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February 28, 2017

Tomorrow, March 1: “Shifting Grounds in International Human Rights”


Shifting GroundsMarch 1, 2017

“Shifting Grounds in International Human Rights”

12:00- 1:00 p.m.
WCC 3016

Please join the Human Rights Program for a panel discussion on how the international human rights landscape has changed since President Trump took office. HRP’s resident scholars and advocates will examine the question: what impact is the change of administration having on the work of international human rights scholars, lawyers, and activists working internationally? Panelists will address a range of topics, including women’s rights, LGBTQI rights, and the rights of religious minorities, and examine these issues in contexts where human rights are already under threat, such as Myanmar and the Middle East.

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February 22, 2017

Tomorrow, Feb. 23: Human rights in investment law


under_rich_earth_poster10Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017

Uncertain Protection: Human Rights in Investment Law

4:00 – 7:30 p.m.
WCC 1010

 

The Harvard Law SJD Forum presents Under Rich Earth, the award-winning chronicle of an extraordinary clash between Ecuadorian farmers and company-hired paramilitaries deep in the cloud forest. Together, Under Rich Earth and the related Copper Mesa Mining Corporation v. Republic of Ecuador arbitration decision serve as a vivid case study on the challenges and controversies surrounding investment arbitration, human rights and development.

A panel discussion will follow the screening, featuring David Cordero, Associate Professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, JSD Candidate at Cornell University; Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Center for Sustainable Investment at Columbia University; Jeswald Salacuse, Distinguished Professor and Henry J. Braker Professor of Law, Tufts University; and Malcolm Rogge, Director of Under Rich Earth and SJD Candidate, Harvard Law School. The discussion will be moderated by Mohammad Hamdy, SJD Candidate, Harvard Law School.

Film screening begins at 4 p.m., followed by the panel discussion from 5:50- 7:30 p.m.

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February 15, 2017

Tomorrow, Feb. 16: “Horma,” first in a film series on women, rights, and activism in the Muslim world


Horma-still-for-web

“Horma,” featuring Saudi director and actress Ahd Kamel.

Please join Harvard Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change for a screening and discussion of “Horma” (“Sanctity”), the first film in its spring series on women, rights, and activism in the Muslim world.  The series, which is being co-sponsored by HRP, will showcase films that highlight women’s struggles, conflicts, and triumphs across the region. They cover a broad range of themes, including political and social activism, marriage, divorce, education, and sports.

Each screening will be followed by a discussion led by a guest who is either the filmmaker or an expert in the relevant theme. All screenings will start at 5:00 pm. Dinner will be provided for attendees.

“Horma,” featuring Saudi director and actress Ahd Kamel, was shot in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and stars Kamel as Areej, a pregnant young Saudi widow, who battles social customs to protect her unborn child. After the film, Kamel will join us via video conference for commentary and Q & A. In addition, we welcome Pascal Menoret, author of Joyriding in Riyadh and Professor of Modern Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, who joins us as discussant.

If you plan to attend this first event, please RSVP.

 

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February 13, 2017

Tomorrow, Feb. 14: “Human rights in Zimbabwe: A conversation with Dzie Chimbga”


Zimbabwe 3Tuesday, February 14, 2017

“Human rights in Zimbabwe: A conversation with Dzie Chimbga”

12:00- 1:00 p.m.
WCC 4063

Please join us for a conversation with Dzie Chimbga, Director of the International Litigation, Lobby and Advocacy unit of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Dzie will discuss the challenges and rewards of being a front line defender of human rights in Zimbabwe, as well as his organization’s groundbreaking work to advance economic, social, and cultural rights.

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February 10, 2017

Student Perspective: Documentation dilemmas for Syrian refugees living in Jordan

Posted by Katherine Gonzalez, JD '17

It may be difficult to believe that a simple piece of paper can carry so much weight. But for Syrian refugees living in host communities in Jordan, marriage certificates, birth certificates, and government-issued identity cards are essential to securing basic human rights.

