The Rights Track podcast gets the hard facts about the human rights challenges facing the world today and aims to get our thinking about human rights on the right track.
The podcast is hosted by Professor Todd Landman, a human rights scholar and champion for the advancement of human rights understanding.
In Series 6 we're discussing human rights and COVID19. We are in conversation with leading advocates and scholars as we look to learn if and how human rights are under threat as a result of the pandemic, what this means for specific groups and individuals and what needs to be done to protect, preserve, uphold and advance human rights in this context .
In Series 5, we dig deeper into the relationship between SDG 8.7 and the United Nations’ other Sustainable Development Goals. We ask if developing stronger institutions could lead to slave-free supply chains or if making businesses better is the route to a world free of slavery by 2030. How does achieving these goals together lead to the single aim of a better and more sustainable future for us all?
The Rights Track is supported by the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council, and the University of Nottingham.
Each episode is an insightful, compelling and rigorous interview with academics engaged in systematic human rights research.
In Series 1, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, Todd interviews leading analysts at the forefront of the latest critical thinking on human rights.
In Series 2, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, The Rights Track turns its attention to human rights advocates and practitioners involved in the struggle for human rights to learn more about their work and the ways in which academic research is helping them.
In Series 3, our podcast joins the fight to end modern day slavery by 2030. In partnership with the University of Nottingham's Right's Lab research project, we talk with researchers who are providing hard evidence about the scale of the problem and by recommending strategies that can help consign slavery to the history books.
Series 4 continues with the theme of modern slavery and sees our podcast on the road, capturing the voices, thoughts and ideas of people from around the world who are part of the global coalition to end it.
Although our interviews focus on often complex research, they have been developed with a much wider audience in mind and we ensure they are accessible to anyone with an interest in human rights.
The podcast is produced and edited by former BBC journalist and founder of Research Podcasts, Christine Garrington. Podcast research and promotion is by Krissie Brighty-Glover.
If you would like to get involved with The Rights Track, we have a Facebook Group where you can keep up with the project, suggest ideas for guests and questions you'd like us to ask on your behalf. You can also follow us on Twitter @RightsTrack.
Covid, race and inequality: why it's time to hold tight to human rights
Dominique Day from the Daylight Collective discusses how COVID19 has disproportionately affected the lives of Black Americans of African descent.
COVID-19 and women's rights: what impact is the pandemic having?
In Episode 1 of Series 6, Todd is talking with Dr. Nina Ansary an award-winning Iranian-American author, historian, and women's rights advocate. Nina is the UN Women Global Champion for Innovation and Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics Centre for Women, Peace & Security, and author of Anonymous Is a Woman: A Global Chronicle of Gender Inequality. They discuss the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on women’s rights and on the citizens of Iran.
00.00 - 05.06
Todd begins by asking Nina for her reflections on the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on Iran. She comments that:
Covid 19 has served to exacerbate existing economic problems and far from supporting the population the regime has continued its crackdown on advocates for freedom and closer ties with the West The health service is under severe strain not helped by the impact of sanctions resulting in shortages of medical equipment and medicines Overall Iranians now feel more isolated than ever
While there are numerous organisations engaged in lobbying on human rights issues the international community could do more The impact of Covid 19 has pushed human rights issues to the background
05.06 – 06.55
Todd moves on to ask Nina for her take on the existing nuclear power deal and US sanctions.
She argues that while the sanctions are not the cause of Iran’s economic difficulties they have accelerated the impact of economic mismanagement and corruption, which has fallen on the people and not the regime or its leaders.
06.55 – 11.05
The discussion moves onto the impact of Covid 19 on women’s rights. Prior to the pandemic, Nina says:
The advancement of women’s rights was moving at a ‘glacial’ pace. Discrimination was present in a wide range of economic and political activity Stereotyping of women was commonplace
The effect of the pandemic has been to exacerbate inequalities, expose vulnerabilities, encourage discriminatory practices, and set back the advancement of women’s rights, in particular those who are most vulnerable and those who are marginalised. Nina notes that women have been losing employment at a disproportionate rate as a result of Covid 19. She concludes by referencing the Beijing World Conference on Women 1995 and the lack of progress made since then.
11.05 – 15.05
When asked about the impact of the pandemic on women in the USA Nina refers to existing reforms which have been too narrow and the need to “move beyond the reforms of the past” to create a more equitable future. Todd then asks whether Nina foresees a move to resurrect the Equal Rights Amendment in the USA (ERA).
In reply she points out that women in the USA are not united around this topic and that even within the ERA movement there was/is a tendency to fragment into different groups which is a limiting factor and an obstacle to reform.
15.05 – 19.40
Todd moves on to discuss Nina’s work at the U.N. Appointed as a Global champion for innovation in 2019. Her focus is to drive transformational change by,
Creating more opportunities for women and girls especially in technology and entrepreneurship Raising awareness of barriers to progress Highlighting women who have made significant contributions in those fields which have been overlooked downplayed or ignored. Nina refers to Dr. Jessica Wade who been challenging theses stereotyped b posting the names of women who have made significant contributions in the field of science. Working towards equality in participation, representation and opportunity in those fields Discrimination and stereotyping which serve to hold women back. Here she references the infamous post by Google engineer James Damores, whose internal memo suggested that women were biologica
Freedom from slavery: what have we learned from The Rights Track
In this second of two special episodes of The Rights Track, Todd reflects on what has been learned about modern slavery from our podcast and its contribution towards UN Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 to end global modern slavery by 2030.
