World Population Problem: Women to be saved from Adolescent Jeff Chan Current Affairs Secretary World University Service, HKUB, HKUSU
world population on the rise population problem on the rise?
July 11, the “World Population Day”, is a day designated to highlight population related issues by the United Nations. This year, its theme is on teenage pregnancy. As in Ireland, “The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013” has also raised heated discussion on the topic over pregnancy and abortion, making July 2013 a special month to address the mentioned issues. World population is rising every year and so do the problems associated with population growth. Regardless of whether the country is highly developed or still struggling to flourish in economic development; there are teen pregnancy and abortion issues affecting the society. While the number of cases for teen pregnancy is lower in places with adequate education, around 16 million girls give births every year under the age of 18, of which 95% occur in low-‐ and middle-‐income countries. A staggering 3.2 million of these teens experience unsafe abortions each year. The causes of adolescent births come in all shapes and sizes. The lack of sexuality education in developing countries is a major factor. Culture plays a significant role as well. Many societies have the norm in which female get married and give birth at an early age rather than receive higher education due to their lower chance in being offered any employment opportunities. Knowing little or not any knowledge of how to avoid being pregnant, adolescents from developing countries are especially vulnerable to the traps of teenage pregnancy. The lack of contraceptives comes second among the factors contributing to teenage pregnancy in developing countries. Besides the mentioned causes, adolescent pregnancy may yet to unveil sexual violence,
especially vulnerable to the traps of teenage pregnancy. The lack of contraceptives comes second among the factors contributing to teenage pregnancy in developing countries. Besides the mentioned causes, adolescent pregnancy may yet to unveil sexual violence, which can have adverse effect on the victim. The causes of adolescent births have little to do with the seriousness of the consequences . Adolescent pregnancy always posts health danger to both the mother and the child. Pregnancy at an early age causes preterm birth, low birth weight and asphyxia. Threat of stillbirths and death in the first week and first month is greater. Complications in adolescent births cause death in women aged 15-‐19. Many unwanted pregnancies at an early age contribute to the rising statistics in induced abortion. However, not all abortions are carried out in safe conditions. In 2008, there were an estimated three million unsafe abortions in developing countries among 15–19 year olds. These expose the mothers to greater health risks and even result in deaths. Problems associated with adolescent pregnancy do not limit to health issues, but also human rights. Mentioned earlier in this commentary, one cause of early pregnancy is early marriage. Child marriage is a threat to human rights identified worldwide. Yet many girls from developing countries fell victim to child marriage, leading to problems like adolescent pregnancy. Because of traditions or social norms, females in some society get married young. Yet this violates article 16(2) of the Universal declaration of human rights, which states that “marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.” article 16 of the convention on the elimination of all Forms of discrimination against Women (cedaW) states that women should have the same right as men to “freely choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent”. SUBHEAD GOES HERE
Child Marriage - Inequality to Women
Child Marriage - Inequality to Women
Higher Education? Teen Pregnancy?
spouses." Article 16 of the convention on the elimination of all Forms of discrimination against Women (cedaW) states that women should have the same right as men to “freely choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent”. Adolescent pregnancy does not just happen in the developing countries, but their counter-‐part as well. In the modern societies of the developed world, with proper sex education and accessible contraceptives, it is astonishing to find that early pregnancy is not uncommon. Taking the United States as an example, the States has the highest teen pregnancy and birth rate of the Western industrialized world. Statistics show that about 820,000 teens become pregnant each year, indicating that around 34 percent of teenagers have at least one pregnancy before the age of 20. 79 percent of teens who become pregnant are unmarried while 80 percent of teenage pregnancies are unintended. These disturbing figures have yet to unveil something that is more alarming: nearly four out of ten girls who had sex experience at the age of 13 or 14 reported that the sex was unwanted or involuntary. Adolescent pregnancy causes the same health problems in modern societies and in the developing world. Although with medical care, health issues caused by teenage pregnancy have better resolutions in developed countries, the social consequences and psychological impact are not less serious. Teen mothers are more likely to drop out of high school and deprived of the chance to pursue higher education. This does not only hold back personal development, but subsequently lead to reduced chance in employment. The financial support required to raise a child often puts the mother's situation in jeopardy, especially for unmarried mothers. The social class of teen mothers is seriously affected because of their lower ability in earning their own living. Pregnancy may induce sudden and drastic change in relationships with family and peers. Suicide is considered as an option to choose for some teen mothers to evade from this menace. Continue newsletter text here.
