Check this out on AMAZON: Corporations Are Not People: Why They Have More Rights Than You Do and What You Can Do About It http://www.amazon.com/dp/1609941055/ref=cm_sw_r_an_am_ap_am_us?ie=UTF8
A great read…so far.
Human Rights Book Review – ‘Death to the Dictator! – A Young Man Casts a Vote in Iran’s 2009 Election and Pays a Devastating Price’ by Afsaneh Moqadam
Iranian Elections 2009, June 12th. Mohsen Abbaspour, a typically youthful fellow in his 20’s — not especially politically opinionated, or driven to great successes, or sophisticated — takes part in the very first election of his lifetime in Iran’s 10th presidential vote in Tehran. Sick and tired with soaring joblessness and rising cost of living, he supports the reformist party and their nominee, Mir Hossein Mousavi. Mohsen feels his vote can make a difference.
It won’t. Practically the moment the poll closes, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declares himself the winner with a clear majority (supposedly 62%) and therefore President. As the West moves quickly to comprehend the brazen fraudulence involved in the election, Abbaspour, together with his relatives, acquaintances and neighborhood friends, shall go through a feeling of complete despair, and after that another thing: an ever more clearer and perhaps more raw human emotion—the beginnings of fury. They march and protest, just like millions of other Iranians who streamed onto the street, protesting loudly yet peacefully with words such as, “Down with the tyrant!” and “Death to the Dictator”. Mohsen Abbaspour shall be embroiled within the irrepressible and eventual disastrous sequence of occurrences. Moshen himself is imprisoned, brutally beaten and raped.
Along the lines of Phillip Gourevitchs ‘We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families’ and Ryszard Kapuscinski’s insightful dispatches, Death to the Dictator! shocks the reader using its tragic and heart wrenching propinquity. The author, who goes by a pseudonym to safeguard his real identity, became an eager and extremely brave eye witness to the events in Tehran throughout these tumultuous times of 2009 and after. Within this courageous and genuine accounts pages, we view what we’re not meant to view, and discover what we aren’t presumed to be aware of.
For those who were so shocked by these events on the nightly news and wish to know more of the human rights abuses, which add to Iran’s already appalling record, you will find this a compelling read.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Book Review – Daughters of Juarez (Las Hijas de Juarez) by Teresa Rodriguez, Diana Montané and Lisa Pulitzer; Atria, Simon & Schuster 2008.
Daughters of Juarez (Las Hijas de Juarez)
Teresa Rodriguez, Diana Montané and Lisa Pulitzer;
Atria, Simon & Schuster 2008.
ISBN10: 0743292030; ISBN13: 9780743292030
For over a decade Juárez, Mexico, a city adjacent to the Rio Grande El Paso, Texas continues to be the focal point for a sickening criminal offensive towards the female population. Comprising of abductions, sexual assault, mutilation, mass murder, the majority of barbarous acts possess the same patterns or elements i.e. females, youthful, slender, and victims of low socio-economic backgorunds – giving weight to one particular presumption: the fact that the murders are not haphazard or one-offs but by clearly by design. It is truly femicide on a mass scale.
Regardless of the countless police and military busts and raids throughout the previous decade or so, the homicides persist in occurrence and frequency and the perpetrators are increasinly becoming more daring, getting rid of corpses within the limits of the actual city as an alternative to hiding them outside in the desert (which was how and where the first bodies were initially found). There seems to be a sinister air of a probable expanding and generally mind boggling accord and possible co-operation in a dodgy atmosphere of hushing up and suspect intransigence by Mexican officials.
‘Daughters of Juarez’ is undoubtedly a good solid engaging read for it is an authentic account of this mass femicide. Rodriguez makes a difference to many of the people impacted and indeed damaged by these atrocities by bringing the terrible incidents to light for all of us to see.