Advancing human rights: what have we learned from The Rights Track?
In this first of two special episodes of The Rights Track, Todd reflects on what has been learned about the advancement of human rights from our podcast since it was launched in 2015.
Episodes featured How is the church leading the fight to end modern slavery? Rt Rev Alastair Redfern
Crunching numbers: modern slavery and statistics Sir Bernard Silverman
Eye in the sky: rooting out slavery from space Doreen Boyd
Hating the haters: tackling radical right groups in the United States Heidi Beirich
Picture this: using photography to make a case for environmental rights Garth Lenz
Refugees: why hard times need hard facts Gonzalo Vargas LLosa
In the minority: the right to identity, culture and heritage Clare Thomas
Evidence for change: the work of Human Rights Watch Iain Levine
Advancing human rights the Amnesty way Meghna Abraham
Islam and the West: questions of human rights Akbar Ahmed
Pursuing justice: what role for research evidence? Dixon Osburn
Women and Trump: a question of rights? Monica Casper
Gay rights - how far have we come? Richard Beaven
Does America need a Truth Commission? Karen Salt and Christopher Phelps
Human rights: reasons to be joyful William Simmionds
Making human rights our business Shareen Hertel
How can statistics advance human rights? Patrick Ball
A matter of opinion: What do we really think about human rights? James Ron
Beyond GDP: a measure of economic and social rights Sakiko Fukuda-Parr
Modern day slavery: counting and accounting Kevin Bales
How do we count victims of torture? Will Moore
Do NGOs matter? Amanda Murdie
Are we better at human rights than we used to be? Chris Fariss
The Congo, cobalt and cash: what connects SDGs 9 and 8.7?
S05 E08 Siddharth Kara from the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and Hannah Lerigo-Stephens from the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham discuss the business of modern slavery and what it will take to get corporations everywher
The business of modern slavery: what connects SDG 8.7 with its overarching SDG8?
In Episode 7 of Series 5, Todd is joined by John Gathergood, Professor of Economics at the University of Nottingham, and Genevieve LeBaron, Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield. John’s research focuses on understanding consumer behaviour in financial markets, and more recently the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on households. Genevieve’s work is at the forefront of the emerging evidence base on forced labour, human trafficking, and slavery in the global economy.
In this episode, the discussion focusses on the interaction between the broader goals of SDG 8 and target SDG 8.7, which focuses on ending modern slavery by 2030.
Todd begins the discussion by asking John to give an overview on the drivers of economic growth and the benefits of trade.
Growth is seen as the result of a combination of technological evolution and the development of skills leading to increasingly efficient production processes However, the benefits of growth are not evenly distributed This leads to the creation of winners (the owners of capital and the organisers of production) and losers (those not in control of production processes) In John’s view the current COVID pandemic has brought this inequality more sharply into focus, along with the need to ensure that economic growth does not come at the expense of exploitation of certain labour groups.
05.00 – 07.33
Todd asks John about the role of trade and John say it is fundamental in generating growth. He points out that:
One of the foundations of the capitalist system is trade and specialisation. Trade facilitates specialisation and growth There have been waves of globalisation throughout history (often associated with pandemics) The last 30 years have seen the largest international movement of capital affecting the location of production and the development of increasingly complex supply chains, which has been good for growth However, he adds that the fragmentation of production has exacerbated inequality, made complex supply chains very difficult to monitor, and susceptible to labour exploitation.
07.33 – 10.36
In Genevieve’s view, discussions on growth often overlook the business models at the centre of the mass production, fast turnover retail sector producing cheap disposable goods.
Her research suggests the business models are “hard wired” to produce inequality and labour exploitation. Problems in supply chains are longstanding. Throughout history, capitalism has relied heavily on the exploitation of vulnerable groups for forced labour and slavery. 10.36 – 16.33
Genevieve’s research, covering retail supply chains in China, tea and cocoa supply chains in India and Ghana, and garment supply chains in Southern India, has yielded several insights.
Labour exploitation is not unusual. Common patterns emerge Why certain businesses have an endemic demand for forced labour How and why supply chains are set up to facilitate labour exploitation, in terms of how businesses make money from forced labour, and the business models they use There are clear and discernable patterns regarding both the supply and demand drivers of forced labour in global supply chains. She argues that:
Although the geography of exploitation and the people involved has changed over time, some form of forced labour is a constant factor in the capitalist model of production throughout history Solutions to issues of labour exploitation need to go beyond looking just at supply chains and confront the structures which have given rise to these problems John adds that a key factor in supply chains is lack of accountability (anonymity) in the upper levels of supply chains, which is useful for efficient production, but can lead to labour exploitation lower down the chain.
16.33 – 19.50
The discussion moves on to the persistence of unfree labour globally
Customer ReviewsSee All
Brilliant and cutting-edge
Superb and eye-opening. The only podcast of its kind. The host is excellent and there is a breathtaking variety of fascinating guests and topics.
Fantastic coverage of cutting-edge research in human rights. Professor Todd Landman’s interviews have helped me to develop my understanding of complex human rights research further - that is engaging and easy to digest. These podcasts are a great way to discover groundbreaking approaches to analysing human rights from across the world - on the go.