Head Department of Political Science
JECRC University, JAIPUR(India.
The rapid advancement of technology has brought about a paradigm shift in growing world, where technology is advancing with each passing minute; the convergence of technology and human rights has become a prominent and pressing concern. Technology is bringing countless new innovations and advantages for us in terms of communication, transportation, and security, but at the same time it has presented us with significant challenges concerning the protection of individual privacy and human rights violations. The challenge is to strike a balance between privacy and security in the digital era.
Innovation comes with its own set of concerns. Encryption can be used to protect sensitive data, while anonymization techniques can be used to protect personal information. Additionally, technology can be used to monitor and track individuals, which can help to deter crime and ensure public safety.. This is where the dilemma arises when technology is used for data breaches to expose personal information to unauthorized individuals, while surveillance technologies can be used to track people’s movements and activities. Additionally, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) can raise concerns about bias and discrimination.
The whole conversation about technology and human rights revolves around the fundamental issue of privacy. We all have the right to privacy, to keep our personal information, communication, and daily activities confidential. But the prominent question is whether Is it possible in this digital era where our online behavior is constantly under scrutiny or surveillance? Technologies like facial recognition, fingerprint detection, and AI-driven surveillance systems are brought forward to enhance the security system; however, this raises concerns about the potential misuse of this data for abuse, financial identity theft, and discrimination.
The challenge is to strike a balance between privacy and security in the digital era requires a multifaceted approach that involves:
Transparency and Accountability: Organizations collecting data must be transparent and accountable. Accountability systems are necessary to guarantee to use data in a responsible and moral manner.
Ethical Technology Development: Developers and engineers must ensure that ethics are their first priority. It is crucial to make sure that surveillance and AI systems are created with privacy protections in mind.
Strong Legal framework: The government should introduce data protection laws globally to maintain the privacy and security of personal data. These gatekeepers will ensure that citizens’ data is morally and ethically used by the organization.
Public Awareness: Individuals need to be vigilant of the risks and benefits of using technology. They also need to be educated about how to protect their privacy and security online.
The impact of digital technology on human rights is complex and multifaceted. It is important to be aware of both the positive and negative impacts of digital technology in order to make informed decisions about its use. There is a need to strike a balance between privacy and technology. The digital age is not just to adapt to new technology but also to thrive while upholding the fundamental human rights values that form the basis of our democratic society. The way forward in this dynamic and linked world is obvious: we must choose a road that upholds people’s rights, protects their privacy, and assures their security. It’s a difficult road, but one that is necessary to uphold the values of democracy, freedom, and dignity that make the nations of the world what they are. The digital era is not necessarily a threat to human rights; rather, it can be a stimulus for peaceful coexistence between technology and mankind.
Many definitions have been proposed in order to define this term ‘Human Rights”. Among these definitions is that proposed by René Cassin, one of the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968. He defined it on the basis that the science of human rights is a special branch of the social sciences whose subject It is the study of the relationships existing between people according to human dignity, while defining the rights and choices necessary to develop the personality of every human being. Therefore, this definition assumes the establishment of a modern science called the science of human rights, so that the criterion of this science is human dignity.
However, in 1973, a group of researchers, led by Mr. Karel Vasak, famous for his research and work in the field of human rights, created about five thousand words used in the field of human rights and entered them into the computer, and obtained the following definition according to this technical method: “Human rights are A science that concerns every person, especially the working person who lives within the framework of a particular state, and who, if he is accused of breaking the law or a victim of a state of war, must benefit from the protection of national and international law, and his rights, especially the right to equality, must be consistent with the necessities of maintaining public order”.
This definition assumes that the human worker is the first addressee according to this perspective, and that the principle of equality stipulated by the law is the one that takes priority.
In 1976, the Frenchman Yves Madieu published his book Human Rights and Public Liberties and put forward the following definition: The subject of human rights is the study of personal rights that are recognized nationally and internationally and which, under a certain civilization, guarantee a combination of affirming and protecting human dignity on the one hand and maintaining public order on the other hand.
