Past Speakers & Events
2019-20 2018-19 2017-18 2016-17 2015-16 2014-15 2013-14
2012-13 2011-12 2010-11 2008-09 2007-08 2006-07
COVID-19 and the Human Rights of LGBTI People (view recording) Ymania Brown, ILGA World/PHRI); Gloria Careaga, Professor of Psychology, UNAM; Victor Madrigal-Borloz (U.N. Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, OHCHR; and Danilo da Silva, LAMBDA); moderated by Larry Helfer, Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law, Duke Law.
Tuesday, May 19 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
As governments respond to the novel coronavirus, the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex (LGBTI) people are under increasing threat. Some face increased risks from stay-at-home orders when home is not a safe environment or when health care discrimination deters LGBTI people from seeking COVID-19 treatment. Discriminatory measures that stigmatize and blame LGBTI people for outbreaks as well as governments’ crackdown on LGBTI rights defenders, heighten vulnerabilities and violence. Instead, solutions must be found that center the rights of LGBTI people, including through economic measures to mitigate the adverse impacts of the crisis, as well as ongoing support services. Join us for a talk with Ymania Brown (ILGA World/PHRI), Gloria Careaga (UNAM), Victor Madrigal-Borloz (U.N. Independent Expert), and Danilo da Silva (LAMBDA); moderated by Larry Helfer (Duke Law).
Rethinking Essential: Business, Work, and Human Rights in the Covid-19 Pandemic (view recording) Anita Ramasastry, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights; Alison Kiehl Friedman, Executive Director, ICAR; Kim Cordova, President, UFCW; and Janhavi Dave, International Coordinator, Homenet South Asia; moderated by Aminta Ossom, Clinical Instructor, International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law.
Thursday, May 14 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
As society grapples with an unprecedented pandemic, the most vulnerable workers and communities bear the brunt of its immediate and long-term devastating effects, even as they provide essential services to our societies. But can the pandemic also present opportunities to address market failures and position workers’ rights as central to a more sustainable, just, and resilient economy? Join us for a talk with Anita Ramasastry (UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights), Alison Kiehl Friedman (ICAR), Kim Cordova (UFCW), and Janhavi Dave (Homenet South Asia); moderated by Aminta Ossom (Harvard) and grounded in the experiences of workers in the food and agricultural sector, and the informal economy.
Education Rebound for All During and After COVID-19: Charting the Way Forward (view recording) Helen Abadzi, University of Texas Arlington; Elin Martínez, Senior Researcher, Children's Rights Division, Human Rights Watch; and Gustavo Payan, Development Specialist, Education, and Fragile States, DAI; moderated by Maya Alkateb-Chami, Managing Director, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School.
Wednesday, May 13 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
The impact of COVID-19 on education is tangibly felt across the globe, with school closures, disparities in access to remote education, disruption to free meal and vaccine programs, risk of increased dropout rates, and more. How can we ensure an accelerated recovery that doesn’t widen educational attainment —and related power— gaps between the rich and the poor, between boys and girls, and between the Global North and the Global South? Join us for a talk with experts Helen Abadzi (UT Arlington), Elin Martínez (Human Rights Watch), and Gustavo Payan (DAI/ INEE); moderated by Maya Alkateb-Chami (Columbia).
COVID-19 and the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (view recording) Catalina Devandas Aguilar, UN Special Rapporteur on Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Mohamed Farah, Founder, Somali Disability Empowerment Network; Ben Gauntlett, Disability Rights Commissioner, Australia; and Amanda McRae, Director, United Nations Advocacy, Women Enabled International; moderated by Elizabeth Emens, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia Law School.
Thursday, May 7 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
The global pandemic is exacerbating discrimination against, and challenges faced by, persons with physical and mental disabilities. Some may face an increased risk of becoming infected or seriously-ill with COVID-19, including in institutions, and others may face obstacles in accessing healthcare and other necessary services and supplies. How can advocates promote a disability rights-based response to the pandemic, including one that centers persons with disabilities in decision-making on prevention and containment measures? Join us for a talk with Catalina Devandas Aguilar (UN Special Rapporteur on Rights of Persons with Disabilities), Mohamed Farah (Somali Disability Empowerment Network), Ben Gauntlett (Disability Rights Commissioner, Australia), and Amanda McRae (Women Enabled International); moderated by Elizabeth Emens (Columbia).
The Deployment of COVID-19 to Undermine Sexual and Reproductive Health (view recording) Brigitte Amiri, Deputy Director, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project; Eszter Kismodi, Chief Executive, Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters; Melissa Murray, Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network, NYU School of Law; and Quita Tinsley, Deputy Director, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast; moderated by Katherine Franke, James L. Dohr Professor of Law, Director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, and Faculty Director of the Law, Rights, and Religion Project, Columbia Law School.
Tuesday, May 5 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
As COVID-19 threatens to collapse our healthcare system, sexual and reproductive health and rights are in grave jeopardy. Opportunistic policymakers are exploiting the pandemic to restrict or outright ban abortion care and access to contraception. In what ways has the health emergency exacerbated already existing vulnerabilities, and in what other ways has it created new problems? What advocacy strategies are being used to combat the exploitation of a state of emergency to curtail sexual and reproductive health? How is access to medical treatment for trans people negatively affected by the pandemic? What lessons can be learned from the HIV epidemic concerning the increased use of criminal law in the name of protecting public health? How can human rights principles be used to protect bodily autonomy and sexual/reproductive health during this crisis? Join us for a talk with Brigitte Amiri (ACLU), Eszter Kismodi (Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters), Melissa Murray (NYU), and Quita Tinsley (Access Reproductive Care-Southeast); moderated by Katherine Franke (Columbia).
COVID-19 and Mental Health: Wellbeing and Resilience During the Pandemic (view recording) Yvette Alberdingk-Thijm, Executive Director, WITNESS; Yara Sallam, Egyptian Feminist & Human Rights Advocate; Douglas Mawadri, Associates for Health Rights Uganda; Margaret Satterthwaite, Professor of Clinical Law, Faculty Director and Co-Chair of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Director of the Global Justice Clinic, and Faculty Director of the Robert L. Bernstein Institute for Human Rights, NYU School of Law; moderated by Anjili Parrin, Associate Director, Project on War Crimes and Mass Graves, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School.
Thursday, April 30 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
Covid-19 has profoundly disrupted how we conduct human rights work. Advocates around the world are adapting to new challenges brought on by lockdowns, including needing to balance responding to new and exacerbated human rights concerns, increased personal and family responsibilities, and the challenges of remote working. Further, many traditional strategies for resilience and wellbeing such as maintaining strong social bonds and organic peer support networks, are being tested as we remain physically apart. Join us for a discussion on navigating mental health concerns during COVID-19, and strategies for individual, organizational, and movement-wide wellbeing; with Yvette Alberdingk-Thijm (WITNESS), Yara Sallam (Egyptian Feminist & Human Rights Advocate); Douglas Mawadri (Associates for Health Rights Uganda), Margaret Satterthwaite (NYU); moderated by Anjli Parrin (Columbia).
Movements, Organizing, and Empowerment in the Time of COVID-19 (view recording) Antonio Gutierrez, Overseer, Strategic Development & Operations, Organized Communities Against Deportation; Michelle Morse, Founding Co-Director, EqualHealth; Tawanna Petty, Non-Resident Fellow, Digital Civil Society Lab, Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society; Shawn Sebastian, People's Action; Moderated by Sukti Dhital, Executive Director, Robert and Helen Bernstein Institute for Human Rights, NYU School of Law.
Tuesday, April 28 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
The pandemic is, quite literally, pushing people apart. Physical distancing makes traditional forms of organizing and activism—rallies, protests, Know Your Rights trainings; the people power generated by physical proximity—impossible. The pandemic exacerbates preexisting inequities, disproportionately affecting communities and people already marginalized. How are organizations and social movements shifting tactics to continue to build the power of marginalized communities in this new era? What are the greatest challenges? How can human rights organizations and academic institutions best provide solidarity that centers the leadership and calls to action from those most affected? Join us for a talk with experts Antonio Gutierrez (Organized Communities Against Deportations), Michelle Morse (Equal Health), Tawana Petty (Detroit Community Technology Project), and Shawn Sebastian (People's Action); moderated by Sukti Dhital (NYU).
COVID-19 and its Response: Risks to Refugees, Migrants, and Asylum-Seekers (view recording) Bill Frelick, Director, Refugee and Migrant Rights Division, Human Rights Watch; Gillian Triggs, Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Sana Mustafa, Associate Director of Partnerships and Engagement, Asylum Access; moderated by Kate Evans, Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Immigrant Rights Clinic, Duke Law.
Wednesday, April 22 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
As governments respond to the novel coronavirus, asylum-seekers, migrants, and refugees are increasingly being left behind. Housing in overcrowded camps and informal reception centers undermines access to adequate health care, sanitation, and water needed to protect against COVID-19. And some governments are taking advantage of the pandemic to enact discriminatory prevention and treatment measures, including by rejecting asylum-seekers. Join us for a discussion with Bill Frelick (Human Rights Watch), Gillian Triggs (UNHCR), and Sana Mustafa (Asylum Access/ Network for Refugee Voices); moderated by Kate Evans (Duke).
COVID-19 in Conflict: What to Expect? And What Can be Done? (view recording) Azadeh Moaveni, Gender Project Director, Crisis Group; Chief Legal Officer, International Committee of the Red Cross; Farea Al-Muslimi, Co-Founder and Chairman, Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies; Kate Kizer, Policy Director, Win Without War; moderated by Priyanka Motaparthy, Director, Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict and Human Rights, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School.
Tuesday, April 21 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
In conflict-affected countries, healthcare systems have been neglected or destroyed, basic services such as water are often lacking, and civilians are already living under extreme stress, often in crowded conditions. As the pandemic spreads, the consequences will likely be devastating, and the UN Secretary-General has recently called for a global ceasefire. Join us for a discussion on the pandemic in conflict, responsibilities of warring parties under international humanitarian law, and how advocates are working to promote both peace and health; with Azadeh Moaveni (International Crisis Group), Cordula Droege (International Committee of the Red Cross), Farea Al-Muslimi (Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies), and Kate Kizer (Win Without War); moderated by Priyanka Motaparthy (Columbia).
"Innovating Human Rights: Responsibility, Hope, and Strategy in Crisis" (view recording) Kathryn Sikkink, Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and César Rodríguez Garavito, Visiting Professor of Clinical Law, NYU School of Law; moderated by Gulika Reddy, Clinical Teaching Fellow, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School.
Wednesday, April 15 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
Join us for a discussion with leading human rights thinkers on how the pandemic spotlights the need for the human rights field to innovate. Kathryn Sikkink (Harvard) will discuss her new book The Hidden Face of Rights: Toward a Politics of Responsibility, in which she argues that more emphasis needs to be on the responsibilities of all to implement rights. César Rodríguez Garavito (NYU/Just Labs) will discuss his new research, scholarship, and advocacy on forward-looking, hope-based strategies for advancing rights. Moderated by Gulika Reddy (Columbia).
"Innovating Advocacy: Legal Approaches in a New [Pandemic] Terrain" (view recording) Amna Akbar, Associate Professor of Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University; Dr. Hassan Jabareen, Founder and General Director, Adalah Legal Center; and Pamela Spees, Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights; moderated by JoAnn Kamuf Ward, Director, Human Rights in the U.S. Project, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School.
Tuesday, April 14 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
How are justice-seeking movements and organizations adapting to the rapidly-changing environment created by the spread of COVID-19? What tools are proving most effective in their responses? And what role can lawyers and courts play to curb deepened and emerging justice challenges? Join us for a conversation with experts and advocates Amna Akbar (Ohio State), Dr. Hassan Jabareen (Adalah Legal Center), and Pamela Spees (Center for Constitutional Rights); moderated by JoAnn Kamuf Ward (Columbia).
"Flattening the Pandemic Curve While Upholding Digital and Information Rights" (view recording) Adebayo Okeowo, Program Manager, Africa, WITNESS; Diego Naranjo, Head of Policy, European Digital Rights; Maria Luisa Stasi, Senior Legal Officer, Article 19; and Michael Pisa, Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development. Moderator: Janlori Goldman, Adjunct Professor, NYU School of Law and Columbia Law School.
Wednesday, April 8 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
The novel coronavirus has led to millions of people working virtually, and more dependence than ever on access to reliable information and the internet. Some governments have responded to the pandemic by dramatically increasing surveillance on populations, and companies gather and retain huge amounts of our personal data. Join us for a talk on the risks and opportunities for digital and information rights during the pandemic, with experts Adebayo Okeowo (WITNESS), Diego Naranjo (European Digital Rights), Maria Luisa Stasi (Article 19); and Michael Pisa (Center for Global Development); moderated by Janlori Goldman (Columbia/NYU).
"COVID-19's Impact on Health, Housing, Water, and Sanitation: Socioeconomic Rights in Crisis" (view recording) Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing as a Component of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living, and on the Right to Non-Discrimination in This Context; Catherine Flowers, Founder, Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice (CREEJ); and Gregg Gonsalves, Professor of Law and Epidemiology, and Co-Director of the Global Health Justice Partnership, Yale University. Moderator: Aya Fujimura-Fanselow, Senior Lecturing Fellow and Supervising Attorney, International Human Rights Clinic, Duke Law School.
Tuesday, April 7 | 12:10-1:10 pm | Virtual
The pandemic spotlights and exacerbates socioeconomic inequalities caused by decades of neoliberal policies and failures to invest in social infrastructure. The basic rights to health, housing, and water and sanitation are at risk for millions of people around the world. How can human rights-based approaches ground an effective response to the pandemic now, and build a better world afterward? Join us for a talk with UN Special Rapporteur on Housing Leilani Farha, community advocate Catherine Flowers (Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice), and activist and epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves (Yale); moderated by Aya Fujimura-Fanselow (Duke).
"Impacts of COVID-19 on Marginalized Groups: Implications for Policy and Advocacy" (view recording) Amanda Klasing, Acting Co-Director, Women’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch; Charanya Krishnaswami, Americas Advocacy Director, Amnesty International USA; and Vincent Warren, Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights. Moderated by Jayne Huckerby, Clinical Professor of Law, and Director, International Human Rights Clinic, Duke University.
Thursday, April 2 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
Pandemics affect individuals differently, with policy responses potentially worsening existing inequalities and discrimination for marginalized groups, such as women, children, older persons, those unhoused, people with disabilities, detainees, refugees, and migrants. Join us for a discussion on the risks of deepened inequality within the COVID-19 pandemic, and how governments can use a human rights-based and intersectional approach to ensure the rights of all persons are protected. The panel features Amanda Klasing (Human Rights Watch), Charanya Krishnaswami (Amnesty), and Vince Warren (Center for Constitutional Rights); moderated by Professor Jayne Huckerby (Duke).
"States of Emergency and Government Powers in and After the Pandemic" (view recording) Fionnuala Ni Aolain, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism; Isabel Linzer, Research Associate, Freedom House; Yaqiu Wang, China Researcher, Human Rights Watch. Moderator: Ryan Goodman, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Just Security; Professor, NYU Law School.
Tuesday, March 31 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Virtual
As governments respond to the novel coronavirus, many are declaring states of emergency and giving themselves expansive powers. Some censor information, surveil populations and detain critics. Are governments overreaching? Will new powers be rolled back when the crisis is over? Join us for a discussion between Fionnuala Ni Aolain (UN Special Rapporteur on Counterterrorism), Isabel Linzer (Freedom House), and Yaqiu Wang (Human Rights Watch); moderated by Ryan Goodman (NYU/Just Security).
"Fourth Annual Columbia Law School Student Paper Symposium"
Friday, March 27 | 11:00 AM-4:15 PM | Virtual
The Symposium is co-organized and presented by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and Human Rights Clinic, the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Rightslink, and the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, and aims to foster the development of student scholarship and stimulate debate on human rights challenges and opportunities. Student authors of papers will present their work to a panel of faculty and practitioners for feedback and commentary. Feedback is designed to assist presenters to further develop their paper for publication. Following student presentations, the floor will be open to the audience for continued collaborative discussion. For more information and the full program, click here.
"Methods of Resistance Under Occupation in Kashmir and Palestine" Lana Tatour, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Fellow, Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia University; Mahum Shabir, Harvard College & CUNY Law School, Stand with Kashmir Network.
Thursday, February 27 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
This event focuses on the passive and active ways in which people living under occupation in Kashmir and Palestine resist state oppression and find places to thrive culturally, socio-politically, and academically. The event aims to show the parallels between oppressed and occupied peoples across borders and to showcase an intellectual and inspirational conversation on the connections that have been built and can be built across occupied regions. This event was organized by Rightslink and co-sponsored by HRI.
"Human Rights and Peacebuilding: Disciplinary Tensions and Possibilities for Collaboration" Jayathma Wickramanayake, Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, United Nations; Zachary Metz, Director of Peace Building Practice, Consensus, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; and Kristine Eberbach, Deputy Director, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. Moderator: Gulika Reddy, Clinical Legal Fellow, Human Rights Clinic, Columbia Law School.
Tuesday, February 25 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 103
The relationship between human rights and peacebuilding fields has been increasingly recognized. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development explicitly combines the promotion of peaceful, just, and inclusive societies, and the United Nations Human Rights Council acknowledged the critical relationship between human rights and peacebuilding in 2017. However, despite their shared goals of justice and peace, practitioners in both fields operate with different frameworks and use distinct strategies. Additionally, the interventions of one field sometimes hinder rather than bolster the efforts of the other one. This conversation features human rights and peacebuilding practitioners who will discuss tensions as well as possibilities for collaboration between the two fields.
"From Detention to Detention: Resisting the School-to-Prison Pipeline" Seann Riley and Dekaila Wilson, Directors of the NYU Suspension Representation Project
Monday, February 24 | 12:10-1:10 PM | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 106
From metal detectors to the growing presence of police, American schools are looking less and less like bastions of learning. The criminalization of black and brown youth in schools is an epidemic that has implications that impact not only their educational outcomes but also play a heavy role in their future socio-economic mobility. This panel of advocates will focus on demystifying the nature and reach of the pipeline and discuss how we can resist the expansion and intrusion of the criminal justice system in our schools. This event was organized by Rightslink and co-sponsored by HRI.
"Unmaking Citizenship in India" Aman Wadud, Human Rights Lawyer and Founder of the Justice and Liberty Initiative; Rohit De, Associate Professor, Yale University, Legal Historian of Modern South Asia
Wednesday, February 19 | 4:30 - 5:30 PM | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102A
In 2014, the Supreme Court of India ordered an update of the NRC, a register of all Indian citizens in the state of Assam, citing unverified data to justify large-scale illegal migration. Serving as an exercise to separate Indian citizens from “foreigners,” the NRC is responsible for the unimaginable harassment of a large section of society. Now the government wants to implement the NRC all over India, sparking protests across the country. Wadud and De provided detailed insight into the human rights implications of the NRC and India’s recently-passed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
"Book Talk: Rescuing Human Rights: A Radically Moderate Approach" Hurst Hannum, Professor of International Law, The Fletcher School, Tufts University; Elsa Stamatopoulou, Former Chief of the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; Inga Winkler, Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University
Thursday, February 13 | 12:10 - 1:10 PM | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
The development of human rights norms is one of the most significant achievements in international relations and law since 1945, but the continuing influence of human rights is increasingly being questioned by authoritarian governments, nationalists, and pundits. Unfortunately, the proliferation of new rights, linking rights to other issues such as international crimes or the activities of business, and attempting to address every social problem from a human rights perspective risk undermining their credibility, argues Hurst Hannum in Rescuing Human Rights. In this book talk, Hannum called for understanding 'human rights' as international human rights law and maintaining the distinctions between binding legal obligations on governments and broader issues of ethics, politics, and social change.
"Human Rights and the EU: Goals and Challenges" Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights
Tuesday, February 11 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM | School of International and Public Affairs, Room 801
As EU Special Representative for Human Rights and former Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland, Eamon Gilmore discussed the efforts of the European Union to promote human rights worldwide and the human rights implications of current developments such as migration and Brexit.
"Confronting Racism and Patriarchy in Brazil’s Judiciary: A Conversation with Judge Adriana Cruz" Adriana Cruz, Federal Judge, Brazil
Tuesday, February 4 | 12:10 - 1:10 PM | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
As one of the few Afro-Brazilian female Federal Judges in Brazil, Judge Adriana Cruz offered a perspective on the racial and gender justice challenges inside the Brazilian judiciary. She demonstrated how racism and patriarchy manifest in the judiciary and addressed institutional initiatives that are being developed to challenge the inequalities prevalent in the Brazilian justice system.
"Book Talk: Future Histories: What Ada Lovelace, Tom Paine, and the Paris Commune Can Teach Us about Digital Technology" Lizzie O'Shea, lawyer, writer, broadcaster, and recipient of the Davis Projects for Peace Prize
Monday, February 3 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 546
Lizzie O’Shea’s book, Future Histories: What Ada Lovelace, Tom Paine, and the Paris Commune Can Teach Us about Digital Technology, brings together the lessons of radical politics and activism from our pre-digital past to help us envisage a future in which we’re not servants to potentially harmful and also potentially liberating technologies. It is an invitation to a democratic and egalitarian political commitment in both the production and consumption of digital realities. The book was recently shortlisted for the Premier's Literary Award.
"Book Talk: For the Love of Humanity: the World Tribunal on Iraq" Ayça Çubukçu, Associate Professor in Human Rights and Co-Director of LSE Human Rights, London School of Economics and Political Science Wednesday, January 29 | 12:10 - 1:00 PM | Jerome Greene 102B
The global anti-war movement against the invasion and occupation of Iraq gave birth to the World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI). Between 2003 and 2005, the WTI established a globally networked platform where the reasons and consequences of the war could be investigated, and those responsible for the destruction of Iraq could be publicly judged. Çubukçu discussed the transnational praxis of WTI to address the challenges of forging global solidarity through an anti-imperialist politics of human rights and international law.
"International Treaties as Instruments to Advance Human Rights: Opportunities and Challenges" Anna Macdonald, International Arms Control Expert; Practitioner-in-Residence, Human Rights Institute at Columbia University
Thursday, January 23| 12:10 - 1:10 PM | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
Legal frameworks have an important role, and the achievement of an international treaty is significant. But without the same amount of effort to ensure its implementation, a treaty alone may not have an impact on reducing human rights abuses. This talk explored how international human rights law is incorporated into new treaties, and what can be done to ensure their effective implementation. The relatively new Arms Trade Treaty, which regulates the global trade in conventional weapons and ammunition and has 105 States parties, was presented as a case study.
“Intellectual Property and Cultural Heritage: Repatriation, Reclamation, and Rights” Jane Anderson, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies, New York University; Aaron Fox, Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Center for Ethnomusicology, Columbia University; Trevor Reed, Associate Professor, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University. Moderator: Pippa Loengard, Deputy Director, Kernochan Center for Law, Media, and the Arts, CLS
Monday, December 2 | 3:00 - 4:00 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
Laws in the United States and abroad to protect and restore communities’ rights to traditional knowledge and cultural heritage vary widely. Featuring experts working with Native American cultural rights in the U.S. in the areas of music and artifacts, this panel discussed the U.S. legal framework to protect such rights, existing intellectual property, and other laws that may be in tension with recognizing those rights, and innovative efforts to restore justice.
"Book Talk: Detain and Deport" Nancy Hiemstra, Assistant Professor, Stony Brook University
Thursday, November 21 | 12:45 - 2:00 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104
In her new book, Associate Professor and political-cultural geographer, Nancy Hiemstra, critically examines the organization and operation of the massive U.S. detention and deportation system through transnational technographic research in Ecuador. This event was organized by the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs' (SIPA) International Organization and UN Studies Specialization and co-sponsored by HRI.
“The Politics and Rights of Trans and Gender-Nonconforming People” Katherine Franke, Columbia Law Professor; Alejandra Caraballo, Staff Attorney, Transgender Legal Defense, and Education Fund; Paisley Currah, Endowed Chair of Women's and Gender Studies, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center
Wednesday, November 20 | 4:30 - 5:30 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 101
This panel discussed the current state of affairs for trans and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. More specifically, speakers reflected on arguments recently made before the Supreme Court in cases affecting the trans and GNC community. The event was organized by Columbia Law School's Center for Gender and Sexuality Law and co-sponsored by HRI.
“Human Rights and Atrocity Crimes Prevention” Ivan Šimonović, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, Croatia; Former UN Assistant-Secretary-General
Wednesday, November 20 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102B
Ambassador Ivan Šimonović served as the U.N. Assistant-Secretary-General and Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect (prevention of atrocity crimes) from 2016 to 2018. From 2010 to 2016, he served as the U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights. As of September 2019, he started his second mandate as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the U.N. in New York. This event was organized by the Center on Global Governance and co-sponsored by HRI.
“Moving Against the Current: Case Studies in Furthering Gender Equality in Challenging Spaces” Wai Wai Nu, Founder, and Executive Director, Women Peace Network (Myanmar); Ruth Julie Kissam, Director of Operations, Papua New Guinea Tribal Foundation, both 2019 Columbia University Obama Global Scholars. Moderator: Gulika Reddy, Clinical Legal Fellow, CLS
Tuesday, November 19 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality, advancing women's rights continues to be a challenge in many countries. This event included a discussion with leaders in the gender equality space from Myanmar and Papua New Guinea about strategies they've effectively used to achieve justice and challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.
“Decolonizing Fashion” Kimberly Jenkins, Lecturer, Parsons School of Design; Hoda Katebi, Fashion activist, writer, and blogger at JooJoo Azad
Monday, November 18 | 5:30 - 7:30 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 106
Columbia Law School's Middle East Law Students Association (MELSA) and the Columbia University Fashion Society co-organized a discussion around decolonization and the fashion industry for the launch of their Political Fashion series. The event was co-sponsored by HRI. To inaugurate the series, this event hosted Kimberly M. Jenkins, Lecturer at Parsons School of Design, Founder of the Fashion and Race Database Project, and Steering Committee Member of the Research Collective for Decolonizing Fashion; and Hoda Katebi, Iranian-American fashion activist, writer, creator of the blog JooJoo Azad, and Founder of the Blue Tin Production, a fashion production Co-Op for immigrant and refugee women in Chicago, for a lively conversation.
“Book Talk: Intersectional Discrimination” Shreya Atrey, Associate Professor in International Human Rights Law, University of Oxford
Monday, November 11 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
In Intersectional Discrimination, Atrey examines why it has been difficult for jurisdictions around the world to redress intersectional discrimination in law while exploring what intersectionality is as a theory and as a category of discrimination. In this talk, Atrey discussed the book and her bold vision to reimagine discrimination law from the perspective of intersectionality, examining laws in the US, UK, South Africa, Canada, India, and the jurisprudence of the European Courts and international human rights treaty bodies.
“The Long Haul: A Film on Sir Nigel Rodley and the Future of Human Rights” Followed by a conversation with Sarah Cleveland, Columbia Law Professor and Faculty Co-Director, HRI; Nadja Houben, Director, Human Rights in the Picture and Film Producer
Wednesday, November 6 | 6:15 - 8:00 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
Inspired by the late Sir Nigel Rodley, LL.M. 1965 — former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and one of the principal architects of the modern human rights system — the documentary The Long Haul addresses the current backlash on human rights and how to respond. The screening was followed by a conversation on current challenges to the human rights system with Professor Sarah Cleveland, Columbia Law School; and Nadja Houben, Film Producer and Director, Human Rights in the Picture.
“Bodies out of Place: Necropolitics and Colonial Refugees in the Caribbean”
Monday, November 4 | 2:30 - 3:30 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 501
A 2013 ruling of the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court stripped the citizenship of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent. After the decision, more than 200,000 people were considered stateless, facing deportation and being denied birth certificates among other consequences. This situation is one manifestation of a serious refugee crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean. It also provides a unique picture of the dynamics of the inter-American human rights system, since the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a decision challenging the mass expulsions. This talk will discuss the refugee crisis in the Caribbean and international refugee protection and challenges there, leveraging theoretical framings of colonialism and necropolitics. The speaker has elected to remain anonymous publicly due to concerns of retaliation against his/her organization by the government of the Dominican Republic.
"Civil Rights as Human Rights: Exploring Strategies in the United States" Jamil Dakwar, Director, Human Rights Program, ACLU; Chris Albin-Lackey, National Center for Access to Justice; Risa Kaufman, Center for Reproductive Rights; Zachery Morris, Fried Frank Fellow, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF)
Monday, November 4 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102A
The distinction between “civil” and “human” rights in somewhat unique to the U.S. context, where civil rights have been key drivers of social change. This panel of lawyers focused on how they use human rights mechanisms to advance social justice, especially within the context of racial justice work, in addition to the factors they consider in making decisions to utilize them. This event was organized by Rightslink and co-sponsored by HRI.
“Accountability for Targeted Killings of Journalists: Legal and Other Efforts Towards Justice” Agnès Callamard, Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression and UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions; Christophe Boisbouvier, Editor-in-Chief, Radio-France International and friend of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon; Philippe Bolopion, Deputy Director for Global Advocacy, Human Rights Watch
Wednesday, October 30 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102B
In this talk, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute hosted the “Friends of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon” Association to learn more about the killing of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon and discuss efforts to bring justice and accountability in this and other similar cases. The panelists also shared their thoughts on what families and friends can do when legal accountability seems beyond reach.
“Counter-forces in the Business and Human Rights Legislation Space in Europe” Antonella Angelini, Practitioner-in-Residence, HRI; Post-doctoral Fellow, Swiss National Science Foundation
Tuesday, October 29 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
In the wake of the 2017 French Law on the Duty of Vigilance, several European countries, including Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands, have discussed legislative proposals on mandatory human rights due diligence in the supply chains of their multinational corporations. In this talk, Antonella Angelini discussed opportunities, challenges, and innovative human rights accountability tools that may find room in due diligence legislation, as well as the content of these innovative initiatives and their uncertain future.
"SDGs and the Right to Food" Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
Wednesday, October 23 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | William and June Warren Hall, Room 417
Hilal Elver, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, discussed her most recent report, which focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a potentially transformative tool to advance the realization of the right to food, as well as other economic, social and cultural rights. Inequality, and the inequitable distribution of food and productive resources, remains a significant barrier to the realization of the right to food, especially for populations that have been historically and structurally left behind. Engaging these populations in the policy process and implementing the SDGs from a holistic, human rights-based approach will revitalize efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition and enable the universal enjoyment of the right to food. This event was organized by Columbia University's Center on Sustainable Investment and co-sponsored by HRI.
“Cultural Rights and Human Rights: Questioning Protection” Elsa Stamatopoulou, Former Chief of the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; Director, Columbia University’s Indigenous Peoples Rights Program. Moderator: Maya Alkateb-Chami, Managing Director, HRI
Tuesday, October 22 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
Elsa Stamatopoulou's pioneering book Cultural Rights in International Law explores the international protection of cultural rights. In her former role as the Chief of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and current one as the Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights' Indigenous Peoples' Rights Program, she is an advocate of the protection of cultural rights and of putting concerned communities in the driving seat on this issue. In this talk, she discussed historical shifts and current developments in the protection of cultural rights internationally, while reflecting on the scope and contemporary reasons behind the existence, or lack thereof, of international protection of cultural rights.
“Saudi Arabia: Impunity and the Silencing of Dissents” Agnès Callamard, Director, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression; Safa Al Ahmad, Journalist, and Filmmaker; Karin Deutsch Karlekar, Director, PEN America’s Free Expression at Risk Programs
Monday, October 21 | 5:30 - 7:00 pm | Pulitzer Hall, 2950 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
Leading experts on freedom of expression discussed Saudi Arabia’s ongoing crackdown on dissent and what can be done to hold the monarchy accountable for arrests, torture, and murder. This event was part of the Index on Censorship college tour of campuses across the country talking about how free speech is for everyone. It was organized by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression and co-sponsored by HRI.
“The Role of Education in the Prevention of Mass Atrocities” Dr. Koumbou Boly Barry, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education. Introduced by Felisa Tibbitts, Lecturer, Columbia University Teachers College
Tuesday, October 15 | 6:00 - 7:30 pm | Milbank Chapel, Teachers College of Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street
Dr. Boly Barry presented on her report to the United Nations on how the right to education contributes to the prevention of atrocity crimes and mass or grave human rights violations. She is a former Minister of Education in Burkina Faso and holds a Ph.D. in Economic History. This event was organized by Columbia University's Teachers College and co-sponsored by HRI.
“The State of Human Rights in Yemen: Challenges and Lessons of Advocacy in Times of Conflict” Radhya Almutawakel, Chairperson and Co-Founder, and Ali Almurtadha, Researcher, Mwatana Organization for Human Rights. Moderator: Priyanka Motaparthy, Director of Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict, and Human Rights, HRI
Tuesday, October 15 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
For over four years, the conflict in Yemen has caused massive destruction and unprecedented impact on civilians. The death toll is nearly 10,000 people, 250,000 Yemenis have been displaced by the conflict this year alone, and over 24 million people, or 80% of the population, need assistance to survive. What can be done to defend human rights and protect civilian life in Yemen? What is the role of the international community in redressing the grave human rights violations in Yemen and holding perpetrators accountable for war crimes? This discussion featured Radhya al-Mutawakel and Ali Almurtadha, who shared lessons learned from their experience with the Yemeni organization Mwatana for Human Rights.
"United Nations Fact-Finding and Commissions of Inquiry: Where Are We Today" The Hon Michael Kirby, former Justice of the High Court of Australia. Introduced by Sarah Knuckey, Columbia Law Professor and Faculty Co-Director, HRI
Thursday, October 10 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
The UN increasingly mandates fact-finding commissions to respond to serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Why does the UN use such commissions? What is the role of fact-finding in advancing rights? What are the current challenges to UN inquiries? In this discussion, Justice Kirby shared lessons learned from his work as Chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry on DPRK (North Korea). In that role, Justice Kirby had published an unprecedented report documenting crimes against humanity in North Korea.
