France bombed Damascus 90 years ago as a reaction to the Syrian revolt for independence. France held the mandate over Syria under the League of Nations authority. The day after an attack against French troops, France bombed the city for 48 hours. It is said that between 1000 and 5000 people died. Bombardments continued the following months.
France’s intervention was authorised by the Western powers and by the League of Nations. And precisely the endorsement of the League triggered the reaction of Arab critics: Was France allowed by international law to intervene militarily in Syria? Continue reading
Amnesty International held its International Council Meeting (ICM) this last week in Dublin.
The Strategic Goals were the most important issue under consideration, but Amnesty delegates from all over the world also talked about internal governance nationally and internationally, fundraising, austerity, resource allocation, and the work on individuals at risk, for example.
Yet, one other issue stood out: sex work. After months of preparation and internal and external discussion, Amnesty was presented with the guiding principles of a draft policy to decriminalise sex work in order to protect the rights of women and men in this sector.
The proposal had generated massive interest not only among Amnesty members, but also far beyond. Social and conventional media bustled with comments for and against the resolution, or perceptions and reinterpretations of it.
Este artículo ha sido publicado en Huffington Post
¿Decimos miles, decenas de miles o centenares de miles? En Amnistía International tuvimos serias dudas sobre cómo dar comienzo al informe Derechos Desalojados: Derecho a la vivienda y desalojos hipotecarios en España, publicado ayer.
Yesterday, 15 June, Britain celebrated the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. The text proclaimed some of what we now call “human rights”, related to fair trial and the rule of law. It was meant to be a peace treaty between English barons and a particularly bully monarch, King John. Magna Carta did not really apply at the time, war resumed soon after and most of the text was repealed throughout history. However, yesterday, the birthday was greeted with royal splendour and the Prime Minister said that Magna Carta “changed the world”. Not bad for someone who not long ago didn’t know the literal translation of Magna Carta (it’s “Great Charter”, by the way).
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David Cameron is not alone in his enthusiasm. Others have claimed that we still enjoy the rights “won” in 1215. BBC refers to Magna Carta as “the document that heralded modern democracy”. And the rather obsessive-looking historian David Starkey is convinced that the proclamation of property rights in Magna Carta was “the foundation of everything else”, in a way that other countries, like China and Russia, have not experienced to this day; Magna Carta was “unique in Europe” and Americans and continental Europeans learned about civil liberties from it.
I must confess my fascination. Continue reading