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Myanmar once again under Military dictatorship

Myanmar is once again under a military dictatorship after a military coup, just before a day when NLD (National League for Democracy) was set to form the parliament’s government. This coup came when the NLD had already won the general elections in November 2020, with a landslide victory. The military detains President Win Myint and state counsellor Aun San Suu Kyi with many other party officials.

The military has alleged voter fraud and took up the case to the Election Commission of Myanmar. But Election Commission denied all such baseless charges, which eventually led to a coup in the country. General. Min Aung Hlaing warned of a coup last week if the voter fraud is not immediately resolved.

The coup began on the morning of 1 February 2021. The NLD party was deposed by Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military) in a bloodless coup against the civilian government. Aun San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint were detained in the capital Naypyidaw. Four hundred of the NLD government officials were detained and were told to return to their home districts. The military carried troops, trucks, and armored and personal carriers during the military takeover.

The Army has declared a one-year statewide emergency, after which reelections would be held, and the power will be given to the winner. The country and its legislative functions will be under a junta (military or political party that takes control by force). The power to govern the country has been vested in Commander-in-Chief of Min Aung Hlaing’s defense services, and Myint Swe was declared as the acting president.

Protests have sprouted up in various parts of the country against the military dictatorship. Youth has already seen their parents and grandparents suffer under military rule once before, and they don’t want the same fate for their future. The protests have been peaceful for now, with no police crackdown on the protestors.

Moments after the coup, the internet has been shut down in the country. Internet service is unavailable around major cities. Myanmar has temporarily banned access to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

The country was under military rule during 1962-2011, after which democracy was put in place, and Aun San Suu Kyi first formed a government in 2015. Although NLD won the elections democratically for the first time in 2015, the military has considerable influence over Myanmar’s politics, both internally and externally.

Repressive colonial-era laws still dominate Myanmar’s constitution, which is put together by the military. The Army has been given superior power in the constitution. Since the military drafted the constitution, it favours someone from a military background to govern the country, making it almost impossible for a civilian government to maintain stability. 25% of seats in Myanmar’s parliament and three security ministries are under the military’s direct control.

USA, UN, EU, and Amnesty International have urged the ‘maintenance of democracy in the country’ and condemn military actions. The USA has already warned counter-action and government sanctions if democracy is not restored in the country.

Myanmar has already been under a lot of international criticism due to Rohingya Muslim’s genocide by the military in 2017, which has led to extrajudicial killings and large-scale violence against Muslims by the military in Myanmar. During that time, to maintain peaceful relations between her party and the military, Suu Kyi defended the Army’s genocide of Rohingya Muslims at the International Court of Justice. She received a lot of backlash from world organisations. But despite that, Suu Kyi is a popular leader in her country.

India is closely observing the situation in Myanmar. Looking at the country’s political scenario, the Indian embassy in Yangon has warned Indians living in Myanmar to take precautions and avoid unnecessary travel. Almost 7,000 NRI’s are living in Myanmar, while Indian origin people could be more than a million.

 

 

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Webinar on Menstrual Leave Bill and Maternal Leave Bill – Do they Affect Human Rights and Equality?

In Bir district of Maharashtra, village women’s uteruses are removed so that their menstrual cycle does not affect their work routine. These women work in sugarcane fields and the factory isn’t in favour of maternity leave for expecting mothers. Due to the removal of their uterus, these women have lost the ability to bear children and their menstrual cycle has been disrupted.

On December 4th, The Unfiltered Journal organized a webinar addressing the topic of Menstrual Leave Bill and the Maternity Leave Bill and how it affects human rights and equality. The speaker, Ms Afrin Khan, Assistant Professor at Kirti P. Mehta School of Law, was highly insightful about said bills and enlightened the viewers about the same.

The topic of menstruation has always been considered a taboo to talk about in public. Ms Khan narrated her own experience being in a convent school where she was told by her teacher to not write the word ‘menstruation’ as a reason for being absent but instead to write ‘stomach ache.’ From a young age, if girls are told that they shouldn’t use the word menstruation out loud, it would make it seem like there is something wrong with them.

