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HRJ Blog

Leeds Human Rights Journal Blog


Alongside the University of Leeds Human Rights Journal, we also have a blog dedicated to shorter written and creative pieces related to human rights. All submissions must be sent to

Please take a look at this short writer's guide before submitting a blog post.

Qatar: Human Rights Violations in one of the Wealthiest Countries

Photograph: Ghallia Halabi

By Ghallia Halabi

The truth behind Qatar’s beautiful infrastructure and family-oriented culture is that many workers’ human rights are being violated behind the scenes. Human rights violations against migrant workers are an ongoing issue in... Read More

Voter ID – An Assault on UK Democracy?

Photograph: Shuttershock

By Jacob Proffitt

As is the case for most democratic nations, individual politicians and their Governments are often only temporary features in UK politics. Indeed the semi-regular holding of free and fair elections has served as... Read More

“Kill the Bill!”: The Last Protest of its Kind?

Leeds "Kill the Bill" Protest. January 2022. Photograph: Tilen Kolar

By Marria Noor Sajid

For the past few months, many of us will have seen large scale protests in cities across the UK. Aptly named “Kill the Bill!”, this chant has echoed throughout the country, with protestors and activists alike protesting... Read More

How Senegal overcame global health inequality in the COVID pandemic


By Samuel Smith

Health inequality is one of the most distinct and prevalent forms of injustice in the 21st century. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights legitimises the right to health and well-being, including... Read More

Poland's Abortion Crisis

Krakow Protests. October 2020.
Photograph: Mateusz Kaleta

By Maya Eyre

Last year, Poland made the controversial decision to create a near total ban for abortion, under any circumstances. This is not a total surprise for Polish citizens, as since 1993, abortion has only been allowed when... Read More

The Right to Protest or The Right to Annoy?

Protesters from Insulate Britain block the road in Parliament Square. Photograph: James Manning

By Jacob Proffitt

Few people will have missed the sight of insulate Britain protesters demonstrating across the country in recent months. Whist the group has attracted some support, their actions ultimately prompted... Read More

The Right to a Healthy Environment: The Time is Now!

The human rights council passed the clean-environment resolution, which also calls on countries to boost their abilities to improve the environment, by 43-0. Photograph: Jerome Gilles/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

By Kerry Pearson 

Climate change is at the forefront of much of the news that we read and watch. And yet, for a long time, it has largely been reported as a phenomenon affecting solely the natural world and resources... Read More

International Women's Day Event: Women in Focus

By Poppy Cohen

On the 8th March 2021, the Leeds Human Rights Journal ran an event with POLIS Society called ‘Women in Focus’ in honour of International Women’s Day. We were incredibly lucky to be joined by three speakers from the University... Read More

A President’s Military Powers: The Last Pillar of Bi-Partisanship?

By Jack Valentine

In the early hours of Friday 26th February, President Joe Biden carried out his first military action as President of the United States in the form of airstrikes in Syria. Aimed at facilities used by Iranian backed militia groups... Read More

The Catalan Election Results and The Fight for Independence

By Samuel Blencoe

On Sunday 14th of February or Valentine's Day, voters in Catalonia went to the polls to elect a new regional parliament and through that, a new regional government...Read More

The Link Between Climate Change and Human Rights

By Valentina Casulli

Inaction surrounding the climate crisis may be the biggest human rights violation the world has ever seen... Read More

The Controversial Inauguration of Joe Biden

Philippa Dearlove

Following the inauguration of Joseph Biden on 20th January 2021, a huge sense of relief amongst both wealthy capitalists and the struggling working class is palpable across America... Read More

Varosha: From Ghost Town to Picnic Place

By Sotiris Paphitis

The island of Cyprus has been torn in two since the illegal military invasion of 1974. The invasion resulted in thousands of deaths, missing persons, and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced... Read More

The Threat of Authoritarianism to Spanish Democracy

By Samuel Blencoe 

For 39 years, from 1939 to 1978, Spaniards lived under a brutal authoritarian regime led by the fascist dictator Francisco Franco. This dictatorship was the result of a three-year-long bloody civil war from which, the Nationalist side emerged victorious... Read More

