As we enter into the final weeks of 2016, we must not forget to look behind the headlines to uncover the stories of people most affected by the current political climate. Whoever we are, and wherever we live, we are never too far from a fellow human being who faces injustice and risks being forgotten by those in power. What former UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay says is true: human rights should be everybody’s business. Human Rights Day on 10th December reminds us of the importance of her inspirational words.
This edition features an investigation into human trafficking by Gurpreet Dhaliwal, winner of the first edition of the Warwick University Writing Wrongs Essay Prize. Gurpreet tells the story of a couple who fell victim to human traffickers and experienced a form of modern slavery in the UK, and connects their story to the exploitation faced by many more migrants fleeing from war and poverty in different parts of the world.
Reporting from further afield, documentary photographer Adrián Domínguez visited the Spanish Celtiberian Range (Serranía Celtibérica) and met some of the remaining inhabitants in one of the most depopulated areas in Europe. His pictures and dialogues illustrate the political, not natural, causes of depopulation. These are worsened by the fact that investment has focused on the cities and forgotten the countryside in this – and many other – parts of rural Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
And Olivia Konotey-Ahulu reviews This is London by Ben Judah, a comprehensive mapping of the city and its immigrants by story-telling. The book strips away the gilt of London to reveal the poverty upon which the capital is built, showing just how much you need to ignore to navigate London and not be hugely uncomfortable about its homelessness, care sector, gentrification, slums, slavery, mental illness and postcode warfare.
Finally, Alison Struthers reflects on the lives of many people who experience social exclusion, and the physical and emotional consequences of that reality. According to 2014 statistics compiles by Age UK, 1 million older people in the UK feel lonely all or most of the time, and the same number go for days without seeing or talking to anyone else. Could there be a human rights solutions to the loneliness epidemic?