A widely adopted way of reducing the negative effects brought about by teen pregnancy is to perform abominations. However, surgeries for abominations are not available everywhere and definitely not allowed everywhere. Ireland, for instance, does not allow abomination of fetuses which still have heartbeats. Yet the tragic and preventable death of Savita Halappanavar who had a miscarriage last year has caused the Irish government to pass The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 in July 2013. This has also sparked up discussion on whether women have the rights to carry out an abomination. The rights to abomination is a complicated topic and there are plenty of room for discussion elsewhere. What we can see is that teenage pregnancy in both the developing world and modern society causes great social problems. Teenage pregnancy posts great threats to women in enjoying their rights. In the developing world, it is deeply enrooted in poverty, gender inequality, forced child marriage, lack of education and incapability of associated institutions in protecting women's rights. In modernized world, teens may not be aware of the seriousness of consequences of sex. Girls are likely to be the ones who bear serious consequences, but the opposite sex should never shed that responsibility. There could be much more done to better promote sex equality and protection of women's rights.
Abortion is not the solution to teenage pregnancy, it is much more practical to put an effort in preventing it in first place then to try to solve it when it is too late.
WHICH SHOULD GO FIRST, PRIVACY OR SAFETY?
Edward Snowden, who is a former technical contractor for the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency, leaked the information regarding the NSA security to the Britain’s The Guardian in spring 2013. The Guardian then revealed the US security programs in June 2013. Snowden's disclosures on one hand are said to rank among the most significant NSA security breaches in United States history. On the other hand, he has also raised the age-‐old question: to what extent should citizens swap their privacy for security? Which should go first, privacy or safety?
Koey Chan Current Affairs Secretary World University Service, HKUB, HKUSU
In this era when privacy and security have both played important roles in society, it is crucial to strike a balance between them. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) specifically protected territorial and communications privacy. Article 12 states: No-‐one should be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks on his honour or reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interferences or attacks. However, in this case of the USA, it seems that the government has valued security much more than privacy, leading to an exploitation of citizens’ privacy.
According to Snowden’s disclosure, the security programmes by the US government have covered too many unnecessary areas. The government launched programmes such as the interception of US and European telephone metadata and the PRISM, XKeyscore, and Tempora Internet surveillance programs. For example, operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007, PRISM is a clandestine mass electronic surveillance data mining programme. It is revealed that the NSA analysts are allowed to search and record the communications of Americans and other people without court approval and supervision. Citizens’ daily conversations have been heard and collected by NSA without any conditions.
Edward Snowden wanted to protect privacy and basic liberties.
Privacy and basic libert
The NSA would even store the records in its databank for future reference. Snowden has once stated that the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew and included what he characterized as "dangerous" and "criminal" activities (Gianluca, 2013). Although national security is significant to the development of the whole country, collecting information regarding private communications without any condition and suspicion is considered to be unnecessary. Furthermore, alternatives can be adopted to ensure national security instead of infringing citizens’ privacy directly. It is worth noting that the USA has adopted the aforementioned programmes for ensuring national security and combating terrorism. However, there are still many other ways to achieve these aims. For example, stricter safety checks in airports will help combat terrorism. Scanning and collecting conversations of people and organisations under reasonable suspicion with specific warrants is also another means to ensure national security. By doing so, both national security and general public’s privacy can be protected. It may be argued that it will lower the effectiveness of the protection. Yet, it is hardly acceptable for many innocent people to be stalked in order to find the single guilty person. Neither the US constitution nor Hong Kong's Basic Law permits such kind of random search and seizure of people, property or private information. This kind of search would be considered as illegal and unreasonable. Hence, such monitoring programmes should be replaced by other alternatives which are legal and more reasonable.
Some citizens wanted to protect Edward Snowden.
Edward Snowden disclosed the information in the Guardian.
Admittedly, it is difficult for the US to change the current situation easily. If the present condition is going to be changed, it would mean to the USA that the level of national security is going to be lower since not all private information will be scanned. Some Americans may have a general acceptance that certain activities are needed to protect the whole country. Besides, it is unlikely for America to give this surveillance and intelligence industry up due to the fact that this is actually a multibillion-‐ dollar industry with deeply entrenched interests across both government and business sectors (SCMP, 2013). Considering the economic interest, the American government and the related business sectors are less likely to alter the current situations. Since the current circumstance is unlikely to be altered without external interference, it is an appropriate time for the world to consider an international treaty with binding powers on internet security and behaviour. International organisations such as the United Nations should play an active role in monitoring countries’ behaviours. Standard and intensity of internet security and scanning should be set out in order to protect citizens’ privacy. International pressure should be exerted if any breach of the treaty is discovered. By this, countries which practice strict internet monitoring may probably consider changing the present situation. To conclude, the Snowden saga has reminded us that we should strike a balance between national security and citizens’ privacy. Yet, such a balance is not easy to be found. External parties should play an important role in this process. As a global citizen, it is high time for us to consider what other measures we can adopt so that both national security and public privacy can be ensured and protected.
