Archive: 28 June 2023

The Arbitrary Practice of Handcuffing US Children: Why Ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child is Crucial for Children Rights

The Arbitrary Practice of Handcuffing US Children: Why Ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child is Crucial for Children Rights

The Arbitrary Practice of Handcuffing US Children: Why Ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child is Crucial for Children Rights

The US Government should implement a more compassionate approach to policing children. Recently, the Sacramento Police Department released body-worn camera footage of a 10-year-old crying, “I’m scared. I’m scared. I’m scared, Mommy. I’m scared. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do,” after a Sacramento officer placed her in handcuffs.

If you think the Sacramento case is an isolated incident of a child handcuffed by police in the US, you be sadly mistaken. Based on the reporting of Yaron Steinbuch, “nearly 30,000 children under the age of 10—and a staggering 228,017 kids between the ages of 10 and 12—have been arrested” in the US during a recent five-year span[1] and placed in handcuffs.

6 Incidents Where Children Have Been Handcuffed

2007 Handcuff Incident—Law enforcement officers handcuffed a 6-year-old girl after she had a temper tantrum at school.[2] It was disturbing to learn that law enforcement officers took the 6-year-old girl to jail, where she was given a mugshot.[3] Reports further indicate law enforcement officers had placed handcuffs around the young girl’s biceps because her wrists were so small.[4]

2013 Handcuff Incident—An impoverished family sent their 5-year-old son to school with painted shoes to observe the school’s dress code. However, the family’s creativity resulted in law enforcement placing the 5-year-old in handcuffs. He was later escorted away in the back of a police car.[5]

2019 Handcuff Incident—A Douglas County Sherriff handcuffed an 11-year-old boy with autism while he banged his head against the wall. Although Douglas County initially charged the boy with misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor harassment, misdemeanor resisting arrest, and second-degree felony assault of a police officer, all charges against the boy have since been dropped.[6]

This wasn’t the only incident where a child with autism was restrained. In 2020, a school resource officer handcuffed a 7-year-old boy and left him restrained on the floor for nearly 40 minutes.[7]

2021 Handcuff Incident—A New York police officer handcuffed, pepper-sprayed and violently subdued a 9-year-old girl, which inspired protest across the city.[8]

2023 Handcuff Incident—A Walpole police officer handcuffed a 9-year-old boy with functional needs while he was having a mental health crisis in his third grade classroom.[9] A disturbing trend between 2016 and 2017 illustrated more than 9,000 public school students were physically restrained at schools across Massachusetts.[10]

Handcuffing of Children in International Law

While there may be circumstances when handcuffs are necessary to effect the arrest and transport of a child,[11] in my opinion, the circumstances above do not meet such a test.

First, handcuffs on children have been shown to invoke feelings of fear, inferiority and anxiety.[12]

Second, handcuffing a child may rise to the level of degrading treatment. In Ireland v. United Kingdom, the Court held that treatment arousing fear, anguish, or inferiority capable of humiliating or breaking the resistance of a person will amount to degrading treatment.[13]

While this case initially dealt with the treatment of adult suspects by authorities, Tobin argues the case’s underlying principle remains applicable to the treatment of children in a range of circumstances where they remain under the control of another person.[14]

Handcuffing Children May Not Meet the Rational Connection Test

Handcuffing a child must pursue a legitimate aim; be undertaken pursuant to a valid law, and must meet the rational connection test and the minimal impairment principle.[15]

Essentially, the rational connection test means the limit of rights must be rationally connected to the objective.[16] There must be a causal link between the impugned measure and the pressing and substantial objective.[17]

It is clear the Sacramento officers were conducting raid on a home. However, the Sacramento Police Department have yet to release to the public evidence that the 10-year-old girl was the subject of their investigation.  

A review of the body-worn camera footage further illustrate the 10-year-old girl was not ‘combative’ nor ‘belligerent.’ Therefore, the Sacramento officer’s handcuffing of the young girl was not an appropriate action to achieve a proper purpose: the execution of the alleged search warrant.

Handcuffing Children May Not Meet the Minimum Impairment Test

Sacramento officer’s handcuffing of the young girl also fails the minimum impairment test. In Carter v. Canada (Attorney General)[2015] 1 S.C.R. 331,[18] the Court stated the limit must impair the right or freedom no more than is reasonably necessary to accomplish the objective.

Sacramento Police officers cannot demonstrate there were no less rights-impairing means available to achieve their objective “in a real and substantial manner,”[19] when they handcuffed the young girl to get access to the home.

It is worth stating at this point that law enforcement officers cannot handcuff a child who do not pose an imminent threat of injury to themselves or others.[20] Even when children may pose an imminent threat of injury to themselves or others, law enforcement officers must still show all other means of control have been exhausted.[21] Indeed, the General comment makes clear that handcuffs should never be used on children to secure compliance or as a means of punishment.[22]

Handcuffing a Child Constitutes Detention

Article 37(b) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child provides that the principle of last resort and shortest appropriate period is associated with arrest, detention, and imprisonment.[23] When law enforcement officers handcuff a child they are fundamentally placing the child under their custodial care (i.e., detention).

The US Government may argue that handcuffing children is contemplated under domestic law and is therefore consistent with the requirement that any deprivation of liberty is lawful. However, Tobin makes clear that compliance with domestic law alone is insufficient.[24] Moreover, any deprivation of liberty must be consistent with international law.[25]

The Arbitrary Practice of Handcuffing US Children: Why Ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child is Crucial for Children Rights

The US is the only country that has not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. While this critique of the US will be ineffective, ratification indicates that a State consents to be bound to a treaty. One of the most important benefits of ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is the protection against arbitrary and caprious practices by those with rank.

In light of this fact, I would urge the US to strongly consider ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to protect those most vulnerable from abuses of authority.


