BULLETIN – February 2021
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- March 8 – International Women’s Day
- Libraries in Afghanistan promoting women’s rights and education
- Will American ideas tear France apart? some of its leaders think so
- New Blog Series
- Human rights in times of Covid19
- Genocide, trauma and health
- Human rights education
- Academic Freedom / Higher Education
- Indigenous people’s rights
- Rights of persons with disabilities
- Elderly persons
- Refugees / migration / forced migration / Statelessness
March 8 – International Women’s Day – Women’s Rights are Human Rights
Women’s rights are the fundamental human rights that were enshrined by the United Nations for every human being on the planet nearly 70 years ago. These rights include the right to live free from violence, slavery, and discrimination; to be educated; to own property; to vote; and to earn a fair and equal wage.
2021 theme – “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”
The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also aligned with the priority theme of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, “Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”, and the flagship Generation Equality campaign, which calls for women’s right to decision-making in all areas of life, equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, an end all forms of violence against women and girls, and health-care services that respond to their needs.
Two young women were killed in bombing attacks. Their soon-to-be fiancées build public libraries memorializing the women they had lost.
As a student, Ms. Hussaini was so determined to succeed that she walked an hour and a half each way to and from her high school while also teaching part time, said her sister Maryam.
She did extraordinarily well, an impressive accomplishment for a person from Afghanistan’s poorest province, Daikundi, in the central highlands — especially in a country where women and girls are marginalized by an education system often closed off to them by their families and Afghanistan’s patriarchal society.
Today, those libraries — one in Kabul, the capital, and the other in Daikundi Province — stand as symbols of the progress made toward gender equality and access to education in Afghanistan, where as many as 3.5 million girls are enrolled in school, according to a recent U.S. watchdog report, and where, as of 2018, one-third of the nation’s teachers were women.
DISCUSSION Blog: Will American ideas tear France apart? some of its leaders think so. (Norimitsu Onishi, New York Times, February 9, 2021) Politicians and prominent intellectuals say social theories from the United States on race, gender and post-colonialism are a threat to French identity and the French republic.
‘The threat is said to be existential. It fuels secessionism. Gnaws at national unity. Abets Islamism. Attacks France’s intellectual and cultural heritage. The threat? “Certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States,’’ said President Emmanuel Macron. French politicians, high-profile intellectuals and journalists are warning that progressive American ideas — specifically on race, gender, post-colonialism — are undermining their society. “There’s a battle to wage against an intellectual matrix from American universities,’’ warned Mr. Macron’s education minister.Emboldened by these comments, prominent intellectuals have banded together against what they regard as contamination by the out-of-control woke leftism of American campuses and its attendant cancel culture.
Pitted against them is a younger, more diverse guard that considers these theories as tools to understanding the wilful blind spots of an increasingly diverse nation that still recoils at the mention of race, has yet to come to terms with its colonial past and often waves away the concerns of minorities as identity politics.
Disputes that would have otherwise attracted little attention are now blown up in the news and social media. The new director of the Paris Opera, who said on Monday he wants to diversify its staff and ban blackface, has been attacked by the far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, but also in Le Mondebecause, though German, he had worked in Toronto and had “soaked up American culture for 10 years.”
The publication this month of a book critical of racial studies by two veteran social scientists, Stéphane Beaud and Gérard Noiriel, fueled criticism from younger scholars — and has received extensive news coverage. Mr. Noiriel has said that race had become a “bulldozer’’ crushing other subjects, adding, in an email, that its academic research in France was questionable because race is not recognized by the government and merely “subjective data.’’
The fierce French debate over a handful of academic disciplines on U.S. campuses may surprise those who have witnessed the gradual decline of American influence in many corners of the world. In some ways, it is a proxy fight over some of the most combustible issues in French society, including national identity and the sharing of power. In a nation where intellectuals still hold sway, the stakes are high.
