The issue of Chinese Uighur camps

The issue of Chinese Uighur camps

 

HUMANITARIAN

The issue of Chinese Uighur camps

uighur protest in china
Emily Murphy

20th February 2021

 

On 2 February, the BBC released an article which consisted of numerous testimonies of alleged systemic rape of Uighur women in Chinas ‘re-education’ camps. The article also included reports of alleged beatings at the hands of prison guards as well as multiple forms of electrocution endured by detainees. Despite the atrocities detailed in the report, there seems to be very little backlash at all, anywhere in the world, and only a few days later, the news seems to have slipped into the collective subconscious. Reports like these are not new, we have been hearing rumours since late 2018, so why has nothing been done? Why does no one seem to care?

 

The Uighur are a Muslim Turkic minority based primarily in the Xinjiang, a region in northwestern China, that borders Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and five other countries. It is an autonomous region, which means, in theory, that it has some self-governance powers. However in reality the area is faced with major restrictions from China. Despite being briefly independent in the early 20th-century, the region has been under the control of the Chinese communist party since 1949.

 

There have been reports of China’s suppression of Uighur rights and rumours of growing tensions since 2013. The region that the Uighurs inhabit is the home to numerous development projects which have brought with them great economic prosperity. Xinjiang has therefore become very attractive to young, well-educated Han Chinese who migrate from the eastern regions. These economic migrants have become prosperous in Xinjiang, and rumours that they are given preferential treatment when applying for jobs has fueled resentment among the two groups. These tensions gave rise to increased support for anti-imperialism, pro-separatist movements. Under the guise of restoring peace and quashing the ‘terrorist’ movement, the Chinese government began imposing strict regulations and infringing on Uighur rights. In 2017, the government passed laws forbidding women from wearing veils or face coverings, men from growing beards, and began the demolition of dozens of mosques. The Chinese government also began implementing “residential surveillance” in many areas of Xinjiang as well as increasing the presence of armed guards and mandatory checkpoints.

 

Since 2017, more than 85 camps housing at least one million Uighurs have been discovered in the autonomous zone. China originally denied the existence of the camps however they later acknowledged them as “re-education centres” when images of camps with watchtowers and barbed wire fences emerged. This was met with mixed responses. The U.N. Human Rights Council penned a letter in which 22 countries condemned the Chinese leadership and the “large-scale arbitrary detention of Uighurs”. Four days later 37 countries, many of whom are Muslim majority defended China’s “achievements in the field of human rights” and their dedication to protecting the nation from “terrorism, separatism and religious extremism”. In February 2019, President Xi Jinping stated that the Chinese Communist Party should have absolute control over the legal system. The government then legalised ‘arbitrary and secret detention’ and created new legislation which would exempt police from any legal responsibilities for damage that may be caused to the private property or interests of individuals and organizations while they carry out duties.

 

Tursunay Ziawudun, the key interviewee in a BBC article describes some of the brutal acts inflicted on her and other inmates during the nine months she spent in the camp. It is incredibly rare to acquire a first-hand account from a former staff member or detainee, and because there is strict security surrounding the camps it is almost impossible to completely confirm the allegations made, however, the account given by Ziawudun is extremely similar to accounts given by other former detainees. Details given in her testimony are corroborated by immigration records and travel documents and her description of the camp in Xinyuan county match analysed satellite imagery. In her interview with the BBC, she stated that detainees were forced to watch propaganda programmes, forcibly injected with a “vaccine” which brought on numbness and nausea every 15 days and implanted with IUDs against their will. Later in her interview, Ziawudun stated that she had been gang-raped on three occasions and on one occasion officers took her to a room without surveillance and tortured her by pushing an electric stick inside her genital tract and electrocuting her.

 

“It is incredibly rare to acquire a first-hand account from a former staff member or detainee, and because there is strict security surrounding the camps it is almost impossible to completely confirm the allegations made”

 

Qelbinur Sedik, an Uzbek woman from Xinjiang, a former language teacher in the camp who has publicly stated since fleeing China that she was informed by a female police officer in the camp that the rape in the camp had become a culture. The officer also told her that it was commonly gang rape and electrocution. Sedik testified to the Uighur Human Rights Project that screams were often heard echoing through the buildings, and that she was aware of four forms of electric shock that were used. These included “the chair, the glove, the helmet and anal rape with a stick”. According to the Associated Press women in the camps were forcibly sterilised allegations the Chinese government have stated are “completely unfounded”. An anonymous camp guard who spoke to the BBC said that food deprivation and beatings were administered as punishment for failure to memorise book passages or patriotic songs.