[1] Steinbuch, Yaron. “Nearly 30,000 US Kids under Age 10 Have Been Arrested in the Past 5 Years.” New York Post, 30 Sept. 2019,

[2] Trounstine, Jean, et al. “Keep Kids Out of Handcuffs.” Truthout, 15 May 2015,

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Ockerman, Emma. “Cops Allegedly Handcuffed an 11-Year-Old with Autism While He Banged His Head against the Wall.” VICE, 10 Mar. 2021,

[7] Burke, Minyvonne. “7-Year-Old Boy with Autism Handcuffed, Held on Floor by School Resource Officer.” NBCNews.Com, 13 Oct. 2020,

[8] Abrams, Laura S., and Elizabeth S. Barnert. “Children in Distress Aren’t Criminals. Stop Handcuffing Them.” The Washington Post, 24 Feb. 2021,

[9] Jarmanning, Ally. “A Black 9-Year-Old Was Handcuffed in His Classroom, Walpole Family Says.” WBUR News, 5 May 2023,

[10] Id, this includes physical holds like bear hugs, straps or belts.

[11]Tobin, John W. “Time to remove the shackles: The legality of restraints on children deprived of their liberty under international law”. The International Journal of Children’s Rights 9.3 (2001): 213-239, see p. 230, Web.  

[12] Id., p. 228.

[13] Ireland v. UK (n 66) para 162.

[14] Tobin, John W.  “Article 37: Protection against Torture, Capital Punishment, and Arbitrary Deprivation of Liberty”. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Commentary. Oxford University Press (2019): p. 1459.

[15] Tobin, John W.  “Article 16: The Right to Protection of Privacy, Family, Home, Correspondence, Honour, and Reputation”. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Commentary. Oxford University Press (2019): p.563.

[16] Government of Canada, Department of Justice. “Section 1 – Reasonable Limits.” Charterpedia, 14 Apr. 2022,

[17] Id.

[18] Carter v. Canada (Attorney General)[2015] 1 S.C.R. 331, at paragraph 102; citing Hutterian Brethren[2009] 2 S.C.R. 567, at paragraph 55

[19] Id.

[20] United Nations. “General Comment No. 24 (2019) on Children’s Rights in the Child Justice System.” United Nations General Assembly, CRC/C/GC/24, 18 Sept. 2019, para. 9,

[21] Id.

[22] Id.

[23] Supra, note 14, p. 1473.

[24] Supra, note 11, p. 222.

[25] Id.

The Zaru Effect May Explain US Law Enforcement’s Persecution of Trans Women

The Zaru Effect May Explain US Law Enforcement’s Persecution of Trans Women

The Zaru Effect May Explain US Law Enforcement’s Persecution of Trans Women


This article explores the issue of state-sanctioned violence against trans women in the United States of America (hereinafter “United States”) and argues the enactment of violent policies in the nation exacerbates discrimination and violence towards trans women.

An argument made in this article is law enforcement’s transmisogynistic ideology prevent trans women from receiving the protection and consideration warranted by law. This is what I call the Zaru Effect, a sociological theory that states law enforcement officers will fail to protect victims of violence if they are transgender. Lastly, I expound on the United States failure to provide for specific criminal legislation that would punish law enforcement’s unlawful conduct in this area of research and propose merging the Yogyakarta Principles into United States legislation.


Qualified immunity, state-sanctioned violence, trans panic defense, transmisogyny, Yogyakarta Principles, Zaru Effect.

Trans Women and Transmisogyny

Trans women are defined as a group of women who were assigned male at birth. It is often said that trans women face particular oppressions at the intersection of their transness and their womanhood (Edward, 2019, p. 293) and are subjected to majority of the gendered violence under patriarchy (Edward, 2019, p. 280). This oppression and gendered violence is cleped “transmisogyny.” If one builds on Stark’s (2020) explanation of misogyny, then it follows that transmisogyny is a property of social systems wherein noncompliant trans women are subjected to various kinds of hostility. According to Stark, this persecution enforces certain cisheteropatriarchal norms and demand that trans women be castigated for ‘pretending’ to be women.

This oppressive ideology further exposes trans women to bullying, harassment and a high risk of violence from private actors. For example, a recent study showed majority of trans participants experienced an extremely high proportion of violence due to their gender identity or presentation (Arayasirikul, et al., 2022). Studies further illustrate violent private actors use terms as ‘shemale’ to mark trans women. The ‘shemale’ inference categorize trans women as a subset of gay men rather than of women. The term also marks trans women for violent conduct, given the historical fact that trans people experience ostracism and violence (Canada, 2022).

Persecution of Trans Women

Since 2013, trans women comprised of 85% of the 302 victims of fatal violence in the United States (Lenning, Brightman, & Buist, 2020; HRC, 2022). In 2022, they constituted 81% of the 32 trans persons killed (HRC, 2022). Evidence seems to indicate the discrimination and violence that Black trans women experience is exacerbated by the intersection of racism and sexism. Indeed, the HRC’s report converges with Arayasirikul et al. (2022) findings that Black trans women are mostly affected by violence (Carpenter & Marshall, 2017).

Blaming the Victim

In keeping with Stark (2019), a suspect may concede that he did something harmful to the victim but maintain that the trans victim brought the incident upon herself. For example, he may say: “Why was ‘he’ wearing makeup?” “Why did ‘he’ have breast?” “Why was ‘he’ behaving like a woman?” The defect attributed to the trans victim is a character flaw: ‘he’ had it coming because ‘he’ is a liar—a promiscuous and reckless liar. Such testimony charges trans women for expressing a gender identity. It is further used to prosecute trans women on the spot for ‘provoking’ a violent reaction.

Even when private actors react violently to trans women, their testimony against the trans woman exonerates them, given that male law enforcement officers often view their testimony as more credible. According to Stark (2019), trans women who contacted law enforcement after a violation of their rights were not taken seriously. This contention is supported by Carpenter and Marshall (2017), who reported law enforcement officers failed to respond to situations where trans victims report instances of domestic or intimate partner violence (p. 9). When trans women find themselves in situations where law enforcement officers fail to protect them because they are transgender, they are experiencing the Zaru Effect.

The Definition of the Zaru Effect

The Zaru Effect is when law enforcement officers ignore the allegations made by trans women, while accepting as true, the allegations made by men or other individuals.