“Law and Subordination: How Israeli Law Subordinates the Palestinians” Nimer Sultany, Reader in Public Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Introduced by Katherine Franke, Columbia Law Professor
Thursday, October 10 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102B
Dr. Sultany examined the role of Israeli law in advancing, justifying, and perpetuating a separate and inferior status for the Palestinians, whether citizens in Israel or residents in the Occupied Territories. The talk focused in particular on the contributing role of the legal system to the systematic disadvantaging of the Palestinian citizens in Israel. Israeli legal structures, including the Supreme Court, have facilitated the dispossession of Palestinian citizens' land, the establishment of inferior and differentiated citizenship, and the segregation of Arabs from Jews in housing and education. The legal and judicial deployment of seemingly neutral and technical legal categories effectively obscures this subordination while simultaneously justifying, shaping, and advancing it.
“The Role of Technology in the Evolution of International Criminal Investigations” Ulic Egan, Program Manager, Institute for International Criminal Investigations; Ph.D. Candidate and Swansea University Research Excellence Scholar, Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law; Visiting Scholar, HRI
Thursday, October 3 | 2:00 - 3:00 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 546
Advances in technology have had a transformational effect on the way we record conflicts. Technology provides investigative challenges but also significant opportunities for the international investigation of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Ulic Egan, Program Manager at the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI), spoke on the role of technology in international criminal investigations, specifically the use of open-source intelligence, user-generated content, and demonstrative modeling. He examined the potential of such use to transform international criminal investigations and democratize access to justice and discussed some legal, security, ethical, and bias concerns.
“Memorialization, Memory, and Transitional Justice” Milena Duran, Public Educator and Archivist at Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo and Lecturer at Buenos Aires University (Argentina); Francis Opio, Transitional Justice Practitioner at the Foundation for Justice and Development Initiatives (Uganda); Reina Milad Sarkis, Psychoanalysis Practitioner and Founder of MoHR Springhints (Lebanon). Moderator: Maya Alkateb-Chami, Managing Director, HRI
Tuesday, September 24 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
Responding to the immediate atrocities of war, conflict, and terror is naturally the primary focus of recovery, but long-term impacts are equally serious and pressing. Featuring experts from Argentina, Lebanon, and Uganda, this program analyzed the importance of collective memory in the wake of violence and discussed how memorialization can be used as a tool to both bring about transitional justice and preserve the heritage of a nation in turmoil.
“How Does the United Nations Uphold Human Rights in UN and Regional Peacekeeping Operations?” Chloé Marnay-Baszanger, Chief of the Peace Mission Section (PMSS), Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Practitioner-in-Residence, HRI
Tuesday, September 17 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
Faced with growing threats from armed groups with connections to Al Qaida and the Islamic State, in 2017 a group of five countries in the Sahel region of Sub-Saharan Africa known as the G5 Sahel launched a joint force to counter-terrorism in the region with backing from the UN Security Council. The G5 Joint Force--comprising Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger--is part of an emerging move away from traditional UN Peacekeeping operations to regional ones supported by the organization. Chloé Marnay-Baszanger, Chief of the Peace Mission Section (PMSS) at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights examined how the UN has developed a compliance framework to address such risks and how this might serve as a model for future regional, coalition, or bilateral peace enforcement and counterterrorism operations.
“Turkey: Collapse of the Rule of Law”
Friday, April 26 | 2:00 – 3:30 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104
Once one of the most promising democracies in the region, Turkey has become an elected autocracy. Before the July 2016 coup attempt, erosion of the rule of law through overbroad counterterrorism laws and suppression of free expression was a growing concern. The response to the coup attempt resulted in thousands of individuals being purged from the government, journalists and academics arrested, and illiberal changes to the Constitution. Join Sarah Cleveland, CLS Human Rights Institute Co-Faculty Director, along with a panel of experts to discuss the current situation in Turkey and possible implications in the region and worldwide. This event was organized by the Human Rights Foundation and supported by the Program on Peace-building and Human Rights at Columbia’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, HRI, and Columbia Global Freedom of Expression.
“Inaugural TrialWatch Conference”
Thursday, April 25 | 11:30 – 8:00 pm | Jerome Greene Hall
This day-long conference marked the formal launch of TrialWatch, an initiative of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and the Clooney Foundation for Justice focused on monitoring and responding to trials around the world that pose a high risk of human rights violations. TrialWatch is global in scope and focused on trials targeting journalists, LGBTQ persons, women and girls, religious minorities, and human rights defenders. It works to expose injustice and rally support to secure justice for defendants whose rights have been violated. For the detailed program, click here.
“Protecting Civil and Political Rights in Zimbabwe: Challenges and Strategies for Human Rights Advocates” Beatrice Mtetwa, Human Rights Lawyer, Zimbabwe
Wednesday, April 24 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 546
Beatrice Mtetwa, one of Zimbabwe’s most respected lawyers and human rights defenders, discussed the challenges she has experienced working to protect civil and political rights in Zimbabwe and her strategies for successful advocacy. Ms. Mtetwa shared her efforts to defend human rights and promote the rule of law, as well as how she has navigated repeated reprisals from the government for her work. Beatrice Mtetwa has litigated on human rights since 1990 with emphasis on freedom of expression and freedom of the media, and respect for all rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe and international human rights law. She has received local and international recognition for her work and was recently named as one of Harvard Law School’s 2019 Honorees on International Women’s Day.
“Walking and Learning with Indigenous Peoples: A Contribution to the 5th Anniversary of the International Summer Program on Indigenous Peoples Rights and Policy”
Thursday, April 17 - 19 | 9:00 am - 5:00 PM | William J. Warren and Jerome Greene Hall
This event was organized by the Indigenous Rights Program at ISHR and co-sponsored by HRI.
“Kashmir 101: A Teach-in” Manan Ahmed, Associate Professor of History, Columbia University; Suchitra Vijayan, Founding Director, Polis Project; Hafsa Kaniwal, Assistant Professor, Lafayette College. Moderator: Lear Jiang, JD’19, Columbia Law School
Thursday, April 18 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
Kashmir is the most heavily militarized region in the world. Since 1989, over 8,000 persons have been disappeared in the region, and nearly 600 people died in conflict-related violence in 2018 alone. The June 2018 report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, detailing ongoing human rights violations in Kashmir, as well as ongoing skirmishes between India and Pakistan, has brought renewed attention to the conflict in the region and highlighted the importance of understanding why Kashmir continues to experience conflict. Our panelists spoke about the history of Kashmir, its position in South Asia, and the causes and complexities of the ongoing conflict.
“Let’s Talk about the Boteros: Law, Memory, and the Torture Memos at Berkeley Law” Laurel Fletcher, Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director, International Human Rights Law Clinic, UC Berkeley
Thursday, April 18 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
What parts of their uncomfortable associations should universities remember, and how? Around the world, institutions of higher learning are confronting what to do with symbols of their ties to slavery, colonialism, racism, and other projects antithetical to their values. For years, Berkeley Law has faced protests for its employment of Professor John Yoo, a principal author of the “Torture Memos” of the Bush Administration. The school’s exhibit of paintings by Fernando Botero of prisoner abuse by US soldiers at Abu Ghraib has communicated an institutional rebuke to the decision of the United States to rewrite the foundational norms of the rule of law in the pursuit of national security after 9/11. However, the school is considering removing the paintings, which raises questions of memory heuristics: why the paintings are there at all, what they communicate about the past, and whether this past is worthy of commemoration. The Berkeley case offers insights into how and why debates about symbolic representations are contested moments aimed to shape institutional identity and values.
“The Human Rights Status in Catalonia” Rafael Ribó, Catalan Ombudsman and European President of the International Ombudsman Institute
Wednesday, April 17 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102B
Now a year and a half removed from Catalonia’s independence referendum on October 1, 2017 (declared illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court), the Catalan Ombudsman - who must protect and defend rights and freedoms in Catalonia - believes it is important to reflect critically on the Spanish state’s political and legal reaction to those events as it pertains to fundamental rights. As part of this effort, Mr. Ribó’s office recently published three extensive reports on the issue, including the violence perpetrated by security forces during the referendum, and the subsequent concerns about broader questions of the proscription of rights, including expression, assembly and the rights to political participation and representation, among others. Rafael Ribó, the Catalan Ombudsman and European President of the International Ombudsman Institute, joined Columbia Law for a timely discussion of people’s rights to political participation and a fair trial in contemporary democracy.
“Assessing and Advancing the Human Rights of Workers, Women and Girls Rural and Indigenous Communities and Dissidents: CLS Human Rights Clinic Student Presentations” Abbie Gotter JD’19, Andie Reyes JD’ 20, Ally Nasar JD’19, Laura O'Brien LLM’19, Mari Zaldivar JD’19, Nicole O’Donnell JD’19, Sophie Tarazi JD’19, and Tessa Baizer JD’20
Tuesday, April 16 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 101
The Human Rights Clinic presented its work with dairy farmworkers in Vermont to improve labor rights; indigenous communities in Papua New Guinea to respond to the social and environmental impacts of gold mining; rural communities in the US advocating for the right to sanitation; the NYC Commission on Gender Equity to assess the city’s compliance with international norms against gender discrimination, and a global network of trial monitors to advance the right to fair trials. Clinic Students Abbie Gotter JD’19, Andie Reyes JD’ 20, Ally Nasar JD’19, Laura O'Brien LLM’19, Mari Zaldivar JD’19, Nicole O’Donnell JD’19, Sophie Tarazi JD’19, and Tessa Baizer JD’20 presented.
“Advancing Human Rights in Conflict Through Participatory Fact-Finding and Advocacy: CLS Human Rights Clinic Student Presentations” Amanda Robin McNally JD ’20, Brittany Davis JD’19, Carolina Gonzalez JD’20, Daniel Newton LLM’19, Darshana Mitra LLM’19, Emma DiNapoli JD’20, Lear Jiang JD’19, Libby McAvoy JD’20, Patricia Kheirallah LLM’19, and Vincent Wong LLM’19
Monday, April 15 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
The Human Rights Clinic presented its collaborative work with its partners and experts to advance the right to education in Kashmir; respond to civilian casualties and mental health impacts of conflict in Yemen, and seek accountability for war crimes in the Central African Republic. Clinic Students Amanda Robin McNally JD’20, Brittany Davis JD’19, Carolina Gonzalez JD’20, Daniel Newton LLM’19, Darshana Mitra LLM’19, Emma DiNapoli JD’20, Lear Jiang JD’19, Libby McAvoy JD’20, Michael Altman-Lupu JD’20, Patricia Kheirallah LLM’19, and Vincent Wong LLM ’19 presented.
“Securing Fundamental Human Rights and the Criminalization of Poverty” Jennifer Gordon, Professor of Law, Fordham School of Law
Friday, April 12 | 9:00 – 3:45 pm | Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (4 Time Square, NYC, NY)
This CLE explored how lawyers and advocates are leveraging human rights principles and mechanisms to strengthen protections of economic and social rights and to respond to the systematic criminalization of poverty in the United States, which perpetuates inequality and has a disparate impact on communities of color. Participants also identified opportunities for strategic human rights advocacy moving forward.
“Humanitarian Investments?: Workers' Rights for Refugees in Jordan and Ethiopia” Jennifer Gordon, Professor of Law, Fordham School of Law
Thursday, April 11 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102B
Governments, including the EU, have recently tried to curb the flow of asylum-seekers into the Global North by investing in job creation in the less developed countries that host the majority of the world's refugees. Looking at such investments in the garment industry in Jordan and Ethiopia as a case study, this talk discussed how these "humanitarian" efforts have faltered on the ground due to low wages and high rates of workers' rights violations. To respond to such a challenge, the talk explored different approaches to advancing labor rights in global supply chains, and highlight the lessons that can be drawn from such approaches to advance the human rights of refugees in host countries.
“Facing Statelessness: Doubtful Citizens of India” Arijit Sen, Fellow, Center for Contemporary South Asia, Brown University
Thursday, April 11 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
The Indian state of Assam has seen migration from Bangladesh for decades. The anti-foreigner agitation in Assam between 1979 and 1985 led to new legislation denying citizenship for immigrants who migrated from Bangladesh after 1971. While the law is currently being contested before the Indian Supreme Court, hundreds of identified 'foreigners in detention centers face indefinite detention and inhumane conditions. This screening of the documentary film Between Hatred and Fear: Surviving Detention in Assam (2018; 30 minutes) and the following panel discussion shed light on the history, oppression, and deportation of people suspected to be Bangladeshi, and on activists' efforts in the fight for justice.
“A Conversation with Hamed Sinno: Musician and LGBT Activist” Hamed Sinno, Musician and Activist
Tuesday, April 9 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Annex
In 2016, more than 35,000 fans gathered in Cairo for a rock concert by a popular Lebanese band, Mashrou' Leila. During the concert, seven audience-members were arrested for waving rainbow flags that symbolize LGBTQ Pride, which was the beginning of a wave of crackdowns on Egypt's LGBTQ community. By the end of October, over 65 others had been arrested as part of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s crackdown on under anti-homosexuality laws. This event addressed the challenges of trying to fight for rights in closed spaces, where both State forces and the general population are resisting the rights sought. The event focused on the fight against identity-based harms in closed spaces, and the role art and music can play in working towards human rights and justice in the region.
“70 Years On Human Rights Today” Introductions: Gillian Lester, Dean, Columbia Law School; Suzanne Goldberg, Executive Vice President of University Life, Columbia University; Laura Roosevelt, Artist and Granddaughter of Eleanor Roosevelt; Robert Klitzman, Professor and Director, Columbia Masters of Bioethics Program. Panelists: Kayum Ahmed, Lecturer-in-Law, Columbia Law School, and Former Chief Executive Officer, South African Human Rights Commission; Allida Black, Editor Emeritus, The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, and Managing Director, The Allenswood Group LLC; Sarah Cleveland, Professor, Columbia Law School, and Former Vice-Chair, UN Human Rights Commission; Lynn Freedman, Professor, and Director, Averting Maternal Death and Disability Project, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health; Tracy Robinson, Senior Lecturer, The University of the West Indies, and Former President, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Moderator: Roger Cohen, Columnist, The New York Times
Wednesday, April 3 | 6:30 – 8:00 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 106
Seventy years ago, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Drafted under Chairwoman Eleanor Roosevelt, the UDHR inaugurated the modern international human rights system. This panel discussion explored past accomplishments and future challenges of human rights under the UDHR. The anniversary was marked by the unveiling of a bust of Eleanor Roosevelt, gifted to Columbia Law School in recognition of her contribution to human rights.
“Democratizing International Law: The Latin American Perspective” Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg, Professor of International Law, Universidad del Pacífico (Peru).
Tuesday, April 2 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102A
International law traditionally recognizes only two valid justifications for the use of force without consent: Security Council authorization and self-defense. Since the 1990s, Western states and scholars have proposed several expansive reinterpretations of this framework. These theories have gained some support from a few powerful states in the Global North with the capacity and inclination to justify military interventions based on these controversial theories. Less well-publicized is the Global South's opposition to these notions. Peruvian academic and legal expert Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg explored Latin America's largely unseen resistance to these notions and explained why these views have been overlooked and what this means for international law as a core pillar of the international order in an evolving post-colonial world.
“Born Free and Equal: A Symposium on Journalism and Human Rights”
Monday, April 1 | 4:30 – 6:30 pm | Columbia Journalism School, 2950 Broadway, Joseph D. Jamail Lecture Hall, 3rd Floor
This event was organized by the Columbia Journalism School and co-sponsored by HRI.
“Civil Society Resistance in the Global South” Emira Woods, Institute for Policy Studies, Africa Action, TrustAfrica; Gulika Reddy, Human Rights Clinic Fellow, Columbia Law School; Kayum Ahmed, Lecturer-in-Law, Columbia Law School; Darshana Mitra, Human Rights LLM Fellow.
Thursday, March 28 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102A
This event was organized by Rightslink and co-sponsored by HRI.
“Tech & HR: Protecting Human Rights in the Age of AI”
Wednesday, March 27 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102A
The discussion featured Cynthia Conti-Cook, Staff Attorney at The Legal Aid Society and Fellow at Data & Society, Peter Micek, General Counsel at Access Now and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University SIPA, Mutale Nkonde, Policy Advisor and Fellow at Data & Society, Natalie Rea, Staff Attorney at The Legal Aid Society and President of The Court-Access Project, and Aiden Slavin, a consultant, journalist and Innovation Fellow at Fordham University. This event was organized by Rightslink and co-sponsored by HRI.
“Columbia Law School Human Rights Student Papers Symposium”
Wednesday, March 27 | 12:15 – 5:15 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 546
The Second Annual "Columbia Law School Human Rights Student Paper Symposium" provided current Columbia Law School J.D., LL.M., J.S.D. students, and visiting scholars an opportunity to develop their scholarship, while stimulating debate on human rights challenges and opportunities. The student authors presented their work to a panel of faculty and practitioners for feedback and commentary. Following student presentations, the floor opened to the audience for continued collaborative discussion.
“The 2018-2019 Events on the Gaza Fence: International Legal Aspects” Eliav Lieblich, Lecturer (US Assistant Professor), Radzyner School of Law, the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC)
Tuesday, March 26 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Annex
In the past year, demonstrations have regularly taken place around the fence that separates between Gaza and Israel, often leading to clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, resulting in hundreds of Palestinian casualties. The international responses to these events highlight not only conflicting narratives but also fundamentally opposed legal views: both on the applicable legal regime and its substance. Lieblich discussed these positions as expressed in various legal fora, and the challenges they pose for the protection of civilians under international humanitarian and human rights law.
“Racial Justice and Human Rights: Dismantling Racial Oppression” Justin Hansford, Professor of Law, St. Louis University School of Law; JoAnn Kamuf Ward, Director, Human Rights in the U.S. Project, HRI, and Lecturer-in-Law, Columbia Law School; Marissa Jackson Sow, Deputy Commissioner at the New York City Commission on Human Rights
Tuesday, March 26 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102A
This event was organized by Rightslink and co-sponsored by HRI.
“Surges of Populism and their Impact on Human Rights” Sheri Berman, Barnard Professor of Political Science; Jean Cohen, Columbia University Professor of Political Science
Monday, March 25 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102A
This event was organized by Rightslink and co-sponsored by HRI.
“Cities for CEDAW Strategy Session” Joann Kamuf Ward, Director, Human Rights in the U.S. Project, HRI, and Lecturer-in-Law, Columbia Law School; June Zeitlin, Director of Human Rights Policy, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and The Leadership Conference Education Fund; Soon Young Yoon, Chair of the Board, Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
Wednesday, March 14| 9:30 AM – 12:00 pm | Open Society Foundation
This half-day strategy session explored effective avenues to promote and protect women’s rights at Open Society Foundations. The meeting explored recent developments in local efforts to implement core principles of the one human rights treaty focused squarely on the rights of women and girls: the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The United States has yet to ratify CEDAW, but the treaty is increasingly influencing local advocacy and government action.
“Human Rights in China: Mass Internment of Uyghurs” Darren Byler, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington; Nury Turkel, Human Rights Lawyer, Covington LLP; Omer Kanaat, Director, Uyghur Human Rights Project
Tuesday, March 12 | 6:40 – 8:40 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 106
Since 2017, reports have indicated that at least one million Uyghur and other Chinese Muslims have been interned in "re-education camps" without due process rights or trial. How are they transferred to the camps? What are the conditions there and the consequences of mass internment and indoctrination on the population? What are the root causes behind this campaign? How does the Chinese government justify these actions? And what have international and domestic responses been? Our expert panelists explored current practices of the Chinese government in surveilling, monitoring, and interning Uyghur and other Muslim populations in Xinjiang, and addressed what human rights advocates and the broader public can do to end these systemic human rights violations.
“The UN Security Council and Human Rights Violations: Failing to Prevent?” Dakshinie Ruwanthika Gunaratne, Former International Humanitarian Law Expert, UN Security Council Panel on Yemen (2016-2018) and Sudan (2014-2016), and HRI Practitioner in Residence; Moderated by Alex Moorehead, Director, Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict and Human Rights at HRI and Lecturer-in-Law, CLS
Tuesday, March 12 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | June Warren Hall, Room 103
The wars in South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen have all been described by the United Nations as some of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. Yet what is the Security Council, the UN's most important and powerful body, doing about it? How has the UN Security Council responded to widespread abuses by all sides to these conflicts and dire warnings of famine, starvation, and disease? Ruwanthika Gunaratne, the International Humanitarian Law Expert on the United Nations Security Council-mandated Panels of Experts on Yemen (from 2016 – 2018) and Sudan (from 2014 – 2016) discussed the dynamics shaping the UN Security Council responses to these situations and ways in which the Council's approach could be reformed in the sanctions context.
“Using Human Rights Strategies to Tackle Gender Bias in Policing” Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Professor of Clinical Legal Education and Director of the Human Rights Clinic, University of Miami School of Law
Monday, March 11 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | June Warren Hall, Room 103
In the United States, 1.3 million women are physically assaulted by an intimate partner each year. Every day approximately 3 women and 1 man are murdered by an intimate partner and approximately 4 children die from violence in the home. This discussion on domestic violence and human rights-focused on the landmark case of Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States, the first international human rights case brought by a domestic violence survivor against the U.S. Caroline Bettinger-López. Lead counsel on this case, she discussed Lenahan and her legal team's quest for justice, truth and accountability, and ongoing efforts using human rights strategies to address gender bias in policing. Columbia Law School's Human Rights Clinic previously served as co-counsel with the ACLU representing Jessica Lenahan in the case.
“Equal Treatment?: Measuring the Legal and Media Responses to Ideologically Motivated Violence in the U.S.” Kumar Rao, Fellow, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Popular Democracy
Wednesday, March 6 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 103
Equal Treatment?: Measuring the Legal and Media Responses to Ideologically Motivated Violence in the U.S., co-authored by Carey Shenkman and Kumar Rao, is an empirical analysis comparing media coverage, law enforcement tactics, charges, and eventual sentencing when the perpetrator of an act of ideologically motivated violence is perceived to be Muslim and acting in the name of Islam vs. not perceived to be Muslim and motivated by another ideology, such as white supremacy. The talk discussed the findings from this report.
“Human Rights and Civil Rights: Interchangeable Methods to Advance Social Justice” Marissa A. L. Jackson, Deputy Commissioner for Community Relations, NYC Commission on Human Rights; Chris Albin-Lackey, Senior Legal Advisor, Human Rights Watch; Meera Shah, Senior Staff Attorney, Palestine Legal
Tuesday, March 5 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
The distinction between “civil” and “human” rights is somewhat unique to the U.S. context, where civil rights have been key drivers of social change. In the past several decades, the U.S. has seen a shift towards using human rights standards and strategies to advance the full range of rights - civil, political, economic, social, and cultural. How do U.S. lawyers focusing on social justice use human rights mechanisms, and what factors do they consider in making this decision? This event hosted CLS alumni whose work incorporates civil and human rights frameworks, to discuss how law students might develop expertise in both.
“Human Rights Education for Lawyers in Mexico” Carlos R. Asúnsolo Morales, Project Leader, Human Rights Program, El Centro de Estudios Sobre la Enseñanza y el Aprendizaje del Derecho (CEEAD)
Wednesday, February 27 | 9:00 – 10:00 am | School of International and Public Affairs, Room 802
CEEAD works with 200+ academic institutions in Latin America and a network of over 600+ educators, scholars, and lawyers. Carlos discussed his organization's strategy of incorporating human rights into the legal educational institutions in Mexico. Carlos participated in the 2017 Human Rights Advocates Program which is celebrating its 30th anniversary of building capacity of Human Rights Advocates at Columbia University. This event was organized by the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and co-sponsored by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Center for Mexican Studies, and CEEAD.
“Human Rights at War: Detention and Conduct of Hostilities in Armed Conflict” Niccolo Pons, Associate Legal Officer, Chambers, Kosovo Specialist Chambers; Paolo Lobba, Fulbright Research Scholar, Università di Bologna
Tuesday, February 26 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
This talk focused on the relationship between international humanitarian law and international human rights law in times of war with a focus on two main cases: (i) deprivation of liberty; and (ii) conduct of hostilities. A distinction is drawn between rules that apply to international and non-international armed conflict, regarding their concrete implications in current conflict situations, such as Yemen, Afghanistan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
“Case Studies in the Strengths and Limitations of Legalistic Approaches to Human Rights” Vincent Wan Shun Wong, Meher Dev, and Marion Crepet, LL.M. Human Rights Fellows, Columbia Law School
Wednesday, February 20 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
Through a panel moderated by Ben Hoffman, Acting Director of the CLS Human Rights Clinic, CLS LL.M. Human Rights Fellows Crepet, Dev, and Wong presented three case studies discussing the strength and limitations of legalistic approaches to human rights: The Legally Created Prercaity of Migrant Sex Workers in Canada, Gender Justice and Religious Freedoms in India and The Hidden Impacts of Wildlife Trafficking: The Case of the Pangolins.
“A People-Centered Approach to Economic Justice in Jackson, Mississippi” Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Mayor, Jackson, Mississippi
Tuesday, February 12 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba spoke about his work advancing human rights as Mayor of Jackson, MS. From the perspective of a lawyer, community organizer, and social change leader, Mayor Lumumba discussed the challenges and opportunities he faces as a progressive mayor of a historically Black city. The talk highlighted Jackson’s innovative cooperative economic development model rooted in community ownership and participatory democracy.
“Navigating Human Rights Critiques: Lessons from South Africa” Jackie Dugard, Associate Professor, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand; Ben Hoffman, Acting Director, Human Rights Clinic, Columbia Law School
Thursday, February 7 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
Human rights advocates have at times been critiqued for discounting or even undermining rights-holders’ efforts to promote change, constructing rights-holders as merely “victims” and adopting a “savior” mentality. Such practices risk increasing the marginalization and victimization of rights-holders, and at times can even recreate structural barriers to empowerment. But how have advocates responded to this critique in their practice? What have been some of the most difficult challenges to implementing a more critically-responsive form of practice, and how have advocates addressed those challenges? This event addressed those questions, drawing upon the efforts of a group of advocates and rights holders using strategic litigation to advance socio-economic rights in South Africa.
“Financing the SDGs, Privatization, and Human Rights” Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor and Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Senior UN advisor, Author; Philip Alston, John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law, NYU Law School, Co-Chair of NYU Center for Human Rights and Global Justice
Wednesday, January 30 | 6:00 – 7:30 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seek to provide a roadmap for all governments to eliminate extreme poverty and achieve a range of other key economic and social goals by 2030. However, financing to achieve these objectives, including the eradication of extreme poverty, currently falls trillions of dollars short. Achievement of the SDGs is at risk unless current finance trajectories can be shifted. Jeffrey Sachs, the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the SDGs, and Philip Alston, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, discussed the relationship between finance, human rights, and the SDGs, including a focus on current trends toward privatization. This talk was organized by Columbia's Center on Sustainable Investment and co-sponsored by HRI.
“Extreme Poverty in the US: A Human Rights Response” Rosalee Gonzalez, Executive Director at US Human Rights Network; Catherine Flowers, Senior Fellow for the Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement at the Center for Earth Ethics, Founder, Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise (ACRE); Breana Lipscomb, U.S. Maternal Health and Human Rights Campaign Manager; Eric Tars, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty's Legal Director; Annette Martinez Orabona, Director, Caribbean Institute for Human Rights Clinical Professor of Law, Inter-American University of Puerto Rico; Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, ACLU Human Rights Program
Monday, January 28| 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Washington D.C.
This event was co-organized by the U.S. Human Rights Network, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, CUNY School of Law Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic, and Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute
“Use of Force and Article 51 of the UN Charter” Alex Moorehead, Director, Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict and Human Rights at HRI and Lecturer-in-Law, CLS; Jonathan Horowitz, Open Society Justice Initiative; Naz Modirzadeh & Dustin Lewis, Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict; Patrick Luna, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the UN; and Pablo Arrocha, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN
Friday, January 18 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Case Lounge
“The Yemen Crisis: Activist Efforts towards Accountability” Osamah Al-Fakih, Director, Media, Communications, and Advocacy Unit, Mwatana Organization for Human Rights
Wednesday, December 5 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
The war in Yemen has had a devastating effect on the lives of Yemeni civilians. Thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed and injured, and civilian homes, markets, parks, hospitals, and schools destroyed. How have Yemeni activists and analysts responded to the crisis and what efforts are underway to promote accountability? In this discussion as Al-Fakih examined what remedies have been pursued at the national level and what impact these initiatives have had.
“Advancing Human Rights in Sierra Leone: The Role of Prison Watch Sierra Leone (PWSL)” Mamba Feika, Director, Prison Watch Sierra Leone (PWSL); Fellow, Human Rights Advocates Program, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University
Thursday, November 29 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
Feika is the Director of Prison Watch Sierra Leone (PWSL), an organization dedicated to monitoring prisons throughout the country and advocating for the humane treatment of detained individuals. Feika represents PWSL on the Sierra Leone Correctional Service Council, which advises the president of the country on policy matters about correctional services and centers. He holds a Bachelor of Law from the University of Sierra Leone-Fourah Bay.
“Withdrawing from International Agreements: The President's Power” Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law, former Dean of Yale Law School, and former State Department Legal Adviser
Tuesday, November 27 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104
Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law, former Dean of Yale Law School and former State Department Legal Adviser, discussed President Trump's power to withdraw from multilateral agreements, including the Paris Agreement, NATO, NAFTA, and the ICCPR. The talk was moderated by Professor Sarah Cleveland, Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights.
“Overcoming Section 377: Decriminalizing Homosexuality in India” Menaka Guruswamy, Research Scholar and Lecturer, CLS; Arundhati Katju, Independent Counsel. Moderator: Katherine Franke, Professor, CLS
Tuesday, November 20 | 4:15 – 6:00 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Case Lounge
On September 6th, in a landmark judgment for the LGBTQ community in India, the Supreme Court abolished Section 377, a colonial-era sodomy law that was used to criminalize homosexuality. Columbia Law School's Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju represented the lead petitioners in the case, seeking to overturn Section 377 on the basis that it was unconstitutional, as it enabled discrimination and stigmatization of individuals based on their sexual orientation and expression. Leading up to the hearing, they were the prime architects of a creative, multi-year litigation strategy to rid India of Section 377, which Guruswamy called “a colonial stain on [India's] collective national conscience”—an archaic law that sowed debilitating fear and stigma among sexual minorities. Guruswamy and Katju argued that sexuality and its expression are fundamental human experiences, and to enable discrimination based on sexuality and its expression denies individuals of their fundamental human rights. This event was organized by the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law and co0sponsrored by the Center for the Study of Law and Culture, the Human Rights Institute, the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, and the Center for the Study of Social Difference's Women Creating Change program.
“The Use of Force in the 21st Century: Law and Legitimacy” Patrick Luna, Second Secretary and Legal Adviser, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations; Alex Moorehead, Director, Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict, and Human Rights, HRI
Thursday, November 15 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | William and June Warren Hall, Room L107
Since 9/11, a small group of states, led by the United States, have sought to justify their expanded military and counterterrorism operations through stretched interpretations of international law. The prohibition on the use of force in the United Nations Charter, widely regarded as one of the cornerstones of the post-Second World War international order, appears to be under attack. But do all states agree, and who gets to make the law anyway? Patrick Luna, Second Secretary, and Legal Adviser, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations, and Alex Moorehead, Lecturer in Law and Director of the Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict, and Human Rights at the Human Rights Institute, explored recent developments in the law on the use of force and why that matters.
“The United States’ Retreat from the Human Rights System” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Keith Harper, Former U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Human Rights Council. Moderator: Sarah Cleveland, Professor, Columbia Law School; Vice-Chair, United Nations Human Rights Committee
Wednesday, November 14 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104
In June 2018, the United States announced its withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council, the primary UN state body established for the protection of human rights. The action accompanied threats or actions to distance the United States from various regional and international human rights institutions. This conversation between Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Keith Harper, Former US Ambassador to the Human Rights Council, considered the United States' retreat from human rights mechanisms and the implications for the global protection of human rights. The conversation was moderated by Professor Sarah Cleveland, Louis Henkin Professor of Human & Constitutional Rights.
“The Front Lines of Gender Justice: The Future of Queer and Trans Rights” Pepe Julian Onziema, LGBTQ+ and Human Rights Activist from Uganda; 2018 Fellow Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University. Moderator: Katherine Franke, Professor, CLS
Monday, November 12 | 3:00 – 4:30 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
Chinyere Ezie is a nationally recognized civil rights lawyer and social justice activist who specializes in constitutional litigation and anti-discrimination work. In 2016, Chinyere was named one of the country's Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40. She is a Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights where she focuses on racial justice, gender justice, and LGBT rights work. Chinyere previously worked as a Staff Attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center LGBT Rights Project, where she was lead counsel for transgender rights activist Ashley Diamond in her suit against the Georgia Department of Corrections. Chinyere also worked as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where she successfully represented employees who had been subjected to discrimination--securing a $5.1 million-dollar trial verdict. This event was organized by the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law and co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute and ISHR.
“Colombia’s Peace Agreement: Strengths and Challenges” Manuel Cepeda, Former Chief Justice, Colombian Constitutional Court; Legal Adviser to the President. Moderator: Sarah Cleveland, Professor, Columbia Law School
Monday, November 12 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 103
Peace negotiations in Colombia between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC–EP) resulted in a peace deal ratified in November 2016. In 2017, after disarmament, FARC became a political party and this year participated in the 2018 elections. Manuel José Cepeda Espinosa, Former Chief Justice of the Colombian Constitutional Court, discussed the effort to navigate Colombia's constitutional and international legal obligations in the peace process and the challenges ahead.
“Conference: China and International Legal Order”
Saturday, November 10 – Sunday, November 11 | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm | Jerome Greene, 646
“Constitution-Making in the 21st Century” Sumit Bisarya, Head of Constitution-Building Processes, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
Wednesday, November 7 | 4:10 – 5:10 pm | William and June Warren Hall, Room 600
From Kenya to Myanmar to Tunisia and Chile, the making of constitutions has changed since the United State's Philadelphia Convention 240 years ago. Sumit Bisarya JD'04, Head of Constitution-Building Processes at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, discussed how constitutions are drafted today and how international assistance can help—or hinder—such efforts.
