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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 the planet: children, women, the elderly, disabled, informal sector workers, communities already experiencing extreme poverty, refugees and migrants.  Development aid has already been on the decline globally for several years, whether from 'Global North' countries (such as the UK; United States; Australia; Canada) or behemoth 'Global South' countries (such as China, Brazil), fueling resounding warnings about "the end of aid".  In a nutshell, the UN summarizes some of the key 2020 SDG findings as: "An estimated 71 million people are expected to be pushed back into extreme poverty in 2020, the first rise in global poverty since 1998. Lost incomes, limited social protection and rising prices mean…

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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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Calibrating Human Rights and Necessity in a Global Public Health Emergency: Revive the UN OHCHR’s ICESCR Compliance Criteria

COVID-19 has reached every continent, every region, and almost all countries in the world. Most of us are either in quarantine, sheltering in place, in hospitals fighting for lives, in the front lines of depleting health care resources in the developed and developing world, or attempting some semblance of life (e.g. transplanting…

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