The word ‘zaru’ is derived from the Three Exemplary Monkeys: Mizaru, who sees no evil; covers his eyes. Kikazaru who hears no evil and covers his ears. Lastly, Iwazaru who speaks no evil and covers his mouth (Aston, 2018). See no evil and speak no evil is integral to the discussion because law enforcement officers often ignore and rarely speak up against the legal and moral wrongs perpetuated against trans women. Hear no evil is also vital, given law enforcement officers often minimize the complaints and harmful experiences of trans women. Thus, the Zaru Effect happens when law enforcement officers:

(1) close their eyes to harms perpetuated by private actors against trans women;

(2) arrest trans women for making complaints (Carpenter & Marshall, 2017, p. 9), and

(3) fail to speak out against abuses that either causes the physical and sexual assault, or the incarceration and death of trans women.

Another element of the Zaru Effect is gaslighting. Gaslighting occurs when law enforcement officers deny, on the basis of another’s social identity, the trans woman’s testimony and the harms or wrongs done to her (Stark, 2019). It is also a form of testimonial injustice, wrongful manipulation and emotional abuse (Stark, 2019). Gaslighting further places a barrier between trans women and law enforcement officers, and justifies the wrongs perpetuated against her by private and state actors (Carpenter & Marshall, 2017, p. 9).

Each element of the Zaru Effect prevents trans women from receiving the protection and consideration warranted by law. While this may be so, this article makes no argument that all trans women will experience the Zaru Effect.

The Zaru Effect May Explain US Law Enforcement’s Persecution of Trans Women and How They Use Other Ideologies to Oppress Them

Violent Ideologies, Tropes or Prejudicial Archetypes Used to Define Trans Women

There are several violent ideologies, tropes and prejudicial archetypes society used to define trans women. Lenning, et al. (2020) defines “violent ideologies” as those which carry the belief that a group of people (i.e., trans women) are less than or unequal to a dominant group. One violent ideology is that trans women are “deceivers” because they are successful in their gender role. Violent ideologies such as this justifies and results in discriminatory and exclusionary policies and laws like the Trans Panic Defense (“TPD”), which I will expound on later.

A. Julia Serano’s Deceptive Archetype

Another violent ideology is what Julia Serano calls the “deceptive” archetype (McKinnon, 2014). According to McKinnon (2014), the deceiver trope portrays the trans woman as dominant and powerful; still full of “male” energy (McKinnon, 2014). As mentioned above, opponents argue trans women are “deceivers” because they may successfully “pass” as women. In their view, no one can easily determine her trans status without the trans person revealing herself (McKinnon, 2014). While some opponents may argue that trans women are not women but male parodies of women arrogantly performing a shallow femininity, this assertion reduces all trans women to an inaccurate monolith of femininity (Edward, 2019). It also vilifies all feminine women as agents of patriarchy reinforcing stereotypes, trans or otherwise (Edward, 2019). Should a trans woman’s history be discovered, the ramification is to ‘out’ her as a man emulating a woman, which has negative and even devastating consequences for trans women (Canada, 2022).

B. Tropes

Evidence further indicates law enforcement officers ‘slut shame’ and stereotype trans women as being sex workers. Stark (2019) compared the experiences that Black, Latino, Native American and White trans women had with law enforcement, and found trans women of color (Black, Latino, and Native American) were slut shamed, not taken seriously and labelled sex workers more often (Stark, 2019, p. 557). Law enforcement’s slut shaming of trans women marks them as different and as of lower status. Further, it marks them as deserving of disrespect and mistreatment (Canada, 2022). In my opinion, it associates the trans victim with a disdained and abject identity—that of the slut—an archetype of failed womanhood (Canada, 2022).

C. Law Enforcement’s Use of the Archetype

An important issue emerging from the findings above is that it is likely that male law enforcement officers think trans women are stealthy and “hiding” their trans status (McKinnon, 2014). If law enforcement is of the view that a trans woman’s ‘deceptiveness’ led to violent conduct, they are more likely to remain inactive and less likely to investigate complaints made by trans women. This renders the complaints made by trans women null and void: the complaint is no longer about the original violent conduct; it’s about what law enforcement perceives to be deceptive. Based on this suggestion, law enforcement will not act on the complaint. On reflection, I am inclined to say this is why trans women are harassed and not given the protection and consideration that is commensurate with their vulnerability to violence.

D. What Previous Statistics Show

Trans women regularly encounter transmisogyny in their confrontations with male law enforcement officers, which increase the likelihood of being denigrated, harassed, attacked, sexually assaulted and developing a criminal record.

It cannot be denied that trans women who seek assistance from law enforcement are often harassed by them (Carpenter & Marshall, 2017, p. 29). For instance, 38% of Black trans women reported being harassed by the police, where the overall rate of police harassment of trans people was reported at 22% (Carpenter & Marshall, 2017, p. 13; Stark, 2019, pp. 554-555). This makes trans women even more vulnerable to abuse, as they suffer from law enforcement officers’ transmisogynistic violence.

E. Black Trans Women and Law Enforcement

A growing body of survey-based evidence demonstrates that trans women, and particularly Black trans women, are not given the protection and consideration by law enforcement that is commensurate with their vulnerability to violence (Carpenter & Marshall, 2017, pp. 12-13).

As reported in Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 6 % of trans women reported that police have physically assaulted them, while 2% reported that police have sexually assaulted them. Assault by law enforcement officers were even higher for Black trans people, with 15% reporting physical abuse and 7% of them reporting sexual assault (Canada, 2022).

Although the United States has invested in public resources to address the mistreatment of trans people (Arayasirikul, et al., 2022), policies like the Trans Panic Defense (“TPD”)— when used directly or indirectly—increases discrimination and violence towards trans women.

Trans Panic Defense as Doctrinal Persecution

Perpetrators in several states can rely on the TPD doctrine to justify their violence toward trans women. The LGBT Bar defines TPD as a “legal strategy which asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction, including murder” (Holden, 2020). While the TPD is thought to be applicable only in trial situations, a keen analysis of the literature used in this paper suggest there is an indirect use of the doctrine before an arrest or trial occurs. If we examine the attacks on LGBT people and how they are rarely prosecuted as hate crimes (Parker & Dwyer, 2016), we begin to understand how the TPD is being used to harm a vulnerable community.

