Social media: Rise of ‘kidfluencers’ pushes legislators to engage with children’s rights online
In May, the UK House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee published the report Influencer culture: Lights, camera, inaction?. It highlights that ‘child influencers are some of the most successful influencers’, and ‘influencer agencies see family influencers as some of the most in-demand social media stars […] because they appeal to both children and parents’.
War crimes: Universal jurisdiction secures convictions for genocide against Yazidi people
A German court has handed down the second conviction of genocide for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) campaign to eradicate the Yazidi religious minority, seven months after the first genocide conviction.
Abortion rights: Regressive developments in Poland and US go against global trend
In Poland, pregnant people face heightened scrutiny following an order from the Health Minister, signed in early June, requiring doctors to register all pregnancies in the country. Information collected will include past or current illnesses, medical visits, treatment and blood type. In light of Poland’s near-total abortion ban, there are fears the register could be weaponised to monitor pregnancy outcomes and persecute women suspected of having abortions or suspected abortion providers – particularly as the information can be accessed by the Polish prosecutor’s office through a court order.
Column: The Lies Have It
A year after insurrectionists stormed the US Capitol building, disinformation’s grip on the country is only increasing. In a year in which US voters will go to the polls for mid-term elections, Global Insight explores the dangerous direction that US democracy is heading in.
Column: Bearing witness - the Uyghur Tribunal hears claims of genocide
Over the past year, the Uyghur Tribunal in London has broken with tradition by hearing evidence of an alleged genocide while the atrocity is said to be ongoing. As the Tribunal prepares to hand down its judgment on whether China is committing genocide against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, Global Insight reviews the proceedings.
Has Covid-19 tipped the scales of gender equality backwards?
When lockdowns first arrived, the enforced flexibility of working from home full-time was hailed as a game-changer for gender equity in corporate workplaces. COVID-19 was imagined to be the great leveller: an opportunity for all genders to equally share household chores and home-schooling, or balance extracurricular duties and volunteering while retaining full-time jobs with flexible hours. If that has been the result, why do women still report bearing the brunt of unpaid domestic work?
Protecting Afghanistan’s refugees
The fall of Afghanistan to Taliban forces in mid-August led to a mass exodus from the country as many citizens sought to escape the new regime. Following the 70th anniversary of the Refugee Convention, Global Insight examines how threats to, and gaps within, the international refugee protection regime may undermine the assistance owed to those who have fled the Taliban.
Migration: climate breakdown drives internal displacement to record 55 million
Despite restrictions on movement resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 saw the highest number of people becoming internally displaced in a decade, at 40.5 million. The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) globally reached a record 55 million in December 2020, according to a report from the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
Although 85 per cent of all known IDPs have fled conflict, disasters caused more than three-quarters of 2020’s new displacements. Of those, 98 per cent were triggered by weather-related hazards, such as storms and floods, which are increasing in intensity and frequency due to factors including climate breakdown.
LGBTI rights: transfemicide ruling has far-reaching implications across Latin America
In late June, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the state of Honduras was responsible for the death of transwoman and activist Vicky Hernández, in the first transfemicide case to come before the Court.
Feature: Fighting transfemicide in the Americas
In Honduras and across Latin America, transgender women don’t tend to live past 35. Thanks to social stigma reinforced by a lack of rights and legal protections, they face extreme violence and limitations on the scope of their lives.
The murder of one trans woman – Vicky Hernández – over 12 years ago has shone a spotlight on the deadly nature of state-sanctioned discrimination. Now, the landmark ruling in her case could change the lives of transgender people across the Americas.
America’s war on democracy
Since high-profile Republicans warned that mail-in voting had to be limited for the party to ever win the presidency again, hundreds of restrictive bills have been introduced across state legislatures. But rights advocates are battling voter suppression, and corporate America is being pulled into the fight.
Migration: UK criticised for ‘inhumane’ housing conditions for asylum seekers
The United Kingdom has come under fire over its treatment of asylum seekers, with concerns raised about inhumane housing conditions and new plans that treat claims as inadmissible before an asylum seeker even reaches UK shores.
International rule of law: historic firsts in ICC’s conviction of Dominic Ongwen
In early February, the International Criminal Court (ICC or the ‘Court’) convicted former child soldier and Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen of 61 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in northern Uganda between July 2002 and December 2005.
New laws and guidelines tackle repatriation of colonial-era artefacts
In February, the government of the Netherlands created new guidelines to determine requests for the return of colonial-era artefacts from former colonies. The guidelines apply to objects held by state museums and galleries, and if an object is deemed to have been stolen from a former colony, it will be returned unconditionally.
Profile: Ann Kappler, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Prudential Financial
In autumn 2020, Ann Kappler took on a new role as Executive Vice President and General Counsel at insurance company Prudential Financial. She enters the job at a time of transformation for the company and of pandemic-induced disruption for the world, as In-House Perspective reports.
United States: Trump acquitted by Senate in second impeachment trial
US senators voted in mid-February to acquit former president Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection. Conviction would have required 67 votes, but only 57 senators voted in favour and 43 voted to acquit.