The Menstrual Bill was first passed in 2017 which allows paid leaves during menstruation, different from medical or casual leaves. When this bill becomes a law, it is more likely to be implemented successfully in white-collar jobs, but the situation is different in rural areas. The blue-collar job employees are paid daily wages, so it becomes difficult for them to get paid if they decide to take these leaves.

Corporations should strive towards making an inclusive workforce. One way to make it easier for women in the workplace is to install a sanitary pad dispenser in the washrooms. Zomato, a leading food delivery company, has permitted menstrual leave for women. There are very few companies which have considered women’s needs. Many companies still discriminate against women and some of them are even opposed to this bill.

The Bill states that “Women are allowed to take menstrual leaves,” and is seemingly beneficial for those women who have immensely painful periods which disrupt their work-life balance. The bill is a step forward for eliminating the stigma related to women’s menstrual cycle. Article 15(3) states that these leaves granted under the bill comes under positive discrimination and some researches prove this.

Ms Khan elaborated on a study that was done where participants were asked how they would perceive a woman if she were to throw a tampon in a public place. The answers were mostly unfavourable and negative, and the people said they would consider such a person as being impure; someone who made them uncomfortable.

There have been many studies which show that such bills, although passed with good intentions often result in greater discrimination against women than before. Many people who carry such archaic attitudes to the workplace consider women to be incompetent gender and someone who can’t compete with men.

Some commentators have criticised the bill saying that a woman can face a lot of discrimination due to the introduction of it. Companies which treat their employees like machines instead of actual human beings with needs might not see the value of keeping women in the workplace.

Many bills of a similar nature have been introduced around the world. At the end of World War II, Japan had introduced the concept of menstrual leave for the first time. In countries like Indonesia, Japan, China and the USA- a bill of the same has led to discrimination against women in the workplace. Some women have felt that they are being treated as inept and weak which has resulted in them not taking the leaves during menstruation granted by such a bill.

Although it is an important Bill, it has the potential to make women seem like they lack certain abilities. Shashi Tharoor had come forward in support of the Bill on Twitter but received backlash from journalists like Barkha Dutt. She argued that “menstrual leave ghettoises women, becomes one more excuse to close certain professional doors on women and treats the monthly period as a grand event instead of routine biology.”

The subject of Maternal Leave Bill was also briefly touched upon. Ms Khan and the participants collectively agreed upon the fact that Paternal Leave should also be introduced as parenting is a team effort. Further, the speaker also elaborated that a lot of research is required to understand how exactly Maternal and Paternal Leaves are to be executed. How many weeks should be included? Should it be different for the mother and the father? or should both get an equal number of days? It is easy to enforce a law with such details depending upon one’s own view of it but for the law to be easily accepted by the masses, extensive ground research is required.

Time and again, it has been found that only a few companies comply with mandatory maternity leaves for pregnant women and new mothers. Most of the women are forced in one way another to leave their jobs after they become a mother and many are pressurized internally by their families or externally by coworkers or the boss’ behaviour to quit after having a child. In these scenarios, the menstrual bill will aggravate the situation instead of assuaging it.

Education also comes into play in such sensitive topics. If people aren’t educated enough from a young age regarding menstruation and birth, they will continue to be a taboo and give rise to resentments, inequalities and slow down the process of development considerably. In such circumstances, if these Bills are suddenly introduced, without enlightening the masses as to why they are important, Both the Bills will fall short in achieving the desired objectives.

Women in an Indian workplace are subjected to a lot of unnecessary comments and judgments that they have to deal with, among other things. It would be a long time before India is socially and logistically ready for a Menstrual or Maternity bill. Despite having good intentions, if not executed properly, the Menstrual bill might ironically increase the harassment and bullying that women have to already face at the workplace and have their credibility questioned based on their gender.

 

 

 

 

WEBINAR ON MENSTRUAL LEAVE BILL and MATERNAL LEAVE BILL. DO THEY AFFECT HUMAN RIGHTS AND EQUALITY?

