Latest on human rights – 6 January 2017


CIPADH’s activities – During the first week of 2017, CIPADH dealt with different issues and themes regarding human rights and peace. The very first article focused on torture and, in particular, on the case of Turkmenistan. The analysis was centred on the state of prisons in Turkmenistan and the lack of human rights protection granted to inmates. A following article covered current issues regarding the right to work in our society. Specifically, it argued that the right to work is not a business but it should help a person to improve her or his life. Finally, a brief article dealt with the role and function of three women (Amina Mohammed, Maria Viotti and Kyung-wha Kang) appointed by the newly elected UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres covering important positions within the United Nations.


Local newsLe Temps published an article regarding the new wave of migrants and refugees (particularly from Africa) that attempt to reach Germany via Switzerland or Austria from Italy hiding in commercial trains. The Swiss newspaper remarked how dangerous this practice is and how the Swiss authorities are trying to control this clandestine flux of people. La Tribune de Genève noted that new diplomatic talks on Cyprus will take place in Geneva next week. The Cypriot-Greek President Nicos Anastasiades and the Cypriot-Turkish leader Mustafa Akinci will meet to discuss peace, facilitated by United Nations’ official Mr. Barth Eide. Finally, the Corriere del Ticino reported that the University of Bern will soon offer courses aimed at educating Muslim spiritual guides. According to Isabelle North, professor of psychology of religions, the need of such guides is particularly strong in institutions such as hospitals, prisons and centres for asylum seekers. Moreover, this courses will help to prevent radicalisation among vulnerable groups.


Events – The University of Geneva has organised a conference that will be held on the 18th of January: “PSYCHOSE AMÉRICAINE: Trump et le cauchemar de l'histoire.” Guest of honour of the conference is W. J. T. Mitchell, Professor in visual studies at the University of Chicago. He will analyse the American visual culture, “focusing on the war of images between the two candidates running for the presidency, which ended up with the election of Donald Trump.” Another important event (“Geprägt fürs Leben - Lebenswelten fremdplatzierter Kinder in der Schweiz im 20. Jahrhundert”) has been scheduled for the 11th of January 2017 in Bern. The conference will deal with the Verdingkinder (i.e. “contract children”) scheme, a common practice used by the Swiss authorities in the first half of the 21st century. The scheme provided for young adults to be taken from their parents, due to poverty or moral reasons, and sent to live with new families, often farmers who needed cheap labour. These children often experienced physical and psychological abuses and some of them shared their stories once become adults.


MR - Research Assistant at CIPADH