October 2012 Archives

hicks.jpgPeggy Hicks, Global Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch, visited campus on October 26 to discuss her evaluation of the human rights policy of emerging democracies. The political transformation of India, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, and Indonesia (IBSATI) into emergent democracies gave many people hope for a new era of human rights diplomacy at the United Nations: South Africa, a country recovering from apartheid and the land of Nelson Mandela, India, home to Gandhi and the world's largest democracy, and Brazil, a nation fundamentally marked by its history of military dictatorship.

Ending "trafficking" is perhaps the most well-known, well-resourced, well-loved social cause of the 21st century that doesn't require its proponents' agreement on what it even is they wish to end. Continue reading...

conference.jpgPart of the 2012 4th World Conference on Remedies to Racial and Ethnic Inequality, the "Human Rights as Civil Rights" panel featured Dean of the Humphrey School Eric Schwartz, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment Juan Mendez, Human Rights Program Director Barb Frey, and the Honorable Judge LaJune Lange. The focus of this panel was to propose and discuss possible remedies to racial and ethnic inequality put forth by human rights treaties, institutions, and practices. The international human rights network might offer solutions that could be implemented on the domestic level.

tamale.jpgIn her Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change Distinguished Lecture Sylvia Tamale, notable human rights activist and University of Minnesota alum, suggested a framework through which human rights and, more specifically, gay rights can be achieved throughout the continent of Africa. Rather than using contested rights discourse or other politically charged language, activists and theorists ought to employ the concept of "ubuntu."

pendas.jpgHistorian Devin Pendas visited the U of M on October 10 to discuss the origins of human rights with students and faculty. Although historiography can also provide insight into other human rights questions, Pendas noted, his current research delves into the three main origins hypotheses. Other disciplines, when investigating human rights both conceptually and practically, tend to give primacy to what, why, and how questions rather than when.

dratel.jpgJoshua Dratel, a federal criminal defense lawyer in private practice and an advisor to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers on the representation of high-value detainees, discussed United States procedures regarding the classification of information with Professor Sikkink's Human Rights and Democracy class on October 1. Dratel represented Guantanamo detainee David Hicks in front of a military commission.

Private Detention and the Immigration Industrial Complex

doty.jpgThe Minnesota International Relations Colloquium invited U of M alumni Roxanne Doty to present on her new research regarding the detention of immigrants on September 24th. Doty and her colleague Elizabeth Wheatley are in the process of investigating what they call the "immigration industrial complex." Immigrants currently constitute the fastest growing population in federal custody.

The handwritten letters arrived by the dozens, from men who described in flawed but poignant language what it was like to lose their minds. "I feel like I am developing some kind of skitsophrinia behaviors," one man wrote. "I hear voices echoing as I try to fall asleep."Continue reading...

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