 

On his last day as president, Donald Trump’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo released the statement “I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systemic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state”. The current Biden administration has echoed this statement. The UK and Australian government ministers have issued calls to action with MP Nus Ghani stating “These horrifying stories add to the huge and growing body of evidence detailing atrocities perpetrated by the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang – atrocities which may even be genocidal.” In January, Canada and Britain announced a ban on goods which they suspect were made using forced labour in Xinjiang. The UK has also revoked the broadcasting licence of CGTN, a Chinese state-owned broadcaster. Ofcom, the UK regulator, has said that this decision was reached because the corporation was controlled by the Chinese communist party. The Chinese government have responded by banning BBC World News both in retaliation and as a result of the networks reporting on Covid-19 and the Uighur genocide.

 

We have been aware in one form or another of the Chinese Communist party’s treatment of Uighurs since at least 2014, it is high time that we do something to end this atrocity. It is baffling to me that no government has intervened prior to the latest allegations. We cannot allow this recent revelation to disappear from our minds. If we do, the abuse and torture will only continue.

 

 

 

Featured photo by Malcolm Brown on Flickr

 

The pharmaceutical industry – a wasted chance at redemption?

The pharmaceutical industry – a wasted chance at redemption?

 

HUMANITARIAN

The pharmaceutical industry – a wasted chance at redemption?

sign that says 'big pharama'
olivia moore

17th February 2021

 

Like any business, pharmaceutical companies need to make a profit in order to grow, succeed, and compete in their industry. However, due to the nature of their business, pharmaceutical companies are commonly demonised and portrayed as modern-day villains that use and manipulate illness to make a profit. There was hope when such companies began manufacturing covid-19 vaccines that they would be able to salvage their image through good-natured actions. There was even hope that such companies may use the vaccine as a springboard to tighten the gap on global healthcare inequality. But, has this opportunity been wasted?

 

‘Big Pharma’ has a dire public image, and it is understandable why. In 2015, Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of its HIV treatment medication from $13.50 to $750 per pill in America. Another common source of outrage in America is the cost of insulin, where some are forced to choose between managing their diabetes or feeding their family. There are countless more examples of medication being sold at extortionate prices, making it practically impossible for those in impecunious situations to overcome treatable diseases. These actions have caused severe distrust from the public, with many believing in what is known as the ‘Big Pharma conspiracy theory.’ This conspiracy encompasses a belief that pharmaceutical companies ‘operate for nefarious purpose and against the public good by withholding treatments for cancer and other diseases in order to maximise their profits.’ Although a cynical and unfounded theory, it all stems from the actions taken by pharmaceutical companies to date.

 

Given the severe global impact of covid-19, many had hoped that pharmaceutical companies would act with benevolence by putting their profit-earning nature aside temporarily, which would in turn improve their public image. However, this hope has proven to be overly optimistic. BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna have opted for a for-profit model during the pandemic. Pfizer in particular expects €12.5bn in covid vaccine revenue this year. They do not expect the profits to stop here however, with Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chief executive, stating that it was an ‘increasingly probable scenario’ that people will require boosters, or different vaccine formulations to keep up with new variants of the virus. He then added, with perhaps a hint of hopefulness, that this would result in a ‘durable’ revenue stream.

 

It is morally questionable at the very least to earn, and hope to continuously earn, such a high profit in critical times like these. We have placed a higher burden on pharmaceutical companies to act more altruistic in covid-19 times than we have on other industries. However, this is not an unfair expectation and the reasoning behind this is simple: the vaccine is not an optional purchase. You would not be in danger should you be unable to afford that new fiction book from Amazon or those new Levi jeans that just got released. You will however live in fear for your health, and ultimately your survival, if you happen to live in a poorer nation which does not have the means to purchase this vaccine, as well as an indefinite amount of boosters and newer vaccines. As encapsulated by Stephen Lewis, former United Nations envoy, ‘drug companies are deciding whether people live or die.’

 

“It is morally questionable at the very least to earn, and hope to continuously earn, such a high profit in critical times like these.”

