Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984)
Torture -- Government policy -- United States.
Torture (International law)
This article is a response to the attempts of the US government to redefine torture in a highly restrictive sense and at the same time distinguishing it from other forms of cruel inhuman or degrading treatment (CIDT). To this end, the author undertakes a short analysis of the understanding of the concept of torture and CIDT by the present US Government and asks whether this interpretation corresponds to the definition of torture in Article 1, Convention against Torture (CAT). An analysis of the techniques authorized by US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for the interrogation of Guantanamo detainees is also carried out in light of applicable UN standards and international case law.
South African literature -- History and criticism.
South Africa. Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
This essay explores the ways in which dignity is discussed in anti-apartheid literature, and compares this to the meaning of dignity in human rights theory and South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission's claim that story-telling restores dignity. The literary explorations of dignity contribute an added layer of complication for understanding the claims of the TRC because the assumptions about storytelling and truth are very different in each set of discourse. I argue that how one understands dignity greatly affects how one perceives political struggle and differential power relations in society.
This article discusses three different Islamic approaches towards human rights, secular, non-compatible, and reconciliatory, and proposes an interpretive approach. It argues that if the discriminatory statutory Islamic laws of Muslim states are reformed according to the suggested contextual interpretation of the Koran, greater compatibility with international human rights standards may be achieved, specifically in contentious areas such as divorce, polygamy, evidence, and inheritance. The thrust of the article is that the intention of the Koran was to raise the status of women in society, not to relegate them to subordination as is commonly believed and practiced in much of the Muslim world today.
National Human Rights Institutions can play a key role in promoting and protecting human rights. They are able to do so by the unique position they occupy between government, civil society, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). However, this unique position which holds out opportunities for national human rights institutions also gives rise to problems for such institutions. National human rights institutions have to define and defend their role or space in relation to where they fit in with government and civil society. This can create difficulties for national human rights institutions with respect to their independence and accountability; two key concepts which are crucial for a national human rights institution's legitimacy, credibility, and ultimately its effectiveness. This article explores these challenges and opportunities using examples from different countries. It further draws out a more subtle understanding of independence and accountability by conceptually unearthing the different layers within the two concepts. In conclusion, a number of recommendations are made as to how national human rights institutions can maintain their independence, while engaging with and being accountable to both government and civil society. The article is supported in its conclusions by a series of semi-structured interviews with key institutional players in the national human rights institution world.
Asian-African Conference (1st : 1955 : Bandung, Indonesia)
Human rights -- Congresses.
This article explores the place of human rights at the 1955 Asian-African Conference in Bandung, a meeting that founded the Third World as a political entity. Contrary to most existing accounts of the conference, which emphasize the anti-colonialism and latent anti-Westernism of the participants, it will argue that there was a significant positive engagement with human rights by a range of newly decolonized states. When recognition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was challenged by Communist China, that document found enthusiastic champions at the conference, including Charles Malik, one of the major figures involved in its creation.
Millennium Development Goal 8 is arguably the most significant step since the Covenant on Economic Social Rights in taking the idea of global solidarity and international responsibilities for development from a statement of principle to international policy. It commits the international community to strengthen partnership for poverty reduction, and defines benchmark targets and indicators of progress. This article examines this goal as a human rights tool to measure progress and hold states accountable. It argues that the concept of international obligations concerns, at the core, state policies that address obstacles that developing countries cannot address on their own. It also presents a conceptual framework for human rights measures. The article then analyses Goal 8 indicators and targets against the commitments made in the 2000 Millennium Declaration and the 2002 Monterrey Consensus, as well as policy priorities identified in recent studies commissioned by the United Nations. The article concludes that Goal 8 is weak as a human rights framework because it lacks quantitative and time bound benchmarks. The targets are expressed as general objectives rather than concrete policy changes and it is narrow in the scope of policy issues addressed. For the human rights agenda, the most glaring gaps are the need for systemic reforms to enhance the needs of developing countries in international decision making. The article calls on the international community to review Goal 8, and shift international cooperation from charity to solidarity.
This article discusses how Oxfam tried to change global trade policies to better reflect the rights-based approach delineated in its strategic plan. Oxfam has been extremely successful at helping policymakers and the public understand the relationship between poverty, development, human rights, and trade. (We do not examine the "make poverty history" campaign). To understand Oxfam's perspective and approach, we begin the article with a discussion of how the WTO system addresses questions of human rights, poverty, and development. We then examine Oxfam's strategy and how it changed over time—moving from a systemic emphasis on poverty, development, human rights, and trade to a more limited, but visible, focus on "making trade fair." Finally, we examine Oxfam's contribution to the trade debate.
Arnold, Denis Gordon. Worker rights and low wage industrialization: how to avoid sweatshops.
Hartman, Laura Pincus.
Labor laws and legislation.
Sweatshops -- Developing countries.
This article first demonstrates that wages and working conditions are interrelated and that economists are correct to analyze them together. It then examines the four economic mechanisms which Arnold and Hartman (2006) suggested could overturn the traditional economic view that raising wages in sweatshops would unemploy workers. It is shown that their mechanisms fail to achieve their purpose. Finally cautions are given against suggested reforms such as industry wide ethical standards and adherence to local labor laws because these reforms would negatively impact workers' welfare.