What Role Do Sanctions Play in Protecting Human Rights

What Role Do Sanctions Play in Protecting Human Rights

Wide-scale sanctions are used against countries that violate treaty terms, as well as countries that violate recognized human rights violations such as the use of chemical weapons or the use of genocide. Other times sanctions are placed against government officials who have participated in human rights violations or anti-democratic actions. In short, sanctions are used as a form of punishment against countries or government officials who violate human rights agreements and other diplomatic agreements.   In February, the US government under President Biden placed sanctions against seven members of the Russian government in retaliation against Russia’s alleged poisoning of a political rival and his subsequent arrest. The EU also placed sanctions against several members of the Russian government although these sanctions are seen as more symbolic than practical.   What Are Sanctions The European Union’s sanctions against Alexander Batrykin, head of Russia’s Investigative Committee; Viktor Zolotov, head of Russia’s National Guard; Prosecutor Igor Krasnov, and Alexander Kalishnikov who serves as the Director of Russian Federal Penitentiary Service were in response to the alleged assassination attempt of Alexey Navalny and his subsequent arrest. The sanctions against these individuals include freezing assets and travel restrictions throughout the EU. The sanctions are viewed as symbolic since the individuals sanctioned do not have any holding within EU countries. However, sanctions are a political form of punishment and can contribute to an official’s inability to perform their duties.   US Sanctions Against Russian Officials Some might consider sanctions a warning of difficult relationships to come or a sign that relationships between states are strained. The US government has established sanctions against members of the...
International Organizations Fighting for Human Rights

International Organizations Fighting for Human Rights

  Are you interested in the fight for equality around the world? Do you want to work in the field of human rights? There are numerous non-profits that take up this important social issue, and here are the top five global organizations fighting for human rights. 1. Amnesty International More than 7,000,000 people are involved with Amnesty International, which works in human rights without any political-economic, or religious motivations. Activities include lobbying, research, campaigns, and advocacy that is based on science and factual information. The organization is among the most influential in the realm of human rights.   2. Physicians for Human Rights Physicians for Human Rights focuses on massive atrocities and human abuse that occurs in almost every part of the world. The organization is comprised of scientists, physicians, and other medical professionals are actively involved in regions where torture, sexual violence, and excessive use of force on civilians is common. They work directly with survivors to provide support and ensure that those guilty of human rights violations are held accountable.   3. International Federation for Human Rights Comprised of 184 independent organizations from more than 100 countries, International Federation for Human Rights champions efforts focused on rights that are defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including social, cultural, economic, political, and civil. They work towards righting the wrongs of international corporations, states, and armed opposition groups.   4. Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch is an investigative non-profit that works with armed groups, governments, and businesses through advocacy and research. They have a strong social media presence that brings issues to light for millions of...
How Israel Has Fallen Short On Vaccinating Palestinians

How Israel Has Fallen Short On Vaccinating Palestinians

Many recent news reports of Israel’s supposed failure to vaccinate Palestinians against COVID-19 don’t tell the whole story. While it’s true that many Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza have yet to be vaccinated, further details shed light onto the real reasons why these individuals are left to wait while Israel continues to vaccinate large portions of its population.   Health Care Responsibilities Defined by the Oslo Accords The Oslo Accords, which consists of two separate agreements that were reached in 1993 and 1995 by the state of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), were established in an attempt to reach peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. A clause in the Oslo Accords states that the current Palestinian Authority is responsible for providing health care to Palestinians. This means that rather than the state of Israel, the Palestinian Authority is responsible for vaccinating Palestinians.   Israel’s Efforts to Vaccinate Palestinians Even though Israel isn’t mandated under law to vaccinate Palestinians per the Oslo Accords, the state has still given the vaccine to many Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship. The Israeli government also agreed to vaccinate roughly 100,000 Palestinians who travel into the state from the West Bank regularly for work. Palestinians who are currently incarcerated in Israeli prisons have also received the vaccine. Israel has given an additional 2,000 vaccine doses to the Palestinian Authority, but the overwhelming majority of Palestinians remain unvaccinated. However, the Palestinian Authority has received some additional vaccine doses from Russia and the United Arab Emirates.   Disputes Have Slowed Progress Ongoing disputes between the Israelis and Palestinians have undoubtedly contributed to...
How Political Organizations Use Branding