 

It is important to recognise that some pharmaceutical companies have opted to be not-for-profit for the duration of the pandemic, specifically Oxford/AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. This is definitely admirable and the beneficial impact this will have in poorer nations must not be overlooked. However, as the vaccines produced by these companies have a lower efficacy rate and are therefore are the less popular choice, it should be expected that this charitability will be overshadowed by the actions of other more rapacious companies.

 

It is a common perception that being ruthless is the key to having a successful business, and the pharmaceutical industry unfortunately serves to further prove this point. Although this may be how many businesses operate, the simple fact is we expect more compassion and humanity coming from an industry that deals with life or death situations. The way in which pharmaceutical companies operate essentially promotes and encourages the devastating effects that wealth inequality has on the world.

 

Essentially, the pharmaceutical industry has not redeemed its image during this pandemic, but instead has regretfully cemented its image in the public’s eye as being unmerciful and opportunistic.

 

 

Featured photo by Bart Heird on Flickr

 

The inequality of vaccine distribution

The inequality of vaccine distribution

 

HUMANITARIAN

The inequality of vaccine distribution

vaccine
Elizabeth Quinn

8th February 2021

 

The acquisition and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is commonly referred to as a ‘race’. A race implies that there are winners, and there are losers. The winners in this race receive a life free from Covid-19 and all of the worries that accompany it. The losers get a dire and unpromising future where the impacts caused by Covid-19 are endless. The difference between the winners and the losers is simple: wealth. The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine has served to highlight the gluttonous and self-serving nature inherent in all human beings, whether we like to admit it or not.

 

Oxfam recently announced that the world’s wealthier nations have bought-up enough vaccines to allow them to vaccinate their entire population nearly three times over by the end of 2021. On the higher end of the scale, Canada has bought enough that it is able to vaccinate each member of its population five times over. In a stark contrast, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention director John Nkengasong has warned that Africa might not see vaccines until after the second quarter of 2021. One can only imagine the uproar if a Western affluent country had to sit back and watch many of those around them be declared free of Covid-19, while it remined helpless due to a lack of funds. Yet, we expect the poorer nations to simply accept this as fact. We have resorted to putting a price on health and survival without batting an eyelid. As articulated by Nkengasong, this truly is a moral issue.

 

Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have acted with such egotism and greed. For the population of wealthier countries, the worry of catching polio is non-existent, due to the vaccine which was released in the 1950’s and 60’s. However, it was only in August of 2020 when Africa could officially declare itself free of wild polio. Even worse, residents in Afghanistan and Pakistan still fear catching polio as it remains a prevalent disease in these parts. People may be shocked at the how the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is being handled, but in truth, this is history repeating itself. Different this time however is the increase in movement between countries, and the possibility of new variants which will not stop spreading until the disease is fully eradicated. As Anna Marriott, health policy manager at Oxfam GB, illustrated, ‘The longer the virus is able to travel the world, the greater the risk of mutations and the greater the risk that the vaccines we do have will become ineffective.’ This provides a motive for wealthier nations to aid the vaccine rollout all over the world, albeit for self-serving reasons once again. This would be an entirely altruistic act, and it certainly does not promote equality in the vaccine rollout, but it does provide hope that this situation will be different from the likes of polio and other such diseases.

 

“The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine has served to highlight the gluttonous and self-serving nature inherent in all human beings, whether we like to admit it or not.”

 

Despite the slight tone of disdain and pessimism peppered throughout this article so far, certain initiatives have been founded which highlight some of mankind’s more redeeming qualities and offer a bit of hope for the future of the vaccine rollout. The Covax programme was introduced with the sole aim of ensuring a fair distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine worldwide. Most notably, the scheme promised to provide the vaccines to poorer countries free of charge. However, the failure of the wealthier nations to co-operate and help fund the initiative has rendered it unfeasible.

 

Oxford/AstraZeneca has also promised to provide 64% of their vaccines to those in poorer countries. This may not create a completely equal vaccine rollout, but it definitely provides such nations with a slight glimmer of hope in unsettling times.

 

History schoolbooks are plastered cover to cover with the mistakes of those who came before us. With each heinous atrocity that is uncovered, it is soon after questioned ‘how did they let this happen?’ It is my hope that future generations do not look at the Covid-19 vaccine rollout and ask the same questions. We have the power right now to change the outcome, all by providing an equal and fair vaccine rollout that ensures good health and survival from this pandemic for all.

