Cicero Yearly Archives

Human Rights

This tag is associated with 9 posts

Professor Michael Sandel


Michael SandelMichael J. Sandel (born March 5, 1953) is an American political philosopher and a political philosophy professor at Harvard University. His course “Justice” is the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and on television.

It has been viewed by tens of millions of people around the world, including in China, where Sandel was named the “most influential foreign figure of the year” (China Newsweek).

He is also known for his critique of John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice in his first book, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (1982). He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002.

Sandel was born in Minneapolis but his family moved to Los Angeles when he was thirteen. He was president of his senior class at Palisades High School (1971) and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University with a bachelor’s degree in politics (1975). He received his doctorate from Balliol College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar, where he studied under philosopher Charles Taylor.

 

Philosophical views

Sandel subscribes to a certain version of communitarianism (although he is uncomfortable with the label), and in this vein, he is perhaps best known for his critique of John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice. Rawls’ argument depends on the assumption of the veil of ignorance, which he claims allows us to become “unencumbered selves”.

Sandel’s view is that we are by nature encumbered to an extent that makes it impossible even in the hypothetical to have such a veil. Some examples of such ties are those with our families, which we do not make by conscious choice but are born with, already attached. Because they are not consciously acquired, it is impossible to separate oneself from such ties. Sandel believes that only a less-restrictive, looser version of the veil of ignorance should be postulated. Criticism such as Sandel’s inspired Rawls to subsequently argue that his theory of justice was not a “metaphysical” theory but a “political” one, a basis on which an overriding consensus could be formed among individuals and groups with many different moral and political views.

 

Sandel has taught the famous “Justice” course at Harvard for two decades. More than 15,000 students have taken the course, making it one of the most highly attended in Harvard’s history. The fall 2007 class was the largest ever at Harvard, with a total of 1,115 students. The fall 2005 course was recorded and is offered online. An abridged form of this recording is now a 12-episode TV series, Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?

Advertisements

UN Secretary General on International Women’s Day 2015


Twenty years ago, when the world convened a landmark conference on women’s human rights, the devastating conflict in the former Yugoslavia prompted deserved attention to rape and other war crimes there against civilians. Two decades later, with girls as young as seven not only targeted but used as weapons by violent extremists, it would be easy to lose heart about the value of international gatherings. But while we have a long way to go to achieve full equality – with ending gender-based violence a central goal – progress over the past two decades has proven the enduring value of the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women.

Since the adoption of its Declaration and Platform for Action, more girls have attained more access to more education than ever before. The number of women dying in childbirth has been almost halved. More women are leading businesses, governments and global organizations.  I welcome these advances. At the same time, on this International Women’s Day, we must acknowledge that the gains have been too slow and uneven, and that we must do far more to accelerate progress everywhere.

The world must come together in response to the targeting of women and girls by violent extremists.  From Nigeria and Somalia to Syria and Iraq, the bodies of women have been transformed into battlegrounds for warriors carrying out specific and systematic strategies, often on the basis of ethnicity or religion.  Women have been attacked for trying to exercise their right to education and basic services; they have been raped and turned into sex slaves; they have been given as prizes to fighters, or traded among extremist groups in trafficking networks. Doctors, nurses and others have been assassinated for trying to operate in their professional capacity. The women human rights defenders brave enough to challenge such atrocities risk – and sometimes lose – their lives for the cause.

We must take a clear global stance against this total assault on women’s human rights. The international community needs to translate its outrage into meaningful action, including humanitarian aid, psycho-social services, support for livelihoods, and efforts to bring perpetrators to justice.  With women and girls often the first targets of attack, their rights must be at the centre of our strategy to address this staggering and growing challenge.  Empowered women and girls are the best hope for sustainable development following conflict. They are the best drivers of growth, the best hope for reconciliation, and the best buffer against radicalization of youth and the repetition of cycles of violence.

