Since 1990, women in Saudi Arabia have been prohibited by royal decree from driving. This decree has been a point of contention within Saudi Arabia as well as in the international community. Now, a recent royal decree has overturned this law and will allow Saudi women to drive in June of 2018. While this legal change may be enough to open the way for changes in the male guardianship system, it is not yet enough for Saudi Arabia to be in compliance with their obligations under the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Image credit: New York Times, available at https://static01.nyt.com/images/2017/09/27/world/saudi-drive/saudi-drive-master768.jpg
Sri Lanka’s people have been through a long history of war, causing its people to suffer devastating loss. The Government has promised to make changes, but the people of Sri Lanka are continuing to suffer at the hands of police power and the government. Basic human rights are greatly curtailed by the Country’s laws. The United Nations has decided to step in, and hopefully bring the long-awaited justice Sri Lankan people deserve.
“Not a day goes by without reports of police officers overstepping the bounds of the Constitution.”Camelia Nathaniel, A Clear Indictment on Sri Lankan Police, A The Sunday Leader, (Jan. 23, 2017), http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2016/01/24/a-clear-indictment-on-sri-lanka-police/.
Joseph Kabila and his father, Laurent-Desire Kabila, have been the only presidents of the renamed Democratic Republic of the Congo since Laurent-Desire Kabila’s overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997. Joseph Kabila was elected for his second, and constitutionally mandated, final term as president in 2011. In the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, the Congolese Congress and President Kabila took steps to block the 2016 election. In response to attempts to push back the 2016 election, and the actual push back of the 2016 election, protests have arisen throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and President Kabila has responded by violently crushing the protests and committing numerous human rights violations. President Kabila should be immediately removed from power for violating the Congolese Constitution and violating international human rights.
Famous for its Internet censorship, the government touts it’s respect for constitutional provisions of speech. Although the government appears to perceive the Internet as a fount of wisdom, it attempts to shield citizens from using it to its full potential. The nation’s recent crackdown on social media site Weibo appears to illustrate what appears to be contradictory, but is supported by the country’s Constitution.
In response to a national measles outbreak, the Italian government has enacted a mandatory vaccinations law for school-aged children as a prerequisite to school enrollment, with hefty consequences for noncompliance. While not everyone is in agreement about this law, the Italian people may not be able to afford to refuse vaccinations without putting their loved ones, and themselves, at risk.
Image credit: MaxPixel, available at http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Monument-Italy-Emanuel-Ii-The-Altar-Of-The-Homeland-422712
France, despite high rates of vaccine skepticism, has enacted legislation to make vaccines compulsory by 2018 in an attempt to curtail the spread of vaccine preventable diseases. Will this new law be effective in recapturing herd immunity?
Image credit: Romain D C, available at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:La_Canop%C3%A9e_panorama_20160624_01.jpg
The U.S. presidential election was dominated by claims that then-Candidate Trump would build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico without spending U.S. taxpayer dollars. International law, specifically Article 24 of the United Nations, has been infrequently discussed in regards to this issue.
On September 23, New Zealanders went to the polls to vote for their next government. As a result of a shifting political landscape, party leadership changes, and the country’s proportional voting system, voters elected a coalition progressive-populist-nationalist government. In contrast to the country’s pro-globalization, anti-regulation regime of the last 30 years, the new government is expected to pursue more isolationist policies, particularly in the areas of immigration and foreign trade.
Since the passage of the September 2017 referendum, the Kurds found themselves fighting Iraq to maintain previously established KRG territory. Within one month of the referendum, the Kurds have lost 40% of their territory. What other effects have the Kurds faced as a result of this move for independence?
Chile has vowed to become the latest country to ban the use of plastic bags in order to mitigate the negative environmental effect that they have. But the path to an effective ban is much murkier than simply banning bags and seeing an improvement overnight. What will Chile do to implement an effective ban?
The current attacks against the Rhonigya are inhumane and unjust. Myanmar’s history of ethnic conflict with the Rohingya is very complicated and requires a basic understanding of how the country was established.
According to a panel of experts on the Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), imposing the capital punishment on individuals who suffer a psychosocial disability is a violation of the death penalty safeguards. However, the Pakistani Supreme Court is permitting the execution of mentally ill individuals. The United Nations again pressured Pakistan to protect its mentally ill inmates.
In 2015 alone, one million people from the Middle East and parts of Africa reached the European Union seeking asylum from countries consumed by war, political instability, and repression. Placed between two of the most “immigrant friendly” countries in Europe, Denmark responded to the influx of asylum seekers by enacting new policies further restricting the rights of refugees.
In 2011, South Sudan became an independent nation. South Sudan was formed in part to break away from the devastation of Sudan; however, it is unclear that the South Sudanese government has been able to prevent violence, instability, or food insecurity from taking hold in this new nation.
Image credit: Steve Evans from Citizen of the World, available at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:South_Sudan_Independence_Celebration_(5963420792).jpg
Over 140 million girls and women are affected by Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Many countries have taken steps to enact laws and regulations to curb the cultural and societal expectations to undergo FGM. South Africa effectively criminalized FGM and continues to educate society on the complications and human rights implications of FGM.
