Human Rights Clinic Mentorship Program
Through the Human Rights Clinic Mentorship Program (launched in 2014), each clinical student is connected to a mentor drawn from the global community of practicing human rights advocates. Each mentor has roughly three to ten years of practice experience in a diversity of human rights related work areas, and is selected for their interest and skills in mentorship. Mentors provide personal and career guidance throughout the year that the students participate in the clinic. The Mentorship Program is intended to foster a supportive environment for students’ human rights practice while simultaneously increasing practitioner links to new allies and advocates, to grow professional networks in the human rights field, to increase student exposure to diverse professional influences and the range of types of work undertaken in the human rights field, and to provide mentors additional opportunities to influence the development of new generations of advocates.
New Mentors Participating in 2015-2016
Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Natasha is an Associate Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, focusing on working with low-wage Latina immigrant workers as part of the LAW (Latinas at Work) initiative. Natasha has worked on gender and racial justice issues, including access to reproductive health, sexual violence and violence against women in conflict zones. Prior to joining LatinoJustice PRLDEF, she worked in the International Women's Human Rights Clinic at CUNY School of Law and the Center for Reproductive Rights. She clerked for the Hon. Ronald L. Ellis in the Southern District of New York and was an Ella Baker Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Natasha graduated from CUNY School of Law, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the CUNY Law Review and a Fellow at the Center for Latino/a Rights and Equality.
Natasha is also President of the National Lawyers Guild, the nation's largest and oldest progressive bar association, and Co-Chairs its Subcommittee on Puerto Rico. She has advocated before international and regional human rights bodies on issues including sexual violence in armed conflict, femicide, reproductive rights violations, hate crimes, as well as human rights violations in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Natasha has authored several articles on gender and human rights and is barred in the states of New York and New Jersey.
Janine Morna, Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict
Janine is Watchlist’s Research Officer. She is responsible for preparing the organization’s “Field Monitors,” which aim to provide regular updates and policy advice, based on information from the field, to improve national and global policy responses for children affected by armed conflict. Prior to joining Watchlist, Janine was a research fellow in the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch where she investigated child labor, children’s exposure to mercury, and other child rights violations in small-scale gold mining areas. Janine also has experience conducting human rights legal and field research and advocacy with the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic, the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Gender and Media Southern Africa. Janine Morna holds a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Yale University. She is part Ghanaian, Zimbabwean, and South African and is based in New York.
Komala Ramachandra, Accountability Counsel
For the last five years, Komala has been an attorney with Accountability Counsel, a non-profit organization that supports communities around the world to defend their human rights and environment. She works with communities to hold international companies and banks accountable for their actions, and ensure that national laws and institutional policies support transparency, accountability, and access to remedy. In her first year at Accountability Counsel as a Holmes Public Interest Fellow, she worked with indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon harmed by petroleum projects and on behalf of clients in Oaxaca, Mexico, impacted by a US-supported hydropower project. She now heads Accountability Counsel's work in South Asia, working with communities in Nepal and India to hold the World Bank Group accountable for human rights violations caused by its investments. Komala graduated in 2010 from Harvard Law School.
Meera Shah, Center for Reproductive Rights
Meera joined the Center for Reproductive Rights in 2015 as the Global Advocacy Adviser and is responsible for planning and executing advocacy strategies with UN bodies and mechanisms in New York. In particular, she plays a key role in the Center’s engagement with the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Before joining the Center, Meera served as a Teaching Fellow at the Global Justice Clinic at New York University School of Law and as Clinical Advocacy Fellow at the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School. In partnership with local human rights organizations and advocates, Meera supervised fact-finding, research, and advocacy projects related to human rights violations arising out of conflicts in the Middle East, where she spent several years working and studying. Meera received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a James Kent and Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and was awarded the Lowenstein Fellowship for graduates pursuing public interest law. She also holds an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and a B.A. in international relations from Stanford University.