All these definitions share in approaching the issue within the modern perspective of rights and law. They assume the existence of a modern state in which the law prevails. This law must guarantee freedom, dignity, equality, and justice for all citizens. However, Leah Levin tried to see the issue from another angle, and she sees that the concept of human rights two basic meanings: the first is that a human being (just because he is a human) has fixed and natural rights, and these are (moral rights) stemming from the humanity of every human being and aiming to guarantee his dignity.
As for the second meaning of human rights, it is related to (legal rights) that were established in accordance with law-making processes in both national and international communities. These rights are based on the consent of the governed, that is, the consent of the owners of these rights, and not on a natural order as exists in the first sense.
To this first meaning, the definition of the dictionary of political thought drawn up by a group of specialists leads to the fact that they are the rights that a human being possesses simply because he is a human being. Accordingly, human rights are defined within the state of nature, which is the state of freedom and equality that people are in before an authority arises among them that limits their right to exercise it.
According to the legal aspect, human rights are defined as an outcome acquired through human struggle over a long history, and their graph is rising with the development of the political and social conditions of the person.
But is it possible to talk about abstract natural rights of a person? Then how can these natural rights be defined and determined?
The term “human rights” is a relatively recent term, while natural rights are a term that was popular in previous centuries, specifically in the Middle Ages in relation to European development. We can say that human rights are the rights guaranteed to the human being, and related to his nature, such as his right to life, equality, and other rights related to the same human nature mentioned in international conventions and declarations.
The insistence on natural right stems from the desire to give a universal formula to these rights and not to link them to the law or the constitution, which makes them subject to the will of the authority or the state. In addition, this definition assumes mentioning the rights that coincided with the term and its emergence as a defined concept. This does not mean at all Denying the existence of human rights before it appeared as a term, as denying this is tantamount to affirming that before drawing the circle, not all rays were equal, in the words of Muhammad Si Nasser.
The Human Rights Day Seminar
Research Committee 26 on Human Rights of the International Political Science Association – IPSA
9 December 2022, 18.00-20.00 CET
HUMAN RIGHTS DURING THE WAR IN UKRAINE 2022
Oscar Pérez de la Fuente
Chair IPSA RC26 on human rights
Chair-elect IPSA RC26 on human rights
She is graduated from the Institute of Journalism at National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv and the Faculty of Political Science and Journalism at Adam Mitskievich University in Poznan.
Works with the press service at the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.
- CEO in “Save Ukraine”
- Ombudsman for Children with the President of Ukraine (2014-2021)
- Chairman of the Non-Governmental Organization “Ukrainian Human Rights Center”
- Former Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights
- Former Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine
Carlos R. Fernández Liesa
He is Professor of Public International Law and International Relations at the Carlos III University of Madrid since 2005. He has directed the Mario Villarroel Chair of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (since 2011). He is a member of the expert role, appointed by Spain, of the Moscow Mechanism of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (2022-2028). He is the director of the expert degree in international crisis prevention and management that is made between the Francisco de Vitoria Institute of International and European Studies and the Army War College.
He was one of the researchers responsible for the collection on the history of human rights which resulted in 24 volumes, with more than 200 authors. He is the coordinator of the subject International Protection Systems in the official master’s degree in human rights UC3M. At UC3M he has been secretary general, vicechancelor of students and European convergence, director of the Francisco de Vitoria Institute of International and European Studies, of the Department of International Law, Ecclesiastical Law and Philosophy of Law, and of the Fernando de los Ríos student residence.
He is Assistant professor at the Faculty of Political Science and Journalism at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, a member of the Executive Board of the Research Committee 50: Politics of Language (International Political Science Association), specialises in studies on language politics and policies, political philosophy and political rhetoric. His research also concerns the evolution of political and legal cultures as well as transformations of key-concepts and methodological approaches in political and media studies.
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland
Freedom of expression is guaranteed both in the legal order of the Council of Europe (the European Convention on Human Rights) and the European Union (Article 11 of the Chart of Fundamental Rights of the European Union No 2012 / C 326/02). Still, it should be emphasised that this freedom is not unlimited. However, as it was indicated in p. 2 of Article 10 ECHR, “The exercise of these freedoms since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary for a democratic society, among other in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety /../”.