“Fighting for Maternal Health: Lessons for Advancing Women’s Rights in the U.S.” Pilar Herrero, Human Rights Council, Center for Reproductive Rights; Breana Lipscomb, U.S. Maternal Health and Human Rights Campaign Manager, Center for Reproductive Rights. Moderator: JoAnn Kamuf Ward, Director, Human Rights in the U.S. Project, HRI
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 107
With the highest maternal mortality ratio in the developed world, the U.S. ranks poorly on measures of maternal health, and the United States is one of the few countries where maternal mortality is on the rise. The current crisis in maternal health disproportionately impacts women of color. This talk explored how reproductive rights organizations are leveraging human rights principles and strategies to improve health policy and outcomes locally, and nationally, and the connection to global advocacy.
“Identifying Missing Migrants: Using Forensic Sciences to Account for Deaths on the US-Mexico Border” Mercedes Doretti, Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team. Moderator: Anjli Parrin, Legal Fellow, Project on War Crimes and Mass Graves, CLS Human Rights Clinic
Thursday, November 1 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | William and June Warren Hall, Room L107
Thousands of people die trying to cross the US-southern border into America. Since the late 1990s, almost 7,000 persons have been found dead on the US-side of the border with Mexico, and thousands more remain missing. Hundreds of bodies lie unidentified in morgues, medical examiners offices, and cemeteries in states such as Texas and Arizona. Mercedes Doretti, a leading forensic anthropologist, has since 2009 successfully identified the remains of almost 200migrants. Doretti is co-founder of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, created in 1984 to investigate the cases of 9,000 disappeared people in Argentina, and which today has worked in more than 50 countries.
“Twenty Years On: The International Criminal Court Today” Chile Eboe-Osuji, President, International Criminal Court
Tuesday, October 30 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104
As the first permanent treaty-based court established to deal with genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has eleven situations under investigation, including in Uganda; Darfur, Sudan; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and Georgia. What has the ICC accomplished, what is the court's relevance in the early 21st century, and how has it responded to its critics? This conversation with ICC Judge and President Chile Eboe-Osuji addressed the court's recent decisions and investigations, and the opportunities and challenges ahead.
“Should Human Rights Activists Disrupt Human Rights?” César Rodríguez-Garavito, Executive Director, Center for Law, Justice, and Society (Dejusticia); and Founder, Program on Global Justice and Human Rights, University of the Andes. Moderator: Benjamin Hoffman, Deputy Director, Human Rights Clinic
Tuesday, October 30 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
Rodríguez Garavito discussed critiques of the human rights field, and tactics for effectively disrupting human rights - and improving strategies for social justice - that draw on the insights of other areas, such as journalism, neuroscience, long-term thinking, and social psychology.
“Mental Health and Trauma: New Research and Tactics for Resilient Advocacy” Yvette Alberdingk-Thijm, Executive Director, WITNESS; Adam Brown, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, New School for Social Research, and Director of the Global Mental Health and Trauma Lab; Gulika Reddy, Clinical Teaching Fellow, CLS Human Rights Clinic. Moderator: Sarah Knuckey, Professor, Columbia Law School
Thursday, October 25 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
The crucial work undertaken by human rights advocates to investigate abuse and advocate for justice can often expose them to traumatic material, threats, and violence that can affect well-being. This panel discussed new research on mental health and human rights, and share innovative strategies for individual, organizational, and community well-being.
“The Unseen Paradox of Agricultural Workers: How Our Food Systems Create Hunger” Hilal Elver, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
Monday, October 22 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102A
Agricultural workers play a critical role in achieving food security and fulfilling the universal human right to adequate food. They are, however, among the most food insecure, facing formidable barriers to the realization of their right to food, often working without labor and employment protections and under dangerous conditions. Despite this vulnerability to food insecurity and human rights violations, the right to food of agricultural workers has not been sufficiently addressed. Elver discussed the rights of agricultural workers on a global scale and her recent report to the United Nations on the matter.
“Responding to the Global Crisis in Migrants' Rights” Felipe Gonzalez Morales, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants. Moderator: Maya Alkateb-Chami, Managing Director, HRI
Wednesday, October 17 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104
An estimated 258 million people live outside their country of origin - including 68+ million displaced due to war, persecution, and environmental disaster. González Morales, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants and former President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, discussed rights-based solutions to ensure access to justice for migrants and reflect on the opportunities and challenges facing the global community, based on a report to be presented to the UN General Assembly.
“The Rights of Migrants in the U.S.: Key Trends and Challenges. A closed meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on Migration” Felipe Gonzalez Morales, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
Wednesday, October 17 | 10:30-11:45 am | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 807
“The Remaking of Rwanda with Restorative Justice and Mediation” Anastase Nabahire, Coordinator of Justice, Reconciliation, Law and Order Sector Secretariat, Rwanda
Tuesday, October 16 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
In most western legal systems, restorative justice and mediation function at the periphery of the legal system, but this has not been the case in post-genocide Rwanda. The Coordinator of the Rwandan Justice Sector, Anastase Nabahire, discussed the central role that these processes have had in the reconstruction of his country from a failed state to the country ranked highest for foreign investment in Africa, and how their expansion through ongoing law reform contributes to a trauma-informed system of justice.
“Law, History, and Narratives of Memory: Philippe Sands and Mark Mazower in Conversation” Philippe Sands, Professor of Law, University College London; Mark Mazower, Professor of History, Columbia University
Monday, October 15 | 6:15 – 7:45 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
Philippe Sands and Mark Mazower are the authors of recent books in which narratives of their families are interwoven with the history of war, revolution, and the Holocaust. The Sands book uncovers connections between his own ancestors’ city and that of the two leading figures in the development of the law against genocide and crimes against humanity – Raphael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht – and relates his family history to the Nuremberg trials. Mazower’s book explores his family’s links with Jewish socialist revolutionaries in the Russian empire and exile. The discussion focused on these intersecting histories and reflected on the relationships between law, history, and memory. This event was co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute and the Center for Israeli Studies.
“Harnessing the Power of Technology: New Tools for Human Rights Accountability” Brad Samuels, Founding Partner, SITU Research. Moderator: Tony Wilson, Director, Security Force Monitor, Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute
Wednesday, October 10 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | William and June Warren Hall, Room L107
Samuels discussed how interdisciplinary methods, tools, and technologies are advancing human rights fact-finding and criminal investigations, and how SITU Research, an unconventional applied research division, is using design, research, and fabrication in visual and spatial analyses of human rights violations. Samuels presented on case studies from SITU's recent work, including on Ukraine and Mali.
“SJI Monday: Practicing International Human Rights Law in Asia” Payal Shah, Senior Counsel for Asia, Center for Reproductive Rights; Practitioner-in-Residence, HRI
Monday, October 1 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 546
Payal Shah '06, Senior Counsel for Asia at the Center for Reproductive Rights and Practitioner-in-Residence at the Human Rights Institute discussed legal strategies used to advance human rights in India and the Philippines and best practices for social justice advocates in a challenging environment. This event was hosted by SJI and co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute.
“The Future of Multilateralism Amidst Current Challenges: A Private Conversation” Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights
Monday, September 24 | 1:15 – 2:15 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 908
This event was co-hosted by the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression and the Human Rights Institute.
“A Conversation with Stavros Lambrinidis, the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights” Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights
Monday, September 24 | 12:10 - 1:15 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 107
This was hosted by the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression and co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, SIPA Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy Group, ISHR, and CLS European Legal Studies Center.
“Human Rights at the International Court of Justice: Qatar v. United Arab Emirates” Mohammed Al-Khulaifi, Dean, Qatar University College of Law; Agent of the State of Qatar before the International Court of Justice
Monday, September 24 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
Earlier this year, Qatar filed a case against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for discrimination and other human rights violations against Qatari citizens. The case is brought under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). In 2017 the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic and trade ties with Doha for allegedly supporting terrorism and expelled thousands of Qataris, including families. Dr. Al-Khulaifi discussed Qatar's decision to file the lawsuit, its legal basis, and the ramifications for the Middle East.
“Lessons from the Human Rights Clinic's Project on War Crimes and Mass Graves in the Central African Republic” Anjli Parrin, Legal Fellow, Project on War Crimes and Mass Graves, CLS Human Rights Clinic
Friday, September 21| 2:00 - 4:00 pm | William J. Warren, Room 101
“Future Vision: Toward Solidarity in Human Rights Activism” Sarah Jackson, Deputy Regional Director, East Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes, Amnesty International; Practitioner-in-Residence, HRI
Wednesday, September 19 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
While human rights can liberate people from fear and want, human rights activism can both entrench and transform power relations. How can solidarity across people, organizations, and borders build power for human rights change from below? Using the case study of Amnesty International, Sarah Jackson, Deputy Regional Director, East Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes at Amnesty International and Practitioner-in-Residence at the Human Rights Institute discussed how solidarity is and could further evolve to ensure the agency of those struggling against oppression is central to solidarity work.
“Nicaragua in Crisis: Voices from the Movement” Alejandro Bendana, Former Nicaraguan Ambassador to the United Nations
Thursday, September 18| 1:00 - 2:00 pm | School of International and Public Affairs, Room 802
This event was hosted by the Columbia Human Rights Working Group and co-sponsored by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Peace Corps Club at SIPA, and the Latin American Student Association.
“Private Briefing Session on the Deteriorating Situation in Guatemala” Claudia Samayoa, UDEFEGUA (The Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit in Guatemala)
Thursday, September 13 | 10:30 - 11:30 am | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 501
“Geospatial Evidence in International Human Rights Litigation: Technical and Legal Considerations” Theresa Harris, AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program; Jonathan Drake, AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program; Bradley Samuels, SITU Research; Moderator: JoAnn Kamuf Ward, Human Rights in the U.S. Project, HRI
Thursday, August 2 | 3:00 - 5:00 pm | Jerome Greene Hall, Room 304
The Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program, are curating a presentation and discussion about the future of geospatial evidence in international human rights litigation, accompanied by the release of a new report by AAAS, providing the first comprehensive assessment of how geospatial technologies have been used in international human rights litigation, including a compilation of key cases in which satellite imagery and remote sensing have been presented as evidence. Based on the experience of AAAS as a leader in the use of geospatial technologies for human rights documentation, the report makes recommendations for international courts, human rights NGOs, geospatial analysts, government agencies and private providers of imagery on how best to incorporate these technologies into human rights practice and international justice proceedings.
“Advancing Human Rights During Armed Conflict: Accountability, Non-Discrimination, and Health” Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School
Tuesday, April 17 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 105
The Human Rights Clinic presented its work on accountability for civilian harm caused by U.S. actions abroad, the right to mental health in the context of armed conflict in Yemen, and education rights and forensic investigations of war crimes in the Central African Republic. Clinic students Rachel Fleig-Goldstein '18, Scott Johnston '18, Kate Berry '18, Marryum Kahloon LLM ’18, Suzie Wnukowska-Mtonga LLM '18, Daron Tan LLM ’18, Rhea Rajshekhar LLM ’18, Tamar Luster LLM '18, Junteng Zheng LLM '18, Siju Falade '19, Sophia Wistehube ’19, Nia Morgan '19, and Miguel Zamora-Mills '19 presented. The Director of the Human Rights Clinic, Professor Sarah Knuckey, provided introductory remarks.
“Challenging Inequality and Injustice in the National and Global Economies” Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School
Monday, April 16, 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 102B
The Human Rights Clinic presented its work with Farmworkers in Vermont to improve labor rights and working conditions, indigenous communities in Papua New Guinea to investigate and respond to the social and environmental impacts of gold mining by multinational companies, human rights defenders in Peru facing criminalization for their resistance to mega-projects, and rural communities in Alabama advocating for the right to sanitation. Clinic students Amos Laor LLM '18, Rachel Fleig-Goldstein '18, Rachel LaFortune '18, Doreen Bentum '18, Nia Morgan '19, Oyinkan Muraina '19, Kamilah Moore '19, Siju Falade '19, and Miguel Zamora '19 presented. Clinic Deputy Director Benjamin Hoffman provided an overview of the clinic, and clinic staff and supervisors were introduced.
“Second Annual Columbia Law School Human Rights Student Paper Symposium”
Friday, April 13 | 1:10 - 5:20 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 546
The Second Annual "Columbia Law School Human Rights Student Paper Symposium" provides current Columbia Law School J.D., LL.M., J.S.D. students, and visiting scholars an opportunity to develop their scholarship, while stimulating debate on human rights challenges and opportunities. The student authors present their work to a panel of faculty and practitioners for feedback and commentary. Following student presentations, the floor is open to the audience for continued collaborative discussion.
Indigenous Women Leaders at Columbia Seminar
11-13 April 2018 | Jerome Greene Hall Annex
Columbia’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights (Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program) and the International Indigenous Women’s Forum- IIWF/FIMI- in cooperation with Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute organized a three-day seminar with Indigenous women leaders. Columbia hosted this program for the fifth year and is part of the Global Leadership School of Indigenous Women, Program on Human Rights and International Advocacy Skills. 21 Indigenous women participated from six Indigenous socio-cultural regions and had seminars with Columbia professors, officials of UN agencies, and Indigenous experts. They also had the opportunity to present their community advocacy plans that they will be implementing shortly.
“Does the UN Protect Human Rights?: A Conversation with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Amal Clooney, Visiting Professor of Law
Monday, April 9 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 104
Visiting Professor Amal Clooney interviewed UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. They discussed human rights challenges around the world and the UN’s successes and failures in seeking to advocate for human rights. More information about the conversation that went on is available in this press release.
“Trump's Racialized Rhetoric: Analyzing the Domestic Human Rights Challenges” Jasmine Tyler, US Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch
Wednesday, April 4 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Case Lounge
Jasmine Tyler is US Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch. Before joining HRW, she was a senior policy advisor for drug policy and global health for Open Society Foundations. Jasmine also served as deputy director of National Affairs for Drug Policy Alliance. Her firsthand understanding of the criminal justice system began as a child visiting her father in prison. She has an MA from Brown University and a BS from James Madison University, both in sociology.
“Drones and the Interaction of Technology, War, and the Law” Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi, Ph.D. Candidate at the European University Institute, and Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School
Monday, March 26 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 104
Most military, academic, and political discussions of drones assume that unmanned aerial vehicles are no different from any other weapons system. In so doing they fail to address the relationship between technological advances, military strategy, and the law. This discussion highlights the impact drones are having on law and the war.
“Fighting Racial Discrimination and Intolerance in an era of Resurgent Hate” E. Tendayi Achiume, UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance
Thursday, March 22 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 102B
UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, E. Tendayi Achiume, spoke as part of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute yearlong Racial Justice and Human Rights Series. This event is co-sponsored by EWOC, LALSA, LASS, MELSA, and QTPOC.
“India: Sexual Violence, Victim Blaming, and Access to Justice” Jayshree Bajoria, Human Rights Watch, Menaka Guruswamy, Columbia Law School
Wednesday, March 7 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 105
Public protests in India after the December 2012 fatal gang rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey, a student in Delhi, spurred important legal and other reforms. This has been accompanied by numerous public campaigns, including on social media, most of them led by Indian women and civil society challenging patriarchal norms and calling for change. The MeToo movement found thousands of voices echoing similar stories in India. While many more girls and women have been willing to speak out and report sexual violence in India, defying stigma to break the culture of silence, promised changes are still falling far short of being realized. Rape survivors in the country face significant barriers to justice and critical support services such as health care, counseling, and legal aid. Jayshree Bajoria, author of a new Human Rights Watch report “Everyone Blames Me” has documented the humiliating treatment women and girls who survive rape and other sexual violence still too often suffer at police stations and hospitals. Medical professionals still compel degrading “two-finger” tests to make characterizations about whether the victim was “habituated to sex.” The system to provide compensation is often inefficient and survivors wait a long time or are unable to access the scheme. The talk focused on such persistent gaps in enforcing the laws and relevant policies and discussed some measures to ensure that the criminal justice system treats the victims and their families with sensitivity, dignity, and without discrimination.
This event was co-supported by the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, the Center for the Study of Law and Culture, The Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School, the Ambedkar Research Chair at Columbia Law School, and the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality at Columbia University.
“Human Rights in Crisis” Members of Amnesty International’s Crisis Team
Thursday, March 8 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 104
This conversation with members of Amnesty International’s Crisis Team covered current crises around the world, including in Myanmar, Syria, and the Philippines, and how human rights advocates are responding to them.
“’ Set up to Fail’: The Impact of Offender-Funded Private Probation on the Poor” Komala Ramachandra, Senior Business and Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Watch
Friday, March 2 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | William and June Warren Hall 103
The discussion highlighted findings of a recently-launched report on the disproportionate harms to the poor of private probation supervision, including families sacrificing basic needs--such as food, housing, and transportation--or facing criminalization for their inability to pay probation fees and court costs.
“Life in the Gaza Strip: Reflections of Human Rights Advocates” Abeer Almasri, Human Rights Watch’s Gaza Research Assistant and Sari Bashi, Israel/Palestine Advocacy Director
Wednesday, February 28 | 3:10 - 4:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 502
Organized by the Human Rights Institute and Columbia Law Students for Palestine, this roundtable discussion presented what day to day life is like in the Gaza strip for human rights researchers and advocates. Sari first discussed Human Rights Watch’s assessment of the situation in Gaza, and Abeer provided a first-hand account regarding the current situation in Gaza after over a decade of Israeli closure and her research, including on the effects of Israeli restrictions on access to electricity, health and water, arbitrary arrests and torture by Hamas authorities, and use of force by the Israeli army, among other issues. This is the first time that Abeer was able to obtain a permit from the Israeli army to leave the 25 by 7 mile Gaza Strip.
“Protecting Civilians in Conflict: Engaging Non-State Actors” Hichem Khadhraoui, Director of Operations, Geneva Call
Thursday, February 22 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 107
Armed groups carry out grave abuses in conflicts around the world – including deliberate attacks on civilians, torture, and sexual violence. Groups such as ISIS appear beyond the reach of the law and reason, but is this true for all groups, or even ISIS? A discussion with Hichem Khadhraoui presented Geneva Call’s unique work to promote respect for international humanitarian norms in conflict by armed groups.
“Underground Warfare” Daphne Richemond-Barak, Assistant Professor at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy, IDC Herzliya, Israel
Tuesday, February 13 | 4:30 – 5:30 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 106
A discussion of Dr. Daphne Richemond-Barak’s new book examining tunnel warfare. In the book, she argues that many of the legal issues to underground warfare have been underexplored and underestimated by States, security experts, and public opinion, although elements of underground warfare have been featured in virtually every conflict post-9/11.
“Human Rights in Venezuela: Current Situation and Prospects” Ligia Bolivar, Director of the Center for Human Rights at the Andres Bello Catholic University
Wednesday, February 7 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 102B
Venezuela is confronting a growing crisis in human rights and humanitarian protection, triggering engagement by the OAS and the UN Human Rights Council. Venezuelan human rights expert Ligia Bolivar addressed the situation and analyzed the perspectives of the human rights movement is facing the current challenges.
“The Trump Administration and International Law” Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law School
Tuesday, January 30 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 104
Will Donald "trump" international law? Or is it pushing back, and if so how? Harold Hongju Koh, former Dean of Yale Law School and Legal Adviser and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. State Department discussed his forthcoming book and reviewed the landscape thus far.
“Roundtable with Kenyan Human Rights Activist Njonjo Mue” Njonjo Mue, Lead Consultant, Just Consult Africa
Monday, December 11
“The Human Rights Crisis in Mexico: The Role of Mexican Law Schools” Carlos Asunsolo, Human Rights Advocate
Tuesday, November 21 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 546
Carlos Asunsolo is the Human Rights Project Leader at the Research Center for the Teaching and Learning of the Law (CEEAD). The center's mission is to transform legal education in Mexico to train lawyers to be committed to the rule of law and human rights in Mexico.
“European Counterterrorism Policy and Human Rights in Trump Era” Anthony Dworkin, senior policy fellow at European Council on Foreign Relations
Thursday, November 9 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 105
In recent years, European countries have made significant changes to their domestic counter-terror laws and taken direct military action against Isis and other groups in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Sahel. The discussion focused on the extent to which European countries have adopted a US-style "war on terrorism" model, how far they continue to offer a different approach, and what impact the Trump presidency will have on transatlantic relations in counter-terrorism.
“Lawyering for Racial Justice” Darius Charney, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights
Wednesday, November 8 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 102B
Darius Charney, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, discussed the different roles that lawyers play in the struggle for human rights and racial justice, from litigating important race discrimination cases to legislative advocacy to providing legal support to racial justice activists and organizations. Charney discussed how he and the Center of Constitutional Rights have engaged in each of these, drawing upon examples from litigation to stop NYPD stop-and-frisk practices, the campaign to pass the landmark 2013 Community Safety Act through the NY City Council, and Freedom of Information Act work on behalf of Color of Change and the Movement for Black Lives.
“Mobilizing Social Movements in Conflict: Fighting for Education in the Central African Republic” AbdoulAziz Sali, Coordinator of the Collective of Muslim Central African Students and practitioner in residence at Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute
Thursday, November 2 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 304
AbdoulAziz Sali, Coordinator of the Collective of Muslim Central African Students, spoke about his work in grassroots organizing amid armed conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR), and the challenges of creating an NGO to advocate for the right to education of Muslim students. Despite severe restrictions on freedom of movement, weekly armed attacks, and discrimination, Mr. Sali was able to mobilize students to advocate for the right to education. He discussed the challenges he encountered, and what his organization was able to achieve, as well as the current situation and violence in CAR. Mr. Sali is currently a practitioner in residence at Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.
“The School-to-Prison Pipeline- Race, Inequality, and Human Rights in School Discipline” Dennis Parker, Director of ACLU National Office's Racial Justice Program
Wednesday, November 1 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 102B
Dennis D. Parker, Director of the ACLU National Office's Racial Justice Program, spoke about racism and inequality in the United States, and the school-to-prison pipeline, which funnels children from the educational system into the criminal justice system. Dennis discussed the challenges in ensuring non-discrimination and equality within the criminal justice system, and how the Racial Justice Program at the ACLU is seeking to challenge practices within school discipline that violate human rights and have discriminatory impacts on communities of color through litigation, public education, community organizing, and legislation.
This event is part of a Human Rights Institute yearlong series on Racial Justice and Human Rights, which examines how human rights and social justice advocates counter racial injustice and structural racism. The series is co-sponsored by Empowering Women of Color, Latino/a Law Student Association, Law in Africa Student Society, Middle Eastern Law Student Association, and Queer Transgender People of Color.
“Investment Arbitration for Debt Disputes: Undermining Human Rights Compliance?” Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, United Nations Independent Expert on Debt and Human Rights, and Edward Guntrip, Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex
Thursday, October 26 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 105
In the absence of an international framework to regulate sovereign debt restructuring, investment arbitration has recently been seen as a potential forum for holdout creditors and vulture funds to seek to enforce sovereign debt instruments. However, the system of investment arbitration was not designed to enforce financial obligations, and even less to provide an avenue for the claims of speculative hedge funds and non-cooperative creditors. To date, however, most investment tribunals have found jurisdiction over sovereign debt disputes. Notwithstanding a few arbitration decisions, the consideration of human rights issues in international investment arbitration has so far remained rather on the periphery of the international investment law regime. Given the deep and broad human rights implications of debt crises, the report of the Independent Expert argues that it would be a dangerous development if bilateral investment treaties became a forum for solving sovereign debt disputes. While the international community is making great efforts to prevent or minimize holdout litigation, investment arbitration may open a new door for such creditors to deploy disruptive strategies. The current system of investment arbitration may, therefore, impair economic recovery and undermine State funding for public services and State institutions that give effect to economic, social, cultural rights and the protection of civil and political rights.
The event was organized by the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, the Columbia International Arbitration Association (CIAA), and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute.
“Human Rights Violations in War: Tactics for Accountability” Kristine Beckerle, Yemen and UAE researcher in the Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch, and Radhya al-Mutawakel, Human Rights Defender, Chair of Mwatana Organization, Practitioner-In-Residence at Columbia Law School, and recipient of Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute’s Global Advocate Award
Wednesday, October 25 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 105
The catastrophic war in Yemen is now in its third year. Thousands of civilians have been killed and injured, hundreds of thousands are infected with cholera and millions are on the brink of a famine. The crisis is man-made, but what can be done to stem these abuses and hold those responsible accountable? This discussion highlighted how human rights groups have sought accountability and what's next in the effort to stop violations in Yemen.
“Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights under Trump” Laura Pitter, Senior National Security Council, Human Rights Watch U.S. Program
Monday, October 23 | 12:10 - 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Annex
Before Donald Trump taking office, the human rights community braced itself for an administration that promised the use of harmful, unlawful, and counterproductive counterterrorism policies. These included the use of torture, new detentions at Guantanamo Bay, and a loosening of rules on lethal strike operations. Overlaying all this would be greater demonization of Muslim communities and Islam itself. This discussion highlighted the U.S. counterterrorism policies that have emerged under the Trump administration and the new challenges they pose.
“Corporate Human Rights Abuses: (Re)Locating Victims in the Remedial Process” Surya Deva, Associate Professor, School of Law of City University of Hong Kong, and Chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
Thursday, October 19 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 546
One of the key ongoing challenges in the business and human rights field is to provide effective remedies to victims of corporate human rights abuses. This challenge is being grappled with in several settings – from litigating about the scope of the Alien Tort Statute to developing a direct duty of care principle under tort law, introducing mandatory human rights due diligence, providing states guidance to remove barriers in access to judicial remedies, improving the efficacy of non-judicial and operational-level mechanisms, and negotiating an international legally binding instrument.
Where are the voices of victims in these efforts? Building on the recent report of the UN Working Group on Business and Rights, this talk highlighted why rights holders and their sufferings must be at the heart of the entire remedial process. The talk also unpacked some of the elements of a victim-centric approach to seeking effective remedies for business-related human rights abuses.
“Courage in the Face of Conflict: Social Justice Advocacy in Burundi” Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, founder of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons, the 2017 Civil Courage Prize Laureate, and 2016 recipient of the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism
Wednesday, October 18 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | William and June Hall, Room 103
Pierre Claver Mbonimpa spoke about the current crisis in Burundi and recent findings by the UN Human Rights Council that Burundi's top leaders and security agencies have committed crimes against humanity. Mbonimpa hailed as the "grandfather" of the human rights movement in Burundi, is the founder of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons, the 2017 Civil Courage Prize Laureate, and 2016 recipient of the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism.
“Leadership Skills for Human Rights Advocates” Kobi Skolnick is the founder of Lead for Impact and Leadership for New Emergence
Tuesday, October 17 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 546
Effective human rights advocacy requires leadership skills and insight. Successful leaders anchor themselves in their inner resources to inspire and work in solidarity with communities. How can our leadership align with our values, for the advancement of the rights of others? In this lunchtime talk, advocate and leadership trainer Kobi Skolnick introduced core leadership skills for social justice advocates, including how to ground ourselves in our values, distinguishing between fear and value base, handling multiple perspectives, and clarifying and communicating values.
Kobi Skolnick is the founder of Lead for Impact and Leadership for New Emergence, transformational leadership programs for those who want a new paradigm of equality, sustainability, and justice. He currently serves as the Special Adviser on Leadership Development for the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity at Columbia University, and as a consultant on Leadership Development for the United Nations.
“Human Trafficking and Contemporary Forms of Slavery in European Law” Vladislava Stoyanova is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden and an international human rights lawyer.
Monday, October 16 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 102B
The European Court of Human Rights has developed robust case law in several areas, but decisions relating to the rights of migrants not to be subjected to exploitation and trafficking are relatively scarce. In light of current events, including increased flows of migrants into Europe, and the evidence that migrants experience severe exploitation, there is a significant need for clear standards on how to measure and address migrants’ rights. This lunchtime talk explored the role of the European Court in this area and highlight overarching human rights protections for migrants, the ways that human rights bodies have interpreted and applied these rights.
Vladislava Stoyanova is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden and an international human rights lawyer. Her academic interests include European human rights law and refugee and migration law. Her lunch talk was based on her book Human Trafficking and Slavery Reconsidered. Conceptual Limits and States’ Positive Obligations in European Law.
“The Rohingya Crisis: How are Human Rights Advocates Responding?” Kyaw Hsan, Research Fellow, Columbia Historical Dialogue Program, and Matthew Smith, CEO, Fortify Rights
Wednesday, October 4 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 102B
In the past month, over 480,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State, following a brutal crackdown by the military junta. The latest iteration of violence against the Rohingya has sparked sharp condemnation from human rights activists, the UN, and the international community. Over the last 30 years, Rohingya have been denied citizenship and deprived of basic rights such as freedom of movement and access to healthcare and education in Myanmar. The expert panel discussed the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, analyzing the causes as well as what organizations and activists are doing to respond.
“The Syrian Refugee Crisis” Bassam Khawaja, Lebanon and Kuwait researcher in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) division at Human Rights Watch.
Tuesday, October 3 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene hall Room 102b
Lebanon hosts an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, the highest number per capita in the world. Yet they face a range of human rights challenges including restrictions on legal residency, access to work, education, and healthcare. Bassam Khawaja, Human Rights Watch’s Lebanon researcher, discussed the crisis in Lebanon and the role of human rights organizations in humanitarian emergencies.
“Sanctions and Ceasefire Negotiations in Sudan: The Role of an Attorney-Adviser” Julian Simcock, Lead lawyer to the Office of the Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan at the U.S. Department of State discussed sanctions, ceasefire negotiations and the roles played by U.S. State Department lawyers.
Monday, October 2 | 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene hall Room 102b
“Milk with Dignity: Why Workers' Human Rights Cannot Wait in the Vermont Dairy Industry” Enrique Balcazar and other members and staff of Migrant Justice
Wednesday, September 13| 12:10 – 1:10 pm | Jerome Greene Hall 102B
Farmworker Enrique Balcazar and other members and staff from Vermont-based human rights organization Migrant Justice spoke at Columbia Law as part of their "Human Rights Cannot Wait Tour." Migrant Justice informed the public about the human rights concerns facing dairy workers in Vermont, and the innovative steps they are taking to improve conditions. Workers discussed their advocacy to ensure that Ben & Jerry's--one of the largest purchasers of Vermont milk, known by many for its professed progressive values--followed through on its commitment to protect the fundamental human rights of dairy workers in its supply chain by signing the "Milk with Dignity" agreement.
“Human Rights Fact-Finding Workshop: The Forensic Investigation of Suspected Unlawful Deaths- An Introduction for Human Rights Advocates” Luis Fondebrider, President, Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF)
Wednesday, August 30 | 9:00 am – 1:00 pm | Jerome Greene Hall
This half-day workshop provided an overview of how forensic anthropology, archaeology, and pathology can aid in investigations of serious human rights and humanitarian law violations such as suspected violations of the right to life. It introduced what scientific analysis of gravesites and skeletal remains can reveal, how victims can be identified, and how assessments are made of the manner and cause of death. It also provided tools for advocates to assess the adequacy of government investigations. Human rights cases from Argentina, El Salvador, Mexico, Cyprus, the Central African Republic, East Timor, and others were used to illustrate the process.
This event was hosted by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team.
"Trump, Transparency, and the Use of Lethal Force"
President Trump’s cruise missile attack on Syria, botched raid and a significant uptick in drone strikes in Yemen, and reports that the CIA may be given an increased role in “targeted killings”, raise serious concerns about U.S. policy on drone strikes and the use of force. The Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute & Clinic, Just Security, and the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies held a timely discussion of Trump’s policies on the use of force, how they compare with President Obama’s record, and what we may expect going forward. The panel was followed by a reception to mark the launch of an in-depth report by Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic and the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies assessing U.S. transparency and the use of lethal force. Panelists included Micah Zenko, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project, and Lecturer-in-Law, Columbia Law School, Waleed Alhariri, Head, New York Office, Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, and Fellow-in-Residence, Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, and Alex Moorehead, Director, Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict, and Human Rights, and Lecturer-in-Law, Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute. Kate Brannen, Deputy Managing Editor of Just Security, and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council moderated the discussion.
"Public Session: Business and Human Rights in the Era of Trump"
What role will the business sector play in ensuring corporate responsibility in the era of Donald Trump? Have businesses traveled sufficiently down the road to embedding human rights – or sustainability – into operations that they will not turn back? Or is the opposite the case – that human rights are inadequately rooted in companies and that broad deregulation will propel a race to the bottom? What should the response of the business and human rights movement be? During this discussion panelists working directly with companies, on policy advocacy, and from the media provided insight on the new and evolving relationships between government, civil society, business, and media-based upon their own experience and observations of the first five months of the Trump administration.
“Investigating Human Rights in Emergencies,” Priyanka Motaparthy, Senior Researcher, Emergencies Division, Human Rights Watch
What does it mean to investigate human rights abuses in emergencies—conflict zones, protest sites, or with people who have survived recent and traumatic violence? This talk explored the challenges human rights investigators face when working under the constraints and challenges often found in crises. Priyanka Motaparthy '09, a Senior Emergencies Researcher at Human Rights Watch, drew upon her experiences covering conflicts in Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, and Burma. Priyanka also discussed new opportunities and practical techniques for reporting on conflicts, particularly when there are high barriers to accessing a country or reaching witnesses. Finally, she addressed the toll this work can take on human rights workers, and how organizations are responding to these needs as awareness of secondary trauma and the importance of resilience-building spreads.
“Film Screening: NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL,” Richard Ledes, Director and Producer
The Human Rights Institute, the Society for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Human Rights Law Review, the Journal of Transnational Law, and Rightslink held a screening of the rough cut of NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL. The film is a feature documentary about refugees detained on the Greek island of Lesvos. The majority of the island’s inhabitants today are descended from this same wave of refugees. The film puts in historical perspective the island concerning both ancient and modern Greece and connects this history to the refugees. The film turns around interviews with members from the three groups of people directly involved--the inhabitants of the island, the volunteers from around the world and the refugees themselves. The intimacy and historical perspective provided by the film creates new connections to the people involved that are critical for sustaining the struggle for political and human rights in regards to the refugees that are now gaining worldwide attention.
“Keynote Address,” Ms. Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, Social Justice Initiatives, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Rightslink, and the SIPA Human Rights Working Group hosted a discussion with the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Kate Gilmore. This keynote address in the Human Rights Institute's 2016-17 speaker series commemorating the 50th anniversary of the foundational UN human rights treaties focused on the potential of human rights for transformative change, and the role of human rights in the fight against global inequality. The Deputy High Commissioner discussed the role of key human rights actors, including the U.N. and regional human rights systems, human rights advocates, and governments in both perpetuating and addressing inequality. Reflecting on her work in the field, The Deputy High Commissioner discussed the emerging challenges inherent in human rights work through various case studies, including her recent trip to Yemen.