Fishing on the high seas is one of the most important rights nations have under international law, but the lack of regulation has allowed humans to decimate fish populations. In 2015, the United Nations resolved to adopt a new treaty to regulate high seas fishing. The Republic of Maldives is a key stakeholder that will be affected by these new regulations.
Image credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), available at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yellowfin_tuna_nurp.jpg
In the heart of sub-Saharan Africa, Botswana’s diamond industry has helped the nation thrive. A handful of sprawling diamond mines controlled by the most famous name in the diamond industry—De Beers—dot the country’s rugged terrain. In Fall 2017, Botswana underwent it’s third KP review—and pledged to remain transparent and follow the KP.
For the past 50 years, Colombia has been fighting a civil war against its largest rebel group, FARC. Now that a peace accord has been signed and approved by Congress, what issues may arise? What issues still linger?
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The Cambodian government, led by Hun Sen who has ruled as Prime Minister since 1997, has been met international criticism and condemnation after conclusion of the Kkmer Rouge Tribunal. People are talking about Cambodia again, and it’s not just the indie-film lovers and critics. Can the success or failure of an international criminal war tribunal be measured as a quantifiable result? What about qualitative results?
The Supreme Court of India recently outlawed the longstanding practice of allowing Muslim men to instantly divorce their wives through “triple talaq,” or uttering the word “talaq,” meaning “divorce,” three times in a row. The Court ruled this practice unconstitutional and against the tenents of the Muslim faith. With this ruling, India joins many other counties that have outlawed this Muslim practice and in turn strengthens the rights of Muslim women.
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Since 1967, native-born Palestinians in East Jerusalem have struggled to acquire and maintain legal residency. This struggle has left many Palestinians with a tenuous status that may be revoked at any time, leaving them stateless and without a legal remedy. Now, a recent Israeli Supreme Court decision ordering Israel to reinstate a Palestinian man’s residency may mark the beginning of new protections for East Jerusalemites.
While mammoth tusks have been collected from Russia for decades now, new techniques pose grave consequences for the environment. Attempts by local authorities to regulate the removal of tusks have been unsuccessful, and while the federal government possesses primary authority it has left this practice largely unregulated. While the removal and sale of mammoth tusks promises great financial reward, regulation is necessary to mitigate the negative effects. The federal government must either regulate this area itself, or enable local authorities to do so.
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Japanese law requires the government operate its national heatlh care system in a sound manner. However, economists and medical professionals have argued that the Japanese health care system is failing, as the current insurance system will not support Japan's projected demographics. Now is the time for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to act on campaign promises and implement change.
Image credit: Japan Health Care College, by 禁樹なずな - available on Wikimedia.
Vietnam, a country that has become a welcoming place for foreign investors, recently promulgated new laws that may lead to an influx of investment by casino businesses. However, uncertainty remains because the reforms are tentatively temporary, investors have been let down by the Vietnamese government in the past, and other opportunities to gamble exist nearby.
Western nations have stolen many cultural artifacts through conquest and colonization. There has been an international effort to return stolen cultural artifacts which were stolen after 1970 but older cultural artifacts have been zealously guarded by the colonizing nations. The Louvre, the Smithsonian, and the British Museum have all stockpiled cultural artifacts belonging to nations like Egypt, Greece, and Mexico which they refuse to reparation to their country of origin. An international treaty discussing cultural repatriation of items obtained prior to 1970 is required to rectify the problem.
Image: Canadian Museum of Civilization, by Wladyslaw/Wikimedia
The “War on Drugs” in Indonesia has been evolving over the last couple of years, yet the problems related to drugs in this country remain. The President of Indonesia implemented a new plan to deal with drugs in early 2016 and the country has been executing both citizens and non citizens for drug use, possession, and trafficking. The country has executed 18 persons last year and plans to execute 30 more this year alone, all for drug related offenses. Indonesia should consider another method of addressing its extreme drug issues.
North Korea, and other nuclear weapon states may be in violation of international law if a prohibition on such use is given jus cogens status - i.e., is deemed a preemptory norm. A ban on nuclear weapons satisfies the jus cogens test because their use is immoral, it disrupts international order, and no nation has used them in combat for seventy-two years.
Concerns over election fraud and hacking have become a world-wide concern. Kenya joins many other countries left questioning the authenticity of election results, with this issue being reviewed by that nation's Supreme Court. Has Kenyan democracy has been given a new jolt of energy which may provide for future election legitimacy?
Image attribution: By JimSlim, information available at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:25332612.nairoboi013.JPG.
Fourteen nations have contracted to be regulated by an EU regulatory framework for the purpose of protecting the water quality in the Danube River Basin. Austria is a member of this agreement and has been a leader in incorporating this framework into national regulation. However, Austria uses the hydropeaking process to create hydroelectricity, which has been shown to have a negative impact on certain river species. Although full effects are still unknown, there may be a way to get the best of both worlds: protect the species as well as maintain the benefits of hydroelectricity.