Detained children in Israel

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「israel detains child offenders」の画像検索結果

adopted from MEMO Middle East Monitor, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20171211-israel-forces-detained-more-than-100-palestinians-in-three-days/

Cases of child offenders’ detention and abuse in Israel are often reported. Convention on the rights of the child, which Israel ratified in 1991, clearly says child offenders should not be punished as much as adults, and should be protected even if they commit a crime. Human Rights Watch reported Israeli police abuse child detainees both physically and verbally. According to UNICEF, children are arrested without their parents’ or lawyers’ presence and interrogated not being notified they have a right to lawyers or to remain silent. Children have much less knowledge, and are easier to be ruled by fear and forced to confess guilt than adults, which is why they should be aware of children’s human rights. It cannot be denied Israel is not a good country for children now.

Here is a new victim; a Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi was arrested for slapping an Israeli soldier. She was held on December 19, 2017 and is still detained. She was 16 at that time. Her hearing is going to be postponed until early March, when she will have been detained for 4 months. Most children at her age go to school and spend time with their friends instead of staying in a small cell alone. Convention on the rights of the child clearly states that children are to be deprived of their liberty only as a last resort, and only for the shortest appropriate period of time.

OHCHR says figures from Palestine show that Israel detains and prosecutes between 500 to 700 Palestinian children in military courts annually. Does Israel really detain them as a last resort? It is nothing but arbitrary detention and amounts to human rights violations. Israel must stop the human rights violation.

References

Convention on the rights of the child, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx, accessed on February 14, 2018

UN rights experts alarmed by detention of Palestinian girl for slapping Israeli soldier, OHCHR, February 13, 2018, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22654&LangID=E, accessed on February 14, 2018

Palestine: Israeli Police Abusing Detained Children With Arrests Spiking, Growing Concern, Human Rights Watch, April 11, 2016, https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/04/11/palestine-israeli-police-abusing-detained-children, accessed on February 14, 2018

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Capital punishment for juveniles in Iran

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Image result for children

adopted from University of Washington, http://www.washington.edu/news/2016/11/15/study-provides-insight-into-childrens-race-and-gender-identities/

Children are the world’s hope, dreams, and possibilities, and should be protected. According to Convention on the Rights of the Child, children are defined to be those below the age of 18 years, and it sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health, and cultural rights of children. Iran is one of the countries that ratified the treaty and are supposed to respect those rights.

Article 37 of the treaty says

States Parties shall ensure that:

(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age

It clearly prohibits execution of child offenders, however, according to Human Rights Watch, Iran has already executed three children this year. International policy digest says in the first half of 2015 alone, Iran executed nearly 700 young offenders. The death penalty itself is under discussion, and no one can deny that Iran executes too many offenders, whether they are children or not, and it must review its penal policy.

Children makes more mistakes than adults and should be tolerated. Iran must stop executing juveniles.

Refernces

Iran: Three Children Executed in January, Human Rights Watch, February 7, 2018, https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/02/07/iran-three-children-executed-january, accessed on February 7, 2018

Thevasathan Venessa, Iran: Children of Death Row, INTERNATIONAL POLICY DIGEST, February 12, 2016, https://intpolicydigest.org/2016/02/12/iran-children-of-death-row/, accessed on February 7, 2018

Convention on the rights of the child, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx, accessed on February 7, 2018

Human Trafficking and Prostitution in Japan

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Prostitution and Human Trafficking in Japan

Prostitution is known as one of the oldest and most well-paid jobs in the world. Some countries ban it and in other countries it is legal to have sexual intercourse in exchange for payment. Japan is one of the countries prohibit prostitution but its definition in the Japanese constitute is very vague; it sees sex work with penetration as prostitution. The sex industry exists in Japan supported by yakuza (gangs) because of its legal status. There are so many brothel-like houses and outsiders cannot know what is going on inside. The sex industry enriches gangs in Japan, which facilitates anti-social violence. Women who have been neglected by their family or sexually assaulted are said to be likely to take the job because they do not feel they are needed or loved otherwise.

What is controversial in Japan is, however, human trafficking and forced prostitution but not prostitution by choice. Most of the victims are foreigners, especially Southeast Asians, who are lured by Japanese high salaries. They find job advertisements written “easy manual labor”, “waitress”, etc. Some of them are instructed to come with no work visa and have their passport taken away, and find themselves unable to escape. Most of them are forced into prostitution for free. Because of Japanese strict immigration law, it is hard for them to report their cases, and they keep working until they are released.

According to an annual government report, the number of human trafficking cases peaked in 2005 with 117 victims, and subsequently dropped to 17 victims by 2013. Some people believe that the drop over this period was due to the introduction of stricter visa measures, but the number of cases increased again from 2014 onward, hitting 50 in 2016.