Overseas Operations (service personnel and veterans) Bill

By Lawrence Wilde 

Easily one of the most controversial pieces of legislation is to be introduced this year, the Overseas Operations Bill, currently in the House of Lords, threatens to create inconsistencies in civil, criminal and human rights law... Read More

Uyghur Human Rights Crisis Event

By Zahra Iqbal

On the 12th November, the Human Rights Journal held an event with Uyghur Rights Activist Aydin Anwar... Read More

‘We are one’ but not the same…

By Aksa Arshad 

On October 16 a teacher in France was beheaded by an 18-year-old Muslim refugee. Following this there has been a rise in hate crimes against France’s Muslims rising and with further attacks occurring in the French cities of Nice and Avignon... Read More

Human Rights and Decolonial Thought

By Azhar Vickland

The ‘Decolonising Human Rights’ panel event was held on 22nd October 2020, by the Leeds Human Rights Journal and the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies (CERS) for Black History Month...Read More


Reclaiming Headingley

By Zahra Iqbal

This blog usually consists of foreign human rights violations, which wrongfully leads us to believe that human rights violations do not happen, here in Leeds... Read More

Europe’s failed refugee and asylum policy

By Lawrence Wilde

The 9th September brought shocking scenes of a huge blaze raging through the Moira Migrant Camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, prompting outrage at the way refugees are treated as they try to seek refuge in Europe...Read More

Should The UK Copy Australia's Immigration Policy?

By Lawrence Wilde

There was shock around the political and legal spheres when news broke in The Financial Times of plans contemplated by Downing Street to send migrants to Ascension Island as part of the new immigration policy that the UK ... Read More

Homelessness and Covid-19

By Ben Fisher

The instructions from the government are clear. Stay at home and save lives. As most of us adjust to our new four-walled reality, some are relishing the opportunity to catch up on their favourite series, while others are dismayed at the prospect of a spring spent inside... Read more

The Oldest Profession in COVID-19 France

By Olivia McGhie

“We will stand strong when we stand together. Long live the Republic. Long live France”. This is the rallying cry emanating from a historically unpopular President who has divided opinion throughout his nearly three-years in the Elysée... Read more


No Help, No Hope?

By Niamh Punton

Amidst the chaos and panic of the coronavirus pandemic, one group within society has been largely ignored by media coverage and political decision making. There are currently 25.9 million refugees worldwide, and the impact of Covid-19 on this already vulnerable group is of particular concern... Read more

Anti-Feminist Sentiment in South Korean Culture

By Abbie Sharp

Misogyny in South Korea is a deep-rooted societal issue that extends through many of the experiences that South Korean women face in relationships, work, and life as a whole. This alone is not particularly noteworthy – many cultures around the world have the problem of culturally accepted and encouraged misogyny... Read more

Spain’s Sea of Plastic

By Alex Doyle

Few man-made structures are visible from space, the Great Wall of China is perhaps the most well-known. However, a modern addition to the list is Spain’s collection of greenhouses, located in the region of Almeria, south of Spain... Read more

‘Liberating’ the Roof of the World

By Azhar Vickland

I had limited knowledge of Tibet until I read Harrer’s Seven Years in Tibet, which prompted me to further my research on the human rights issues in this plateau region. The social and political state of affairs in Tibet does not receive much coverage on mainstream media due to its ‘irrelevance’ in mainstream political discourse... Read more

International Women’s Day in Madrid

By Zahra Iqbal

Yesterday, 8th March 2020: Madrid was covered by a sea of purple. Men and women of all ages, races and social classes marching down Madrid’s most renowned street Gran Vía; Madrid’s notable buildings were lit up by purple light as we marched with our painted faces and banners to not only celebrate International Women’s day, but to use it as an opportunity to fight... Read more

Martinique Shaken by Strikes

By Regina Osei-Bonsu

France and its overseas territories (Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Réunion and French Guiana) have faced a series of strikes since early December continuing until the present day. While the level of strikes occurring in the mainland (France) has decreased, they have only intensified in Martinique; with no signs of stopping or at least slowing down... Read more

The Politics of Loneliness in South Korea

By Abbie Sharp

In the collectivist culture that people are pressured to follow in South Korean society, the loneliness that comes with not fitting perfectly into this culture can be suffocating. In fact, the all-encompassing loneliness and hopelessness in result of this is such a big issue in South Korea... Read more

It is only tradition, right?

