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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.

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 life is coming to the big screens throughout America – a country Kosal calls home but is barred from returning. Khiev was born in a refugee camp in Thailand after his family had escaped from the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. At the age of one he began his new life, resettled in Southern California growing up eating fried chicken and enjoying pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. As a teenager Khiev got involved in street life and when he was 15 years old he was charged with attempted murder and tried and convicted as an adult. Khiev served 16 years in prison, including solitary confinement. Through a prison writing program he found his voice and power, and spoken word poetry became his means of redemption.

After serving his sentence, when he was thirty-two years old, Khiev was released from prison and deported to the Kingdom of Cambodia: a country he had never known. He became one of the thousands of people who, after doing their time, were exiled from America. And this is where the worlds of Studio Revolt and Kosal Khiev came together. Khiev became an artist in residence with Studio Revolt offering his time and talent in return for their mentorship and management in the world of art.  Although Sugano identifies as an experimental filmmaker who had never previously considered documentary, he “decided to take on the responsibility to do it.” (more…)

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

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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.

Repression By Any Other Name

Repost from Guernica. Chilean playwright, Ariel Dorfman, reflects on the state’s ways of reinforcing power. Dorfman writes, “We knew that we were being spied on. That was the point of terror, to let our imagination conjure up and exaggerate the … Continue reading

On Freedom of Speech

Repost from Guernica. Translated by Eric Abrahamsen for the first time into English, these excerpts are from Tiananmen Square student protest leader Hu Ping’s 1980 essay. Read more at Guernica.

The Torturable Class

Repost from Guernica. Mirza Waheed writes, “States with neocolonial tendencies may not march on sovereign nations to acquire exploitable territory, but they can always cannibalize their own people or those living on the margins, work sometimes aided by all-too-willing media … Continue reading

Journalism Is Action

By Maya Schenwar Sometimes I wish there were another word for the “media.” No other term is exactly right to describe our work—the news, the press, journalism organizations all fall short of its meaning—but unfortunately, the “media” is often equated … Continue reading

Roma in Europe: Guilty until proven innocent?

Repost from Untied Nations Human Rights “The recent activities of some national authorities to remove ’non-Roma looking’ children from Roma families due to their alleged abduction has led to sensationalist media coverage, has been disturbing and may result in a … Continue reading