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M. Joel Voss

Abstract

There is general agreement that families are considered an important building block of society. However, in international fora, there is significant disagreement about what constitutes family. This article discusses the development of the Protection of the Family initiative at the UN’s primary human rights body, the UN Human Rights Council. This article uses Protection of the Family resolutions at the Council to build upon theories of norm contestation in international relations and international law. Elite-level interviews and participant observation of Council meetings on the four Protection of the Family resolutions adopted at the Council show that both advocates and opponents of Protection of the Family argue that their positions adhere to universal rights and prior law while their opponents are revisionist. In addition, the article illustrates a series of new strategies adopted by advocates of Protection of the Family that may be used in other resolutions to advance human rights agendas.

Jayeel Cornelio and Robbin Charles M. Dagle

Abstract

This article spells out the ways in which religious freedom has been deployed against proponents of same-sex marriage and gender equality in the Philippines. While the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and allies have appealed to religious freedom to gain equal rights under the law, conservative Christian entities have fought back by invoking the same notion. They have appropriated religious freedom, which has historically been interpreted by the courts in favour of individual liberties, to defend majoritarian values surrounding sexuality. This article describes this move as the weaponisation of religious freedom in defence of the dominant religion and an assumed majority of Filipinos whose moral sensibilities are purportedly under attack. Towards the end, the article relates this weaponisation to the experience of the Catholic Church in the contemporary public sphere and the militant character of Christianity that continues to view the Philippines as a Christian nation.

Majid Daneshgar

This essay will explore how the intellects of both scholars and their audiences are censored. In addition to various Western thinkers, particular attention will be paid to Ali Shari'ati, one of the most influential thinkers of modern Iran, and how he represented an important Islamic tradition. Not only did his ideas inspire revolutionary acts by generations of Iranians, but Turkish, Arab, Malay, Indonesian, and Indian philosophers, sociologists, theologians, and politicians have all employed his definitions of concepts such as justice, injustice, revolution, corruption, and bliss. This article sheds light both on how intellectuals influence their audience, and their long-term impact on broader communities. In order to do so, it will analyze the material and political conditions that censor both what scholars are able to say, and what their audiences are allowed to hear.

Reem Doukmak

Reem Doukmak was born in Syria and studied English literature at al-Baath University. In 2007 she completed her Master’s degree at the University of Warwick. With the help of cara she continued her studies at Warwick where she is now starting her academic career. Her work investigates how the right pedagogic interventions can help children in refugee camps. The use of drama plays a key role in her research and feeds into broader questions surrounding self-representation and agency. These are among the vital issues The Journal of Interrupted Studies has also sought to explore. We were lucky to engage Reem on her research and its implications for addressing the problematic discourses that surround refugees and yet neglect to include their voice.

Nasser Karami

Due to its widespread political and social consequences, the relationship between drought and climate change in the Middle East has been widely reported on by the media. Climate change is mainly understood within the paradigm: “prolonged drought is created and intensified by global warming.” The purpose of the study is to review this paradigm and examine aspects of it. Thus, climate trends in the Middle East are studied across three periods: 1900–1970, 1970–2000, and 2000–2017. Due to the importance of studying sequences of drought occurrence based on timescales of climatic patterns, the climatic trends of the Khuzestan Plain, were examined too. The results show that to have a clear understanding of both the modality of climate change in the Middle East and the current dominant paradigm, predominant assumptions of the paradigm should be reconsidered. For example, prolonged droughts are part of the natural pattern of climate in the Middle East, although the current drought has not been recorded for at least 100 years. This claim is based on the fact that prolonged droughts in this region can have natural causes, which can be studied as long-term climate trends, although the impact of global warming on the escalation of the Middle Eastern drought is undeniable. However, the exacerbating effect of non-anthropogenic factors on the impact of drought in the region should be studied, too. Additionally, as an epistemological assumption, the term “drying up” (as a new normal and permanent climatic pattern) should be used instead of “drought” (as a normal and reversible pattern) to determine the current climate change situation in the Middle East. The author concludes that the findings emphasize the need for further research in order to identify the modality of climate change in the Middle East.

