Archive for the ‘human rights’ tag
It’s a momentous date for number of reasons. The three most prominent:
- The Olympics begin. That’s a link to a Big Picture post.
- Russia and Georgia are in the midst of an “undeclared war” over the breakaway region of South Ossetia. This had been speculated about for a while — The Economist even ran an analysis piece on their website today about what trouble such a conflict would cause. Passport has a wrap-up.
- It’s the 20th anniversary of the biggest pro-democracy demonstration in Burmese history. That one, like the recent “Saffron Revolution”, was pretty handily suppressed. (Link goes to The Irradday’s special issue, via Passport.)
Jasmina Tešanović was neighbors with the recently apprehended (accused) genocider. Its interesting, but not terribly surprising:
To judge by the chatter on my B92 blog and the phone messages I get from my friends: as I long suspected, “Europe’s Osama bin Laden” and I have been neighbors. We shared the same food, saw the same beggars in downtown Belgrade where he had been hiding all these years, a genocidal butcher disguised as a New Age quack.
A journalist who lives close to me sent me an sms: Karadzic must have been drinking beer with our gypsy neighbor in the street. As we all suspected, or as some of us surely knew: Karadzic was hiding from justice behind our names and our daily lives, using the Serbian population as his living shields.
For a broader perspective on the Karadzic arrest, try this Economist story.
Two interesting data points, both pointed out by Kevin Drum, should cheer gay activists and allies:
- Support for Proposition 8, California’s ballot initiative to define marriage as “between a man and a woman,” is only at 42%. With 51% opposed, most think it’s unlikely to pass, leaving the recent court decision in favor of gay marriage as state law.
- American public opinion now favors gays serving openly in the military by a wide margin. Where in 1993, only 44% of people supported it, a recent poll puts the number as high as 75%.
The ICC and Omar al-Bashir
I haven’t been following too closely, but I found both of these pieces on the (recommended) indictment of the Sudanese president to be useful:
- John Boonstra clarifies a few points — like that Bashir hasn’t yet been “indicted” — that don’t come across clearly in most reporting of the story.
- Richard Goldstone considers whether this will help or hinder the prospects for peace.
For similar reasons as Equatorial Guinea, The Economist’s Asia.view column asks “why we don’t hear more about Bangladesh?”
According to Odhikar, a Bangladeshi human-rights group, 68 people died in extrajudicial killings (often called “crossfire”) in the first half of this year. Torture is endemic. The government also quietly adopted a new counter-terrorism ordinance last month, without debate. Human Rights Watch, a research and lobbying group, says it violates fundamental freedoms.
I don’t know what’s more astounding, the number he was given or the number that haven’t been taken away. For those institutions that haven’t rescinded, consider this horror.
While discussing the broad decline of the practice, The Economist made a point I’d never known:
Countries where teachers still use force include the United States, where a Supreme Court ruling in 1977 (concerning two pupils whose beatings with a wooden paddle caused medical harm) found that a constitutional ban on “cruel and unusual punishment” applied only to judicial proceedings. That left individual states to decide; in 22 of them, corporal correction in schools occurs in at least some districts.
Perhaps more glaringly:
Indeed, [the United States] is the only country, along with Somalia, which has failed to ratify a United Nations convention on children’s rights, which since 1990 has protected children from “all forms of physical or mental violence”. American officials helped draft the document, but it faces stiff opposition in some quarters of the United States.
Kenji Yoshino offers an interesting idea — straights getting only as close to “marriage” as gays are allowed — though I wonder what good it would actually do. (Anyone who would think to do this probably already favors gay marriage.)
The Temporary Domestic Partnership Strategy asks straights to cross over, in a limited way, from sympathy (pity for the plight of others) to empathy (direct experience of that plight). It seems plausible that if a straight couple experienced a temporary domestic partnership even briefly, they would have a more visceral sense of why gays need the right to marry. For instance, straight couples will find that no contractual arrangement can give them rights against the federal government (which would refuse to issue either partner a green card). Moreover, these couples would experience the importance of the word “marriage” when confronted with the question of their marital status in the myriad places that question is posed.
Even for homosexuals eager for the right to get married, there could be one drawback to California’s making it legal: doting parents and the persistant question of “When are you gonna get married?”
America has more prisoners on death row than any country but Pakistan. (China’s figures are open to dispute.) It’s either a triumph of justice that they’re still alive — and likely appealing their cases — or a damnable pity that they’re there at all.