Current and Prior Clinic Mentors
Alex Abdo, American Civil Liberties Union
Alex Abdo is a Staff Attorney in the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. He is counsel in the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging the NSA’s phone-records program. He has been involved in the litigation of cases concerning the Patriot Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and the treatment of detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Navy brig in South Carolina. Mr. Abdo is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. Prior to working at the ACLU, he served as a law clerk to the Hon. Barbara M.G. Lynn, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, and to the Hon. Rosemary Barkett, United States Circuit Judge for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Chris Albin Lackey, Human Rights Watch
Chris Albin-Lackey is a senior researcher in the Business and Human Rights Program. He carries out research and advocacy work on the human rights impacts of businesses as well as on the human rights impact of corruption in resource-rich countries. From 2008 until 2010, Albin-Lackey was a senior researcher in Human Rights Watch's Africa Division specializing on the Horn of Africa and Kenya. Prior to that, he was the Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch, focusing on issues including local government corruption in the oil-producing Niger Delta; abuses connected to Nigeria's 2007 elections; and government discrimination against "non-indigene" populations across Nigeria. He also worked as a fellow for Human Rights Watch, covering Ethiopia in the run-up to that country's controversial 2005 elections. Chris lived in Ethiopia and Madagascar as a Peace Corps volunteer before joining the organization. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from Boston University and a JD from Columbia Law School.
Alison Corkery, Center for Economic and Social Rights
Allison Corkery joined CESR in 2011. Prior to this she was the recipient of the 2010‐2011 David W. Leebron Human Rights Fellowship from Columbia Law School; under the auspices of which she collaborated with CESR and the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights on a project to enhance the capacity of national human rights institutions to monitor ESC rights. In previous positions she has worked with the Australian Human Rights Commission in Sydney and the National Institutions Unit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. Allison holds an LL.M. from Columbia University Law School and a B.A./LL.B. from the University of New South Wales.
Katy Glenn Bass, PEN America Center
Katy Glenn Bass is the Deputy Director of PEN’s Free Expression Programs. She focuses on U.S. free expression issues, including mass surveillance and press freedom. Prior to joining PEN, Katy was the Director of Clinical Programming at NYU Law’s Center for Constitutional Transitions, where she supervised comparative constitutional law research projects focusing on the Middle East-North Africa region. From 2010-12, Katy taught in the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School. She is the co-author of Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street. Katy has also worked in Harare, Zimbabwe for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, for the International Crisis Group in South Africa, and for local human rights organizations in Liberia and Sierra Leone. She holds a B.A. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she received the Kaufman Pro Bono Service Award.
Jehanne Henry, Human Rights Watch
Jehanne Henry is a senior researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Africa division. She supervises and contributes to the work on Sudan, South Sudan, and Kenya. She has worked with the organization since 2008 focusing initially on the conflict in Darfur, then on a range of other issues in Sudan and South Sudan. Prior to joining the organization, she served as a human rights officer with the United Nations Mission in Sudan based in North Darfur. She has worked on human rights and rule of law issues with USAID in Cambodia and as a legal adviser in the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, and managed a legal aid program with the American Refugee Committee in Kosovo. Henry has also worked in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, and clerked for a U.S. federal judge in New York. She is admitted to the New York state bar.
Jonathan Horowitz, Open Society Foundations
Jonathan Horowitz works at the Open Society Justice Initiative on issues relating to human rights, national security and counterterrorism, and international humanitarian law. He has conducted research in Kenya, worked on legal submissions relating to national security detentions in Spain and Egypt, and leads the drafting process for a set of guidelines on human rights and countering terrorism for the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Prior, Mr. Horowitz worked at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on detainee affairs; documented and reported on detainee and “night-raid” abuses in Afghanistan; and was an investigator for habeas lawyers representing Guantanamo Bay detainees. Mr. Horowitz also worked for the International Criminal Court as a Sudan/Chad analyst; served as a consultant for Human Rights Watch; and documented violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Sudan for the United Nations from 2005 to 2007. Mr. Horowitz obtained an LLM from the University of Essex in 2004 and has published on the application of human rights in times of armed conflict; international law pertaining to transfers of conflict-related detainees; human rights fact-finding methodologies; and the “Responsibility to Protect” in Darfur. He has also authored and co-authored several reports that document human rights abuses in the context of armed conflict and counterterrorism.