Despite the good this particular account may do, the book ‘Daughters of Juarez’ is nevertheless afflicted with a shortfall in design. Rodriguez jumps between dates, men and women and happenings so often that it becomes very difficult to stay easily on track. She often endulges in going too far with what should be more simple explanations . The storytelling as good as it is in some parts seems like a waste at other times – I feel there could have been more time spent on humanizing many of the victims by telling part of their story. Perhaps Rodriguez could enlighten us on further background in a follow up book. Some citations should have also been utilized by the author to assist the reader make headway of the depth of analysis and background investigatory work that must have been devoted to this book. So much unnecessary material could have been left out and replaced with substance of a more poignant nature.
Many readers will most likely be terrified by the depth of violence that the hundreds of victims were subjected to. But let us not forget the suffering experienced in so many ways by their families that is equally incomprehensibly terrifying. No matter how iron cast you think your stomach may be the story will shock you!
The account is riveting and should be required reading, however the drawn out composition of thoughts and the explanation involving exactly what the family members endured as well as the over dramatized retelling of the specific events seems to block the natural flow – a flow that ordinarily would encourage you not to put such a book down.
Furthermore, a more concise assessment on the specifics as well as extra cultural evaluation is likely to have assisted one to gain a clearer picture more readily (eg. the ongoing drug wars, the prevailing gang mentaliy, the sex discrimination deeply seeded in Mexican way of life, the ubiquitous corruption in border towns.) Did they contribute in anyway to the mass and serial murders of the women of Juarez? Readers I am sure would like to know.
Such a kind of book as ‘Daughters of Juarez’ also casts light on the ironic fact that intelligent U.S citizens, many whom are uninformed, are consuming not just products and goods from exploited workers in Mexican sweatshops south of their border, but also consuming many of those goods stained with the blood of victims of mass femicide and the victims families tears. The facts remain – women continue to be second rate citizens in Mexico to this day, while only a stones throw away, across the border, life goes on as per usual in the US with taken for granted freedoms, justice and equality. It is an unfortunate fact that the United States indirectly supports the ongoing repression because of their unquentionable thirst for consumerism.
Look over ‘Daughters of Juarez’ and then consider embarking on a getaway to Mexico. You will think about your lovely trip a whole lot more differently – guaranteed!
Even now, you can find little published regarding the issues raised in ‘Daughters of Juarez’. Perhaps if such a nightmarish situation occurred just north of the border, in El Paso, USA or within virtually any other developed or modern city anywhere else on the planet, we would certainly see it making headlines and causing mass public outcry. This is why this book is so very crucial. It brings the horrific events to the world’s attention.
But we must re-iterate despite the importance of the work bringing this topic to the world, the authors have done a diservice to the cause by their excessive dramatizing which can seem increasingly overdone and often contrived as one progresses through the book.
We do recommend reading the book and probably purchasing it. Support your local library and ask them to get it in for you if they do not aleady have it on their shelves. Regardless of some of its minor flaws, Daughters of Juarez is engaging and still worth a read.
The Human Rights Book ReviewRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Happy New Year to all our readers. May 2010 be a great year for you all.
Following are some of the books we have recently got wind of, so keep on the look out for their upcoming release. Based on initial reports, they seem like items worth exploring soon.
1. The Geneva Conventions Under Assault
Sarah Perrigo and Jim Whitman
Due: late March
2. Global Governance and Biopolitics: Regulating Human Security
Due: early March
3. The Devil and Mr. Casement: One Man’s Battle for Human Rights in South America’s Heart of Darkness
Due: mid Feb
4. Before Eminent Domain: Toward a History of Expropriation of Land for the Common Good (Studies in Legal History)
The University of North Carolina Press
Due: mid January
5. Beyond Punishment in International Criminal Justice
Mark Findlay and Ralph Henham
Due: early Jan
6. Profiting from Diversity: The Business Advantages and the Obstacles to Achieving Diversity
Due: early January
7. Worked Up Selves: Personal Development Workers, Self Work and Therapeutic Cultures
Due: early JanuaryRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Book Review – Freshwater Access from a Human Rights Perspective: A Challenge to International Water Law and Human Rights (International Studies in Human Rights) by Dr Knut Bourquain, Brill Academic Publishers, 2008.