Two Syrian schoolmates hold up their MoI cards. Credit: Norwegian Refugee Council/Lian Saifi

Two Syrian schoolmates hold up their MoI cards. Credit: Norwegian Refugee Council/Lian Saifi

Several months ago, I traveled with a team from the International Human Rights Clinic to interview dozens of Syrian refugee families about their experiences with obtaining these documents in Jordan. Like the vast majority of Syrian refugees in Jordan, these families lived outside of refugee camps, their legal status dependent on whether they had new government-issued identity cards, otherwise known as “MoI cards.” Without the cards, refugees lived in situations of legal uncertainty, without access to essential services, and at risk of arrest, detention, forced relocation to refugee camps, and possible refoulement.

The families we interviewed described a variety of experiences, but one theme was common throughout: lacking proper documentation can have cascading consequences for Syrians who already occupy a marginalized and vulnerable position.

For one Syrian mother, getting a new MoI card for her infant son, who was born in Jordan, seemed nearly impossible. In order to get the card, she needed proof of identity for her son, in the form of a birth certificate issued by Jordanian authorities. But she couldn’t get the birth certificate until she got a marriage certificate. And she couldn’t get the marriage certificate because the woman and her husband, who wed in Syria two years prior, could not provide sufficient proof that they had been married in Syria.

As is common practice in some parts of Syria, their marriage had been officiated outside the Shari’a court. Continue Reading…

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February 9, 2017

Student perspective: Reflections of a newcomer to the CCW Review Conference


Congratulations to Anna Khalfaoui, LLM ’17, who wrote the post below for the International Committee for Robot Arms Control. It was published February 8, 2017.

Reflections on the Review Conference as a Newcomer to CCW

The Fifth Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) was a great success for advocates of a ban on fully autonomous weapons. Held at the United Nations in Geneva in December 2016, the Conference was also an opportunity for me to discover and reflect on the processes and challenges of the CCW, to which I was a newcomer.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 12.25.30 PMI became involved when I attended the Conference as part of Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC).  I also contributed to a report that IHRC co-published with Human Rights Watch the week before the Review Conference. Making the Case: The Dangers of Killer Robots and the Need for a Preemptive Ban rebuts the major arguments against a prohibition on the development and use of fully autonomous weapons. These weapons, also known as killer robots and lethal autonomous weapons systems, would be able to select and engage targets without human intervention.

The Review Conference was a key step toward a ban because states parties agreed to formalise talks on killer robots by establishing a Group of Government Experts (GGE), which will meet for 10 days in 2017. This GGE creates the expectation of an outcome as past GGEs have led to negotiation of new or stronger CCW protocols. It provides a forum for states and experts to discuss the parameters of a possible protocol which hopefully will take the form of a ban. The Review Conference also showed that support a ban is gaining traction around the world. Argentina, Panama, Peru and Venezuela joined the call for the first time at the Conference, bringing to 19 the number of states in favour of a ban.

The establishment of a GGE was the news I eagerly waited for the entire week. Continue Reading…

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February 8, 2017

Tomorrow, Feb. 9: First screening in film series on women, rights, and activism in the Muslim world


Harvard Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change, with support from HRP, is pleased to announce its first film series, “Women, Rights, and Activism in the Muslim World.” Throughout this Spring semester, we will showcase films that highlight women’s struggles, conflicts, and triumphs across the region. The films cover a broad range of themes, including political and social activism, marriage, divorce, education, and sports.

Each screening will be followed by a discussion led by a guest who is either the filmmaker or an expert in the relevant theme. All screenings will start at 5:00 pm. Dinner will be provided for attendees.

Our first film is “Horma” (“Sanctity”), featuring Saudi director and actress Ahd Kamel. The film was shot in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and stars Kamel as Areej, a pregnant young Saudi widow, who battles social customs to protect her unborn child.

After the film, Kamel will join us via video conference for commentary and Q & A. In addition, we welcome Pascal Menoret, author of Joyriding in Riyadh and Professor of Modern Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, who joins us as discussant.

If you plan to attend this first event, please RSVP.

Other screenings in the series:

Speed Sisters” – February 23, 5:00 pm, Wasserstein 1023
What Tomorrow Brings” – March 9, 5:00 pm,  Wasserstein 1023
A Separation” – March 23, 5:00 pm, Wasserstein 1023
Private Revolutions: Young, Female, Egyptian” – April 13, 5:00 pm, Pound 101

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February 7, 2017

Evan Mawarire, of the #ThisFlag Movement, Should Be Immediately Released by the Government of Zimbabwe

Posted by Susan Farbstein


Update: Thankfully, since this post was published, Evan Mawarire has been released.

