Human rights and justice


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Leonard Bernstein (far right) with members of the Ex-Concentration Camp Orchestra on 10 May 1948 in Munich, Germany. Bernstein was on a working tour of Europe when he conducted this small orchestra comprised of Holocaust survivors at a displaced persons camp. Photo courtesy of Sonia Beker, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Essay/
Meaning and the good life
Humanity at night

A violinist plays in a concentration camp. A refugee carries a book of poetry. Art sustains us when survival is uncertain

Sarah Fine

A woman and her children sit at the entrance of Rua Dois, one of the most violent neighbourhoods in Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela. Photo by Lianne Milton/WMF/Panos

Essay/
Political philosophy
Who gets to feel secure?

Security is one thing to a Black mother in a favela, another to a politician keen on law and order. They should be the same

Olúfẹ́mi O Táíwò

Illegal gold miners working in a pit in Manicaland, Zimbabwe. Photo by Robin Hammond/Panos Pictures

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Weak links

The idea of the ‘supply chain’ shackles how we think about economic justice. What forces could new metaphors unleash?

Michael Gibb

A guard in the ‘segregation block’ at the Adelanto Detention Center, the latest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in California and managed by the private GEO Group. ICE detains an average of 33,000 undocumented migrants. Photo by John Moore/Getty

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Private gain, public loss

Putting public services in private hands is bad economics. Worse, it undermines our bonds as a political community

Alon Harel

Prisoner-patient William Porter, convicted of housebreaking and theft. From the Perth Criminal Lunatic Department Prison Register. December 1898. Crown copyright, National Records of Scotland, HH21/48/3

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Criminally insane

The insanity defence offends the conscience, has no basis in modern psychiatry, and penalises poor and black defendants

Susan Vinocour

The Inquisition Scene (1808-1812), by Francisco Goya. Courtesy the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid

Essay/
Virtues and vices
Vice dressed as virtue

Cruelty and morality seem like polar opposites – until they join forces. Beware those who persecute in the name of principle

Paul Russell

Former child soldiers forced to join the Lord’s Resistance Army, seen here at an army child protection unit following their rescue by the Uganda People’s Defence Force. Gulu, Uganda, September 2004. Photo by Vanessa Vick/Redux

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Against humanity

What the Lord’s Resistance Army can teach us about flaws in the ideal of human rights and the fight for justice

Sam Dubal

Photo by ragz13/Getty

Essay/
Philosophy of language
The ethics of speech acts

It’s one thing to say something. It’s quite another for a person to do (or not do) something because of what you’ve said

Guy Longworth

Police in Hong Kong confront demonstrators defying a ban on rallying and set against a backdrop of mounting threats from China, 31 August 2019. Photo by Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Riot acts

History shows that tumult is a companion to democracy and when ordinary politics fails, the people must take to the streets

Antonia Malchik

Photo by Christopher Capozziello from his book The Distance Between Us, exploring the life of his brother Nick, their differences, and the anger and shame of being the healthy twin. Nick has cerebral palsy.

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Is crip the new queer?

Disability activists who look to queer theory for their politics end up limiting their real transgressive potential

Rahila Gupta

Krishna (14) married her husband Gopal when she was 11 and he was 13. The legal age for marriage in India is 18, but in poor, rural areas girls are often married young. Rajasthan, 21 January 2013. Photo by Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Essay/
Gender
Sex and prosperity

Nothing we can do will make the world more free, fair and prosperous than giving women control over their own bodies

Victoria Bateman

Detail from The Good Government (1338-9), by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. To the right: Magnanimity, Temperance and Justice seated above prisoners. From a fresco at the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, Italy. Photo by Getty Images

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
The first socialist

Well before Bentham, Cesare Beccaria radically questioned the right of the state to imprison and execute its citizens

Lorenzo Zucca