Even in societies at peace, too many girls and women are still targets of domestic abuse, female genital mutilation and other forms of violence that traumatize individuals and damage whole societies.  Discrimination remains a thick barrier that must be shattered. We need to expand opportunities in politics, business and beyond.  We need to change mind-sets, especially among men, and engage men in becoming active change-agents themselves.  And we must back up our resolve with resources based on the sure understanding that investments in gender equality generate economic progress, social and political inclusion and other benefits that, in turn, foster stability and human dignity.

This is a vital year for advancing the cause of women’s human rights.  The international community is hard at work on establishing a new sustainable development agenda that will build on the Millennium Development Goals and shape policies and social investments for the next generation.  To be truly transformative, the post-2015 development agenda must prioritize gender equality and women’s empowerment.  The world will never realize 100 per cent of its goals if 50 per cent of its people cannot realize their full potential.  When we unleash the power of women, we can secure the future for all.

Ban Ki-moon

Raif Badawi Update


News5_20130802002341864.jpg Despite an international outcry and calls by Amnesty International for the Saudi Arabian authorities to quash the severe sentence and punishment of 1000 lashes for a charge of blasphemy, Saudi Arabian rights activist Raif Badawi was publicly flogged on Friday it is reported. This has been confirmed by Amnesty international from an eye-witness in Jeddah and from Mr Badawi’s wife.

Mr Badawi is a Saudi Arabian writer and activist and was the creator of the website “Free Saudi Liberals”

This is the first of 20 such public floggings that Mr Badawi will face after his conviction for insulting Islam through a forum/blog that his wife actually said he set up to merely examine and provide people the opportunity to discuss their Islamic faith. The forum was taken down by the Saudi authorities and Mr Badawi handed a sentence of 1000 lashes in 2014.

It is reported by an eye-witness that Mr Badawi raised his head towards the sky, closing his eyes and arched his back in preparation for his flogging and remained silent after it but it was obvious it was said through his face and his body that he was in pain. Mr Raif Badawi was “beaten by a officer on his back and legs, who counted the lashes until they reached 50” the witness states.

This flogging it is worth noting took plays only days after the Saudi Arabian government and authority announced their condemnation of the actions of the  terrorists who last week killed staff at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

 

It is also worth mentioning that Amnesty International gravely concerned for Mr Badawi’s lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair a well known human rights lawyer in Saudi Arabia following his Mr Badawi’s arrest anWaleed_Abu_Alkhaird conviction in 2012-4. Amnesty International is running a separate campaign for Waleed Abu al-Khair, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison last July. It is unfortunately expected that he could also face a similar sentence to Mr Badawi handed down as well as his prison term that he currently serving.

Cicero Lounge has today sent a letter to the Saudi Authorities immediately calling for his sentence to be either commuted immediately or nullified. Anyone wishing to contact the Saudi embassy and respectfully call for action to the following: Prime Minister Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, also Deputy Prime Minister Ministry of Defense HRH Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and His Excellency Adel A. Al-Jubeir was appointed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz

(Email Saudi Arabian Embassy in the UK on ukemb@mofa.gov.sa or cms@saudiembassy.net – Saudi Embassy in US)

Documentary Nelson Mandela The Fight For Freedom


A tribute to one of the greatest men that the 20th Century witnessed who died almost a year ago.

For more information on his struggle against Apartheid and his unifying of South Africa visit http://www.nelsonmandela.org/

Amnesty – It Starts With a Letter


Amnesty International was started in 1961 by a lawyer called Peter Benenson who had heard of the arrest of two Portuguese students imprisoned for raising a toast to freedom.

It has grown to an international movement – and it all started with putting a pen to paper to help another human being gain their human rights (as provided in Universal Declaration of Human Rights created after the World War II).

On a personal note – I learned to letter write a lot by this organization and have been privileged to write to many people to call for the release or fair trial of other people and  urge any person to enjoy the wonderful experience of also having the opportunity to do so by joining their local group.

Manchester, where I’m currently living meets every second Wednesday of the month at Cross Street Unitarian Church.

As Rt. Hon Jack Straw MP, says in this documentary – “If people do nothing, nothing will happen!”

Below is it’s history. Go to Amnesty

Courtesy: BBC Four/Amnesty International/AP/ITV

 

Jabbar Savalan Released


Jabbar Savalan standing before the Flag of Aze...