Human Rights and Political Change in China
The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Center for Chinese Legal Studies, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, and Scholars at Risk discussed “To Build a Free China” by imprisoned rights lawyer and law professor Xu Zhiyong, looking at how legal advocacy is developing as a form of political resistance. Panelists included Teng Biao, Chinese defense lawyer and human rights activist, Scholars at Risk, Andrew Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, and Eva Pils, Reader in Transnational Law, King's College London; Visiting Professor of Law, Columbia Law School.
“A Discussion on the Dynamic of Youth, Peace, and Security,” Prateek Awasthi, Specialist, Adolescent and Youth Programme, United Nations Population Fund
The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute discussed with Prateek Awasthi, Adolescent and Youth Programme, United Nations Population Fund. While a range of commitments have been expressed on youth, peace, and security within both the United Nations General Assembly and United Nations Security Council resolutions, the agenda and its implementation are fragmented and unevenly spread across various international bodies. There is no overall, comprehensive statement of policy, commitments, priorities or responsibilities, and there is no clear vision for action on youth in the context of peace and security. In his talk, Awasthi addressed the need for more concerted local, national, and international efforts to better understand, engage with, and support young people in the lead up to, during, and following conflict.
Women's Rights and Gender Equality in Rwanda: Achievements and Challenges
The Human Rights Institute hosted a discussion with Fidèle Rutayisire, executive director of Servas Rwanda and founder and chairperson of the Rwanda Men’s Resource Center. Rutayisire discussed how women in Rwanda have gone from survivors to leading actors in the reconstruction of the country, highlighting key achievements in women’s rights and gender equality in Rwanda, while also addressing remaining challenges. For the last two decades, Rwanda and its process of developing a shift in paradigms has been an example of a success story for all those who are interested in how a devastated country can become a self-resilient and stable country. Many scholars fail to understand how, after so much suffering and within only twenty-three years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda has managed to globally position itself among stable countries and with tremendous socio-political and economic performance. There are various interrelated factors which justify that phenomenon. One of them is the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality.
“Community-Driven Rights-Claiming: The Continued Role for Corporate Accountability Litigation,” Marissa Vahlsing, Legal Coordinator, EarthRights International
Marissa Vahlsing, Legal Coordinator with EarthRights International, discusses the role of corporate litigation in setting the stage for the growth of the business and human rights field, what has been lost by the shift in focus and attention to business and human rights initiatives, and the continued role for litigation as a community-driven means of rights-claiming.
“The Rule of Law and International Criminal Tribunals,” Judge Theodor Meron, President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals
The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute hosted a lecture and Q&A session on international criminal justice with Judge Theodor Meron, President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. Judge Meron was first appointed as President of the Mechanism by the United Nations Secretary-General in March 2012 and was appointed to a new term as President effective on March 2016. Judge Meron is the former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). He was elected as a Judge of the ICTY by the U.N. General Assembly in March 2001 and has served on the Appeals Chambers of both the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). A leading scholar of international humanitarian law, human rights, and international criminal law, Judge Meron wrote some of the books and articles that helped build the legal foundations for international criminal tribunals, and he has contributed to the development of international law, and especially international humanitarian and criminal law, in a variety of fora. Judge Meron received his legal education at the Universities of Jerusalem, Harvard, and Cambridge.
“Protecting Immigrants’ Rights in the Age of Trump,” Tarek Ismail ('11), Senior Staff Attorney, and Naz Ahmad ('14), Staff Attorney, Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility project, CUNY School of Law
Since 9/11, immigrants and non-citizens have often borne the brunt of aggressive and discriminatory counterterrorism measures. Ismail and Ahmad discussed the difficulties they face in securing the rights of immigrants and non-citizens, which frequently lack adequate protection under US domestic law. They laid out the strategies, tactics, and tools that CUNY-CLEAR uses to overcome these challenges. President Trump’s attacks on human rights and immigrants, in particular, have made this struggle more critical than ever. Ismail and Ahmad spoke to their recent efforts to respond to these policies and protect their clients’ rights in this new environment.
“Social Movement Responses to the Privatization of the Human Rights to Education,” Dmitri Holtzman, Founder and former Executive Director of the Equal Education Law Centre
Dmitri Holtzman discussed social movements advancing the right to education against the historical legacies of colonialism and the new global trends towards privatization of education.
“Transnational Collaborations in Feminist and Anti-Colonial Human Rights Advocacy,” Yifat Susskind, Executive Director of MADRE
The international human rights system emerged to address fundamental questions of people’s lives and the corresponding obligations of states, and as such, has always been a site of contention. When activists bring their struggles to those transnational and dynamic sites of human rights discourse and decision-making, they seize the opportunity to reshape its boundaries and its protections. Yet, to do so, they must navigate and resist deeply rooted gendered colonial structures and imperialist power relations that continue to define our international institutions. Yifat Susskind is the Executive Director of MADRE, an international women's human rights organization. MADRE partners with grassroots women's groups worldwide who confront war and disaster to meet urgent needs and to create lasting change, including through international human rights advocacy. Yifat gave a presentation and discussion on how MADRE traces U.S. policies generating crisis for women and families worldwide, the strategies she and MADRE partners use to resist those impacts, and methodologies to avoid reproducing neocolonial relationships in transnational feminist partnerships and human rights advocacy. This event was co-sponsored by Empowering Women of Color, the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.
“Legislative Lawyering: The Story of New York City's ‘Right to Counsel’ Bill,” Andrew Scherer, Policy Director, Impact Center for Public Interest Law at New York Law School
In February, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his commitment to pass legislation guaranteeing a lawyer to all low-income New York City residents in eviction proceedings. This “Right to Counsel” bill is the first of its kind in the nation. Years of community organizing, lawyering, and strategizing went into the success of this historic legislation. One of the key lawyers involved in this effort, Andrew Scherer, spoke about his role in pushing the passage of the bill. Andrew Scherer is the Policy Director of the Impact Center for Public Interest Law at New York Law School and teaches Planning Law at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Mr. Scherer’s talk addressed the role of lawyers in contributing to legislative change on the local level, as well as more specific questions about the "Right to Counsel" bill and housing advocacy in New York. This event was co-sponsored by Rightslink, the Tenants' Rights Project, and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.
“UNDISCIPLINED: Reflections at the Intersection of Design, Technology and Human Rights,” Bradley Samuels, founding partner and director of SITU Research
What role can design play in human rights fact-finding and reporting? Bradley Samuels, founding partner and director of SITU Research, discussed emerging methods, tools and technologies for the visualization and spatial analysis of human rights violations in both legal and advocacy contexts. Samuels presented a selection of recent casework with a focus on the interdisciplinary nature of these efforts.
"The Drone Memos: Targeted Killing, Secrecy, and the Law," Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, and Sarah Knuckey, faculty co-director of the Human Rights Institute
Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, and Sarah Knuckey, faculty co-director of the Human Rights Institute, discussed The Drone Memos: Targeted Killing, Secrecy, and the Law. The Drone Memos collects for the first time the legal and policy documents underlying the U.S. government’s deeply controversial practice of “targeted killing”—the extrajudicial killing of suspected terrorists and militants, typically using remotely piloted aircraft or “drones.” The documents—including the Presidential Policy Guidance that provides the framework for drone strikes today, Justice Department white papers addressing the assassination of an American citizen, and a highly classified legal memo that was published only after a landmark legal battle involving the ACLU, the New York Times, and the CIA—together constitute a remarkable effort to legitimize a practice that most human rights experts consider to be unlawful and that the United States has historically condemned. This event was co-sponsored by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, and the Columbia Law School chapter of the ACLU.
"The United States, Yemen, and the Law," Scott Paul, Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor at Oxfam [Video Link]
Scott Paul, Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor at Oxfam, gave a general background on what it's like to conduct humanitarian policy and practice as an attorney. He then discussed the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, operational and political challenges facing the humanitarian response, the roles of the United States and the UN in the conflict, and particular legal issues that arise in his work at Oxfam. This event was sponsored by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and the Columbia Society of International Law.
"Women's Summit: Ending Sexual Violence In the Workplace"
The summit brought together diverse stakeholders — including employers, workers, advocates, legislators, and policymakers — to lift the need for one fair minimum wage and several other gender equity policy proposals at the intersection of sexual violence and economic justice. Additionally, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United unveiled their new employer-designed workplace policy on sexual harassment and violence.
"Decolonizing Human Rights: Sovereignty, Tactics & Disruption," Kayum Ahmed, doctoral fellow in international and comparative education at Columbia University [Audio Link]
Mr. Ahmed discussed “#Decolonizing Human Rights: Sovereignty, Tactics & Disruption.” The presentation offered a critique of human rights discourses and draws on interdisciplinary scholarship and various case studies, to call for the decolonization of human rights.
This event was co-sponsored by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and the Law in Africa Student Society.
"The ‘New’ Human Rights to Water and Sanitation," Inga Winkler, Lecturer in Human Rights, Columbia University [Audio Link]
The International Bill of Human Rights protects civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. How do ‘new’ human rights such as water and sanitation fit into this framework? What factors and which stakeholders have contributed to their emergence? How have they become recognized? Are they ‘new’ human rights or new conceptions of existing protections? Through the lens of the human rights to water and sanitation, Ms. Winkler spoke to how human rights law develops and what opportunities it presents to impact policy and practice.
This event was sponsored by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, and Rightslink.
"Military Targeting under International Humanitarian Law," Brigadier General (retired) Richard C. Gross, joint Senior Fellow with the Columbia Law School Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security and the Human Rights Institute [Audio Link]
General Gross discussed the complexities of applying international humanitarian law, and measuring its compliance, in situations of military targeting. He provided examples from numerous case studies, including the ongoing conflict in Syria.
This event was sponsored by the Columbia Law School Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.
"70 Million People with Records: America's Human Rights Crisis," Glenn E. Martin, Founder and President, JustLeadershipUSA [Video Link]
What can lawyers do to help end mass incarceration? Mr. Martin has been at the forefront of the effort to include in the criminal justice reform conversation the voices of those who have been directly impacted by mass incarceration. Mr. Martin discussed his goal to cut the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030 and how the legal community can be a part of the solution to the U.S. mass incarceration crisis.
"LGBTI Rights Activism and Mental Health of Activists in Uganda," Douglas Mawadri, Safety & Protection Officer, Sexual Minorities Uganda
The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and the Law in Africa Student Society hosted Mr. Mawadri for a discussion on the tactics he and his
colleagues use to promote human rights, as well as issues around the mental health of advocates.
"Press freedom in Africa: How Can States Achieve Compliance with African Court and AU Standards, Online and Offline"
Over the past few years, the African regional and sub-regional courts have handed down important decisions affecting States’ obligations to uphold press freedom and protect the right to freedom of expression. The Banjul Charter’s Article 9 codifies AU Member States’ obligations regarding free speech. The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in a recent landmark decision, Lohé Issa Konaté v. Burkina Faso, held that imprisonment as a penalty for defamation violated States’ obligations under Article 9. In a previous judgment, the Court found that the State’s failure to properly investigate and prosecute the perpetrators in the case of the killing an investigative journalist constituted a violation of its obligations under both Article 7 (fair trial) and Article 9. In parallel, tensions grow in the intersection between cybersecurity and the exercise of the right to free expression online across the continent, and the issue of access to information has been put firmly on the map, in part due to an active campaign by the African Commission.
Panelists discussed how AU Member States can navigate these norms and ensure they are compliant with their obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Moderator: Christina Hioureas, Chair, United Nations Practice Group at Foley Hoag
Nani Jansen Reventlow, Associate Tenant at Doughty Street Chambers, Fellow at Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, lead counsel on Konaté
Mariana Mas, Policy Officer, Freedom of Information & Expression at Open Society Justice Initiative
Mailyn Fidler, Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, expert on African cybersecurity, cybercrime laws, and Internet freedom
This event was co-sponsored by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, Foley Hoag UN Practice Group, the American Society of International Law, and the Law in Africa Student Society.
"Assessing the Impact of Corporate-led Human Rights Initiatives, "Komala Ramachandra, Senior Researcher for Business and Human Rights at Human Rights Watch
This was the third event in the Human Rights Institute’s series, “Is Business Co-opting the Business & Human Rights Field?”
Ramachandra assessed the strategies used by corporations to prevent and remedy human rights violations, including due diligence processes, impact assessments, and grievance procedures. Before joining HRW, Komala was an attorney with Accountability Counsel, working 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. She has worked with indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon harmed by petroleum projects, on behalf of clients in Oaxaca, Mexico, impacted by a US-supported hydropower project, and with communities
in Nepal and India to hold the World Bank Group accountable for human rights violations caused by its investments.
"What is the Role for Human Rights Advocacy in the Fight Against Climate Change?" Katharina Rall, Researcher, Health and Human Rights Division, Human Rights Watch [Audio Link]
This event was the second in the Human Rights Institute's 2016-17 series "Exploring the Transformative Potential of Human Rights," commemorating the 50th anniversary of the two foundational United Nations human rights covenants.
The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law hosted Katharina Rall, Researcher, Health and Human Rights Division, Human Rights Watch who provided background on her research on the relationship between human rights and climate change. She discussed the work that Human Rights Watch is undertaking on the impacts of climate change on access to food, water, health and livelihoods of marginalized communities. In particular, Ms. Rall presented on HRW's research from Kenya, illustrating the contribution of human rights fact-finding and advocacy in the fight against climate change.
"Indivisibility in Practice: A Discussion on the Right to Life with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, Leilani Farha" [Video Link]
This event was the first in the Human Rights Institute's 2016-17 series "Exploring the Transformative Potential of Human Rights," commemorating the 50th anniversary of the two foundational United Nations human rights covenants.
Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU's Human Rights Program
Daniela Ikawa, Strategic Litigation Program Coordinator, ESCR-Net
The indivisibility of all human rights is often affirmed as a principle but less frequently applied in practice to address the lived experience of marginalized individuals and groups. Special Rapporteur Farha considered the issue of indivisibility by focusing on the right to life addressed in her report to the UN General Assembly. The right to life embodies the commitment to the dignity, security and inherent worth of every human being, yet it has often been interpreted narrowly as protection from deliberate State measures. What is the meaning of the right to life for a homeless person or someone living in grossly inadequate housing? Does the right to life capture the impact of neglect, inaction, and systematic deprivation? Special Rapporteur Farha argued that now is the time for an integrated and comprehensive understanding of the right to life that puts indivisibility into practice.
Co-sponsored by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and the Institute for the Study of Human Rights in collaboration with the International Network for Economic, Social & Cultural Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Tuesday, October 18
"Worker-Driven Social Responsibility: A New Model for Protecting Human Rights in Supply Chains," Cathy Albisa, co-founder and Executive Director, National Economic & Social Rights Initiative [Video Link]
Cathy Albisa, co-founder and Executive Director of the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative (NESRI), discussed “Worker-driven Social Responsibility”: a model for protecting human rights in global supply chains that are designed, monitored, and enforced by workers themselves. Albisa discussed the origins of the model—drawing on the experience of the Campaign for Fair Food, led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and the Bangladesh Accord—and highlighted how this innovative approach has set itself apart from related “multi-stakeholder initiatives” for advancing human rights.
Albisa is a constitutional and human rights lawyer, and a graduate of Columbia Law School, with a background on the right to health. She also has significant experience working in partnership with community organizers in the use of human rights standards to strengthen advocacy in the United States. She co-founded NESRI along with Sharda Sekaran and Liz Sullivan to build legitimacy for human rights in general, and economic and social rights in particular, in the United States. She is committed to a community-centered and participatory human rights approach that is locally anchored, but universal and global in its vision.
Monday, October 17, 2016
"The choices facing youth in the Middle East and North Africa five years after the Arab Spring: A view on Yemen," Farea al-Muslimi, Cofounder and Chairman, Sana'a Center for Strategic Studies [Video Link]
The Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 gave young people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) optimism that democratic change and greater economic opportunity was finally within their reach. These hopes were soon tempered, however, as the remnants of the previous regimes worked to derail political transitions and thwart reforms. What are the options for youth in the MENA region five years after the Arab Spring? This talk offered insight on the Arab World generally, as well as a specific focus on Yemen – where a brutal civil war rages that has resulted in one of the most catastrophic humanitarian crises of our time, despite the successful, and largely peaceful, removal of an authoritarian ruler five years earlier. This talk also explored the crucial role youth within any society can play in promoting meaningful and lasting peace and security for their country, and freedom and opportunity for their people and the world. Specifically, al-Muslimi looked at how university students can support freedom movements and peace globally.
Farea al-Muslimi is a human rights advocate and researcher from Yemen. He is co-founder and chairman of Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies. He is also a non-resident fellow at Carnegie Middle East Center, Middle East Institute in Washington DC, and board advisor of the Arab Gulf and Yemen at Chatham House in London.
This event was hosted by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Sana'a Center for Strategic Studies, and the Middle East Institute at Columbia University.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
"The International Framework in the Fight for Women’s Rights," Dubravka Šimonovic, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
The Human Rights Institute and Rightslink hosted a discussion with Dubravka Šimonovic, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences. Ms. Šimonovic discussed her report on the challenges of implementing international standards set out in the CEDAW Convention. Ms. Šimonovic was appointed as a UN Special Rapporteur in 2015. She was a member of the CEDAW Committee between 2002 and 2014, and served as its Chairperson in 2007 and 2008, its follow-up Rapporteur from 2009 to 2011 and as the Chairperson of the Optional Protocol Working Group in 2011.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
"Business and Human Rights 101: An Introduction and Critical Reflections," Gregory Tzeutschler Regaignon, Research Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Gregory Tzeutschler Regaignon, of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, presented an overview of and offered critical reflections on, the birth and development of the business and human rights field, including its key predecessors, developments, actors, and areas of focus.
This was the first event in the Human Rights Institute’s series, “Is Business Co-opting the Business & Human Rights Field?” Senior Fellow, Benjamin Hoffman, provided introductory remarks and facilitated discussion.
Regaigon, Columbia Law School ’99, is the Research Director at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, an organization dedicated to publicly tracking the human rights policy and performance of over 6000 companies in over 180 countries. He also oversees the Centre’s Corporate Legal Accountability Project and its work on the UN Guiding Principles and UN Working Group and manages its Africa team. He has participated in research missions for the Centre to DRC, Guinea, South Africa, Switzerland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and the US Gulf Coast.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
“The Occupied Palestinian territory – A human rights analysis,” Neta Patrick, Executive Director of Yesh Din and Tania Hary, Director of Gisha [Video Link]
On the backdrop of recent, alarming erosions in respect for human rights in the Palestinian territory, two Israeli human rights organizations - Neta Patrick, Executive Director of Yesh Din and Tania Hary, Director of Gisha - provided the latest analysis from their work on the ground in both the West Bank and Gaza. Neta focused on shifts in policy regarding settlement expansion and the challenges faced by Palestinian landowners seeking to claim their property rights. Tania addressed reconstruction efforts two years since the last military operation in Gaza, as well as recent setbacks in access policy.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
United States Law and Policy on Transitional Justice: Principles, Politics, and Pragmatics,” Zachary D. Kaufman, Senior Fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
Zachary D. Kaufman, J.D., Ph.D., Senior Fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, discussed his new book, which explores the U.S. government’s support for, or opposition to, certain transitional justice institutions. Dr. Kaufman evaluates why and how the United States has pursued particular transitional justice options since World War II, and challenges the “legalist” paradigm, in favor of an alternative theory—“prudentialism”—which contends that any state may support bona fide war crimes tribunals. Dr. Kaufman tests these two competing theories through the U.S. experience in six contexts: Germany and Japan after World War II, the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, the 1990-1991 Iraqi offenses against Kuwaitis, the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
"American Foreign Policy and Human Rights: Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, Randy Berry" [Video Link]
During this session Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry reviewed and discussed U.S. foreign policy as it relates to advancing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons. Special Envoy Berry highlighted key priorities, including reducing violence, building global coalitions, and outreach to the faith and business community. He shared insights from his travels which have included trips to over 50 countries and engages with a broad set of stakeholders, including government, civil society, and the faith and private sector. Special Envoy Berry looks forward to a lively discussion!
Randy W. Berry, a career Senior Foreign Service Officer, is the first U.S. Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons. He assumed responsibility for this new State Department position in April 2015. Before being appointed Special Envoy, he served as the United States Consul General in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He was United States Consul General in Auckland, New Zealand from 2009 to 2012, and before that, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal from 2007 to 2009.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
"Working in War: the Role of the International Committee of the Red Cross," Jose Serralvo, Practitioner in Residence, Human Rights Institute
The podcast of this event can be found here.
Established in 1863, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence. The mandate of this four-times Nobel laureate is based, inter alia, on the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The ICRC is also the “guardian” of international humanitarian law, a branch of international law that regulates the conduct of war and the treatment of detainees. Through its bilateral and confidential dialogue with States and organized armed groups, the ICRC attempts to promote compliance with international humanitarian law and ensure respect for the lives and dignity of the victims of armed struggle all around the world. This talk analyzed the role of the ICRC, its modes of action and some of its main differences with other humanitarian actors. Jose Serralvo is the Human Rights Institute’s inaugural Practitioner in Residence. Serralvo has worked as a consultant with Human Rights Watch and has spent two years at the ICRC’s Legal Division in Geneva, first as a Legal Attaché and then as Legal Advisor to the Operations. He has also been an ICRC field delegate in Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo and has carried out short missions to Somalia, Nigeria, and Kenya. In May, he will transition to the position of Legal Advisor for the ICRC in Afghanistan.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
"Human Rights Litigation in the Courts of the Abuser" Michael Sfard, Open Society Foundations
The podcast of this event can be found here.
Human Rights litigation has its challenges everywhere, and the debate on whether it is a significant vehicle of change is far from resolved. But litigating through the institutions of a mass abusing regime raises even harder questions. It seems that the chances of success are far more limited in such an arena and that the potential prices of litigation are higher. Michael Sfard has been litigating in the Israeli High Court on behalf of Human Rights NGOs, peace groups and Israeli and Palestinian communities and activists, for more than a decade and a half. He is currently writing a book on the history of the major legal battles waged by Human Rights Defenders in the context of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, in the last four decades. His research aims at a better understanding of the types of successes that can realistically be expected in such litigations, and therefore contribute to Human Rights litigation strategy-making. In this talk, Sfard presented some of the results of his research. Michael Sfard is an Israeli lawyer specializing in international human rights law and the laws of war, with a special emphasis on the law of belligerent occupation. He has served as counsel in numerous important cases on these topics in Israel. He is currently in New York as a fellow at the Open Society Foundations.
Monday, April 11, 2016
"Can One Million Refugees Change the European Human Rights Commitment?" Morton Kjaerum, Director, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
Morton Kjaerum, Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law provided an analysis of the current refugee situation in Europe, the responses from the EU and its Member States, and the idea of “humanistic resilience” as an important factor in the reception of refugees. He further considered to what extent we are witnessing a paradigm shift in refugee protection. Mr. Kjaerum was the first Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights in Vienna from 2008 to 2015 and was the founding Director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights. Mr. Kjaerum was appointed Chairperson of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles in 2015. He was the Chairperson of the Network of Directors of EU Agencies from 2014-2015 and is a former member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In 2004, he was elected chair of the International Coordinating Committee for National Human Rights Institutions.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
“The Human Rights Situation in Egypt and Its Impact on Women” Azza Soliman, Co-founder, and Nada Nashat, Advocacy Coordinator, Center for Egyptian Women's Legal Assistance
Five years after Egypt’s Revolution in the name of “freedom, bread, and social justice,” the country is undergoing a severe human rights crisis. President Sisi’s authoritarian rule has resulted in a crackdown on the country’s civil society, the imprisonment of its journalists and critics (who are routinely convicted in unfair trials), the effective banning of any protest and the criminalization of political dissent. Arbitrary arrests and detention as well as torture remain wide-spread practices; the jurisdiction of military courts is routinely extended to civilian matters and the judiciary as a whole has become a rubber stamp for the abusive policies and practices of the government. Concurrently, enforced disappearances and incommunicado detention are on the rise while violence against women is at its peak. Human rights activists Azza Soliman and Nada Nashat from the Cairo-based Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA), discussed Egypt’s current human rights crisis; providing first-hand updates from the ground. Particular attention was to be placed on the gender dimension of the current crisis and its adverse impact on women, both in the public and domestic spheres.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
“Why Human Rights Watch Is Calling on Businesses to Pull Out of Israeli Settlements” Sarah Saadoun, Human Rights Watch
The podcast of this event can be found here.
There are now more than half a million Israeli settlers living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem. Successive Israeli governments have facilitated this process, even though settlements are unlawful under international humanitarian law and are part and parcel of Israeli policies that dispossess, discriminate against, and abuse the human rights of Palestinians. But the system is not just propagated by the Israeli government; it also depends on the involvement of a multitude of businesses that operate in the settlements. A new Human Rights Watch report, Occupation, Inc., examines the human rights impact of these businesses and calls on them to end their settlement-related activities. Using a series of case studies, it describes how such businesses facilitate and sustain unlawful settlements and thereby contribute to a system whose existence and expansion is contingent on the unlawful confiscation of Palestinian land and resources. It also describes how such businesses benefit from a two-tiered system of laws, rules, and services that Israel has imposed in the area of West Bank under its exclusive control that encourages the growth of settlements and the settlement economy while stymying Palestinian economic development.
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Human Rights in the United States Speaker Series Part 3
"Human Rights and State Attorneys General: The View from Illinois" Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Illinois State Attorney General
The podcast of this event can be found here.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is Illinois’ first female Attorney General. During her four terms as State Attorney General, Ms. Madigan has taken a proactive approach to her work as the chief legal officer in the State. A.G. Madigan’s portfolio covers a wide range of key civil and human rights issues, including gender violence, predatory and discriminatory lending, and access to justice. During her tenure, the Attorney General has appeared before the Supreme Court and testified before Congress and federal agencies on a wide range of topics. As a result of her distinguished record, in 2015, Attorney General Madigan was invited by the United States to participate in a review of the U.S. human rights record. As part of this review by the United Nations Human Rights Council, known as the Universal Periodic Review, Ms. Madigan spoke with representatives from governments around the world, as well as U.S. civil society groups, about her work to strengthen civil and human rights protections in Illinois. Attorney General Madigan discussed her work as the Illinois State Attorney General, her experience serving on a U..S. delegation to the United Nations, and her reflections on how human rights principles informed her work. This program was made possible through the generous support of The F.F. Randolph Jr. Speakers Fund.
Wednesday, February 19, 2016
"How (Not) To Do National Security Litigation" Cori Crider, Head of Abuses in Counter-Terrorism, Reprieve
Troubled by the abuses of the post-9/11 era, some see the US judiciary - and federal litigation against national security abuses - as our most important bulwark against executive overreach. The dominant legal narrative of constitutional challenges to certain War-on-Terror policies, such as the story of Guantánamo habeas corpus challenges from Rasul to Boumediene, tends to reinforce this idea. The problem with this comforting narrative is that it isn't quite true. Drawing on a decade of experience in national security cases, from Guantánamo to CIA torture to drones, this talk focused on why this understanding of the law is false. A U.S. lawyer, Cori has spent a decade investigating and litigating the most serious violations of the ‘war on terror’: Guantánamo, CIA rendition and torture, and civilian deaths from drone attacks in undeclared war zones. he devised Reprieve’s challenge to abusive force-feeding at Guantánamo, which resulted in the first disclosure of videotapes of the process. She also developed Reprieve’s project investigating the drone war in Yemen: her team exposed key details of a drone strike on a wedding convoy, and brought a Yemeni man whose innocent relatives died in an attack to Washington D.C., where he met legislators and officials in the National Security Council. She directs litigation in multiple jurisdictions on behalf of two Libyan families whom the CIA. and British intelligence ‘rendered’ to the dungeons of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
"The Middle East & the Arab Spring: Where are we now & why?" Ahmed Fathalla, Ambassador to the League of Arab States to the UN and member to the UN Human Rights Committee
A discussion with Ambassador Ahmed Fathalla was hosted regarding the current prospects for the Arab Spring and the future of human rights. Arab states before the 2010 Arab Spring suffered on three levels: political, economic and social. Politically, undemocratic regimes were in control for decades. This led to economic deterioration, deepening of corruption and inequitable distribution of income & wealth. Social injustice thus became a fact of life. The Arab Spring promised to be a starting point for real reforms and societal adjustments. Unfortunately new challenges and developments in the last five years on the national, regional and international levels—particularly relating to security, stability and societal harmonization—have posed real obstacles to achieving these goals, leading in some cases to slower reforms, and in others to a total setback.
The podcast of this event can be found here.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
"National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights" Sara Blackwell, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR)
The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment and the Human Rights Institute hosted a discussion with Sara Blackwell, Legal and Policy Coordinator at the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR). In this interactive session, Sara talked about ICAR’s work with governments, civil society organizations, national human rights institutions, and business groups in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe on the development of country-specific National Action Plans (NAPs) to promote the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The UN Human Rights Council’s 2014 resolution to establish an inter-governmental process to work toward the development of a binding treaty to address the human rights obligations of transnational corporations, and specifically its interaction with current NAP processes, was also discussed.
Monday, January 25, 2016
"Preventing Torture" Victor Rodriguez-Rescia, UN Human Rights Committee
Much attention is given in modern human rights law and advocacy to the obligation of states to investigate, prosecute, punish, and compensate acts of torture. But how do we prevent torture from occurring? Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School, the Costa Rican member of the UN Human Rights Committee, and former Chair and Vice-Chair of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture Víctor Rodríguez-Rescia will discuss the work of the Subcommittee and the measures that states, UN, regional and national oversight mechanisms, and civil society can take to promote the prevention of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment. Professor Rodríguez-Rescia is the President of the Inter-American Social Responsibility and Human Rights Institute, where his work focuses on the coordination, implementation, and evaluation of human rights initiatives across Latin America. Among his many publications are numerous articles in major law reviews and journals throughout the Americas.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Yemen amid Civil and Regional War: Is There a Way Out?
Farea Al-Muslimi, Sanaa Center For Strategic Studies & Carnegie Middle East Center
Farea Al-Muslimi, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center & co-founder and chairman of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies gave a lunchtime talk on the civil war in Yemen. Questions discussed included: What went wrong in Yemen and where is it heading? The internationally backed political transition following the 2011 uprising was cited as a successful peaceful transition model, but in September 2014 the Houthis armed militias took over the capital by force and the country descended to full-scale civil war with frequent human rights violations by all sides. Saudi Arabia has also intervened heavily and has often been accused of committing war crimes with its airstrikes. The Saudi intervention has been supported by the United States. What happened to the 2011 peaceful "Arab Spring"? Is there a way out in Yemen and what should and shouldn't the world (especially western powers) do to help get Yemen out of the current turmoil? Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, Rightslink, The Institute for the Study of Human Rights, The Human Rights Law Review, & The Middle East Institute
Monday, November 23, 2015
Report launch & screening: “Digging Deeper: The Human Rights Impacts of Coal in the Global South”
Krizna Gomez, Researcher at Dejusticia (Colombia), Greg Regaignon, Research Director at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (CLS ’99), and Lisa Sachs, Director, Columbia Center on Sustainable Development, hosted a panel discussion to launch this report, the first-ever human rights-based analysis of coal’s impacts on human rights in the Global South. It will be launched in anticipation of the COP 21 climate negotiations in Paris the following week and seeks to complement existing environmental and climate analyses of coal’s global impacts. Its focus is case studies on four countries (Colombia, Egypt, India, South Africa), and includes powerful firsthand testimony. A documentary short film of interviews with people affected by coal and their advocates was screened, followed by Q&A. Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Media, Advocacy and Communications Specialization at SIPA, and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Immigration and Black Lives: Haitian Deportations in the Dominican Republic
SJI, the Human Rights Institute, LaLSA, BLSA, and the Journal of Race and Law hosted a round table discussion on the intersectionality between black lives and immigration. We did a case study of the treatment of Haitian labor migrants and their descendants in the Dominican Republic. The panelists included Natasha Bannan from LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Black Lives Matter as well as Cassandra Theano from the Open Society Foundations.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
"The Crisis in Syria" Rami Shehadeh, UN Department of Political Affairs
Rami Shehadeh is a senior advisor and Syria team leader at the United Nations Department of Political Affairs. His work focuses on developing strategy and providing advice to UN leadership about the Syrian conflict. In this capacity, he served as an advisor to former UN-Arab League Syria envoys Messrs Annan and Brahimi. Previously, he served as political advisor to the Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process, and the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative for Lebanon during the 2006 war. Before joining the UN, Shehadeh worked with the Adam Smith Institute for 5 years, the leading UK-based think tank and government advisory group, providing legal advice on a wide set of issues to the Palestinian government during peace negotiations with Israel. Shehadeh is active in human rights advocacy and has worked with the pioneering human rights organization Al-Haq, the Palestinian affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists. He also participated in the 2004 precedent-setting request to the International Court of Justice at The Hague regarding the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute and Rightslink.
Wednesday November 11, 2015
"Guantanamo: Where We Are and the Path from Here" Cliff Sloan, Skadden, Arps & former Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure
Cliff Sloan provided an overview of the ongoing efforts to close the Guantanamo detention facility. Mr. Sloan served as President Obama's Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure in 2013 and 2014. In that role, he was responsible for negotiating with countries to accept the transfer of detainees and for navigating the various international relations, national security and human rights issues that arose during the administration's actions to close the detention facility. Mr. Sloan also has held other positions in government including in the White House Counsel's office and the Solicitor General's office. Mr. Sloan rejoined Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flomm LLP in Washington, DC in 2015.
The podcast of this event can be found here.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
"Human Rights Evolution: Growing Standards or Trivialization?" Judge Anna Yudkivska, European Court of Human Rights
Among the youngest and most admired judges sitting on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, Judge Anna Yudkivska spoke at noon on Thursday, October 29 in Room 103. All students and faculty were invited. Judge Yudkivska’s native Ukraine leads Europe in the number of cases filed in the ECHR, reflecting, in part, the crises in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. In Strasbourg, last November Pope Francis aptly described the ECHR as representing “the conscience of Europe” regarding human rights. How the Court reconciles the imperatives of conscience with the realities of human rights law and the expectations of 800 million Europeans were among the issues Judge Yudkivska addressed.