 

 

Featured photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

 

Ireland introduces much needed ‘child grooming’ bill

Ireland introduces much needed ‘child grooming’ bill

 

HUMANITARIAN

Ireland introduces much needed ‘child grooming’ bill

jail
ellen mcveigh

Conor Courtney

6th February 2021

 

The Department of Justice recently announced a Bill to outlaw the grooming of children. The Bill will create new criminal offences in this area of law, which will result in up to five years in prison if convicted. The Bill was announced by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD and the Minister of State for Law Reform James Browne TD. It hopes to deliver on Programme for Government commitments to criminalise the coercion of children into selling and supplying drugs, and the grooming of children to commit crimes. Legislators believe that this reform will be a key step in their efforts to prevent gangs from leading children into a life of crime.

 

In basic terms, the Bill will create specific offences which apply to adults who compel, coerce, induce or invite a child to engage in criminal activity. This would criminalise the offence for the first time, and aims to directly deal with the harm that results from criminal coercion of children.

 

This Bill makes a differentiation between an already well-established offence, which involves using children as innocent agents to commit a crime. As an example, imagine if an adult instructed a child to steal from a store. Generally speaking, a child under 12-years old cannot be convicted for most offences. So, in that situation, who should be held responsible? The law holds that the adult is the guilty party, and they can be convicted as a principal offender, meaning they can be punished as though they committed the crime themselves. However, in the past the adult might only have been convicted for theft, whereas under this new Bill the adult could also be convicted of coercion of a child. This new offence makes a direct stance against child grooming, and highlights the damage done to a child by drawing them into a world of criminality.

 

“Legislators believe that this reform will be a key step in their efforts to prevent gangs from leading children into a life of crime.”

 

Those found guilty of the new offences face imprisonment of 12 months on summary conviction and up to five years on indictment. Also, for this offence, the child that was groomed does not have to be successful in carrying out the offence for the law to apply. The UK National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children noted that online child grooming offences passed 10,000 occurrences in the two and a half years since the introduction of their similar laws, indicating the potential scope and effect that this Bill may have.

 

As a final point, this Bill is a timely addition to the Irish legal sphere, given the well documented rise in online attacks on children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online sexual assault and sexual grooming of children has increased, particularly in the modern practice of revenge porn. This surge in grooming has been seen internationally, where in the UK the Revenge Porn Helpline has reported that, “the number of people seeking help for intimate image abuse nearly doubled in the week beginning March 23, when the government imposed its stay-at-home orders, with more cases opened in the following month than any previous four-week period”. Similarly, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner also reported an increase during the pandemic period, with reports of anywhere from a 210% to 600% increase in ‘image-based abuse’ cases. With more Irish children spending hours each day online due to lockdown, this Bill is a welcome reform to Irish law.

 

 

 

Photo by Marco Chilese on Unsplash

 

 

 
A historic vote for Argentina  

A historic vote for Argentina  

 

BUSINESS/POLITICS

A historic vote for Argentina

graffiti on an argentinian building
tara mc cormack stand news

Tara McCormack

29th January 2021

 

A monumental vote occurred in the Palace of the Argentine National Congress in Buenos Aires on the 30th of December 2020. This vote legalised the act of abortion in Argentina. Before this, abortion was allowed only under two stipulations; where the women’s life or health was in danger or when the pregnancy was a result of the rape or an assault against a mentally disabled woman. The passing of this law allows abortion under any circumstances up until the 14th week, but will also be legal after that time in cases of rape or health issues with the mother. This bill extends to anyone who can become pregnant, regardless of gender orientation. This means that Argentina is the largest country in Latin America to legalise abortion. However, it has been a long road.

 

History of abortion in Argentina:

Argentina first criminalised abortion in 1880 with the introduction of a penal law that categorised abortion as a crime with no exceptions. This was in place until 1922, when three exemptions were written into law. These were; where the pregnant woman’s life or health was in danger, where the pregnancy was the result of a rape, and where the pregnant woman was mentally disabled. The next amendment occurred during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship, and further reduced availability by adding ‘grave’ danger to a women’s lives and in the cases of rape, stated that criminal proceedings needed to be in place. Once the dictatorship fell, the abortion bill was reverted to the 1922 conditions. Since 1984, the abortion law in Argentina has remained unchallenged, resulting in roughly 30 deaths-per-annum due to lack of access to safe abortion.

