Islamophobia is a poorly named, obsolete practice. Let’s condemn it.

Due to the nature of human rights and the connections between them, it is impossible for every one of our freedoms to exist without interfering with another’s application. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we ensure a balance is achieved between certain rights, which allows us to enjoy them in a satisfactory manner. For example, debates continuously take place regarding where the appropriate balance between security and privacy lies. The proportionality of this balance is dynamic, changing due to environmental circumstances within our societies and therefore no enforced balance can ever be said to be wrong. However, the current balance between our freedom of expression or speech (found in Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998), with rights such as our freedom of religion (Part of Article 9) and the anti-discrimination principle (Article 14), specifically in relation to Muslims at the moment is extremely troubling due to the rise in something we’ve come to call ‘Islamophobia’.

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Why Theresa May’s new proposal is just another Snooper’s Charter

Today, Theresa May has outlined the ‘Investigatory Powers Bill’ regarding data retention and new ways of improving the “outdated” methods authorities currently use to investigate our behaviour online. In the immediate moments after May’s revised proposal, support seems to be far greater than it was in her previous attempt to introduce legislation in this area, through the ‘Draft Communications Data Bill’ in 2012, or as it came to be aptly nicknamed, the ‘Snooper’s Charter’.

However, I intend to argue that this apparently “much-improved bill” (according to Nick Clegg) may not be as much of an improvement as it seems and that there is still a danger this legislation can far too easily be moulded into a tool for mass surveillance, rather than providing a fair balance between national security and personal privacy.

But, first I’ll explain what exactly this bill is and what May was talking about…

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What are human rights?

I chose to introduce this blog, because I wanted to try and engage people who may not have an interest in human rights. The fundamental block to engagement I felt was the complexity of a lot of human rights debates. When people choose to write or report on human rights, it often involves the use of jargon and knowledge of declarations, law and rights that many don’t have easy access to. Therefore, I chose to try and write in a clear and succinct manner, trying to resist using such jargon – making it as easy as possible for people to follow. However, one thing I didn’t immediately consider was the complexity of the term ‘human rights’ itself. If you ask yourself ‘what exactly are human rights?’ what would be your answer? If your answer is anything like mine, it will start with something like “that’s a tough one…” or “I’m not entirely sure”, so this article will try and tackle that question, to help try and make this topic as easy to understand as possible and to try and encourage you to ask what you think human rights are. I will do this by first discussing where the idea of human rights seemingly began, later discussing what all this progression means and where it has left us…

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Are detained mental health services users any better off since The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is little known outside medical law textbooks, yet its potential impact in the human rights arena is groundbreaking.

The Convention is an authoritative human rights treaty, the purpose of which is contained in Article 1: to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities”. By ratifying the Convention in 2009, the UK Government is now legally obliged to ensure that national law and practice are consistent with the Treaty.

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An Introduction to our Guest Writer…

After a short (unintended) hiatus from posting, THWBlog is back with a brand new article today from our next guest writer. My friend and fellow recent law graduate Katie King has very kindly agreed to write a piece, which will be posted this evening for you all to enjoy!

Katie has recently graduated from the University of Bristol and has spent the summer working in a family law firm in Brixton. She now works as a reporter for a popular legal news publication. Her interests include European Law, mental health law, human rights, and legal history. She decided to write a piece on the human rights aspect of mental health law because she has a keen interest in medical law.

This article looks into law more deeply than any of our previous articles, which is something I also potentially aim to do in the future, rather than merely concentrating on opinions. I want to say a huge thank you to Katie for agreeing to write for THWBlog and hope you all enjoy her expert analysis of her chosen topic! Once again, be sure to let us know what you think of it in the comments section below, or on the social media pages.

Why do British lives matter more than others?

Unfortunately, tragedies such as the one we all read about in Oregon last week are seemingly occurring more and more frequently. In recent memory, we’ve had accidents occur in Mecca Hajj, as well as terrorist attacks in both Tunisia and Bangkok, which have dominated headlines in the UK as the total number of those killed continued to increase. However, often before we hear the total number of deceased in these incidents, the first reports often concern the number of Brits specifically that have been killed or injured.

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The Role of Rights in the Abortion Debate

Three of the most fundamental rights that people are entitled to are laid out in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” (UDHR, 1948). In this piece, that is sadly far too short to truly be fit for purpose, I would like to explore what happens when two of those rights conflict – namely, the right to life and the right to liberty – and I believe there is nowhere that this debate is so often had than in the context of whether abortion is an ethical choice that all women should be entitled to, or the committing of countless murders that we should condemn as morally unacceptable.

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An Introduction to our Guest Writer…

This week, THWBlog carries on its guest writer series with a piece from undergraduate and very good friend of mine, James Stopa-Hunt. A very opinionated man, writing about a controversial topic suggests this article certainly won’t be one to miss! Below is James’ introduction to our readers, as well as providing details through which you can contact him with any queries about his upcoming article. Alternatively, you can contact him through the blog and on Facebook. I hope you’re all looking forward to the article as much as I am!

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Is Jeremy Corbyn as committed to the application of human rights as he suggests?

Since the Conservatives won a majority in the most recent election, the party’s policies have provided much to ponder and potentially fear for those supporting a strong upholding of human rights in the UK. With Michael Gove currently working out how to scrap the Human Rights Act, we face the possibility that the application of human rights in the UK could diminish quite severely.  Not only will we lose the check and balance of the European Court of Human Rights (using them as an advisory body instead), but also the current plans for the British Bill of Rights deviate from the basic foundations of human rights (that they should apply equally to all), by for example removing their application to convicted migrants.

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Supplementary Post on Nationalism

Fionn has uploaded a supplementary article answering some questions about his recent article on The Human Writes Blog

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Recently I posted the following article on The Human Writes blog:

https://thehumanwritesblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/nationalism-discrimination-and-human-rights/

The purpose of this post is to address some questions which people have asked me about what I said in that article.

Although I continue to maintain that the argument in the Human Writes post is sound and the conclusion (that we should reject nationalism) is correct, its subject matter is very tricky. For the sake of brevity, I had to bypass some difficult debates in that post. But I am keen to explore the issues further, and if any reader has other questions or criticisms on this subject, I will be happy to address them at length.

The question which I have been asked is: what about cases where nationalism functions or could function as a means of liberating oppressed people, e.g. victims of colonization, the Palestinians, etc. ?

This amounts to an objection to the argument…

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