The talk is sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, Rightslink, the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, and International Senior Lawyers Project.
Wednesday October 28
“Advancing Reproductive Rights as Human Rights in the United States” Katrina Anderson, Senior Human Rights Counsel, Center for Reproductive Rights
Katrina Anderson works in partnership with U.S. reproductive justice organizations, most recently with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and its affiliates in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. She authored the 2013 human rights report on behalf of the Center and the Latina Institute, called Nuestra Voz, Nuestra Salud, Nuestro Texas: The Fight for Women’s Reproductive Health in the Rio Grande Valley, which documents barriers to sexual and reproductive healthcare for immigrant women and Latinas living on the border of Mexico. The report launched “Nuestro Texas,” a statewide human rights campaign led by the women of the Rio Grande Valley to secure their human right to health care in Texas. Katrina uses international human rights accountability mechanisms to hold the U.S. and state governments accountable to their international human rights commitments to respect, protect, and fulfill reproductive rights. Before rejoining the Center for Reproductive Rights in 2011, Katrina served as Legal Officer for the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands, then as a Program Officer at the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women and Girls. Before law school, she lived in Thailand and Cambodia, where she worked with local organizations on human rights issues affecting migrant women and girls.
The podcast of this event can be found here.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Keynote Address: Caroline Bettinger López, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women
The BHRH Lawyers' Network 15th Anniversary celebration will include a keynote address from Caroline Bettinger-López ‘03, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women. Before joining the White House, Carrie was Associate Professor of Clinical Legal Education and Founder and Director of the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law, where her advocacy and scholarship focused on violence against women, gender and race discrimination, and immigrants’ rights. Before her legal career, Carrie engaged in social services advocacy and youth education centered on women's and girls’ empowerment, as well as anti-violence programming. While serving in the White House, Carrie coordinates efforts to reduce domestic violence, sexual assault, and gender violence issues. Bettinger-Lopez is a senior advisor to Vice President Biden and serves on the White House Council on Women and Girls. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School and the University of Michigan.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Komala Ramachandra, South Asia Director, Accountability Counsel
HRI hosted a lunchtime discussion with Komala Ramachandra, South Asia Director of 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, where she participated in the International Human Rights Clinic and worked at Greater Boston Legal Services through the Immigration and Refugee Advocacy clinical program. She also interned during law school with the International Crisis Group in Nairobi, Kenya, researching land rights in post-conflict northern Uganda and with Paschim Banga Keth Mazoor Samiti, a grassroots farmers union in Calcutta, India, on issues of land security, eminent domain, and economic development.
Monday, October 19, 2015
"Navigating the 'Hate Speech' Maze: An International Human Rights Law Perspective"
Agnes Callamard, Director, Global Freedom of Expression Project, Columbia University
For decades, conflicts over the regulation of so-called “hate speech” have erupted on the global scene regularly, challenging governments but also civil society actors and increasingly corporate actors, particularly Internet platforms, over the most appropriate and effective responses to such expressions. Dr. Callamard offered an analysis and typology of “Hate Speech” under international law highlighting the different types and clarifying the differences, including incitement, and thresholds under various international law provisions. Over the last year, Dr. Agnes Callamard has been working with the UN Office for the Prevention of Genocide on a new program of work focusing on the role of religious leaders to respond and counter incitement to hatred that may lead to mass violence. Religious leaders have asked for greater clarity and directions to help them determine when and how to intervene on “hate speech” related issues. The Columbia Law talk presentation sought to answer to their demands. It is still under further inquiry.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Human Rights in the United States Speaker Series Part 2
"A New and Unsettling Force: Renewing the Power of Human Rights in the United States"
Larry Cox, Co-Director of Kairos: the Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary; Former Executive Director, Amnesty International USA
Part 2 of our Human Rights in the United States Series was a discussion with Larry Cox, Co-Director of Kairos: The Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice, former Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. The power of human rights comes, as it always has, from those struggling for their lives, rights, and deepest values. The urgent human rights task today is to expand, deepen, and connect these struggles, combat the deep and deliberately created divisions of race, gender and class, and under the leadership of the poor and dispossessed, build in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, a "new and unsettling force" that can advance all human rights.
Larry Cox served as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA from 2006 to 2011. Over the years, Cox established the AIUSA Program to Abolish the Death Penalty, served as Communication Director, and Deputy Executive Director. He was then appointed Deputy Secretary-General at Amnesty International’s world headquarters in London. In 1990 Cox became the Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation, an international organization working with indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon to protect their rights and environment. In 1995 Cox began an 11-year term as Senior Program Officer for Human Rights at the Ford Foundation. He initiated new programs on international justice, economic, social and cultural rights, and human rights in the United States. In focusing on human rights in the United States Cox came full circle to work he did in his early years to advance peace and social justice. Active in the anti-Vietnam war movement he did organizing against the war as a GI at Ft. Campbell, KY in 1970-71.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Human Rights in the United States Speaker Series Part 1
"Policing, Solitary Confinement and the Death Penalty through a Human Rights Lens"
Vincent Warren Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights
HRI had a lunchtime discussion with Vincent Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) as part of our Fall 2015 Human Rights in the U.S. Speaker Series. Mr. Warren oversees CCR's groundbreaking litigation and advocacy work, which includes using international and domestic law to hold corporations and government officials accountable for human rights abuses; challenging racial, gender and LGBT injustice; and combating the illegal expansion of U.S. presidential power and policies such as illegal detention at Guantanamo, rendition, and torture. Before his tenure at CCR, Mr. Warren was a national senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, where he litigated civil rights cases, focusing on affirmative action, racial profiling, and criminal justice reform. Mr. Warren was also involved in monitoring South Africa's historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings and worked as a criminal defense attorney for the Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn. Mr. Warren is a graduate of Haverford College and Rutgers School of Law.
The podcast of this event can be found here.
Monday, October 5, 2015
PILnet Fellows Reception
The 2015 PILnet Fellows, leading public interest lawyers from all over the world, hosted a comparative discussion on defending human rights in increasingly repressive environments. The Fellows briefly discussed their backgrounds and experiences, and students had the opportunity to mix and mingle with them and learn more about working internationally. YAll J.D. and LL.M. This event was for students interested in international public interest law and human rights. Co-sponsored by Social Justice Initiatives and the Human Rights Institute.
Thursday October 1, 2015
Human Rights Welcome Reception
The Human Rights Institute, Social Justice Initiatives, human rights and public interest student groups, and other members of the human rights community at Columbia hosted a fall welcome reception in Case Lounge.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
The Environment & Corporate Responsibility in Latin America: A Discussion with Astrid Puentes
Astrid Puentes is a Colombian lawyer and the co-director of AIDA (The Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense, partnered closely with Earthjustice in the USA and Ecojustice in Canada) who has many years of experience working on issues related to human rights and the environment and corporate social responsibility in Latin America. Ms. Puentes also teaches environmental rights at American University and is a board member at Earthrights International. She will be focusing specifically on AIDA's recent litigation cases, which include the Doe Run metal smelter in La Oroya, Peru and the large hydroelectric dam Belo Monte in Brazil, both of which are currently before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (the regional human rights treaty body for the Western Hemisphere).
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
“No Longer an Island of Tranquility: Germany and Europe's Dual Challenges of Russia/Ukraine and Migration”
Thomas Bagger, Head of Policy Planning, Federal Foreign Ministry, Germany
HRI hosted a talk with Mr. Thomas Bagger, Head of Policy Planning for the German Foreign Ministry. Germans celebrate the 25th anniversary of unification this autumn. After 1990 Germany was, in the famous words of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, “surrounded only by friends for the first time in its history”. It is in this benign security environment that Germany grew into one of the most networked and connected countries of the globe. Germany’s growing economic and political weight has sparked an intense debate on the future shape of the European Union and Germany’s role and ambition within the EU. At the same time, the security and cohesion of the EU’s 28 member states are being tested by the dual challenges of Russia’s aggression in Eastern Ukraine and a rapidly increasing flow of refugees into Europe and particularly Germany. What are Germany’s policy options? Can there be a joint European response? And what are the potential consequences for the future of a “Europe whole and free” which has been a prime objective of US foreign policy over the last seven decades? This event was co-sponsored by the Center on Global Governance, the Human Rights Institute, the Society for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Center for European Legal Studies.
Monday, September 28, 2015
“Conga No Va: Forging Links Between Local and International Human Rights and Environmental Advocates in the Context of Opposition to a Proposed Mining Project”
Milton Sanchez Cubas, Secretary-General, Inter-institutional Platform of Celendin
The Human Rights Institute and Rightslink welcomed Milton Sánchez Cubas to discuss the environmental and social risks posed by Minera Yanacocha's proposed Conga mining project in the Cajamarca region of Peru. Mr. Sánchez shared the voice of affected communities and grassroots organizations of the PIC that are organizing in defense of their environment, human rights, and way of life. Mr. Sánchez began by providing a brief account of what the project would entail, why local communities have opposed the project, and the variety of strategies that his organization and others have been implementing in conjunction with international advocates. The presentation concluded with a space for discussion as to how human rights advocates from outside affected communities can best work with activists within the community to support their efforts.
September 22, 2015
"Why Counterterrorism Needs Countering Violent Extremism: How Human Rights & Good Governance Help Prevent Terrorism" Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
HRI partnered with the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, the Columbia Society of International Law, and the Columbia Law School Center on Global Governance to host a lunchtime discussion with Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. Dr. Sewall was sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights on February 20, 2014. Over the previous decade, Dr. Sewall taught at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she also served as Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, launched the Mass Atrocities Response Operations Project, and directed the Program on National Security and Human Rights. She served on the U.S. Defense Policy Board and the boards of Oxfam America and the Center for Naval Analyses. In 2012, she was Minerva Chair at the Naval War College. She also led several research studies of U.S. military operations for the Department of Defense. During the Clinton Administration, Dr. Sewall served as the inaugural Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance. Dr. Sewall discussed human rights and the rule of law, and how they link to support countering violent extremism.
September 17, 2015
Introduction to Human Rights at Columbia Law School
The Human Rights Institute presented a lunch-time panel on planning your human rights trajectory at Columbia Law School. This annual panel, aimed primarily at first-year law students, transfers and LL.M's, introduces the many avenues for getting involved in human rights work and study at the law school. Panelists discussed courses, pro bono and research opportunities, upcoming events, student groups, journals, internships, and post-graduate fellowships. Panelists included representatives from the Human Rights Institute and Clinic, Social Justice Initiatives, Rightslink, Human Rights Law Review, Society for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Columbia Society for International Law.
April 22, 2015
"International Law and the Peace Process" Eduardo Montealegre, Attorney General of Colombia
HRI and CSIL held a lunchtime discussion with Colombia's Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre. The current peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the FARC could lead to an end of a half-century-long armed conflict. In the context of this peace process, Mr. Montealegre will address the Colombian Constitutional Court and lower courts' application of international law -- in particular international humanitarian and human rights law -- in achieving transitional justice.
Before becoming Colombia's national public prosecutor, Attorney General Montealegre was the Associate Justice and Chief Justice of the Colombian Constitutional Court (2001-2004) and Deputy Inspector General (1997-2001). Author of leading publications in the field of criminal law and procedure, constitutional law and constitutional litigation, Montealegre has received multiple academic honors and recognitions and has lectured for over 15 years at his alma mater, Universidad Externado de Colombia. Montealegre obtained his LL.M. from Universidad de León (Spain) and became a researcher at the University of Bonn in Germany. He graduated from Universidad Externado with honors and obtained a postgraduate degree in criminal law from the same University.
April 6, 2015
Philippe Bolopion, United Nations Director for Human Rights Watch
HRI hosted a lunchtime talk with Philippe Bolopion. Philippe is the United Nations Director for Human Rights Watch. Before HRW, he spent five years working with the French daily Le Monde as the UN correspondent. There he covered a wide range of UN issues and traveled to such places as Darfur, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka, Gaza, and Haiti, including on missions with UN secretary-general and the UN Security Council. He has also worked as a journalist covering the United Nations for France 24 and Radio France International (RFI). Before working in New York, Bolopion was based in Pristina, where he reported on the end of the Kosovo Conflict in 1999 and 2000. Bolopion is the author of Le Bagne du bout du monde (La Découverte, 2004). He is a graduate of the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (IEP) de Bordeaux and CUEJ, the journalism school of Strasbourg.
March 11, 2015
Cathy Amirite, Chief Legal Officer, Human Rights Network for Journalists in Uganda
Cathy Anite's expertise is in freedom of expression, media rights, and access to information. She is the Chief Legal Officer at the Human Rights Network for Journalists in Uganda, where she defends and represents journalists, analyzes laws and policies that impede freedom of expression, trains journalists, promotes media self-regulation and spearheads media rights campaigns. In 2012, she was selected by Avocats Sans Frontiers and the East African Law Society in an EU Human Rights Defenders project to constitute a pool of human rights lawyers to defend rights in East Africa and the Great Lakes Region. In 2014, she was selected by the U.S. State Department to participate in President Obama’s Washington Fellowship program for Young African Leaders. Cathy Anite will speak on human rights challenges in Uganda, and particularly on the state of freedom of expression and the media in Uganda. She will also discuss human rights careers in the region.
March 5, 2011
"Two Years After Snowden: Where are We Now, and Where are We Going?"
"What would US Surveillance Reform Look Like, and Do We Need It?"
Discussion with Robert S. Litt, General Counsel to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence & Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director, ACLU. As part of our Privacy in the Digital Age series, the Human Rights Institute hosted an exchange between Robert Litt and Jameel Jaffer focusing on the significance of the Snowden revelations, judicial and legislative oversight of the NSA, legal challenges to NSA surveillance, and the current debate about surveillance reform. Moderated by Sarah Cleveland, Columbia Law School.
"How the Snowden Revelations are Reshaping Global Perceptions of Privacy and Big Brother: Perspectives from Around the World"
A roundtable discussion with representatives of privacy and civil liberties groups from around the world regarding the impact of the Snowden revelations on the current global conversation on privacy and data surveillance.
Introduction: Sarah Knuckey, Columbia Law School
Moderator: Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus, Open Society Foundations
Joana Varon, Antivigilancia (Brazil)
Stefánia Kapronczay, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
Stefan Heumann, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (Germany)
Carly Nyst, Privacy International (UK)
Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU (US)
Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN)
Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute and the Roger Hertog Program on National Security Law, the ACLU, and the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations.
March 4, 2015
"Accountability for European Complicity in CIA Torture" Amrit Singh, Open Society Justice Initiative
Amrit Singh is a senior legal officer for national security and counterterrorism with the Open Society Justice Initiative. She is counsel in al Nashiri v. Poland and al Nashiri v. Romania, cases pending before the European Court of Human Rights that challenge Polish and Romanian collaboration in the CIA secret detention program. In this talk, Ms. Singh examined the prospects for accountability for European complicity in CIA torture while placing the issue in comparative perspective. Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute and Rightslink.
March 2, 2015
"Between War & Peace: Human Rights, Armed Conflict & the Foundations of International Law" Guglielmo Verdirame, King's College London
International courts, from the International Court of Justice to the European Court of Human Rights, have upheld the principle that international human rights law applies in wartime. Some domestic courts are now following suit. But is international human rights law capable of regulating armed conflict? And is there not a risk that it too might become a casualty of war?
Guglielmo Verdirame is a professor of international law at the Department of War Studies and the School of Law at King's College London and a barrister with 20 Essex Street chambers. Professor Verdirame has served as counsel and adviser to governments and corporations on a wide range of issues of public international law, including human rights and the law of armed conflict, boundary disputes, immunity, and the law of the sea. He is a visiting professor at Columbia Law School for the Spring 2015 term. Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, Rightslink and the Columbia Society of International Law and the Institute for the Study of Human Rights.
February 23, 2015
Heba Morayef, Egyptian Human Rights Advocate
HRI hosted a small talk and lunch with Egyptian human rights advocate, Heba Morayef. Heba was the Egypt director of Human Rights Watch, and previously worked at Amnesty International on Libya and Tunisia issues, and was International Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Egypt. Morayef spoke about her human rights work, the kinds of tools she uses as a human rights advocate, career paths, and the current state of human rights advocacy in Egypt.
February 19, 2015
(the podcast of this event can be found here)
"Food Democracy" Olivier de Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food & Member, UN Committee on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights
Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food and current Member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, joined us for an evening discussion. Food democracy refers to a set of social innovations that aim to reform food systems from the bottom up, taking citizens’ initiatives as a departure point. Such innovations include, for example, climate-smart agriculture schemes, vegetable gardens and other forms of urban agriculture such as farmers' markets, and schools that source food locally. Professor De Schutter's talk explained the tenets and practice of food democracy and address the questions: Can these initiatives have system-wide impacts? How do they relate to the dominant regime? And do they challenge classic forms of representative democracy? Sponsored by the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, the Human Rights Institute, Rightslink, and Graduate Legal Studies.
February 17, 2015
"Navigating Peace & Justice: The Case of Colombia" Claus Kress, University of Cologne & Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School
(the podcast of this event can be found here)
The current Havanna peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the FARC could lead to an end of a half-century-long armed conflict. One central dilemma facing the negotiators is how to reconcile political and legal demands for accountability concerning international crimes allegedly committed by the FARC with the desire to reach an agreement to which FARC will consent. The talk addressed some of the international law and policy dilemmas involved in securing peace and justice in light of Colombia's obligations as a party to the Inter-American Human Rights System and the International Criminal Court. Claus Kress is a professor at the University of Cologne and an expert in international law with an emphasis on international criminal law, international humanitarian law, and human rights. Director of the Institute for International Peace and Security Law at the University of Cologne, Professor Kress was awarded the 2014 M.C. Bassiouni Justice Award for “outstanding academic service to international criminal law.” Since 1998, he has represented Germany in the negotiations regarding the International Criminal Court. Sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, Rightslink & the Columbia Society of International Law.
February 16, 2015
"The International Protection of Refugees: A Regime in Crisis?" Guy Goodwin-Gill, Blackstone Chambers London
(the podcast of this event can be found here)
A lunchtime discussion international refugee law and human rights with Guy Goodwin-Gill, the world's leading expert in international refugee law, was held earlier this month. The regime of international refugee protection is rooted in nearly 100 years of law and practice. The world moves on, however, and the politics change. States are constantly challenged by those in search of refuge, whether in the very numbers involved, in the linkage to migration at large, in the use of novel means of flight, in the treatment due to those arriving, particularly unaccompanied children, in the question of legal status, or in the perception of threats to national sovereignty and security which people on the move in a globalized world seem to generate. International law and obligation have long been central to protection and solutions: Can they still play a meaningful role?
Professor Goodwin-Gill is a barrister with Blackstone Chambers, London. He recently stepped down as the Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University, and he has written extensively on refugees, migration, international organizations, elections, democratization, and child soldiers. He recently advised the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on statelessness and assisted the UN Division on Legal Affairs in drafting treaties on refugees and stateless persons. Co-sponsored with the Society for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Columbia Society of International Law and the Immigrants Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School.
February 11, 2015
"Developments in the International Criminal Court: Israel & Palestine"
A panel discussion of Israel and Palestine and developments in the International Criminal Court (ICC) was held earlier this month. After the Palestinians acceded to the Rome Statute on January 2, 2015, Fatou Bensouda, the ICC Prosecutor, opened a preliminary investigation into the possibility of war crimes committed "in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014.” This panel discussed these developments, international criminal law and the legal/political issues involved.
Panelists include Columbia Law School professors Lori Damrosch and Katherine Franke, and Claus Kress (University of Cologne), and Jamil Dakwar (CUNY & ACLU).
Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, the Columbia Society of International Law, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and the Center for Palestine Studies.
January 29, 2015
"National Human Rights Institutions & Domestic Implementation of Human Rights"
Professor Dr. C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice-Chancellor, O. P. Jindal Global University and Dean, Jindal Global Law School
(the podcast of this event can be found here)
The Human Rights Institute held a lunchtime discussion with Dr. Raj Kumar, Dean of Jindal Global Law School and Founding Vice-Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University to discuss National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). The fact that international human rights laws have been enshrined in national constitutions has strongly shaped the development of NHRIs, which aim to ensure the domestic protection of human rights in many countries. While there is a high degree of consensus on what NHRIs should do, their actual performance and institutional effectiveness vary significantly from country to country. Several NHRIs have acquired national and international legitimacy for their work in protecting and promoting human rights, others reveal how government institutions can legitimize actions that contravene human rights.
Professor Kumar’s talk focused on the role of NHRIs and their effectiveness in the domestic implementation of human rights. NHRIs are not a panacea for all human rights problems in a society but rather tend to be effective only under a given set of circumstances and can demonstrate institutional approaches to ensure the protection and promotion of human rights. The future of human rights implementation will depend to some extent on the empowerment of NHRIs and their relationship with other democratic institutions and civil society.
Sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, Rightslink, the South Asian Law Students Association and the Institute for the Study of Human Rights.
December 4, 2014
“The One and the Many: The Struggle between 'Genocide' & 'Crimes against Humanity'”, Philippe Sands, Professor of Law & Director, Centre on International Courts and Tribunals, University College of London
(the video of this event can be found here)
Philippe Sands, Professor of Law and Director of the Centre on International Courts and Tribunals at the University College of London, joined us for an afternoon discussion. Professor Sands addressed the introduction of 'crimes against humanity' and 'genocide' into the Nuremberg trial, the relative merits of both concepts in modern international law, and growing doubts as to the utility, effectiveness or desirability of the crime of 'genocide' as currently conceived.
Professor Sands’ teaching areas include public international law, the settlement of international disputes (including arbitration), and environmental and natural resources law. As a practicing barrister, he has extensive experience litigating cases before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, and the European Court of Justice. He frequently advises governments, international organizations, NGOs and the private sector on aspects of international law.
November 25, 2014
Katy Glenn Bass, Deputy Director of PEN America's Free Expression Programs
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. Katy will discuss her career path and PEN's recent report on violations of press freedom in Ferguson, Missouri. Before 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 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.
November 18, 2014
"Privacy in the Digital Age: The View from Beyond the U.S." a talk with Michael Drury, BCL Burton Copeland & Gus Hosein, Privacy International
(the podcast of this event can be found here)
Part two of our Privacy in the Digital Age series, with Michael Drury, former Director for Legal Affairs at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the United Kingdom's intelligence service, and Gus Hosein, Executive Director of Privacy International, London, for a discussion of national security, data surveillance and privacy issues outside the U.S.
Now a partner at BCL Burton Copeland, while at CGHQ, Mr. Drury was responsible for the full range of legal issues relating to intelligence interception and surveillance, and was responsible in part for the drafting of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). He also ensured that GCHQ's actions and systems met the standards required under the Human Rights Act 1998. Privacy International is a UK based NGO that engages in advocacy, litigation, and research to promote and protect privacy laws and investigate government surveillance. Mr. Hosein has acted as an external evaluator for UNHCR and advised the UN Special Rapporteur on Terrorism and Human Rights and other international organizations.
Co-sponsored by the Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers' Network, the Human Rights Institute, the National Security Law Society and the Roger Hertog Program on Law & National Security.
November 12, 2014
"Adivasis in Contemporary India: A Conversation with Virginius Xaxa"
Professor Xaxa is widely recognized as India's preeminent scholar on the status and conditions of Adivasi communities. Mischaracterized, marginalized and typically misunderstood, there are more than 100 million Adivasis (tribal or indigenous peoples) in India, more than 8% of the population. Professor Xaxa, currently Deputy Director and Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Studies in Guwahati, has devoted his professional career to the study of caste and tribe and India, publishing major works, including "State, Society, and Tribes: Issues in Post-Colonial India" (2008) and "Tribes as Indigenous People of India", the 1999 article which, as the New York Times noted, is "often cited as essential reading for an understanding of India's tribal communities." One area of his work has addressed conditions on tea plantations, which served as a critical resource and inspiration for Columbia Human Rights Institutes 2014 publication on the subject.
In 2013, Professor was named to the prestigious 12-member National Advisory Council and served until the Council was dissolved by the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The conversation with Professor Xaxa was facilitated by Professors Peter Rosenblum and Sudhir Krishnaswamy. Professor Rosenblum is the former Lieff Cabraser Clinical Professor and Faculty Co-Director of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute. He is currently a professor of international law and human rights at Bard College. Professor Krishnaswamy is on the faculty at the Azim Premji University in Bangalore and at Columbia Law School, where he is the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Visiting Professor of Indian Constitutional Law.
The talk was co-sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, the Human Rights Institute of Columbia Law School and DISHA (Development in South Asia).
November 6, 2014
"The Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The Power of Ideas and the Challenges of Practice"
A talk with James Anaya, Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
A discussion with James Anaya, Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The event was co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, the University Seminar on Indigenous Studies Indigenous Forum of CSER, and the Human Rights Institute of the Law School.
November 4, 2014
"China’s Weiquan: A discussion with Rights Defenders from China"
The Human Rights Institute held a lunchtime discussion with Biao Teng, Visiting Fellow, Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School; Founder & President, China Against the Death Penalty & Xiaojun Liang, Criminal Defense Lawyer & Director, Daoheng Law Firm.
Mr. Teng is one of China’s best-known civil-rights lawyers, and a prominent member of the Wei Quan, or “rights defenders,” movement, a loosely knit coalition of Chinese lawyers and activists who tackle cases related to the environment, religious freedom, and freedom of speech and the press. He came to national attention in 2003 when he and two other young Peking University law students successfully petitioned parliament to end the “custody and repatriation” law that gave police sweeping power to detain people for failing to have a residence permit or valid ID. The issue had come to national attention after a twenty-seven-year-old university graduate was beaten for failing to have proper identity papers.
Teng, is also a founder of gongmeng, the Open Constitution Initiative, a group of lawyers and academics who argue for greater rule of law and constitutional protections, and the New Citizens Movement, a broader group of civil rights activists. He is a lecturer at the China University of Political Science and Law but has been banned from teaching since 2009 because of his political activities. He is currently a fellow at Harvard Law School.
Mr. Liang is currently a visiting scholar at Columbia University.
October 28, 2014
"Somali Refugees in Kenya: The Case of the Dadaab Camp"
(the podcast of this event can be found here)
The Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya is home to approximately 400,000 people, making it the largest refugee camp in the world. Located 100 kilometers from the long and porous Kenya-Somalia border, its primarily Somali population is viewed as a source of insecurity by some Kenyan authorities. The Kenyan government has ascribed responsibility for al Shabaab attacks in the country to its Somali residents, leading to violent crackdowns in the camp and thousands of detentions in Nairobi. The treatment of Somali refugees in Kenya remains at the forefront of the debate on security, immigration, and the Kenyan state's relationship with its Somali population.
Ben Rawlence recently completed a year of research in Dadaab. At this event, he presented the main findings of his work, highlighting inhabitants' frustrations with the governments of both Kenya and Somalia, and suggesting ways in which governments and donors can improve their approaches to Dadaab's inhabitants.
October 27, 2014
"Human Rights Treaties & Foreign Surveillance: Privacy in the Digital Age" Marko Milanovic, University of Nottingham School of Law
The Human Rights Institute and the Roger Hertog Program on Law & National Security and the National Security Law Society held a lunch-time discussion with Marko Milanovic of the University of Nottingham School of Law on Privacy in the Digital Age. The 2013 revelations by Edward Snowden of the scope and magnitude of electronic surveillance run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and some of its partners, including UK and Australian signals intelligence agencies, have provoked intense and ongoing public debate regarding the proper limits of such intelligence activities. Privacy activists decry such programs, especially those involving the mass collection of the data or communications of ordinary individuals across the globe, arguing that they create an inhibiting surveillance climate that diminishes basic freedoms, while the government officials justify them as being necessary for the prevention of terrorism.
This talk looked at how the legality of such programs would be debated and assessed within the framework of international human rights law, and specifically under the major human rights treaties to which the 'Five Eyes' and other states with sophisticated technological capabilities are parties. In the wake of the UN General Assembly's 2013 resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age, it can be expected that electronic surveillance and related activities will remain on the agenda of UN bodies for years to come, especially since the political relevance of the topic shows no signs of abating.
October 23, 2014
"Pakistan's Ahmadis: Blasphemy, Identity and Persecution", a talk by Pakistani Jurist Mujeeb-ur-Rahman
HRI, SJI, SALSA & MELSA held a lunch-time discussion with Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, a prominent Pakistani human rights lawyer who has litigated many seminal cases in Pakistan. Mr. Rahman spoke about human rights law in Pakistan and the apartheid treatment of Ahmadi Muslims in that country. The Ahmadis are a sect of Islam that have been declared non-Muslim by the Pakistani government and are frequently prosecuted under the country's extreme blasphemy law.
In more than a half-century of legal practice, Mr. Rahman has argued cases before the Pakistan Supreme Court, including the ignominious Zaheeruddin v. the State of Pakistan, which legitimized persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan by affirming the power of the state to legally define both the form and the content of religion. Mr. Rehman has defended hundreds of cases registered against Ahmadi Muslims under the anti-blasphemy laws, most notably in Zaheeruddin, where five Ahmadi Muslims were charged for professing to be Muslims, under Ordinance XX, which is specifically targeted at Ahmadi Muslims. Mr. Rahman challenged the prosecution because it violated the rights of religious freedom under Pakistan’s Constitution, that the law was discriminatory, vague and overbroad. In the judicial history of Pakistan, Zaheeruddin is a landmark judgment, and its effect on the role of religion in Pakistan’s state and society is perhaps best analogized to Plessy v. Ferguson’s impact on the relationship between race and law in the United States.
Mr. Rahman graduated from the University of Punjab in 1957 and obtained his LLB from the University of Karachi in 1961.
October 21, 2014
"Investigating the Rab'a Massacre in Egypt" A Talk with Human Rights Lawyer Omar Shakir
Omar Shakir discussed his work with Human Rights Watch in Egypt over the last year, where he was a fellow and the lead researcher and author of “All According to Plan,” a 188-page report on the Rab’a massacre and the mass killings of protesters in Egypt in July and August 2013. The report concludes that the methodical killing of at least 817 demonstrators on August 14, 2013, in Rab’a Square ranks as one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day on par with the Tiananmen Massacre. Over one year later, not a single person has been held accountable.
Omar also discussed working as a human rights lawyer on serious abuses amidst a serious crackdown and in a climate of rampant impunity. Omar is currently a Bertha Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where he works on abuses in the name of national security in the US. He previously was a Fulbright scholar in Syria and is a graduate of Stanford Law School, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Affairs, and Stanford University. His full Bio is available here.
October 20. 2014
"The Curious Tale of "Human Rights" in the U.N. Charter", Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
The Human Rights Institute held a lunch-time discussion with Christof Heyns, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria. Heyns discussed how and why 'human rights' ended up in the UN Charter. He has published widely in the field of human rights, especially on the protection of the right to life and on human rights in Africa. His current work with the UN covers armed drones and autonomous weapons systems. He is currently engaged in research on the role of controversial South African statesman Jan Smuts in the founding of the League of Nations and the United Nations. He holds degrees from the Universities of Pretoria, the Witwatersrand and Yale.
October 14, 2014
“A Fear of Too Much Justice: Central American Asylum Seekers and Current U.S. Immigration Policy” Cecilia Wang, Director, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project
Discussion with Cecilia Wang, Director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project. She is an expert on issues at the intersection of immigration and criminal law, including state anti-immigrant laws, racial profiling and other unlawful police practices relating to immigration enforcement. Her notable cases include a class action lawsuit against racial profiling and illegal detentions by the Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff’s Office, a challenge to an Arizona state constitutional amendment categorically prohibiting bail to suspected undocumented immigrants, a challenge to Alabama’s notorious HB 56 anti-immigrant law, and challenges to systemic delays in the naturalization system. Ms. Wang discussed the Administration’s decision to rush to prejudgment and detention of families and children seeking asylum in the United States, and how those policies violate U.S. law and American values.
Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, the Society for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic.
October 10, 2014
"Inside the Blackwater Trial" James Stewart, University of British Columbia Faculty of Law
(the podcast of this event can be found here)
On 16 September 2007, a convoy of Blackwater vehicles left the Green Zone in Iraq to assist a State Department official after a car bomb went off. Despite being ordered not to deploy, the unit’s team leader proceeded to Nisour Square nearby, where his men locked down the traffic circle. In the fifteen minutes that followed, Blackwater guards allegedly fired heavy weaponry indiscriminately on cars in the traffic jam, a girl’s school, a tanker truck, and unarmed civilians, some of whom had their hands up. Fourteen civilians were killed and more than twenty more were seriously injured. Upon return to base, four of the Blackwater guards immediately complained to their superiors that they’d seen people “murdered out there.” One guard was crying. Over the past months, four members of Blackwater’s Raven 23 unit stood trial for the Nisour Square incident in a Washington D.C. courthouse. In this presentation, Professor James G. Stewart, a former war crimes prosecutor in Rwanda and The Hague, offered his reflections on the trial. Together with his collaborator Sara Gray, they collectively sat through every day of the trial except one.
Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, The National Security & Law Society & the Columbia Society of International Law.
October 6, 2014
"Joanna Fine, Deputy Director of Global Programs, Center for Reproductive Rights"
Joanna Fine '07, Deputy Director of Global Programs at the Center for Reproductive Rights, spoke about the use of a human rights framework and multiple legal strategies to advance reproductive rights around the world. Hosted by SJI and the Human Rights Institute.
October 1, 2014
“Due Diligence & Gender Violence: Parsing its Power and its Perils”
The Human Rights Institute & The Center for Gender & Sexuality Law held a lunchtime discussion on due diligence and gender violence with Professor Julie Goldscheid, Nathaniel Fensterstock Visiting Professor of Law and Professor Debra J. Liebowitz, Drew University.
Human rights advocates increasingly invoke the due diligence standard to hold States responsible for their actions and omissions concerning gender violence. Professors Goldscheid and Liebowitz discussed their recent paper on this topic. The paper traces the development of the due diligence obligation and analyzes how the principle has been interpreted in key international policy documents and developing gender violence case law from the United Nations, European, and Inter-American human rights systems. On its face, the due diligence obligation calls on the State to take responsibility for preventing gender violence, prosecuting and punishing perpetrators, and protecting and providing redress for gender violence victims. The paper argues that the emerging interpretations pay insufficient attention to the risks of State intervention, and offers recommendations for a robust understanding of accountability.
