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Category Archives: Human rights

Attention Chinese government, be sure to censor this

Great article in NYT Book Review by Emily Parker on the Chinese government successfully inhibiting academic freedom and freedom of speech in the West.

The Chinese-Canadian writer Denise Chong’s …  {2009} book, “Egg on Mao,” … tells the true story of Lu Decheng, who threw paint-filled eggs at Mao’s portrait in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 protests.  … A Canadian nonprofit economic development group that had invited her to appear at a fund-raiser began playing down its association

Also posted in Democracy and freedom, Political economy | 5 Comments

Wax and Gold: Meles Zenawi’s Double Dealings with Aid Donors

Helen Epstein, author of The Invisible Cure: Why We Are Losing The Fight Against AIDS in Africa, has a stunning piece on aid to Ethiopia published in this month’s New York Review of Books.

Epstein argues that the main cause of fertile southern Ethiopia’s chronic food shortages—the so-called “green famine” —is Ethiopia’s toxic and repressive political system, presided over since 1991 by Meles Zenawi. While Meles placates donors and Western governments with speeches about fighting…

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Democracy and freedom, Language | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Video of talks by Chris Blattman, others, and yours truly

Videos from Yale Law School Bernstein Symposium on Human Rights a couple weeks ago: Chris Blattman, Gregg Gonsalves (big attack on W. Easterly), Michael Kleinman

Keynote talk (something about  double standards on human rights) by another somebody calling themself  William Easterly.

Also posted in Meta | Tagged | 6 Comments

Abe on double standards

Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” Soon it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this, I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty–to Russia, for instance, where

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Oh, NOW I understand why we don’t want to talk about global human rights…

Noor Muhammed was arrested in March 2002 in Pakistan. He’s been charged with helping to train Al Qaeda militants at a training camp in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2000. The only act he’s charged with that occurred after September 11, 2001 is allegedly trying to evade local authorities by escaping from a safehouse in Pakistan in March 2002.

Noor denies that he was a member of al Qaeda, or an “unprivileged alien enemy belligerent” as

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Why are we not allowed to talk about individual rights in development?

Individual rights for rich countriesIndividual rights in development discourse
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”“Implementing the strengthened approach to governance … will require …
…careful development of a … detailed results framework, consideration of budget and staffing implications … and further consultations with stakeholders…The specific initiatives needed to fully operationalize this strategy will be outlined in an Implementation Plan…”
Also posted in Democracy and freedom, Language | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Seeing the Light on a Rights-Based Approach to Development

Today’s guest blogger, Tim Ogden, is the editor-in-chief of Philanthropy Action.

Bill Easterly has been a frequent critic of the rights-based approach to development, most recently in his article in the FT focusing on the “right to health.” For as long as I’ve known about the rights-based approach I’ve agreed with him. Recently, though, I’ve seen the light.

For those unfamiliar with the rights-based approach to development, it starts with defining inalienable human rights—and…

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Guest Post by April Harding on Health as a Human Right

Maybe it is not necessary that approaching health policy and health development assistance from a human rights framework undermine effective use of resources – but it often does. Bill has given the example of the misallocation of AIDS program funds (excess spending on treatment relative to prevention). I’d add excess spending on AIDS relative to other illnesses and activities where you can get much bigger “bang for the buck” like treatment of diarrhea and pneumonia…

Also posted in Global health | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Debating Health as a Human Right

Yesterday’s FT op-ed on the right to health generated a lot of heat in this blog’s comments section.

Several commenters disputed an absolute distinction between the “moral approach”—declaring health to be a human right, and the “pragmatic approach”—directing finite public resources to where they can benefit the most people at a given cost. Justin Krauss said:

I too am skeptical about the wisdom of claiming a “right to health” but I don’t think

Also posted in Global health | 18 Comments

Human rights are the wrong basis for healthcare

Column published today in the Financial Times.

The agonising US healthcare debate has taken on a new moral tone. President Barack Obama recently held a conference call with religious leaders in which he called healthcare “a core ethical and moral obligation”. Even Sarah Palin felt obliged to concede: “Each of us knows that we have an obligation to care for the old, the young and the sick.”

This moral turn echoes an international debate about

Also posted in In the news | Tagged , , | 3 Comments