Notes from the field: The UN Forum on Business and Human Rights 2017

“Human rights are not optional norms” stated Professor Surya Deva, the Chairperson of the UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations, at the opening plenary at the sixth UN Forum on Business and Human Rights. The Forum took place in November 2017 at the Palais de Nations in Geneva, theContinue reading “Notes from the field: The UN Forum on Business and Human Rights 2017”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A Landmark International Standard

December 10th marks the anniversary of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a touchstone piece of human rights work, fundamental to laying guidelines for later legislation on and treatment of human rights in the international community. The Declaration formally asserts that all human beings are free and equal, regardless of race, class, nationality, religion, genderContinue reading “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A Landmark International Standard”

Impediments to Food Access in Venezuela

Venezuela has struggled with civil unrest in recent years, stemming from frustrations with government mismanagement. Citizens are bearing the brunt of the difficult economic and political situation. Venezuelans are struggling to pay for, and in some cases, even access, basic food and supplies. Inflation on the price of food has skyrocketed, increasing 552% from NovemberContinue reading “Impediments to Food Access in Venezuela”

A Policy of Silence: The Global Gag Rule and its Impact on the Developing World

On January 26, not even a week after his inauguration, President Trump signed an executive order reinstituting the controversial Mexico City policy. This so-called ‘Global Gag Rule’ is a piece of legislation that prevents federal funding from the United States being used to advocate for the legalisation of abortion, provide abortion referrals or counselling, orContinue reading “A Policy of Silence: The Global Gag Rule and its Impact on the Developing World”

Cuba: A Model for Sustainable Agriculture

In 2006, the World Wildlife Fund identified Cuba as the only country in the world to achieve sustainable development. This was largely due to the great success of its agricultural sector. The Cuban state for the past quarter of a century has encouraged local production by small scale farmers, using sustainable strategies without chemical pesticides.Continue reading “Cuba: A Model for Sustainable Agriculture”

Corruption in Brazil: Petrobras and Politicians

The Brazilian congress has recently voted to proceed with the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, on the grounds that she used money from state banks to cover budget gaps (notably, she is not faced with accusations of illicit personal enrichment.) Corruption has had a long history with Brazil. It is ingrained in the culture ofContinue reading “Corruption in Brazil: Petrobras and Politicians”

Stateless and Illegal: Haitian Sugar Cane Workers in the Dominican Republic

Bateyes: a Spanish word literally meaning “outbuildings (of sugar [refineries]).” The bateyes located in the Dominican Republic are home to up to a million Haitians. These communities are where Haitians reside after they are brought across the Haitian-Dominican border or rounded up from within the Dominican Republic itself. Within these primitive residences, Haitians are forcedContinue reading “Stateless and Illegal: Haitian Sugar Cane Workers in the Dominican Republic”

Can Obama Close Guantanamo Bay?

In January 2002, Guantanamo Bay detention centre opened its doors to receive the first of 779 total detainees, prisoners of President George W Bush’s War on Terror. The new facility, situated in Cuba, soon attracted criticism from humanitarian institutions and legal professionals alike. Yet, despite the US Supreme Court ruling the centre unlawful, it remainedContinue reading “Can Obama Close Guantanamo Bay?”

Hondurans Face Expedited Removal at US Border

Human Rights Watch recently reported that Honduran adults seeking asylum in the U.S. are subject to “rapid – fire screening”: a process which involves deporting migrants without proper assessment. Migrants have mixed motives for leaving Honduras, but with the highest murder per capita rate in the world, many flee to the U.S. to escape theContinue reading “Hondurans Face Expedited Removal at US Border”

Justice Triumphant: Guatemala’s Attorney General in St. Andrews

On October 22nd, the University of St. Andrews had the distinct pleasure of hearing Dr. Claudia Paz y Paz give the first of a series of lectures on Latin America. As the current and first female Attorney General of Guatemala, this lecture series could not have begun with a more impressive individual; as Paz yContinue reading “Justice Triumphant: Guatemala’s Attorney General in St. Andrews”