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Pınar Gözen Ercan

Bringing into focus the two formal debates on the Responsibility to Protect that took place in 2009 and 2018, this article identifies the approaches of member states towards the humanitarian use of force by locating it in the UN’s deliberations on R2P. To this end, the article compares and contrasts country statements in order to trace states’ general approach towards humanitarian intervention on the basis of their reflections on R2P. Following from this, the article examines whether or not states’ approaches to humanitarian intervention have been transforming in the twenty-first century, and evaluates how the humanitarian use of force is perceived in relation to the R2P framework that was embraced by the member states of the UN General Assembly in 2005, and how this affects the future of R2P.

Ya Lan Chang

Should Singapore’s conservative, communitarian society continue to criminalise male homosexuality in the name of its common good? This is the fundamental question raised by Singapore’s continued retention of Section 377A of the Penal Code, a colonial-era law that criminalises only male homosexual conduct. With reference to Parliament’s reasons for retaining 377A and scholarly arguments against homosexuality, this article reconstructs, and debunks, the best philosophical case in favour of 377A; namely, that it should be conserved to sustain communitarian Singapore’s common good. Instead, the article argues that, because homosexuality is morally permissible, 377A does not satisfy the ‘goodness’ component of the common good and hence does not, and cannot, sustain communitarian Singapore’s common good. Rather, a communitarian approach to 377A, one based on an inclusive conception of communitarianism and an aggregative conception of the common good, would lead to its repeal and vindicate gay men’s right to equality.

Compulsory Treatment in the Community in Hong Kong

Implications of the Current Law and Practice on the Rights of Persons with Mental Illnesses

Urania Chiu

This article examines the current legal framework and practice of the conditional discharge of mental health patients in Hong Kong under Section 42B of the Mental Health Ordinance from a human rights perspective. Using existing literature and findings from semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted with medical professionals, the author argues that the current regime lacks adequate safeguards for mental health patients, both in law and in actual practice, and suffers from the absence of a clear guiding purpose. As such, the law and practice of conditional discharge would most likely infringe patients’ fundamental rights to private and family life and to liberty and personal security. The article concludes with the suggestion that an evidence-based approach is required to determine the purpose of the regime and how it may be best designed for that end.

Sheikh Mohammad Towhidul Karim, Shawkat Alam, George F Tomossy and Abdullah Al Faruque

This article examines how a right to health, expressed as a minimum core obligation under international law, can be advanced within the constitutional framework of Bangladesh. Reinforcing this right is important within the post-2015 Development Agenda under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Drawing upon examples of other jurisdictions to develop minimum core obligations of a right to health, it is argued that courts have a key role to play in actively enforcing a right to health to benefit poor, vulnerable and marginalised people. This article proposes that judicial adherence through interpretation of domestic and international law may provide the best mechanism to promote a right to health as a minimum core obligation in Bangladesh.

Samantha Bradley

This article investigates why some states in the Asia Pacific have retained capital punishment, while others have abolished it, either de facto or de jure. In contrast to existing theories, it is theorised that governments conduct cost-benefit calculations considering both domestic support and international pressure for abolition, then formulate their death penalty policy based on the lowest cost scenario. This theory is tested by applying controlled comparison and process tracing analysis to three cases: Cambodia, South Korea, and Indonesia. These case studies demonstrate that pressures from domestic and international political audiences are determinative in states’ decision-making processes regarding capital punishment.

Maria Augusta León Moreta

In Latin America extractive operations have given rise to the loss and environmental degradation of indigenous peoples’ territories. This, in turn, has implied the denial of the access of indigenous peoples to essential resources for their cultural, economic and social development. To compensate the loss of their livelihood, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, states, multinational and financial institutions have recognised the right of indigenous peoples to benefit sharing. This article analyses the impact of this mechanism on indigenous peoples’ lives. While the definition and scope of benefit sharing is still being shaping at international level, its implementation depends on the political and economic interests at national level. The case of Shuar communities in Ecuador affected by the Mirador and San Carlos Panatza mining project illustrates how a top-down hierarchical approach to implementation leads to violent confrontation between state, corporations and indigenous peoples.

Tom Obokata

This article explores the key obligations imposed upon States under international human rights law to combat transnational organised crime. It begins by highlighting a number of human rights which are affected by various forms of organised crime, such as the rights to life, liberty and security, health, property, culture, as well as the prohibition on slavery/forced labour and other inhuman or degrading treatments. The article then analyses the key obligations imposed upon States under international human rights law, with particular reference to (1) investigation, prosecution and punishment, (2) protection of victims and (3) prevention. The main conclusion reached is that international human rights law is indeed useful as it encourages States to adopt a holistic approach capable of addressing the complex and multi-faceted nature of transnational organised crime beyond simple criminal justice responses.

G. Anthony Giannoumis and Michael Ashley Stein

Universal Design aims to ensure that everyone can equally use products, environments, programs, and services. This article examines the theoretical underpinnings and potential application of universal design by exploring its evolution through human rights and disability rights laws and policies. It is maintained that universal design arises from the complex relationship between human rights, disability rights, and access to and use of technology. Consequently, it is argued that in relation to the information society, it is most capable of promoting equal access and use of technology in three ways. First, universal design can increasingly account for human diversity. Second, universal design can progressively eliminate barriers to accessibility and usability. Third, universal design can augment broader participation in the design and development of technology. Conceptualising universal design foundations of usability and accessibility of technology as universal human rights precepts embraces social equality for everyone, and incorporates important but currently exclusive disability rights precepts.