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A nation on the brink

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, anthropology professor | July 11, 2016

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”  – President Abraham Lincoln. Our nation as at a breaking point. Race relations in America have hit rock bottom. We have work to do and it is long overdue. Beyond undoing the damage and human … Continue reading »

Impunity and the murder of environmental activist Berta Cáceres

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | May 3, 2016

“The Honduran government lacks the veracity and political will to conduct a just, thorough and professional investigation.” This was the reaction of Silvio Carrillo, a nephew of Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres, when asked to comment on the news that four men have been arrested by Honduran police in connection with the March 3 assassination of … Continue reading »

Not everyone mourns for Ayotzinapa’s students

Lorena Ojeda, visiting scholar, history | November 4, 2014

Forty-three student teachers (normalistas) disappeared on the evening of September 26 in the municipality of Iguala, in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. The incident has attracted national and international attention, and it has also generated a wealth of speculation and misinformation. The daily reports concerning the discovery of numerous mass graves have further muddied … Continue reading »

An Open Letter to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie

Kim Thuy Seelinger, director, Sexual Violence Program, Human Rights Center | June 23, 2014

Dear Foreign Secretary Hague and Special Envoy Jolie: We congratulate the UK Government’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative for convening the historic Global Summit in London. We are members of the Missing Peace Young Scholars Network: early-career researchers from a wide range of academic backgrounds, committed to understanding and ending sexual violence in war. The Network … Continue reading »

The breaking of bodies and minds: Task force report confirms complicity of U.S. medical personnel in torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment

Alexa Koenig, executive director, Human Rights Center, Berkeley Law | November 4, 2013

A report released this morning — Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror — concludes that post-9/11, doctors and other health professionals working in U.S. security detention centers around the world engaged or assisted in torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees in violation of medical and ethical principles. The … Continue reading »

Estimating deaths

Robin Mejia, PhD candidate, biostatistics | July 25, 2013

Last month, the UN announced that the conflict in Syria has killed at least 92,901 people. The number has been widely picked up. Yet many reports miss how crucial the “at least” really is. 92,901 is the number of confirmed deaths – that is, a count. Mostly likely, considerably more people have died. Soon, the … Continue reading »

Human Rights Day: How social video changes the game for advocacy and accountability

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | December 4, 2012

December 10 marks Human Rights Day, commemorating the U.N.’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Durable protection of human rights requires institutional frameworks and the rule of law. But with the rise of social media — together with cameras now standard in mobile devices — citizens are gaining tools to bring … Continue reading »

The Internet and global justice 2.0

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | July 23, 2012

Recent developments in technology — and a UN Human Rights Council Resolution — highlight the growing potential of social media’s role in international justice. Tools for citizens to report or document serious crimes are increasingly available and easy for non-specialists to deploy. The seminal crowdsourcing platform Ushahidi, created during the post-election violence in Kenya in … Continue reading »

Zombies, humanitarians and the Twilight Zone of security

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | December 1, 2011

The shock is palpable. For those of us used to United States criminal justice as a baseline the decision seemed in explicable. Norway’s prosecutors have decided that Anders Behring Breivik is insane and should not face criminal prosecution (read the AP report here). Breivik was arrested last summer after methodically gunning down scores of Norwegian … Continue reading »

Environmental justice and adaptation to climate change

Dan Farber, professor of law | April 4, 2011

I’m beginning to wonder whether we need an “Endangered People Act” to ensure that the most vulnerable get the protection they need from climate change impacts. Climate change will disproportionately affect vulnerable individuals and poorer regions and countries, as I discuss in a recent paper comparing adaptation efforts in China, England, and the U.S. For … Continue reading »