On March 24, 2016, I was one of 20 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows from University of Minnesota Law School and American University Washington College of Law who visited the United Nations headquarters to attend the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60).
New Tactics Blog
Shalya Rajathurai worked as a civil litigation attorney in Malaysia and Singapore before relocating to Minneapolis in March last year when she got married. Volunteering has always been an integral part of her life, so she was eager to find a volunteer role in Minnesota. Her husband had previously volunteered for CVT, so she called to offer her services.
A restaurant near Shanghai is charging customers a “clean air fee”to breathe unpolluted air. This is a response to air pollution levels hitting “red alert” status. It begs the question: is a healthy living environment a human right or a commodity?
"The essence of the communication strategy is to recognize that people are very sensitive not only to what your message is, but to how it is communicated, and, perhaps most importantly, to who is transmitting it."
By Shalya Rajathurai
Image: Kaushalya "Shalya" Rajathurai
This book was published by Jabal Amman Publishers in partnership with The Children Museum Jordan and launched in October, which is the Arab Child Month. At the book launch event for Ana Insan – I am Human, Mr. Sinan Sweis, managing director of Jabal Amman Publishers, said “For several years it has been a dream to work on creating an Arabic human rights book with child friendly content that empowers children. In Arabic you might find content regarding the Child Rights Convention, but nothing about the International Declaration of Human Rights that is directed at children.”
Recently, I attended the Civil Society Knowledge Forum II: “Assessing progress, Advancing change” organized by FHI360, a nonprofit dedicated to improving lives through locally driven solutions. The participants represented NGOs working with FHI360 to advance civil society.
Defending human rights in Russia can be perilous. One only needs to recall the killings of human rights defenders, investigative journalists and lawyers like Anna Politkovskaya, Stanislav Markelov, Anastasia Baburova or Memorial activist Natalia Estemirova. Opposition activists also face physical danger. In February 2015 Boris Nemtsov, an opposition leader and former first deputy prime minister during Yeltsin’s second presidency, was shot dead near the Kremlin in Moscow. Moreover, some organisers and participants of demonstrations have faced prosecution and imprisonment. Since 2005, the Russian authorities have implemented legislation isolating the political opposition and curtailing the funding of HRDs. These laws have included restrictions in the activities of the foreign organisations, increased fines for organising and participating in unsanctioned demonstrations. They also modified existing laws on treason and recriminalised libel. These laws affect the whole spectrum of civil, cultural, and human rights associations.
The Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms passed in 1998 by the UN General Assembly marked a milestone for the defense of human rights. It was a moment of joy and hope, built on years of advocacy and negotiations to obtain the explicit support of the UN and governments for the thousands of activists and organizations that had been defending human rights for so long. But now, almost 17 years after that moment, we believe that it is time to critically consider some key aspects of the UN Declaration.