Fantastic News! Jabbar Savalan the young activist from from Azerbaijan has been released and recieved a pardon for his detention. today. He is now at home with his family. This is fantastic news however, 16 prisoners of conscience remain in jail in Azerbaijan.

He originally was detainedby Azerbaijan authorities after he’d posted messages against the government rule in the country on Facebook he was charged with ‘drug offences’ and detained on 4 May 2011 for two and a half years in prison. Amnesty International considered Jabbar a prisoner of conscience and many activisits worldwide have been campaigning for his release.  A call for his immediate release and the right of freedom of expression to be upheld in the country.

Initially on the 4th February 2011 Jabbar had posted calls for protests against the government. The next evening he was arrested on his way home from a meeting of the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party.

The Rights Issue of Legal Aid Bill


Amnesty International are lobbying for amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

It’s researchers have documented serious human rights infringements by UK companies overseas. The Bill proposed by the UK government Amnesty believes would make it almost impossible for victims of these abuses to seek justice in UK courts.

One example was last year thousands of victims of illegal waste dumping in Ivory Coast successfully claimed compensation from British oil company Trafigura. Under the proposed legislation, such cases would be a thing of the past.

To deny these victims justice is to fuel a cycle of impunity. We want to bring about an amendment to the proposed Bill to ensure that where corporate abuses occur overseas, those affected can access justice in the UK. Read more about the human rights impact of the Legal Aid Bill

For more information visit Amnesty International

 

Syria – Assad May Be Next!


President Bashar al-Assad of Syria

President Bashar Assad - Image via Wikipedia

Thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets across Syria today after a televised appearance by President Bashar Assad, shouting for him to step down.

Security forces opened fire in the central city of Homs, killing at least one person. Crowds there and in several other cities were angered by Assad’s remarks on TV and taunted him with warnings that his regime would be the next to unravel, as Muammar Gaddafi‘s 42-year rule was crumbling under a rebel advance in Libya

Human rights groups say more than 2,000 people have been killed in the government’s crackdown on a five-month-old uprising. The regime has unleashed tanks and snipers in an attempt to stamp out the revolt.

In a now-familiar refrain, Assad on Sunday promised imminent reforms – including parliamentary elections by February – but insisted the unrest was being driven by armed gangs and Islamic militants, not true reform seekers.

He also said he was not worried about security in his country and warned against any Libya-style foreign military intervention. His remarks appeared designed to portray confidence as the regime comes under blistering international condemnation.

Source: P.A. & Huffington Post

Yesterday the United Nations Human Rights  Chief blasted the President for human rights.

There are different views to the protest and also suspicion as to the UNs and especially American intervention and involvement with the situation in Syria.

China monitoring calls with “Protest” word


BEIJING — If anyone wonders whether the Chinese government has tightened its grip on electronic communications since protests began engulfing the Arab world, Shakespeare may prove instructive.

A Beijing entrepreneur, discussing restaurant choices with his fiancée over their cellphones last week, quoted Queen Gertrude’s response to Hamlet: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” The second time he said the word “protest,” her phone cut off.

He spoke English, but another caller, repeating the same phrase on Monday in Chinese over a different phone, was also cut off in midsentence.

A host of evidence over the past several weeks shows that Chinese authorities are more determined than ever to police cellphone calls, electronic messages, e-mail and access to the Internet in order to smother any hint of antigovernment sentiment. In the cat-and-mouse game that characterizes electronic communications here, analysts suggest that the cat is getting bigger, especially since revolts began to ricochet through the Middle East and North Africa, and homegrown efforts to organize protests in China began to circulate on the Internet about a month ago.

On Sunday, Google accused the Chinese government of disrupting its Gmail service in the country and making it appear as if technical problems at Google — not government intervention — were to blame.

Source : http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/22/world/asia/22china.html?_r=2

Editor comments that the above calls were made to the Beijing office of the New York Times and are not meant to be indicative of the the broader  public position on censorship in China

Sky News

Translate Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 211 other followers

Visitors to Cicero Lounge

Stats

Cicero Lounge on Twitter

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: