (and perhaps his embarrassment) and continuing about his business. I guess having eggs thrown at you is a bit of an occup...
Aug 5 2013 4:28PM
Asylum, refugees and immigration: avoiding a race to the bottom
Immigration is once more high on the political agenda as the Home Office seek to ‘get tough’ with ‘illegal immigrants’. Vans urging illegal immigrants to “go home or face arrest” and spot checks at railway stations across the country h...
Jul 30 2013 4:17PM
Giving women a vote and a voice in Afghanistan’s future
Just over a decade ago, Afghan women were not seen and not heard in public life. Hidden behind a wall of conservative attitudes and behaviours, unable to leave the home, forced to cover themselves from head to toe - in every way, they...
Jul 17 2013 5:57PM
If women ruled the world…
In my morning routine you can guarantee two things a. I am woken up by my cat at exactly 7am every day (even Sundays…apparently cats do not observe a day of rest) and b. from 7am until 8.30 at some point I am arguing with the Today pro...
Jul 16 2013 2:12PM
Edward Snowden and Russia's Cold War on human rights
I’ve recently become addicted to ‘The Americans’, a TV series set during the Cold War period in the 1980s. It follows the adventures of Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, two Russian KGB officers posing as an American married couple, their...
Jul 15 2013 2:58PM
Trading away human rights
Imagine a government agency that adopts human rights standards that don’t apply to a majority of its transactions. Imagine a government agency that systematically ignores the recommendations of Parliamentary Committees that have conduc...
Jun 26 2013 11:29AM
Sri Lanka – sun, sea, torture and impunity
A heavily worked phrase used by the tourist industry is to describe a particular destination as a “country of contrast”. Sri Lanka is surely such a country - at one level a popular tourist destination, which according to the advertisin...
Jun 25 2013 5:09PM
Making love a crime: homophobia in sub-Saharan Africa
Today, Amnesty released a report on the criminalisation of homosexuality south of the Sahara: Making love a crime: Criminalisation of same-sex conduct in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our report documents an increase in homophobic attacks and ha...
Jun 20 2013 2:22PM
Polluted and poisoned: the human rights debate in the UK
This afternoon the House of Lords will debate the report published by the Bill of Rights Commission back in December . This debate is of course not the be-all and end-all of the UK’s human rights debate, but it reminds us of the ‘drum...
Jun 19 2013 3:06PM
Profits and loss - human rights and the artisan
My eight year old son recently asked me “what’s an artisan baker?” (we were in Dulwich!) and I explained that an artisan is a skilled physical worker - that artisan bakers’ bread will be made by hand and baked in the shop, whereas the...
Jun 13 2013 4:12PM
Everyday sexism - don’t (just) get angry…get active
A feminist’s work is never done – especially a feminist on twitter. Every time I log on, my twitter feed is full of tweets from the fabulous Everyday Sexism Project which collates stories of sexism. The stories outrage rather than shoc...
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