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29 Episodes
RightsCast brings you discussion on a wide range of contemporary and enduring human rights issues from the University of Essex Human Rights Centre.Bringing together diverse voices from all over the world, we apply a human rights lens to better understand current events, to discuss key issues, and to explore how to achieve social change. From grassroots movements to major international affairs, join us each week as we talk to the people behind the stories and seek to create a dialogue around the role of human rights in our daily lives. 

Human Rights Centre: https://bit.ly/2Wm2z3S
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29 Episodes

The Future of Copyright in the age of AAI

1h 28min

In this podcast, you will listen to the book launch of Dr Aviv Gaon’s latest book: ‘The Future of Copyright in the Age of Artificial Intelligence’, in which Dr Gaon explores the fundamentals of copyright law and AI, suggesting new models for considering the future of authorship and basic concepts in copyright as we further move into a world where we see more AI generated content. Discussants include Prof. Peter Menell from UC Berkeley (USA), Prof. Pina D’Agostino from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (Canada), Prof. Stavroula Karapapa from the University of Essex, School of Law (UK), and Dr. Aviv Gaon from the Harry Radzyner Law School, Reichman University (Israel). The book launch was organized by Dr Eden Sarid from the University of Essex School of Law.

Problematizing Law, Rights, and Childhood in Israel/Palestine

1h 35min

In this podcast, you will listen to the book launch of Dr Hedi Viterbo’s latest book: ‘Problematizing Law, Rights, and Childhood in Israel/Palestine’, in which Dr Viterbo radically challenges our picture of law, human rights, and childhood, both in and beyond the Israel/Palestine context. Commentators include Alexandra Cox, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex Department of Sociology; Maryam Jamshidi, an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law; and Yaël Ronen, Professor of Law at the Academic Center for Science and Law at Hod Hasharon, and the Minerva Center for Human Rights at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The book launch was organized by Dr Haim Abraham from the University of Essex School of Law and UCL Faculty of Laws, and Dr Eden Sarid from the University of Essex School of Law.

LGBTQ+ Rights: LGBTQ+ Community in Italy


In the third episode of the LGBTQ+ Podcast, our guest, Cate Fantacci, discusses the public perception of LGBT+ people in Italy and how it is influenced by the Catholic Church. Although Italy is a secularised country, the Catholic Church often expresses its opinion on political matters. Few Church officials affirm LGBT+ people. In 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith stated that same-sex marriage would be inconsistent with Christian conscience. In 2013, the Church started to condemn the so-called ‘gender philosophy.’ More recently, in 2020, in debates regarding the bill on discrimination and hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people, religious actors talked about the bill as an attack on freedom of speech. A lot of homophobia stems from media which provides Italian politicians with a platform to share their homophobic beliefs. For example, Giorgia Meloni, leader of a national-conservative party, stated, that she would rather not have a gay son. Mario Adinolfi, leader of a social-conservative party, described LGBT+ parenting as a criminal ideological abomination. Instead of deconstructing harmful beliefs, the mass media enforces derogatory stereotypes. The most recent development regarding gay rights in Italy is the anti-discrimination bill that makes violence against LGBT+ people a hate crime. Nevertheless, the bill faces opposition from right-wing parties and the Italian Roman Catholic Church, who claim that the existing protections are strong enough. LGBT+ rights groups in Italy: Arcigay, Arcilesbica, ARCO, Il Rainbow Center Napoli (in Naples), AGedO, Azione Gay e Lesbica (in Florence), Di' Gay Project (in Rome), Centro di Iniziativa Gay Milano (in Milan). On a positive note, Cate recommends Brandi Carlile’s memoir ‘Broken Horses.’ If you wish to be involved in a future season of the LGBTQ+ Pride and the Law: A Podcast, please contact elawclinic@essex.ac.uk for more information!

