Spotlight on Human Rights

Spotlight on Human Rights (New group/book/video added monthly)

  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) (3-2018 Spotlight on Human Rights.) A nationwide advocacy group that seeks justice and mutual understanding between Muslims and the rest of American Society
  • Human Rights Book: In the Midst of Winter (2-2018 Spotlight on Human Rights) – Book review by Bob Groves.
    • In the Midst of Winter, published in 2017, is at once a mystery, love story and revelation of human rights tragedies by Chilean author Isabel Allende. Ms. Allende, who is now a U. S. citizen, is a cousin of Salvador Allende, the President of Chile who died as a result of the 1973, U.S. supported, military coup against his democratically elected government. This latest novel, Allende’s 23rd work of fiction, explores the complexities of human relationships alongside both historical and present day struggles of Central and South Americans. There are some clear autobiographical elements in the bumpy love story that unfolds between two of the main characters, Lucia and Richard, who live and work in Brooklyn. The third main character, Evelyn, is a young woman from Guatemala who makes it to the U.S. in precarious ways due to threats to her life at home. Evelyn winds up in an exploitative household in Brooklyn and is confronted with the challenge of dealing with the death of another women working in the same household. In spelling out the tale, Allende reveals to readers the current perilous conditions faced by many Central Americans who are forced to migrate. In addition, we are transported to both 1970s Brazil and the upheaval in Chile. The realities of human rights abuses, and the courage required to face them, are inescapable in the novel. Along the way Allende offers insights, sometimes humorous, on romantic relationships between older adults in today’s world. This provides a nice balance to what are, at-times, life-threatening challenges faced by the characters.
  • Human Rights Book: Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century (1-2018 Spotlight on Human Rights) – Book review by Bob Groves.
    • Katherine Sikkink has made a valuable contribution to human rights scholarship with her book, Evidence for Hope (2017). Sikkink, a Professor of Human Rights Policy at Harvard, is also associated with the university’s Carr Center for Human Rights https://carrcenter.hks.harvard.edu. She offers an excellent primer for both the academically inclined as well as activists. For academics she provides an interesting history of how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was developed and challenges those who believe the document, and rights in general, reflect only so-called Western values. She outlines the strong role the global South played in the UDHR’s early phases and the development of new institutions such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. She also shows the connection between the human rights movement and successful struggles against Apartheid and colonialism in Africa. Sikkink discusses how rights advocacy efforts, laws and institutions can be evaluated, offering insights on measuring effectiveness and recommendations for future initiatives. This analysis might be useful to activists who would like to feel more grounded in determining if their passionate efforts are having an impact. Sikkink is an optimist on the future of human rights. Her book is a welcome resource. It includes extensive references and suggestions for further reading.
  • American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) (12-2017 Spotlight on Human Rights): a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action.
  • The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (11-2017 Spotlight on Human Rights): Independent, non-profit media organisation that holds power to account.
  • The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (10-2017 Spotlight on Human Rights): The Nation’s Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition.
  • Brennan Center for Justice (7-2017 Spotlight on Human Rights): a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice.
  • Freedom House (5 and 6-2017 Spotlight on Human Rights):  an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world.
  • Global Citizen (4-2017 Spotlight on Human Rights): All about people who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. 
  • National Immigration Law Center (3-2017 Spotlight on Human Rights): one of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants.