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Can a coup ever be right?

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The general principles of the rule of law state that legality should take precedence over all political affairs. But is it ever possible for two wrongs, such as a military takeover of an unconstitutional civilian government, can produce a positive rule of law outcome? That is the question many are asking in relation to Thursday’s […]

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Combating sexual violence in the military

While the debate over the current ban against openly gay service members in the US military continues in Washington, there is another story about the consequences of breaking barriers in the military that is also getting attention: the ongoing prevalence of sexual violence against women in the military. The BBC carried an interesting story this […]

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Money, Nukes, and Human Rights

Money, Nukes, and Human Rights

As Iran marks the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that brought the current system of government to power, there are two topics dominating headlines on Iran: their less than always transparent nuclear program and their human rights record. And both are the target of possible economic sanctions in the coming days and weeks. The […]

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Burqas in Paris

Following Nicolas Sarkozy’s statement last summer that burqas are “not welcome” in France, the French Parliament recommended a partial ban last week on any veil that covers the face. For now, that ban would only cover public transportation and public buildings such as school and hospitals, not women generally on the streets. It also only […]

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Land and African conflict

Land and African conflict

The Christian Science Monitor carried an interesting feature yesterday about the prospects and potential for land reform in Africa. In it correspondent Jina Moore argues that land and access to resources is at the heart of most of the continent’s conflicts; thus, fixing land issues could offer a preventative fix for a region prone to […]

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The Gaza Debate in 2010

A year after the Gaza War, the debate rages on about the conduct of forces on both sides during the three-week conflict. By now, major human rights organizations both in Israel and abroad have had their say in what crimes may have been committed during the war, and the UN released the results of their […]

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The human cost of trafficking

Some stories never die. Human trafficking, a multibillion dollar a year global industry, seems to be one of them. In recent years, there has been a huge advocacy effort that has raised awareness on the issue, but still the trade of people as goods persists in every corner of the world. One of the most […]

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Putting words into action

Yesterday Human Rights Watch released their annual World Report for 2010, detailing the state of human rights affairs around the world for the previous year. Many of the stories they focused on were also covered and editorialized here throughout 2009, from government abuses in Eritrea and Sri Lanka to increased civilian casualties in the Democratic […]

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Google vs. China

Google vs. China

News of the disaster in Haiti drowned out most other concerns last week but the earthquake was not the only newsworthy thing that happened in the world. Earlier the same day as the earthquake, Google posted a surprising message on its official company blog that raised the possibility the search engine giant may leave the […]

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Looking beyond disaster

Perhaps one of the most ignored countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti found itself back in the spotlight for yet another disaster. While this disaster – a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, the strongest to hit Haiti in over 200 years – was brought on by nature and not the political drama that normally brings Haiti into […]

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What amnesty cannot bury

Transition from military rule to full democracy is never easy and often involves serious questions about accountability. This can involve accountability for past actions, or new questions about how a civilian government can be held accountable to the people. Because of the complicated nature of any transition, some governments opt to take the easy way […]

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West Africa Takes a Stand

African governments are not well known for standing up against fellow leaders who violate the rule of law or commit human rights abuses. Ask most people what they expect from African governments in this area and you are likely not to hear anything positive. The reputation is not entirely undeserved, but is also the result […]

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Human Rights Round Up

With the holidays coming up and getting the 2009 Year in Review together, we have been a bit light on posting. However here are some links to a few of the human rights stories from this past week. Detained in Iran, Russia, and China Last week NPR reported on three human rights stories from Iran, […]

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Human Rights: 2009 Year in Review

Human Rights: 2009 Year in Review

Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a […]

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When Police Become Killers

A new story today by the BBC details the growing problem of police violence in Nigeria.  The morgue at the Nigeria University Teaching Hospital overflows with bodies brought in by police, often unnamed but reported to be suspected criminals, such as armed robbers or thieves.  In some cases, that may be the case but in […]

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About the Author

Kimberly J. Curtis
Kimberly J. Curtis

Kimberly Curtis has a Master's degree in International Affairs and a Juris Doctor from American University in Washington, DC. She is a co-founder of The Women's Empowerment Institute of Cameroon and has worked for human rights organizations in Rwanda and the United States. You can follow her on Twitter at @curtiskj

Areas of Focus: Transitional justice; Women's rights; Africa

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