Qualified Immunity as Doctrinal Persecution

Discriminatory laws, such as the Qualified Immunity doctrine (“QID”), also prevent trans women from receiving the protection and consideration warranted by law. The QID is a judicial doctrine that protects public officials from liability, even when they break the law (Schweikert, 2020). According to Schweikert (2020), the doctrine regularly denies justice to victims whose rights have been violated. It severely undermines official accountability, especially for members of law enforcement, and has been argued to have no valid legal basis. Further, this state-sanctioned doctrine emboldens state, federal and law enforcement officers to single out trans women and to commit violence against them (Lenning, Brightman, & Buist, 2020, pp. 153-154).

A. Its Difficult to Punish Law Enforcement Officers in the US

The United States government gives imprimatur to the maiming of trans bodies through the TPD and QID. Despite evidence showing law enforcement officers continue to single out trans women for violence, the United States Federal Government has failed to provide for specific criminal legislation that would make it easier to punish their unlawful conduct. This imprimatur codifies the violent and transphobic ideology into law and increases violent actions on an interpersonal level (Lenning, Brightman, & Buist, 2020, p. 153). As stated by Lenning, et al. (2020), violent laws reaffirm violent ideologies in the eyes of the public which, in turn, emboldens both private and State actors to take violent actions against the subjugated and marginalized groups in society (e.g. trans women), with little sense of culpability or fear of consequence (p. 153).

B. Trans Women as a Powerless Social Group

It is worth mentioning here that many trans women lack the power and means to prove to law enforcement superiors, attorneys and NGOs that the unfair or violent treatment she has experienced is occurring with regularity (Rodríguez-Roldán, 2021). Trans women are also less likely to afford legal counsel and have the necessary privilege to fight back criminal charges or false arrests (Rodríguez-Roldán, 2021). According to Rodríguez-Roldán (2021), a criminal record makes it more likely that a victim will encounter barriers and risks of violence.

TPD & QID Doctrines are Inconsistent With the Yogyakarta Principles

It is conceded that TPD and QID cannot, in itself, infringe upon human rights. However, when domestic policies or doctrines harm trans women, they violate international policies such as the Yogyakarta Principles.

According to Principle 30, trans women have a right to state protection. In other words, the United States must exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, prosecute, punish and provide remedies for discrimination, violence and other harms, whether committed by State or non-State actors.[1]

The United States must also take effective measures to eradicate all forms of violence, discrimination and other harms.[2] It should also be mentioned that the United States must ensure trans women have access to effective complaints procedures and remedies, including reparations for victims of violence, discrimination and other harm on grounds of their gender identity and gender expression.[3]

Trans Women in International Law

Human rights bodies have consistently held that domestic legislation and policies may violate protected rights. To be sure, in Rodriguez v. Uruguay, the Human Rights Committee (“HRC”) argued that legislation can violate the Convention, regardless of whether it is enforced in a particular case.[4] While trans women can submit a petition in state and federal courts for the violation of their rights in the United States, many petitions never result in a remedy.

Further, in Velásquez Rodriguez v. Honduras, the Court said “…the free and full exercise [of] a legal system…requires the government to conduct itself so as to effectively ensure the free and full exercise of human rights.”[5] In terms of due diligence, the Special Rapporteur Yakin Ertürk (2006) remarked that States cannot delegate its obligations, even where the State outsources functions to other actors. While it may not be sufficient for trans women to only show the United States violated her human rights, it is observed that trans women may be able to establish the government failed to apply diligent measures even though it had knowledge of a particular risk.

For example, in Vicky Hernández v. Honduras, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (“IACHR”) found that the victim’s death occurred in a context of discrimination based on prejudice that included police violence against trans persons, especially trans women who were survival sex workers.[6] Hernández’s case further showed a resistance on part of the State to investigate forms of fatal violence against trans women.[7]

There are endless cases like Hernández’s in the United States that I believe warrant international oversight. To ensure trans women have access to legal remedies, the United States must strongly consider becoming a party to the IACHR. It must also consider merging Principle 30 of the Yogyakarta Principles into federal legislation.


This article explored the Zaru Effect, which explained how law enforcement officers ignore—and rarely speak up against the legal and moral wrongs perpetuated against trans women. It further showed how the Zaru Effect is vital to the discussion of state violence and inaction, by virtue of law enforcement’s minimization of trans women’s complaints.

It was argued that the enactment of violent policies in the United States exacerbates discrimination and violence towards trans women, and showed how doctrines such as the TPD and QI oppress trans women and bar them from legal redress. On the whole, this article highlighted the failure of the United States to provide for specific criminal legislation that would punish law enforcement’s unlawful conduct, and proposed that the State adhere to Yogyakarta Principles and join the IACHR.


[1] Yogyakarta Principles, Principle 30 (A)

[2] Id., Principle 30 (B).

[3] Id., Principle 30 (J)

[4] Rodriguez v. Uruguay, Decision of 19 July 1994, Communications No. 322/19888, UN Doc. CCPR/C/51/D/322/1988, para. 12.4.

[5] Velásquez Rodriguez v. Honduras, Judgment of 29 July 1988, Series C., No. 4, para. 167

[6] IACHR, Report no. No. 157/18, Case 13.051, Merits, Vicky Hernández & Family v. Honduras, December 17, 2018, para. 108

[7] Id.


Arayasirikul, S., Turner, C., Trujillo, D., Sicro, S. L., S. S., McFarland, W., & Wilson, E. C. (2022). A global cautionary tale: discrimination and violence against trans women worsen despite investments in public resources and improvements in health insurance access and utilization of health care. International journal for equity in health, 21(1), 1-11.

Aston, W. (2018). Transactions and Proceedings of the Japan Society, London. Hawthrone: Palala Press.

Canada, Q. (2022). Out of the Miqlaatun Into the Fire: The Shariazation of Ireland’s Direct Provision Institution and its Impact on Transgender Asylum Seekers. SSRN, 1-35. doi:

Canada, Q. (2022). Report on the United States: Racial Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities in the United States of America. Cork: Quianna Canada, available at:

Carpenter, L. F., & Marshall, R. B. (2017). Walking While Trans: Profiling of Transgender Women by Law Enforcement, and the Problem of Proof. Willam & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, 24(1), 5-38.