Jonathan Kaufman, Earth Rights International
Jonathan Kaufman is the Legal Advocacy Coordinator at EarthRights International (ERI). He is ERI's lead on non-judicial grievance mechanisms and policy advocacy with the U.S. and other Western governments, as well as international organizations. He also coordinates work on extractive industries transparency, including legal actions in U.S. courts, and participates in much of ERI's other litigation. Jonathan was a Finalist for the Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Award in 2010 for his work on the Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum lawsuit, which presented claims arising out of human rights abuses and environmental damage in the Niger Delta.
Jonathan holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School (2006) and a Master in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton (2008). In 2002-2003, after graduating from Yale University with both a B.A. and M.A. in Chinese, Jonathan was a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan. He speaks Mandarin Chinese, French, and Spanish.
Wade McMullen, RFK Partners
Wade McMullen is the Legal Officer and Strategic Litigation Coordinator at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center), where he brings high impact human rights cases before international tribunals with a focus on non-discrimination and creating an enabling environment for human rights defenders.
Sara Mehta, ACLU Human Rights Program
Sarah Mehta is a Human Rights Researcher with the ACLU’s Human Rights Program. Previously, Sarah worked as the detention fellow with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and as a staff attorney at the ACLU of Michigan. From 2009-2011, Sarah was the Aryeh Neier fellow at Human Rights Watch and the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, focusing on the rights of people with mental disabilities in the U.S. immigration system. While a law student, she was a student director of the prisoner rights clinic and worked on capital and criminal defense cases with the New Haven public defender office, as well as working in the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic. She has also worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center in Mississippi and for civil rights attorney Mary Howell. Prior to law school, Sarah was a Fulbright scholar in India working on minority rights. She is a graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School.
Chris Rogers, Open Society Foundations
Christopher Rogers is a program officer for the Regional Policy Initiative on Afghanistan & Pakistan, focusing on conflict-related detentions and civilian casualties. Prior to joining the Open Society Foundations, Rogers was the research fellow in Pakistan for the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), investigating civilian casualties from military operations, terrorism, and drone strikes and advocating for victim assistance programs. Rogers graduated from Harvard Law School in 2009 where he worked with UNHCR in Jordan on Iraqi refugee protection and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza and served as an executive editor of the Harvard Human Rights Journal.
Rogers also worked with Human Rights Watch on the negotiations of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and with the International Center for Transitional Justice in Namibia through the Harvard Human Rights Program. Prior to law school, Rogers worked with development NGOs in Rwanda and South Africa. He received an MPhil in international development from Oxford University and a BA in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Naureen Shah, American Civil Liberties Union
Naureen Shah is a legislative counsel at the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, with a focus on human rights and national security. She advocates with federal agencies, Congress, the UN and international bodies on issues including domestic spying, FBI practices, and global surveillance. Prior to the ACLU, Naureen was an advocacy advisor at Amnesty International USA and conducted media and advocacy for the groundbreaking report, “Will I Be Next: US Drone Strikes in Pakistan.” Previously, Naureen was a lecturer-in-law at Columbia University School of Law. She served as Acting Director of the school’s human rights clinic and Associate Director of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute’s Counterterrorism & Human Rights Project.
Naureen holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a James Kent Scholar and Harlan Fiske Stone scholar, and received the Lowenstein Fellowship awarded to outstanding graduates pursuing public interest law.
Omar Shakir, Center for Constitutional Rights
Omar Shakir is a Bertha Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where he focuses on litigation and advocacy pertaining to abusive counterterrorism policies and international human rights. His work spans issues including representation of Guantanamo prisoners in habeas corpus challenges and in resettlement efforts, NYPD surveillance of Muslim communities, the 'No Fly List', targeted killing, and Palestinian human rights.
Omar previously was a fellow at Human Rights Watch, where he investigated abuses in Egypt and was lead researcher and author of “All According to Plan,” a report that documents the mass killings of protesters in Egypt in July and August 2013, including the Rab’a Massacre. A former Fulbright Scholar in Syria, Omar holds a JD from Stanford Law School, an MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Affairs, and a BA in International Relations from Stanford. At Stanford, Omar co-authored ‘Living Under Drones’, a joint Stanford-NYU report documenting civilian consequences of US drone practices in Pakistan, and served as president of the International Law Society, co-president of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Program, and co-president of Students for Palestinian Equal Rights, a group he founded as an undergraduate.