International Law

International Law

Is The French Secularist Tradition Compatible With A Globalized France?

January 11, 2022 Belen Bricchi 0

The French Republic is built according to three major values: liberté, égalité, fraternité—liberty, equality, fraternity—that inform the commitments of the state codified in the French Constitution. Among these commitments is the French secularist tradition termed laïcité. However, recent legal developments have called into question whether France’s secularist tradition remains effective in promoting liberty, equality, and fraternity in a country that has become increasingly globalized. On Aug. 24, 2021, France’s Constitutional Council passed the law “reinforcing the respect of the principles of the republic,” more popularly known as the law against separatism—referring to the rise of identity groups separate from the French state, commonly associated with “religious, territorial, or racial minorities in France.” This bill, first introduced after various Islamist-drivent attacks in October 2020, grants the state more power over independent organization, including greater fiscal and administrative control over cultural associations. It ultimately extends the state’s enforcement of its Republican values […]

International Law

H.R.4686: US Sanctions on Cambodian Military Officials

November 29, 2021 Jacob Margolis 0

On Sept. 28, 2021, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R.4686, The Cambodia Democracy Act of 2021. This bill requires that the president impose sanctions on Cambodian individuals who commit acts that directly undermine democracy. While the bill has yet to be passed by the Senate, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control were able to impose the sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which gives the department the right to sanction individuals and entities accused of human rights violations which would include, as in this case, corruption. Such violations that the legislation describes are in reference to attempts at collusion by members of the Cambodian Ministry of National Defense, Chau Phirun and Tea Vinh. These military officials, who have most recently been stationed at the Chinese-Cambodian Ream Naval Base, allegedly inflated the costs for new construction on facilities at the base and then […]

International Law

COP26 Recap: Renewed Urgency, But Will It Be Enough?

November 19, 2021 Erin Yu 0

The COP26 UN Climate Summit that was scheduled from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 ran into overtime and officially ended on Nov. 13 with approximately 200 countries agreeing to an 11-page Glasgow Climate Pact that has been met with both celebration and criticism from around the world. Some of the most highly-praised commitments to come out of the summit were led by ambitious agreements on deforestation, methane, and carbon markets. More than 100 countries, notably the U.S. Brazil, China, and Russia, agreed to end deforestation by 2030. A similar commitment was made for methane emissions with more than 100 countries vowing to cut methane emissions by 30% in the next 10 years. New rules for the carbon market struck a particularly positive note for climate activists internationally. These rules aim to close loopholes in the carbon market by eliminating double counting of carbon emissions and thus keeping countries more strictly […]

International Law

Lithuania and Belarus: New Policy Surrounding Iraqi Immigrant Crisis

November 9, 2021 Jacob Margolis 0

Lithuania has seen a recent influx of Iraqi immigrants. Just south of the country lies Belarus where many of these migrants have been coming from. In normal years, Lithuania catches about 70 “unlawful” migrants in total from this country. Due to recent tension between the European Union (EU) and Belarus, however, those numbers have increased to over 470 people in June of this year and 2,600 in July. On May 23, 2021, Belarus “sparked uproar” as they forced an EU passenger jet to land in Minsk, the country’s capital, where they then proceeded to abduct a “high-profile dissident passenger.” In response to this act of air piracy, the EU imposed sanctions on the country, attempting to prevent future crises from arising. Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenko has retaliated by facilitating illegal migration which Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has called a “state-sponsored weapon.” Allegedly, Lukashenko threatened to allow human traffickers and drug […]

International Law

UN Resolution 48/13: A Right To Life, Liberty, Property… and Environment

November 9, 2021 Erin Yu 0

On Oct. 8, 2021, the United Nations Human Rights Council formally recognized a clean and safe environment as a human right in the landmark resolution 48/13. This resolution acknowledges that human wellbeing has been threatened by climate change and encourages countries to protect the environment in order to better uphold the rights of their people. 43 countries voted in favor of the resolution led by Costa Rica, the Maldives, Switzerland, Morocco, and Slovenia. Though resolution 48/13 is more of a symbolic gesture than any direct action, it is accompanied by a substantive second resolution that establishes Special Rapporteurs, independent experts who “report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective,” to examine the effects of climate change on human rights. At a time when environmental concerns and calls for action are rising globally, the passage of these resolutions are certainly not surprising e.  The possibility of such […]