Edward, H. M. (2019). The A–Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Ertürk, Y. (2006). The Due Diligence Standard as a Tool for the Elimination of Violence against Women. UN Doc. E/CN/4/2006/61.

Holden, A. (2020, March 31). The Gay/Trans Panic Defense: What It is, and How to End It. Retrieved from American Bar Association: https://groups/crsj/publications/member-features/gay-trans-panic-defense

HRC. (2022). An Epidemic of Violence 2022: Fatal Violence Against Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People in the United States in 2022. Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved from

Lenning, E., Brightman, S., & Buist, C. L. (2020). The Trifecta of Violence: A Socio-Historical Comparison of Lynching and Violence Against Transgender Women. Critical Criminology, 151-172.

McKinnon, R. (2014). Stereotype threat and attributional ambiguity for trans women. Hypatia, 29(4), 857-872. doi:

McLaughlin, H. U. (2010). Sexual Harassment, Workplace Authority, and the Paradox of Power. American Sociological Review, 77(4), 625-647.

Parker, N., & Dwyer, M. (2016, June 28). Special Report: Attacks on LGBT people rarely prosecuted as hate crimes. Retrieved from Reuters:

Rodríguez-Roldán, V. M. (2021). Like a Candle Flickering in the Mist: Violence Against the Trans Community. In E. M. Lund, C. Burgess, & A. J. Johnson, Violence Against LGBTQ+ Persons: Research, Practice, and Advocacy (p. 115). Cham: Springer.

Schweikert, J. (2020, September). Qualified Immunity: A Legal, Practical, and Moral Failure. Retrieved from CATO Institute:

Stark, C. A. (2019). Gaslighting, Misogyny, and Psychological Oppression. The Monist, 221–235.

A Country Researcher's Review of Brent Staples' Black Men in Public Space

A Country Researcher’s Review of Brent Staples’ Black Men in Public Space

A Country Researcher’s Review of Brent Staples’ Black Men in Public Space

This is my review of Brent Staples’ Black Men in Public Space. I am posting this review and analysis as a journal entry on the assignments I particularly enjoyed reading about while taking my Honours English class.

This piece is a harrowing exposé into the experience of Black men in the United States of America; the micro-aggressions, and implicit bias they repeatedly encounter. My first observation while reading Staples’ piece is that it gloomily shows how Black males—boys, teenagers or university students—are perceived as criminals and aggressors in American society. Whereas, those who they encounter are perceived as victims.

Staples further describes how Blackness is seen as intimidating and threatening to people in the United States. For me, this calls to mind instances of “driving while Black.” Where Blackness meets Whiteness, we often see Whiteness clutching handbags, locking car doors, policing Blackness in neighborhoods, following Blackness around in departments stores, and so on.

A Country Researcher’s Review of Brent Staples’ Black Men in Public Space. Does Society See Black Men in America As Criminals?

Staples’ piece also illustrates how Black men, who may find themselves in respectable occupations, are still perceived by society as criminals and thugs. For example, Staples described how police officers misidentified him as a killer (Staples, 1986). Police officers also held Staples at gunpoint irrespective of his status as a reporter (Staples, 1986). A similar incident happened to Dion Rabouin, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. In the video uploaded to YouTube, we see a police officer arresting Rabouin and commanding him to take a seat. He also threatens Rabouin with a charge of obstruction if he did not comply (Rebel HQ, 2023). In 2020, police in riot gear arrested Omar Jimenez, a Black correspondent for CNN, who was covering the protests in Minneapolis. Despite identifying himself as a reporter and complying with their request, Jimenez was taken into police custody (CNN, 2020). To be fair, Minneapolis police also arrested a CNN producer, who happened to be White.

My last observation is Staples’ attempt at enculturation and assimilation. To read that Staples felt he had to “whistle melodies from Beethoven and Vivaldi” (Staples, 1986) to not be perceived as non-threatening is surreal. It cannot be denied that Black Americans often engage in these self-preserving behaviours to provide those in their environment with comfort, so that Blackness can live to see another day.

If you enjoyed reading Review of Brent Staples’ Black Men in Public Space, be sure that like, share and comment.


CNN. Police arrest CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and crew on live television. 29 May 2020. 19 January 2023.

Rebel HQ. AZ Police Detain Law Abiding Black Reporter. 06 January 2023. YouTube. 19 January 2023.

Staples, Brent. Black Men in Public Spaces. 1986. . 19 January 2023.

US Country Conditions Researcher: Congress Has the Power to Stop Gun Violence; Will They?

US Country Conditions Researcher: Congress Has the Power to Stop Gun Violence; Will They?

US Country Conditions Researcher: Congress Has the Power to Stop Gun Violence; Will They?

The US has seen a rapid increase in gun-related homicides that has consequently affected children, families and communities.

Based on prior research, more than 25% of children will witness an act of gun violence in their lives.[1] Not only will children hear and witness gun-related incidents, such as losing a family member to this form of violence, but they will also be directly exposed to gun-related violence.[2] This exposure can take the form of threats, injury or death.[3]

Research further indicates children residing in the South will experience higher baseline levels of violence exposure than children residing in other parts of the US.[4] Another distressing fact is that Black children were exposed to firearm violence more in their neighborhoods than White children.[5] Earlier this year, this frightening statistic took shape for Aderrien Murry after he called 911 for help. Murry would later find himself shot in the chest by an Indianola police sergeant.[6]

By good fortune, Murry was released from the hospital and is expected to recover. However, other families will not receive such fortunate news. “This is scary. We got kids with firearms,” Sparkle Norman told WMBD News after losing her 15-year-old nephew, Emarion Carpenter, to guns. “It’s not safe. These are our babies leaving us,” Norman continued.

Family members disclosed that Carpenter immediately succumbed to the gun shot injury that penetrated his chest.[7] “We’re human too. We love our babies too. We want our babies when we wake up—we want to tell our babies good night,” Norman implored.

Norman is not the only guardian shaken by the recent spur of gun violence. “Why is it so bad?” Why is there a 7-year-old with a bloody gun!”[8] a Newport News mother anguishly asks a reporter, after a 6-year-old shot a teacher in Virginia.

