Economic Social Cultural Rights

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International Law and the Right to Food: What We Can Learn from Racial Justice Movements

Until very recently, international law usually dealt with questions of race and racism through two primary mechanisms: denial and containment. On the one hand, the outlawing and criminalisation of the most egregious forms of racial discrimination contributed to the narrative that international law was the polar opposite and even the primary antagonist of racism, which was generally relegated to an irrational past. On the other, international legal doctrines and structures only recognised and addressed racial subordination in so far as it was named and challenged through the idiom of ‘racial discrimination’. This dual move has profound consequences. First, it locates racism exclusively on the level of the nation-state. Secondly, it negates the possibility that the heart of racism does not lie in this or that discriminatory law or treatment but rather on the way our national and international political economy is structured. From this, it follows that even though some international legal fields have been critiqued for their complicity with racism and the…

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SDG Report 2020: The Civil, Political, Economic, Social, Cultural, and Development Rights Crises Deepening in the Global South

The United Nations recently released its Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020, and the results are expectedly grim during this global pandemic.  Not only has the world fallen well off track from Agenda 2030 objectives - including the eradication of poverty - but the deepening inequalities within the Global South augur even worse outcomes for the most vulnerable populations on…

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COVID-19, the right to education and Bangladesh

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought in a paradigm shift in the understanding of human rights jurisprudence. Like many other human rights, the right to education is now continuously being rethought and renegotiated within the constant pulls of statist economic priorities and public health emergencies. In the context of Bangladesh, these pulls are rather strong. The pandemic has penetrated…

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We Can’t Breathe: UN OHCHR Experts Issue Joint Statement and Call for Reparations

No one on this planet could have failed to see the 8 minutes and 46 seconds in which George Floyd was killed. The United States signed the International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1966, ratifying the same in 1994.  Article 2 of ICERD contains fundamental obligations assumed by parties to…

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The Myth and Mayhem of ‘Build Back Better’: Human Rights Decision-Making and Human Dignity Imperatives in COVID-19

Human rights were already under siege everywhere around the world before COVID-19.  But there is also a dawning race now against reaching the ‘twilight of human rights law’, due to: 1) authoritarian regimes’ dismissal of the relevance of human rights while using this pandemic to expand and consolidate their power, such as to silence speech,…

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