Human Rights

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Private Security, Human Rights, and Covid-19

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen a leap in demand for certain types of private security services from both States and businesses, and exacerbation of existing challenges in the sector. Many governments and other actors, such as the European Commission, are categorising private security as an ‘essential service’ or ‘critical occupation.’ Additionally, States are resorting to emergency legislation to manage the public health crisis, and as a consequence we are seeing them turn to private security providers to fill public security gaps. At the same time, public tendering, contracting and licensing procedures are being expedited. There are two distinct strands to this proliferating reliance on private security. Firstly, there is an upturn in contracts for existing activities in countries where the private sector has long been involved in the provision of security, for example, in migrant detention centres and public transport. Secondly, private security contractors are moving into new public spaces as a direct consequence of COVID-19 by positioning themselves as humanitarian actors and, for example,…

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The Internationalisation of Black Lives Matter at the Human Rights Council

‘Black Lives Matter’ resonated at the Human Rights Council on 17 June during the urgent debate on the ‘current racially inspired human rights violations, systemic racism, police brutality and violence against peaceful protests’. The stirring words of Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, the speech of Michelle Bachelet, the UN…

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The right to enter his or her own country

The tension between the right of the State to regulate entry into its jurisdiction and the right of the individual to move freely has come to the fore in the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to contain the transmission of COVID-19, it has been reported that Samoa denied entry to eight of its nationals, and…

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George Floyd’s Murder and the New Hope for Police Reform

The anti-racist protests dominating both old and new media these last three weeks are denouncing much more than racist and violent — indeed murderous — policing in the United States and many other countries. All honor and mourn George Floyd. Most invoke the names of other black men and women outrageously killed by police in recent…

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The Value of Life

The right to life has been described by the UN Human Rights Committee as ‘the supreme right’. Its realisation is the precondition for the exercise of all other rights. Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that: ‘Every human being has the inherent right to life.’ The right to life…

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