- Freedom of speech in times of war
Indeed, the state of war is one of the reasons why Freedom Of Expression may be limited. As US Supreme Court declared in Schenck v. the United States in 1919, “when a nation is at war, many things that might be said in times of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right. Additionally, the US Supreme Court declared that the government could restrict speech more in times of war than in times of peace”. (https://www.mtsu.edu/first-am additions/article/1597/free-speech-during-wartime)
As shown in the doctrine, “American history confirms that in times of war, freedom of speech suffers. Unfortunately, the understandable push for security and order has caused excess efforts at branding many who dissent as disloyal”. (https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1597/free-speech-during-wartime) We can indicate many such cases, not only in the history of the USA.
We can also point to a similar case recently also in the European Union. After Russia attacked Ukraine on 24 February, 2022, the European Union banned Russian broadcasting programmes on the territory of EU member states. As stated in COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) 2022/350 of 1 March, 2022, amending Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, “the Russian Federation has engaged in a systematic, international campaign of media manipulation and distortion of facts to enhance its strategy of destabilisation of its neighbouring countries and the Union and its Member States. In particular, the propaganda has repeatedly and consistently targeted European political parties, especially during election periods, as well as targeting civil society, asylum seekers, Russian ethnic minorities, gender minorities, and the functioning of democratic institutions in the Union and its Member States. To justify and support its aggression against Ukraine, the Russian Federation has engaged in continuous and concerted propaganda actions targeted at civil society in the Union and neighbouring countries, gravely distorting and manipulating facts. Those propaganda actions have been channelled through a number of media outlets under the permanent direct or indirect control of the leadership of the Russian Federation. Such actions constitute a significant and immediate threat to the Union’s public order and security. Given the gravity of the situation and response to Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, it is necessary, consistent with the fundamental rights and freedoms recognised in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, in particular with the right to freedom of expression and information as identified in Article 11 thereof, to introduce further restrictive measures to urgently suspend the broadcasting activities of such media outlets in the Union, or directed at the Union. /…/ According to Article 2f 1., “It shall be prohibited for operators to broadcast or to enable, facilitate, or otherwise contribute to the broadcast any content by the legal persons, entities or bodies listed in Annex XV (i.e. RT – Russia Today English, RT – Russia Today UK, RT – Russia Today Germany, RT – Russia Today France, RT – Russia Today Spanish, Sputnik), including through transmission or distribution by any means such as cable, satellite, IP-TV, internet service providers, internet video-sharing platforms or applications, whether new or pre-installed”. Due to this regulation, any broadcasting licence or authorisation, transmission, and distribution arrangement with the legal persons, entities, or bodies listed above shall be suspended.
National media market regulators made similar decisions in some European Union countries. For example, according to the Polish National Broadcasting Council Decision of February and March 2022, it was decided to remove Russian TV channels from the register of cable networks and satellite platforms. Cable operators had to remove some stations from the offer and satellite platforms from set-top boxes. Then Russian stations were removed from Canal+ and Orange’s offer. Pervyj Kanał (Channel One Russia) and Belarus 24 (TV Belarus) have joined the banned stations. (Read more at: https://www.wirtualnemedia.pl/artykul/krrit-rerezent-operatorow-sieci-kablowe-platformy-cyfrowe-pierwyj-kanal-bialorus-24;https://www.wirtualnemedia.pl/artykul/jak-odbierac-rosyjskie-kanaly-krrit-usuwa-sieci-kablowe-platformy-cyfrowe-russia-today-rossija-24-orange-polsat-box- canal-upc)
- Freedom of speech in Ukraine durin the war
At the beginning of this section, it should be emphasised that according to the world rankings of media freedom, Russia and Ukraine occupy a rather distant place. According to the Press Freedom Index of 2021, Ukraine was ranked 97th out of 180 countries and 106th in 2022. According to the same list, this position is better than Russia’s; in 2021, it was rated 150, and in 2022, 155 out of 180.
In the case of Ukraine, it can be assumed that her position will be even weaker next year. Certainly, a severe justification for such an unfavourable trend is the necessity to deal with the attack by the Russian Federation and the war. Many actions and legal acts were undertaken, de facto introducing war censorship.
