Issues

Women in Prison

In recent years, the incarceration of women has risen at a higher rate than men, with 82% of these imprisoned for nonviolent crimes. In addition, 86% of women in prison have experience sexual violence in their lives. If we want to reduce the incarceration of women, we need to look at all variables and base “punishment” on treatment rather than punishment as revenge for crimes that could be premeditated for reasons like income or sexual abuse.


Transgender Rights

Gender discrimination, particularly that of transgender men and women, has been an issue in our society for decades, but gender discrimination in our prison system is something that is often overlooked. Transgender men and women often face entering prisons of the opposite gender than they identify with in addition to being stripped of their rights to such things as hormone treatment they’ve been receiving for years or the care products of their identified gender. Furthermore, they often face solitary confinement for their own safety as they are harassed and/or violently attacked by fellow inmates.

Immigration Detention

Every year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants are locked up in detention centers in the United States. These immigrants, mostly undocumented, face brutal and inhumane conditions, lasting days to months. With no personal liberties and freedom, many detained immigrants face no option but to remain voiceless and powerless within the system until deported or released. For this issue of immigration detention, the sub-topics of privatized detention centers, inhumane treated, lack of medical care, and protests are discussed.

Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration

Private prisons have gained popularity as they have been coined as ways to save the government money. However, numerous studies have found that private prisons are prone to corruption to make a profit. As a result, prisoners are exposed to horrid conditions as well as subjected to longer sentences.

Solitary Confinement

Conditions of solitary confinement vary significantly. The term solitary confinement refers to physical isolation of individuals in which they are confined in their cells for around twenty-three hours each day (typically twenty-two to twenty-four hours). The amount of contact with prison staff can vary and may constitute more than an hour each day, but only rarely will this contact be socially and psychologically meaningful. Contact with prison staff typically takes place in connection with being escorted to the exercise yard or the toilet or through brief encounters when meals are delivered to the cell door. Complete and total isolation is not practiced anywhere. In that sense, solitary confinement constitutes individual social isolation (and perhaps perceptual deprivation) rather than sensory deprivation (Volkart, Dittrich, et al. 1983, p. 27).

The Death Penalty

The Death Penalty

The death penalty is a widely discussed topic in America and around the world. Can we justifiably kill a killer? Is there a humane way to end someone's life? The public appears to mostly think that no, you can't. There are a number of crimes that will lead to an inmate being sentenced to death. What does it take to get yourself killed? Do other countries kill for different reasons?


Child Marriages in India

There are certain traditions and religious reasons for child marriage in order to find out how Indian culture allowed this phenomenon to exist in which girls must be married off before the age of 12. Not only is there the risk of child marriages in India, but women often don’t have the power to refuse marriage. Forced and arranged marriages are a growing issue along with child marriages. This is an issue that should be more widely noted and recognized. We must protect the children of the future in all countries.

US Mass Incarceration

The United States of America is known globally for being the land of the free, the land of voting rights, and the land where all people have the right to achieve success regardless of their upbringing. Unfortunately, greed, social circumstances, and political gain have created a human rights vacuum in which over 2 million US citizens are not free, they are enslaved by the Prison Industrial Complex. Mass incarceration in the United States is an unsettling phenomenon that allows for the systemic disenfranchisement of predominately Black and Brown low socioeconomic status (SES) men and teenagers. Nongovernment organizations are working toward criminal justice reform, so the justice system is more fair for all US citizens.

Barriers in Female Education

“Providing girls with an education helps break the cycle of poverty: educated women are less likely to marry early and against their will; less likely to die in childbirth; more likely to have healthy babies; and are more likely to send their children to school. When all children have access to a quality education rooted in human rights and gender equality, it creates a ripple effect of opportunity that influences generations to come”- UNICEF, 2015

Women's Right to Their Bodies; Women's Health Programs and Health Education

Women represent half of the global population and have the right to their own bodies. Women's rights are at different places all over the world. Every woman should have access to women's healthcare and health education. In some cultures and religions, women do not have control over their own reproductive health. In others, it is extremely frowned upon to talk openly about sexual activity and or sexual health. Because of this, many woman go without the treatment that they need. It can also lead to mistreatment of women and placing them into unwanted situations. The sources below encompass the specific issues that different countries face, since this topic is broad. Below are also organizations that assist these women in need or try to change policies that bar women from their rights.

