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March 27, 2018

Tomorrow, March 28: Thailand’s Changing Role in the World Order


March 28, 2018

“Thailand: Shifting Ground Between the US and China”

A book talk by Benjamin Zawacki, former HRP Visiting Fellow

4:15 p.m.
1730 Cambridge St
S153, 1st floor, CGIS South
Cambridge, MA

Please join the Asia Center for a book talk with Benjamin Zawacki, author of “Thailand: Shifting Ground Between the U.S. and Rising China” and former HRP Visiting Fellow, and Professor Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and Director of the Thai Studies Program at the Harvard University Asia Center.

This talk is being sponsored by the Thai Studies Program at the Asia Center, and co-sponsored by HRP.

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March 26, 2018

Tomorrow, March 27: The U.S. in Yemen


March 27, 2018

The U.S. in Yemen: What We Know, What We Don’t, and What That Means for Rights Protection

12:00- 1:00 p.m.
WCC 1019

 

The war in Yemen has been marred by frequent violations of the laws of war by all parties to the conflict, and a humanitarian crisis that has left millions at risk of famine and continuing cholera and diphtheria epidemics.  The United States is intimately engaged in this conflict, providing significant support to the Saudi-led coalition military campaign, carrying out unilateral strikes, and working in partnership with the UAE to counter Al-Qaeda. However, a lack of transparency about the ways in which the US is engaging in Yemen frustrates advocacy and accountability efforts.

This talk by Kristine Beckerle, Yemen and UAE Researcher, Human Rights Watch, will examine the US role in Yemen and explore the legal and policy avenues through which rights advocates can push for rights-respecting policies and practices, both in the context of Yemen as well as counter-terror efforts in the MENA region more broadly.

Hosted by the Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change and co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program, the Middle Eastern Law Students Association, and HLS Advocates for Human Rights. Lunch will be served.

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March 21, 2018

Conference preview: Gerald L. Neuman on “Human Rights in a Time of Populism”


Earlier this week, Gerald L. Neuman, Co-Director of the Human Rights Program (HRP), and the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School, sat down to discuss HRP’s upcoming conference, “Human Rights in a Time of Populism,” with Natalie McCauley, JD ‘19.

Natalie McCauley, JD ’19, interviews Prof. Gerald L. Neuman, Co-Director of HRP, on FB Live about his upcoming conference on populism and human rights.

The conference, which is free and open to the public, takes place this Friday afternoon and Saturday all day on Harvard Law School’s campus.

So Professor, to start us out: What is this conference about?

Thank you for asking. We plan to discuss the current rise in populism: What are its causes? What are its effects? What implications does it have for the international human rights system? And how should the international human rights system respond?

We don’t expect the answers to these questions to be the same for every country, and that’s one of the things we’re going to be discussing.

We’ll have more than a dozen leading experts coming from as far away as The Philippines and as near as our own university. There will be specific discussion on the United States, Poland, Southeast Asia, Turkey, and Latin America, as well as cross-cutting themes.

I should clarify what I mean by populism. Political scientists offer different formulations for the notion of populism, as we’ll be discussing. The phenomenon of concern here is a kind of politics that employs an exclusionary notion of the people- the “real people,” as opposed to disfavored groups that are unworthy. Populist leaders then claim to rule on behalf of the “real people,” whose will should not be constrained.

And does this populism affect internationally protected human rights?

We plan to discuss examples of how that happens. But the easy answer is: Yes, it does. Certainly within the country, and it in cases it has implications for other countries as well. If we look internally, often populism then leads to targeting the excluded groups. But it also poses a danger to the majority. Populists deny the legitimacy of the political opposition. They often try to entrench themselves in power and undermine checks. Populism can tip over into authoritarianism.

We’re talking about examples in Poland, Duterte in the Philippines, and of course, President Trump here. Continue Reading…

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March 15, 2018

Apply to Be a Joint Wasserstein-Human Rights Program Fellow for Fall 2018 Semester


The Human Rights Program and Office of Public Interest Advising (OPIA) at Harvard Law School will jointly host one Wasserstein Fellow-in-Residence who will spend four months on the HLS campus (September through December 2018), and split their time between OPIA and HRP. At OPIA, the fellow will advise students about international public interest and human rights careers and assist OPIA staff in developing advising resources.  At HRP, the fellow will devote the majority of their time to research and writing on a specific human rights topic, and be a member of its community of visiting fellows.