It should be reminded here that according to the Decree of the President of Ukraine №152 / 2022 following Article 107 of the Constitution of Ukraine, the decision of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, “On the implementation of a unified information policy under martial law”, of 18 March, 2022 was put into effect. As a result, President of Ukraine V. Zelensky introduced the unified information policy as a priority issue of national security, which is ensured by combining all national television channels, the broadcast content of which consists chiefly of information or information/analysis programmes on a single information platform for strategic communication – round-the-clock news Marathon Single News #UArazom”, “(see more: УКАЗ ПРЕЗИДЕНТА УКРАЇНИ №152/2022Про рішення Ради національної безпеки і оборони України від 18 березня 2022 року “Щодо реалізації єдиної інформаційної політики в умовах воєнного стану”, https://ua.interfax.com.ua/news/general/816002.html)
Several other worrying trends should be noted. However, not all cases can be justified by the war and the fight against the Russian invaders. They seem to have nothing to do with Russian propaganda and information warfare. The hostilities were only a pretext to eliminate TV broadcasters independent of the authorities from the public space. Examples include the case of Channel 5, “Pramyj”, and “Espresso”. The Ukrainian national regulator announced on 4 April, 2022, that it would prohibit broadcasting these TV channels on the T2 digital network. The sender appealed to the court against these decisions. Mychajło Podolak, the adviser to the head of the President’s Chancellery, shed some light on the reasons for this decision, stating that the channels mentioned above from the so-called Petro Poroshenko’s pools (Channel 5, Priamyj and Espresso) had been excluded from digital broadcasting because they were harmful due to the narcissism of the former Ukrainian president and political opponent of President Zelensky.
Another disturbing case was the attempt to exclude pro-Russian journalists from nationwide Ukrainian TV channels without any fair trial and independent court decisions. Ukrainian journalists and human rights organisations called for dismissing journalists who had previously played with the enemy’s rhetoric and had spread Kremlin propaganda for many years. This list includes journalists such as Vasyl Holovanov, Tigran Martirosyan, Natasha Vlashchenko, Tetiana Honcharova, Nazar Dovhyy, Volodymyr Poluyev, Anna Stepanets, Anastasia Dauhule. They were accused of promoting the Kremlin’s narrative about the alleged US control of Ukraine, “discrimination” of the Russian language, spreading propaganda about a “civil war” in the Donbas, and justifying the Russian occupation of Crimea. Some journalists also called for cleaning the Ukrainian media space from Russian agents. “Now we have the chance to clear out the Ukrainian media space and to set up an institute of reputation to protect Ukraine from repeating the story in the future”.( see https://imi.org.ua/en/news/the-media-community-calls-to-exclude-pro-russian-hosts-from-participating-in-national-telethons-i45534). “Media Group Ukraine”, i.e., the sender who employs these persons, stated that currently, it had no doubts about the pro-Ukrainian civic stance of the TV hosts mentioned, whom the media community called for excluding from national telethons because of their pro-Russian narratives. (see: https://imi.org.ua/en/news/media-group-ukraine-does-not-doubt-the-pro-ukrainian-stance-of-the-hosts-of-medvedchuk-s-tv-channels-i45607).
3a. The case of social media.
The resident of the Lviv region will be tried for posting a video on the social media TikTok featuring the movement of a column of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. A defendant (a 28-year-old man), in April 2022, posted a video on TikTok showing a column of military equipment on the move (the number and type of vehicles). The prosecutors have filed an indictment for the unauthorised distribution of information about the movement of the Armed Forces under martial law (Part 2 of Article 114-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).(see: Reporters have been killed and injured while reporting on the war. RFE/RL’s Vira Hyrych, who died in a Russian missile strike in Kyiv on 28 April, https://www.rferl.org/a/world-press-freedom-index-rsf-russia-ukraine/31831712.html
- Freedom of media in Russia
In Russia, for quite some time now, the government has taken virtually total control of news and information by introducing extensive censorship, blocking the media, and prosecuting non-compliant journalists, forcing many to emigrate. As mentioned, the country fell five places from 150 in the ranking in 2021 to 155 in 2022 when the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) lowered Russia’s rating for repression of journalists reporting protests in support of the Kremlin’s criticism of Alexei Navalny and the tightening of its media law as “foreign agents”.