The difficulties in combating gun violence in the US have induced Canada, Ireland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and Australia to issue travel advisories for its citizens.[9]

As a counterbalance, President Biden urged Congress to enshrine tough gun restrictions into US legislation. Despite the President’s call-to-action, the Protecting Our Kids Act (H.R. 7910)[10] has been stalled in the Senate. This bill would provide for an increased age limit on certain firearms. It would also prevent gun trafficking, modernize the prohibition of untraceable firearms and encourage the safe storage of firearms.

The Assault Weapons Ban of 2023 (S.25),[11] which President Biden urged Congress to pass, has also been stalled. This bill would limit arms on the street by regulating assault weapons.

Newly introduced bills, such as Gun Trafficker Detection Act (H.R. 2418)[12] and Pause for Gun Safety Act (H.R. 2392)[13] have been introduced for conflict resolution purposes.

The re-introduced Gun Trafficker Detection Act would require lost or stolen firearms to be reported to law enforcement authorities within 48 hours. Additionally, the Pause for Gun Safety Act would require sellers to comply with the Act’s seven-day waiting period before a firearm is released to a potential buyer.

“The fight for the right to life is not the cause of a special few, but the cause of every man, woman and child who cares not only about his or her own family, but the whole family of man.”

Mildred Fay Jefferson

While I commend Representative Slotkin for introducing this bill, these solutions may do more harm than good.

First, an individual purchasing a firearm to harm themselves or to commit a mass shooting may not have a criminal history. It is also likely that systems will not “red flag” a transferee’s alleged mental history, which renders the seven-day waiting period ineffective.

Second, inviting a transferor to determine whether a transferee will use or may intend to use a firearm for a crime opens the appeal to probability. For example, there are beliefs in the US that most Blacks are violent and aggressive.[14]

If transferors were permitted to act on their beliefs, on the assumption that Blacks are more violent, aggressive and must be kept away from firearms, transferors would inevitably reject the sale. To be sure, reports show Blacks have been denied concealed-carry licenses despite not having a criminal record or violent history.[15] A review of the reasons provided show the transferors argued the men had a “propensity for violence or instability,” a stereotype that could befall any potential gun-owner.

While I staunchly condemn the level of gun freedoms the US Constitution and Congress has given to Americans, I cannot deny that the Act would give transferors unfettered discretion to pick and choose who owns a firearm. This discretion could put more children, families and communities at risk.

It is worth stating at this point that it is difficult to tell, just by looking at someone, if they have a propensity for violence or instability. One need only look to the Texas mall outlet shooting earlier this year, where a perpetrator with no criminal history passed the National Instant Criminal Background Check system, later committing one of the most deadliest mass shootings we’ve seen this year. On reflection, it seems more accurate to say amending the Second Amendment is a better solution.

It is abundantly clear that this culture of violence has rocked the nation and has placed communities in fear. In the last 72 hrs., more than a 150 people have lost their lives to guns. This is approximately 50 lives lost per day.

US Country Conditions Researcher: Congress Has the Power to Stop Gun Violence; Will They? If it Does Not, is International Law the Answer?

The prevalence of gun violence in the US violates the right to life and the right to security of person. Under the ICCPR, the US has a positive obligation of due diligence to prevent violations of the right to life. According to Maria Monnheimer, states have a general obligation to provide legislative human rights protection. Should Congress fail to enact gun-control legislation that protects the right to life, this could constitute a failure to comply with its international human rights obligations.

In the words of Mildred Fay Jefferson, “The fight for the right to life is not the cause of a special few, but the cause of every man, woman and child who cares not only about his or her own family, but the whole family of man.”


[1] Collins, Julie, and Emily Swoveland. “The Impact of Gun Violence: On Children, Families, & Communities.” Children’s Voice, vol. 23, no. 1, 2014, pp. 10–13. JSTOR, Accessed 22 June 2023.

[2] Nickerson, Amanda, and Rohan, Sonali. “Effects of Firearm Violence on Children: Implications for its Prevention in Our Schools and Communities.” The Rockefeller Institute of Government. August 2022,

[3] Id.

[4] Holloway, K., Cahill, G., Tieu, T. et al. Reviewing the Literature on the Impact of Gun Violence on Early Childhood Development. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2023).

[5] Id.

[6] Valencia, Nick, and Sayers, Devin M. “11-year-old Mississippi who was shot by responding police officer after calling 911 is released from the hospital.” CNN. May 2023,

[7] WMBD News. “Family of Peoria 15-year-old killed in weekend shooting begs for gun violence to stop.”

[8] NowThis. “British Mom Slams U.S. Gun Laws: How Does a 7-year-old Have a Gun?” NowThis News. January 2023,

[9] Phang, Katie. “Gun violence and U.S. Tourism.” MSNBC YouTube. May 2023,

[10] “H.R.7910 – 117th Congress (2021-2022): Protecting Our Kids Act.”, Library of Congress, Accessed 22 June 2023.

[11] “S.25 – 118th Congress (2023-2024): Assault Weapons Ban of 2023.” Congress.Gov, Library of Congress, Accessed 22 June 2023.

[12] “H.R.2418 – Gun Trafficker Detection Act .” Congress.Gov, Library of Congress, Accessed 22 June 2023.

[13] “H.R.2392 – 118th Congress (2023-2024): Pause for Gun Safety Act.” Congress.Gov, Library of Congress, Accessed 22 June 2023.

[14] Hurwitz, Jon, and Mark Peffley. “Public Perceptions of Race and Crime: The Role of Racial Stereotypes.” American Journal of Political Science, vol. 41, no. 2, 1997, pp. 375–401. JSTOR, Accessed 22 June 2023. See p. 380.

[15] Moyer, Justin Wm. “D.C. Won’t Give 3 Black Men Concealed-Carry Licenses. They’re Suing.” The Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2022,

Country Conditions Researcher: Repealing Qualified Immunity a Critical Step Towards Police Accountability

Country Conditions Researcher: Repealing Qualified Immunity a Critical Step Towards Police Accountability

Country Conditions Researcher: Repealing Qualified Immunity a Critical Step Towards Police Accountability

This statement is in condemnation of the disturbing acts of brutality inflicted upon a defenseless teenager in custody by the hands of Michigan officers sworn to serve and protect. The recent incident has uncovered yet another tragic case of excessive force within the US law enforcement system, emphasizing the urgent need for systematic change. I express my deepest sympathy to the victim and his family, as no individual should ever suffer such brutality at the hands of those entrusted to uphold justice.

