When India’s supreme court effectively re-banned gay sex, it set aside the ruling of one of its own high courts in favor of a law imposed on India by its British occupiers in 1861. That means it has now re-joined 75 other countries that explicitly punish gay sex with imprisonment.
The current level of general surveillance in society is incompatible with human rights. To recover our freedom and restore democracy, we must reduce surveillance to the point where it is possible for whistleblowers of all kinds to talk with journalists without being spotted. To do this reliably, we must reduce the surveillance capacity of the systems we use.
The United Nations recently released new data showing that 232 million people, or 3.2 percent of the world’s population, live outside of their countries of birth. This global diaspora has big implications as countries try to balance growth with unease over outsiders. So where are all of these people anyway? And are they helping or hurting their new homes?
The United Nations Security Council took an unprecedented step this summer. Pushed principally by the United Kingdom, the council passed its first resolution addressing what it calls “sexual violence in conflict.” That’s a euphemism for an all-too-common problem in many parts of the world: Using rape as a weapon of wartime intimidation. In the human-rights world, it’s called war rape.
Once we choose to follow the path of state secrets, we sooner or later reach the fateful point at which the legal regulations prescribing what is secret become secret. Kant formulated the basic axiom of the public law: “All actions relating to the right of other men are unjust if their maxim is not consistent with publicity.”
As pressing a problem as suicide terrorism is, we still know surprisingly little about the individual-level risk factors that make one family member become a “martyr” and another a doctor, even when both grew up in the same political environment.
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Humans, and perhaps their pre-human ancestors, have engaged in murder and mayhem, as individuals and in groups, for hundreds of thousands of years. And, at least since the advent of recorded history, violence and politics have been intimately related. Nation-states use violence against internal and external foes. Dissidents engage in violence against states. Competing political forces inflict violence on one another. Writing in 1924, Winston Churchill declared—with good reason—that “the story of the human race is war.”