In Russia, after the start of the war with Ukraine, military censorship was introduced: at that time, more than 3,000 websites were closed in the country – news publications, social networks, public organisations, trade and IT companies. Access to most websites was restricted at the request of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation. In March 2022, the Office demanded that Twitter, Facebook and Instagram be blocked. Their owner – the Meta company – was recognised as an “extremist”. The list of banned resources also includes many media sites. Some, such as Meduza and Mediazona, were even blocked twice based on various decisions of the General Prosecutor’s Office. (see: https://mailbd.net/news/3000-websites-blocked-in-russia-after-the-start-of-the-war-with-ukraine-news-from-germany-about-russia-dw-3356/)
Additionally, in March 2022, Russia passed two laws that criminalise all independent war reports and protests against the war, with penalties of up to 15 years in prison. The law prohibits spreading “fake news” about Russian armed forces, calling for an end to their deployment. On 23 March, the Russian parliament adopted a decree effectively extending the ban on criticising the armed forces to the one condemning any actions taken by the Russian authorities abroad. The amendments expand the provisions on “false information” and “discredit” to government bodies such as the Russian Guard (currently involved in hostilities in Ukraine), embassies, consulates and emergency services. The penalties are similar to those laid down in the original law criminalising “false information” and “discrediting” the Russian armed forces. As a result, disseminating, for example, information in social media that Russia is waging war in Ukraine and not a “special military operation”, as Putin calls it, is punishable by imprisonment of up to 15 years.
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland
Russia failed the exam on compliance with human rights and international law during the war against Ukraine. This was the main conclusion of the presentation “Ukraine and human rights. Analysis of Russian cruelty that surprises the world.” The author made it after researching the period from 24 February 2022 to 1 June 2022.
To begin with, Russia has been part of the human rights protection system for about 30 years. However, it was not difficult for this country to erase the entire experience in just three months. Russians violated at least 67 articles from the following documents:
1) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
2) Convention on the Rights of the Child;
3) Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;
4) Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
5) Geneva Convention (III) Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War;
6) Geneva Convention (IV) Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War;
7) Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I).
Examples of their inhuman methods of warfare shocked the whole world. Russian commanders ordered to shell humanitarian aid lines, residential buildings and Ukrainian infrastructure facilities. Among other things, they fired at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is the largest one in Europe. Russian soldiers raped, tortured, and executed civilians. Ukrainians were set on fire and brutally killed. Official UN statistics showed that 3 months of full-scale war became more tragic in terms of the number of victims (3930) than 8 years of war in eastern Ukraine (3400).Furthermore, Russians shot at peaceful protesters, kidnapped children and representatives of local authorities. Unfortunately, this list can be continued endlessly. It is important to remember the fate of every person who suffered from the actions of the aggressor country.
The author has selected the TOP-5 most important articles that were violated by Russians:
i. The right to life.
ii. Freedom of expression.
iii. Prohibition of torture, reprisals, corporal punishment, encroachment on personal dignity, and all other acts violence.
iv. Protection of the civilian population and civilian objectives.
v. Illicit transfer and non-return abroad that shall be combated by state parties.
In conclusion, Russia has already committed a large number of crimes in Ukraine and continues to follow this path. It is obvious that the human rights protection system could not prevent them and save lives. Its mechanisms of work must be reviewed in order to minimize the number of similar cases in the future. We have no more time!
 Heintz J., Karmanaum Y., Chernov M., Russia attacks Ukraine nuclear plant as invasion advances, 04.03.2020, AP News, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-war-a3092d8e476949ed7c55607a645a9154. 30.07.2022.
 Conflict-related civilian casualties in Ukraine (2022), United Nations, https://ukraine.un.org/sites/default/files/2022-02/Conflict-related%20civilian%20casualties%20as%20of%2031%20December%202021%20%28rev%2027%20January%202022%29%20corr%20EN_0.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2Z0he3Nbqoc-z05jslIJo3xyur3d1Vi1ccME1mkaLSVrKop5ugEHfiBxQ.
