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April 30, 2019

Clinic Reports Show Benefits of Joining the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty Outweigh Concerns

Posted by Bonnie Docherty

As countries engage in national debates about joining the 2017 treaty banning nuclear weapons, they should focus on the treaty’s humanitarian and disarmament benefits.

To inform these discussions, the International Human Rights Clinic has released a new briefing paper and two government submissions that highlight the advantages of ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and seek to alleviate concerns some states may have.

Countries affected by nuclear weapon use and testing have much to gain from the TPNW’s provisions on victim assistance and environmental remediation. In a 9-page paper, the Clinic presents 10 myths and realities regarding the TPNW’s so-called “positive obligations.” It aims to raise awareness of these provisions and correct misconceptions and misrepresentations about their content.

The briefing paper explains how the TPNW spreads responsibility for assisting victims and remediating contaminated areas across states parties. While affected states should take the lead for practical and legal reasons, other states parties should support their efforts with technical, material, or financial assistance.

The paper also shows how the positive obligations can be effectively implemented and make a tangible difference, despite the devastating effects of nuclear weapons.

In recent government submissions, the Clinic has addressed the situation of countries that are members of or partners with NATO. It has called on Iceland and Sweden in particular to join the TPNW, but the arguments apply to any states in a comparable position.

Ratifying the TPNW would further these countries’ long-standing support of nuclear disarmament and promote compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. At the same time, members or partners of NATO or a similar alliance should not face legal obstacles to joining the TPNW. While a state party to the TPNW would have to renounce its nuclear umbrella status, it could continue to participate in joint military operations with nuclear-armed states.

The Clinic released related reports focusing on the Marshall Islands and Australia in 2018.

As of April 30, 2019, the TPNW had 70 signatories and 23 states parties. It will enter into force when 50 states have become party.

Clinical students Molly Brown JD ’19, Maria Manghi JD ’20, and Ben Montgomery JD ’20 worked on these publications under the supervision of Bonnie Docherty, associate director of armed conflict and civilian protection.

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April 23, 2019

HRP Awards 2019 Summer Fellows

From left to right: 2019 summer fellows Julian Morimoto, Angel Gabriel Cabrera Silva, Matthew Farrell, Ji Yoon Kang, and Emily Ray.

HRP is pleased to announce its 2019 summer fellowship cohort: Angel Gabriel Cabrera Silva SJD Candidate, Matthew Farrell JD’21, Ji Yoon Kang JD’20, Julian Morimoto JD’21, and Emily Ray JD’21.

Summer fellowships for human rights internships are a central part of the Harvard Law School human rights experience and provide rich professional, personal, and intellectual opportunities. Many students and alumni/ae who are committed to human rights were introduced to the field through an internship. Interns work for at least eight weeks with nongovernmental or intergovernmental organizations concerned with human rights, exclusively outside the United States.

Angel Gabriel Cabrera Silva, SJD Candidate, will intern with Colectivo Emanicpaciones in Mexico. Colectivo Emanicpaciones is an organization dedicated to supporting the struggle of indigenous social movements in Michoacán, México. Prior to his doctoral studies, Angel worked and interned at several governmental and nongovernmental organizations dedicated to human rights, including the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales in Argentina, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de Derechos Humanos. He graduated from Harvard Law School with an LL.M. in 2016 and from Universidad de Guadalajara with an LL.B. in 2013.

Matthew Farrell JD’21 will intern with Amnesty International in the United Kingdom, working in their strategic litigation division. With an interest in the legal response to mass atrocities, Matthew hopes to specialize in international criminal law. He has previously published on humanitarian intervention in the Rwandan genocide, and his masters thesis analyzed the European and African human rights regimes. He holds a B.A. from York University in International Studies and an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Ji Yoon Kang JD’20 will intern with the International Rescue Committee in Thailand, specifically working with Burmese refugee populations. Previously, he worked at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Korea. For the past year, Ji Yoon has been an active member of the International Human Rights Clinic, working on projects that look at decriminalizing LGTBQ+ rights and countering hate speech in Myanmar, all under Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law Yee Htun. He hopes to pursue a career in international human rights law and transitional justice with a regional focus on Southeast Asia. Ji Yoon holds a B.A. in History and East Asian Studies from McGill University.

Julian Morimoto JD’21 will intern with Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) in the Philippines. IDEALS is an NGO focused on empowering the disempowered in Filipino society, in particular, they do work to combat President Duterte’s war on drugs. Previously, Julian interned with Volunteer Legal Services Hawai`i, helping low-moderate income clients become more knowledgeable about their rights. Since starting law school, he has been an active member of the student practice organization HLS Advocates for Human Rights, and has acted as an RA for Professor Sabrineh Ardalan in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic. Julian holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Case Western Reserve University.

