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Series 2 No. 8 (Fall 2002): Public Security and Human Rights


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Since the early 1990s, conflict around the world has been marked by ethnic tensions, and increasingly minorities are calling for political recognition and respect for their cultural identities. Within the area of human rights, the concept of cultural rights has the potential to address the injustices these communities suffer. Yet scholars and practitioners have paid surprisingly little attention to cultural rights, despite the fact that they have been enshrined in international law since 1966 when the United Nations adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 27)and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 15). This issue of Human Rights Dialogue focuses on the evolving concept of cultural rights and explores its potential effectiveness both in achieving social justice and advancing the rights claims of ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and other cultural communities. Contributions from scholars and practitioners bring insight to the context of particular claims for cultural rights or cultural rights abuses, as well as the actions being taken to address them.


Introduction: Public Security and Human Rights | 12/31/02
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, public tolerance for suspending civil rights in the face of threats to public security—both criminal threats to personal security and terrorist threats to national security—has created new human rights challenges.

The New Face of Impunity | 12/31/02
Rachel Neild explains the phenomenon of rising crime and the challenges it poses to human rights activists worldwide. Author(s): Rachel Neild

Restricting the Right to Shoot | 12/31/02
Martin Schönteich details the life and eventual passage of a controversial piece of legislation in crime-ridden South Africa. Makubetse Sekhonyane provides some insights from the street based on his work with officers. Author(s): Martin Schönteich, Makubetse Sekhonyane

Responding to Vigilantism | 12/31/02
One human rights group in Nigeria, writes Innocent Chukwuma, is working with community vigilante groups to help them fight crime - the right way. Author(s): Innocent Chukwuma

"Firm Hand, Large Heart" | 12/31/02
According to Adam Isacson, the tough new leader of Colombia has the support of a war-weary population, making human rights work in the region more challenging, and more critical, than ever. Jorge Rojas responds. Author(s): Adam Isacson, Jorge Rojas

Bridging Activism and Policymaking | 12/31/02
Pinheiro, founder and director of the Center for the Study of Violence at the University of São Paulo, discusses the center’s successes and challenges for the future. Macaulay describes the Brazilian human rights scene; Caldas, Carvalho and Cavallaro weigh in from the activists’ perspective. Author(s): Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro

A View from the Inside | 12/31/02
Carlos Basombrío offers a perspective on human rights, crime, and police reform in Peru from his new position as Vice Minister of the Interior. Author(s): Carlos Basombrío

U.S. Civil Liberties In September 11's Wake | 12/31/02
Dialogue met with U.S. rights leaders to learn how their work has changed since September 11, and how they are sticking to their guns in a climate of fear. Kit Gage and others organized one of the largest and coalitions of U.S. activists ever assembled following September 11. Author(s): Jamie Fellner, Elisa Massimino, Michael Ratner

Israeli Exceptionalism? | 12/31/02
Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom explains why, as an Israeli human rights activist, he is isolated in his opposition to the widely supported policy of targeted killing. Author(s): Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom

Crackdown with a Blessing | 12/31/02
Wong reports on the use and abuse of Malaysia’s Internal Security Act and its new-found international support in the post–September 11 world. Raslan, a Malaysian journalist, discusses how the Bali attacks forced him to reconsider his support for rights in these uncertain times. Author(s): Elizabeth K. P. Wong, Karim Raslan

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Building a Police Force from the Outside In | 01/27/03
Early one morning of November 2001, Mr. Sami Ibishi arrived at the OSCE Field Office located in a small town in Southeastern Kosovo and asked to speak to the human rights officer. He told a story of intimidation and brutality at the hands of local police. Author(s): Gabriele Russo

Readers' Responses

"Responding to Vigilantism" (response to Innocent Chukwuma) | 06/19/03

"Human Rights and Defense against Terror in Israeli Policy" (response to Rabbi Jeremy Milogrom) | 04/24/03


Additional Resources - Public Security and Human Rights | 06/23/03

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