Feature: The great regression
The rights of half of the world’s population are threatened thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic and a state-driven backlash against gender equality. Global Insight explores recent regressions in the rights of women, the connection to the rise of nationalistic populism, and how best to counter this rollback.
Report calls for ICJ case over state failures to prevent Yazidi genocide
A report on state responsibility for the Yazidi genocide has claimed that Iraq, Syria and Turkey should be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for failing to discharge their obligations under international law.
Violence against women: UK ratifies Istanbul Convention but excludes protection for migrants
The UK ratified the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (known as the ‘Istanbul Convention’) in late July, ten years after first signing it.
However, the UK has been criticised for reserving the right not to be bound by Article 59, which compels states to protect migrant women whose residency status is dependent on that of an abusive spouse or partner, including by suspending deportation proceedings to allow victims to apply for residence permits.
Abortion rights: Leaked opinion suggests US Supreme Court will overturn 50 years of precedent
On 2 May, a draft majority opinion showing that the US Supreme Court intends to overturn 49 years of a constitutional right to abortion was leaked to the public. The opinion on the case before the Court, Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, reads: ‘The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision’.
Ukraine: Refugee crisis emphasises need for coordinated international response
For refugee rights advocates, the displacement crisis created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February demonstrates the importance of coordinated, compassionate and less bureaucratic approaches to international refugee support.
Declining fertility rates and the threat to human rights
Facing low fertility rates that could undermine labour forces and social structures, governments are pursuing labour reforms, immigration expansion and pronatalist policies. Global Insight explores the impact of such policies on human rights and gender equality.
Independent tribunal finds China has committed genocide against Uyghur Muslims
An independent people’s tribunal has found that China has committed genocide, torture and crimes against humanity against the Uyghur Muslims and other Turkic minorities. The Uyghur Tribunal in London delivered its judgment in early December after 18 months of analysing reports, documents, publicly heard witness testimony and other evidence.
Hybrid working escalates as legal sector returns to the office
As Covid-19 restrictions ease and offices reopen, the legal profession is embracing flexible working on a wide scale for the first time. In-House Perspective explores how in-house legal teams may need to support their own organisation in undertaking broader hybrid working practices, as well as adjusting to the new ways in which external firms will be operating.
United States: divisive cases increase urgency of calls for Supreme Court reform
The US Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative judge supermajority – created with the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the Trump administration’s last days – has begun reviewing and ruling on a string of politically divisive cases. The ongoing debate over reform of the Court itself was already heated; now the temperature of that debate is rising.
Immigration reforms externalising asylum processing threaten refugee protection regime
In early July, the UK’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, introduced new post-Brexit immigration reforms into Parliament. The Nationality and Borders Bill would enable officers to treat asylum seekers differently based on factors including their route of arrival, potentially criminalising those crossing the English Channel, and have asylum seekers processed offshore, among other changes.
But similar reforms elsewhere have been condemned by human rights advocates, who are concerned about the threat to the rights and protections of asylum seekers and refugees globally as governments push back against territorial asylum systems.
Black Lives Matter: civil rights advocates warn against complacency after Chauvin guilty verdict
In April, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of the murder and manslaughter of George Floyd, who was Black. Floyd was arrested by Chauvin and three other officers in May 2020, on suspicion of trying to use a fake $20 bill. Chauvin, who is white, knelt on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes.
Courts order Japanese government to pay damages for historic nuclear disaster
In mid-February, the Tokyo High Court ruled that the Japanese government and nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) should pay a total of JPY 278m (approximately $2.6m) in damages to a group of survivors of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Interview with Sternford Moyo, IBA President 2020-2022
Sternford Moyo – Senior Partner and Chairman of Zimbabwean law firm Scanlen and Holderness – began his term as IBA President in January 2021. In this wide-ranging conversation with the IBA’s Multimedia Journalist, Jennifer Venis, Moyo gives his views on subjects including the challenges facing the International Criminal Court and tackling corruption.
Covid-19: EU-AstraZeneca dispute highlights concerns over access to vaccines
In late January, the European Commission and individual European Union Member States threatened legal action over significant delays to Covid-19 vaccine dose deliveries from AstraZeneca. The bloc almost triggered Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol, which enables controversial export controls along the politically fraught border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, but U-turned after broad condemnation.
Access to justice: UK court backlog shows system teetering ‘on the edge’
A joint report from four criminal justice watchdogs, published in mid-January, has found significant delays plaguing access to justice in England and Wales. The inspectorates for policing, prisons, probation and prosecutions have raised ‘grave concerns’ about long-term damage to the justice system as a whole.
US election: Trump’s election fraud cases raise professional ethics concerns
After US President Joe Biden’s election win in November, the Trump administration and its allies launched a suite of lawsuits to attempt to overturn the result and secure Donald Trump a second term. Lawyers involved in bringing these proceedings have faced criticism on the basis of professional ethics concerns.
Covid-19: UK government faces increasing legal action on pandemic response
The UK government faces a rising tide of legal action regarding decision-making during the Covid-19 pandemic. As Martyn Day, Co-Founder at Leigh Day in London, tells Global Insight, the handling of the pandemic has in some ways been ‘ripe for legal intervention’.