Freshwater Access from a Human Rights Perspective: A Challenge to International Water Law and Human Rights (International Studies in Human Rights)
Dr Knut Bourquain
Brill Academic Publishers, 2008. ISBN: 9789004169548
The subject matter of insufficient water access for the worlds population and how it pertains to human rights, has been a very hot topic with the advent and recent urgency of climate change policy. For decades, the global deliberation on facilitating drinking water accessiblility has been kept primarily to NGO’s. What has truly been difficult with water and how it applies to international law is the arrival at any form of unequivocal definition. Further, and most astonishingly is that there has been practically no broad legal breakdown and/or groundbreaking study of the international law relating to the existing agreements and security of access to water. This is a fissure which is most competently patched up in this book. One may regard this as one of the seminal works on the topic it so effectively thrash’s out the topic of water rights.
The book, Freshwater Access from a Human Rights Perspective: A Challenge to International Water and Human Rights Law is authored by Dr Knut Bourquain, a lawyer and former lecturer at Germany’s Giessen University’s. He has become somewhat of a quasi water law expert over the past few years, having specialized in, taught in, and published what could be considered a respectable academic quantity on the topic of water law and how it applies to international human rights.
Dr Bourquain argues and makes a very clear distinction on the fundamentals of an exceedingly scattered area of law and human rights. He meticulously breaks the topic down into smaller and more easily understood parts which makes the work quite accessible to the lay reader but also brings clarity and definition to a seasoned human rights expert on a topic that has been quite foggy until now. He makes the interesting point that the inadequate accessibility to the vital supply of water is not an inescapable end result of water insufficiency. Surprisingly, arid countries have enough wherewithal to realize the necessary water requirements of their inhabitants and there are people in countries where water could be considered ubiquitous that put up with a form of water stress, too. Consequently, a lack in freshwater access can be seen as a dilemma of poor distribution and poor management.
The author analyses very closely the various shortfalls in the prevailing law of international water and human rights and argues for models that might go the distance in fortifying a human rights-based approach to freshwater access. Dr Bourquain does this by proposing both proper legal suitability as well as the appropriateness in the real world.
We felt this was a fine book on a topic given little time and effort to on the publication front. The book closes the gap on water resources and human rights and will make a terrific addition to not only a human rights library collection, but a climate change collection. This book has our thumbs up and we recommend it for purchase.
Table of contents
A. Introduction; I. The background situation – water scarcity as a global problem; II. Causes of the current crisis; III. Strategies of crisis management; IV. The role of law in problem-solving; V. The human rights-based approach to freshwater access in international law; VI. Synopsis of the study;
B. The law on international watercourses and its deficits in providing freshwater access; I. Introduction; II. Survey of the development of international water law in the 20th century; III. Analysis of international water law in regard to fulfilling the basic human need for water; IV. Concluding observations on international water law’s deficits;
C. Elements of a human rights-based approach to freshwater access; I. Introduction; II. Characteristics of a human rights-based approach to freshwater access; III. Human rights-based approaches vs. policy concepts?; IV. Freshwater access in the context of the debate on rights to development and a clean environment; V. Elaboration of the scope of obligations attached to a human rights-based approach to freshwater access; VI. Universalism, particularism and pluralistic legal systems; VII. Concluding observations on the characteristics of a human rights-based approach to freshwater access;
D. The human rights-based approach to freshwater access within current international human rights law; I. Introduction; II. Freshwater access within international human rights treaties; III. Freshwater access as part of customary international human rights law; IV. Freshwater access as part of general principles of international law; V. Extraterritorial obligations of states concerning the basic human need for water; VI. Concluding observations on the international human rights law’s contribution to freshwater access;
E. Improving a human rights-based approach to freshwater access; I. Introduction; II. The need to connect human rights law with international water law; III. Establishing new international treaty law; IV. Specifying and developing the human rights-based approach to freshwater access by the interpretation of existing law; V. Soft law and policy instruments strengthening a human rights-based approach to freshwater access; VI. Concluding observations on prospects for the improvement of a human rights-based approach to freshwater access;
