Donors Risk Human Rights Violations When Leaving Middle-Income Countries

Do health aid donors transitioning out of middle-income countries have any obligations under human rights law?

In February, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UNAIDS held a consultation on human rights in the HIV response. I worked with the Free Space Process and PITCH (Partnership to Inspire, Transform and Connect the HIV Response), which together represent dozens of national and regional key populations networks and HIV NGOs, on a submission addressing just this point. Working with Russian lawyer Mikhail Golichenko, we argued that donors that transition abruptly may risk violating human rights standards—here’s why.

Read the full blog at Health and Human Rights Journal

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Can we democratize data?

IMG_6329Last week, the Bernstein Institute at New York University held a powerful meeting of activists and thinkers about data, algorithms and resistance. We met in the classically elegant Vanderbilt Hall, under the watchful gaze of the portraits of past NYU presidents, but the emphasis was squarely on activism: how communities can resist top-down algorithmic control, and reclaim a space for democratic decision-making.

Some speakers had reports that were starkly Orwellian. Big Brother is here already, but in many countries, he’s specifically just watching people of color, trans and queer people, migrants and poor people – through predictive policing and other algorithmic forms of control and domination. For some affected communities, democratizing data is already a matter of survival.

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Democratizing Data conference

mod4_landscape_2I’m really looking forward to this one: Democratizing Data: Grassroots strategies to advance human rights will meet at New York University School of Law on April 17-18, 2019. Registration is free and open to the public.

It’s a promising motley convening of activists, scholars, scientists and lawyers. I’ll be joining the 3pm panel on April 17, “Can we democratize data?” As the organizers write, “Despite datafication’s dark side, a movement is brewing at the grassroots. When data is demystified, deconstructed, and placed in the hands of affected communities it can be used to empower and fight injustice. Exerting control over processes of definition, computation, and machine learning, communities are turning the data gaze on those in power.”

I’m reliably told that facial recognition software will not used at the event 😉 Join us!

 

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Six tips for officials on working with civil society

group of people having a meeting

This is a stock photo of people having a meeting. Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I recently met a young human rights lawyer who is starting a government job, and who asked for advice on working with civil society. Her question made me realize that while there are many tools for capacity-building for activists on how to advocate with officials, I’ve never run across a capacity-building program for officials on how to work with civil society.

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Health, rights and drugs

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Première Ligne, Geneva’s government-funded safe injection site

Ninety-nine percent of people who inject drugs live in countries that lack adequate harm reduction services, including the three countries with the largest populations of people who inject drugs: China, Russia, and the United States. That is one of the key findings of a new UNAIDS report to which I contributed, Health, rights and drugs: Harm reduction, decriminalization and zero discrimination for people who use drugsThe report also shows that rates of HIV infection are not declining among people who use drugs, and may be on the rise. It calls for urgent action. Continue reading

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Funding community-led HIV responses: we’re not there yet

who_eb124_090119In 2016, UN member states committed to two goals as part of the big global push to end AIDS: Ensure that 30% of all HIV service delivery is community-led, and ensure that 6% of HIV resources are allocated to advocacy, community mobilization, and other “social enablers”. But a recent UNAIDS report to which I contributed found that instead, global investment in these two commitments has declined. Continue reading

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Event: Human rights transformations

HR Transformation Feb 15 2019Human rights are described as being in crisis, but the ideals thrive in many places, even where they’re under attack. Join us for this upcoming event to launch a volume, Human Rights Transformation in Practice, edited by Sally Engle Merry and Tine Destrooper. The book draws on diverse ethnographic research to explore how human rights are put into practice by activists and institutions around the world.

I co-wrote a chapter with Charmain Mohamed on Asia Catalyst‘s work with Chinese activists advocating on HIV and human rights. (I founded Asia Catalyst, and Charmain was executive director for a time; Karyn Kaplan is the ED today.) My fellow panelists at this event, Johannes Waldmuller and Tine Destrooper, write about environmental activism in Ecuador, and UNICEF’s work in DRC, respectively. Grégoire Mallard will chair the session, with Mark Goodale sharing insights as discussant.

Date: Friday, 15 February from 18:00 to 20:00

Place: Graduate Institute (IHEID), room S5, petale 1, Geneva, Switzerland

Sponsors: Anthropology and Sociology Department, Global Health Centre

 

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Register: Short courses on sexual violence in conflicts & emergencies

Entebbe firewood

Copyright Sara Davis

March 18 – 22, 2019, GENEVA

September 9 -13. 2019, GENEVA

November 25- 29, 2019, ENTEBBE, UGANDA

We are pleased to announce the 2019 dates for the CERAH (Geneva Center for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action) much-in-demand one-week short course on sexual violence in conflicts and emergencies. Combining cutting-edge research and practical experience from experts in the field, the course is tailored to emergency program managers, and one of the few courses to address male and female survivors of sexual violence. Participants in the Uganda session meet with activists from the Refugee Law Project to hear about their experiences first-hand. Continue reading

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Data, priorities and global health

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I spent part of January working on my book manuscript, The Uncounted: Politics of Data in Global Health. When I began writing this in 2017, I was just interested in the data paradox: in which criminalized, stigmatized key populations, who lack data to prove they exist, get no funding for programs that save their lives, reinforcing the lack of data. But as I get deeper into the work, I’m noticing the growing dominance of cost-effectiveness language and tools, and how economic values are shaping how we think about priorities in global health finance.

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Sexual violence against migrants

Conflicts around the world are fueling sexual violence against men, women and children. It was an honor to moderate this roundtable at ICRC’s Humanitarium in Geneva on September 10th, with a group of experts who are working in these crises to advocate for, and support the rights of migrants and refugees who experience sexual violence.

Peter Maurer, president of ICRC, gave opening remarks. The panelists included Hillary Margolis (Human Rights Watch), Fouzia Bara (Médécins Sans Frontières), Alexandra MacDowall (UNHCR), and Sophie Sutrich (ICRC). The conversation was enriched by interventions from Karla Avelar and Chris Dolan in the audience, speaking to the challenges faced by male survivors and LGBT survivors in accessing services. Doris Schopper (CERAH) wrapped up the discussion.

A full video of the discussion is online here: https://www.icrc.org/en/event/sexual-violence-against-migrants-time-action

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