 UA War Infographics, More civilians were killed in 3 months than in 8 years, 24.05.2022, Telegram post, https://t.me/uawarinfographics/602?fbclid=IwAR3dRvZNPGukqtFb0faqeJp5DYnwDvjot9myyRgz-5Sqm71j8WnVZLz9nfQ. 26.07.2022.
Daniel Romero Campoy
People usually argue that animal`s rights recognition would be an attack on human rights. It happens because of three main points: anthropocentrism, speciesism and a misconception of rights. In this brief article I try to explain these arguments. This text is indeed a very short introduction on this issue. I hope the reader feels like wanting to read more about it from these lines.
Moral anthropocentrism is the belief that human beings are the most important entity. Indeed, there are two approaches. On the one hand, a Kantian ethics holds only Humans and relevant on a moral point of view, because of their autonomy (rational choices) and dignity. So Humans do not have direct duties towards non-human animals. To make animals suffer is not bad in essence but this could come to deteriorate our character respect for other Humans or Humanity. On the other hand, weak anthropocentrism holds we must consider value to nature and other animals too. From this approach, animals matter because they have the capacity to feel pain and pleasure. But their life is not a big issue if they die without suffer. This is called sentiocentrism. This ethics is followed by the animal welfare policies of many countries, including the European Union. However, a weak biocentrism approach maintains that non-human animals have an important moral status because they have subjective experiences, that is, the capacity for consciousness. Of course, not all animals have this capacity. To have it, it`s necessary to possess a central nervous system, that`s why this question is not closed. The capacity of being affected positively or negatively as a subject being is called sentience. So, once the capacity of feeling suffering or enjoyment is not the only important thing, the life of sentience animals is a big issue. Consequently, we should not kill animals. In addition, Humans can be healthy without consuming any animal products. The British Dietetic Association (https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/vegetarian-vegan-plant-based-diet.html) and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics(https://www.eatrightpro.org/~/media/eatrightpro%20files/practice/position%20and%20practice%20papers/position%20papers/vegetarian-diet.ashx) supports this given scientific evidence, for instance. Veganism is consistent with this idea since it «is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude -as far as is possible and practicable- all forms of exploration and cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose» (VeganSociety). So why do we keep eating animals? Maybe because of speciesism.
Some words are especially worthy in order to describe a hidden reality. Although controversial, one of them is speciesism. Richard Ryder coined this term, but Peter Singer popularized it. We could define speciesism as the prejudice or discrimination (unjustified differential) based on the species. So, this attitude prioritizes the interests of members of a certain animal species over other ones. It is a belief that considers that dogs deserve greater moral consideration than pigs or cows, in spite of all of them are sentience beings. Even they have similar intelligence and social needs. In the field of human rights we argue a lot about compassion, solidarity, vulnerability, domination or oppression. Why not about non-human animals? Because our anthropocentrism criteria block the moral value of other animals. This issue is complex and required a proper explanation, but in summary we believe in a moral criteria which is impartial and arbitrary. Obviously, there are many ways to argue in favor of this moral approach, but I am going to select the two most important ones: 1) humans have special capacities as rationality or dignity, 2) humans have special relations each other to reach pacts or social contracts on how to live in society. On this matter both of them would leave out of moral sphere some people with mental disabilities and human babies. The goal of this article is not to expand on this question, however we could use two important arguments to reject the specisms ones, namely, the argument from species overlap and the argument from relevance, as philosopher Oscar Horta explains very well in some articles (https://www.animal-ethics.org/ethics-animals-section/speciesism/arguments-speciesism/).
MISCONCEPTION OF RIGHTS
It is a fact that Law is a mechanism of reinforcement of social habits that maintains the dominance and exploitation for rest of animals. The change of animalist paradigm lies on the rejection of the privileges of certain moral subjects respect to others. Many discriminatory arguments support these privileges over oppressed beings, as we see in relation to feminism, anti-racism or the abolition of slavery. In this point, let’s briefly examine the difference between privileges and rights.
