Human Rights: Professional Papers

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    A Mans’s World? Reaffirming the Idea of Gender in United States Countering Violent Extremism Programming
    (2024-05-01) Fialkoff, Hannah
    The global war on terror was marked by the ongoing targeting of militant groups and their leaders, often in nations entrenched in conflict. The prolonged war and the subsequent rise of violent extremism escalated attacks on women’s rights and freedoms. During this time, women’s agency drastically grew both as members of terror groups and as instrumental actors in policy and decision-making circles. The counterterrorism and policy response in the post-9/11 world focused heavily on kinetic security and law-enforcement-based programming and practices. Emerging out of counterterrorism, globally and in the United States, was Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), an approach that was thought to be more grounded in human rights by addressing what policymakers considered to be the root causes of radicalization and seeking to re-build (or build) civil society. While the broad results of such efforts are far clear or definitive, it remains true that CVE programs, which are a key element of US policy, merit scrutiny to determine whether they can be adjusted to better achieve stated objectives—or, more broadly, inclusive development objectives—by making them more gender inclusive and deeply grounded in human rights. This professional paper aims to use a feminist approach to analyze the agency of women in this realm, how they are addressed in countering violent extremism programming, and propose a way forward of how programming, in the future, can be more gender-inclusive and sensitive. The main question is how can we better engage women and girls when countering extremism?
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    Engaging Gaming Communities For Human Rights: An NGO Toolkit
    (2024-05-01) Hassan, Wajih
    This paper explores everything nonprofit organizations (NGOs) need to know about when engaging online gaming communities for human rights purposes. The research employs qualitative methods such as interviews with gaming community influencers; digital ethnography such as participant observation and engagement with several online gaming communities and some content analysis over different social media platforms; and a literature review. This paper focuses on understanding humanitarian work within gaming communities, tools and methods that NGOs need to use and be aware of in online gaming spaces, and provides a toolkit that encapsulates the information from this research into a practical and easily digestible guidance for NGOs hoping to utilize online gaming communities for human rights.
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    Housing Cooperatives to Community Land Trusts: Exploring Community Wealth Building Strategies for Black Homeownership
    (2021-05) Shongwe, Nonkululeko
    The issues of Black homeownership and racial inequality in Minnesota are abysmal. The homeownership gap between Black and white communities continues to increase. This stems from a long history of policies enacted by the U.S. government and has impacted Black homeownership and wealth attainment. The Great Recession and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the economic and housing markets at high rates. At each turn, Black people were and continue to be some of the most vulnerable because policies and programs such as the New Deal, the G.I. Bill, and more that have produced lasting impacts, often felt throughout generations. This paper explores the homeownership gap in the U.S. with a direct focus on the Twin Cities. Adequate housing for all people is a human right. The data gathered in this paper indicates that Black households in Minnesota consistently hold lower rates of homeownership before and after the Great Recession. This paper also dives into the Community Wealth Building strategies of housing cooperatives and community land trusts as alternative housing models that offer affordable and sustainable ownership while building collective communities. Centering community and valued-based strategies give the power back to the community to have opportunities for ownership and wealth. Organizations, philanthropy, local and state governments must uplift the community wealth-building strategies and offer the chance to build generational wealth.
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    Artificial Jurisprudence: Understanding the Consequences of Emerging Technologies for Human Rights and the Role of Technology Activism
    (2022-05) Davies, J.T.
    Information technology and computer networks have the potential to catalyze some of the greatest social transformation in history. However, the rapid development of these technologies stands to outpace policy governing them - especially in the arena of human rights. While information technology has the potential to solve numerous problems, such as coordinating vast logistics systems to reduce food waste; or automating simple home functions to improve quality of life for the disabled, it also provides avenues for surveillance, coercion, and control through both state and private, many of which would have been unimaginable when the human rights movement first crystallized.
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    Alleviating Barriers to Women’s Empowerment in Iraqi Kurdistan through the Gendered Graduation Model: Documenting the ‘Stronger Women Stronger Nations’ Program
    (2022-06) Nussair, Hanna
    This study documents the international development and humanitarian organization Women for Women International’s graduation model program entitled “Stronger Women Stronger Nations”, and its role in empowering marginalized women residing in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). The KRI is continuously impacted by instability in neighboring jurisdictions including Iran to the east, Turkey to the north, Syria to the west and the rest of Iraq to the south.1 Currently 500,000 internally displaced persons and refugees reside in the region, including Syrian, Yazidi and Iraqi individuals.2 The Stronger Women Stronger Nations program aims at assisting vulnerable Syrian, Yazidi and Iraqi women through a holistic graduation approach model which targets social empowerment, economic empowerment, and vocational training throughout the course of twelve months.
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    Housing Cooperatives to Community Land Trusts: Exploring Community Wealth Building Strategies for Black Homeownership
    (2021-05) Shongwe, Nonkululeko
    The homeownership gap between Black and White communities continues to increase. This stems from a long history of policies enacted by the U.S. government and has impacted Black homeownership and wealth attainment. This paper explores the homeownership gap in the U.S. with a direct focus on the Twin Cities. Adequate housing for all people is a human right. The data gathered in this paper indicates that Black households in Minnesota consistently hold lower rates of homeownership before and after the Great Recession. This paper also dives into the Community Wealth Building strategies of housing cooperatives and community land trusts as alternative housing models that offer affordable and sustainable ownership while building collective communities. Centering community and valued-based strategies give the power back to the community to have opportunities for ownership and wealth.
