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  • Author: Joey White
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: Our sister organization, Human Trafficking Center (HTC) are the experts on the matter of human trafficking and use academic rigor, sound methodology, and reliable data to promote understanding of human trafficking and its causes, conditions, and cures. In a recent blog, HTC defines the connection between trafficking and migration: “Trafficking is migration gone terribly wrong.” – David Feingold. These words given by David Feingold in his piece Trafficking in Numbers: The Social Construction of Human Trafficking Data give a whole new insight into what human trafficking is, what realms human trafficking occurs within, and how human trafficking happens. Indeed, human trafficking and migration are inextricably linked. Human trafficking is heavily influenced by migration. Any policies regarding one have a tremendous effect on the other. This is why it is so vital to examine immigration policies and take into account what impacts they will have in the anti-trafficking sphere, particularly in today’s political climate.”
  • Topic: Human Rights, Migration, Immigrants, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cat Galley
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: This year, The Center on Human Rights Education chose the theme of DISPLACEMENT to investigate and research in the context of human rights. To begin under this theme, we began with homelessness and evolved into immigration. We focused on homelessness in the context of the Denver-metro area and the state of Colorado. Immigration held a national focus during the winter quarter. In the spring, COHRE will investigate into the topic of refugees and displacement. Throughout the Fall Quarter, the connections between displacement and homelessness came to be understood. On a more national scale, in 2013, there were approximately 610,042 homeless individuals. This number includes US citizens, immigrants, and refugees.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Immigrants, Displacement, Homelessness
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Kirchhoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: How would you know if you met a victim of human trafficking? Would you know what to do? Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery where human beings are recruited and forced to work through abuse of power, coercion, intimidation, or other means, and effects every nation in the world. According to a recent report from the anti-trafficking organization, the Polaris Project, more than 21 million people are victims of human trafficking today, who are often hidden “in plain sight,” in many different industries—including agriculture, prostitution, domestic work, prisons, restaurants, hotels, and construction. And while the statistics on modern slavery in the United States and globally continues to be reliably grim, there are actually many ways—large and small—to combat it.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Trafficking , Slavery, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jessica Ruch
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) in health and education programs have been rapidly growing over the past two decades. They’ve expanded to over 40 countries and are increasingly used to target and improve girl’s education. The volume of CCTs in development projects worldwide raises the question: can they address the greatest barriers to equal education? According to Dr. Michelle Morais de Sae Silva, CCTs have sought to adapt to “identify the ideal balance between cash incentives and conditions that would maximize the kind of behavior that is believed to enhance poor families’ human capital.”(1). Unlike social welfare programs and unconditional cash transfers, CCTs’ conditionalities were established to break intergenerational transmissions of poverty by investing in human capital (2). Analysis of Latin American CCTs illustrate positive impacts: increased educational outcomes (enrollment and attendance), decreased child labor, small improvements to short-term poverty and a shift from agricultural labor to non-agricultural employment (3).
  • Topic: Education, Gender Issues, Poverty, Welfare
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Kirchhoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: Gender affects all of us, from the clothes we wear to the way we speak. But where does gender come from, and how does it affect our behavior as human beings over the course of a lifetime? More specifically, how does gender effect human behavior in relation to conflict? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, gender is defined as, “the state of being male or female.” This said, it is easy to see how gender plays out in everyday life. The male gender, for example, has over time developed into a generalized stereotype characterized by aggression, action, expression, and domination, while the female gender has developed into an equally extreme and opposite stereotype of compliance, passivity, silence, and submission. And yet while we can observe the effects of these constructions on our lives, it is important to keep in mind that gender is socially and culturally constructed, and this means it changes over time and place and that each individual contributes to its ever-changing characterization. From this perspective, is is easy to find examples of how contemporary civilizations continually reinforce “gender norms,” and how this conditioning has serious implications for humanity and conflict overall. For example, according to a recent research study analyzing gender differences in toy design organized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, “…girls’ toys were associated with physical attractiveness, nurturing, and domestic skill, whereas boys’ toys were rated as violent, competitive, exciting, and somewhat dangerous.” ¹ In this way, we can see that gender expectations are enforced from very young ages, and that this process of socialization goes on to have long-term effects for everyone, especially where conflict is concerned. While some may declare that there are no gender-based differences in life of conflict, whether in the workplace, academia, or physical behavior, extensive research shows that quite the opposite is true. For instance, gender differences in workplace behavior are well-documented, as where one psychological study explains, “…meta-analysis shows that men are more aggressive than women and finds that this sex difference is more pronounced for physical than psychological aggression.” ² Could it be that cultural reinforcements of male gender expectations such as physical violence and competition are responsible for this disparity?