F. Conclusions; Bibliography; Index.
The Human Rights Book Review
The Guantánamo Lawyers – Inside a Prison Outside the Law
Everyone of us has been peppered for years now with stories from the media of Guantanamo inmates and their abuse, either at the hands of their guards, or by the legal system (lack of due process). This book, the Guantanamo Lawyers, brings over 100 personal narratives from not only the inmates at “Gitmo” but also from other overseas prisons/detention centres. It brings these narratives to us first hand from their direct representatives, their Lawyers. The inmates, range from teenagers to octogenarians from approximately forty separate countries. For years, so many have been detained without charges, without any form of trial, and/or a fair and proper hearing. Many of these inmates are indeed America’s enemies but what is so scary is that in the book we learn of stories of how many of the inmates weren’t even captured on any form of battlefield. They were just rumored to be enemies, sometimes on little or faulty intelligence and delivered up to US forces for handsome bounty.
What really pulls at ones sensitivities is the utter mental and physical despair that the detainees go through, their feeling of hopelessness and fear as they are terrorized daily.
Its is hard to believe that civilized society can be driven to these depths. Especially the United States, the once shining example of freedom and justice.
Countless studies have been done on inmates and detainees over hundreds of years and this is probably one of the best (and most horrible) studies of how an intense isolation of a torturous military imprisonment devoid of so many human rights and international legal norms, can wreak havoc on an inmates mind and body and in the process, collaterally rip apart the very soul of the people and country that the system is supposed to protect. One can’t help but draw parallels with these stories with those of the harshest of colonial era penal colonies. These inmates have no sense of future. Deprived of their reality they are driven to self harm such as suicide, hunger strikes, self mutilation etc to add to the harm already heaped upon then day after day by their overseers.
We learn of the brave fight by true American patriots – the lawyers who represent them. The lawyers, many of them military lawyers, thankfully, are not beholden to their military masters, but driven by their devotion and oaths to justice, fairness and human rights for all. Their plight is moving. One finds themselves cheering for these advocates like one would cheer on a football team. Their lesson is our lesson and that is, no matter who we are, we must respect the rule of law, human rights and never stoop to the level of our enemies.
Grab a copy – it’s sure worth the read.
Contents of The Guantánamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law
Introduction by Mark P. Denbeaux and Jonathan Hafetz
Chapter 1 Representing the “Worst of the Worst”
How and Why the Lawyers Started Representing Detainees
Chapter 2 Getting behind the Wire
Rasul/Al Odah: The Right to Representation
Chapter 3 – Uncovering Guantánamo’s Human Face
Rendered: How the Detainees Got to Guantánamo
Chapter 4 Red Tape and Kangaroo Courts
Barriers to Representation
The No-Hearing Hearings: Combatant Status Review Tribunals
Boumediene v. Bush: The Death Knell for Prisons beyond the Law
Chapter 5 – Tortured
A Product of Torture Culture
Chapter 6 – Alternative Forms of Advocacy
Chapter 7 – Leaving Guantánamo
Stuck in Limbo
Out but Not Free
Chapter 8 – Guantánamo beyond Cuba: A Global Detention System outside the Law
Guantánamo Comes to America
Timeline: Guantánamo and the “War on Terror”
If one is inclined to go further with the research or understanding of the Lawyers narrative, New York University Library has produced a Guantánamo Lawyers digital archive for this purpose. The site is dedicated to collecting the narratives of the legal representatives who acted on behalf of detainees at the Guantánamo Bay Detention Center. Anyone can download and view the documents as PDFs. Please visit the site here: Guantánamo Lawyers Digital Archive
The Human Rights Book Review
Hello to all our New York supporters out there and any of our supporters that happen to be in New York. We have just returned from this event and you gotta get down there. Great event worth supporting. Hurry though – only a few hours left. Sorry we never posted advance notice.