LBGT Rights in Russia

LGBT persons in Russia are highly prosecuted and denied many of their human rights and are not granted the same legal rights as heterosexuals.

Rohingya Refugee Crisis

“The 2015 Rohingya refugee crisis refers to the mass migration of thousands of Rohingya people from Myanmar (also known as Burma) and Bangladesh in 2015, collectively dubbed 'boat people' by international media. Nearly all who fled traveled to Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand by rickety boats via the waters of the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Sea.The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 25,000 people have been taken to boats from January to March in 2015 by human traffickers.There are claims that around 100 people died in Indonesia, 200 in Malaysia, and 10 in Thailand] while on their journey after the traffickers abandoned them at sea. In October 2015, researchers from the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London released a report drawing on leaked government documents that reveals an increasing "ghettoisation, sporadic massacres, and restrictions on movement" on Rohingya peoples. The researchers suggest that the Myanmar government are in the final stages of an organised process of genocide against the Rohingya and have called upon the international community to redress the situation as such.” Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rohingya_insurgency_in_Western_Myanmar


LGBT Rights in Indonesia

LGBT Rights in Indonesia

The LGBT community in Indonesia is facing many social and political challenges. Politicians have used anti-LGBT rhetoric and government organizations have even placed bans on several LGBT media sources. Governmental officials and Islamic organizations, as well as local oppositions, discriminate against homosexuals and transexuals and diminish their rights at an increasing rate. Several movements and activists continue to fight against homophobia and transphobia year after year, slowly making progress towards equality and tolerance for all sexual orientations and genders.


Indigenous Land Rights in America

Repeatedly throughout American history, the United States government has treated the resources of indigenous groups (cultural and geographic) as its own. After forcibly relocating indigenous peoples onto reservations in 1851, the U.S. has, piece by piece, sold portions of ancestral land to non-native business interests without consultation of the concerned tribes. In response to outcry, many lawmakers label the humanist and spiritualist claims of native peoples to be negligible or outright lies, making these claims as self-evident facts which do not require further explanation. These lawmakers include Senator John McCain, Senator Ann Kirkpatrick, Congressman Paul Gosar, and others. Their behavior, and the text of congressional acts concerning native peoples dating back more than a century, betrays a strong undercurrent of racism, motivated by greed, in the highest levels of our society.


LGBTQ Rights in Indonesia

LGBTQ Rights in Indonesia

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Indonesia face legal challenges and prejudices not experienced by non-LGBTQ residents. Traditional Indonesians disapprove of homosexuality and cross dressing, which impacts public policy. For example, Indonesian same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for any of the legal protections available to opposite sex married couples. Indonesia does not have a sodomy law and Indonesia does not currently criminalize private, non-commercial homosexual acts among consenting adults, yet Indonesian law does not protect LGBT community against discrimination and hate crimes. Currently, Indonesia does not recognize same sex marriage. In July 2015, Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister stated that it is unacceptable in Indonesia, because strongly held religious norms speak strongly against it. The importance in Indonesia for social harmony leads to duties rather than rights to be emphasized, which means that human rights along with LGBTQ rights are very fragile. Yet, the LGBT community in Indonesia has steadily become more visible and politically active.

Recently LGBT people in Indonesia are facing growing hostility and intolerance. In early 2016, LGBT people and activists in Indonesia are facing fierce opposition, homophobic attacks, and hate speech, even launched by Indonesian authorities. In February 2016, Human Rights Watch urged Indonesian government to defend the rights of LGBT people and publicly condemn officials' discriminatory remarks.

Coming out to family and friends is seldom carried out by LGBT people in Indonesia, as they are more afraid of rejection and social backlash. Nevertheless, there are some rare examples of understanding and acceptance of the family of LGBT person.


Chinese Child Labor

Chinese Child Labor

Chinese child labor is often thought to be an outdated issue but this is far from true. Because consumer demand for technological products like our iPhones is quite high, a growth in unregulated working to bring down costs and maximize profits has increased. Currently, the forced labor is hard to measure as these young children are hidden away in sweatshops and factories owned by large companies. Kidnapping has also increased many being forced into either labor work or prostitution. In order for these children to be laborers, they lose their chance to ever get an education. Their hazardous work often impairs them physically and mentally, leading them to never attend any schooling later on. What is most unfortunate is high-tech factories such as Samsung, Apple, or HTC may not even be truly aware of the working conditions themselves. Because the economy is continually booming, the export industry has managed to avoid government control and exploit many from rural areas. Bottom line, there is a lack of extensive monitoring of enterprises and in the majority of cases it isn't even discovered.