One of the reasons human trafficking and forced prostitution could not be eliminated is mild punishment for human trafficking. For example, a Cambodian woman was forced into prostitution in 2016 in Gumma, and the offender was sentenced to prison only for 2.5 years. A US State Department report released in 2016 noted that, in Japan, prison sentences for the offense can be substituted by fines, which is not strict enough.

Recommendation

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states in its article 4 “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be
prohibited in all their forms”, and the Japanese government must deal with the human rights violation more strictly. It might work if it legalizes prostitution in the first place so that it can provide sex workers with health care. Illegality sometimes just makes something forbidden underground.  Actually this respects a human right (UDHR article 23, the right to free choice of employment), and its legal status can prevent some sex crimes. The Japanese government are recommended to enforce a law that protects foreign workers with no work visa in the cases of human trafficking and victims should be encouraged to report their cases.

References 

Why are foreign women continuing to be forced into prostitution in Japan?, The Mainichi, June 10, 2017, https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170609/p2a/00m/0na/022000c, accessed on February 2, 2018

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Documents/UDHR_Translations/eng.pdf, accessed on February 2, 2018

Crimea is a black hole for human rights: enforced disappearances of Crimean Tatars

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Image result for crimea tatar

adapted from Foreign Policy in Focus, http://fpif.org/crimeas-tatars-persecuted-stalin-putin-now/

Human Rights Watch condemns Russia calling Crimea a black hole for human rights. In early 2014 Crimea became the focus of the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, after Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych was driven from power by violent protests in Kiev. Kremlin-backed forces seized control of the Crimean peninsula, and the territory, which has a Russian-speaking majority, voted to join Russia in a referendum that Ukraine and the West consider illegal.

During the Second World War, Soviet authorities accused the entire Crimean Tatar population of collaborating with the Nazis, and as collective punishment, deported all Crimean Tatars, estimated to have been 240,000 people, to distant regions of the Soviet Union. More than half reportedly died in the following months from starvation and disease. They were allowed to return to Crimea in the mid-1980s, and have been openly opposing the Russian occupation there.

Since 2014, many Tatars in Crimea have been kidnapped, murdered, and arbitrarily arrested for trumped-up offenses. A researcher at Human Rights Watch Yulia Gorubnova says 100 Crimean Tatar children have lost their fathers.  According to Amnesty International, a crackdown on Crimean Tatars last year trialled more than 70 Tatars simultaneously.

In most cases, arrested Crimean Tatars are charged for participating in or organizing terrorist groups with no clear evidence just because they practice Islam.

As Universal Declaration of Human Rights says in its article 9 “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile”, Russia must stop the human rights violations in Crimea.

References

Gorbunova Yulia, “100 Crimean Tatar kids who lost their fathers”, oDR, November 28, 2017, https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/yulia-gorbunova/crimean-tatar-kids-who-lost-their-fathers#https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/07/crimea-enforced-disappearances, accessed on January 27, 2018

Crimea: More than 70 Crimean Tatar activists put on trial simultaneously in brazen crackdown, Amnesty International, December 18, 2017, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/12/crimea-more-than-70-crimean-tatar-activists-put-on-trial-simultaneously-in-brazen-crackdown/,  accessed on January 27, 2018

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Documents/UDHR_Translations/eng.pdf, accessed on january 27, 2018

The right to abortion

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Image result for right to abortion images

adopted from motto, http://motto.time.com/4593564/men-abortion-rights-donald-trump/

 

All human beings make mistakes and when couples make one, it is women that suffer more than their partner: unwanted pregnancy. It takes them a lot temporally, financially, and mentally. In some countries, women cannot access abortion legally, but they need it and remove their unborn children “illegally”. This is very risky and Human Rights Watch says that between 8 percent to 18 percent of maternal deaths around the world are due to unsafe abortion, and estimates of the number of abortion-related deaths in 2014 ranged from 22,500 to 44,000. According to a 2014 UN report, “The average unsafe abortion rate was more than four times greater in countries with restrictive abortion policies in 2011 (26.7 unsafe abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 years) than in countries with liberal abortion policies (6.1 unsafe abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 years).”

