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