International Law

A New “Gold Standard”: The European Union Proposes Significant Regulations on Artificial Intelligence

April 24, 2021 Jacob Rosenzweig 0

Artificial intelligence (AI) conjures a range of images from the astonishing to the abominable. AI refers to a variety of technologies that are capable of analyzing large sets of data and using what they learn to inform decisions. Although machine learning technology has proved useful in the field of medicine to discover and develop new treatments—thereby saving lives—it is also apparent that AI is rife with dangers. AI has the potential to threaten citizens’ fundamental rights, with applications such as facial recognition in public spaces.  Aiming to channel the massive potential of AI to do good for society and limit its application where dangerous, on April 21 the European Union (EU) unveiled an array of proposed regulations to make Europe the “gold standard” for AI innovation and consumer protection. While the EU is eager to foster technological innovation and compete with global tech leaders China and the U.S., its sweeping […]

International Law

Italy and the Continental Double Standard: Breach of EU Asylum Policy

April 23, 2021 Shreya Joshi 0

At first glance, Italy seems to view its governments the way that teenage girls view outfits on their Instagram feed: they must be changed every post, and are never to be repeated. No other explanation is immediately apparent, considering that Italy has had over 75 governments in the past 75 years. Essentially, Italy cycles through Prime Ministers and cabinets basically every year. In February, they were able to settle on a new Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, who is dragging Italy out from the EU South. Draghi’s administration is a supposed light for Italy. Ending years of political turmoil, he has framed himself as something of an Italian Macron or Merkel, bridging the left-right divide and offering expertise as the former president of the European Central Bank. Draghi has won support from the populist Five Star Movement (party of Giuseppe Conte, former Prime Minister), as well as the right-wing League (party […]

International Law

Honesty is the Best Policy: Greenwashing in Europe

April 21, 2021 Erin Yu 0

“100% organic,” “environmentally conscious,” and “eco-friendly” are some common labels stuck onto a wide range of products today, but just how accurate are these claims? A 2021 study by the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network examined 500 company websites and reported that 40% presented misleading claims about product sustainability. In recent years, many companies have made false claims about the supposed environmental benefits of their products as a means of attracting consumer interest and increasing sales, a tactic also known as “greenwashing.” While greenwashing has been a marketing staple for years, consumers have begun calling out large companies for their deceptive marketing strategies. Volkswagen found itself at the center of a recent greenwashing scandal when it promoted its use of “clean diesel” but was later exposed for using a special device in its cars to cheat emission tests.  This month, the European Union passed new legislation called the Sustainable Finance […]

International Law

The Fire Waiting for a Match: Ethiopia’s Civil War

April 7, 2021 Shreya Joshi 0

Most nations in Africa are multi-ethnic today because the state boundaries were arbitrarily drawn up in the Berlin Conference of 1884. Ethnicities refer to tribal identity, language, cultural history and other factors that unite a peoples. Ethiopia is different for a couple reasons. For one, it has drawn its own borders, yet is still a multi-ethnic nation. Apart from five years of occupation by Mussolini, the country boasts never having been colonized, which makes their multiethnic nature even more interesting. Today, the country is made of eighty different ethnic groups, home to the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian church since the 4th century and a tumultuous democracy. Tensions have always been high between these groups. Ethiopia  was originally composed of the Amhara, Tigray, and Oromo groups. The original monarchy of Ethiopia acted almost as an empire, subjugating multiple ethnic groups under the narrative of being Christian and speaking Amhara. This began the […]

International Law

New Zealand Approves Miscarriage Paid Leave

April 5, 2021 Hyonjun Yun 0

On March 25th, New Zealand’s Parliament unanimously approved a bill that provides three days of paid leave for women and their partners who suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth. A miscarriage is defined as the death of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy, and a stillbirth is the death after the 20th week of pregnancy. The legislation does not apply to pregnancies ended by abortion. The Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage Bill was introduced by member of Parliament Ginny Andersen in 2019.  Andersen, Labour MP, said, “The bill will give women and their partners time to come to terms with their loss without having to tap into sick leave.” The three days of paid leave will be separate from sick leave as Andersen explains, “Because their grief is not a sickness, it is a loss. And loss takes time.”  This law is bound to have a large, positive impact. Facing […]