Inaugural Edition: Editorial Foreword

2018 was a year of significant and transformative change. 2019 will prove to be no different.

With the AfD becoming the third most popular party in Germany and the recent election of authoritarian nationalist Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, we have observed the far-right rising. A caravan of people from Central America, walking towards the hope for a better life, was deemed a national security threat by President Trump and met with the mobilisation of the US troops. The WWF Living Planet report and the IPPC warned that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens our civilisation, stating that we only have 12 years to stop climate change.

At the same time, in a historic decision India’s Supreme Court has finally ruled that gay sex is no longer a criminal offence, lifting the colonial-era laws put in place to prosecute and punish gay people. Progress has been made with a record number of women, including the first two Muslim representatives being elected to the US Congress in the recent Midterm Elections. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, globally thousands of children have taken to the streets to protest the failure of government leaders to combat climate change and the violations of their right to a clean environment and their right to life.

While there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustices, there must never be a time when we fail to shed light on them, protest them, and open platforms for a diverse range of voices to be heard. As such, the inaugural edition of the jfa journal is dedicated to human rights issues at the intersections of climate change and the changing social and political climate around the world.

Our People section showcases the individual’s everyday fight for their own rights. It reflects on people’s experiences with human rights from an interdisciplinary perspective - both through personal stories and comprehensive academic analyses. We break the stigma surrounding sex-workers and sexual violence, and seek to provoke critical debates on issues of representation in media.

Our Politics section sheds light on the experiences of those whose states have failed to protect them and who have endured dangerous journeys, armed conflict, and oppression. We have sought perspectives that challenge popular narratives, aiming to reflect violations of human rights both at home and abroad. We continue to believe that denouncing these violations is paramount to holding our institutions accountable.

The wellbeing of our fragile planet is a prerequisite for the full enjoyment of human rights, which is why our Environment section is dedicated to highlighting the stories of those whose very right to life is being threatened by climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the degradation of the natural environment.

We have truly enjoyed the journal production process, which would not have been possible without the extraordinary dedication of our contributors, graphic designer and fellow editors. We want to take this opportunity to thank them for their efforts in making this special issue, which marks the revival and recreation of the LSESU Amnesty International society’s human rights journal in its new format, the jfa, possible.

We hope this journal inspires you to discuss, challenge, and reflect upon critical issues shaping contemporary human rights discourse.