 

The campaign for change:

Pro-choice activists have been campaigning tirelessly for the past 30 years in order to improve access to abortion. The battle has been long. In 2018, the same abortion bill had been passed by the lower house of congress but failed at the senate level of government. This was largely due to the Catholic church putting immense pressure on senators to vote in line with Catholic teachings. Argentina is the birthplace of the current Pope, Pope Francis. Nonetheless, the senators who voted ‘no’ in 2018 did so in opposition to public opinion. The issue of reproductive rights became an important consideration for many voters in the 2019 Argentinian elections. Mauricio Macri, a conservative politician that opposed abortion rights, lost the presidential race to Alberto Fernández, who centred
his campaign around promises to bring reform to the abortion laws in Argentina. Although a Catholic himself, Fernández stated that the issue of abortion was a “public health” issue instead of a morality issue.

 

 

“1,532 Argentinian women have been imprisoned over the last 8 years on charges related to abortion.”

 

 

Green versus blue:   

Opinions around abortion are often highly divisive, and Argentina is no exception. A feminist movement, nicknamed the ‘Green Wave’, campaigned tirelessly to ensure reproductive rights were at the forefront of political debates. For the Green activists, December 30th is a celebration of years of work. For them, the passing of this bill meant that women finally had bodily autonomy and the freedom to choose. This relief could also extend to the 1,532 Argentinian women who have been imprisoned over the last 8 years on charges related to abortion. Human rights lawyers hope that this bill will grant these women clemency, if they had been imprisoned on the grounds of miscarriages and stillbirths.

 

However, there is an opposing movement in Argentina that is just as passionate. ‘Pro-Life Argentina’ is a group that has adopted blue as their colour, and limited access to abortion as their moral standpoint. For the pro-life group, December 30th was a devastating loss. Those campaigning to revert to the 1984 laws argue that this decision is against Catholic teachings and that every foetus should be born. To do otherwise, they believe, is murder and should be punished accordingly. Pro-life activists have said that they will continue to campaign, perhaps just as passionately as the Green Wave did after their 2018 loss.

 

What comes next?   

The abortion law was officially signed into law by President Fernández on the 7th of January 2021. However, the fight is not over yet. The ties that Argentina has with the Roman Catholic church may impede access to abortion. Anti-abortion groups such as Unidad Provida have pleaded with healthcare professionals to refuse requests to perform abortions. They have even gone as far as to offer payment of legal bills that this may incur. As of yet, it is hard to tell if healthcare professionals will adhere to the Hippocratic Oath or the teachings of the Catholic church.

 

 

 

 

Featured photo by Thayne Tuason

 

 

 
The STAND News Awards 2020!

The STAND News Awards 2020!

 

HUMANITARIAN

The STAND News Awards 2020!

the Taoiseach and the tainaiste in discussion
ellen mcveigh

Sophia Finucane

28th January 2021

 

 

The first-ever STAND News Awards were held on Tuesday night, virtually of course, but it was lovely to have all the editors and contributors from 2020 together all the same. The awards night recognised the hard work of student volunteers throughout 2020, with special recognition for ‘Editor of the Year’ and ‘Contributor of the Year’. STAND News had 60 student volunteers in 2020 who produced 247 articles and videos altogether. It was a brilliant year of content, with sections like Women and Opinion garnering particular focus, oftentimes due to their examining the impacts of COVID-19 across different sections of society. Also, throughout 2020, interest in video content grew with a total of 55 STAND News videos posted online highlighting the work of student activists, international days of recognition and key issues in Irish society. These were the combined efforts of STAND News video interns and volunteer students. The STAND Student Podcast had 7 episodes produced. All in all, it was a very productive year for STAND News.

