Contemporary Issues in Human Rights
The world we inhabit today is far from providing equal rights, protections, and opportunities for all. And it is up to us to change that, starting right in our local communities.
CanopyLAB
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International Relations
Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Freedom of the Press
Freedom of Information
Data
Journalism
Fake News
Gender Rights
Sexual Rights
Empowerment Strategies
Advocacy
Sexual and Reproductive Health
Intersectionality
International Politics
Emerging Technologies
War Technology
Artificial Intelligence
Big Data
Ethics
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Course Description
What are the most pressing issues in 2019? What are the concerns sparking debates? What are the trending topics related to human rights? The struggle for human rights has existed for hundreds of years and it is still ongoing. Nelson Mandela said, "To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity". Through discussions that will take you around the world to visit some of the most pressing human rights issues and debates, in the end this course hopes to bring you, equipped with new knowledge, allies and inspirations, back to your local community to take action and make a difference.
Units

Unit 1 Introduction To Contemporary Issues In Human Rights
We need to start talking about global challenges in a human rights perspective! Looking to understand what Human Rights are? Curious about the implications of lacking Human Rights? What are traditional and ongoing struggles for human rights globally? Though the materials and exercises, you will understand and form your own opinions on human rights issues from past and present. This unit also features Belkis Wille, Senior Iraq researcher at Human Rights Watch, who brings a human rights perspective on current issues like climate change and migration.
Unit 2 Fake news: Exploring the implications of freedom of the press
Did you know that freedom of speech, information and the press is one of the most critical issues concerning human rights in 2019? 45% percent of the population lives in countries where the media environment is NOT FREE! We are living in a world where the sharing of information is governed by social media and technology resulting in fake news, biases, click bait and little to no actual research is going behind viral breaking stories. What are the advances towards a free media environment? But more importantly, what can YOU do to make a change in your local community? Join independent journalist and educator Gry Brøndom in the featured video to understand current issues regarding freedom of the press and tips on how YOU can avoid being fooled by fake news.
Unit 3 Gender Rights: Perspectives through empowerment
There are subtle ways we are socialized into gender and becoming more aware of these attitudes can help us recognize how we might be performing gender in damaging ways. Emily Fayram, Women's March Organiser in Copenhagen (Denmark) provides valuable insight on issues regarding gender today. Gender and human rights are a global issue. One perspective , is the treatment of women globally through women empowerment. But what about people who don’t identify as a man or woman? What about those who are agender, bigender, gender fluid, trans or non-conforming? There’s a lot of misinformation being share and a lot of places in the world where it’s not okay not to be a man or a woman. After this unit, you will learn how we can empower and support one group in such a way that it doesn’t disempower another.
Unit 4 Human Rights Abuses in North Korea
Media control, religious freedom, detentions and government control are some of the pressing issues affecting human rights in North Korea today. Dr. Sarah A. Son, Research Director at Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG) describes the most pressing human rights violations experienced by North Koreans today. TJWG is “the first Korea-based NGO focused on transitional justice mechanisms in the world’s most repressive regimes, including North Korea”and their aim is “to develop practical methods for addressing massive human rights violations and advocating justice for victims in pre- and post-transition societies” (About TJWG, 2019) Head over to Dr. Sarah A. Son’s featured video, which provides you with valuable insight on the following topics: -What is the situation of North Korean human rights abuses? -How can this situation exist in the world today? -Why isn’t anyone doing anything about it?
Unit 5 Human Rights & Technology
There are numerous benefits of emerging technologies. For instance, organisations like Human Rights Watch are able to report on human rights violations all around the world. In recent times however, technology has called into question concerns for human rights. Advances in technology has made it easier for governments to surveil what people in and out of their country are posting online. There are cases where people have been arrested for expressing their political opinion online, bringing into question the human rights concern of privacy. Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is completely changing the landscape of modern warfare. Weapons like drones and other systems can be programmed to identity and kill. This raises a huge ethical concern: Who is held accountable for the death? Who is responsible for “killer robots” in the battle field? In response, Human Rights Watch has launched a campaign against fully autonomous weapons, often referred to as killer robots. Watch the feature video as Belkis Wille dives into the cases we have just outlined. Still curious? Head over to our course in the Future Technology Series to learn about the ethics of emerging technology: https://student.canopylab.com/course/323/