Rights are based on legitimate claims, whereas privilege is defined as the exemption from an obligation that is granted in an unjustified manner. Also, privilege would be an unfair advantage, a benefit without an acceptable reason. According to this, the exercise of domination and oppression cannot assume rights. Moreover, to use freedom as an example, even John Stuart Mill -illustrious liberal philosopher- did not hold an unconditional freedom: “the only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it”. In other words, recognizing non-human animals as non-appropriable does not mean violating the right to property, just as stopping eating animal meat does not break the right to health.
In short, it is urgent to accept the moral status of sentient beings of some animals. For that we must give up our prejudices and arbitrary arguments about it. If we recognize animal rights -as rights to life, integrity and liberty, with clarifications as in human rights-, this does not involve any break to human rights. Because rights are weighted in the case of conflict. To end, if the reader is interesting in this particular issue, I recommend this article I wrote: “Cultural pluralism and the animal question: three cases of conflict” (https://revistes.uab.cat/da/da/article/view/v12-n2-romero )
Animal Ethics, “Sentience”. https://www.animal-ethics.org/sentience-section/
Animal Ethics, “Arguments against speciesism”. https://www.animal-ethics.org/ethics-animals-section/speciesism/arguments-speciesism/
Melina, V.; Craig, W.; and Levin, S. “Position of the Academy of Nutrution and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets”. https://www.eatrightpro.org/~/media/eatrightpro%20files/practice/position%20and%20practice%20papers/position%20papers/vegetarian-diet.ashx
Mill, J. S. On liberty. Project Gutenberg. https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/34901
The British Dietetic Association, “Vegetarian, vegan and plant-based diet: Food Fact Sheet”, 01 jul 2021.https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/vegetarian-vegan-plant-based-diet.html
Vegan Society. “Definition of Veganism”. https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism
St Ursula University, Brazil
That is an essay about the benefits offered by Animal’s Rights to Human Rights – HR on XXI century.
One of the most important consequences from II WWW was the world campaign to promote HR as absolute values for States and Civil Societies – quite successful at Occident considering internationals and global normative systems for HR protection. One of its main concrete expression is the promotion of public policies for inclusion for minorities, which has been historically neglected or explored.
On social level, the improvement of HR comes from the dialectics between two sources. First, the social claims for minorities inclusions – which guarantee legitimation for respective public policies. Second, the normative force from law in order to obligate social actors and institutions to accomplish public policies – which guarantee legality and rationality for minorities’ social inclusions.
As result, at medium and long term, it is possible to realize material changes in social representations for those minorities, which improves absolute and rational values of individual rights and solidarity on the respective society. The general hypothesis I would like to discuss is that, historically, the gradual recognition and the inclusion of specific social groups has as main effect the improvement of general and absolute values that bases HR.
As a example, if we make the exercise to resignificate Animal’s Rights as a kind of minority rights, it is possible to recognize the same contributions for HR improvement on social level. Mostly when civil society reveals strong engagement.
There are three legal aspects to be highlighted. i) animals are officially object of law which means they don’t have civil capacity to act in lawsuits, and, by law, the recognition of some rights for some species is the exception, not the rule; ii) animal’s protection is officially justified not as autonomous right, but as part of “environment protection” on behalf of HR – anthropocentric epistemology; iii) Animal’s Rights are procedurally classified as collective right, so the environmental questions officially should be persecuted in collective lawsuits, proposed by Public Ministry or NGO.
The most innovation decisions for Animal’s Rights come from Judicial Power attending social claims, since 30 years ago, founded on 1988 Brazilian Constitution, in which the aspects I and ii are being reshaped by Jurisprudence in order to recognize the enlargement of animal’s rights. The most part of lawsuits is being proposed by NGO, revealing specific and huge demand from civil society to reduce animal abuse.
As illustration, I present some cases of Animal’s Rights in Brazil, where Judicial Activism has as main role the minority’s rights enforcement in a context of a patriarchal and rural-aristocratic society. I) the interdiction of cook fights, bull fights and dog fights although it’s strong cultural and economic relevance for some social and economic groups; ii) the interdiction to promote euthanasia of healthy animals rescued from abuse or from the streets, historically used as public policy for animal population control are the most relevant decisions.
