Human Rights

The inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Preamble, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.

Do you understand? The mishearing of LGBT refugees’ stories

By Katherine Fobear

I want to talk about stories. From the simplest story of a trip down to the grocery store to the local news story on the radio as we drive into work, stories permeate and create our everyday lives.

Stories matter.

They matter to us on a personal level, a social level, and on a political level. They help us to tell others who we are and who we wish we were.

Stories matter especially for refugees. Refugees make sense of their past and present and craft their identities both in their new places of residence and their home countries through the sharing of stories. For those forced to migrate from their home and resettle elsewhere, a refugee’s story serves as a fundamental link between the past, present, and future. The nurturing and forging of these links help refugees and their communities heal personally and socially. Aid workers, activists, and academics working in conflict areas call this process social repair.

When refugees share their stories with each other they build a sense of belonging and community by creating a bond among individuals through communal experiences, beliefs, and stories. Sharing a story can be therapeutic for the individual as well as the group as people share and witness the hardships of transplantation and emigration to a foreign land or culture. (more…)

Lampedusa boat tragedy: a survivor’s story

Repost from the Guardian. Last October a boat went down off the Italian island of Lampedusa, killing 366 migrants on board. What happened next? This is the story of Fanus, a survivor and one of thousands of people who flee Eritrea every year … Continue reading

The Evolution of American Revolutionary


By Grace Lee I first met Grace Lee Boggs in 2000 while filming The Grace Lee Project, a personal documentary that took me on a journey to unpack the model minority stereotype of Asian Americans. I interviewed dozens of women … Continue reading

A Heathen Learning


By Dr. Adriana Garriga-López * These remarks were delivered at the Kalamazoo College 2014 Baccalaureate Service earlier this June. I’ve been asked to meditate on the theme of light for this event, and as I discussed this invitation with my … Continue reading

In search of the activist academic


By Shayna Plaut, Contributing Editor, Human Rights When people ask me “what do you do?” meaning “what do you do for a living?” I find I have two options for how to respond. One is to look proudly in their … Continue reading

The Starting Point Of Death and Justice


By Shayna Plaut, Contributing Editor, Human Rights It was Wednesday night. My friend Malin, who is from Sweden, temporarily living in Edmonton and en route to Taiwan, was staying at my house for a few days in Vancouver. We are … Continue reading

Freedom through Exile: The Unfolding Stories of Cambodian Son


By Shayna Plaut, Contributing Editor, Human Rights Three years after a meeting in the bustling streets of Phnom Phen when the co-founders of Studio Revolt, Masahiro Sugano and Anida Yoeu Ali, first “experienced” Kosal Khiev’s poetry, a documentary about his … Continue reading

Uganda Anti-Gay Bill Author Says Aid Cuts Small Price to Pay

Repost from Reuters. “The donor backlash after President Yoweri Museveni’s approval of the bill last week, imposing jail sentences of up to life for gay sex, reflects a gulf in social attitudes between the West and conservative African governments.The World … Continue reading

Torture and Canadian Justice

By Matt Eisenbrandt, Legal Director, Canadian Centre for International Justice Last year, Roy Samathanam, a Tamil-Canadian, filed a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Committee seeking to make Sri Lanka address the torture it inflicted on him. “I was … Continue reading

Gay Propaganda and Russia’s Shrinking Public Space

Repost from Guernica. Meara Sharma interviews Masha Gessen, who speaks of “Putin’s slide into dictatorship, Russia’s surge in anti-gay violence, and the alarming trend in opposition figures, like Gessen, taking flight from the country.” Read more at Guernica.