The Human Rights Program’s Visiting Fellows Program seeks to give thoughtful individuals with a demonstrated commitment to human rights an opportunity to step back and conduct a serious inquiry in the human rights field. Individuals who become fellows at the Program are usually scholars with a substantial background in human rights, or experienced activists. The fellows form an essential part of the human rights community at Harvard Law School and participate actively in the Human Rights Program Fellows Colloquium—each fellow makes a presentation to Human Rights Program staff, faculty, and other fellows on at least one occasion. Fellows are also encouraged to participate in a number of other Human Rights Program activities.

Please see OPIA’s website for additional information about the program, and details on how to apply to be a joint Wasserstein Fellow-in-Residence with OPIA and the Human Rights Program. The deadline to apply is April 13, 2018.

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March 12, 2018

LISTEN: Criminal Abortion in the United States


Earlier this month, we welcomed Carol Sanger, Visiting Professor at HLS and Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, and Mindy Roseman, Director of International Programs and Director of the Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women’s Rights at Yale Law School, for a timely and compelling conversation about human rights and the criminal punishment of abortion. Below is the full audio of their conversation.

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March 8, 2018

Susan Farbstein Honored in Harvard Women’s Law Association’s International Women’s Day Exhibit


On this International Women’s Day, and every other day, we’re full of gratitude for all the women who push for change around the world. But we’re feeling particularly happy and proud today to see our very own Susan Farbstein honored in this year’s International Women’s Day portrait exhibit, organized by the Harvard Women’s Law Association (WLA).

A portrait of Susan Farbstein, Co-Director of our International Human Rights Clinic, on display at Harvard Law School this week in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Susan, who co-directs our International Human Rights Clinic, is among 25 luminaries celebrated in the Wasserstein Hall exhibit for their “astounding contributions” in the areas of law and policy.

They include Tarana Burke, a civil rights activist and the creator of “Me Too,” a phrase invented to raise awareness of the prevalence of sexual abuse in society; Zainah Anwar, a leading feminist activist and scholar in Malaysia, and the current Director of Musawah; Sarah McBride, an LGBT rights activist who serves as the National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign; Losang Rabgey, the co-founder of Machik, a
nonprofit dedicated to social innovation in Tibet through educational development and capacity building; and Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, and the first woman elected to head a major professional sports union in North America.

It comes as no surprise to us that Susan stands among them. As an expert in Alien Tort Statute litigation, among other things, she has been co-counsel in such landmark human rights cases as Wiwa v. Shell, in Re: South African Apartheid Litigation, and now Mamani v. Sanchez de Lozada and Sanchez Berzain. That historic case, which began trial in Federal District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Monday, marks the first time a former head of state stands trial in a civil case in U.S. court for human rights abuses.

It is, in fact, the reason she missed the celebratory luncheon in honor of International Women’s Day. So today  we celebrate Susan from afar for all she’s done to protect and strengthen human rights over the course of her career- and wish her, the clinical team, and the plaintiffs the very best of luck in the momentous days of the trial to come.

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March 7, 2018

Friday, March 9: Jerusalem after Trump: Consequences and Implications



 Friday, March 9, 2018

“Jerusalem After Trump: Consequences and Implications”

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

WCC 2012

President Trump’s December 6, 2017 declaration of the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel sparked wide international condemnation and protest — and widespread approval in Israel. A highly sensitive issue with profound legal, geopolitical, spiritual, and humanitarian consequences, the status of Jerusalem has serious implications for the elusive goal of Middle East peace.  In this event, Aaron David Miller and Noura Erakat will engage in a conversation on the consequences and implications of Trump’s decision from a number of different angles, taking into consideration questions of international law, regional stability and security, prospects for sustainable peace, as well as the status and rights of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Noah Feldman will moderate.

This event is organized by The Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law & The Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change, and co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program.

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March 2, 2018

Bonnie Docherty Launches Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative


The International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) is thrilled to announce the launch of the Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative (ACCPI), which aims to reduce the harm caused by armed conflict through targeted advocacy, leadership development, and the generation of innovative solutions.

