Global Human Rights Hub Fellows Blog

Global Human Rights Hub Grad Fellows work with faculty mentors from across ASU to develop and refine their knowledge of global human rights. Fellows work with each other and with their mentors to write blog posts that highlight both human rights violations and strategies for ameliorating them around the world. Check here for regular blog posts from our fellows!

See the 2021-2022 GHR Hub Fellows

Read the 2020-2021 GRH Hub Grad Fellow Blog Posts:

The #EndSARS movement: A far too familiar story of police brutality

By Aryanna Chutkan

Last month, the #EndSARS hashtag began trending on Twitter, gaining worldwide attention and bringing the conversation on police brutality to the global stage. While the hashtag and its corresponding domestic social movement have existed since 2017, public backlash to the brutality of Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) intensified following multiple assurances from the Nigerian government that SARS would be disbanded. Despite these assurances and multiple formal disbandments SARS has consistently been reformed, and remains notorious for its extreme brutality. SARS has faced criticism from Nigerians and from international watchdog groups like Amnesty International, but SARS has continued to act with impunity, committing rapes, acts of torture, and extrajudicial killings. Public outrage at SARS’s repeated instances of torture and murder came to a head when, following mass protests and mobilization in response to video footage showing a SARS officer shooting a young motorist, removing his body from his vehicle, and driving off in the motorist’s car, SARS officers opened fire on a protest at Lagos’s Lekki toll gate, killing 48 people.

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No peace for Colombia: political violence in the post-agreement

By Camila Páez Bernal

Four years after the peace agreement was signed, Colombia still faces indiscriminate killings and a high degree of political violence. Colombia’s history is a story of controlling civil society through the use of terror and violence with the objective of maintaining the dominance of economic elites and the concentration of political power. The peace agreement of 2016 has not allowed an escape from an unending cycle of violence and power perpetuation rooted in colonization and modernization discourses. Political violence is becoming a daily occurrence in some areas of the country. Sadly, we face the risk of its normalization in the light of a government consciously ignoring evidence of its increase.

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Creating a new table: The invisibilization of female fisheries workers and a call for equity

By Gabrielle Lout

Williams, a social justice practitioner, was speaking at the 2020 Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions Annual Meeting where he stressed the critical need to place equity, not just equality, at the center of how we approach the most complex social and environmental issues threatening our ocean and coastal communities. Without adequate attention to both equality and equity we face the possibility of initiatives that fail to create transformative change for the marginalized and/or vulnerable groups. 

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Insecure Justice: Migrants’ Right to Due Process

By Matthew Smoldt

In December of 2010, James Makowski, a U.S. citizen, plead guilty to the sale of heroin. The court sentenced Makowski to several months of rehabilitation at a so-called boot camp. Yet, Makowski was transferred to a maximum-security prison for two months. Why? The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had filed for his detention in July. Mr. Makowski had been unaware of the detainer against him. The DHS made its request as part of the Secure Communities program, which, since 2008, has been the federal government’s main program to identify and deport undocumented immigrants. The program relies on file-sharing between local law enforcement agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security. Local law enforcement shares the information of all arrestees with federal agencies. In turn, federal agencies check the data against their records.

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Global Backlash against Gay Rights: Why do States Repress Sexual Minorities?

By Namig Abbasov

Despite improvements in human rights around the world (Fariss 2014), state repression is still with us. In particular, gay rights face strong backlash across the world. A number of states have taken steps to reverse the improvements over gay rights. Why do states sometimes repress the rights of sexual minorities?

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Latin-American Women into power: the green and purple tide transforming the region

By Camila Páez Bernal

In the last decade, a feminist wave has dyed Latin-America in purple and green. The purple tide has been the rise of movements claiming more legal and governmental responses to violence affecting women in the region. In contrast, the green tide is the agglomeration of social movements and organizations demanding the legalization of abortion and the implementation of sexual and reproductive health education policies. The increase in civic society mobilization has made possible women's political participation and representation by impacting legislatures and courts. This context gives hope for the future. Yet, do all women in Latin America will benefit from these changes and increasing inclusion? Does the representation increasing and the execution of new policies will be equally accessible by women, despite their class, ethnic, geographical, and race differences? These are crucial questions to think about right now to successfully implement mechanisms that take into account the different Latin-American women’s experiences, resources, and contexts.

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Harnessing seafood markets to advance human rights: Are current initiatives more than a conceptual promise?

By Gabrielle Lout

In recent years, widespread human rights abuses and labor violations in global fisheries have been documented and publicized, bringing attention to unacceptable industry practices and a systemic disregard for human wellbeing. Appalling incidents involving modern day slavery, human trafficking, and exploitation of migrant labor continue to be reported. Receiving less attention yet occurring with impermissible frequency are the infringements on individuals’ right to decent work, women's rights, cultural identity, and food security.

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Unenforced: The State of Migrants’ Rights

By Matthew Smoldt

When the pandemic began, many countries closed their borders. While subsequent openings have varied, all closures bear an important similarity. They put into question states’ respect for migrants’ rights. Such rights are enshrined in various international and regional agreements. For the United States, relevant agreements include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees; and the articles of the original Geneva Convention. By ratifying these agreements, the United States, and other countries, agree to adhere by them. Thus, according to scholars of international law, such documents create obligations for their parties, especially during these unusual times. One of the most prominent principles is non-refoulement, that is, the prohibition against forced return to a dangerous or threatening circumstance. Though some confine the scope of non-refoulement to governmental persecution, it is not the only relevant principle. One can establish grounds for the dignified treatment of migrants with other legal precepts.

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LGBTQ+ Repression during the Covid-19 Pandemic

By Namig Abbasov

Several states took advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to repress sexual minorities. Some visual evidence showed the Ugandan police raiding a shelter established for LGBTQ+ people and beating its residents. The evidence also indicates that the residents inside the shelter were tied with rope and taken to a police station and arrested without legal assistance. The program director at the shelter articulated that state officials use stay-at-home measures as “opportunity to get rid of” LGBTQ+ people (Cited in Strudwick, 2020).

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