Co-sponsored by Human Rights in China and the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School, the Human Rights Book Fair celebrates Chinese, Tibetan, Uyghur, and English-language writers and artists who are currently in prison, under threat, or whose works have been censored or banned in China.
The interactive, multi-media program includes readings, documentary screenings, multi-media presentations, and a panel discussion.
We are going back for a reception later on in the evening, so say hello if you bump into any of the team down there.
Congratulations to Professor Geraldine Van Bueren and all the the new commissioners at the Equality and Human Rights Commission
New Commissioner appointments have just been announced to Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission. It is envisaged that the three-year appointments, announced by Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, will bolster most considerably the Commission’s ongoing and future work on gender, sex orientation, race, religion and belief, age, disability, and human rights in general, as well as its work with employers in both the private and public sector.
Of the appointments, all worthy and deserving in their own way, we would like to single out for particular congratulations, Professor Geraldine Van Bueren. Professor, or should we say Commissioner Van Bueren, has not only an illustrious legal and academic career to her credit, but is also a distinguished author of some very important core human rights texts that we should bring to the attention of our readers.
They are (in chronological order):
*Child Rights in Europe: Convergence and Divergence in Judicial Protection
*Article 40: Child Criminal Justice (Commentary on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 40)
*Childhood Abused: Protecting Children Against Torture, Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment and Punishment
*International Law on the Rights of the Child (International Studies in Human Rights)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
2009 shortlists have just been announced for the prestigious Australian Human Rights Awards conducted annually by the highly regarded Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).
The AHRC’s President, Catherine Branson, commented that the shortlists were judged from more than two hundred high quality entrants nominated from across Australia.
“The shortlists selection is always an inspiring and difficult process for the judging panels due to the extraordinary effort and achievement displayed in the entries,” Ms Branson said.
“I congratulate all those who entered the Awards for their outstanding commitment to protecting and promoting human rights in Australia and, in particular, I congratulate these entrants who have been shortlisted.”
The full shortlists can be found at http://www.humanrights.gov.au/hr_awards, but we have included the Literature Non-Fiction Award shortlist below for relevance to this blog.
Award winners will be presented with their trophies at the annual gala luncheon at the Grand Ballroom, Sheraton on the Park Hotel, Sydney, on Thursday, 10 December 2009. Winners of the prestigious 2009 Human Rights Medal and Young People’s Human Rights Medal will also be announced on the day, which will have ABC Television personality and 2009 Andrew Olle Media lecturer Julian Morrow, as MC.
The Human Rights Book Review finds it quite strange that Julian Morrow of Chaser infamy can be included as MC on the day particlularly after the controversy surrounding a recent skit in his show which made fun of sick and dying children. If the commission are serious about childrens rights, and they seem to be based on recent media releases, do they honestly think it wise appointing Mr Morrow with his teams black mark on human rights so recent? Something to ponder. Here is the offendiing skit. You be the judge and decide whether having Julian Morrow as MC is still too soon after the Chasers ‘Make a realistic wish’ clip.
All information about the 2009 Human Rights Medals and Awards can be found on the website at http://www.humanrights.gov.au/hr_awards, including the Award categories, the judges criteria, winners from previous years and how to get your ticket to the Human Rights Awards 2009 ceremony.
Literature Non-Fiction Award Shortlist
Black Politics: Inside the complexity of Aboriginal political culture
Culture is… Australian Stories Across Cultures: An Anthology
Anne – Marie Smith (Editor)
The Multicultural Writers Association of Australia
Navigating Teenage Depression: A guide for parents and professionals
Gordon Parker and Kerrie Eyers
All these titles are avaliable in Australia and New Zealand from
Postscript: 11th December, 2009. The winners were announced yesterday by the AHRC and the Literature/Non-Fiction prize was awarded to Margot O’Neill for Blind Conscience.