Abdul Awal Khan

It is estimated that between 2008 and 2014, 4.7 million people were displaced due to natural disasters in Bangladesh and that by 2050, one in every seven people in Bangladesh will be displaced by climate change. The subject matter of this paper is based on a theoretical analysis of various existing social and legal barriers relating to climate displacement in Bangladesh. This article critically analyses the social and legal barriers to helping Climate Change Displaced People (cdp) by drawing on existing legal literature such as the Bangladeshi constitution and qualitative data from Bangladesh’s experience with cdp. Ultimately, this article corroborates the lack of a coherent human rights framework for cdp in Bangladesh and suggests international cooperation as a first step towards a functioning regime.

Joystu Dutta, Kakoli Banerjee, Sangita Agarwal and Abhijit Mitra

The carbon budget of planet earth is regulated by the soil compartment in all types of ecosystems. We conducted a first order analysis of soc in November 2017 both in the mangrove dominated Indian Sundarbans and the highly urbanized city of Kolkata with the aim of identifying the natural and anthropogenic contributions of organic carbon in soil. We also attempted to analyze the spatial variation of soc between these two significantly different ecosystems. We observed a comparatively higher mean value of soc in Kolkata (2.06%) than in the Sundarbans (1.25%). The significant spatial variation in soc between Kolkata and the Sundarbans (p < 0.05) may be attributed to anthropogenic stress, which is of greater magnitude in the city of Kolkata. The significant spatial variation in soc between north and south Kolkata (p < 0.05) is due to the efficiency of the drainage system in the north and the magnitude of city limit expansion in the south. In the Sundarban deltaic complex, a natural phenomenon like erosion seems to be a determining factor in the domain of soil carbon dynamics. soc analyses of all major metropolises around the world, of which Kolkata is one, are essential to understand the carbon sequestration potential of urban soils.

Ross Holder

Abstract

As an officially recognised minority nationality in China, the Uyghurs’ unique religious identity is ostensibly protected under Chinese national law. In reality, such protections are limited in practice, with frequent claims by Uyghur activists, human rights NGOs and scholars that government policies result in the religious discrimination of the Uyghur population in Xinjiang. In light of the inefficacy of state legislation in protecting the Uyghurs’ religious freedoms, this article considers the protections offered within the Human Rights Treaty System of the United Nations (UN), of which China is both a charter member and an increasingly active participant. However, any attempt to consider Freedom of Religion or Belief protections within the UN’s core treaties remains frustrated as China has yet to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is the sole UN human rights instrument to contain provisions dedicated to religious and minority rights. To overcome this issue, this article argues that acts of religious discrimination against the Uyghur minority may also fall into contention with the protections contained within the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, a treaty that has been ratified by China and is therefore legally obligated to comply with.

Charlotte Helen Skeet

Abstract

This article provides an anti-Orientalist critique of jurisprudence within the European Court of Human Rights. Discussion is located in the context of the longstanding debate over what it is to be “European” and an awareness of how these wider discourses shape rights adjudication at national and intra-national levels in Europe. Argument draws on literature from post-colonial theorists, cultural studies, and feminist legal theory which identify and discuss “Orientalist” discourses to analyse the production of legal knowledge and jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights. The article argues that Orientalist discourses affect the ways that the Court constructs and positions both the claimant and the respondent state in human rights claims. These constructions influence cases involving Muslim claimants and have a particularly negative impact on the outcome of claims by visibly-Muslim women. The final part of the article suggests ways that these negative discourses and constructions can be countered.

Dia Dabby and Amélie Barras

Abstract

We engage with the practice of yoga in Californian public schools through a recent case to examine the discursive mechanisms at play when a practice is shaped as religious (or not). A correlation is made between the practice of yoga in schools and male circumcision, to think about its secular/religious vocation. This line of questioning is salient in exploring how law curates the body of the “secular” “modern” child. We argue that yoga, like circumcision, is an example of an ambidextrous practice that can be curated as either “religious” or “secular”. Section 1 provides a brief genesis of our legal cases and theoretical proposal for secularism as a curating practice. Section 2 offers discursive analyses of religious practice, as well as culture and health through yoga’s postures. Ultimately, we seek to critically examine the manner, mechanisms and methods through which different practices exercised by children or on their bodies are (re)shaped by/through the courts.