LGBTQ+ Rights: LGBTQ+ Community in Israel


Our second podcast is with Dr. Haim Abraham, a lecturer at the University of Essex. He gives us an informative discussion on surrogacy in relation to the LGBTQ+ community in Israel, educating us on the developments being made and the ones needed to ensure they have equal rights to surrogacy. As the LGBTQ+ community in Israel grows so does their advocation of equal rights. Within Israel, the Embryo Carrying Agreement Act is how surrogacy is regulated. However, its requirements discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community, such as only allowing surrogacy to be available for married heterosexual couples. In recent years, there have been achievements; the courts acknowledging LGBTQ+ relationships and recognizing that the law is discriminatory towards same-sex couples as seen in 2010 case of Arad-Pinkas (HCJ 1078/10 Arad-Pinkas v The Surrogacy Agreements Approval Committee) which led to a petition for law reform. Nonetheless, the courts argued that the law was proportionate due to the lack of research on its effect on familial structure regardless of the acceptance of surrogacy undertaken abroad. This led to the financial burden on Israel’s LGBTQ+ couples to undertake surrogacy abroad which costs more than $100,000 and thus discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties in the Knesset continue to advocate for a fully religious vision of Israel. These religious considerations caused a lack of political support for the LGBTQ+ movement and led to LGBTQ+ rights not seen as legitimate rights as they go against religious belief. This is evident under the Embryo Carrying Agreement Act which is how surrogacy is regulated in Israel. The Act includes legal requirements that discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community and shows the importance of religious attitudes, where particular attention was given to Jewish law. This can be seen in the requirements stated for surrogacy, in particular that the procedure is available for only married heterosexual couples as well as the requirement for the intended parents and surrogate to follow the same religion. Additionally, homophobic attitudes are still present with the communities. Regardless of the enormous pressure for change since 2010, the lack of action shown by the government reveals the long road ahead for the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ Organisations in Israel - Tehila - The Aguda (The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel) - Iggy The Proud Youth Organisation (Israel’s national LGBTQ youth organization) - Bat-Kol(the only NGO of LGBTQ women in Israel) Extra Resources - Dr Haim’s research paper on surrogacy in Israel can be found here - Surrogacy in Israel Conference If you wish to be involved in a future season of the LGBTQ+ Pride and the Law: A Podcast, please contact elawclinic@essex.ac.uk for more information!

LGBTQ+ Rights: Asylum Seekers in the UK


In the first episode of the LGBTQ+ Podcast, our guest, Vinnosh Kumar, discusses the situation of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers in the UK. Asylum claims based on sexual orientation and gender identity aresystematically rejectedboth in the UK and Europe. The officials often expect the claimant to convince them that they are ‘truly’ gay or trans or other. One in three claimants is refused asylum because the officials did not believe their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to international human rights law, instead of asking whether the claimant is undoubtedly gay, the officials should ask whether they face a threat of prosecution in their country of origin based on the grounds of their sexuality. There is also a cultural and language barrier. Many languages arenot conditionedto express non-heteronormative relationships and identities. In the UK, the LGBTQ+ asylum seekers suffer consequences of hostile asylum policies, especially in regards to housing. 60 per cent of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers live with friends and partners in private rented accommodations or houses of multiple occupations. Those who interact with their landlords face indifference or discrimination. Nevertheless, there have been some positive developments in the case law regarding the LGBTQ+ community in the UK. InBirmingham City Council v Afsar, the case discussed in this episode, the Court agreed that an interim injunction should be granted to restrain the anti-LGBT protests organised by parents of students of the local primary school. SOGICA Project indicates that, according to international human rights law, instead of asking whether the claimant is undoubtedly gay, the officials should ask whether they face a threat of prosecution in their country of origin based on the grounds of their sexuality or gender identity. Moreover, Vinnosh mentions the case HJ and HT v Home Secretary, where the Court decided that the fact that the claimants would not face prosecution in their country provided they concealed their sexuality could not be an argument in favor of deportation. Vinnosh also recommends the movieMy Son is Gay. Here are some organizations that help LGBTQ+ asylum seekers with links to their websites: LGSMigrants (Lesbian and Gays Support the Migrants): http://www.lgsmigrants.com/do-you-need-help UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group: https://uklgig.org.uk/ Stonewall UK: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/asylum City of Sanctuary UK (provides a list of local groups that support the LGBT+ asylum seekers): If you wish to be involved in a future season of the LGBTQ+ Pride and the Law: A Podcast, please contact elawclinic@essex.ac.uk for more information!

Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights: Avoiding the Terrorist Trap (with Tom Parker)


Tom Parker, a counter-terrorism practitioner and former UN war crimes investigator, recently published a book called Avoiding the Terrorist Trap, in which he argues that counter-terrorism strategy grounded in respect for human rights is the only truly effective approach to defeating terrorism. In this episode, Tom joins Daragh Murray in a discussion exploring everything from why people engage in terrorism, to how existing counter-terrorism approaches can be counter-productive. Tom Parker has worked as a European Union-sponsored adviser to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in Baghdad, Iraq, prior to which he served as a Counter-Terrorism Strategist at the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) and as the Adviser on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism to the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF). He has also served as the Policy Director for Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and Human Rights for Amnesty International USA, as the Special Adviser on Transitional Justice to the Coalition Provisional Authority, as a war crimes investigator with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in both Bosnia and Kosovo, and as an Intelligence Officer in the British Security Service (MI5). Tom’s book, Avoiding The Terrorist Trap: Why Respect For Human Rights Is The Key To Defeating Terrorism is available now.

