TOWARDS DYSTOPIAN DEMOCRACIES IN EUROPE AND THE USA?
FROM PREJUDICE IN IMMIGRATION POLICIES
TO MASS SURVEILLANCE IN COUNTERTERRORISM OPERATIONS
OCTOBER 22, 2015
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
New York University
108 West Third Street, New York, NY 10012
RSVP to email@example.com by October 20
Developments of democracy in Europe and the USA have followed mutually influencing paths over the past two centuries. From the declarations of rights to the establishment of democratic institutions after WWII, these regions have built their governments on the foundation of human rights protection. These foundations have now been weakened by the responses to a number of challenges, in particular immigration and counter-terrorism.
The influx of migrants and asylum-seekers, from Africa and the Middle East to Europe and from Central and Latin America to the USA, are being met with a combination of repressive measures: walls and fences, naval military operations, laws criminalizing undocumented immigration, racial profiling, insufficient integration policies, to mention a few. Populist and xenophobic parties have fuelled racist resentment towards Muslims and immigrants in general and have encouraged hate speech and crimes.
At the same time, the USA and Europe are increasingly engaging in counter-terrorism operations in a way which is straining the democratic fabric of our society. Some of these measures have a disproportionate impact on ethnic and religious minorities, thus further polarizing societies. Governments and policy makers, claiming the incompatibility of security with human rights protection, are adopting laws and policies, which increase the powers of security services without guaranteeing the checks and balances necessary in a democracy. Ultimately, such policies contribute to the erosion of democratic core values on both sides of the Atlantic and play in the hands of populist parties and of those who promote antidemocratic causes.
6:30 pm – 6:45 pm WELCOME ADDRESS
Thomas J. CAREW, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, NYU
Jean-Philippe DEDIEU, CIRHUS Research Fellow and SCA Visiting Scholar, NYU
6:45 pm – 7:15 pm LECTURES
Nils MUIŽNIEKS, Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe
Susan N. HERMAN, President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
7:15 pm – 8:15 pm DISCUSSION & DEBATES WITH THE ROOM
Chair: Ahmed SHIHAB-ELDIN, Journalist, Correspondent, and Producer for VICE on HBO
Sally Engle MERRY, Silver Professor of Anthropology & Faculty Co-director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law, NYU
Larry SIEMS, Writer, Human Rights Activist, and Editor of Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2015)
8:15 pm – 8:30 pm CONCLUSION
Jacqueline BHABHA, FXB Director of Research, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard
CONFERENCE ORGANIZED BY:
Jean-Philippe DEDIEU, CIRHUS Research Fellow & SCA Visiting Scholar, NYU
Stefano MONTANARI, Head of Communication Unit, Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe
CONFERENCE SPONSORED BY:
Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe
FXB Center For Health And Human Rights, Harvard University