NEWS FROM GNPHR
New Resource: Mental Health and Human Rights. GNPHR is collaborating with the Mental Health Human Rights Inde (MHHRI) to include their resource on psychology and mental health, with a focus on human rights/mental health and war, disaster, and torture. Read an introduction to the resource, which is also featured in the content area section Mental Health.
WAYS TO PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS
A new series of Blogs about the human rights involvement, experiences and work of fellow psychologists. Next time, your story?
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND ACTIONS
In this section, we collect information, relevant for psychology as well as for psychologists.
Petition: Support Academic Freedom for Boğaziçi University Students and Faculty
First published on January 8, 2021. Click here to view and sign the live petition, which contains a list of individual and institutional signatories.
Today, the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the oldest national physician association in the country, is taking an important step in addressing racism in psychiatry. The APA is beginning the process of making amends for both the direct and indirect acts of racism in psychiatry. The APA Board of Trustees (BOT) apologizes to its members, patients, their families, and the public for enabling discriminatory and prejudicial actions within the APA and racist practices in psychiatric treatment for Black, Indigenous and People of Color(BIPOC). The APA is committed to identifying, understanding, and rectifying our past injustices, as well as developing anti-racist policies that promote equity in mental health for all. https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/apa-apology-for-its-support-of-structural-racism-in-psychiatry Historical addendum to APA’s apology to Black, Indigenous and People of Color for Its support of structural racism in psychiatry. Historical Addendum to APA’s Apology to Black, Indigenous and People of Color
ARTICLES AND NEWS
Human rights in times of Covid19
• ‘It Takes Your Breath Away,’ the High Rate of Deaths of American Indians. High rate of deaths of American Indians. (NY Times, January 16 2021)
Medical training that dismisses the importance of cultural values, assumes scientific objectivity, and practises coded racialised diagnostic values, shows no accountability to the lived experience of Black people, including the many who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic. Current medical practise might be seen as a colonial biomedical knee analogous to that which killed George Floyd, because it fails to see how it denies the life of Black people. Unfortunately, as Gillard and Kingsuggest, we remain in tribal zones and cultural camps that rarely share the power of racialised realities to address cultural myths promoted by Whiteness inside psychiatry, and hence help the profession to liberate itself from its colonial past.
Genocide, trauma and health
Human rights education
SDG 4.7 : Sustainable development and global citizenship. More than any other target, 4.7 touches on the social, humanistic and moral purposes of education. It explicitly links education to other SDGs and captures the transformative aspirations of the new global development agenda. (UNESCO)
Some years ago, when teaching a human rights course at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, I noticed that the composition of my students was overwhelmingly female. I made a mental note of this and began asking colleagues who were teaching human rights in other higher education institutions about the gender balance in their classrooms. It was the same story: mostly women. https://humanrightshere.com/post/the-feminization-of-human-rights
Academic Freedom / Higher Education
Scholars at Risk monitors reports of threats to academic freedom and higher education communities worldwide, including media articles, blogs, opinion pieces and other announcements. Scholars at Risk identifies situations of concern on its own and welcomes reports submitted by faculty, students and volunteers at participating higher education institutions. Subscribe to SAR’s weekly media review:https://www.scholarsatrisk.org/academic-freedom-media-review-archive/?emci=e4970146-a256-eb11-a607-00155d43c992&emdi=121f3bc5-c656-eb11-a607-00155d43c992&ceid=1383567
After Myanmar’s military seized power in the first week of February, the mass of Myanmar’s younger generation are protesting against the coup in the strongest movement led by young generation students since the country’s 1988 democracy uprising. They joined teachers, factory workers and different groups of civilians in mass demonstrations countrywide as the protests intensified this week.
The Global Forum on Academic Freedom, Institutional Autonomy, and the Future of Democracy was held at Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg on 20 – 21 June 2019 and co-organized by the Council of Europe; the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy; the Organization of American States; the Magna Charta Observatory; and the International Association of Universities.
Indigenous people’s rights
The United American Indians of New England (UAINE) has organised a “National Day of Mourning” on the fourth Thursday of November since 1970 to bring attention to the history of the Wampanoag – and Indigenous people across the US – who faced war, disease and ethnic cleansing with the arrival of European colonists.
