In 2019, the Deepfake detection platform Sensity came out with a report that identified 96% of deepfakes on the internet as pornographic, with 90% of these representing women. Deepfakes are a modern form of synthetic media created by two ‘competing’ AIs, with the goal of replicating hyper-realistic videos, images, and voices. Over the past five years, this has led to major concerns about the technology being used to spread mis- and disinformation, carry out cybercrimes, tamper with human rights evidence, and create non-consensual pornography. In this episode, the last of this season of the Declarations podcast, host Maryam Tanwir sat down with panellist Neema Jayasinghe and Henry Ajder. Henry is not only responsible for the groundbreaking Sensity report, but is also a seasoned expert on the topic of deepfakes and synthetic media. He is currently the head of policy and partnerships at Metaphysic.AI.
In this episode, host Maryam Tanwir and panelist Archit Sharma discuss the impact of technology on employment with our guests, Martin Kwan and Dee Masters. Artificial Intelligence brings many promises, but to many it is a threat as well. As AI can increasingly perform tasks at a low cost, what happens to those whose jobs are displaced by robots? And if we are using AI in the workplace to monitor our employees and make recruitment decisions, how can we ensure workers’ rights are respected and that AI decisions are subject to sufficient oversight and accountability? This area is a complicated web of issues, but our guests have the expertise to help us better understand the stakes. Dee is a leading employment barrister at Cloisters Chambers with extensive experience in the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and employment who advises companies on how to ensure their AI systems are compatible with the law and the rights of workers. Martin is a legal researcher and journalist, and the 2021 UN RAF Fellow. He has written many articles on topical human rights issues, including a fascinating recent article on automation and the international human right to work.
In this week’s episode of the Declarations podcast, host Maryam Tanwir sat down with Munizae and Sulema Jahangir to discuss freedom of expression and internet shutdowns in Pakistan, and their implications for human rights in the country. Freedom of expression, attacks on civil society groups, and a climate of fear continues to impede media coverage of abuses by both government security forces and militant groups. Media outlets have come under pressure from authorities not to criticize government institutions or the judiciary, and journalists – who face threats and attacks – have increasingly resorted to self-censorship. In several cases in 2020, government regulatory agencies blocked cable operators and television channels that had aired critical programs. International conferences raising awareness on human rights and promoting initiatives safeguarding human rights (organized by the guests) have been mired in technology shutdowns. With our guests, we explore what’s at stake and what we can do about it.
In episode 5 of this season of the Declarations podcast, host Maryam Tanwir and panelist Yasar Cohen-Shah sat down with Belkis Wille, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, and former UN official Karl Steinacker to discuss the collection of refugees’ biometric data. Last Summer, Human Rights Watch reported that a database of biometric data collected by UNHCR from Rohingya refugees had been handed to Myanmar’s government – the very government from which the refugees were fleeing. This scandal has brought to a head the debates surrounding the use of refugees’ biometric data: from Yemen to Afghanistan, Somalia to Syria, biometric data is now fundamental in how aid groups interact with refugees. But how does this affect their human rights, and can it ever be used responsibly?
For Episode 4 of this season’s Declarations podcast, host Maryam Tanwir and panelist Alice Horell sit down to discuss empathy games with Dr Karen Schrier, Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Games and Emerging Media program at Marist college, and Florent Maurin, creator of The Pixel Hunt, a video games studio with a focus on reality-inspired games.
The third episode of this season of the Declarations Podcast delves into the topic of live facial recognition. Host Maryam Tanwir and panelist Veronica-Nicolle Hera sat down with Daragh Murray and Pete Fussey, who co-authored the “Independent Report on the London Metropolitan Police Service’s Trial of Live Facial Recognition Technology” in July 2019. Live facial recognition has been a widely debated topic in past years, both in the UK and internationally. While several campaigning organisations advocate against the use of this technology based on the Prohibition of Discrimination set out in the human rights law, independent academic research on the topic reveals important insights into trials of this technology. Our guests are at the forefront of this research, and present some of their findings in this episode.
In this week’s episode, host Maryam Tanwir and panellist Yasmin Homer discuss the role of technology in the securitization of European borders with MEP Patrick Breyer and researcher Ainhoa Ruiz. It was 71 years ago that the 1951 UN Refugee Convention codified the rights of refugees to seek sanctuary and the obligation of states to protect them. It was in 2015 that Angela Merkel famously declared “wir schaffen das” – “we can do it.” Yet the International Organization for Migration has described 2021 as the deadliest year for migration routes to and within Europe. The creation of Fortress Europe is inserting technology into the heart of the human story of migration. In this episode, we ask what the role role of technology is in the ongoing securitization of the EU’s borders, and what the implications for human rights could be.
