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human rights

ABA Resolution on the Right to Food

The American Bar Association, a national association of lawyers with approximately 400,000 members, recently adopted a resolution on the right to food. Such a resolution is arguably significant: the ABA is not a human rights organization, but an association representing mainstream American lawyers — not a community that has always fully …

Bartering Away Rights?

Whether trade liberalization in general helps or hurts human rights, particularly the rights of the most vulnerable, is a complex question to answer in the abstract. Yet, before a trade agreement is concluded, it is imperative to examine how the agreement might affect human rights, and consequently which safeguards could …

Defending the Defenders

Defending human rights is often risky. In many places, activists and advocates who strive to protect communities, promote rights, and create accountability confront repressive governments and powerful people. The risks are so prevalent that the United Nations General Assembly has issued a Declaration on human rights defenders, and the UN …

A Good Day for Rights: The OP-ICESCR Enters into Force

Today is an exciting day for the human rights world, marking the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR). This is an important step towards creating greater accountability for economic, social and cultural rights – including the right to …

Women in Agriculture

For over a century, the world has celebrated International Women’s Day. From its roots in socialist activism, the day has been transformed into a national holiday in countries throughout the world. During this period, progress has been made:  in many countries, women are now political leaders and business leaders (though still …

How to Analyze Violations of the Right to Food

Global hunger and food insecurity are complicated, messy issues. And although the right to food is a human right grounded in international law, lawyers and activists struggle when trying to document violations of that right. Too many reports lack nuance or a human rights framework, arguing simplistically that people in …

You Can’t Spin Away Labor Exploitation

Last week, I wedged myself into a crowded church in rural South Africa, listening to farmworkers recite a litany of complaints about working conditions on their farms. As people spoke, the farmworkers kept coming, in pairs and small groups, trickling in after Sunday services or other commitments. After over an …