Three countries have other asylum to Edward Snowden.
Liberty and Privacy – A Human Right Matthew Foreman Nowadays, we as free citizens do not expect governments of developed societies to carry out clandestine spying – activities which we deem a violation of our rights. Yet, we are now seeing a plethora of evidence revealing the existence of such surreptitious activities right under our noses. Recently, an event which sparked a moral conundrum emerged: highly classified documents leaked to the press by Edward Snowden – a former employee for America’s National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). These documents revealed America’s “Mass Surveillance” program, which contained activities such as telephone and email interceptions, as well as private data collection. These are all issues concerning privacy and human rights, as private and illegal surveillance is rightly perceived as an infringement of such rights. Snowden’s revelation sparked uproar in the public sector. The American government was spying on the public on a scale that was far more serious than previously thought. Even more disturbing was that in 2007, Obama had decried mass surveillance: “I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war…… Our Constitution works.” Essentially, Obama guaranteed people’s privacy – a right of an individual. But not only did Obama ignore his own promise to reduce the illegal spying on citizens, he instead expanded it. This shows how Obama went back on his promise and outright lied and completely ignores the 4th and 5th Amendments of the Constitution and the Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which entitles American citizens to privacy and forbid mass surveillance. Obama has broken the constitution, as well as
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Constitution and the Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which entitles American citizens to privacy and forbid mass surveillance. Obama has broken the constitution, as well as becoming increasingly hypocritical. America, a self-‐ proclaimed free and democratic country, has committed activities which are eerily similar to totalitarian and fascist regimes, typified by George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel “1984.” People are treated as default criminals; every citizen is seemingly a potential threat to national security. This is not freedom and definitely does not account for human rights to liberty and privacy. As Benjamin Franklin puts it, “they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Is this the case?
UK Visitor Security Bond – An Unfortunate Blow to International Equality Mishty Negi The world is a global village and no country should consider itself above the other. Striving for equality has been a mainstay of the international relations. In the lights of these noble attempts the United Kingdom’s recent whimsical policy of introducing a new visa bond scheme that would force visitors from “high risk” countries to pay £3,000 for a six month visa, which will be forfeited in case of overstay in that country has come as a rude shock. A bond is normally enforced where there are some concerns that an applicant may not comply with their visa conditions. While coming up with this policy, the UK pointed out that New Zealand and Australia apply similar financial bonds to mitigate the risk of overstaying their visa. But why did this UK’s latest legislation meet with large scale anger and controversies? Here is the catch: The policy in which UK unabashedly brackets India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Nigeria in the “high risk” category of illegal immigrants is highly discriminatory. This security bond is clearly targeted at the ‘non-‐white Commonwealth countries’ therefore, plunging the world into criticism of UK’s racist and arguably discriminatory treatment of its former colonies. It is incompatible with the strong and cordial relations built over the years among the Commonwealth nations and will surely undermine the spirit of Commonwealth family. In its reaction, enraged Nigeria said it rejects the proposed UK visa policy, threatening that it would push for similar treatment for UK immigrants in Nigeria. India is shocked that the UK has taken such an extreme step even though the two countries have been in a ‘strategic partnership’ since 2004. It’s a slap of humiliation on the pride of the countries that after a sad history of being plundered are finally developing both on economic and international status front. There are defaulters
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countries have been in a ‘strategic partnership’ since 2004. It’s a slap of humiliation on the pride of the countries that after a sad history of being plundered are finally developing both on economic and international status front. There are defaulters of all nationality, but categorizing an entire nation based on a few cases as “high risk” sends an exaggerated message of the need for being suspicious of the targeted countries to the rest of the world. Secondly the bond amount is disproportionately high putting an added financial burden on visitors on top of their travel costs. It’s an example of rights for the rich. UK should face legal accusation for discriminating against categories of immigrants and targeting the poor and ethnic minorities. Enforcing of this policy would be the defeat of international equality.
Published on Sep 6, 2013