Human Rights

Children are not a tourist attraction


Happy kids in CambodiaThings are not always as theys eem when you’re travelling. That dodgy-looking road-side cafe actually serves up the tastiest food.A bargain is often not and whan you work it out later you’ve been ripped off. Or that short cut ends up taking you all day.But some things have a more sinister side to them and deserve more of your attention, and visiting an orphanages in Cambodia definitely does. For more info see this blog:

80:80 World Refugee Day 20 June 2011


Deadly Discrimination – not just a case of sexist tea-making policies

Did you know: 80% of the world’s refugees are women and children fleeing violence, persecution, starvation, slavery and sexual exploitation. What’s more, the poorest nations are hosting 80% of the world’s forcibly displaced population, while richer countries close their borders. So, on World Refugee Day 2011 I thought it apt to resurrect an article I wrote back in 2003, regarding the plight of women around the world (the tea-making refers to my own battle at the time, where the female teachers in the Japanese staff rooms were always expected to jump up and make tea).

Amnesty International update on Roma abuses


“They came with trucks and police and vans. We all had to leave in 20 minutes. I lost…everything. I wasn’t even there when the house was taken down”. Tomica, Belgrade

Since 2009, Roma communities in Belgrade, Serbia, have been living under the constant threat of forced eviction by the authorities. Some, like Tomica, have already lost their homes. This is a violation of their right to adequate housing.

Turkey: more than just a good kebab


[…] When a friend of mine, realizing that her last summer of unrestrained pleasure before entering into careerdom was upon her, asked me to take her on an adventure I thought what better place to go for a little culture and excitement than the crossroads between Europe and Asia … Turkey.

Turkey – more than just a good kebab(September 2003)

International Women’s Day


To mark thecentenary of International Women’s Dayeventsare taking placeglobally to highlight not only the outstanding achievements of women over the past 100 years but also the work that still needsto be done for women who are desperate to have theirvoices heard, who are living with the daily threat of violence and rape, or who simpy wish to attend school or control their own fertility.

Human Rights Perspectives: ‘Have we seen the emergence of post-national forms of citizenship?’


Post-national citizenship – J Sykes MA paper 2005

Cuban revolution; freedom of expression; four amazing actors


I first read ‘Before Night Falls’ (Antes Que Anochezca, 1992)while studying for myunder-grad degree. Then I discovered the movie, andif Javier Bardem, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn and Olivier Martinez (plus a small partby thethen unknown Diego Luna) aren’tfour reasons-enough to watch the film then there’s alsothe amazing black and whiteactual footage of Castro triumphantlyentering Havana in 1969.An autobiography of the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas,both paper and celluloid describe vividly hislife under the repressive socialist régime,his sexual experimentation, stints in and out of prison, the danger and importance in defending freedomof expression and thelife-threatening lengths people will go to in order to find liberty.

Double Standards of a Superpower – China Vs the US


Double Standards of a Superpower (April 2003)

China’s president Hu Jintaowas ona four-day tour of America last week,which washailed as the most importantstate visit from China in over30 years. The Obama adminsitration planned to use this time to heal the riftwhich has developed between the two world powers, along side raising concerns about nuclear energy andcurrency protection andbroachingthe terrible human rights record of the Chinese government, highlighted by theprotests outside the White Houseby supporters of the persecuted Falun Gong and a ‘Free Tibet’ for example.

Human Rights Perspectives: ‘The objectives of European asylum systems are about control not humanitarian obligations’


European asylum systems – J Sykes MA paper 2006

Human Rights Perspectives: Roma in an Expanding Europe Union – UK Perspectives


Roma in an Expanding Europe Union – J Sykes MA thesis 2006


‘Roma are the largest pan-European minority, with a significant presence in every major European state’ (Oakley 2005, pp.2) existing at ‘a level of destitution almost indescribable’ (Refugee Council 1999, pp.37) and yet until recently they have been largely ignored by European institutions and the international community.