ABOUT THE WEBINAR:

The Unfiltered Journal is organizing a webinar on 4th December, 2020 addressing topics such as Menstrual Leave Bill, Maternal Leave Bill and how it all affects human rights and equality.
In this webinar, speaker Ms. Afrin Khan, Assistant Professor at Kirti P. Mehta School of Law, will be enlightening us about said bills and discuss if these bills should be made mandatory to be applied in all manner of occupation or if it depends on the nature of an occupation.
We will also be touching on if these bills really help women or if they are a way to undermine them, as well as, look into if these bills are being implemented correctly. We will also be touching base on if paternity leaves should also be implemented to balance the scales.
Note: This webinar will be held virtually and has a registration fee.

ELIGIBILITY:

Anyone with an acute interest in the debate going around the Menstrual leave bill, Maternal leave bill can join the webinar.

Ms. Afrin Khan is an Assistant Professor at Kirti P. Mehta School of Law. She has a specialization in Human Rights, International Humanitarian Laws, Refugee Law and Law of Crime. LL.M (Human Rights). Ms. Khan has done her LL.M from Symbiosis Law School, Pune and P.G. Diploma in Media Laws from NALSAR Pro. Her area of research interests are Human Rights, International Humanitarian Laws, Refugee Law and International Criminal Law.

Before joining Kirit P. Mehta School of Law as an assistant professor, she was a faculty at Symbiosis Law School, Symbiosis International University, Pune. She is also a research scholar at Christ University, Bangalore, conducting a research in Victimology. She teaches courses such as Constitutional Law, Case Studies Interlinking and Hyperlinking, Law of Crimes, Law of Torts, Human Rights and Law and Medicine.

 

REGISTRATION DETAILS

DATE & TIME – 4th  December, 2020 at 12pm IST

CONTACT DETAILS

For queries related to payment or any other aspect of the event, please feel free to Contact us at, [email protected]

or contact 9199662577, Rashi Priya (Event Head)

Symposium on ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.’ 2nd November 2020 ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS:

ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS:

This event is a collaborative event by The Unfiltered Journal and Lexpert Assist.

Lexpert Assist is an Online Interactive Platform aimed at enhancing Legal Education and Creating Awareness among Legal Fraternity in a productive manner by way of various activities. Our Vision is to unite students across the country from various fields to provide them with different opportunities and platforms to express their skills and abilities through articles, blogs, opinions, news updates, and many more to help them become better lawyers.

The Unfiltered Journal is a website with a mission to put together the two powerful fields of Journalism and Law in making the readers aware of their basic rights and give people a platform to voice their opinions, problems, and issues without the fear of them being drowned out.

ABOUT THE EVENT:

The teams of The Unfiltered Journal and Lexpert Assist will be organizing a symposium on 2nd November 2020 addressing the crimes committed against the journalists.

Around 1,200 journalists have been reported killed in the period of 14 years, i.e. from 2006-2019. On average, 1 death every 4 days is reported. However, in 9/10 cases, the murderers go unpunished. Impunity leads to more killings and is often an indication of conflicts and breakdown of law and judicial systems.

Thus, in recognition of the consequences of impunity, especially with regards to the crimes against journalists, the United Nations General Assembly in 2013, announced 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ (IDEI).

EXPERT PANEL FOR SYMPOSIUM:

  1. Mr Ajit Singh – Deputy Superintendent of Police [Retd.] CID [IB]
  2. Dr. S. Krishnan Mani – Dr. S. Krishnan is an Associate Professor in Seedling School of Law and Governance, Jaipur National University, Jaipur, Rajasthan. He had also worked as a Journalist for about 7 years in esteemed newspapers like Indian Express and Daily News Analysis, online news portals and a magazine in Gujarat.
  3. Adv. Smeeksha Pandey– Advocate at Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court and Council Member at WICCI Luxembourg.
  4. Adv. Akriti Shikha – Advocate at Bombay High Court and Former Associate at Luthra and Luthra Associates.
  5. Carol Andrade – Veteran Journalist, Academician, Advisory board member, The Unfiltered Journal

 

STUDENT PANEL FOR SYMPOSIUM:

  1. Mr. Shubham Bhargava– He is currently pursuing Masters in PR and Mass Communications from The Delhi School of Communications. He has won more than 200 debates and conferences all around the country including the National Students Union of India Debate 2019. He also got the opportunity to host the Times of India Litfest 2019.