How Political Organizations Use Branding

  The self-branding of politicians is creating a new political landscape with the help of internet media. As far as politics, there exists a global platform to say anything at any time. Branding in politics relates to reputation and campaign rallies. The way we think of branding today has been transformed in the wake of the 2016 elections. Here’s what politicians and political organizations are now using branding for:   Branding While Overlooking the Brand To understand branding as being an act, start with putting yourself front and center while excessively repeating a message you have. Hearing someone endlessly repeat how great they are mentally imprints “an idea of greatness” in us by sheer repetition. Repeating a message until it sticks means you are branding. According to political analysts, branding is being used to coerce ideas into public sentiment.   To, With Subtlety, Spread Propaganda Propaganda messages easily spread when the public sees them as harmless-public statements. Branding can make propaganda appear harmless when people trust the brand more than what it says. Public trust is being used to override social virtues that we once saw as normal. Getting the public to accept a candidate’s flaws, for example, is becoming an art of branding more so than their policies.   To Defy Politics and Lawmaking If a brand is promoted as being above the law, there is the potential of people becoming radical toward common laws. A democratic government with fair elections is led by the votes of its people. Thus, building a political career by befriending millions of people can result in a brand based on leadership. The...

Sri Lankan Public Opinion

As the American presidential election finally winds down with what appears to be a grudging concession (of sorts) by soon-to-be former President Donald J. Trump, I’ve been thinking about the fickleness of public opinion. Despite pollsters’ valiant attempts to explain and predict the collective attitude of large numbers of people, they often get it wrong, either by mis-measuring the distribution of opinions, or by interpreting accurate data incorrectly. One of the biggest problems is that public opinion can be extraordinarily fickle, especially during, after, and around national security crises. We like to think that there is some stability to public opinion, but in some cases, that kind of stability simply does not exist. One example that stood out to me recently was Sri Lanka. In early 2015, long-time wartime president Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the election to his rival, former health minister Maithripala Sirisena. Rajapaksa had led government forces to bloody victory over the Tamil Tigers in 2009, some 26 years after the insurgents first launched their war of independence. After his victory, Rajapaksa oversaw a tightening of autocratic rule, cracking down on dissent from within Sri Lanka’s minority populations (Tamils and Muslims), as well as within the dominant Sinhalese Buddhist community. One of Rajapaksa’s biggest Achilles heels in the run-up to the 2015 national elections, however, was his heavy reliance on Chinese-funded debt to launch major Sri Lankan infrastructure projects. In the months leading up to the 2015 election, Rajapaksa’s critics zeroed in allegations of corruption, many linked to the Chinese construction projects. Fast forward four years, however, and Rajapaksa was once again elected president. According to the New York Times, public anger at...

Polling a ‘Foreign Tribe’

As the US presidential elections wind their way towards a painful and tortuous conclusion, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between reporting on a survey that offers a snapshot in time, as opposed to using polls, and past history, to predict what the results might be in a few days, weeks, or months. My colleagues and I have done lots of surveys over the last eight years in Colombia, India, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, and the USA. In all this work, we offered estimates of how many people in a given population engaged in this or that behavior, supported this or that policy, or thought positively/negatively about a particular organization or institution. There is always a confidence interval around every one of those estimates influenced in large part by the number of valid responses. This allows you answer questions like, “what percentage of the population living in the Moroccan cities of Casablanca or Rabat supported this or that political party in May 2015?” Or, “what is the statistical association between attending mosque and believing that women’s rights are human rights?” If I wanted to ask how many people were likely to vote for a specific Moroccan political party in the future, however, I’d have to do so much more than extrapolate from the previous work I’d done with my colleagues. I’d want to have more polls over time, so that I could track trends, and I’d want to figure out a way of predicting who would be likely to actually participate in the election, assuming that participation was voluntary. In the US, pollsters did not do as good a...