Where access to safe and legal abortion services are unreasonably restricted, a number of women’s and girls’ human rights may be at risk. These include:

  • Right to life
  • Rights to health and health care
  • Right to information
  • Rights to nondiscrimination and equality
  • Right to be free from cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment
  • Right to privacy
  • Right to decide the number and spacing of children
  • Right to security of person
  • Right to liberty
  • Right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress
  • Right to freedom of conscience and religion

Some people, mostly men, oppose women’s and girls’ access to abortion because of their religion, but they do not have to obey others’ religion since they have the right to free choice of religion (UDHR article 18). Those think fetuses are already human also disagree with abortion calling it murder. Whether fetuses have human rights or not is under discussion but women and girls who need abortion definitely have human rights. Even if fetuses, who are likely to be subjected to neglect after birth, have human rights, abortion violates their right to life while protecting their mothers’ 11 rights above. In this sense, conducting abortion would be the lesser of two evils.

What do you think about the right to abortion? Please share your idea with me. Thank you for reading.

References

Human Rights Watch, Q & A: Human Rights Law and Access to Abortion, July 24, 2017, https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/07/24/qa-human-rights-law-and-access-abortion, accessed on January 20, 2018

Anthropology and Human Rights

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Introduction

We witness many cases of human rights violations all over the world; some people are afraid of being killed for their race or religion, girls are married off when they are too young to get married, and a lot of children have no choice but to work to survive. One might wonder, however, what human rights are in the first place. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948 as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. While some people tend to judge if human rights are violated based on UDHR, others argue that there are sometimes conflicts between the declaration and religion, and there could not be universal human rights. In order to discuss this issue, they need to approach human rights from an anthropological perspective as well as international legal frameworks.

This post aims to examine how cultures are perceived and what universal human rights are using anthropological terminologies “ethnocentrism” and “cultural relativism”.

Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism

Suppose a woman dressed in a niqab and a woman wearing a bikini and sunglasses see each other. They could think “Nothing is covered but her eyes. What a cruel male-dominated culture!” and “Everything is covered but her eyes. What a cruel male-dominated culture!” respectively. It is inevitable to have prejudices against some cultures since everyone belongs to his own culture and one tends to be influenced by his or her surroundings. The term ethnocentrism refers to the attitude that sees one’s own group as virtuous and superior and an out-group as contemptible and inferior. The attitude also includes regarding one’s own standards of value as universal. While ethnocentric views are not necessarily intended, they have led to major human disasters through history causing bullying, discrimination, intolerance, war, genocide, etc. On the other hand, cultural relativism (Boas) stands for the idea that each culture must be understood in terms of the values and beliefs of that culture and should not be judged by the standards of another culture. In other words, no culture is superior nor inferior to others.

Discussing the cases of human rights violations with these ideas, one will find out other aspects of the issues. For example, the Bangladeshi government legalized child marriage reducing minimum marital age to zero on February 28, 2017. Many people criticized the decision, which could be ethnocentric. A lot of parents married their little daughters off to survive even when child marriage was illegal, and some families could not afford to fake their daughters age and starved to death. In this respect, the law protects UDHR article 3, the right to life instead of violating article 22, the right to social security.

Ethnocentrism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, often referred as the ‘world’s most intractable conflict’, is rooted in a dispute over the land claimed by Jews as their biblical birthright and by Palestinians, who seek self-determination. The issue is too complicated to solve with international law and often talked about with ethnocentrism.

A book “SIDE BY SIDE” (Adwan, Bar-On, Naveh, 2012) brings an interesting insight about the conflict. On alternate pages, the editors, literally “side by side”, present both the Palestinian and Israeli versions of remarkable events that have marked the fraught decades of the 20th century. One side’s “War of Independence” is the other’s “Catastrophe”; for Israel, the 1967 Six-Day War was “a huge victory in a war it didn’t initiate or intend”, where the Palestinians see it as an act of pure “aggression”; for the Jews, the US prosecuted the Gulf War to “maintain stability in the Middle East,” understanding “its first priority was to achieve a political order acceptable to all sides,” while the Palestinians condemn the US for using “its achievements in the war to enhance its hegemony even on its European allies.” They describe the same events in totally different ways; during the Intifada, the Jews insist that the Palestinians used Molotov cocktails and so many Israeli soldiers got injured and wounded without fighting back the Palestinians, while the Palestinians say they just threw stones and Israeli soldiers killed many Palestinians. This is how they teach their children and they will continue hating each other.

ICCPR

Some people argue that human rights are ethnocentric since universal laws for diverse cultures are unlikely to exist. Each country has its own culture and issues. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is part of the International Bill of Human Rights, along with the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights (ICESCR) and the UDHR. One can see cultural relativistic aspects in human rights law; state parties are allowed to have reservations and the article 4 of ICCPR permits them to prioritize public interests over some human rights saying as follows.

 

  1. In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.
  2. No derogation from articles 6, 7, 8 (paragraphs I and 2), 11, 15, 16 and 18 may be made under this provision. (ICCPR, Article 4)

 

In this sense, human rights law could be cultural relativistic and probably universal.

