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October 27, 2011

Today, Oct. 28: “LGBT Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy”

Event Notice

October 28, 2011

“LGBT Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy”

A Talk by Mark Bromley, Executive Director of Council for Global Equality
and Scott Long, Visiting Fellow with the Human Rights Program

12:00- 1:15 pm

Hauser 104

This event will feature Mark Bromley, Executive Director of the Council for Global Equality, in dialogue with Scott Long, former director of the LGBT Division of Human Rights Watch, and a current Visiting Fellow with the Human Rights Program.

This event is being co-sponsored by HLS Lambda and HLS Advocates for Human Rights.

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October 24, 2011

Today, October 25: Seeking Justice for the Women of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries

Event Notice

October 25, 2011

“Abuse by Church and State: The Hidden Story of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries”

A Talk by Maeve O’Rourke, 2010 Global Human Rights fellow
and James M. Smith, Author and Associate Professor of English, Boston College

12:00- 1:15 pm

Lewis Hall 302

Maeve O’Rourke, LLM ’10, and Associate Professor James M. Smith, author of Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment, will discuss their legal campaign for an investigation into- and reparations for- the abuse of thousands of girls and women in Ireland’s church-run Magdalene laundry institutions from 1922 – 1996.

Prof. Smith will explain the workings of the Magdalene Laundries, which incarcerated vulnerable girls and women including those considered to be “fallen” and subjected them to forced unpaid labor.  He will also reveal the Irish State’s interactions with the laundry system.  Maeve will discuss the legal case she presented to the UN Committee against Torture (UNCAT) in May 2011, the resulting UNCAT recommendations, and the Irish government’s response to date. She will also share some experiences of the Magdalene Laundries from women who gave their testimony for the UN submission.

This event is being co-sponsored by Harvard Law Students for Reproductive Justice, HLS Advocates for Human Rights, and the Harvard Women’s Law Association

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October 19, 2011

Tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 20: The Forced Sterilization of Roma Women

Event Notice

October 20, 2011

“Roma Rights at the European Court of Human Rights: Challenging Forced Sterilization”

A Talk by Barbora Bukovská, LLM ’05, Lawyer and Roma Rights Activist

Thursday, October 20, 2011

12:00-1:15 pm

Pound 101

Barbora Bukovská, LLM ’05, is currently Senior Director of Law and Policy at the London-based human rights organization Article 19.  A founder of the Czech Republic’s first legal clinic, in 2001 she founded the Centre for Civil and Human Rights in Kosice, Slovakia, where she led efforts to eliminate the practice of forced sterilization of Roma women in Slovakia, as well as other human rights abuses.  She is currently representing a group of Roma women who were forcibly sterilized by Slovak authorities in a case before the European Court of Human Rights.

This event is being co-sponsored by the Harvard European Law Association, the Office of Public Interest Advising, HLS Advocates for Human Rights, and Harvard Law Students for Reproductive Justice.

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October 17, 2011

This Wednesday: Catharine A. MacKinnon on Gender as a New Paradigm in Creating International Law

Posted by Kristi Jobson, JD '12

 Last year in my First Amendment class, Noah Feldman said there were two people who were the most influential law professors of the twentieth-century.  The guessing game went around the classroom about the second (Professor Feldman says it’s Richard Posner), but multiple hands went in the air almost immediately to guess the first: Catharine MacKinnon.

To say that she’s a legend is to sound like a gushing fan.  But even those who disagree with her views recognize that without Catharine MacKinnon, sex equality law just wouldn’t be where it is today.  Professor MacKinnon virtually created the legal framework to recognize behavior previously considered normal workplace antics as sexual harassment.  She has forever changed how we think about pornography.  And from Bosnia to India, she has devoted her energy to human rights work over the past decades.

As a student in her Sex Equality class this semester, I am continually struck by Professor MacKinnon’s passion for the subject and dedication to effecting equality through her scholarship and advocacy.  Since she will not be at Harvard next fall, I strongly encourage everyone to come hear her speak this Wednesday, from 12:00-1:15 in Pound 204.

