Articles by Vanessa Real Williams

International Law

Be Careful With What You Say About The President: The Philippines’ New Terror Bill

October 19, 2020 Vanessa Real Williams 0

What is the Anti-Terrorism Act?  In early 2020, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 was introduced in the Philippines as a replacement to the 2007 Human Security Act. The Act includes a broad definition of terrorism, including acts “to provoke or influence by intimidation the government or any of its international organization… or seriously undermine public safety…” It also includes dissent under the conditions that “it creates a serious risk to public safety.” Aside from the broadened definition of terrorism, human rights groups foresee issues due to the Act creating an Anti-Terrorism Council made up of members selected by the president who can call in specific people for questioning at their discretion.   Furthermore, the 2007 Act required authorities to take suspected terrorists to a judicial official within 3 days of their apprehension but, this new law gives authorities the ability to hold suspected terrorists for up to 24 days before obtaining […]

International Law

New Greek Asylum Laws Attempt To Push Asylum Seekers Away

December 2, 2019 Vanessa Real Williams 0

The Current State of Greek Asylum Seekers There are currently more than 96,600 refugees and migrants in Greece. More than 35,000 of these migrants are asylum seekers living on five islands in squalid conditions. As of October 31, 2019 alone, more asylum seekers have arrived in Greece than the total number of asylum seekers that arrived in 2018. Despite the influx of asylum seekers in 2019, Greece is still receiving less compared to 2015 and 2016. On two Aegean Islands holding asylum seekers, families have created shelters on steep hillsides in a struggle to survive. Furthermore, the government cut public healthcare funding for new asylum seekers in July, forcing people to seek help from NGOs or privately fund their own healthcare, which is a big issue for people with chronic illnesses and children needing immunizations to enroll in school. Tensions are rising between migrants and Greek citizens. Asylum seekers on […]

International Law

A New Online Iron Curtain: Russian Internet Surveillance Law

November 19, 2019 Vanessa Real Williams 0

Russia’s “Sovereign Internet” Law On Nov. 1, 2019, the Russian government finally enacted its new internet internet surveillance law that it adopted in April of this year. The Russian government refers to the law as the “Sovereign Internet Law,” a move to take control over Russia’s free internet. The Kremlin, Russia’s executive branch, framed the need for the law in light of potential external cyberattacks, the need for protection against foreign enemies such as the United States, and potential “emergencies” where the state deems censorship a necessary act.   The new system of governance over the internet allows the Russian government to track all free-flowing information and selectively block information that it deems to be a “threat”. Furthermore, the new law enables the government to reroute Russian users, without the knowledge of the users as to what they are being rerouted from or why. The enactment of the law required the […]

International Law

How The United Nations Is Working To Reduce Hate Speech With Law

October 31, 2019 Vanessa Real Williams 0

Hate Speech Hate speech is a pervasive social phenomenon that threatens the human rights of its recipients. It occurs at all levels of society, not discriminating between democratic and authoritarian regimes. Many who spout hate speech may discount the power of their words, however, the violent history of the consequences of hate speech tell a different story. The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, cited the connection between hate speech and acts of mass violence such as the Rwandan, Bosnian, and Combodian genocides, as well as more recent acts of mass violence in the United States, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka. The increasing occurrences of violent acts provide more than enough evidence for the need for legal action to inhibit the use of hate speech in the public sphere.  Why are we talking about it now? Currently, international law prohibits the “incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence,” requiring that hate speech […]