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Summer 2013

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,  

Summer 2013

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

Summer 2013

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.

Summer 2013

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.  


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.

Summer 2013

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  

BA(3) Year  1  

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  

BSc(QFin) Year  1  

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.  

WUSHKUB Summer 2013 Current Affairs Newsletter  
WUSHKUB Summer 2013 Current Affairs Newsletter