For this week’s episode, host Maryam Tanwir and panelist Nanna Sæten speak about predictive policing with Johannes Heiler, Adviser on Anti-Terrorism Issues at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and Miri Zilka, Research Associate in the Machine Learning Group at the University of Cambridge. This technology seems to perpetuate existing police bias, but could this be overcome? Who is responsible for the protection of human rights, and how can we decide whose rights to uphold in cases of conflict? What is clear to both of our guests is that there needs to be clear channels of oversight if human rights are to be protected in digitized law enforcement.
In this first episode of Season 6, we gather our panelists to discuss the topics that will be on our minds this season. From predictive policing to biometric data collected from refugees, we’re covering a global range of issues at the cutting edge of human rights advocacy, research and policy.
In our final episode of the season we are delighted to be joined by Kathleen Schwind. A 2015 Coca-Cola Scholar, Kathleen focuses her research on the issues of water security in the Middle East and North Africa. She has studied at MIT and the University of Cambridge and joins our host, Muna Gasim, to discuss the problem of water shortage and its interaction with politics and international relations, as well giving advice on how to find your passion and make a positive change at any level. An insightful and inspiring conversation, this episode offers a microcosm for what Declarations has sought to achieve over the course of this season: shedding light on pressing problems in our world today and, through our guests, offering guidance on how to solve them.
For this week’s episode, host Muna Gasim and panelist Eddie Kembery speak to Alfredo Romero, one of the founding members of Foro Penal, a human rights organization that won the 2017 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for its work in Venezuela. Beginning with Alfredo’s own story, this episode is a masterclass in grassroots activism as we explore what has driven Foro Penal’s growth from four lawyer’s pro-bono work to an organisation of over 7000 activists. On the way, we discuss the difference between macro and micro resistance, activism without sacrifices, and Alfredo’s unconventional use of music.
This week, host Muna Gasim and panellist Akshata Kapoor welcome journalist Afrah Nasser for an in-depth discussion of human rights reporting, bias, gender inequity, and more in Yemen and the international community at large. Our discussion this week covers topics ranging from the role of objectivity in human rights reporting to both the benefits and pitfalls of technology and social media. Nasser shares insights with Muna and Akshata on finding role models and the most important ways that governments and residents alike can support Yemeni rights
This week, host Muna Gasim welcomes guest Tom Parker, counterterrorism practitioner and former UN war crimes investigator, for a discussion of situating the fight against terrorism within a human rights framework. They discuss the power of language, the use of force, peace method interrogation, Guantanamo Bay, the state of policing, and more.
This week, host Muna Gasim and panellist Neema Jayasinghe speak with Chamnan Chanruang from the Future Forward party about the anti-monarchy protests ongoing in Thailand. Chanruang is also a former Political Science and Law lecturer at Chiang Mai University, and has a professional background as a human rights activist. He has taken a stand against coup d’états and was also a key driver in the movement to finalise the draft act for the Chiang Mai Self-Governing. He was previously appointed as the Chairperson of the Amnesty International Thailand Board.
For this week’s episode, host Muna Gasim and panellist Eddie Kemberry are joined by Natalie Jones, Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, to discuss existential risk, the climate crisis, indigenous rights, and the ways that all three intersect. Natalie shares insights into the nature of global, existential risks and how we can think ahead to protect the rights of future generations. We also discuss the need for substantial and meaningful representation of indigenous peoples in decision- and policy-making.
For this week’s episode, we are delighted to welcome Alina Utrata, a Ph.D. candidate in Politics and International Studies and a 2020 Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge, whose research focuses on the influence of technology on state and corporate power. She joins our host Muna Gasim and producer Sam Baron to discuss how Big Tech companies are impeding and restricting our human rights in the digital space, and what type of change is necessary to begin tackling this threat. Their conversation touches on the enormous amounts of power companies such as Facebook can wield on the global stage, and how poor data security can endanger and cost lives.