In the Commissions own words “Blind Conscience tells the stories of the people who struggled to get asylum seekers out of detention and to change government policy. It looks at what was the tipping point that made both well-known and ordinary Australians decide to become involved with asylum seekers. The book is a heartfelt, moving and inspirational examination of the point when doing nothing ceases to become an option. Margot is from Coogee, NSW.”
The Human Rights Book review would like to commend Margot on her prize and we look forward to reading her book at some point in the very near future.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Responsibility and accountability for human rights abuse – the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa by Marina Carman
In her new book, Marina Carman debates the concepts and theory of responsibility and
accountability for human rights abuse in a South African social, political and moral context. She centres much of her book on the role of South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and how they have fallen short of specifically and directly defining key theoretical concepts of responsibility or accountability. However, the author puts forward a strong argument that it is possible to draw out that the TRC has implied an approach that stresses that individual accountability stretches further to encompass a collective responsibility in a broader social context. Carman
argues that these collectives and/or individuals should not just accept responsibility but
hold themselves accountable by being active players and contributors to forthcoming change.
A thought provoking read which makes the reader realize that the TRC’s work is valuable, yet doesn’t seem capable of pleasing all – especially those that expect impractical hopes to be fulfilled in such short timeframes.
Can women outdo the men? Book Review: ‘Through the Labyrinth: the truth about how women become leaders’ by Linda Carli and Alice Eagly
The days of ‘mens club’ leadership has dissipated somewhat, albeit still present. As this new paradigm is moving to the fore, so too is a whole new collateral industry developed with those willing to study, explain and profit from it. Not all of those that involve themselves with female leadership can be considered sucker fish at the gills of a large shark however. The present authors must be exluded from the latter and are to be commended for their work in the field and with this treatise.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that women in leadership was a concept that was chuckled at in the male dominated boardrooms across the world. But the most recent generational changes have seen a definite shift in the concept and reality of female leaders in positions of power and importance. It is now commonplace and accepted. It is, rightfully, more and more the norm.
Alice Eagley and Linda Carli are two psychologists and respected academics who have given much of their lives to the teaching of the psychology of gender and organisational psychology – especially sex differences in similarities in leadership. They apply their years of wisdom and experience here in this, their book, ‘Through the Labyrinth : The truth about how women become leaders’.
Their mooted metaphor change of a labyrinth (from the ‘glass ceiling’ methaphor) fits nicely with their arguments, summations and fascinating reccomendations that women must find their own individualistic style with a ‘twice as good’ as men approach to overcome the many natural obstacles, unfair stereotypes and discriminatory stigmas still attached to female advancement on the corporate ladder today.
The book acts as a tangible, comprehensive one stop shop on this important topic. It provides a commanding overview in compliment to the sometimes confusing plethora of materials inside the academia and outside that already exist in large number. Carli and Eagley quickly cut to the core of what leadership truly means and how different styles, context and settings can determine how female leadership rates in success when compared to their male counterparts under similar and dissimilar influencing properties.
While this work has a very academic and professional feel to it, it is still couched in terms and language that most of us can relate to. ‘Through the Labyrinth : The truth about how women become leaders’ should be read by everyone from policy makers, leadership coaches, students to lay people alike. This book would make a priceless addition to any local/municipal library, large public library or highly specialised library collection. It has our thumbs up for acquisition.
Table of Contents:
*Is there still a glass ceiling? *Where are the women leaders? *Are men natural leaders? *Do family responsibilities hold women back? *Is discrimination still a problem? *What is the psychology of prejudice toward female leaders? *Do people resist women’s leadership? *Do women lead differently from men? *Do organizations compromise women’s leadership? *How do some women find their way through the labyrinth? *How good are women leaders and what does their future hold? p>
Accolades: 2007 McKinsey Award winner
Linda Carli, speaks of the glass ceiling here in this podcast link