This incident highlights a deeply rooted problem and underscores the necessity of immediate action, which the Warren police department did take in this particular case. The Michigan officer was placed on administrative leave and charged with assault and battery. However, I cannot ignore that US judges often acquit police officers who engage in misconduct, as with a Chicago officer who kneeled on a teen’s back.

I also cannot remain silent or ignore the injustices faced by marginalized communities and individuals who are disproportionately affected by police brutality, such as LaDonna Paris, a 70-year-old Phillips Theological graduate student, who Tulsa police officers taunted and mistreated.

After reviewing the footage, I am called on to demand justice for those who are abused by police in the US.

(1) I also call upon the US government to address Paris’ case. I further demand transparency and impartial investigations into this incident, holding those responsible and accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

(2) I further insist on comprehensive and ongoing training for law enforcement officers, particularly in de-escalation techniques and cultural sensitivity, so as to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.

(3) I urge society as a whole to actively engage in dialogue surrounding police brutality and rankism. Individuals with power feel emboldened to abuse marginalized persons because they often lack adequate support systems. By educating ourselves on oppression and advocating for the repeal of the qualified immunity doctrine, we can contribute to dismantling the structures that perpetuate violence and inequality.

We must turn our grief and anger into a force for concrete change. I stand with communities who demand justice and seek to work towards a future where no one experiences the horror and pain of brutality at the hands of those entrusted with their safety.

Quianna Canada: Environmental Case Adjournment Minor Setback for Major Come Up

Quianna Canada: Environmental Case Adjournment Minor Setback for Major Come Up

Quianna Canada: Environmental Case Adjournment Minor Setback for Major Come Up.

Justice is a fundamental pillar of any democratic society. It ensures the rights, liberties, and well-being of individuals are protected, and that wrongdoings are appropriately addressed. However, when justice is delayed, the repercussions can be severe, and the entire concept of justice can be undermined.

As the famous saying goes, “justice delayed is justice denied.”

“When I faced an injustice at the Kinsale Road Accommodation Centre, I naturally sought redress through the Courts on Washington Street,” says Quianna Canada, a student, activist and country researcher.

Victims in civil suits, like Canada, often look to the legal system to provide them with a fair and impartial process that will hold wrongdoers accountable and help them find closure. However, if this process is delayed, it may lead to a sense of frustration, loss of faith in the system, and even irreversible harm for those affected. “Not for me,” says Canada. “Delays are simply a minor setback for a major come up. This ‘major come up’ need not be financial; it can often take the form of achieving a much needed discipline. Yes, superficial delays can be frustrating. They are also a signpost that some major influences may be at play. However, this will not stop me, and it shouldn’t stop you.”

The influence toxic authority figures wield over their environment may be another reason why justice plaintiffs cannot access the courts. Toxic authority figures understand delayed justice prolongs suffering, keeping wounds open and increases emotional distress. They also know the plaintiff (victim) may feel ignored, disregarded, or even re-victimized by the system itself.

“This is the effect toxic authority figures want to have on victims, especially those who are fighting their battles alone. However, it’s important for victims to have resilience and not give up. All toxic authority figures have is their ability to oppress; nothing more. It’s a bleak existence,” says Canada. “True leadership is not oppressive, coercive or intimidating. It’s leading from a place of unconditional love, which some powerful people controlling this case know very little about.”

Quianna Canada: Environmental Case Adjournment Minor Setback for Major Come Up

However, research suggest the longer justice is delayed, the harder it becomes to ensure a fair trial and proper resolution. Additionally, if justice is delayed, it allows wrongdoers to further harm the victims who brought a case against the defendants. Such situations undermine the sense of security and trust within the court system, breeding a culture where wrongdoing goes unpunished. “I have total faith that justice will prevail. No Kreeseism, nepotism or toxicity can stop what the Universe has planned,” says Canada.

“Justice delayed will not erode my confidence in the Irish legal system. While I may have no confidence in toxic authority figures, I do have faith that justice will prevail.” Canada further states she will do what she can to build trust; build bonds with these legal systems, even if that means writing more articles about injustice in Ireland.

Can an Immigrant Human Right Defender Bring an Action in Irish Court by Themselves?

Despite the view of some very influential people, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders clarified that “Everyone has the right, individually…to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels” (See para. 29).

Mrs. Lawlor further articulated that states, such as Ireland, must ensure the rights of human rights defenders are not violated or curtailed because of the work they do. Indeed, Mrs. Lawlor specified that governments must “ensure that human rights defenders have access to justice and to effective remedies through national courts…regardless of their immigration status.”

However, the detrimental effects of delays in delivering justice in Ireland cannot be overstated. It deprives victims of closure, weakens the legal process, creates a culture of impunity, overburdens the legal system, and may erode public trust. “But don’t let it get you down. If there is an injustice, make sure your video record or document it, and then, keep it moving,” says Canada.

Gone too soon: tributes pour in for black trans woman lost to violence

Gone too soon: tributes pour in for black trans woman lost to violence

Gone too soon: tributes pour in for black trans woman lost to violence

As a society, we are often too quick to dismiss the struggles of Black trans women, particularly those who are living on the edge of society. The recent passing of Ashia Davis is a tragedy that highlights the ongoing fight for equality and the need for greater support and acceptance of Black trans women in the LGBTQ+ community.

Transgender individuals, especially Black trans women, face a host of challenges that are not experienced by cisgender individuals.

These include discrimination, violence, harassment, and exclusion from many aspects of society. For Black trans women in the US, these challenges are compounded by ongoing racism and sexism, which can make it even harder to access resources and support.

The loss of Davis is a significant blow to the community, and a reminder of the many obstacles that Black trans women face on a daily basis. It is also a reminder of the need for greater awareness and understanding.