By Simone Hall

As I walk around Sol, the most central part of the Madrid I’m confronted with mannequins that spur anger within me. Blackface. Two white mannequins and a third painted a dirty streaky brown... Read more

Stop Posting and Start Helping

By Albin Chaiet

In an age of social media, everything is online. Approximately 79% of Americans, or roughly 247 million people, use social media . Every minute, over 300 hours of footage is uploaded on YouTube... Read more

Human Rights Round Up

By Azhar Vickland

This year has been another year where we have seen human rights abuses and achievements both unfolding, while we continue our fight for the best of humanity. Having spent an entire year of my life at university, I have been given the privilege of trying on different political lenses to view human rights from differing perspectives... Read more

Sexism in Martinique

By Regina Osei-Bonsu

This article aims to share my experience of the prevalent sexism found within the Martinican culture. Also, to shine a light on the culture shock that westerners or those of more liberal and accepting thoughts may face... Read more


Reproductive Rights in Mexico

By Lucy Little

On the 28th September, the streets of Merida were filled with banners, green scarves and hopeful protesters, fighting to change the law on abortion here in the state of Yucatan. As part of the demonstration, feminist organisations vandalised parts of the city centre, most notably the Monument to the Mother (Monumento a la Madre)... Read more

la Ley Mordaza

By Zahra Iqbal

In my last article I wrote about Catalan independence and how politically turbulent Spain is. Again, rather naively, I thought that after the November elections things will calm down a little. Yet, every day I still see people protesting in city centre of Madrid. Whether it’s about pensions, the political situation in Latin America or climate change... Read More

La Précarité Tue

By Olivia McGhie

The lecture hall is packed, students are sat tightly together in the rows of musty smelling seats, and banners have been flung over the sides of the oval shaped room reading “la précarité tue” (hardship kills). The General Assembly held at the Pierre Mendes Centre here in Paris by the Student’s Union “solidaires étudiant-e-s”, which represents a federation of student unions across France, has been called in an emergency... Read more

The Rise of Vox

By Edie Clee

Since its conception in 2013, Spain’s far-right party, Vox, has enjoyed an unprecedented rise to the forefront of Spanish politics. Going from being a relatively unknown political entity only 6 years ago, to now being Spain’s third biggest political party after a shocking performance in the recent November elections... Read more

Escape the Corset

By Abbie Sharp

Scrolling through the Instagram tag for #탈코 gives an insight into what one of the newest and fastest growing South Korean feminist movements is all about. 탈코 (tal-ko), short for 탈주 코르셋 (tal-ju co-reu-set) - ‘escape the corset’ in English - is a movement that seeks to allow women to free themselves from the strict patriarchal views dictating how Korean women should present themselves... Read more

Poverty Trap

By Lucy Little

As I frantically wrote my application to become a language assistant with British Council in Mexico, I rambled on about Frida Kahlo, the film Roma, the food.  As I got further along in the application process I started to realise how much I didn’t know about Mexico... Read more

Kashmir Militarisation and Discontent

By Nayab Fahim

Most people are unaware of how the Kashmir conflict came into existence. The conflict is a result of a historical dispute between two nuclear armed neighbours: India and Pakistan... Read more


Féminicides in France

By Olivia McGhie

The streets and grand boulevards of Paris, rich with culture and romance, enmeshed and entwined with the stories and love affairs of great writers and philosophers have been plastered with slogans calling for an end to “féminicides”. “Féminicides” is the French term for the gendered murder of women by their partner or ex-partner... Read more

The Wake-Up Call

By Zahra Iqbal

When we think of Spain, we think of sun, sangria and good food. ‘Oh, you’re living in Spain for a year, that’s amazing’ is something I heard a lot before moving out here. I’ve felt safer here, in Madrid, than I’ve ever felt walking through Hyde Park or just Leeds in general... Read more


By Ben Davis

In May 1993, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established by the United Nations in response to mass atrocities that took place in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina... Read more




By Eimear O'Donoghue

Northern Ireland has been slow to evolve when it comes to human rights issues. It is not reflective of our society, but of our stagnant sectarian politics and a lack of political accountability. With the absence of a devolved government in Northern Ireland since January 2017, the power and responsibility to ensure human rights lay with the British Government... Read more

Hong Kong’s Fight for Democracy

By Kwan Yee Wong

The 2019 Hong Kong Protests has extended far beyond a hundred days.