The article 4 of the ICCPR sets out the following rights in the ICCPR from which states can never derogate, even in times of public emergency that threatens the life of the nation: right to life (art 6), prohibition of torture, cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatments (art 7), prohibition of medical or scientific experimentations with no consent (art 7), prohibition of slavery, slave trade, and servitude (art 8), prohibition of imprisonment because of inability to fulfill contractual obligations (art 11), right to fair trials (art 15), recognition everywhere as a person before the law (art 16), freedom of thought, conscience, and religion (art 18). These rights cannot be violated and are universal basic human rights.

Conclusion

Anyone could be culturally biased and have one’s own standard, which has led to hatred toward other cultures and human rights disasters. This is why some people are persecuted or discriminated against based on their race, religion, nationality, etc., and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been lingering so long.

It might be very difficult to have a universal law for everyone, but ICCPR can be universal human rights law thanks to reservations and its article 4. Some human rights can never be violated (basic human rights), and they are the universal standard of human rights.

References

Adwan Sami, Bar-On Dan, Naveh Eyal, SIDE BY SIDE Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine, New York, 2012,

Axelrod Robert, Hammond Ross, The Evolution of Ethnocentric Behavior, April 16, 2003, http://www-personal.umich.edu/~axe/research/AxHamm_Ethno.pdf, accessed on January 1, 2018

Conversi Daniele, Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing and Nationalism, January 20, 2006, http://www.armenews.com/IMG/Genocide-Ch27_1_.pdf, accessed on December 31, 2017

Brown F. Michael, Cultural Realtivism 2.0, June, 2008,  https://sites.williams.edu/mbrown/files/2017/08/Brown_CR2_2008.pdf, accessed on December 31, 2017

Temoney E. Kate, Religion and Genocide Nexuses: Bosnia as Case Study, June 14, 2017, file:///C:/Users/Yuto/Downloads/religions-08-00112.pdf, accessed on December 31, 2017

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Documents/UDHR_Translations/eng.pdf, accessed on December 31, 2017

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/ProfessionalInterest/ccpr.pdf, accessed on December 31, 2017

Stigmatized homosexuality and “the epidemic” in Russia

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adapted from Pink News, http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/04/05/russia-bans-extremist-picture-of-putin-wearing-makeup/

Today people are getting to understand that some people have different sexual orientation from theirs. There are, however, still some countries that do not accept them socially. Russia is known as one of them and the country has estimated 1.5 million people living with HIV. Homosexuality is stigmatized in Russia and some people even do not believe condoms can prevent spreading the disease.

According to figures just released by the World Health Organization and UNAids, more than 103,000 new cases of HIV were reported in Russia in 2016, an increase of 5% over the previous year, and it is estimated that there are another 500,000 undiagnosed cases. Eastern Europe and Central Asia are the only regions in the world where HIV infections are rising, with Russia accounting for 8 out of every 10 new infections.

LGBT people often stand out from everyone and attract stares in public. Sometimes these are looks of disapproval, sometimes even disgust. A sense of threat hangs in the air. A woman interviewed said that she was once beaten up on a rush-hour train by a man who had spotted that she was trans. “I try not to worry but cannot help feeling afraid when we leave the Metro and pass a bakery that has a sign which says ‘No Faggots Allowed’ in the window.”  There are several of these around the city.

Some LGBT people suffer from physical violence especially when they use hook-up apps such as Grindr. They go to meet someone and walk into a trap. There was a case one rich guy went to a hook-up in an apartment and there was a mob of 10 people with dogs who started beating him. He gave them 50,000 roubles to get out.

When men go to clinic to get tested and are diagnosed as HIV positive, the first person they see is an epidemiologist who asks them how they contracted the virus. If they admit having got it through sex with a man, the case is registered under what is known as Code 103; information that is accessible by the police and the ministry of internal affairs.

According to official statistics, only 2% of people with HIV in Russia register as Code 103. If we compare these figures with others recorded around the world, it implies that gay men are pressured not to be honest about their sexual orientation.

There is no gay press in Russia because President Vladimir Putin’s gay propaganda law of 2013 forbids journalists from doing anything to “promote” homosexuality.

In order to halt “the epidemic” in Russia, doctors say LGBT people need medicines, treatment, and condoms, but these are not the main things. We can stop “the epidemic” only when we eradicate stigma around gay people.

 

References

Matt Cain, theguardian, How homophobia feeds Russia’s HIV epidemic, December 3, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/03/homophobia-feeds-russia-hiv-epidemic accessed on December 4, 2017