Our conversation this week turns to the question of Dalit rights in India, assessing the progress that has been made and what further change must come. To discuss this, we are thrilled to be joined by Dr. Sumeet Mhaskar from Jindal Global University. An Associate Professor at the Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, Dr. Mhaskar’s research takes in the experiences and vulnerabilities of workers both specifically in Mumbai and across the Indian nation. He talks with our podcast host Muna and panellist Akshata about the everyday persecution and discrimination Dalits still face, the failure of political and legal reforms to fight the Dalit cause and what the international community can do to bring about meaningful and long-lasting change.
This week, host Muna Gasim and producer Sam Baron are joined by Zumretay Arkin, the Program and Advocacy Manager at the World Uyghur Congress, an umbrella organization based Berlin, Germany that advocates for the rights of Uyghur people, an ethnic group from the province of Xinjiang in Northwest China. Despite the severe human rights abuses taking place against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China, Beijing remains the host of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which has vast political and humanitarian implications. Muna, Sam, and Zumretay discuss the atrocities being committed against the Uyghur people, the political power of the Olympics, and how governments, corporations, athletes, journalists, and citizens can take action.
Season 5 Episode 5 -The #EndSARS Protests, Part 2: Women in Activism, Social Media, and the Road Ahead in Nigeria
This week, for the second in our two-part series focusing on the #EndSARS Movement, we are joined by three powerful activists working to end police brutality and abuse of power in Nigeria: Aisha Yesufu, Vome Aghoghovbia-Gafaar, and Lola Omolola. Our guests share stories about living in fear under SARS, insights about the power of the #EndSARS protests, and their visions for Nigeria’s future
For our first episode of 2021 we return to the 2018-19 Sudanese Revolution that overthrew Omar al-Bashir and his National Congress Party. Joined by Dinan Alasad and Aida Abbashar, the conversation highlights the course of the revolution, the importance of international attention and the mobilising and uprising of Sudan’s youth. Our guests identify both the power of social media movements such as #BlueForSudan and #BlueForMattar as well as reminding us that, in areas like women’s rights, the story is far from complete.
The topic of conversation this week is the ongoing climate crisis and our urgent need to act. We are joined by the remarkable Daze Aghaji, a university student and high-profile climate justice activist who has fought to combat the climate emergency at an international level. The climate crisis has the potential to impact all aspects of our lives and Daze urges us to tackle the issue, not just environmental grounds, but on social and cultural levels as well.
Season 5 Episode 3 -Understanding the #EndSARS Protests, Part 1: Anti-Corruption and Political Power in Nigeria
This week, in partnership with Global Integrity, we are joined by Dr. Jackie Harvey of Northumbria University and Dr. Pallavi Roy of SOAS University of London to discuss the structures of political power in Nigeria and the underlying systems of corruption that culminated in the protests of the #EndSARS movement. This episode is the first in a two-part series focusing on human rights abuses in Nigeria and the protests fighting to #EndSARS and end police brutality.
Season 5 Episode 2 – “Call it Genocide”: The Rohingya Crisis in Conversation with Dan Sullivan and Tun Khin
In the second episode of Season 5, we are joined by Dan Sullivan, the senior advocate for human rights at Refugees International, and Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK to discuss the situation of the persecuted Rohingya minority in the context of Myanmar’s second general election, an event overshadowed by electoral events in the United States.
In the first episode of Season 5, our new team of panellists sets the stage for a broader discussion of human rights under threat. Through their experience with human rights issues in NGO work, academia as well as their personal lives, they problematise some aspects of human rights while highlighting its immense potential for positive change. This season, the theme of the podcast is “In the Firing Line”, where we will invite all of those at the forefront of change within the human rights movement to share their experiences and provide a dialogue around the very principles of human rights itself.
In this episode, we focus on giving you the history of the continuous injustices faced by black individuals at the hands of the police, from the ending of slavery, to the Jim Crow laws and segregation, to the war on drugs and today’s for-profit prisons and the disproportionate number of black people in them. There’s a lot to cover in this episode and we will try to give you as concise and clear of an explanation as possible, but the learning does not stop and should not stop here. We highly encourage you to please check out the resources that we have listed on our website, we include books as well as documentaries and social media accounts you can follow for more information.
This episode discusses the Unist’ot’en campaign to protect their land and preserve it for future generations. In 2010, the Unist’ot’en began constructing a cabin within their territory in the exact place where three companies, TC Energy, Enbridge, and Pacific Trails, intended to build pipelines. Their campaign has faced hostility and violence, including from the government of Canada, and its national police force, the RCMP. Most recently, TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink project was backed by the RCMP in an attempt to gain access to the Unist’ot’en camp. To the dismay of Coastal GasLink and Canada’s colonial government, the camp has also received immense support both locally and internationally, with solidarity blockades of Canada’s railroad threatening to shut Canada down.
