Winter Road: Rotterdam to Vilnius

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Moving across the northern coast of Europe in winter, some evil old ghosts rise up from the frost-blasted landscape – but also new art, music, and the first sparks of the new year.

My ship from England lands in Rotterdam at the end of December. I roam around new architecture in the old working sea port. A sweep of new bridges tower over Hotel New York, where thousands of Dutch immigrants once set sail for New York. In World War Two, the Nazis razed Rotterdam. Today, spiky new buildings sprout up, preening over empty streets.

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The Winter Road: Harwich to Hook of Holland

IMG_7983I’m typing this seated by a floor-to-ceiling porthole on the Stena Brittanica ship. Outside it’s dark, yellow and red lights scattered across a vast blackness. Inside, it’s all fake wood paneling, 60s-style swivel chairs, a pulsing TV screen, and a sea of cheerful, mostly white, Netherlands families playing board games, the click of dice. We’re sailing from Harwich, England to Hoek van Holland, the port near Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Check-in took just a few minutes, because tonight the UK still belongs to Europe.

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Questions to ask about indicators in global health meetings

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Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

I just turned in my book manuscript, The Uncounted: Politics of Data in Global Health to the publisher this week. It will come out in mid-2020, if all goes well.

Meanwhile, here’s something I’ve been playing with: questions to ask if you’re in a global health meeting and confronting a slide presentation with indicators, targets and models.

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Video of panel discussion: Access to justice and sexual violence

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(L-R) Meg Davis (CERAH), Cecile Aptel (IFRC), Claude Maon (MSF), Christine Alai. Photo © Cecily Weeks 2019

It was an honor to moderate the panel discussion, “Justice denied? Access to justice for victims of sexual violence” for an audience of over 200 at ICRC’s Humanitarium on September 11, 2019. Continue reading

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UK politics explained, with Pooh and Piglet

Epping_Forest_High_Beach_Essex_England_-_spring_pond_05A quick update here from Norwich, where I’m visiting for the Association of Social Anthropologists meeting. More about that later. Meanwhile, my attempt to understand what’s happening in London, using children’s literature. Continue reading

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Justice denied? Access to justice for victims of sexual violence

V-P-CD-E-01549.JPGIt’s really an honor to moderate this upcoming panel discussion: Justice denied? Access to justice for victims of sexual violence on September 11, 2019 at the ICRC Humanitarium. The event is free and open to all. Continue reading

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Detention of Cheng Yuan: Background & update

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Cheng Yuan and Shi Minglei

No response yet from China or UNAIDS to the letter signed by 200 individuals and organizations nearly 3 weeks ago about Chinese anti-discrimination activist Cheng Yuan and his two colleagues, the Changsha Three.

Here’s an overview to his impressive career and an update on retaliation against his wife and brother, who have raised public concerns about his detention. I’ve met Cheng Yuan in China, and know him personally as a quiet, sober civil rights activist; not someone who goes to international meetings or works with international organizations much, just a local rights lawyer who put his head down, tirelessly filing case after case on behalf of China’s most marginalized people. [A huge thank you to fellow volunteers Gisa Dang, Lu Jun, and Yang Zhanqing, who contributed research and links.] Continue reading

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Hundreds sign letter to call on China to free Changsha 3

Red_ribbonOver 200 individuals and organizations signed an urgent appeal letter calling on China to release the Changsha Three: Cheng Yuan, Liu Yongze, and Xiao Wu of Chinese organization Changsha Funeng. The final letter with signatures is here: Changsha Three Open Letter 30 July 2019

The Chinese translation is here (中文版): 联名信中文版 Continue reading

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End HIV discrimination: Free the Changsha Three

On July 22nd, after he visited Hong Kong for personal and organizational business, Chinese state security detained health rights advocate Cheng Yuan (photo right) and his two colleagues from NGO Changsha Funeng, Liu Yongze (photo left) and Xiao Wu. Cheng Yuan’s wife, Shi Minglei, has nothing to do with his NGO, but she was also detained and interrogated, and placed under residential surveillance under suspicion of subverting state power.

An open letter calling on China to release the Changsha Three is online here

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The Uncounted: Video interview

Screen Shot 2019-07-10 at 6.50.48 PMIn 2017 I was honored to be one of three recipients of the International Geneva Award from the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS). Here’s a 4-minute video interview about that work, now transmogrifying into part of my forthcoming book, The Uncounted: Politics of Data in Global Health. Many thanks to Ruxandra Stoicescu and the SNIS team.

Posted in Aid accountability, Data, Health finance, HIV/AIDS, Human rights impact | 1 Comment