 

 

 

 

Editor’s Choice Awards were chosen by section editors based on their opinions of the best article in their sections in 2020. Kate Hawkins won for her article PPE: “The Protector and the Polluter” for the Environment section, along with Rachel Husson for her “A Closer Look at Tourism” series, and Elizabeth Quinn won for hers, Period poverty is an unknown consequence of coronavirus shutdowns, for the Women section, highlighting the importance of Covid_19 to STAND News last year. Other awards included Mackenzie Ellwood for Judi Dench, 85, Becomes British Vogue Oldest Cover Star for the Opinion section, Brandon Lynch for Is the failure of trans-healthcare in Ireland a consequence of our genuflection-obsessed past? for the Business and Political section, Dylan O’Neill for The challenges of coming out later in life for ‘Diversity and Inclusion,’ and Sinead Scales for The crumbling humanitarian situation in Lesbos for the Humanitarian section. There was such an amazing variety of topics relating to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals represented at the ceremony.

 

 

 

Other awards on the night included Video and Article of the Year. Video of the Year was for ‘STAND News talks to the Hygiene Bank Dublin’ by Arianna Stewart, Sorcha from the hygiene bank, who presented the award, was very grateful to Arianna for highlighting the organisation’s work and noticing them when they were very small and only getting started. Arianna made massive contributions to STAND News’ video section in 2020, it indeed would not have been what it was without her work. Despite many great videos, the STAND team felt that her video interview with the Hygiene Bank Dublin had a fantastic impact on raising awareness of the group’s activities and related to the very heart of what STAND is about – supporting young people in Ireland to be positive forces for change! Cedric Fuchs was chosen by Arianna as the winner of STAND News Editor’s Choice Award for the Video section, for their piece on Black Lives Matter Protests in Ireland, again showing the great diversity of content that came out of STAND News Videos in 2020.

 

 

 

 

Article of the Year went to the  ‘Women and the Military’ series by Aoife Burke, an incredibly informative three-part piece which covered so many aspects of the critical conversation. Aoife spoke in her acceptance speech of how important the STAND News Team and the ability to confer and find support from fellow News contributors was to her composing this series. Caelinn Hogan, author of Republic of Shame, who presented the award, was thankful for emerging student journalists who are writing about issues of justice and equality seeking truth and creating space for unheard stories, she was really impressed with Aoife’s combined new research, historical context and analysis of current debate to bring deeper insight into this ongoing legacy. She stated that journalism should question the intentions of those in power and ask who really benefits from their actions and decisions.

 

Now for the big ones. Ellen McVeigh received the award for Contributor of the Year. Ellen joined STAND News as a contributor journalist in December 2019 before taking on a leadership role as editor of the Business/Politics section in 2020. Besides her involvement in managing her own section, Ellen made an incredible effort to continue to broaden her contributions to other sections this year, highlighting her knowledge and ability to research a wide variety of topics. Ellen was shortlisted for this award by two individuals, demonstrating how well-deserved she is of this award. Some stand-out articles by Ellen in 2020 include her quiz on what readers know about Direct Provision, her piece on ‘Greenwashing Austerity’ and young Greens’ reactions to the government coalition, and her opinions on the lack of diversity in Hollywood. Contributor of the Year was presented by Sorcha Pollak, who said she had been reading through STAND News work and it made her really excited for what is to come in Irish journalism! Ellen also won Editor’s Choice Award for the Arts and Culture section, with her article The Obsession with Activism in Acceptance Speeches. Ellen’s incredible contribution to STAND in 2020 was evident throughout the night.

 

 

 

 

Finally, Olivia Moore received the award for Editor of the Year. Olivia joined STAND News as the ‘Opinion’ Section Editor in August 2019. Throughout 2020, Olivia wrote extensively for the section, never shying away from taking on pieces that were new and fresh in their perspective. Olivia was first of the queue when it came to reporting within the team on COVID-19. She laid the foundation stone for what consumed most of the STAND News stories in 2020 by noting in January that cases were expected to rise. At this stage there were only 7,000 cases worldwide. Besides her involvement in writing for her editorial section, Olivia was a fantastic support to all contributors who took on a piece within the Opinion section in 2020. Some stand-out Articles by Olivia in 2020 include work on the rise of the far-right in Ireland amidst the pandemic, a fascinating piece on big tech and the falsehood of the American dream, and a piece on the hunger strikes in the Skellig Star Direct Provision Centre. Editor of the Year was presented by Razan Ibraheem, who urged Olivia to keep her passion, dedication and great work up!

 

 

The Award’s Night was a success, despite these strange and uncertain times keeping everything virtual via Zoom. However, it is definitely an event to be repeated, and with hope, the 2021 Editors and Contributors will be able to celebrate each other in person.