Professor Goldscheid, CUNY School of Law, is a visiting professor at Columbia Law School in the Fall of 2014. She teaches subjects including civil procedure, lawyering, and gender equality. She writes and speaks widely about gender equality, with a particular focus on gender-based violence and economic equality. Professor Liebowitz is an Associate Professor at Drew University. She holds a joint appointment in International Relations and Women’s Studies & Gender Studies. Her research, training and advocacy work in the areas of gender and international human rights, with a particular focus on the United Nations Treaty Body System and the politics of international measures of gender (in)equality.
September 25, 2014
"Local Innovation for Immigrant Rights: NYC's Approach in the de Blasio Administration"
(the podcast of this event can be found here)
HRI, the Society for Immigrant & Refugee Rights & the Immigrants' Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School held a lunchtime discussion with Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner for the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs.
Nisha Agarwal is an accomplished public interest lawyer and a leading voice in immigration reform at the local and national level. She brings to the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs an entrepreneurial drive and a proven record of enacting pro-immigrant legislation in New York City and New York State. Commissioner Agarwal discussed recent NYC immigrant initiatives as well as her experience in making the transition from advocacy to government.
Most recently, she worked with Judge Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to establish the Immigrant Justice Corps, a new nonprofit that will recruit recent law school graduates and partner them with non-profit legal services providers to offer legal representation to undocumented immigrants. She was previously Deputy Director of the Center for Popular Democracy, the groundbreaking non-profit advocacy group dedicated to advancing pro-immigrant, pro-equality and pro-justice policies at the grassroots and national levels, which she co-founded in 2012. Before CPD, Agarwal served as Director of the Health Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. Agarwal received her B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She currently lives in Brooklyn.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
“Investigations, Accountability, & Remedies in the U.S. Military”, Brigadier General Richard Gross, US Army, Legal Counsel, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
International and domestic law obligates states to investigate violations of international law occurring in the context of military operations and to punish perpetrators. Brigadier General Rich Gross discussed the United States military’s approach to investigations, remedies, and issues of accountability.
Brigadier General Rich Gross is the Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Armed Forces. He has multiple combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan with joint and special operations units. As a Judge Advocate, Brigadier General Gross has served in a variety of legal assignments, including serving as the chief legal advisor (Staff Judge Advocate) for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan(USFOR-A) and, before his current position, at U.S. Central Command. He is a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law (1993) and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, PA (2009).
Co-sponsored by Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy Faculty-Student Intellectual Life Series & the Roger Hertog Program on Law & National Security.
September 18, 2014
"Introduction to Human Rights at Columbia Law School"
The Human Rights Institute presented a lunch-time panel on planning your human rights trajectory at Columbia Law School on Thursday, September 18 over the lunch hour. This annual panel, aimed primarily at first-year law students, transfers and LL.M's, introduced the many avenues for getting involved in human rights work and study at the law school. Panelists discussed courses, pro bono and research opportunities, upcoming events, student groups, journals, internships, and post-graduate fellowships. Panelists included representatives from the Human Rights Institute and Clinic, Social Justice Initiatives, Rightslink, Human Rights Law Review, Society for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Columbia Society for International Law.
September 15, 2014
"The Central African Republic: Human Rights Challenges & Armed Conflict"
The Human Rights Institute & the African Law Students Association (LASS) held a lunch-time discussion with Alexis Mbolinani and Tony Lakouetene, human rights advocates visiting from the Central African Republic (CAR). CAR receives minimal international attention, but over the past 18 months, the country has experienced devastating violence, including frequent massacres, often along ethnic and religious lines; thousands have been killed, and more than a quarter of the population has been displaced. Later this month, a 10,000 member UN peacekeeping force is expected to be deployed in the country to bolster an existing African Union force. Advocates Mbolinani and Lakouetene discussed the nature of the conflict, the prospects for peace and improved respect for human rights, and their challenging work as human rights defenders and providers of humanitarian aid in the country.
The CAR advocates are working with Columbia Law students in the Human Rights Clinic on a joint project to advance human rights in CAR.
April 21, 2014
"The Rule of Law and the Constitution in South Africa at Twenty" Justice Edwin Cameron, Constitutional Court of South Africa
Justice Edwin Cameron has served as a jurist on the South African Constitutional Court since 2009. Cameron is one of South Africa’s most prominent judicial figures, with a long history of human rights activism. President Mandela appointed him an acting judge and later a judge of the South African High Court. In 1999/2000 he served for a year as an Acting Justice at the Constitutional Court. In 2000 he was appointed a Judge of Appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal. Justice Cameron discusses his new book Justice: A Personal Account which was available for purchase at the event.
April 16, 2014
"Business & Human Rights" Michael Posner, Professor of Business & Society at NYU's Stern School of Business
An expert on business and human rights, Professor Posner discusses why human rights are important for business, and the potential human rights impacts of large-scale investment projects, including investments in extractives and agricultural commodities.
April 10, 2014
"Defying Injustice: Lessons from Defeating Apartheid to the Arab Spring" An Inter-Active Dialogue Among Activists and Scholars
Panelists: Cecelie Counts, former organizer, TransAfrica; Jennifer Davis, former CEO, American Committee on Africa; Ejim Dike, Executive Director, US Human Rights Network; Michael Wahid Hanna, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation; Habib Nassar, Director for Middle East and North Africa, PILnet, The Global Network for Public Interest Law; Jessica Stern, Executive Director, International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission; Moderated by Gay McDougall, former Director, Southern Africa Project, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, former UN Independent Expert on Minorities, and Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence, Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham University School of Law.
March 24, 2014
"Socially Responsible Tea: Labor Conditions, Corporate Branding & Indian Tea Plantations
Panelists: Max Bearak, Staff Writer, New York Times, author of "Hopes and Homes Crumbling on Indian Tea Plantations" New York Times; Sarah Besky, Associate Professor, University of Michigan; author of The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India (2013); Phyllis Robinson, Education & Campaigns Manager, Equal Exchange; Ashwini Sukthankar, co-author “The More Things Change…: The World Bank, Tata, and Enduring Abuses on India’s Tea Plantations”; Moderated by Peter Rosenblum, Professor of International Law & Human Rights, Bard College, co-author “The More Things Change: The World Bank, Tata and Enduring Abuses on India’s Tea Plantations”
A panel discussion on living and labor conditions, the obligations of corporations and development institutions and the problematic role of social responsibility mechanisms in the Indian tea sector. The panelists have all been involved in recent field research on Indian tea plantations.
March 24, 2014
"Dwarfs, Rabbits, Nelson Mandela & The Ninth Circuit: Understanding Human Dignity" Christopher McCrudden, Queens University Belfast, University of Michigan Law School
The power of the ‘human dignity’ concept is unquestionable. The Ninth Circuit recently drew on the idea of ‘human dignity’ to hold that challenges to jurors based on their sexual orientation were unconstitutional. In opinions by Justice Kennedy, the U.S. Supreme Court has used the concept to uphold the rights of same-sex couples and to uphold limits on abortion. The concept is ubiquitous in human rights law. But is there a common understanding of human dignity? As dignity has become more pervasive in human and constitutional rights discourse, it has come under skepticism from very different quarters: from some feminists, from opponents of judicial activism, from post-modern social theorists, from scientists in the life sciences, and ardent secularists. And how do dwarfs, rabbits, and Mandela fit into this discussion? Professor McCrudden discusses.
February 24, 2014
"The Syrian Civil War: Human Rights, Law, and Strategy" Lama Fakih, Human Rights Watch Co-sponsored by Rightslink, The Human Rights Institute, The Middle East Institute, Middle Eastern Law Students Association, Columbia Society of International Law, and SIPA Arab students Association (ASA)
Lama Fakih talks about her work on the human rights crises in Syria after more than two years of civil war. She discusses the overall approach and strategy involved in working as a human rights lawyer, including how HRW chooses areas of focus and applies tools strategically. Ms. Fakih previously worked for the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project. She is a graduate of NYU law school.
February 19, 2014
"Through the Lens of the Law: The "Jewish and Democratic State", with Hassan Jabareen, Adalah- The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel Sponsored by Social Justice Initiatives, The Human Rights Institute, Center for Palestine Studies, Middle East Institute & Columbia Journal of Race and Law
A discussion with Hassan Jabareen, the founder and general director of Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. Mr. Jabareen has litigated landmark constitutional rights cases before the Israeli Supreme Court on behalf of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He is also a Schell Center Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School.
February 3, 2014
"Legal Challenges & Strategies for Combating Sexual Violence Against Children" Corinne Dettmeijer-Vermeulen, Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings & Sexual Violence Against Children
Sexual violence against children has been around for centuries. As a phenomenon child pornography cannot be regarded separately from other forms of sexual violence against children. It involves perpetrators and victims; it is sexual abuse on images. After a brief overview of the legal instruments to protect children against sexual violence, the talk focuses on the evolution of the perspective on child pornography as a crime, internationally, in the US and in the Netherlands, and the legal framework that has been developed to fight this crime and to protect children in the broadest sense. Questions that arise are whether this legal framework is sufficient, whether the rule of law can keep up with the swift developments in the digital world? Who are the perpetrators, what does being a victim entail? Is the Internet to blame or is it a blessing that proof for sexual abuse is now easier to find? These questions are illustrated by elaborating on two major child pornography cases: Paroline v. United States, now before the Supreme Court and Robert M., a case that shocked the Netherlands at the end of 2010.
November 19, 2013
"Remembering the Haitian Case" a Conversation with Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr.
In June 1993, federal Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. of the United States District Court in Brooklyn ordered the closure of a facility at Guantánamo that was being used to indefinitely detain Haitians refugees who tested positive for HIV. In his ruling in Haitian Centers Council, Inc v. Sale, Judge Johnson wrote: "Although the defendants euphemistically refer to its Guantánamo operation as a ‘humanitarian camp,’ the facts disclose that it is nothing more than an H.I.V. prison camp presenting potential public health risks to the Haitians held there.” As a result of his order, the facility was closed and the Haitian refugees were resettled in the United States. Before taking senior status in 2003, Judge Johnson presided over more than 500 civil and criminal cases in the Eastern District of New York. Before his appointment to the bench in 1991, Judge Johnson previously was an attorney for 30 years, specializing in drug enforcement and the prosecution of narcotics cases. As the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, Judge Johnson supervised assistant district attorneys and investigators responsible for the preparation and prosecution of more than 7000 criminal cases. With commentary by Brandt Goldstein, author of Storming the Court: How a Band of Yale Law Students Sued the President -- And Won.
November 13, 2013
"The Future of ATS Litigation After Kiobel: A View from the Trenches" Paul Hoffman, University of California, Irvine School of Law
Mr. Hoffman is a civil and human rights lawyer based in Venice California. He is a partner in Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman LLP. He argued Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum and Sosa v Alvarez-Machain in the Supreme Court and has argued numerous other ATS cases in the last thirty years. He is the former Chair of Amnesty International and is the Director of the International Human Rights Litigation Clinic at UCI School of Law.
November 12, 2013
"The Last Great Human Rights Challenge? Global Decriminalization of Homosexuality Using Constitutional Law" Lord Peter Goldsmith, European & Asian Chair of Litigation, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP & Former Attorney General, United Kingdom
Lord Goldsmith will speak on pro bono transnational challenges to statutes criminalizing LGBT relations in commonwealth countries. Homosexuality is still criminalized in several countries around the world, including in states with constitutions protecting fundamental human rights to dignity, privacy, and equality. Claimants in constitutional cases in these states face several challenges as the courts struggle to balance politics and popular morality against constitutionally protected rights. Lord Goldsmith QC has represented several parties on a pro bono basis in a recent challenge in the Supreme Court of Belize, as well as assisting claimants challenging similar legislation in Singapore. Lord Goldsmith QC discusses the difficulties present in bringing such challenges, the developing global jurisprudence, and the impact of comparative constitutional law in this fascinating area.
November 6, 2013
“The Haitian Case and Social Justice Advocacy" Michael Wishnie, Deputy Dean for Experiential Education, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, Yale Law School; Michael Ratner, President Emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights
The second to final talk in our series on the 20th anniversary of the Sale v. Haitian Centers Council Case. Sale was one of the seminal American human rights cases of the 1990s. It changed U.S. foreign policy, spawned satellite litigation, became the subject of numerous books and articles, and inspired a generation of human rights scholars and activists. Today, two decades after the Haitian case, it is worth examining some of the many aspects of its legal legacy
October 30, 2013
"The ICC and the Use of Chemical Weapons in Non-International Armed Conflict" Andreas Zimmermann, Professor of International Law & Director, Human Rights Centre, Potsdam University
The use of chemical weapons during the civil war in Syria has triggered the call for the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court to provide for the accountability of those responsible, which the Council shied away from when adopting SC Res. 2118 (2013). Yet, it is also less than obvious that the ICC would indeed have jurisdiction specifically for this war crime when committed in non-international armed conflicts on the territory of a State (such as Syria) not a party to the Rome Statute, even if the Security Council were to ever refer such a situation to the Court. Prof. Zimmermann, LL.M.(Harvard) is professor of international law at Potsdam University (Germany) and director of its Human Rights Centre; he is member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, has been a member of the German delegation to the Rome Conference and has acted as counsel in various cases before the ICJ, as amicus curiae before the ICTY, as well as judge ad hoc at the ECtHR.
October 23, 2013
Film Screening: "The Law in These Parts" Followed by Q&A with the director. Hosted by Professor Katherine Franke, Columbia Law School. Co-Sponsored by the Middle East Institute, the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, and the Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCoy Faculty-Student Intellectual Life Series
October 23, 2013
“The Haitian Case, the “Law of Guantanamo” and Transnational Public Law Litigation” Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor at Yale Law School and Scholar in Residence, Columbia Law School
This was the third talk in our series on the 20th anniversary of the Sale v. Haitian Centers Council Case. Sale was one of the seminal American human rights cases of the 1990s. It changed U.S. foreign policy, spawned satellite litigation, became the subject of numerous books and articles, and inspired a generation of human rights scholars and activists. Today, two decades after the Haitian case, it is worth examining some of the many aspects of its legal legacy.
October 22, 2013
"Voices for Social Justice: The Influence and Impact of United Nations Special Procedures"
In recent years, the innovative work of United Nations Special Procedures - independent rapporteurs, representatives, experts, and working groups mandated to monitor a particular thematic or country-specific issue - has done much to advance social justice, particularly for minorities, women, and people living in poverty. All of the current Special Procedures mandate holders with a thematic focus on economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) will complete their terms in 2014. With activities already being planned for next year's Human Rights Council to reflect on the legacy of the current mandate holders, this panel discussion presents an opportunity for New York-based civil society groups and those with an interest in the work of the Special Procedures to share their perspectives on this question. Specifically, the Panel aims to provide a platform for an informal discussion on the achievements of key ESCR mandates. Participants will also explore existing challenges and potential opportunities ahead for the next ESCR-focused mandate holders. Speakers: Magdalena Sepúlveda, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food in conversation with Ignacio Saiz, Executive Director, Center for Economic and Social Rights.
October 27, 2013
"From Undeserving Poor to Rights Holder" Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights & Extreme Poverty
Magdalena discusses one of the continuous challenges of her mandate: tackling the stigma around poverty that persists among politicians, policy-makers and the general public. She discusses how such stigma leads to policies and laws that seek to punish, segregate and control people living in poverty rather than tackling the structural causes of poverty, ultimately leading to further social exclusion, discrimination, and inequality. Magdalena will explore how a human rights approach to poverty and public policy can help to tackle the fallacy of the “undeserving poor”, towards a model in which people living in poverty are understood as individuals with inherent dignity and entitlements to the full range of human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social. Magdalena is currently a Fellow at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and her previous experience includes positions at the International Council on Human Rights Policy, the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and as the Co-Director of the Department of International Law and Human Rights of the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in San José, Costa Rica. She holds a Ph.D in International Human Rights Law from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and an LLM from the University of Essex in the U.K.
October 16, 2013
"Invisible Palestinians: Rights & Identity of Palestinian Citizens of Israel" Nadia Ben-Youssef, Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights
Considering the rights and legal status of Palestinian citizens of Israel, a community long-sidelined in the political and public discourse, offers a unique and revealing lens through which to view both the root causes and just solutions of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. This session will explore how and whether the rights of non-Jews can be secured, focusing on the work of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. Adalah is an independent human rights organization that for nearly 20 years has used Israeli legal channels and international fora to seek equal individual and collective rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel and to defend against rights violations of Palestinian residents of the OPT. Nadia Ben-Youssef is a human rights lawyer and international advocate who spent the last three years working in Adalah’s Naqab (Negev) office promoting the rights of the Palestinian Bedouin community to their ancestral land. Nadia addresses the increasing attacks on the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, focusing particularly on the Israeli government’s plan to displace the Bedouin community, and how a rights-based framework should challenge and change the conversation.
October 15, 2013
A Conversation on International Criminal Justice with Judge Theodor Meron, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals
Judge Theodor Meron is the current President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, elected to this position by his fellow judges in October 2011 and re-elected to a two-year term this month. He also served as President of the Tribunal between March 2003 and November 2005, and was appointed the President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) by the United Nations Secretary-General in March 2012 for four years. Judge Meron discusses the challenges facing the institutions of international criminal justice, from the perspectives of his long experience and leadership roles in the field. Since his election to the Tribunal by the U.N. General Assembly in March 2001, Judge Meron has served on the Appeals Chamber, which hears appeals from both the Tribunal and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). A leading scholar of international humanitarian law, human rights, and international criminal law, Judge Meron wrote some of the books and articles that helped build the legal foundations for international criminal tribunals. A Shakespeare enthusiast, he has also written articles and books on the laws of war and chivalry in Shakespeare’s historical plays.
October 10, 2013
"Secret Justice: Safeguarding Security without Undermining Justice" Martin Chamberlain, QC Brick Court Chambers
This session explores the United Kingdom’s recent experience in adjudicating drone strikes and other counter-terrorism cases and in reforming the handling of classified information in the UK courts and the impact on British national security law and in the counterterrorism relationship with the United States. Martin Chamberlain is a British barrister specializing in public law and human rights. Alongside his other work, he has over 10 years' experience as a Special Advocate representing those accused of terrorism in civil proceedings challenging deportation, control orders and sanctions. He had also served as counsel to the UK's Investigatory Powers Tribunal. Mr. Chamberlain has written and given evidence to the UK Parliament on the shortcomings of closed proceedings to examine classified information and was a leading opponent of the Justice and Security Act, which makes those procedures available in ordinary civil courts in the UK. He will discuss what lessons can be learned by other systems - including those in the US - from the UK experience. Contact the Human Rights Institute with any questions.
October 7, 2013
"The Kadi Case: UN Terrorism Sanctions & Beyond" Maya Lester, Brick Court Chambers
In its July 2013 judgment in the Kadi case (Kadi II), the European Court of Justice held that the European Union may not impose UN-mandated counterterrorism sanctions against an individual without evidence to substantiate the individual’s involvement in terrorist activities. In this session, UK Barrister Maya Lester, counsel for Mr. Kadi, will explore the implications of the case for international and European law as well as for UN and EU sanctions regimes. Ms. Lester is a barrister with Brick Court Chambers in London, and specializes in Public and Administrative law, Competition and European Law, and Civil Liberties and Human Rights. She appears for and advises individuals, companies, government departments, and public interest groups in all areas of Public Law and Human Rights, and has appeared in a large number of sanctions cases. Ms. Lester was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School in 2011-2012.
September 23, 2013
"Crisis in Syria" Jean-Marie Guehenno, former deputy joint special envoy of the UN and the Arab League for Syria
(the podcast of this event can be found here)
Jean-Marie Guehenno is Director of the Center of International Conflict Resolution and Associate Director of the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies at SIPA, directs the School's International Conflict Resolution specialization, and is a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. For approximately five months in early and mid-2012, Guehenno was deputy joint special envoy of the UN and the Arab League for Syria, working with Kofi Annan. He previously served as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations from 2000-2008. In that role, he led the largest expansion of peacekeeping in the history of the UN, overseeing approximately 130,000 staff on eighteen missions. Mr. Guehenno will discuss the current conflict in Syria.
September 16, 2013
"Campaigning for Human Rights" Mary Gerisch, Vermont Worker Center
(the podcast of this event can be found here)
Vermont recently became the first state to pass universal healthcare based on human rights principles of universality, dignity, equity, and transparency. Those who campaign for human rights principles to inform all government policies are not stopping at healthcare, they are connecting to other local, regional, national and international struggles for dignity and rights. Mary Gerisch, President of the Vermont Workers Center, joins us to discuss the Vermont campaign, their partners, successes and why they see human rights as the basis for a more just society. Mary is also a member of the ICCPR task force of the US Human Rights Network and board member of the National Center for Economic Justice.
March 14, 2013
Human Rights in Latin America: Litigation, Political Mobilization & the Path to Social Justice
Jorge Contesse, Visiting Human Rights Fellow, Yale Law School
As indigenous peoples, sexual minorities, women and other marginalized groups increasingly use the inter-American human rights system as a vehicle to advance their claims it becomes necessary to reflect on both the legal and political challenges that human rights advocates face. Latin America is no longer plagued by authoritarian regimes perpetuating mass human rights violations, yet the existing democracies infringe individual rights in many ways. The talk explores how the Global South and the Global North develop alliances that successfully impact the creation of supra-regional law, looking specifically at Atala v. Chile, the first case on sexual orientation decided by the Inter-American Human Rights Court. Jorge Contesse is currently a visiting human rights fellow at Yale Law School and, in the fall of 2013 will join the faculty at Rutgers Law School-Newark. Previously he was Assistant Professor of Law at the Diego Portales Law School, in Santiago, where he directed its Human Rights Center. He has litigated several cases before the inter-American human rights system.
March 13, 2013
"The ICJ Judgement in Germany v Italy, Access to Justice & State Immunity for Grave Breaches of Human Rights"
Francesco Francioni, CLS Visiting Professor, Professor of International Law & Human Rights & Director of the Law Academy at the European University Institute
How should international judgments be enforced in domestic law? In its decision of 3 February 2012 in Germany v Italy, Greece intervening, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found the Italy had breached the jurisdictional immunity of Germany by allowing access to its courts for victims of war crimes committed by German armed forces in the last phase of WW II. The operative paragraph of the judgment orders Italy to ensure that by legislation or other means of its choosing all national court decisions infringing of Germany's immunity " cease to affect". This decision confirms a trend, already shown in previous judgments, especially Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v United States) 31 Jan. 2004, toward setting aside the traditional divide between international law and national law and going straight to the determination of what specific measures are necessary within the national system of the respondent state to remedy the violation of international law. But unlike Avena where the dispositif of the judgment entailed the recognition and the enforcement of an individual right, in Germany v Italy the Court goes in the opposite direction, ordering Italy to shut the doors of judicial redress victims of war crimes who had already received judicial protection. This presentation discusses the options involved in the enforcement of this judgment in domestic law and the problematic effects it may have on the dynamic evolution of international law on sovereign immunity.
March 5, 2013
War & the Responsibility to Protect Cultural Heritage
Francesco Francioni, CLS Visiting Professor, Professor of International Law & Human Rights & Director of the Law Academy at the European University Institute
International Law on the protection of cultural heritage in time of war has evolved considerably in the past 15 years. The 1954 Hague Convention gained an additional (Second) Protocol in 1999 as well as a much-awaited ratification by the United States in 2009; the General Conference of UNESCO adopted by unanimous vote a Declaration prohibiting the intentional destruction of cultural heritage; and offenses against cultural heritage are now part of the catalog of international crimes in the Statutes of international courts and tribunals. Yet, this intense normative action has not prevented the recurrence or continuation of barbarous acts of destruction and pillage of cultural property of great importance for humanity, as the bombing of the World Heritage medieval market of Aleppo, and the extensive destruction of Muslim monuments and ancient manuscripts in Mali.
February 20, 2013
National Security & European Human Rights Law
Iain Cameron, Uppsala University
To what extent can, and should, courts exercise meaningful control over internal security agencies? Iain Cameron focuses on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights on national security issues, including extraterritorial human rights abuses, as well as the recent standard-setting in the field by the Council of Europe advisory body on constitutional issues, the Venice Commission. Iain Cameron is a professor in public international law at Uppsala University. He is the author of numerous books and articles in the field of international and constitutional law. He has specialized particularly on issues relating to security, intelligence, and human rights. In 2005 he was appointed by the Swedish government to the Council of Europe advisory body on constitutional and international law issues, the Commission on Democracy through Law (Venice Commission).
February 12, 2013
"Human Rights & International Humanitarian Law in Non-International Armed Conflict" Marco Sassoli, University of Geneva
Marco Sassoli, Director of the Department of International Law and International Organization at the University of Geneva discusses human rights and International Humanitarian Law (the law of war) in non-international armed conflict. As a treaty, IHL is less detailed in non-international armed conflicts. Because most of these conflicts occur on the territory of the State involved, Human Rights Law should have a greater role than it does in international armed conflicts. However, as customary law or by analogy, the more detailed and less protective rules of IHL of international armed conflicts may come back as lex specialis and crowd out human rights. This discussion is not only theoretically interesting, but also has important practical repercussions, making the difference between life and death, and between indefinite detention without judicial control, when the admissibility of killing and detaining fighters is analyzed.
February 11, 2013
The Law of Armed Conflict & Drug Policy Debate
The Human Rights Institute, The Center for Human Rights and Drug Policy & Righstlink host evening debate in which experts in international humanitarian law (IHL) debated the law of armed conflict and its application to drug-related violence. Speakers: Marco Sassoli, Director, Department of International law and International Organization, University of Geneva; Noam Lubell, School of Law, University of Essex; Moderator: Gabor Rona, International Legal Director, Human Rights First
February 5, 2013
"The Right to Education in South Africa" a discussion with the Legal Resources Center
Jason Brickhill, Attorney with the LRC's Constitutional Litigation Unit, and Cameron Mcconnachi, an attorney with the LRC's Grahamstown office, discuss the right to education, focusing on specific cases and the challenges they face in crafting legal interventions that will bring about much needed structural changes to education for poor children in South Africa. The LRC is a leading host organization for Columbia's Human Rights Internship Program and still seeks applicants for 2013 internships. Sponsored by Social Justice Initiatives and the Human Rights Institute.
February 4, 2013
The Arab Spring's Tall Order: Security, Politics, Economics & Civil Society
Lotfi Maktouf is a Tunisian civil society activist and founder of Almadanya, a Tunisian NGO formed after the revolution to empower people through a series of development and cultural programs. Two years after peaceful demonstrators calling for three and only three demands (freedom, dignity, and jobs) forced then-president Ben Ali to flee, some question what happened to the Tunisian revolution and its aspirations. How did it shift from jobs to polygamy, from freedom to gender separation in public places and schools, and from dignity to criminalizing blasphemy? Mr. Maktouf discusses the challenges and tasks facing post-revolution Tunisia as well as discussing the broader consequences of fundamental ideological shifts on the region's social fabric, social dynamics, human rights, the place and value of the law, security and economics. Lotfi Maktouf graduated from Tunis, Paris-Sorbonne, and Harvard law schools.
January 31, 2013
The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism
Author Trevor Aaronson discusses his new book The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism. The book shows how the FBI has, under the guise of engaging in counterterrorism since 9/11, built a network of more than 15,000 informants. In too many cases, informants have infiltrated Muslim communities and manufactured phony terrorist plots, leading to false government claims of victory in the War on Terror. Trevor Aaronson is co-director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. Aaronson was a 2010-11 fellow at the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley where he produced an award-winning project about FBI counterterrorism operations for Mother Jones. Co-sponsored by: The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), The New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), Desis Rising & Moving (DRUM), CLEAR and the National Lawyers Guild-NYC.
November 28, 2012
"Current Issues in the Law of Military Operations" Major-General Blaise Catchart, Judge Advocate General, Canadian Armed Forces
HRI invites you to a lunchtime discussion with Major-General Blaise Cathcart the Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Forces. Cathcart will discuss his role as a legal advisor to the Government of Canada in matters related to military law and describe some of the issues facing legal advisors during military operations, such as targeting, detention, information sharing and the challenges posed by emerging means and methods of warfare such as computer network operations and autonomous weapons systems. He will also discuss his role as the superintendent of the administration of military justice in the Canadian Forces.
November 26, 2012
"Law and Lawyering at NATO" Peter Olson, Legal Adviser to Secretary-General, North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Peter Olson is the Legal Adviser to the Secretary-General and the international staff of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the senior lawyer in NATO. He is responsible for all legal aspects of NATO headquarters' institutional, internal and external relationships and operations. Mr. Olson served over 30 years in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State. Following initial assignments in treaty, maritime, environmental and nuclear nonproliferation law, he was in succession the principal legal adviser at the Department of State for inter-American affairs, for ethics and personnel, for arms control and verification, and European affairs. His core professional focus before arriving at NATO was on European organizations, notably the European Union and the OSCE, and on Balkans matters. Mr. Olson has also served as Deputy General Counsel for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and ran major USAID democratization programs in South Africa during the final years of the apartheid regime and in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in the 1990s. Mr. Olson is a graduate of the Harvard Law School.
November 21, 2012
"From Gettysburg to Guantanamo: 150 Years of the Lieber Code and the Law of Armed Conflict"
Drafted by Columbia University Professor Francis Lieber and signed by President Lincoln in 1863 as General Order No. 100, the Lieber Code represented the world's first attempt to codify the laws of war. This conference celebrating its 150th anniversary will address the historical origins of the Code, its impact on the development of international humanitarian law and its continued significance to modern challenges in armed conflict. It will feature a lunch keynote address by Brigadier General Rich Gross, U.S. Army, Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Panelists will include Sir Adam Roberts, University of Oxford, Sir Daniel Bethlehem, former Legal Adviser to the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Prof. John Witt, Yale Law School, Prof. Robert Chesney, University of Texas at Austin School of Law, Dapo Akande, University of Oxford, Maj. Gen. Blaise Cathcart, Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces, Jelena Pejic, Legal Counsel, International Committee of the Red Cross, Marten Zwanenburg, Senior Legal Advisor in the Netherlands Ministry of Defense, Dr. Bruce Oswald, Melbourne Law School, Naz Modirzadeh, Harvard Law School and Sarah Cleveland, Philip Bobbit and Matthew Waxman of Columbia Law School.
November 20, 2012
"America and Pakistan: Prospects for the Relationship" Cameron Munter, Former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan
HRI invites you to a lunchtime discussion with Cameron Munter, former US ambassador to Pakistan and current CLS visiting professor. A recently retired career foreign service officer, Munter was the ambassador to Pakistan from 2010 to 2012, a posting that spanned some of the most challenging and difficult issues in U.S. diplomatic relations. His tenure included the bin Laden raid, the Raymond Davis affair, increased U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, a U.S-led NATO strike that killed roughly two-dozen Pakistani soldiers, and engagement with Pakistan over human rights issues. Munter will discuss the foundations of U.S.-Pakistan relations, the current difficulties faced, as well as speculating on the future of this relationship. While in the Foreign Service, Munter served in a variety of roles, including in Iraq as deputy chief of mission in 2010. In that position, he oversaw civilian and military cooperation in planning the drawdown of U.S. troops. In 2006, he led the first-ever provincial reconstruction team in the city of Mosul.
November 19, 2012
"Delivered into Enemy Hands: U.S. Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi's Libya" Laura Pitter, Human Rights Watch
Laura Pitter, counterterrorism advisor in Human Rights Watch's US Program, monitors, analyzes and writes on US counterterrorism policies. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Laura was a journalist, human rights advocate, and attorney who practiced in both the public and private sectors. This past September, she released a report discussing allegations of torture by individuals detained by the CIA and released in Libya. Co-Sponsored by Human Rights Institute, MELSA, and Rightslink!
November 15, 2012
"The Transfer of Persons at Risk of Torture in European Human Rights Law: The Relative Protection of an Absolute Prohibition "
Please join HRI for a lunchtime talk with Andrea Saccucci. Elaborating on the principle of non-refoulment as it currently stands in international human rights law, Andrea will discuss states’ obligations relating to the transfer of persons at risk of torture or ill-treatment under the most recent case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. Notably, Andrea will try to highlight the existing gaps and inconsistencies in the application of the absolute prohibition of non-refoulment and the margin of relativity inherent to the control over the risk of ill-treatment in the receiving state.
November 13, 2012
Reproductive Rights Advocacy in the U.S. and Abroad: Multiple Strategies for Advancing Reproductive Rights in the U.S. and Latin America
Center for Reproductive Rights' attorneys will lead a discussion of their multi-pronged work on reproductive rights advocacy and litigation in the U.S. and abroad. CCR's wide-ranging work includes efforts to hold the U.S. accountable to its human rights treaty obligations, with a focus on improving access to reproductive healthcare, particularly for immigrant women; litigating reproductive rights before regional human rights bodies and U.N. committees, and litigating in U.S. courts to preserve access to reproductive health care in Mississippi. The panel of CRR's Katrina Anderson, Lara Rabiee and Katy Mayall will be moderated by Professor Carol Sanger.
October 25, 2012
Catalysts for Change: How the UN's Independent Experts Promote Human Rights
Please join HRI for a lunchtime discussion with Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU's Human Rights Program, and Ted Piccone, a CLS graduate and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, on the role of UN special procedures in working with advocacy efforts and promoting human rights. Ted is a senior fellow and deputy director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. His latest book, Catalysts for Change: How the UN's Independent Experts Promote Human Rights (Brookings Institution Press, 2012) examines the strengths and weaknesses of one of the United Nations’ most important human rights mechanisms—the collection of independent experts known as special procedures—as they negotiate the rocky terrain where rights meet reality. These independent experts serve as the eyes and ears of the UN human rights system. Despite their prolific work as experts and advocates, however, there has been no empirical study of their impact at the national level—until now. This book provides concrete evidence of why the system works and ways it can be improved. Jamil is the director of the ACLU's Human Rights Program, which is dedicated to holding the U.S. government accountable to its international human rights obligations and commitments. HRP uses a human rights framework to complement existing ACLU legal and legislative advocacy and to advance social justice in the areas of national security, immigrants' rights, women's rights, racial justice, death penalty, and children’s rights. Jamil will speak about the ACLU's experience working with UN Independent Experts domestically.