The impact of this loss is felt not only by those who knew Davis personally, but by the broader community as well. It is a loss that highlights the need for greater support and resources for those who are struggling, as well as a call-to-action to address the systemic issues that contribute to the marginalization and discrimination of transgender individuals.

As we mourn the loss of Davis, we must also acknowledge the many other trans women and non-binary persons who have lost their lives in recent years. These individuals are often forgotten or ignored, and their deaths are rarely given the attention and outrage that they deserve.

Gone too soon: tributes pour in for black trans woman lost to violence, who are disproportionately affected.

The fact that Black trans women are disproportionately affected by violence and discrimination is a clear indication that we have a long way to go in terms of achieving true equality and acceptance. It is a reminder of the importance of standing up against hate and bigotry, and of the need for greater empathy and understanding of those who are different from ourselves.

We must also recognize the ways in which our own biases and prejudices contribute to the marginalization of transgender individuals. By examining our own beliefs and attitudes, we can begin to challenge the systemic issues that perpetuate discrimination and create a more inclusive and compassionate society.



Gone too soon: tributes pour in for black trans woman lost to violence
Courtesy of Galway Daily

We must also mourn the loss of Sylva Tukula, who died while housed in the Great Western Direct Provision Centre on August 2, 2018.

As we mourn the loss of Davis, and observe the passing of Tukula, we must also celebrate their lives and the contributions they both made to their community. We must honor their memories by continuing to fight for the rights and dignity of all transgender individuals, particularly those who are Black and face additional challenges.

We must also recognize that the loss of Davis is not an isolated incident in the US, but rather a symptom of a broader problem. It is a reminder that there is still much work to be done in terms of achieving true equality and acceptance for all individuals, regardless of their gender identity or race.

The Yogyakarta Principles

The Yogyakarta Principles was published in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in November 2006, and is a document about human rights in the areas of sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to Principle 5, every trans woman has the right to security of the person and to protection by the State against violence or bodily harm, whether inflicted by government officials or by any individual or group.

Human Rights Defenders & Public Watchdogs

Recently, opponents of Quianna Canada have used their dexterity and positional power to bury trans content from Journey to the Center, to make it appear as though this site is a one-issue platform. On this account, it is important that Ireland observe Principle 27.

I, in association with Journey to the Center, have a right to promote the protection and realisation of human rights of Black trans women at the national and international levels. This includes activities, such as the content on this platform, that are directed towards the promotion and protection of Black trans rights.

Further, Ireland should take all appropriate measures to combat actions or campaigns attacking me and Journey to the Center’s trans content, as I work on issues regarding the intersection of race and gender identity.

As a human rights defender who runs a public watchdog blog, Ireland should ensure that, despite the human rights issues that I advocate, that I enjoy freedom from retaliation, de facto or de jure discrimination, pressure, or any other arbitrary action perpetrated by a State, or by non-State actors, in response to my human rights activities.

A Hefty Price to Pay: Quianna Canada Condemns Lethal Violence Against Suspected Shoplifters in the US

A Hefty Price to Pay: Quianna Canada Condemns Lethal Violence Against Suspected Shoplifters in the US

A Hefty Price to Pay: Quianna Canada Condemns Lethal Violence Against Suspected Shoplifters in the US

American citizens have recently paid a hefty price for shoplifting—one thought to occur only in regimes judged as non-democratic—and that price is death. Earlier this year, police officers shot and killed a Virginia man after a shop owner suspected the man of shoplifting designer sunglasses.

In April, a Walgreens security guard stopped a trans man for shoplifting. After a confrontation ensued, the security guard fatally shot him. Then in May, a South Carolina store owner fatally shot a 14-year-old boy in the back after wrongly accusing him of shoplifting.

While this article does not argue the US government or its legislatures have passed a law that makes shoplifting punishable by death, each incident has raised the question as to whether there is an oral code that makes shoplifting in the US punishable by death. According to the Marshall Project, 11 states seek to amend legislation as it relates to shoplifting. These new amendments seek to mete out harsher punishments for individuals who steal.

Although legal scholars in the US have asserted that life in prison for shoplifting rises to an Eighth Amendment violation, it may be difficult to show that a sentence is so disproportionate as to constitute cruel and unusual punishment. However, it cannot be denied that death is an indisputably disproportionate sentence for shoplifting.

“The US is the only democratic state that has not ratified the ICESCR.”

Quianna Canada

The Human Rights Committee has articulated that countries such as the US—that have not abolished the death penalty—only may impose the death penalty for the most serious crimes.[1] This means the U.S. must interpret the term “most serious crimes” restrictively and should appertain only to crimes of extreme gravity, involving intentional killing.[2] Crimes not resulting directly and intentionally in death, such as economic crimes, can never serve as the basis for the imposition of the death penalty under Article 6.[3]

A Hefty Price to Pay: Quianna Canada Condemns Lethal Violence Against Suspected Shoplifters in the US and Offers Recommendations

Quianna Canada condemns extreme punishments for minor theft offenses, and calls on the US to:

(1) Encourage stores to use alternative methods of shoplifting prevention besides confronting, physically detaining, or, using lethal violence against the alleged suspect;

(2) Increase penalties for excessive or lethal use of force deployed by shop owners and law enforcement officers;

(3) Raise awareness regarding excessive use of force and lethal violence dangers through public service announcements and other educational campaigns;

(4) Encourage stores to adopt restorative justice practices that focus on repairing harm and amends rather than lethal force.

Include Persons Attempting to Reintegrate in SNAP Boost Benefits Exemption

The temporary boost to SNAP benefits put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, known as emergency allotments, ended nationwide in February 2023. While veterans, people experiencing homelessness and young adults transitioning out of foster care will no longer be bound by work requirements at any age, this exemption does not include previously incarcerated persons.

Evidence shows previously incarcerated persons are impacted by collateral consequences and have a difficult time obtaining employment once they are released. Therefore, I renew my recommendation for the Biden Administration to make it easier for Americans to reintegrate.

The US is the only democratic state that has not ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Therefore, I urge the US to ratify the Covenant, as this would make it easier for citizens to access their rights.


[1] HRC (2019). Capital punishment and the implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty. A/HRC/42/28, at para. 8. Available at:

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

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