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.

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At eleven o’clock, Pooh and Piglet began to feel that it was time for a little something. “How about a little brexit with honey?” said Pooh. They went into the Thousand-Acre Wood to look, and there in a shady glen they found a brexit tea party.

But the tea party had gotten a little bonkers. Everyone was switching seats and breaking the crockery. Bertie Wooster had gotten drunk and said “Paint me like one of your French girls” and lay down on a bench to go to sleep. The Mad Hatter was whipping people and telling them to stay in their seats. Alice was very cross. “Stop whipping people!” she said. “We have to talk about the Node Eel”.

“What’s the Node Eel?” said Pooh.

“It’s a monster that that is threatening to slither in, stop all the trucks, and take everyone’s medicines and fresh fruit,” said Piglet.

“Will it take the HUNNY?” asked Pooh.

No one seemed to know. “Something smells wrong here,” said Piglet, sniffing the tea pot.

“And they don’t have any HUNNY,” said Pooh. “Let’s go find Eeyore”.

So they went to look for Eeyore. They found him under a tree, looking depressed, nosing a stick around on the ground.

“What’s up, Eeyore?” said Piglet.

“Nice stick,” said Pooh.

“Up is down, and down is up,” said Eeyore glumly. “It’s not a stick.”

“Ooh, is it an Irish backstop?” squeaked Piglet.

“No. It’s a vegan sausage roll. They said this would be pork. They lied,” said Eeyore. “It’s the end of civilization as we know it.”

“Well we don’t eat pork, do we Pooh?” said Piglet, stiffly.

“Certainly not,” said Pooh, alarmed. “But I wouldn’t mind a vegan sausage roll.”

So they sat down and had a nice cup of tea and vegan sausage rolls, and they were actually quite tasty. Then they played football on the common.

“It’s still England after all,” said Pooh.

“Whatever the hell that means,” said Piglet.

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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

SML and CY

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.

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The Global Fund, Governance and Public Health

globalhealthwebinar_0Last month I got to join this great online webinar, “The Global Fund, Governance and Public Health”, with AIDS-activist-turned-prof Matt Kavanagh (Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute) and Dr. Eric Goosby (UCSF, currently UN Special Envoy on TB and former head of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR), moderated by Philip Landrigan (Boston College).

Matt shared his recent study on the impact of the Global Fund on good governance in countries, Dr. Goosby and I shared comments, and we had a rich, focused discussion with some good audience questions. In hindsight, I only wish that I had spoken slower 🙂

Listen to the recording, and see the slides, here.

 

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Reach the Last Mile First: High-Level Panel on Universal Health Coverage

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Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (WHO) and Ambassador François Rivasseau (France). Photo: The Global Fund

Meg Davis and David Ruiz Villafranca

This blog appeared on Health and Human Rights.

In exploring what can be learned from the experience of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in the shift towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC), speakers on a recent high-level panel in Geneva pointed to three key lessons: the importance of embracing health as a human right; the role of the Global Fund’s investments in building stronger health and community systems and in advocating for the rights of key populations, women and girls; and the central role played by communities in advocating for their rights and in planning, implementing and evaluating the HIV response.

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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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