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, Conflict, Social Order
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Melissa Rary
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: While the idea of women as combatants in the US military is relatively new, some stories of women in war goes back to Greek myths of armies of goddesses at war. Still, this subject gets very little, if any, press in the news. Women are often seen as victims of war, but some women may also be perpetrators. Beyond simply fighting on the ground, Dara Cohen explores the idea of women as perpetrators of wartime sexual violence. She points out that in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 41% of female sexual violence victims were victimized by females, as were 10% of male victims. She argues that within armed groups, women face many of the same pressures to commit similar forms of violence as their male counterparts. Women have been used historically in various roles during recruitment and combat, including being a nurse, cook, telephone operator, or journalist. Some conflicts have also seen a rise women used as a recruiting tool, or as wives, to young men joining forces. In the Second World War, the Soviet Union used female soldiers to encourage their male counterparts to join the forces. Of the 820,000 women who served in the Red Army, 15% of those were combatants. ISIS recruits young women in a similar way, promising them marriage to ISIS fighters and offering them a meaningful role in a big world. They are then used as mothers, wives, nurses, recruiters, and general supporters of ISIS.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, War, Feminism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Christy Dehus
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: Millennials that leave their home country, are raised in the west, then return to their home countries leave an impact on both countries. It’s similar to the brain drain phenomenon, but this generation has the potential to positively impact both countries: their home countries by returning and the countries they are raised in by educating from afar via social media. Ugaaso Boocow is an example of this. She uses Instagram to document her journey back home to Somalia after spending the majority of her childhood and young adult life in Canada. Through this process she depicts the Somalia that the media doesn’t portray: a country full of rich heritage and geographical diversity. Her friends in the west learn about life in Somalia and Somalia is positively impacted by the education she obtained in the west. How does the influx of millennials returning to their home country after living in the west mold their understanding of universal human rights? In Somalia, as in other war-torn countries, human rights are violated on a daily basis. International humanitarian law, which provides laws to protect civilians and combatants during armed conflict, is violated. The spirit of humanity is captured through Ugaaso’s Instagram pictures, providing hope for failed states. Perhaps the return of these young people will create pressure for failed states to change. They are the champions for their countries.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Social Movement, Youth
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Kirchhoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: The rights of Transgender People are in danger. Article One of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), states that “all peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” This is a human right, thus belongs to all peoples, yet Transgender people are all too often deprived of this right and many more through discrimination, oppression, and even violence. For example, a recent study from the NCAVP (National Coalition of Anti-Violence programs) shows the number of Transgender people murdered in the US in 2014 increased by 11.1% since 2013. At least twenty Transgender people were murdered in the U.S. last year alone, and there have been at least sixteen murdered thus far in 2015. Further, 55% of these homicide victims were Transgender Women of Color, even though both Transgender victims and survivors constituted just 18.88% of all reports (Ahmed).
  • Topic: Human Rights, Discrimination, Violence, LGBT+
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Melissa Rary
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: As COHRE wraps up the academic year in the coming weeks, the Center’s focus on labor rights is coming to an end, despite the vast range of important topics left to be discussed. We cannot touch on every aspect of labor rights, though it is important that the international community remain vigilant in advocating for increased respect of labor rights, particularly as we enter into an uncertain age of technological advancement and a changing climate. With this blog, I aim to shed some light on labor issues in relation to climate change, a topic often left out of academic discourse. Population increase and decreasing availability of shared resources including water and land are exacerbated by the indisputable climactic changes the earth is facing. Climate change will also affect respect for labor rights in significant ways, and if the international community is aware of these vulnerabilities, adaptation and mitigation mechanisms can be more effective in addressing the issues.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Human Rights, Labor Rights
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joey White
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: For many who have not experienced homelessness its causes lead to stigma and prejudice. But, with 78% of workers in the U.S. living paycheck to paycheck — the probability of experiencing homelessness is more common than most realize. At COHRE we noticed a disconnect between human rights discussions and homelessness. Over the next 5 weeks we have set out to focus on the effects homelessness has on human rights, as well as ways to promote human rights in our community through education on the realities homelessness.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Poverty, Welfare, Homelessness
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lauren Palarino
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Human Rights Education, University of Denver
  • Abstract: One of the most prevalent communities in the homeless population are those who are LGBTQ. In statistics with homeless youth who are aged 12 to 24 years old, LGBTQ individuals have 40% of the population despite them being only 7% of the general youth population. Once they become homeless they have higher risks of unsafe sexual behavior, victimization, mental health issues, and a predictor of engaging in crime than their housed counterparts.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Youth, LGBT+, Homelessness
  • Political Geography: Global Focus