The amendment of the extradition law in Hong Kong has been the fuse for citizens to stop withstanding the pro-Beijing government... Read more


Imagining Cosmopolitanism

By Guy Chadwick

While the current trajectory of humanity appears to be one of increasing globalisation, the idea of global citizenship still faces considerable resistance today. In 2016, UK Prime Minister Theresa May declared that ‘[i]f you believe you are a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere’... Read more

Fighting for Our Rights

By Tilly Brogan

I am going to begin my final article by going against everything that my literature professors have ever taught me; with a dictionary definition. According to the Oxford Dictionary, Human Rights are ‘rights which [are] believed to belong to every person.’... Read more

Hungarian Biopolitics

By Georgina Davis

In a move to combat the country’s low birth rate and declining labour force, Orbán has announced that in exchange for women having four or more children, Hungarian women will no longer have to pay income tax. On the 10th of February Orbán announced at his ‘State of the Nation’ address: ‘women who have given birth to and raised minimum four children will be exempt from... Read more

Ideal Candidate, Corrupt System?

By Romaana Shakir

Studying abroad in a country often known for its corruption, militarized drug wars and violence has really brought its politics to my attention. For those that don’t know, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s recently elected president, has sparked much controversy and debate. AMLO has sworn to fight against extreme poverty... Read more

Gender Equality in Spain

By Tilly Brogan

This Friday 8th of March, International Women’s Day will be celebrated around the world. In many countries this day marks a celebration of what it means to be a woman, but in Spain, it is a day of protest; last year, the March 8 feminist strike saw more than 5.3 million women stop working... Read more

Hungary's Slave Law

By Georgina Davis

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán continues to ignore the EU’s commitment to democracy - and he seems to be getting away with it... Read more

Guapa Que Pasa

By Tilly Brogan

I’d like to start by saying that I hadn’t planned to write about street harassment this month, but something happened to me a few weeks back that I felt I needed to address. About three weeks ago I was not just verbally harassed, but physically harassed in the street... Read more

Human Rights After Brexit

by Mark Docherty

Britain’s political turbulence is hardly going unnoticed, yet many people are unaware of yet another concerning sub-plot to Brexit.  Despite previous assurances that the government will respect the European Convention on Human Rights, the wording of such promises is becoming increasingly vague, and the government refuses to issue anything legally binding... Read more

A Chinese 'Big Brother'?

By Demi Stubbert

It is no secret that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have a dedicated army of censors labouring tirelessly and scrupulously over the world wide web, managing to destroy content that threatens the regime and carefully manipulate information and opinion to the party’s advantage... Read more

A View from Without

By Tilly Brogan

The self-styled “Committees for the Defense of the Republic” (CDR), a pro-independence protest group, has called for a “battle” on Friday 21st December 2018, to stop the Spanish Prime Minister’s weekly Cabinet meeting [which on this day will be held in Barcelona] from going ahead. Via social networks and their internal communication channels, the CDR have called on supporters to be there “first thing in the morning” using the hashtag “let’s overturn the regime.” “On 21D we will be… ungovernable,” one of their messages reads… Read more

Feminism in Mexico


By Romaana Shakir

‘Guapa! Guapa!’ A group of men more than double my age shout at me as I walk home from my weekly shop. This is followed by incessant staring through which I am unable to do anything but quicken my pace and try my best to ignore this unwanted attention... Read more

Blowing The Whistle


By Sophie Mullen

Under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, Abu Ghraib prison – situated in central Iraq – gained international recognition through reports of overcrowding and torture. After the collapse of Hussein’s regime, the U.S. military was placed in overseeing the detention facility... Read more

A Year of Silence?