Back in November, I was pleased to moderate a conversation with pastor Evan Mawarire, the leader of the #ThisFlag movement, which in 2016 channeled citizens’ frustrations into large-scale protests against corruption, human rights abuse, and economic decline in Zimbabwe.  It was therefore deeply distressing to learn that he was arrested last Wednesday at Harare International Airport when he returned to the country.  He continues to be held at Harare Central Police Station.

Mawarire was initially charged with subverting a constitutionally-elected government and was expected to appear in court for a hearing and the opportunity to make bail.  However, additional charges of insulting the Zimbabwean flag and inciting violence were added in an apparent attempt to prolong his detention and suppress his cause.  He is expected back in court on February 17.  If the case proceeds to trial he could face 20 years in prison.

Mawarire was previously arrested for treason last July.  After thousands protested outside the courthouse, the charges were dismissed and he was released.  He left soon after for South Africa and, subsequently, the United States, fearing for his safety.

Zimbabwe’s criminal justice system should not be used to intimidate citizens who speak out against abuse or target activists who organize peaceful resistance.  Mawarire should be released and the charges against him dropped.

 

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February 6, 2017

Fernando Ribeiro Delgado, Former Senior Clinical Instructor, Becomes Scholar in Residence at NYU Law

Posted by Cara Solomon

As the spring semester gets underway at HRP, we’re already missing the fellowship and expertise of one of our colleagues: Fernando Ribeiro Delgado, JD ’08, Senior Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law, is now a Scholar in Residence at New York University School of Law.

Fernando1

Former Senior Clinical Instructor Fernando Ribeiro Delgado, now a Scholar in Residence at NYU Law

Simply put, this is a big loss for us. Fernando is an expert on criminal justice in Brazil, which has one of the world’s worst records on mass incarceration. His clinical work went wide and deep; his teams used strategies ranging from litigation to fact-finding to negotiating with government officials to launching media campaigns.

Beyond the rigor and innovation that was the hallmark of Fernando’s work, there was another distinguishing factor: it was always collaborative. Throughout his seven years at the Clinic, he worked closely with local partners whom he considered not just colleagues but mentors: Justiça Global, Serviço Ecumênico de Militância nas Prisões, Pastoral Carcerária, and Comissão Justiça e Paz. He also nurtured relationships with prisoners’ families, corrections officials, and members of the media.

Most importantly, as described in the Harvard Law Bulletin last year, Fernando treated people who were incarcerated the way he treated everyone else: with kindness.

At NYU, Fernando will explore the link between state violence and corruption, a link he first documented with Justiça Global in the high-profile, book-length report, “São Paulo under Extortion: Corruption, Organized Crime, and Institutional Violence in May 2006.” That joint report, the culmination of a five-year investigation, explored the role of corruption in a series of coordinated uprisings in detention centers and attacks on police and public buildings that left 43 state officials and hundreds of civilians dead. The report also documented the wave of reprisal attacks by police, including extrajudicial killings of people they suspected of having arrest records—in many cases profiling victims’ youth, skin color, tattoos and presence on the streets of a poor neighborhood at night.

During his time in the Clinic, Fernando tackled a range of criminal justice issues in Brazil. His clinical team contributed comparative and international law research to a workshop that culminated with federal prosecutors filing the first-ever criminal charges for dictatorship-era human rights crimes. A case he argued before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (the Court) led to an investigation into juvenile justice system abuses, one which ultimately brought down an alleged corruption ring at the highest levels of state government.

He spent the great majority of his time, though, addressing rampant over-incarceration and abuse in prisons. Continue Reading…

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February 2, 2017

AUDIO: Book talk by Prof. Phillippe Sands, on origins of ‘genocide’ and ‘crimes against humanity’


Last week, we were fortunate enough to host Prof. Phillippe Sands, QC, who gave a riveting talk about his award-winning book, “East West Street:  On the Origins of ‘Genocide’ and ‘Crimes Against Humanity.'” The book uses personal narratives to explore the creation and development of world-changing legal concepts that came about as a result of the unprecedented atrocities of Hitler’s Third Reich.

Audio of the talk below:

 

 

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