In December, a six year old British girl buys cheap Christmas cards from Tesco for her friends. Suddenly, she turns to her dad and says: “Daddy, someone has already written in this one”. What he finds is a cry for help from a Chinese prisoner forced to manufacture the cards. In this episode we talk to Peter Humphrey, who was himself wrongly incarnated in the Shanghai prison where the Christmas card was manufactured. This episode touches on the conditions of forced labour in Chinese prisons, corporate social responsibility and the steps consumers can take to stop such grave human rights violations from happening.
In this episode we are joined by Jacinta Gonzales, a Senior Campaign Organizer with Mijente, to discuss her current activism against hostile environments in the US. After bringing to the forefront the racial processes underpinning the Ellis Island legacy, our panellists and guest discuss the intersection of technology and state infrastructure in targeting and detaining immigrants at the US border.
From 25th Nov – 4th Dec, lecturers in 60 UK universities went on strike with UCU. We hit the picket lines of Cambridge to find out why they were swapping their blackboards for banners.
In this episode we interview Maya Goodfellow, author of ‘Hostile Environments: How Immigrants became Scapegoats’ for the first part of our series on about the racialization of immigration. In this enlightening and extremely topical episode, we discuss security security discourses of the ‘scary’ migrant, racial capitalism and the racialization of citizenship.
In this episode, we discuss the provision and effectiveness of existing laws aimed to protect the rights of people with disabilities. We are joined by two guests, both students at British universities who have themselves experienced the marginalisation and discrimination that is imposed on persons with disabilities – sometimes unconsciously. The podcast touches on issues of positive discrimination, intersectionality and ‘invisible’ disabilities.
In Kashmir, thousands of people are living in constant fear of detention and unrest. These conditions are part of a long history of struggle between India and Pakistan over the semi-autonomous state. Recent developments, including the repealment of Article 370 and the communication blackout have further worsened conditions, leading to serious human rights infringements. This episode gives insight into the complex historical and political processes at play as well as how the everyday lives of Kashmiris are affected.
This episode focuses on the UK’s policy of deterring refugees and migrants from seeking asylum by extending the Home Office’s domestic “hostile environment” beyond state borders and into mainland Europe. We investigate the ethical and legal aspects of these policies and their implications on the lives of refugees across Europe.
From June to October 2017, the US-led Coalition launched an aggressive and highly destructive military campaign in Raqqa, Syria to oust the so-called “Islamic State” from the city. Amnesty International and the Digital Verification Corps came to Queens’ College, Cambridge for the opening of an exhibition featuring photographs, interactive screens, and even a Virtual Reality experience. This episode of Declarations explores the event, giving you an insight into the panel discussions and visitors’ impression, and thus uncovers a unique perspective on the impacts of the ongoing Syrian conflict.
In the first episode of this seasons’ Declarations podcasts, the new team of panellists sets the stage for a discussion of some of the human rights issues that do not receive enough attention. The podcast gives rise to a dialogue around the very principles of human rights, informed by the panellists diverse geographical backgrounds and personal interests. Through their experience with human rights issues in NGO work, academia as well as their personal lives, they problematise some aspects of human rights while highlighting its immense potential for positive change.
This episode explores the issue of organ trafficking and transplant abuse in China, with a particular focus on its impact on minority groups. The first part of the podcast gives insight into some of the practical aspects of Dr. Matas’ research on the rapidly growing business. We then consider the ways in which the UK and the rest of the world is implicated in these grave human rights abuses.
West African oil is of increasing strategic importance globally, and Nigeria— the largest producer in the region —is at the centre of this petro-capitalist industry. In this episode of Declarations, Dr Elias Courson is in conversation with Mary-Jean Nleya andL’myah Ross-Walcott. Together, they explore the history and contemporarysignificance of the Niger Delta for Nigerian politics and petro-capitalism.
As Operation Black Vote turns 24 years old this year, Simon Woolley begins the podcast by reflecting on the organization’s history. Woolley frames his work as a continuation of the work of the reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, seeking to change legal and political institutions shaped by white supremacy. Operation Black Vote, in Woolley’s words, wants communities to be able to demand equality and rights, not just ask for them.