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    Maternal Health is a Human Right: Identifying Gaps and Directions for Policy Improvement in Perinatal Care for Somali-Americans in Minnesota
    (2020-08-09) Lawler Turnbull, Catherine M
    Perinatal Care for Somali Families in Minnesota This paper seeks to highlight a critical healthcare issue in Minnesota and to present a comprehensive program with which to address it. Immigration is often a contested issue, but few can argue that immigrants face a disproportionate amount of stresses, including navigating new gender roles, seeking employment, managing family responsibilities, overcoming discrimination, and learning a new language (Pavlish et al., 2010). Unfortunately, these stresses extend to challenges accessing appropriate healthcare: as Pavlish et al. (2010) succinctly stated, “Lack of access to culturally competent health care is one of the most significant barriers to reducing health disparities for minority populations” (p. 354). In addition to the challenges presented by the language barrier, there are often conflicts between health care recommendations and religious beliefs or cultural values (McGraw & McDonald, 2004). Immigrants—particularly refugees—may also confront significant mental health challenges that may be overlooked. Many have experienced or witnessed war, starvation, oppression, or torture, and rates of PTSD and depression are extremely high in these populations (McGraw & McDonald, 2004). Minnesota is no stranger to these challenges, particularly for immigrants from Somalia: The 1990s saw a large influx of Somalis in Minnesota, where more than half of all Somali refugees in the United States now reside (DeStephano et al., 2010). Of those, 80% live in the Twin Cities (Herrel et al., 2004). Somali refugees in our local community continue to experience the lack of comprehensive, culturally competent care that plagues our national healthcare system (Morrison et al., 2012). Of particular importance is perinatal care delivery: providing high-level perinatal care is imperative not only for the sake of the mothers’ health, but also to ensure that the next generation of Somali-Americans has the best start to life possible.
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    The Nexus of Business and Human Rights: Challenging Corporate Profiteers in the United States Immigration Detention Industry
    (2020-05-20) Ziegler, Raven Dawn
    The growing power of corporations1 has prompted dialogue around the need to formalize regulatory and enforcement mechanisms capable of addressing corporate impact on human rights. Throughout the past three decades, advocates have urged States and authoritative international bodies – particularly the United Nations – to undertake issues pertaining to the nexus of business and human rights. While many agree that this nexus needs to be addressed, there has been very little consensus on which entity is responsible undertaking which stratagem. The dialogue has discerned in three tenets – voluntary, guided and enforceable approaches. The foundational international initiatives have primarily employed voluntary and guided approaches – which have inadequately addressed the growing issues of governance gaps, legal gaps, and power imbalances. These initiatives have left corporations without explicit obligations, external oversight and virtually no enforcement mechanisms. Therefore, when corporations violate human rights, they do so with de facto impunity – leaving those affected without proper means to demand accountability and/or remediation.
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    The Battle Between Human Rights and Development in Post-Conflict Situations: Assessed Through the Lens of the Rwandan Model
    (2020-05-01) Olubayo, Paul
    The principles of human rights and development share both a common vision and a common purpose; the desire “to secure, for every human being, freedom, well-being and dignity”. These basic, underlying principles have been promoted and advocated in various differing forms throughout human history, with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) noting that concern for these two principles can be dated as far back as the French Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789. Further, throughout history we have seen endeavors to link these two agendas in a mutually beneficial relationship. It has been stated that one of the central achievements of the first World Conference on Human Rights in 1968, was its assertion that ‘the achievement of lasting progress in the implementation of human rights is dependent upon sound and effective national and international policies of economic and social development.’ The international community would take this a step further in 1977 when the United Nations Commission on Human Rights proclaimed the existence of a human right to development, which would later be adopted formally by the UN General Assembly in 1986.
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    “You Take Care of Your Own”: A Human Rights Analysis of HUD’s 2019 “Mixed Status” Proposed Rule
    (2020-04-28) Bruce, Helena
    In May 2019, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) revealed a proposed rule that sparked outrage among housing advocates and immigrant rights activists across the country. The rule would bar mixed status families—that is, families whose members include people with different citizenship or immigration statuses—from access to government subsidized housing.1 As a result, families with undocumented members would be forced to either split up to save their subsidy or to go out on the streets to find new housing. Much of the rule’s controversy stems from the potential effect on U.S. citizens themselves; HUD’s own analysis states it would more than likely force over 55,000 citizen children onto the streets, while the National Housing Law Project claims that it would provide undue burden on low income families to provide documentary proof of citizenship.
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    Facilitating Meaningful Participation of Refugees at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum: Key Considerations, Barriers to Realization, and Recommendations
    (2019-05-16) Drozdowski, Hayley
    In December 2018, a majority of United Nation (UN) Member States endorsed the final drafts of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) and Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).1 The Compacts provide a framework for collaboration and responsibility-sharing when responding to migrant flows and refugee emergencies across the globe. Both documents lay out a number of objectives for accomplishing safer, more organized migration routes that are undergirded by guiding principles. Now as the UN, its Member States, and other stakeholders turn toward implementation, the international community must grapple with the task of finding ways to actualize the Compacts’ objectives. Of particular concern for many stakeholders, including refugees and other forcibly displaced people themselves, is the ways in which refugees will be included in how this implementation will take place. Both documents include calls for refugee and migrant participation in implementing the agreements.2 The GCR in particular calls for a December 2019 ministerial-level meeting called the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) in Geneva where Member States and other stakeholders can make “pledges” to actualize objectives from the GCR through policy changes, programs, funding, and other actions.3 However, it is still unclear how refugees will be included at the GRF. This paper explores the principles that should underlie participatory processes and the barriers facing UNHCR in implementing a meaningful participation process for refugees. I ultimately provide recommendations for steps UNHCR can take and modalities through which meaningful participation of refugees can be facilitated at the GRF. The findings of this paper have emerged through an iterative, collaborative process combining scholarship on participatory processes and stakeholder engagement, interviews with experts and scholars, and an examination of models of refugee participation in a variety of settings.