 

REGISTRATION DETAILS

  • No registration fees.
  • Platform – Google Meet

 

DATE & TIME – 2nd November 2020 at 6 PM IST

LINK – Click to Join

CONTACT DETAILS

For any queries feel free to Contact us at [email protected] , [email protected]

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Anxiety and How to Cope with It

We have all experienced the nervousness and anxiety set in just before an exam, a big presentation, moving to a new place or going for a job interview. The butterflies that start building up in your stomach, the sweaty palms and the constant fidgeting that doesn’t end till the task at hand are done. These are the common and not so severe signs of anxiety.

It’s normal to feel anxious in stressful situations, but in the case of an anxiety disorder, that feeling of fear may constantly be with you. The increasing intensity of fear that becomes bothersome to the point that it hinders your communication and cognitive skills in any situation is worrisome.

Psychiatrist Dr Naazneen Ladak was kind enough to enlighten us on the topic of anxiety on Monday in an interactive zoom session hosted by Bhoomi Asher, a content writer at The Unfiltered Journal.

In her many years of experience, Dr Ladak has dealt with many patients suffering from mental disorders and has helped them throughout their visits to her. “Anxiety is definitely something that comes under the mental health umbrella as it is also associated with disorders like depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Various situations can trigger an anxiety attack like insecurities and uncertainties, anticipation, and even phobias like a fear of heights or closed spaces could lead to an attack.” Dr Ladak suggests maintaining a journal if you suffer from anxiety and documenting every time you have an attack.

While speaking of triggers, Dr Ladak says triggers can steam from anything, a dreaded meeting, a tough examination and most often it steams from phobias. One can’t know when something might trigger an attack but they can calm themselves or others by way of distraction techniques.

Anxiety is usually categorized with panic attacks. However, it is not the same thing. Panic attacks can occur suddenly without an obvious trigger. Some of the symptoms include a racing or pounding heartbeat, dizziness, chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath and sweating. An anxiety attack, on the other hand, follows a buildup of excessive worry. Symptoms may be more intense over the next few minutes or hours, although it may be less intense than a panic attack. Rapid heart rate, restlessness, fatigue, dizziness and constant fear are some of the many symptoms of an anxiety attack.

In a country like India, the topic of mental health is always kept hush-hush due to the lack of awareness about it. There has always been a big stigma around people suffering from mental illnesses. The longer you wait, the more feelings are pent up eventually leading to a breakdown. And the longer it takes for you to accept you have a problem, the longer it will take to receive the necessary help. “Never shy away from seeking help in these situations,” was one of the suggestions by Dr, Ladak.

If you have family or friends who may be suffering from similar disorders, just talking to them about what makes them happy and comfortable can help cope with it and can help calm the person down.

Mindfulness is another method of coping with anxiety as it helps reduce anxiousness and depression. It makes you focus on the present moment without ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. It also encourages a person to see things from a different perspective. “After all, it is in our hands to create and change our thoughts as we have that remote control,” says Dr Ladak.

The event ended with Dr Nazneen answering a few questions from the chatbox, one of which was how not to let failures affect you. The doctor in a very warm tone spoke, “Everybody has an idol or famous personality that they look up to. But, most of the time you only see the tip of that iceberg, which is all the success that person has received.” She further explains that no one focuses on the failure and struggle it took to get to peaks of success. The fear of failure causes anxiety and also leads a person to give up when a certain project is not going their way. To reach that level of success, we have to treat our failures as a stepping stone and keep going no matter how long it takes.

“Ultimately, we are all human beings, and we have flaws. Accept that.” This is Dr Ladak’s advice to us all. Never seek validation from every person you meet. There’s no point in being so critical of yourself or worried about what others may think of you. When you learn to stand up for your values and principles, people will respect that.