October 23, 2012
Protecting The Rights Of The Accused In Domestic Trials for Atrocity Crimes
Stephen J. Rapp, US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues
Param-Preet Singh, Senior Counsel, International Justice Program, Human Rights Watch
Toby Cadman, Barrister, 9 Bedford Row International
Larry D. Johnson, Adjunct Professor of law
The Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal was established as a Bangladesh domestic court in March 2010 to try those accused of having committed atrocity crimes during its war of independence. It was a bid to bring an end to a culture of impunity that has pervaded Bangladesh's politics for more than forty years. However, the Bangladesh Tribunal has come under attack from many quarters for its perceived failure to comply with international standards of due process. Ambassador Rapp will discuss the general issue of how to protect the rights of the accused in domestic trials for atrocity crimes. He will also discuss the involvement of his Office in addressing that issue. Param-Preet Singh will present the Human Rights Watch viewpoint and the recommendations that have been made during 2011-2012 concerning the Bangladesh Tribunal. She will set out the role of international human rights NGOs in ensuring that impunity and accountability are properly addressed by States. Toby Cadman will discuss the question of whether the Bangladesh Tribunal complies with international standards and whether a domestic tribunal is the most appropriate forum. He will provide a comparative review of the Bangladesh Tribunal and the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
October 15, 2012
"WikiLeaks & Beyond: The Impact of Global Media on National Security Policy & Politics" P.J. Crowley, Former Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Spokesman for Department of State
Please join HRI for a lunchtime discussion with P.J. Crowley on the impact of WikiLeaks, social media, the Arab Spring, and drones on government secrecy and transparency. Philip J. (P.J.) Crowley is a fellow at the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at The George Washington University. P.J. served as the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Spokesman for the Department of State between 2009 and 2011. He also served on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton administration. He is a retired Air Force colonel. As a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress from 2003 to 2009, he authored several studies on national and homeland security issues, including Safe at Home.
October 11, 2012
Prosecuting Atrocity Crimes at the International Criminal Court: Is the ICC Succeeding?
International Criminal Court Prosecutions Coordinator Alex Whiting will discuss the work of the ICC's Office of the Prosecutor and assess its successes and shortcomings. Whiting is responsible for managing and providing legal guidance and direction to all of the ICC’s prosecutions. He was previously a senior trial attorney at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. A former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts and a former trial attorney in the criminal section of the Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice, Whiting is on leave from Harvard Law School where he is an assistant clinical professor of law. He holds a B.A. and a J.D. from Yale.
October 9, 2012
"Israeli-Palestinian Claims Tribunal:" The Case of Sheikh Jarrah
Please join us for a mock international tribunal, the "Israeli-Palestinian Claims Tribunal," which will hear arguments on the application of principles of international humanitarian law to the property issues at the heart of the Sheikh Jarrah litigation. Sheikh Jarrah, in East Jerusalem, is an area of great historical and cultural significance, both to Palestinian and Jewish communities, and has been the site of a long-running litigation involving a wide range of international law issues. These include the status of the properties at issue under international law, the right of return of refugees to their homes in the State of Israel, and the fair and lawful resolution of international property law disputes. The purpose of this event will be to present these issues before a fair and impartial hypothetical international tribunal, which will resolve the issue based on principles of international humanitarian law.
Presenters: Michael Mansfield QC (Palestinian side) is a British lawyer with an international reputation on human rights issues. He has represented defendants in criminal trials, appeals and inquiries in some of the most controversial legal cases of the past 45 years, particularly where issues of Civil Liberty have arisen.; Michael Sfard (Israeli side) is an Israeli lawyer specializing in international human rights law and the laws of war. He has served as counsel in numerous important cases on these topics in Israel.; Sami Ershied (Israeli side) is an Israeli Bar-qualified lawyer with a significant practice and expertise dealing with housing, land and property issues. He has extensive knowledge of the current legal situation in Jerusalem.; John Dugard (Chair of Tribunal) is a Professor of Law at the University of Leiden and the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He is internationally respected for his work on human rights in South Africa, and is a former special rapporteur for both the UN Commission on Human Rights and the International Law Commission.
October 8, 2012
Jean-Marie Guehenno, Deputy Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on Syria
In March of 2012, Jean-Marie Guehenno was appointed Deputy Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on Syria, assisting Joint Speical Envoy Kofi Annan in the exercise of his mandate. Mr. Guehenno was United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations from 2000 to 2008. In that role, he led the largest expansion of peacekeeping in the history of the UN, overseeing approximately 130,000 staff on eighteen missions. Mr. Guehenno is currently a professor at SIPA where he directs the Center for International Conflict Resolution and serves as associate director for the Saltzman Institute for War and Peace studies. He was also Chairman of the Board of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, and has had a distinguished career at the United Nations and the French civil service.
2011 - 2012
April 20, 2012
"Just Trust Us": Critiquing the Presumption of Guilt and Limitations of Accountability in U.S. Counterterrorism Practices
Is the Obama Administration upholding human rights, the Constitution, and the rule of law in its War on Terror efforts?
Since 9/11, at least 1780 people have been killed in American drone strikes abroad, and accounts of the number of civilians harmed vary widely. During that same period, more than 400 individuals have been prosecuted in U.S. Article III courts for terrorism-related crimes. As the United States wages war against terrorists at home and abroad, are human rights and accountability being permanently suspended in the name of national security? Two teams of students in the Human Rights Clinic have spent the past year examining U.S. counterterrorism policy and practice through the lens of targeted killings abroad by drones and domestic terrorism investigations and trials. Join us for a discussion about the human rights and government accountability concerns raised in the U.S.-led war on terror.
April 19, 2012
"The Lubanga Verdict and its Impact on the International Criminal Court and United States Relations with the Court"
US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Stephen J. Rapp
Co-sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia Society of International Law and the Human Rights Institute.
April 18, 2012
Screening: "I Came to Testify"
Please join the Center for Institutional and Social Change, the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, the Human Rights Institute, the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, the Center for the Study of Law and Culture, and the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies for a screening of "I Came to Testify".
When the Balkans exploded into war in the 1990s, reports that tens of thousands of women were being systematically raped as a tactic of ethnic cleansing captured the international spotlight. Part of the acclaimed series Women, War & Peace, I Came to Testify is the moving story of how a group of women imprisoned in the Bosnian town Foca broke history’s great silence – and stepped forward to take the witness stand in an international court of law.
After the screening, please join us for commentary and conversation with the filmmaker and Co-creator of Women War & Peace, Pamela Hogan, and Refik Hodzic of the International Center for Transitional Justice. Discussion will explore the potential and the limitations of the law to transform the gender dynamic of war, and how a groundbreaking decision at the Hague - while a start - is only one step towards justice and reconciliation.
April 18, 2012
"Human Rights, Close to Home" A Human Rights Clinic presentation
"Where, after all, do universal rights begin? In small places, close to home."
– Eleanor Roosevelt
While we often examine human rights from an international perspective, the real effect of human rights is experienced locally. Local authorities are on the front lines of combating discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, and other identities; enabling access to affordable housing, healthcare, and education; and ensuring that fundamental human rights are realized. Recognizing the importance of implementing human rights on the local level, students in the Human Rights Clinic are working to investigate and amplify innovative ways state and local government officials have harnessed human rights to improve the lives of members of their local communities. Join us for a lunchtime discussion highlighting ways cities and states throughout the country are bringing human rights home.
April 10, 2012
"Economic Growth and Fair Labor in the Indian Tea Sector"
The tea industry is the second largest employer in India and a major force in the economy. Yet tea production in India is also associated with a long history of forced migrations and exploitative labor practices. Some companies claim to be addressing the problems; recently, even the World Bank’s private lending arm – the IFC – has made direct investments in plantations on this basis. The Human Rights Clinic is involved in a major investigation of the most substantial efforts in the sector. One team traveled to Assam in January to document the conditions of workers and their families. Another will travel, next week, to meet with management and others. Join us for a lunchtime discussion about the challenges of promoting economic growth and fair labor conditions in the Indian tea sector.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Film Screening: "Budrus" followed by Q&A with director Julia Bacha
Budrus tells the story of a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites members of all factions along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel's Separation Barrier. Success looks improbable until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a women's contingent that quickly moves to the front lines.
Thursday March 29, 2012
Disruption of Normal Life in the occupied Palestinian Territories
Evictions and demolitions are common practice in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Is the problem illegal construction or a discriminatory planning regime that favors Israeli settlers? Students in the Human Rights Clinic traveled to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory in November of 2011 to research and report on housing, land and property challenges brought by Palestinians. Join a lunchtime discussion in which they will share some of their research and experiences from their trip.
Tuesday March 27, 2012
"Making International Law Under Occupation" Emily Schaeffer, Yesh Din
American-Israeli human rights lawyer, Emily Schaeffer, member of the legal team of Israeli NGO Yesh Din, will discuss how recent cases brought before the Israeli Supreme Court on behalf of human rights causes are making IHL/occupation law and setting precedents that reach beyond the Middle East and have implications for the US, the UK, and other similar systems. These include cases regarding torture, targeted killings, the use of white phosphorus, and now potentially the pillage of natural resources based on the Yesh Din quarries case.
Wednesday February 29, 2012
"Labor, Tea and Fair Trade in India"
Sarah Besky, PhD Candidate, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The overwhelming majority of Indian tea is grown and processed on plantations. Most of these plantations date from the British colonial period and the organization of labor and production has changed little since that time. Tea is still picked by hand, overwhelmingly by women, and processed in small factories that sit on plantation land. Plantation workers normally reside on plantations and rely upon management not only for wages but also for food rations, medicine, and housing. Though unions and regional political organizations have had some success in expanding workers’ rights, legal protections for Indian tea workers continue to erode.
Sarah’s dissertation, “The Darjeeling Distinction: Changing Agricultural Practice, Regimes of Value, and Visions of Justice,” investigates the “empowerment” of farmworkers, the connections of products to places, and fair trade and organic certification in the Indian tea industry. She is interested in how debates about labor standards, taste, rights to place, and the legacies of colonialism have informed both the production of boutique tea and the revitalization of the Gorkhaland agitation, a movement lead by Indian Nepalis for a separate state that would encompass Darjeeling and its tea plantations. Starting in fall 2012, Sarah will be a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan Society of Fellows.
Monday, February 27, 2012
"The European Court of Human Rights: Achievements and Future Challenges"
Michael O'Boyle, Deputy Registrar, European Court of Human Rights
HRI invites you to a lunchtime talk with Michael O'Boyle, Deputy Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights. Elected by the European Court of Human Rights to the position of Deputy Registrar in 2006 and again in 2010, Mr. O'Boyle has been involved with the European system for the protection of human rights for more than thirty years - first as a legal officer in the former European Commission of Human rights, then with the former Court and thereafter with the current Court. He comes from Northern Ireland and received his legal education at Queen's University, Belfast, the Harvard Law School (LLM) and the International Insititute for Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Monday February 13, 2012
"Doing Human Rights in Israel and the OPT" a discussion with Bill Van Esveld, Middle East & North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch
HRI invites you to a lunchtime discussion with Bill Van Esveld, a senior researcher with the Middle East & North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. "Human rights" is not perceived as a neutral term by many participants in the Israeli / Arab conflict. At a time of uncertainty in the region, authorities are not only suspicious of human rights groups' claims to be politically neutral but are explicitly targeting NGOs as foreign agents. How can international rights organizations counter these efforts to politicize and neutralize their work? Bill will discuss recent developments in the relations between local and international human rights organizations and the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Israel.
Bill is a senior researcher in the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. Since joining HRW as a fellow in 2007, Bill has conducted field research and written reports on human rights and laws-of-war violations in Western Sahara, Algeria, the UAE, and Egypt; since 2008 he has covered abuses by all parties in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. He has appeared in print, television and radio news media, including the NY Times, CNN, and NPR, and has published numerous opinion pieces. Bill is a graduate of NYU law school and a member of the NY bar.
Wednesday November 16, 2011
James Goldston, Executive Director, Open Society Justice Initiative
Please join HRI for a lunchtime discussion with James Goldston, founding executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) in conversation with Professor Peter Rosenblum. OSJI uses law to protect and empower people around the world. Through litigation, advocacy, research, and technical assistance, the Justice Initiative promotes human rights and builds legal capacity for open societies. James will discuss the work of OSJI as well as his career trajectory in human rights.
A leading practitioner of international human rights and criminal law, James has litigated several groundbreaking cases before the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations treaty bodies, and has served as Coordinator of Prosecutions and Senior Trial Attorney in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court.
Before his tenure with OSI, James served as legal director of the Budapest-based European Roma Rights Center; director-general for Human Rights of the Mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; and prosecutor in the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he specialized in the prosecution of organized crime. He previously worked for Human Rights Watch. A graduate of Columbia College and Harvard Law School, James has engaged in law reform fieldwork and investigated rights abuses in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He has taught at Columbia Law School and Central European University.
Thursday November 17, 2011
The Chicago Police Torture Cases: a conversation with Joey Mogul, People's Law Office, Chicago
Please join HRI for a lunchtime discussion with Joey Mogul, a partner at the People's Law Office in Chicago. Joey will discuss the Chicago Police Torture case. These cases involve the torture of over 110 African American men and women by the now infamous Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and men under his command at Chicago police headquarters from 1972 to 1991. Torture techniques included electric shocks to men's genitals, anal rape with a cattle prod, suffocation with plastic bags, and physical beatings, as well as sleep deprivation and denial of access to bathroom facilities. Mogul will share the thirty-year long struggle for justice in these cases that included civil litigation, capital defense representation, community organizing, street activism and use of international mechanisms including the United Nations Against Torture.
October 24, 2011
"Law, Development, and the Extractive Industries" Patrick Heller, Legal Advisor, Revenue Watch Institute
In many countries that produce oil or minerals, the large revenues these industries generate has done little to promote meaningful long-term national development. The extractive industries have also been associated with corruption, conflict, and environmental degradation. In recent years the challenges of extractive industry management have become a subject of significant attention both within resource-rich countries and internationally. Patrick Heller is a legal advisor at the Revenue Watch Institute, which works with citizens and governments to promote accountability, fiscal responsibility, and an equitable balance of financial benefits in oil- and mineral-producing countries. He will discuss the role that well-designed laws and contracts, coupled with strong enforcement, can play in reforming the impact of oil and mining. Patrick has worked on governance and anti-corruption initiatives in the developing world for more than ten years, for organizations including USAID, the U.S. State Department, the Asian Development Bank, Creative Associates International, and the International Center for Transitional Justice. He is a Research Affiliate with the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford University, where he focuses on the political economy of National Oil Companies, with special attention to Angola and Nigeria.
At Revenue Watch, Patrick focuses on governance and oversight of oil sectors, legislative and contract reform, transparency, and the promotion of government-citizen dialogue. He is working closely with partners from the African Center for Economic Transformation and the Norwegian government’s Oil for Development program to develop a technical assistance program based in Accra that will help African governments manage their extractive resources more effectively.
He holds a law degree from Stanford University and a master’s in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
October 27, 2011
Magdalena Sepulveda, UN Independent Expert on Extreme Poverty
HRI presents a lunchtime event with Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, UN Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty. Magdalena will discuss the challenges and impact of her mandate as Independent Expert, as well as her latest report on the criminalization of people living in poverty that she presents to the UN this week. The report analyses measures that punish, segregate, control and interfere in the lives of people living in poverty, illustrating how such measures impede the enjoyment of human rights by people living in poverty and lead to further social exclusion and widely entrenched inequalities.
Magdalena holds a Ph.D in International Human Rights Law from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and an LL.M in human rights law from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. She has worked as a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, as a staff attorney at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and as the Co-Director of the Department of International Law and Human Rights of the United Nations-affiliated University for Peace. She also served as a consultant to the Department of International Protection of UNHCR and more recently to the Norwegian Refugee Council in Colombia.
October 27, 2011
Struggling for Legal, Civil, and Human Rights: Bedouin Citizens of Israel in the Negev/Naqab
The Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel are among the indigenous Palestinian Arabs who remained on their lands (in the Naqab (Negev)) after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The Bedouin, who number 200,000 and 30% of the population in the Naqab, have lived on their ancestral lands for hundreds of years practicing a traditional lifestyle based on agriculture and the raising of livestock. They are demanding recognition of their land ownership rights, claiming less than 5% of the total land of the Naqab, as well as the right to pursue and preserve their unique culture. However, the Bedouin have historically been denied these rights and nearly 70,000 live in 35 “unrecognized villages” which pre-date the establishment of the State of Israel but where they are denied basic services including water, electricity, health and education. As a result, the Arab Bedouin community has the worst health and socio-economic outcomes in the country; Bedouin women are particularly disadvantaged by the lack of government services, and in the unrecognized villages 80% of women are illiterate and 90% are unemployed.
The speakers in the panel have been actively involved in promoting and protecting the rights of the Arab Bedouin to their ancestral land and their basic human rights through the various channels of law, advocacy, and local empowerment.
November 9, 2011
"Riding a Tiger?: Mugabe & the Control of the Zimbabwean State in 2012"
Tawanda Mutasah, Open Society Foundations
Tawanda Mutasah is director of programs at the Open Society Foundations. He previously served as chair of the Open Society Foundations Africa Advisory Board. He also formerly directed the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa from 2003-08. He was admitted to the Bar in Zimbabwe in 1995. An international human rights award winner, Mutasah has previously worked on the international advocacy staff of Oxfam Great Britain, among other roles.
October 17, 2011
Suliman Baldo, International Center for Transitional Justice
Please join HRI for a lunchtime conversation with Suliman Baldo of the International Center for Transitional Justice. Suliman is an expert on conflict resolution, emergency relief, development, and human rights in Africa and on international advocacy around these issues. He has worked extensively in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Eritrea, and is one of the most widely recognized experts on the Sudan. In the 1980s and early 1990s, he worked as a lecturer at the University of Khartoum; a Field Director for Oxfam America, covering Sudan and the Horn of Africa; and, later, as the founder and director of Al-Fanar Center for Development Services in Khartoum, Sudan. He also spent seven years at Human Rights Watch as a senior researcher in the Africa division. Most recently, he worked as a senior analyst before becoming the director of the Africa program at the International Crisis Group. Suliman holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (1982) and an M.A. in Modern literature (1976), both from the University of Dijon in France. He also holds a B.A. from the University of Khartoum, in the Sudan.
October 19, 2011
Rawia Aburabia, Association for Civil Rights in Israel
Attorney Rawia Aburabia directs the Bedouin Rights program at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. Set against a backdrop of poverty, displacement, and harsh political conditions - the Negev Bedouin is among Israel's most disenfranchised communities. Where does this leave the Negev Bedouin woman? Facing things like polygamy and a law enforcement system that is not working to protect women, the Negev Bedouin woman is often in the shadows. The ray of hope is in a younger generation of Bedouin women leading the way toward a better future. Rawia will share her experiences working to empower and raise awareness among this disempowered group - the dilemmas that it raises with regards to the larger context of Bedouin Rights and the way forward.
October 13, 2011
Borrish Dittrich, Advocacy Director, LGBT Program, Human Rights Watch
The event is co-sponsored by Social Justice Initiatives, the Human Rights Institute, and Rightslink. Boris will speak on his range of work at Human Rights Watch, including efforts to decriminalize same-sex conduct through the UN, HRW's response to the criminalization of sodomy in Uganda, global efforts to secure transgender rights and the persistence of state sodomy laws in the United States post-Lawrence.
October 10, 2011
Daryl Mundis, Chief of Prosecutions, Special Tribunal for Lebanon
Daryl Mundis, CLS/SIPA '93, Chief of Prosecutions at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and formerly a Senior Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, will discuss investigations and trial practices at the international level, drawing on practical examples from the STL and ICTY, including difficulties encountered and steps taken to overcome those difficulties.
Before joining the STL, Daryl was a Senior Prosecuting Trial Attorney with the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. He was the lead counsel in several cases, including the cases against Vojislav Šešelj, a senior Serbian politician for crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia; Rasim Delić, the former Commander of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who was charged with command responsibility for crimes committed by the El Mujahedin Detachment; and the Prlić et al case, which involves crimes committed by the Bosnian Croat political and military leadership. He was the lead trial attorney on the Hadžihasanović and Kubura case, which concerned crimes committed by units of the 3rd Corps of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Mujahedin in Central Bosnia in 1993. Previously, he was a trial attorney on the Galić (Siege of Sarajevo) Foca, and Keraterm, cases; he also worked on the pre-trial phase of the Krnojelac and Nikolić cases and was the international humanitarian law adviser on the Kosovo component of the Milošević case. Before joining the OTP in November 1999, he was an Associate Legal Officer in the Chambers of ICTY President Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, where he worked extensively on matters involving the Security Council and State compliance issues, in addition to providing legal advice on matters of international humanitarian law.
October 11, 2011
"Non-Refoulement and Border Controls of Sea Migrants' Flows: Old problems, new challenges"
a conversation with Andrea Saccucci
Please join HRI for a lunchtime conversation with Andrea Saccucci. Andrea is one of the leading counsel in Italy for litigating individual and collective cases before the European Court of Human Rights and other international and national human rights bodies. Currently, he is a Researcher and Adjunct Professor of International Law at the Second University of Naples; he is also an Adjunct Professor of International Protection of Human Rights at the University of Urbino and holds a course in Law of migration at the LUMSA of Rome. Andrea was a Visiting Scholar at the Law School of the Columbia University of New York in 2006, and ever since he has been cooperating with the Human Rights Clinic and the Human Rights Institute.
Andrea will discuss the most recent developments of case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and of the European Court of Justice concerning the interpretation and application of the principle of non-refoulment as well as the overall trends in European law and practice towards a lowering of the standard of protection of migrants and asylum seekers by externalizing border controls. Andrea will particularly examine the practice of the pushback to Libya of sea migrants put in place by the Italian Government in 2009, a practice that has been generally condemned as contrary to basic international human rights standards and which is currently under scrutiny by the European Court of Human Rights.
October 6, 2011
Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director, Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch has long urged the government of India to establish an independent inquiry into allegations of enforced disappearances in Kashmir. While the government has admitted that about 4000 people are missing, they believe most of these people to have joined the militant groups based in Pakistan. HRW has, however, documented several cases where people disappeared after being taken into custody by security forces. Local Kashmiris allege that the number of disappeared could range from 8000 to 10,000. An official investigation by the State Human Rights Commission recently found nearly 3000 unmarked graves in north Kashmir. They believe that some of those buried in these graves could be victims of enforced disappearances. Meenakshi will discuss these reports' findings and the way forward.
Before taking over as South Asia Director, Meenakshi Ganguly served as Human Rights Watch's South Asia researcher since 2004. In India, she has investigated a broad range of issues from police reform to discrimination against marginalized groups, and has researched abuses surrounding the sectarian riots in Gujarat, the lack of justice in Punjab, issues of religious freedom, the failure to protect India's vulnerable communities--including those affected by the Maoist conflict, and abuses related to the fighting in the states of Manipur and Jammu & Kashmir. She has also advocated a human rights approach to India's foreign policy particularly on countries like Burma. In Nepal, Ganguly documented rights violations during the armed conflict and pushed for reform to bring abusive members of the government forces and the Maoist combatants to justice. With the end of Sri Lanka's conflict, she advocated that human rights abuses in the Sri Lankan military, as well as in the Tamil Tigers' forces, be held accountable. Ganguly has researched the issue of Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, as well as discrimination against ethnic Nepali citizens living in Bhutan, and has documented human rights violations in Bangladesh. Additionally, she has worked on issues such as protection of children during conflict, discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as the rights of men who have sex with men. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Ganguly served as the South Asia correspondent for Time Magazine, covering Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Ganguly has a Masters in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics.
October 3, 2011
Jamil Dakwar, Director, American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Program
Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU's Human Rights Program, will discuss shifting the rights discourse in the country from civil rights and liberties to human rights and how civil society, including several legal NGOs like the ACLU, are leading this slow but incremental change in the United States.
The ACLU's Human Rights Program (HRP) is dedicated to holding the U.S. government accountable to its international human rights obligations and commitments. HRP uses a human rights framework to complement existing ACLU legal and legislative advocacy and to advance social justice in the areas of national security, immigrants' rights, women's rights, racial justice, the death penalty, and children’s rights. HRP conducts human rights public education and engages in advocacy and litigation before U.S. courts and international bodies, including the United Nations and regional human rights mechanisms such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Before joining the ACLU, he worked at Human Rights Watch, where he conducted research and published reports on issues of torture and detention in Egypt, Morocco, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Before coming to the United States, Dakwar was a senior attorney with Adalah, a leading human rights group in Israel. At Adalah, he filed and argued human rights cases before the Israeli Supreme Court and advocated before international forums. He received several human rights and public interest fellowships including the Furman International Human Rights Fellowship, New York University Law School’s Public Service Law Fellowship, and the Washington College of Law - NIF Law Fellowship. Dakwar is co-chair of the American Constitution Society's Working Group on International Law and the Constitution, which focuses on the relationship between international law and the Constitution, and the implications of this relationship for human rights. He is also a founding and steering committee member of the Human Rights at Home Campaign.
September 28, 2011
"Human Rights & the Rule of Law in China: What now, what next?"
Thomas Kellogg, Open Society Foundations
For more than a decade, China watchers in the West have been divided into two rather ill-defined camps: optimists, who believe that the overall trend for human rights and rule of law is positive, even if progress is uneven and excruciatingly slow. Pessimists, on the other hand, take the view that legal reform has effectively stalled, and that the human rights situation, far from improving continues to deteriorate.
Recent events have not been kind to the optimist camp. In the view of many, the past six months have seen the biggest crackdown on human rights activists since 1989, with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of activists and lawyers called in for questioning, detained, or worse. How do the events of the past six months affect our view of where China is at present, and where it is going? How do we contextualize the crackdown against significant – if limited – reforms, including in key areas such as criminal procedure and the administration of the death penalty? Most crucially, what do recent events tell us about what the future holds for human rights and the rule of law in China?
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Introduction to Human Rights at Columbia Law School
The Human Rights Institute is pleased to present a lunch-time panel on planning your human rights trajectory at Columbia Law School. This annual panel, aimed primarily at first-year law students, will introduce the many avenues for getting involved in human rights work and study at the law school. Panelists will discuss courses, pro bono and research opportunities, upcoming events, student groups, journals, internships, and post-graduate fellowships. The panel will feature Professors Peter Rosenblum, Sarah Cleveland, Risa Kaufman, Kendall Thomas, and Olivier de Schutter as well as representatives from Social Justice Initiatives, Amnesty, Rightslink, and the Human Rights Law Review.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
"Driving in India" A monologue about life, tea, & doing human rights in the 21st century
Professor Peter Rosenblum gives a talk inspired by Spalding Gray and a sabbatical in India.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
"Homegrown Terrorists": Stigma, Surveillance & Unfair Prosecutions of American Muslims
From recent congressional hearings airing fears of "terrorists on our streets" to widespread FBI surveillance and pre-emptive prosecutions, now is a crucial time for Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and other communities faced with stigmatization, harassment, and discrimination. This panel will discuss the legal needs of impacted communities and the role of local grassroots mobilization.
Prof. Ramzi Kassem, Assistant Professor of Law, Director of Immigrant and Refugee Rights Clinic, Co-director of the CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility) Project, CUNY School of Law
Ms. Amna Akbar, Senior Research Scholar & Advocacy Fellow, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, International Human Rights Clinic, NYU School of Law.
In discussion with Naureen Shah, Counsel, Counterterrorism and Human Rights Project, Human Rights Institute
Friday, April 15, 2011
Grassroots Lawyering in New York City
Columbia Law School sits at the center of an urban metropolis. Surrounded by information about societal ills and their potential remedies - legal and otherwise - we manage to remain disconnected from proximate examples of those ills. This panel will begin a discussion of how we as students and members of a larger community might begin to constructively engage with the city around us.
Nadia Qurashi, Peter Cicchino Youth Project, Urban Justice Center
Mike Velarde, Movement for Justice in El Barrio
Daisy Chung, Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York
Nellie Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council
Moderated by Professor Olati Johnson
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Escalation of Drone Killings in US Counterterrorism: Why it matters?
The use of drone technology has become increasingly central to U.S. counter-terrorism policy. It raises complex legal and policy questions and concerns. The U.S. government's justification for drone killings leaves a number of these important questions unanswered and has led to calls for accountability and greater clarity from experts across the spectrum. The concerns are especially critical in light of the escalating and expanding use of drone killings by the C.I.A. in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. Members of the Human Rights Clinic have consulted widely with a range of experts on the legality of U.S. drone strikes and recently presented their research in a televised panel at the American Society for International Law. They will discuss the main issues raised by current U.S. policy and practice.
Djemila Carron LL.M ’11 | Rashmi Chopra ’12 | Adriana Garcia ’12 Janine Morna ’12 | Alyssa Scott ’11 | Anil Vassanji ‘ 12
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
'Portable Justice: The Challenges of Pursuing Justice for Global Migrants'
Cathleen Caron, Executive Director of the Global Workers Justice Alliance in discussion with Professor Peter Rosenblum
Migration for work does not always result in permanent resettlement in the country of employment. Although no global statistics exist, return migration is not uncommon. Workers go home for a variety of reasons. Temporary work visas expire, unauthorized workers are deported, family emergencies compel workers to leave, or sometimes they go home simply because they want to. There are many challenges to ensure that workers who leave the country of employment still have the opportunity to challenge their employers in court. Portable justice, the right and ability of workers to access justice in the countries of employment even after they have departed, is a key, under-addressed element to achieving justice for today’s global migrants. Cathleen Caron, the founder and current director of Global Workers, will discuss her work, and how temporary worker programs today fail to have a portable justice framework and for that reason, a disposable, disempowered workforce is becoming the global norm. If time allows, she will also address the particular legal challenges U.S. lawyers face in representing workers who have left the country.
Click here to listen to audio from this event.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Road Through Kinshasa: Human Rights and Mining
Please join Human Rights Clinic students for an in-depth discussion of the complex opportunities and challenges of mining for improving human rights in the developing world. Clinic students will explain how these challenges and opportunities present themselves especially acutely in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mailyn Batonga ‘12 | Amanda Bell ‘12 | Natalie Orpett ‘12 | Joshua Picker ‘12 | Joanna Wright ‘12
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Mass Protests in North Africa and the Middle East: Human Rights Organizations’ response
Michael Bochenek, Director of Law and Policy, Amnesty International
Popular protest in North Africa and the Middle East has had remarkable success so far in Tunisia and Egypt, placed international focus on Libya, and led to repressive responses from dictators and absolute monarchs elsewhere in the region and around the world. Michael Bochenek, Amnesty International's director of law and policy and a Columbia law school graduate, will discuss the practical challenges and policy questions human rights organizations have faced in responding to these events.
Michael Garcia Bochenek (CLS '95) is director of law and policy for the International Secretariat of Amnesty International. Before he joined the staff of Amnesty International, he spent ten years with Human Rights Watch. He has researched and reported on criminal and juvenile justice systems, the death penalty, the exploitation of migrant workers and other labor rights issues, prison conditions, the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, and the use of children as soldiers.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Rights and Repression of Mexican Workers' Movements
HRI & the Columbia National Lawyers' Guild invite you to a lunchtime discussion on the struggle for workers' rights Mexico. Despite the protection of trade union and workers' rights in national law, Mexican trade unions and independent efforts to organize face ever-increasing hostility and intimidation from private companies and the government itself. Over the last five years, there has been an escalation in attacks against trade unions including freezing of financial accounts, imprisoning of union leaders, elimination of the right to strike, and use of police and military force. Carlos Esquer and Omar Angel will discuss the particular experience of the Mexican Mineworkers' Union as well as taking a critical look at the Mexican governments' response to non-trade union workers' movements more generally. The discussion will be moderated by Griselda Vega, Mexico Program Director with the Global Workers Justice Alliance.
Griselda Vega, Mexico Program Director, Global Workers Justice Alliance
Carlos Esquer, Member of the National Executive Committee, Mexican Mineworkers’ Union, from Section 65 in Cananea
Omar Angel, Executive Director, The Workplace Project
Monday, February 21, 2011
Libby Lenkinski Friedlander, Director of International Relations at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel
HRI invites you to an afternoon discussion with Libby Friedlander. Libby is the director of international relations at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the country’s leading human rights organization, and consults on media issues and development for several groups, including Just Vision and Videre. She has also served as the director of international outreach for Yesh Din and managed a project bringing Israeli human rights activists to the US for speaking engagements through The Carter Center. Ms. Lenkinski has published articles in Haaretz Newspaper, 972Magazine and the Hebrew-language blog Ha-Oketz. An Israeli, American, Canadian hybrid, Ms. Lenkinski holds a B. A. in Neuro-Science and English Literature from Mcgill University in Montreal and a Masters in Child Development and Education from Bank Street College in New York City. Libby will discuss her work and the work of human rights defenders in Israel and the West Bank.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
'National Human Rights Institutions in Africa"
Tseliso Thipanyane, South African Constitutional and Human Rights lawyer in discussion with Professor Peter Rosenblum
HRI invites you to a lunchtime discussion with Professor Peter Rosenblum and Tseliso Thipanyane, former CEO of the South African Human Rights Commission. Decades after the adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981) and the acknowledgment by African heads of State and Government of their duty to promote and protect human rights, the advancement of human rights in the African continent, notwithstanding progress in some countries, remains poor and continues to face challenges of poverty, underdevelopment, marginalization of women and children, armed conflict, crime, corruption, bad and undemocratic governance and degeneration of human rights in many states. There are on-going international and regional efforts and commitment to advance human rights, democracy, and good governance in Africa to ensure that the region and its peoples take their rightful place in the mainstream of global issues and make a meaningful contribution to global security, peace, and justice. African national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, established in 32 states so far play an emerging role in this regard. Tseliso will discuss the role of these national human rights institutions and the challenges they face in the advancement of international human rights standards in the African continent.
Click here to listen to the audio from this event.
Tuesday February 15, 2011
“Chinese Migrants in Africa” with Howard French, veteran journalist and photographer
HRI invites you to a lunchtime discussion with veteran New York Times correspondent and photographer Howard French. Howard, who was a Times bureau chief in China and Africa, is in the midst of a year-long project to research Chinese migration to Africa. He is looking at the impact of Chinese migrants on agriculture, industry, and commerce, but not through a distant lens. Rather, he is seeking to tell the stories of the workers themselves—and the African communities where they now reside. Through these stories, he hopes to identify ways for African civil society to maximize the benefits of Chinese migration, mitigate the pitfalls, and safeguard the rights of Africans and Chinese alike. French served as the Times bureau chief for West Africa, Japan, and the Koreas, Central America and the Caribbean, and China from 1990 until 2008. He is currently an associate professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Click here to listen to the audio from this event.