Qualified Immunity: How Police Get Away with Murder (with Haim Abraham, Nimra Azmi, Joanna Schwartz and Jennifer Page)


The doctrine of qualified immunity protects government officials from being held personally liable for constitutional violations, and thus poses a significant challenge for individuals seeking compensation for abuses of public power in the US. In light of continuing police brutality against Black Lives Matter protesters, many are calling for the doctrine to be reformed or abolished. In this episode, Dr Haim Abraham is joined by Nimra Azmi, Prof. Joanna Schwartz and Dr Jennifer Page to discuss how qualified immunity shields police officers from personal liability for wrongful use of force, and how other avenues of justice and reparations might be explored. Nimra Azmi is a staff attorney at Muslim Advocates, where she she uses litigation and other tools of legal advocacy to protect American Muslim individuals and communities from discrimination and bigotry. Joanna Schwartz is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. She teaches Civil Procedure and a variety of courses on police accountability and public interest lawyering. Professor Schwartz is a leading expert on police misconduct litigation in the US. Professor Schwartz additionally studies the dynamics of modern civil litigation. She is co-author, with Stephen Yeazell, of a leading casebook, Civil Procedure (10th Edition). Dr Jennifer Page is a postdoctoral fellow at University of Zurich’s Department of Philosophy, where her research focuses on reparations and state accountability. Dr. Haim Abraham is a Lecturer at the University of Essex School of Law. His research focuses on the liability of public bodies and officials and private law theory, and he teaches Tort Law, The Law of Obligations, and Contract Law. Dr. Abraham holds a Doctor of Juridical Science degree from the University of Toronto, a Master of Law degree from the University of Cambridge, and a Bachelor of Law degree combined with the Interdisciplinary Honours Program in the Humanities from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was on the editorial board of the Israel Law Review.

Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights (with Prof. Başak Çalı and Dr Corina Heri)


Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits the restriction of rights for any other purpose than those for which they are prescribed. It aims to prevent the abuse of power by state authorities, or the restriction of rights for illegitimate purposes. In this episode, Prof. Başak Çalı and Dr Corina Heri join Daragh Murray to discuss the history of Article 18, the case law around it, and whether it can speak to the rule of law crisis unfolding in Europe today. Prof. Başak Çalı is Professor of International Law at the Hertie School and Director of the School's Centre for Fundamental Rights. Çalı is the Chair of European Implementation Network and a Fellow of the Human Rights Centre of the University of Essex. She has acted as a Council of Europe expert on the European Convention on Human Rights since 2002. She received her PhD in International Law from the University of Essex in 2003. Dr Corina Heri is a researcher in international human rights law. She has been a postdoctoral researcher at the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL) since 2017. Before that, she completed her PhD research at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, in 2017.

A Guide to On/Offline Protestor Privacy (with Shakiba Mashayekhi, Leenah Bassouni and Rachael Cornejo)


Open Source Researchers of Color (OSROC), a collective of open-source researchers and investigators, recently published a guide to help protestors protect themselves against police surveillance both online and offline. Their guide includes tips on how to communicate safely before and during protests, how to evade facial recognition technology, and how to responsibly post or preserve photos and videos. Access the Protestor Privacy Guide here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12On3cg4figX2arDOl3ymDGOyBqbtpB1bNVh7maCurRU/edit Read more about the project here: https://citizenevidence.org/2020/06/03/protecting-protester-privacy-against-police-surveillance/ Shakiba Mashayekhi is a member of OSROC and has previously worked as a Project Manager at UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Investigations Lab. @shxiba Leenah Bassouni previously worked as an open source investigator at the Human Rights Investigations Lab at UC Berkeley and is currently a postgraduate student in MA Human Rights Law at SOAS. @diasporaleenah Rachael Cornejo previously worked as an open source investigator at the Human Rights Investigations Lab at UC Berkeley and also works at the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. @RachaelCornejo

The Hostile Environment and No Recourse to Public Funds (with Kimberly Garande, Andy Jolly and Koldo Casla)


No Recourse to Public Funds is a key part of the UK government's Hostile Environment policy, designed and intended to make the lives of illegal immigrants difficult. In this episode, Kimberly Garande of We Belong and Andy Jolly of the University of Wolverhampton join Daragh Murray to discuss the impact that NRPF has on migrants' lives, and how hostile environment policies more widely have turned regular people, from NHS workers to school teachers, into agents of border enforcement. Plus, Koldo Casla of the University of Essex explains how the No Recourse to Public Funds policy puts the UK in breach of its international human rights obligations. Kimberly Garande was born in Zimbabwe and migrated to the UK aged 9. She now works as Outreach Officer at We Belong, an organisation of young UK migrants campaigning for a shorter, more affordable route to settlement. Andy Jolly is Research Associate at the Institute for Community Research and Development, University of Wolverhampton. He is a...

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