If you can’t make the event, please check out the Journal of Law & Gender‘s live blog throughout at our website: http://harvardjlg.com/.  We will also post student reflections after.

Kristi Jobson, JD ’12,  is co-Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender.

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October 17, 2011

Supreme Court Grants Cert in Kiobel, Deciding to Hear Corporate ATS Case

Posted by Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein

The Supreme Court announced today that it will hear arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., an Alien Tort Statute (ATS) case that squarely presents the question of whether corporate liability exists under the statute.  Since June, when the plaintiffs in Kiobel filed their petition for certiorari, there have been significant developments around the question of corporate ATS liability as two courts of appeals rejected the Kiobel position.  In taking the case, the Supreme Court should resolve this split in the lower courts.  The hearing will be during the 2011-2012 term, and a decision can be expected by June 2012.  Kiobel involves allegations against Royal Dutch/Shell for its complicity in egregious human rights violations, such as extrajudicial killings, in the mid-1990s in Nigeria.  Of note, the Court combined argument in Kiobel with Mohamad v. Rajoub, which poses the question of whether corporations may be held liable under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA).

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October 7, 2011

Wednesday, Oct. 12: “Accountability After Katrina: Community Lawyering and Organizing for Justice”

Event Notice

                                                  October 12, 2011   

“Accountability After Katrina: Community Lawyering and Organizing for Justice”       

A Talk by Norris Henderson, of Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE)
and Davida Finger, Community Justice Clinic, Loyola University New Orleans

12:00-1:15 p.m.

Pound Hall 204

   
Join us for a discussion about the ways in which community organizers and lawyers are working together to address justice issues in New Orleans.  Norris Henderson is a community leader and the Founder and Executive Director of  Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE), a non-profit justice organization founded by and run by formerly incarcerated people.  Davida Finger, a former Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School, teaches the Community Justice Clinic at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.

This event is co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program, Office of Public Interest Advising, HLS Mississippi Delta Project, HLS Advocates for Human RightsHarvard Immigration Project, ACLU-HLS, National Lawyers Guild – HLS Chapter, HLS American Constitution Society, and Harvard Civil Rights-Civil  Liberties Law Review.

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October 3, 2011

Today: Raji Sourani, Director of Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, on Accountability for Gaza

Posted by Meera Shah

Today, Raji Sourani, one of the foremost human rights lawyers and advocates in the Middle East, will come to speak at Harvard Law School.  Personally, as  someone who worked in the Middle East for several years, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to meet him.  The founder of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza City in 1995, Sourani began his human rights career challenging Israeli prison conditions and defending Palestinians facing deportation in Israeli military courts.  As a human rights defender, he was detained by Israeli authorities on multiple occasions, prompting Amnesty International to name him one of their Prisoners of Conscience in both 1985 and 1988.

With the creation of the Palestinian Authority in the 1990s, Sourani’s work took on another dimension, exposing and documenting human rights violations on the part of both Israeli and Palestinian officials.  While this even-handedness was not always popular, it demonstrates Sourani’s commitment to a universal standard.

This principled stance and the courage to speak out continue to drive Sourani’s work.  Today, he will be talking about the need for accountability for violations committed as part of Israel’s offensive in late 2008 and the human rights implications of the ongoing closure of the Gaza Strip.  I hope you will join us for this important and timely discussion!

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October 3, 2011

UN Human Rights Council Establishes Special Rapporteur on Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence

Posted by Susan Farbstein

Interesting development this week from the Human Rights Council: it has adopted a resolution to appoint, for a period of three years, a new Special Rapporteur on promotion of truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence of serious crimes and gross violations of human rights.

The Special Rapporteur’s mandate will include gathering relevant information on national situations, practices, and experiences, as well as normative frameworks, related to transitional justice mechanisms.  The Special Rapporteur will also be tasked with providing technical assistance upon request, exchanging and promoting good practices, and recommending strategies to address grave human rights abuses and serious crimes.  The resolution calls for survivor-centered approaches and the incorporation of gender-sensitive perspectives.

The resolution received wide support, as it was co-sponsored by more than 75 countries.  The Council requested the Special Rapporteur report annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

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