“Four hundred years after the arrival of the Mayflower, Indigenous people are still denied the respect and lands that are theirs by right,” James said. “Change is long past due … Today, we and many Indigenous people around the country say, ‘No thanks, no giving.’”https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/26/no-thanks-no-giving-natives-on-400-years-of-mayflower-landing
Rights of persons with disabilities
Decolonial perspectives challenge the notion that standard knowledge in hegemonic psychology is productive of progress and enlightenment. They instead emphasise its association with the colonial violence that constitutes the darker underside of modern development. Our contribution to the special issue applies a decolonial perspective to theory and research on obligation to an elderly parent. Thinking from the standpoint of West African epistemic locations not only illuminates the culture-bound character of standard models but also reveals their foundations in modern individualist selfways.
Refugees, migration, forced migration, statelessness
In its first-ever decision on the right to nationality, issued in late December, the UN Human Rights Committee calls on the Netherlands to enact a framework for addressing statelessness that puts human rights first. Like 6,303 other children under age 14 in the Netherlands (as of 2019), Denny’s situation originates with his inability to prove a negative – that he holds no nationality – and a corresponding entry in the country’s civil registration records: “unknown nationality.” https://www.statelessness.eu/updates/blog/victory-human-rights-zhao-v-netherlands-denny-case-nationality-birth-without?mc_cid=c44cfe4dd8&mc_eid=072f82858f
Thousands of migrants are stranded without adequate shelter in northern Bosnia, facing freezing cold temperatures. “Over the past two weeks, we watched with growing concern the dire humanitarian situation facing many migrants in Bosnia,” Paul Dillon, spokesman for the UN migration agency IOM, said in a press briefing on Tuesday. There are currently close to 3,000 migrants and refugees in northern Bosnia who are facing harsh winter weather without adequate shelter, according to IOM estimates. Between 900 and 1,400 men are reportedly living in the burnt-out Lipa camp, another roughly 1,500 migrants and refugees — including women and children – are sleeping rough in the region of Una Sana Canton, which borders on European Union member state Croatia. https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/29469/migrants-in-bosnia-eu-un-officials-condemn-situation-in-lipa-camp
• Whiteness is viewed as friendly. “Whiteness is viewed as friendly, not just nonthreatening but friendly” by law enforcement, said Rashawn Ray, a sociologist at the University of Maryland and fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. By contrast, groups that challenge the racialized status quo, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, are treated as inherently threatening. In June, Dr. Ray noted, the government deployed thousands of officers and used tear gas, helicopters and other tactics to subdue Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Washington. But last week, there was “a completely different response,” he said. “The message was: we’re not threatened by them.” (NY Times, January 15, 2021)
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS NEWS
REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS NEWS
CONFERENCES, EVENTS, EDUCATION and GRANTS
Apply Now! HRE Summer Fellowship. HRE USA is now accepting applications for their Edmonds Summer Fellowship Program.
The Edmonds Summer Fellowship supports hands-on leadership experience in human rights education to honor the legacy of HRE leader Kirby Edmonds and further his work to engage young people in building human rights-friendly schools and communities. Each fellow receives a $1500 stipend. Fellows must be 18 years or older and be willing to commit to 100 hours between June 1-August 15. Preference will be given to applications received by March 1, 2021
Human rights conferences
SAR invites you to save the date for the 2021 Philipp Schwartz and InspireuropeStakeholder Forum, which will be held on 26 and 27 April as an online event. Convened by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative in cooperation with the Scholars at Risk Germany Section and the Inspireurope project, the Forum will provide an opportunity for scholars, host institutions, funding organisations, and partners across Europe and beyond to discuss issues related to academic freedom and the situation of at-risk researchers in Europe. It will also place a particular focus on the topic of re-building interrupted research careers within and beyond academia.
Invitations will be issued in March by the organisers. We hope to see many of you there.