Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


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Women as Humans: Human Rights, Feminisms, and Rethinking the Human

By Amber Karanikolas

Image: flickr/BWSS

Image: flickr/BWSS

To come up against what functions, for some, as a limit case of the human is a challenge to rethink the human. And the task to rethink the human is part of the democratic trajectory of evolving human rights jurisprudence.[1]

Who is the subject of human rights? Or, to put the question another way, who has the right to be human? Do women? The concept of human rights is continually evolving, and it is used in diverse ways. Human rights can encompass the many forms of ‘rights-talk’ that social movements use to make their claims, and internationally, recognition of human rights is proliferating. Although not denoting global compliance with human rights norms, it is now commonplace to declare that we live in an age of human rights.

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Political Participation: Where are Women with Disabilities?

Image from Wheels for Humanity Indonesia http://ucpruk.org

Image from Wheels for Humanity Indonesia
http://ucpruk.org

By Jane Connors

We celebrated 70 years of the United Nations (UN) on 24 October, with landmarks all over the world, including Uluru, controversially, turning UN blue in commemoration.

The few human rights provisions of the UN Charter form the basis of international legal standards, established in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and institutions for the promotion and protection of the human rights of women. In 1952, the UN adopted the Convention on the Political Rights of Women. It adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, obliging States parties to eliminate discrimination against women in all fields, including public and political life, in 1979. Negotiation of these instruments was contentious: States expressed reservations on many provisions on adoption, which they confirmed on ratification or accession. Continue Reading →


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Rights, Regulation and Bodily Integrity: Reflections from Sport

By Kate Henne, RegNet, ANU

Dutee Chand was banned from competition in 2014 (Photo: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

Dutee Chand was banned from competition in 2014 (Photo: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

Sport is a space in which the policing and scrutiny of athletes’ bodies is explicit. Regular commentaries about athletes’ physical performances, suspected performance-enhancing drug use and changes to their bodies’ shape or size offer everyday examples. Accordingly, sport is a site that enables us to think through the tensions between rights, regulation and bodily integrity. Recent developments around the regulation of who can participate in women’s sports events offer a timely and important case in point.

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Women in the rulings of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights: Moving beyond the single story

By Mariana Prandini Assis, The New School for Social Research (New York)**

BILLIE ZANGEWA, The Rebirth of the Black Venus, 2010*   https://www.artsy.net/artist/billie-zangewa

BILLIE ZANGEWA, The Rebirth of the Black Venus, 2010*
https://www.artsy.net/artist/billie-zangewa

After a long battle with the mainstream of human rights discourse and institutions dating from at least the era of the League of Nations, feminists organized in a transnational movement[1] have succeeded in placing women’s issues at the centre of human rights debates.

Here I want to take a step back from celebrating these achievements and ask: if women are now part of the transnational discourse on human rights, who are these women? How do transnational human rights institutions represent them? Or, put in other words, who is the female subject of transnational legal discourse and what gendered harms are made visible in this arena?

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Reproductive Rights Victory and Challenges Ahead in the Inter-American Region

Artwork - Cristy C. Road @ www.croadcore.org.

Artwork – Cristy C. Road @ www.croadcore.org

By Ciara O’Connell

University of Sussex

On January 21, 2015, Guadalupe, a Salvadoran woman sentenced to thirty years imprisonment after suffering a miscarriage, was pardoned seven years into her sentence. Guadalupe was one of a group of 17 women who are imprisoned in El Salvador as a result of obstetric complications, where the women have been found guilty of attempting to abort their pregnancies.[1] There is a complete ban on abortion in El Salvador, which means that even women who are raped or whose health is at a significant risk cannot abort a pregnancy. It also means that a pregnancy resulting in a malformed foetus that cannot survive outside the womb will not be terminated. For women in El Salvador, the ban on abortion is not only a violation of reproductive rights to health and autonomy, but in some situations may even take on characteristics of torture. Continue Reading →