The Legislative and the Executive powers also takes action to increase social rights for animals, to improve Public Power’s liability to fight animal abuse, and to expand economic actors’ liability for non-contractual damages caused to animals.
Those are the legality aspect prevailing Animal’s Rights over traditional social and economic interests.
Besides, several websites, social networks profiles and press agencies specialized in Animal’s Rights have been increasing and becoming popular on the last years. Population controls and denunciates animal’s abuse on public and private space. The “pet” economic sector is strengthening. Veterinary and Animal’s wellness courses are increasing. Vegan market and cruelty-free brands are replacing old practices with animal suffering. Scientific experiments rationalizes animal use to the minimum possible and reduces its suffering. Animal’s Rights movements become respectable and listened by government and companies. Animal’s Rights become part of company’s compliance programs.
Those are the legitimacy aspect consolidating the increase of social representation for absolute values of individual rights and solidarity.
Historically, minorities’ rights are being gradually consolidated, on waves of improvement. Equality of gender and race, recognition of special rights for children and aged people, social inclusion for disable people are examples of differences overcame in anthropocentric perspective. It’s also happening for Animal’s Rights.
So, from this point of view, the specific contribution from Animal’s Rights to HR is to expand the spectrum of legality and legitimacy beyond anthropocentric epistemology. Even if Animal’s Rights continue to be founded on anthropocentric perspective, its increasing legitimacy and legality allows us to propose the specific hypothesis that there is special social claim to reduce violence and abuse in absolute terms, improving life and individual rights as a rational value to be applied to all speciesand to be respected by all social groups. For social psychology and recognitions theories, its importance can be studied on solidarity conception enforcement, for instance. It can also be studied as expansion of HR scope and enforcement of HR values towards an ecocentric epistemology, in which the species would have absolute values to be respected, largely than only for human specie.
“HOW HAVE YEARS 2020-2021 CHANGED THE WORLD?
NEW CHALLENGES TO HUMAN RIGHTS IN
THE 21ST CENTURY “
This international Symposium will be hosted by the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, on 9 and 10 December 2021 (University website: https://wnpid.amu.edu.pl/en/home).
The COVID-19 pandemia has changed many aspects of human and social life. It proves to be an unprecedented experience. This crisis requires unusual solutions, regulations, and a strong response to limit the disease’s spread and protect societies. However, it could be an excuse to introduce oppressive surveillance and undermine human rights, e.g., political, social, and cultural rights, especially the freedom of expression, the right to privacy. The W.H.O. proclamation of the COVID-19 as pandemic on March 11, 2020, led many countries to declare a state of emergency and grant extraordinary powers to their governments.
It is expected that during the workshop, the speakers will consider and analyze the impact of COVID-19 on diverse aspects of protection of human rights, in a specific condition of democracy and political rights under lockdown in numerous regions and states, and also the right to health and health-care, equitable access to vaccination, as well as the influence of the health crisis on freedom of expression and media freedom, freedom of movement and privacy.
Due to the pandemic restrictions, the organizers consider all modes of conducting the workshop, i.e., off-line, on-line, and a hybrid version. Each paper-giver will make a 15-minute presentation. Once the panelists have concluded their appearances, the discussant will provide a brief set of oral comments (10-15 minutes). The panel chair will then open the floor to discussion and questions from the audience (45-60 minutes).
This Symposium will be organized in 5 panels, with the following topics:
a) Democracy and political rights under lockdown,
b) The right to health and health-care and equitable access to vaccination during COVID-19 pandemic,
c) The impact of the health crisis on freedom of expression and media freedom,
d) Freedom of movement and privacy in the time of COVID-19 pandemic,
e) Key human rights during COVID-19 pandemic. Impact of COVID-19 on some aspects of human rights.
Each panel will have a Chair and a Discussant.
Abstracts (up to 400 words) and other information queries should be sent to j
The deadline to send abstracts is 10 October 2021.
The deadline by which to receive complete papers for publication is 31 December 2021..
It is envisaged that two or three participants will be offered free hotel accommodation. These participants will be chosen based on the quality of their papers and CVs.