OP-ED: Having Faith in Fantasy: Why Universalism is the Future of International Human Rights

Source: 14th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

By Alisha Saxena
Contributing Writer

In the midst of extensive debates on how to actualize the power of international human rights law in the global community, two factions of thought have emerged: universalism and relativism. They differ not only in their definition of human rights, but also in their methodology to develop and execute human rights policies. As indicated in its name, universalism stresses that human rights are universal, in that they can and should apply to every individual in the world regardless of religious, cultural, or other differences; thus, its proponents believe in the power of international human rights legislation.

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Refugee Lives: Trauma, Celebrations, and Limbo

Photo by Alex Gunn showing graffiti art by refugees in the Zaatari Refugee Camp.
By Michael Murphy
Staff Writer

In 2011, the Syrian Civil War placed refugees on the global stage. Amid al-Assad’s barrel bombs, The Syrian Refugee Crisis was born. Videos depicting thousands of people fleeing their homes filled the airwaves. It wasn’t the first case of forced displacement, but European countries reeled from the sudden surge of humanitarian need all the same, with each country giving a kneejerk reaction on how to handle the hundreds of thousands of newcomers fleeing violence. Meanwhile, millions fled to neighboring countries–Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan—each already struggling with the refugees of the wars in the previous century. Before long, attention turned to North Africa. Images of rubber boats filled to the brim with desperate souls being tossed on the waves of the Mediterranean became unavoidable. Finally, in 2015, the image of Alan Kurdi, a young boy whose body lay on the beach after having drowned on the journey from Turkey to Europe, drew virulent international outrage.

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A New Era of Persecution and Protest: What the Citizenship Amendment Act Means for the Future of India

India’s Citizenship Amendment Act passed by Prime Minister Modi is causing a dangerous divide amongst religious groups in India. With great suffering and resistance fueling the protest, many are fighting back to maintain a unified nation. 

by Isana Raja
Staff Writer

“My lifetime earnings are all but in ashes.” Business owner Mohammed Azad said about when he awoke to find his shop in shambles. The market, located in a Muslim neighborhood of New Delhi, had sustained Azad and his family for years. But now, it has been vandalized and utterly destroyed, leaving behind a legacy of crumbled concrete—  charred and indistinguishable. Residents of the area in the conjoined buildings all had to flee their homes as well, as fire from a tear gas chemical made its way through the street. 

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