Honor Killing

The oxymoron “honor killing” has inundated Eastern news, and its significance has unfortunately been ignored. Honor is about respect and moral uprightness In contrast, killing is associated with death, a violation of human rights and a heinous crime. Alas, the two words put together end up meaning cold-blooded murder. In many Eastern cultures, honor is a central value. Families are distinguished or noted among the community depending on how honorable their family is. There is disproportionate pressure on women to comply with a certain code of behaviour. It usually consists of: dressing modestly, not interacting with men outside of their immediate family, and staying an untouched virgin until she marries the man hand-picked by her family. Failing to comply with the norms set by society means staining and dishonouring the reputation of her family. When females damage the family reputation in many Eastern cultures, the men of the family respond by taking their life. This convention is not seen as a crime in many Asian countries, in fact, it is socially acceptable. This is why those who kill for “honor” or cold-blooded murderers as I prefer to reinstate it, are almost never punished. The United Nations estimates around 5000 murders of women per year worldwide from this wicked mindset, and this is an underestimation as many murders occur in sylvan, remote areas and go unreported to authorities. The number is frightening for such a barbaric practice.


Human Rights of Crimean Tatars Oppressed by the Russian Federation

On March 18, 2014 the Russian Federation annexed Crimea from Ukraine. After Russia’s rule began, Crimean Tatars, a Muslim community native to Crimea, were targeted as extremists. Human rights violations including freedom of expression and freedom of association have escalated since then. Crimean Tatars and the LGBT community in Crimea are being cauterized and persecuted.

Islamophobia

Islamophobia is a contrived fear or prejudice fomented by the existing Eurocentric and Orientalist global power structure. It is directed at a perceived or real Muslim threat through the maintenance and extension of existing disparities in economic, political, social and cultural relations, while rationalizing the necessity to deploy violence as a tool to achieve "civilizational rehab" of the target communities (Muslim or otherwise). Islamophobia reintroduces and reaffirms a global racial structure through which resource distribution disparities are maintained and extended.

Source: University of California, Berkeley: Center for Race and Gender

(http://crg.berkeley.edu/content/islamophobia/defining-islamophobia)


Press Freedom in China

Press Freedom in China
From Freedom House (2015) "China is home to one of the world’s most restrictive media environments. The already limited space for investigative journalism and politically liberal commentary shrank during 2014, continuing a trend of ideological tightening since Xi Jinping assumed the leadership of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 2012. For the first time in several years, professional journalists from established news outlets were subjected to long-term detention, sentencing, and imprisonment alongside freelancers, online activists, and ethnic minority reporters. Also during 2014, a crackdown on social-media platforms that began the previous year—with increased restrictions on the prominent Sina Weibo microblogging service—expanded to Tencent’s WeChat instant-messaging program, further reducing the ability of ordinary users and journalists to share information and political news without prepublication censorship.
Nevertheless, as internet access via mobile devices continued to climb, reaching over half a billion people during the year, the censorship system was unable to completely stop the circulation of unfavorable news. Dedicated users continued to employ circumvention technology and other, more creative tactics to defy and bypass restrictions on free expression."

Sex Workers Rights

Sex Workers Rights
Sex workers are too often stigmatized by law enforcement officials, politicians and the general public.  This is made worse by the ubiquitous anti-trafficking rhetoric and marketing strategies.  In the name of rescuing trafficking victims, too often consensual sex workers are labeled as trafficking victims.  They are often arrested in anti-trafficking stings.  An already marginalized population is further marginalized in the name of human rights.

Human Rights in Eritrea

Human Rights in Eritrea
Eritrea has been called the North Korea of Africa. Since the dictator Isaias Afwerki took almost absolute power, the situation has been horrible. All of this is detailed in the recent commission of inquiry report - co written by Sheila Keetharuth.  See the Committee's work here:

Comparative Immigration

Comparative Immigration
The most comprehensive reviews and critiques of theories of international migration published in the last decade cover a broad range of issues, but have nothing to say about the politics of immigration nor the sources and consequences of migration policy (Massey, et al., 1993, 1994; Massey, 1998). This oversight reflects both the tendency of scholars outside political science to neglect the political dimensions of migration, even so obvious a topic as state regulation of population flows, and the equally unfortunate tendency of students of politics to ignore migration altogether.