The rise of Islamophobia in Europe specifically affects covered Muslim women. Legal restrictions and social hostility towards headscarves impede their right to express their faith, identity, and access to other human rights. These prohibitions must be approached as oppressive policies that limit the freedom of women to make their own decisions.
Last elections in Italy marked the victory of the far right, confirming a European tendency of recent years. This shift poses some basic questions for the country and the European Union in relation to an effective promotion and protection of human rights.
Since their takeover of power in Afghanistan, the Taliban have made several decisions to radicalise the education and higher education systems, on the basis of an extremely conservative interpretation of Sharia. The consequences are dire and far-reaching, affecting certain disadvantaged groups more than others. The most affected are young girls whose access to secondary education is banned.
The European Union (EU) proposal for a Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence deserves some key reflections as the draft challenges the patriarchal structure of intergovernmental bodies of the EU.
People working in the sex industry have been severely affected by the social and economic crisis stemming from COVID-19. As a business generating immense profits worldwide, whether in person or online, it is time to bring this industry into the global debate over business and human rights, with a focus on gender and intersectional perspectives.
Home may not be a safe place for women. This became all the more evident when domestic violence incidents soared because staying at home was imposed in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. States are obliged to protect women against their abusers during and after the crisis.
Economics and human rights have never been close friends. Human rights advocates have rarely engaged with financial systems. Economists, in turn, have rarely considered human right law precepts. However, COVID-19 intensified the need for mutual co-operation to safeguard the most disadvantaged, particularly women, who have suffered disproportionate negative socio-economic impact from the pandemic.
Containing the spread of COVID-19 means curtailing some human rights. However, questions must be raised when governments allow people to attend large sporting events and sit indoors in restaurants and bars but ban partners from prenatal consultations and childbirth.
In Italy, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a disproportionately negative socio-economic impact on trans persons. With an increase in unemployment rates and discriminatory dynamics, and a pause in pivotal debates at institutional and social level, the already limited space given to trans workers has become narrower and narrower.
Human rights activists have to resist governments using COVID-19 to discriminate further against the already persecuted LGBTIQ+ community in a continent where traditionalists view sexual minorities as un-African and hate speech from extremist religious and political leaders fuels homophobic violence.