Bonnie Docherty, Associate Director of Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection, talking with colleagues.

The ACCPI will be led by Bonnie Docherty, Lecturer on Law and Associate Director of Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection, who is an internationally renowned leader in the field of humanitarian disarmament. Docherty has worked at the heart of almost every major civil society campaign to ban inhumane and indiscriminate weapons, or curtail their use to minimize the impacts on civilians. She was a critical player in the 2008 cluster munitions ban, as well as the nuclear weapons ban, adopted in July of last year.

“Today’s armed conflicts are causing countless civilian casualties, destroying infrastructure and the environment, and driving people from their homes,” said Docherty, who also works as a Senior Researcher in the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. “This initiative represents a unique opportunity to provide focused support to the movement dealing with these issues, as well as to students interested in making a career in the field.”

Since she arrived at the Clinic in 2005, Docherty has put clinical students at the heart of her advocacy, supervising them on everything from field research in Lebanon to lobbying at the UN. Under her leadership, and through her mentorship, students have gone on to work as field researchers, advocates in peace negotiations, and policy analysts, actively working to protect civilians from the effects of armed conflict.

In the years to come, the ACCPI will create a formal track for HLS students who want to pursue careers in civilian protection. That track will expand on existing offerings, including specialized courses, clinical projects, and trainings; it will also build a career development program that links students with relevant organizations, a network of alumni, and funding for internships and fellowships.

“So many of us have learned the tools of the trade by Bonnie’s side,” said Anna Crowe, LLM ’12, Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law, who is actively involved in the ACCPI. “This initiative will strengthen the movement by creating even more opportunities for students to develop into leaders.”

The ACCPI will go broad as well as deep, tackling issues as diverse as environmental damage, refugee rights, and world heritage in times of armed conflict. One of its main areas of focus will be humanitarian disarmament, which strives to end the civilian suffering that certain weapons cause.

This Monday, March 5, the ACCPI’s inaugural conference, “Humanitarian Disarmament: The Way Ahead,” will bring dozens of international experts together to discuss how the movement has developed over the past two decades, and to explore where it should go from here. With its focus on collaboration and innovation, the conference is a window into one of the ACCPI’s central priorities: generating fresh perspectives and creative strategies for lessening the harms of war.

The mostly closed-door conference will include two public events: a keynote conversation with leaders of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning campaigns to ban nuclear weapons and landmines; and a panel that examines current issues in humanitarian disarmament, including efforts to end the urban use of certain explosive weapons, reduce the environmental impact of armed conflict, ban killer robots, and control the unlawful arms trade.

During her time in the Clinic, Docherty herself has gone deep on almost all of these issues, documenting the effects of explosive weapons in Ukraine, teaching about the environmental impacts of war, and making the case for preemptively prohibiting killer robots. Together with Crowe, she led a clinical team during the nuclear ban treaty negotiations last summer; supervisors and students successfully advocated for the treaty to include “positive obligations” that require countries to assist victims and clean up the environment affected by nuclear weapons.

The ACCPI will build on this body of work, focusing on effecting change through advocacy in two areas. First, it will ramp up existing efforts to create new international instruments that protect civilians from problematic weapons. Second, the initiative will promote the development of norms in unsettled areas of law and practice, whether hotly contested or at the intersection of multiple legal frameworks.

Throughout, the ACCPI will adopt an interdisciplinary approach that draws on multiple legal bodies to achieve its ends. It will look to international human rights law, the focus of IHRC and a body of law applicable at all times. It will use international humanitarian law, applicable in times of armed conflict. It will also rely on humanitarian disarmament law, which incorporates elements of both of the above.

In these ways and others, the ACCPI will occupy a distinct niche on Harvard’s campus, combining cutting-edge advocacy with student involvement in all aspects of the work. It is the kind of work that will make Harvard a center for excellence on civilian protection from armed conflict. And her colleagues know: There is no better person to lead it than Docherty, a pioneer from the very start.

“The depth of Bonnie’s impact on her field over the past fifteen years has been remarkable, and she’s done it all with such humility,” said Tyler Giannini, Co-Director of the International Human Rights Clinic. “She’s a tireless advocate, and given the state of armed conflict today, we’re elated to see her launch and lead this critically important initiative.”

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