Emily Ray JD’21 will intern with the Forest Peoples Programme in Guyana. The Forest Peoples Programme is a human rights organization that supports forest and indigenous populations in land rights and environmental advocacy. Since beginning law school, Emily has been an active member of the student practice organization HLS Advocates for Human Rights, in addition to acting as an editor with the Harvard Human Rights Journal. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Government from Franklin & Marshall College and a Master of Letters in Moral, Political and Legal Philosophy from the University of St. Andrews.

Congratulations to all of our summer fellows and best of luck to all the HLS students interning abroad this summer!

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April 8, 2019

Hiring: Clinic Seeks Clinical Instructor


The International Human Rights Clinic is seeking a Clinical Instructor to supervise law students in the Clinic and support Harvard Law Student Advocates for Human Rights. Applications will only be accepted through Harvard University Human Resources. The full ad is below. Applications due May 5, 2019.

 

Position: Clinical Instructor – International Human Rights Clinic

Duties & Responsibilities

The International Human Rights Clinic (“the Clinic”), which is part of the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, is inviting applications for a Clinical Instructor. The Clinical Instructor’s time will be allocated 50% to supervising law students enrolled for credit in the Clinic, and 50% to liaising with and supporting Harvard Law Student Advocates for Human Rights (“Advocates”), the student practice organization affiliated with the Clinic.

The Clinic offers 2L and 3L students, as well as LLM students, the opportunity to work for academic credit on a variety of timely and complex human rights issues in partnership with clients, civil society organizations, and affected communities around the world, including in the United States. Through supervised practice and intense in-house mentorship, clinical students develop a range of skills necessary to become thoughtful, critical, creative, strategic, and effective human rights advocates. The Clinical Instructor will design, oversee, and execute clinical projects, and supervise and manage student teams. Clinical projects deploy a variety of strategies and methodologies and may include fact-finding investigations and advocacy efforts, human rights reporting, legislative drafting, litigation in national and international fora, media advocacy, policy initiatives, coalition building, and negotiating treaty provisions.

As a student practice organization, Advocates offers law students, including 1Ls and LLMs, the opportunity to gain practical legal experience from the start of law school. Advocates operates according to an externship model in which students work on projects from Cambridge, under the supervision of licensed attorneys at various partner organizations. Advocates is run by a student board, with 2Ls, 3Ls, and LLMs assuming leadership and project management responsibilities. While students do not receive academic credit for their work, their hours can count towards the law school’s pro bono graduation requirement. Advocates also organizes on-campus events, programming, and trainings. The Clinical Instructor will be the bridge between Advocates and the Clinic. This individual will liaise and work with Advocates around all aspects of its operations, including supporting student leaders as they build relationships with partner organizations, develop and manage projects, interact with supervising attorneys and student teams, address potential conflicts of interest and other risk management concerns, facilitate the annual transition between incoming and outgoing student leadership to offer continuity, and help maintain institutional memory.

The Clinical Instructor will be a legally-trained practitioner with at least five years of demonstrated experience in, and commitment to, human rights, including experience training, teaching, or mentoring law students. This individual will join a vibrant community of human rights practitioners and scholars at Harvard Law School.

*Duties and Responsibilities continued in Additional Information Section*

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April 2, 2019

Clinic Publishes Paper with Control Arms on “Interpreting the Arms Trade Treaty”


This week, the International Human Rights Clinic published “Interpreting The Arms Trade Treaty: International Human Rights Law and Gender-Based Violence in Article 7 Risk Assessments” with Clinic partner Control Arms. Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law Anna Crowe LLM ’12 presented the paper in Geneva today at a preliminary meeting of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty.

Radhika Kapoor LLM ’19 and Terry Flyte LLM ’19 at the Working Group Meetings of the 5th Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty.

The paper takes a close look at the human rights risk assessment Article 7 of the Arms Trade Treaty requires States Parties to undertake whenever an arms export is proposed. Article 7 requires States Parties to assess the potential that any proposed exports could be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international human rights law, including serious acts of gender-based violence (GBV). Within that assessment, States Parties must also consider the potential that the weapons would contribute to or undermine peace and security. If there is an overriding risk of harm, the export must be denied.

The paper provides interpretive guidance on a number of key terms in the Arms Trade Treaty with a focus on considering gender and risks of GBV in each part of the Article 7 risk assessment, particularly with respect to serious violations of international human rights law.

Clinical students Radhika Kapoor LLM ’19 and Terry Flyte LLM ’19 joined Crowe in Geneva. Jillian Rafferty JD ’20, Natalie Gallon JD ’20, and Elise Baranouski JD ’20 are co-authors of the paper, along with Kapoor.

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