By Azhar Vickland

It has been a year since the arrests of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar. They were arrested on the 12th of December 2017, while working on an investigation into the Inn Din Massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys in the Rakhine state... Read more

Higher Education Under Orbán

By Georgina Davis

The Central European University has operated in Budapest for 27 years. Yet, on December 1st,  the Hungarian government officially expelled the Central European University from Budapest, with incoming students moving to the new campus in Vienna for 2019/20... Read more

Human Rights and the Homeless

Tomorrow, Monday 10th December, is International Human Rights Day. While it’s important to raise awareness of humanitarian issues across the world, sometimes we have to take a look at what’s on our own doorstep... Read more

Lingual Hierarchy in Barcelona

By Tilly Brogan

With over 10 million speakers, Catalan is the 14th most widely spoken language in the EU. Along with Castellano (Spanish), it is also the official language of Catalonia, the region of Barcelona.. Read more

Duterte and Drugs

By Nathan Olsen

Seventy years on from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we can see that some progress has been made when it comes to the promotion and protection of human rights. Yet, authoritarian leaders such as President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines still undermine said progress by using one simple tactic: dehumanising groups and individuals who he deems to be less than human... Read more

Morocco and the Politics of Memory

By Sara Green

I have never seen such an overt shift in perspective on a single subject since transitioning from life in Leeds to life in Rabat than the perspectives on the ‘Sahara Question’. Indeed, at home, we could pose it as a ‘question’, a problematisation, seeking a mutually satisfactory solution... Read more

Maid in Hell

By Millie Goslyn-Jones

These are the opening lines of Maid in Hell: Why Slavery, a documentary revealing the disturbing truth behind domestic worker abuse in the Middle East. There are currently more than 2.8 million migrant women working in countries such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, all trapped within the kafala system. Upon arrival, their phones and passports are confiscated, leaving them imprisoned by their employers and unable to contact their families... Read more

Beacon of Progress?

By Nathan Olsen

In comparison with its boisterous neighbour, Canada is often seen as a country full of well-meaning, polite and respectable people. This comparison tends to refer to America and Canada’s different political climates as well; Canada, with its universal healthcare and tighter gun control, puts the rest of North America to shame in terms of progressive policy... Read more

A Right To Be Seen

By Tilly Brogan

Below is a poem I wrote about the stereotype of the 'Rubita' in Spain. The word 'Rubita' is a derogative term for a girl with blonde hair, usually associated with sexual provocation and promiscuity... Read more

Roma Rights

By Abhaya Ganashree

The narratives of inclusion and diversity were very much at the centre of ongoing debates in the UK when I first moved here. Immigration, discrimination and inequality were being widely discussed as always, but now with increased fervour after the Brexit referendum... Read more

The Oslo Accord

By Hugo Jones

The picture of Bill Clinton standing between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on the Whitehouse lawn in 1993 captures the zeitgeist of hope unique to that period in history. Twenty-five years later, ‘Oslo’ is a dirty word in the occupied territories, and many look back at the photo in ridicule. An invisible ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner flutters in the background... Read more

The Nakba

By Adam Bin Suhail Abdalla Samaara

The Nakba is something that we escape from to our dreams, it is the nightmare that we wake up to and the injustice that we, the Palestinians, live. We can see it, hear it and feel it everywhere, but nowhere is it as unrelentingly inescapable as in Palestine, our homeland, and around those of us remember the beginnings of that 70 years old crime... Read more

70 Years of the Nakba

By Yousef Abdul-Fattah

This year marks 70 years since the Nakba, which Palestinians such as myself commemorate on the 15th of May of each year. As a Palestinian student in Leeds who comes from two refugee families, I wanted to take this opportunity to open a discussion about the Palestinian narrative... Read more

A Hopeless Situation

By Hannah Nagar

In the wake of the new year, a plan has been announced in Israel to deport illegal immigrants from Eritrea and Sudan to a Third country - either Rwanda or Uganda - with $3,500 and a plane ticket, or be imprisoned indefinitely (Middle East Eye, 2018). This is the newest measure taken by Netanyahu’s right-wing government to rid Israel of 40,000 African asylum seekers, many of whom reside in Southern Tel Aviv in inadequate housing without any job opportunities and no access to health and welfare services (Middle East Eye, 2018; ASSAF, 2018)... Read more

Canada's Cultural Genocide?

By Maria Busuioc

When we speak of genocide, most people think of brutal mass killings on racial or religious grounds, having the image of the Holocaust or Armenian genocide still vivid in our minds. But this is not the only type of genocide that society has observed over the years... Read more

Human Security

By Nathan Olsen

Academic literature on universal human rights has existed since the Enlightenment and the works of Kant. In stark contrast, scholarship concerning ‘security studies’ has only existed since the start of the Cold War... Read more