International Human Rights

Non-Intervention, Regional Stability and the ASEAN Court of Human Rights
-Ben Petok

Introduction

This paper will take a broad view of human rights abuses in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and attempt to determine if there is a possible solution to the non-interventionist makeup of the ASEAN. Furthermore, this paper will give an overview of human rights abuses in a few of the more prominent ASEAN member states, the worldview that is used by those member states to rationalize the suppression of the fundamental rights of their citizens and the implementation of a human rights mechanism in the region.The paper will explore the language of the ASEAN Charter as compared with the UN Charter in Section I.  Section II will look at four member states, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Each of these states has varying degrees of human rights abuse and political, ethnic or religious repression and oppression. Section III will ask about how international aid is disbursed to the ASEAN member states[1] and will seek to determine if aid from international corporations and from lenders such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is dependent on proof of compliance with international human rights norms. Section IV will briefly discuss what attempts have been made by ASEAN member states to come into some level of compliance with international human rights norms. Section V will discuss the current development and implementation of an ASEAN court of human rights. Finally, Section VI discusses the notion of how Western aid organizations and investment groups (such as trans-national corporations and the IMF) can require measureable compliance with international human rights norms for the disbursement of dollars into the ASEAN economy. Would such a requirement infringe too deeply on the sovereignty of individual ASEAN members, and is it too late for those member states to withdraw from their obligations to such Western powers?

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[1] The author acknowledges that the ASEAN member states are not entirely unique in the way they receive aid. However, because this paper focuses on the ASEAN members and specifically on the interplay between human rights implementation and international investment and aid to those countries, they are the focus of such statements throughout the paper.

Reproductive Justice

Seeking Reproductive Justice: Written Practice Agreements and [the lack of] Home Birth Choice
-Leandra Carrasco

Introduction

Sabrina was seven months pregnant with her first child when St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City closed its doors at the end of April, 2010. Little did she know, even though she was planning a home birth with a licensed midwife, the hospital closure meant she would be forced to change her birthing plans. In New York, up until the end of July, 2010, as in most states in the United States, a licensed midwife was required to have a written practice agreement with an obstetrician or a hospital if she was going to practice outside of a hospital setting. St. Vincent’s was the only hospital that “backed” home birth midwives in New York. As such, Sabrina’s midwife, along with six of the other thirteen home birth midwives in New York, was no longer legally able to practice. With two months to her due date, decisions needed to be made: should Sabrina continue with her birth plans, risking that her midwife might get “caught” practicing without the necessary written practice agreement? Should she acquiesce and have a hospital birth despite her desire to give birth at home? Or, should she risk birthing at home without a midwife? None of these options are particularly desirable.  And, they all result in reproductive oppression.[1]

The purpose of this paper is to explore the reproductive justice impact of the regulatory requirement that certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) have written practice agreements (WPAs) with obstetricians or hospitals in order to practice home birth. I begin this paper with some background – an overview of the state legislation relating to WPAs, a brief look at home birth in America, and a general introduction to Reproductive Justice Theory. In the model of Reproductive Justice, I will then look at the interests of the parties who are key to this issue: the state, midwives, parents, physicians and hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry. Following this, I will review the case law that relates to a parent’s right to choose where and how to birth. I will then turn to how the legislation creates reproductive oppression. Finally, this paper will examine two options for working toward reproductive justice in this area: attacking legislation on legal grounds and working for legislative change.

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[1] This story is a hypothetical one based loosely on the facts about St. Vincent’s closing expressed in: Anemona Hartocollis, St. Vincent’s Closing Puts Midwives in Jeopardy, N.Y. Times, May 5, 2010, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/nyregion/06midwives.html?_r=1.