Thursday February 10, 2011
"Promises to Keep: Diplomatic Assurances Against Torture in US Terrorism Transfers”
Please join us for a roundtable discussion on diplomatic assurances and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute's new report "Promises to Keep," featuring leading experts and practitioners:
Julia Hall, Amnesty International, author of several AI and Human Rights Watch reports on diplomatic assurances
Felice Gaer, member of the UN Committee Against Torture & director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
Ashley Deeks, Columbia Law School, former Assistant Legal Adviser for Political-Military Affairs at the Department of State, author of ASIL paper, Promises not to Torture: Diplomatic Assurances in US Courts
Steven Watt, senior staff attorney, ACLU
Naureen Shah, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School, report author
Moderated by Professor Peter Rosenblum, faculty co-director, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School
"Diplomatic assurances" are promises not to torture. Since 9/11, the U.S. and key allies have increasingly relied on them when transferring detainees, often terrorism suspects, to the custody of governments that torture. Assurances have been used for Guantanamo detainees, formal extraditions and extraordinary renditions. But the practice remains obscure. The United States has tried to keep them secret, while other countries are increasingly more forthcoming, subjecting assurances to political and judicial review.
Are assurances a viable tool for reducing the risk of torture? Or are they a "fig-leaf" to avoid accountability for whatever happens next? Can the U.S. - or any other government - reduce the risks of abuse where torture is common? If so, how? What makes assurances better or worse?
In late December, Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute published "Promises to Keep," a 174-page report surveying the known use of assurances, assessing arguments for their effectiveness and recommending systematic reform. This roundtable brings together those most informed about this evolving practice. Ashley Deeks has worked in the State Department legal office and written the leading articles on the subject. While at Human Rights Watch and later at Amnesty International, Julia Hall was instrumental in focusing the attention of the human rights community on the dangers of assurances. Felice Gaer played an early role in scrutinizing assurances at the UN Committee against Torture and joined with Columbia to develop standards for their use. Steven Watt worked with the Center for Constitutional Rights and, later, the ACLU, on one of the most notorious mistakes in the war on terror – the rendition with assurances of Maher Arar.
Watch video of the panel here.
Monday February 7, 2011
'Housing, Land, & Property Rights in East Jerusalem & the West Bank'
Antonia Mulvey of the Norwegian Refugee Council in discussion with Professor Peter Rosenblum
HRI invites you to a lunchtime discussion with Professor Peter Rosenblum and Antonia Mulvey. Antonia is a British lawyer with extensive experience in criminal, human rights and refugee law. Currently, she is the international legal expert for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) based in New York. In March 2009, she established the first legal program for the NRC in East Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza. The program focuses on representing Palestinians on housing, land and property cases within the Israeli legal system and it is currently the only international organization undertaking cases of this nature. Antonia will be talking about the current situation regarding Palestinian housing, land and property issues in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Specifically, she will highlight trends related to house demolition, eviction from homes, the inability of Palestinians to access land and confiscation of land. She will be looking at the legal challenges faced by those bringing cases and for lawyers taking cases as
well as highlighting some of the key issues of the complex legal system in which these cases are brought. She will also propose ways that could assist with tackling the current legal challenges.
Wednesday February 2, 2011
The U.S., Human Rights & the Universal Periodic Review
HRI invites you to a panel discussion about the US, Human Rights, and the UPR to be moderated by HRI's JoAnn Kamuf Ward. In November 2010, the United States underwent the first-ever comprehensive review of its human rights record. This review was part of a new U.N. Human Rights Council process known as the Universal Periodic Review. In March, the Obama Administration will return to the Human Rights Council to respond to the 228 recommendations made during the November review. This lunchtime session will explore how U.S. participation has impacted domestic human rights as well as U.S. standing in the international arena? Speakers will address the unique aspects of the UPR and opportunities for domestic human rights advocates and how the Obama Administration’s approach to human rights and the U.N. compares with prior Administrations.
JoAnn Kamuf Ward, Counsel, Human Rights Institute
Gillian Martin Sorensen, Senior Advisor, United Nations Foundation
Sarah Paoletti, University of Pennsylvania Law School Practice Associate Professor, Senior Coordinator for the US Human Rights Network UPR Project
Click here to listen to audio from this event.
Wednesday January 19, 2011
'Closing Europe’s Doors: EU Controls Against Asylum-Seekers'
Human Rights Watch Refugee Program Director Bill Frelick in conversation with HRI's Naureen Shah
HRI invites you to a lunchtime discussion with Naureen Shah and HRW Refugee Program Director Bill Frelick on the EU’s response to the ‘migration-asylum nexus’. In response to the flows of migrants and asylum seekers from less developed regions seeking entry into industrialized states, Human Rights Watch has been examining the increasingly blunt instruments industrialized states are using to interdict and deflect migrants and asylum seekers before they set foot in their territories. Bill Frelick will discuss three reports he has authored during the past three years that have documented how EU member states engage in "partnerships" with neighboring states (the case studies have looked at Turkey, Libya, and, most recently, Ukraine) that, in effect, dump asylum seekers and migrants into countries that have proven incapable or unwilling to provide protection and which often violate migrants' basic human rights. He will discuss the EU’s system for allocating responsibility for asylum seekers (the Dublin II regulation) which places disproportionate burdens on EU member states on the external frontiers of the Union. Bill will discuss how the EU and its member states abdicate their responsibilities under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights when they externalize migration controls that fail to distinguish refugees, unaccompanied children, and other vulnerable people.
Click here to listen to audio from this event.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
"Sexual Rights in India" with Arvind Narrain
HRI presents a lunchtime conversation with Professor Peter Rosenblum and Arvind Narrain, founding member of the Alternative Law Forum (ALF) in Bangalore, India. At ALF, Arvind divides his time between litigation on the criminal side and research and advocacy on sexuality and minority-related issues. He has been a critical figure in the struggle for sexual rights in India. The ALF has been lawyers to “Voices Against 377” one of the major parties in the litigation “Article 377” the provision that criminalizes homosexual acts. Arvind will discuss the struggle for sexual rights in India, the specifics of the battle to eliminate 377 and their place in broader human rights challenges facing India.
Click here to listen to the podcast of this event.
Monday November 22, 2010
Human Rights, Institutional Innovation, & Social Change: Socio-Economic Rights in the Africa context
The Human Rights Institute and the Center for Institutional and Social Change invite you to a panel discussion on Human Rights, Institutional Innovation and Development: Socio-Economic Rights Advocacy in the African Context, to celebrate the publication of Stones of Hope: How African Lawyers Reclaim Human Rights to Challenge Global Poverty (Lucie E. White & Jeremy Perelman, eds., Stanford University Press, November 2010). In addition to the book's authors, the roundtable will feature the following discussants and volume contributors:
· Jeffrey D. Sachs (Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University, and co-author of the volume’s foreword), discussant
· Susan Sturm (George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility, Columbia Law School), discussant
· Peter Rosenblum (Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein Clinical Professor in Human Rights, Columbia Law School), discussant and moderator
· William E. Forbath (Lloyd M. Bentsen Professor of Law, University of Texas School of Law School)
Friday November 19, 2010
The Human Rights Reshaping of International Regimes
Since 2007, a consortium of some 50 human rights-related NGOs, universities and institution-based individuals has been established to explore and strengthen the idea of "extraterritorial human rights obligations," that is, the obligation of States to comply with their human rights obligations insofar as their actions or omissions have an impact on the human rights of individuals and populations outside their national territory.
At this unique event, well-known human rights experts and activists will confront their views as to how far this revolution in human rights thinking may go. They will examine its consequences in various fields, ranging from trade and investment to climate change and international financial regulation, and they will ask what these fields would look like were they reshaped to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights.
Professor Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
Marcos Orellana, CIEL
Human Rights Regulation of Climate Change, Toxic Substances and the
Professor Radhika Balakrishnan, CWGL
Human Rights Regulation of the Financial Sector
Katie Gallagher, Center for Constitutional Rights
Human Rights Regulation of Business Actors
Professor Peter Rosenblum, Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein Clinical Professor in Human Rights law
Wednesday November 17, 2010
What does it mean to 'Stand with the Victim'? A panel discussion on human rights and the humanitarian imperative
Les Roberts, Associate Clinical Professor of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health
Francois Rubio, Chief legal advisor, Medecins du Monde
Robert Young, Deputy Head of Delegation, ICRC
Peter Rosenblum, Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Berstein Clinical Professor in Human Rights Law, Columbia Law School
This multi-disciplinary discussion will focus on the legal and ethical dilemmas faced by humanitarian organizations and public health service delivery professionals. The discussion will highlight the potential dilemmas for humanitarian work that are presented by the legal and advocacy objectives of human rights organizations who chose to "stand in solidarity" with the victim and in public opposition to the violators. Such dilemmas can include the perceived tension between the "humanitarian imperative" of neutrality and concerns for victim anonymity within the service delivery context and the focus on forensic data collection to establish a legally verifiable and sanctionable human rights violation within the human rights monitoring and advocacy contexts. The discussion will also address the tensions presented by the objective of criminal justice for victims at the ICC. Humanitarian NGOs are often the first witnesses of crimes in times of war and conflict. The testimonies of witnesses are essential for the victims to obtain compensation from the Court. However, testifying in the Court can put them at risk for expulsion from the countries in which they operate, as well as increased danger for staff and the populations they serve. For humanitarian NGOs, these situations represent important legal and ethical dilemmas.
Co-Sponsors: Columbia-Paris Alliance Program; Rightslink; the Human Rights Institute; the European Legal Studies Center; & the Institute for the Study of Human Rights.
Wednesday November 17, 2010
'Made in India' (2010) followed by a discussion with Professor Carol Sanger & the filmmakers on gender, autonomy, and the law. To be moderated by Professor Peter Rosenblum.
HRI & Law Students for Reproductive Justice invite you to attend a screening of the film ‘Made in India’ followed by a discussion with the filmmakers and Professors Carol Sanger and Peter Rosenblum. ‘Made in India’ follows the story of a U.S. couple who pay an Indian woman to carry their child as a surrogate. ‘Reproductive Tourism’ is a rapidly growing trade valued at more than $450 million in India. This growth is occurring within a complete legal vacuum: currently, there are no actual laws on surrogacy in India - only suggested guidelines. And yet the practice continues to expand without regulation or protection. Made in India explores the impact of the decisions of one person over the other - revealing the legal and ethical implications behind their choices, and presenting the conflict between the personal and the political dilemmas of international surrogacy. The discussion following the film will focus on issues of autonomy, gender, health, and the law.
Thursday November 18, 2010
The United States and Its Non-ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Meg Gardinier, Director, Arigatou International
Jim Hughes, Executive Director, Survivors and Victims Empowered
Gerald Martone, Director of Humanitarian Affairs, International Rescue Committee, Adjunct Associate Professor, SIPA
The convention on the Rights of the Child is the most universally ratified human rights treaty in history. Yet the U.S. remains one of only two countries - the other being Somalia - that has note become party to this treaty. In honor of Universal Children's Day, join us for a discussion on the campaign for US ratification.
President Obama has stated that he "will review this and other treaties and ensure that the United States resumes its global leadership in human rights." What concrete action has been taken, if any? If steps have been taken, what are the prospects for ratification in the wake of midterm elections which have dramatically altered the political makeup of the U.S. Congress? What are the potential domestic and international impacts of US ratification?
Co-sponsors: Institute for the Study of Human Rights, The Human Rights Institute, Human Rights Working Group, & Child Rights Working Group
Wednesday, November 10, 2011
‘Human Rights & Detention at Bagram Air Base’ a discussion with Jonathan Horowitz on the impact of counterterrorism operations on the war strategy in Afghanistan
HRI & Rightslink invite you to join us for a discussion with Jonathan Horowitz, author of two recent reports on human rights and counterterrorism in Afghanistan. In an October 2010 report, the Open Society Foundations revealed Afghan allegations of inhumane treatment at a highly classified U.S. "screening facility" for detainees on Bagram Air Field. In the same month, OSF issued, "The Trust Deficit," which documented Afghan distrust of international forces due to violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
Jonathan will discuss the impact that "counter-terrorism" operations are having on the war strategy and how the screening facility has been counter-productive to the progress that the Obama Administration has made in other areas of detention policy in Afghanistan. Jonathan Horowitz has worked since 2008 on conflict-related detention issues in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Previously, Jonathan was a UN human rights officer in Sudan. Jonathan received an LLM in international human rights law from the University of Essex, U.K.He received an LLM in international human rights law from the University of Essex, UK.
Wednesday November 10, 2010
Mining and Conflict in Eastern Congo:
A panel discussion of the new ‘conflict minerals law’ and its potential ramifications
Nearly 15 years of war and unsettled conflict in Eastern Congo have led to world campaigns focused on bringing attention to the link between precious minerals and conflict in the region. These campaigns have resulted in several initiatives and one major U.S. law. Section 1502 of the U.S. Financial Reform Act passed in July 2010, requires U.S. companies whose products involve ‘conflict minerals’ to report on and publicly disclose their supply chains. The OECD, UN, and regional body for the Great Lakes have joined in measures to control the movement of conflict minerals in the region. The passing of this law has generated concern among corporations and renewed international attention to the link between mineral extraction and conflict in Congo. Sasha Lezhnev of the Grassroots Reconciliation Campaign and David Sullivan of the Enough Project were instrumental in the advocacy and prevention efforts that led to the drafting and adoption of Section 1502. Sasha and David will join Professor Peter Rosenblum for a critical discussion of the law and its possibilities.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Cathy Albisa, Executive Director of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
HRI presents a lunchtime talk with Cathy Albisa, Executive Director and co-founder of the National Social and Economic Rights Initiative (NESRI). Cathy co-founded NESRI to build legitimacy for human rights in general and economic and social rights in particular in the United States. A constitutional and human rights lawyer with a background on the right to health, Cathy also has significant experience working in partnership with community organizers in the use of human rights standards to strengthen advocacy in the United States. She is committed to a community-centered and participatory human rights approach that is locally anchored, but universal and global in its vision. Cathy received a BA from the University of Miami and is a graduate of Columbia Law School. Cathy will discuss the current work of NESRI and the Center for Immokalee Workers (CIW), and the particular role that NESRI plays in social movement building.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
'Lawyering in Partnership for Effective Community-Based Human Rights Advocacy'
Please join the Human Rights Institute and the Center for Constitutional Rights for a panel discussion on the role of lawyers in grassroots human rights advocacy efforts. The discussion will be moderated by CCR's Legal Director Bill Quigley.
Lucas Benitez, Co-director, Coalition for Immokalee Workers
Chandra Bhatnagar, Staff Attorney, Human Rights Program, ACLU
Chaumtoli Huq, Director of Litigation, Manhattan Legal Services
Dina Levy, Director of Organizing & Policy, Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
Bekah Mandell, Base Building & Development, Vermont Worker's Center
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Magdalena Sepulveda, UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty
HRI presents a lunchtime event with Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona. Ms. Sepulveda is the UN Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty, and is currently working as Research Director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy. She holds a Ph.D in International Human Rights Law from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and an LL.M in human rights law from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. Ms. Sepulveda has worked as a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, as a staff attorney at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and as the Co-Director of the Department of International Law and Human Rights of the United Nations-affiliated University for Peace. She also served as a consultant to the Department of International Protection of UNHCR and more recently to the Norwegian Refugee Council in Colombia.
Magdalena will discuss the challenges and impact of her mandate as Independent Expert, as well as her latest report on the importance of social protection measures in achieving the Millennium Development Goals that she is presenting to the UN General Assembly the same week. The report particularly calls on States to devote increased attention to the issue of gender equality while designing, implementing and evaluating social protection programs within a human rights framework.
Monday, October 25, 2010
"Lifting the Veil in Human Rights Watch" a conversation with Clive Baldwin Senior Legal Advisor at HRW
HRI presents a lunchtime conversation with Professor Peter Rosenblum and Clive Baldwin of Human Rights Watch. Clive has been Senior Legal Advisor in Human Rights Watch since 2007, where he is part of a team of three lawyers that oversee the work of the organization. Clive’s previous jobs have included work in a human rights law firm in London, for the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, and Minority Rights Group International. He has litigated cases in the European Court of Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
On Monday, Clive will discuss the role of international law in Human Rights Watch and specifically how and why the organization has addressed the issue of restrictions on clothing in the name of religion or secularity, in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Pizza Lunch will be served.
Friday, October 15, 2010
"Linking University-Based Legal Research to Human Rights Advocacy" with Bruce Porter, Director of the Social Rights Advocacy Center
HRI presents a lunchtime event with Bruce Porter. Bruce is the Director of the Social Rights Advocacy Centre in Canada and co-director of a community-university research alliance in Canada. He has been active for many years internationally at promoting effective advocacy, adjudication and remedy for violations of economic and social rights, focusing on poverty and homelessness. Bruce was involved in the drafting process of the South African Constitution and has been a leading member of the International NGO Coalition in the campaign for a complaints mechanism at the UN for economic, social and cultural rights. This campaign led to the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 2008.
On Friday, Bruce will lead a discussion on how university-based research and curricula can better respond to this emerging and dynamic area of human rights advocacy, identify some of the key research needs and discuss the necessity of dispensing with some of the conceptual barriers to creative legal approaches in this area.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Maria LaHood Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights in discussion with Professor Peter Rosenblum
HRI presents a lunchtime conversation with Professor Peter Rosenblum and Maria LaHood, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Maria specializes in international human rights litigation, seeking to hold government officials and corporations accountable for torture, extrajudicial killings, and war crimes abroad. She has worked on cases against United States officials in challenges to extraordinary rendition in Arar v. Ashcroft and targeted killing in Al-Aulaqi v. Obama. She has also had cases for extrajudicial killing and war crimes abroad against former foreign government officials (Matar v. Dichter and Belhas v. Ya’alon) and corporations (Wiwa v. Shell and Corrie v. Caterpillar). Maria will discuss her career path and current efforts toward accountability through international human rights litigation.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The Process of Seeking Truth and Justice in Argentina
Between 1976-1983 Argentina underwent a period of military dictatorship during which many thousands of people were kidnapped, tortured, and killed by the military. Almost thirty years after the return of democracy, a process that seeks to overcome the effects of state terrorism and to strengthen democracy has been restarted.
The Human Rights Institute is pleased to present Gaston Chillier, Executive Director, of The Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) in Argentina. CELS is a nongovernmental organization, that has been working since its creation in 1979 in the promotion and protection of human rights and to strengthen the democratic system in Argentina; and has been a central actor in the fight against impunity for abuses committed during the dictatorship. Gaston will discuss current challenges and successes of human rights in Argentina, in particular, the successful opposition to amnesty laws and presidential pardons that blocked the accountability process, resulting in the re-opening of trials against 1,129 officials. Gaston will also navigate the measures that state institutions are taking to remove the last remaining obstacles to prosecuting crimes against humanity, thus taking steps towards meeting international human rights obligations that required that such crimes be investigated and punished.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Chris Avery, Director of the Business & Human Rights Resource Center in discussion with Professor Peter Rosenblum
HRI presents a lunchtime conversation with Professor Peter Rosenblum and Chris Avery (LLM '82), founding director of the Business & Human Rights Resource Center in London. The Business and Human Rights Resource Center is one of the world's leading independent organizations working to track both the positive and negative impacts of companies around the world. Chris has worked in international human rights law for many years, conducting extensive independent field research on companies and their contributions to development and human rights projects in South Africa, India, Thailand, and the Philippines. Before founding the Business and Human Rights Resource Center, Chris worked at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London, as Deputy Head of the Research Department. His work at Amnesty included representing the organization at the United Nations, undertaking research missions and trial observations in various countries, and ensuring the quality and impartiality of the research.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Introduction to Human Rights at Columbia Law School
The Human Rights Institute is pleased to present a lunch-time panel on planning your human rights trajectory at Columbia Law School. This annual panel, aimed primarily at first-year law students, will introduce the many avenues for getting involved in human rights work and study at the law school. Panelists will discuss courses, pro bono and research opportunities, speaker series, student groups, journals, internships, and post-graduate fellowships. The panel will feature Professor Peter Rosenblum, Risa Kaufman, Giliane Cherubin '03, Erin Smith '10, Kinara Flagg '11, Akshaya Kumar '12, and Novika Ishar '12.
Human Rights: Unexpected Disasters, Surprising Successes
A Conversation with Columbia Human Rights Faculty and Alumni
Wednesday, June 11, 7:00, Morgan Library
Hon. Natty B. Davis, Minister of State, Liberia
Friday, September 19, 12:00 - 1:30, JGH 646
Ben Fleming, Legal Counsel, Office of the Co-Investigating Judges at the Cambodian Tribunal
Tuesday, September 23, 12:15 -1:00, JGH 646
Human Rights: Unexpected Disasters, Surprising Successes
A Conversation with Columbia Human Rights Faculty and Alumni
Wednesday, June 11, 7:00, Morgan Library
Hon. Natty B. Davis, Minister of State, Liberia
Friday, September 19, 12:00 - 1:30, JGH 646
Ben Fleming, Legal Counsel, Office of the Co-Investigating Judges at the Cambodian Tribunal
Tuesday, September 23, 12:15 -1:00, JGH 646
Francisco Soberon, Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) ("Pro-Human Rights Association")
Wednesday, October 8, 12:15 – 1:00, JGH 546
Human Rights Roundtable: Learn about the human rights opportunities at CLS
Monday, October 13, 12:15 – 1:00, JGH 105
Kristian Miccio, Associate Professor of Law, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver
“Lies, Lies, Pretty Little Lies: The Legacy of Castle Rock”
Tuesday, October 14, 12:15 – 1:00, JGH 546
Clint Williamson, Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, U.S. Department of State
“WAR CRIMES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF U.S. POLICY”
Thursday, October 16, 4:15 – 5:30, JGH 103
Daphne Barak-Erez, Visiting Professor & the Judy Colton Chair of Law and Security at the Faculty of Law at Tel-Aviv University
“DETENTIONS AND NATIONAL SECURITY: THE ISRAELI EXPERIENCE”
Monday, October 20, 12:15 – 1:15, JGH 807
Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
Wednesday, October 22, 4:15 – 5:30, JGH 103
Dr. Nicolás Espejo and Domingo Lovera, Diego Portales Law School
"Social Rights: Justification and Enforceability"
Thursday, October 23, 12:15 – 1:10, WJW 600
Judge Choucri Sader, Supreme Council of the Lebanese Judiciary
"Justice and War: Thoughts from Lebanon's Killing Fields"
Monday, October 27, 12:00 – 1:00, JGH 102
Stephen Rapp, Chief Prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone
"CLOSING THE COURTS: THE COMPLETION STRATEGIES OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE FOR YUGOSLAVIA, RWANDA, AND SIERRA LEONE"
Thursday, October 30, 12:15 – 1:00, JGH 105
Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights
“The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book”
Wednesday, November 5, 4:15 – 5:30, JGH 103
Gruber Foundation Women's Rights Prize Ceremony
“Ensuring Women’s Rights in Times of Conflict and of Peace”
Tuesday, November 11, 5:00 - 6:00, JGH 102
Panel with Gruber Foundation Women's Rights Prize recipients
Wednesday, November 12, 12:00 - 1:00, JGH 103
Israeli Human Rights Lawyers
“Can Democracy Survive Prolonged Occupation? A View from Israel, with Lessons for the International Community”
Friday, November 14, Time 1:30 – 3:30, JGH 103
Human Rights Roundtable
Monday, November 17, 1:00 – 3:00, JGH 102
Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University
Human Rights and Development
Tuesday, November 18, Time 4:30 – 6:00, JGH 104
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland & UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
“Business and Human Rights: A Conversation with Mary Robinson”
Tuesday, November 25, 12:00 – 2:00, JG Annex
Jason Stearns, Coordinator, United Nations Group of Experts on DR Congo
“Rebels in the Congo: Uncovering the Financial Networks, Mining Revenues, and Illegal Arms Trades”
Wednesday, January 14, 12:00 – 1:00, JGH 546
Panel on the Jessica Gonzales v. United States of America Case
“A Catalyst for Change: Gonzales v. United States, Domestic Violence Advocacy, and the Obama Administration”
Thursday, January 29, 12:00 – 1:00, JGH 106
Tara Newell, Médecins Sans Frontières
“On the Frontlines: A Conversation with International Aid Worker Tara Newell”
Tuesday, February 10, 12:00 – 1:00, JGH 105
Marc Garlasco, Senior Military Analyst, Human Rights Watch
“INVESTIGATING VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW IN GAZA”
Thursday, February 12, 12:00 – 1:00, JGH 106
Labor Rights as Human Rights? Taking a Critical Approach
Private meeting hosted by Professor Rosenblum
Saturday, February 21, 9:00 – 5:00, JGH Case Lounge
The Human Rights Clinic at Work
"Contracting Around Torture: The Spreading Use of Diplomatic Assurances"
Monday, April 6, 12:10 – 1:00, JGH 107
Anita Chan, Australian National University
“Strikes in Vietnam and China: Legal Frameworks and Diverging Industrial Relations Patterns”
Thursday, April 2, 12:10 – 1:00, JGH 646
Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
“From Malthus to Sen: Hunger as a Political Question”
Tuesday, April 7, 12:10 – 1:00, JGH 107
Mohamed Pa-Momo Fofanah, Lawyer, Sierra Leone
“Post-War Economic Development and Reconstruction in Sierra Leone”
Monday, April 13, 12:10 – 1:00, JGH 105
The Human Rights Clinic at Work
"Their Last Chance? Juveniles, Life Sentences and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights"
Tuesday, April 14, 12:10 – 1:00, JGH 107
HUMAN RIGHTS ABROAD: EXPERIENCES FROM LLMS IN THE FIELD
LLM Showcase Panel
Wednesday, April 15, 6:00 – 8:00 plus reception, JGH 103
The Human Rights Clinic at Work
"Remedies to Resource Theft: Human Rights Solutions to Harnessing Congo's Wealth"
Wednesday, April 15, 12:10 – 1:00, JGH 102
The Human Rights Clinic at Work
“Auctioning off the Amazon: Oil and Human Rights in Peru”
Tuesday, April 21, 12:10 – 1:00, JGH 107
The Human Rights Clinic at Work
“Climate Change Progression, Human Rights Regression”
Wednesday, April 22, 12:10 – 1:00, JGH 107
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Human Rights Roundtable
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Legal Advisor, Africa Program, Center for Reproductive Rights
"Failure to Deliver: Violations of Women's Human Rights in Kenyan Health Facilities"
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Legal & Policy Director, Human Rights Watch
"Getting Armed Groups to Abide by the Laws of War: Human Rights Watch's Advocacy Strategies"
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Senior Legal Officer, Open Society Justice Initiative
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
"The new Human Rights Council and the politics of reform"
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, CLS LLM Human Rights Fellow
"An exercise in futility? Litigating and defending human rights in Zimbabwe"
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Director, Business and Human Rights Program, Amnesty International USA
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Senior Legal Advisor, Human Rights Watch
"See you in court: Litigating in International Tribunals"
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
United Nations Day
Thursday, October 25, 2007
President, Meeting for Peace and Human Rights
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Director, International Justice Program, Human Rights Watch
Monday, October 29, 2007
Counsel for Emergencies, Human Rights Watch
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
UN Special Rapporteur for the protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Africa Division, Human Rights Watch
"Corruption and Human Rights in the Niger Delta"
Monday, November 5, 2007
Echoing Green Fellow, Equatorial Guinea Rights and Democracy Network
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh
Attorneys for the ACLU
"Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond"
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Professor Mark Barenberg and Arvind Ganesan
Professor of Law and Director, Business and Human Rights Program, Human Rights Watch
"Labor Rights in the Global Economy"
Monday, November 12, 2007
Schonbrun, De Simone, Seplow, Harris and Hoffman LLP
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Pennoyer Fellow, Crimes Against Humanity Program, Human Rights First
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Sudan Country Specialist, Amnesty International USA
"Investing in Human Rights in Sudan: Adding Economic Activism to our Tools for Change"
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Director, Campaigns of Sangama
Monday, November 19, 2007
CEO, New Israel Fund
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Sapna Patel and Sienna Baskin
Sex Workers Project, Urban Justice Center
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
HRI Human Rights Roundtable
Hear about all the human rights activities offered at CLS!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Carmen Silvestre and Lucia da Silveira and Antonio Ventura
Association for Justice, Peace and Democracy (AJPD)
"Human Rights Situation in Angola"
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Where do Human Rights Begin?
Presented by Breakthrough and the Mission and Social Justice Commission of The Riverside Church, co-sponsored by Amnesty International USA, Center for Women's Global Leadership, US Human Rights Network, and Global Action Project, The Riverside Church, New York
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Director, Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Visiting Scholar, UKZN Centre for Civil Society
Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies, University of Pittsburgh
"Poetry and Protest: Human Rights in Africa"
Friday, September 29, 2006
Criminal aliens or long-time residents?
Co-sponsored with the Society for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and ACLU
(1) Nancy Morawetz, Professor of Clinical Law, NYU School of Law
(2) Benita Jain, Staff Attorney, NYSDA Immigrant Defense Project
Ragini Shah, Clinical Staff Attorney, Child Advocacy and Immigration Clinic, Columbia Law School
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
Director of Research, Security Council Report
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights
"Litigating International Human Rights Cases in US Courts: Official Accountability for Civilian Casualties in Lebanon and Gaza"
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Outreach Liaison for Africa, Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC)
"Challenges of Formal Justice in the Adjudication of Massive Human Rights Violations: Case of Rwanda"
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Director, Human Rights Watch HIV/AIDS Program
"Holding Governments and International Donors Accountable"
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples, the United Nations
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Cary Alan Johnson
Senior Coordinator for Africa, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
"LGBT Rights in Africa: International and Regional Approaches"
Friday, October 20, 2006
Human Rights Litigation and Documentation Panel:
(1) Jennifer Allen, Border Action Network Director
(2) Ann Beeson, ACLU Associate Legal Director
(3) Deborah LaBelle, Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative Executive Director
(4) Alison Parker, HRW Acting Director of US Programs
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Executive Director of the Open Society Justice Initiative
Monday, October 30, 2006
Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)
"Litigation in the Inter-American Human Rights System: Defending Migrants' Rights in the Dominican Republic" Back to top
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Judge, International Criminal Court
Thursday, November 2, 2006
Cecilia Medina Quiroga
Judge, Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Thursday, November 2, 2006
The Peter Gruber Foundation Women's Rights Prize
Symposium and Celebration of Extraordinary Achievements and Continuing Struggles Women and Rights in the Americas: Law, Labor, and Leadership
2006 WOMEN'S RIGHTS PRIZE Laureates and panelists:
(1) Luz Mendez, Union Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas
(2) Julie Su, Sweatshop Watch
(3) Judge Cecilia Medina Quiroga, Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Moderated by Peter Rosenblum, Professor, Columbia Law School
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Director of Business and Human Rights Program, Human Rights Watch
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
HRI Panel Discussion: Sexual Violence Behind Bars
(1) T.J. Parsell, Stop Prisoner Rape Board President and author
(2) Kathy Hall-Martinez, Stop Prisoner Rape Co-Exec.Director
(3) Jamie Fellner, US Program Director, Human Rights Watch
Moderated by Alice Miller, Professor, Columbia Law School
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Film screening "TOTAL DENIAL: Doe vs. UNOCAL"
Milena Kaneva, Director
Ka Hsaw Wa, Human Rights Activist
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Director of International Advocacy, Anuak Justice Council
"Human Rights in Ethiopia?"
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Professor of Human Rights and International Law, II University of Naples
"Human rights standards as framework conditions for anti-terrorism measures: Is Europe standing the challenge?"
Friday, November 17, 2006
Immigration Panel: "What's The State Got To Do With It?"
(1) Mark Lewis, Director of Immigrant Services, Child Welfare Programs (ACS)
(2) Azadeh Khalili, Deputy Commissioner, Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs
(3) Avideh Moussavian, Senior Staff Attorney for Immigration Advocacy & Training, The New York Immigration Coalition
(4) Jennifer Brand, Deputy Bureau Chief of the Labor Bureau, Attorney General's Office
(5) Nisha Agarwal, Staff Attorney, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
Moderated by Ragini Shah, Clinical Staff Attorney, Child Advocacy and Immigration Clinic, Columbia Law School
Monday, November 27, 2006
Policy Advisor for Extractive Industries, Oxfam America Back to top
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Deputy Director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch
Back to top
Friday, February 9, 2007
Senior Legal Officer, Africa Open Society Justice Institute
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Lord Anthony Lester
Herne Hill, House of Lords
“Fundamental Rights: Is the US Isolated?”
Monday, February 19, 2007
Co-chair, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Coordinator, Security and Human Rights issues for Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada, Author of:
"'Illusions of Security: Global Surveillance and Democracy in the Post-9/11 World"
Monday, February 26, 2007 to Friday, March 9, 2007
Commission on the Status of Women
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Associate Professor of Law, Fordham Law School
"Immigrant Workers and Immigration Policy: A Proposal for Transnational Labor Citizenship"
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Adjunct Professor, Columbia Law School
"Notes from the Field: An Update on the Project to Eliminate Child Labor in the Soccer Ball Industry in Pakistan"
Monday, March 26, 2007
A Day for Change
Sir Nigel Rodley
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
UN Human Rights Committee
"Testing the Boundaries: U.S. Practices in the War on Terror"
Human rights artwork on display courtesy of such artists and organizations as Amnesty International, Tom Block, Human Rights Watch, Dulce Pinzon, WITNESS, and David Gayle
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Senior Legal Advisor, Human Rights Watch
“See you in Court: Litigating in International Tribunals”
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Senior Vice President of Social Research and Policy, Calvert Group
“Socially Responsible Investing—Research, Policy and Advocacy: A Perspective from Calvert”
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Global Crystal Eastman Research Fellow of the Hauser Global Law School Program at the NYU School of Law
“Contractualizing Human Rights: International Banks in the Amazon”