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October 17, 2017
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
“In Search of a Better World”
A book talk by Payam Akhavan, Professor of International Law, McGill University
12:00- 1:00 p.m.
Please join us for a book talk by Payam Akhavan, Professor of International Law at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, a member of the International Court of Arbitration, and a former UN prosecutor at The Hague. In his book, “In Search of a Better World,” he argues that deceptive utopias, political cynicism, and public apathy have given rise to major human rights abuses: from the religious persecution of Iranian Bahá’ís that shaped his personal life, to the horrors of ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, the genocide in Rwanda, and the rise of contemporary phenomena such as the Islamic State. Payam also argues for an empathy based approach to human rights that gives primacy to the experience of survivors and acknowledges our inextricable interdependence as a global society.
October 16, 2017
Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017
“Humanization of Arms Control: Paving the Way for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons”
A book talk by Daniel Rietiker, Senior Lawyer, European Court of Human Rights
12:00- 1:00 p.m.
Lunch will be served
Please join us for a talk with Daniel Rietiker to discuss his recent book, “Humanization of Arms Control: Paving the Way for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” in which he argues for putting human beings, rather than state security, at the center of disarmament law. After laying out the history of this approach in previous treaties, he will examine how it has played out in the negotiations and text of the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Dr. Rietiker, a former Visiting Fellow with the Human Rights Program, is a senior lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights, an adjunct professor of public international law at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), and a member of adjunct faculty at Suffolk University Law School.
This event is part of the International Human Rights Clinic’s work on armed conflict and civilian protection.
October 13, 2017
The International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School is shocked and saddened by news of the reported assassination attempt on Syrian filmmaker Muhammad Bayazid, whom we hosted – along with his wife and partner in filmmaking, Samah Safi Bayazid – only days earlier for a discussion with our students. They were here in conjunction with a co-sponsored screening of two of their award-winning short films, “Fireplace” and “Orshena.” Bayazid was stabbed in the chest in Turkey on Tuesday night, as he sought funds for his new film project detailing Assad regime’s abuses at notorious Tadmur prison.
“When we chose this life we knew what it meant, because we aren’t from places like America where we can express our opinions,” Samah Safi Bayazid told the Guardian Newspaper. “It’s very hard if you’re an Arab to fight against oppression, your life is always in danger. He was stabbed and I nearly had a stroke just because we wanted to do a film on human rights.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Muhammad, Samah, and their family and we wish him a speedy recovery. We would also like to express our support of his work in exposing human rights violations and shedding light on the devastating humanitarian cost of the Syrian crisis, and urge a full and proper investigation of this incident.
The attempt on Muhammad Bayazid’s life was the latest in a series of attacks that took place in Turkey targeting outspoken supporters of the Syrian opposition. Last month, prominent Syrian opposition activist Orouba Barakat and her journalist daughter Hala Barakat were stabbed to death in Istanbul. Other victims in the past two years include Syrian journalists and anti-Isis activists Naji Jarf and Zaher Al-Shurqat.
October 12, 2017
Thursday, October 12, 2017
“Putting a Face on the Numbers”
A talk by Sana Mustafa, Syrian Refugee and Refugee Rights Activist
12:00- 1:00 p.m.
Please join us for a talk by Sana Mustafa, a Syrian refugee and advocate for refugee rights who will share her story of growing up in Syria, revolting against the Assad regime, fleeing the horrors of war, and starting a new life in the US. She will also speak about her new path as an activist and advocate for the rights of Syrian refugees worldwide. A refugee since 2013, Mustafa is now a consultant to various US and international institutions on designing engagement projects related to refugee integration and protecting the rights of victims of the Syrian humanitarian crisis.
This event is being sponsored by the Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change, Criminal Justice Program, and the Human Rights Program. Vegan lunch will be served.
October 6, 2017
Posted by Bonnie Docherty
We are thrilled to announce that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), with which we collaborated during the negotiations of a nuclear weapon ban treaty, received the Nobel Peace Prize today. The honor reflects international recognition of the humanitarian approach to disarmament, a movement that strives to minimize civilian suffering from inhumane weapons.
Over the past decade, ICAN has changed the course of nuclear disarmament by shifting the focus from national security to the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences these weapons cause. Their work and the invaluable advocacy of survivors of nuclear weapons use in conflict and testing helped lead to an international ban on the weapons this summer.
The International Human Rights Clinic joined ICAN and UK-based disarmament organization Article 36 in the efforts for the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Supervisors Bonnie Docherty and Anna Crowe, along with a team of four students, provided legal support to the campaign during the treaty negotiations at the United Nations in New York. They also advocated successfully for the inclusion of obligations to assist victims and remediate the environment harmed.
More than 120 countries adopted the treaty in July. Fifty-three have signed the treaty since it opened for signature last month. In so doing, those countries have committed to abiding by the object and purpose of the instrument.
Civil society will now turn its attention to urging more states to sign and ratify the ban treaty. The Clinic in particular will work for strong interpretation and implementation of its provisions.
In their statement announcing the award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wrote, “It is [our] firm conviction . . . that ICAN, more than anyone else, has in the past year given the efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigour.”
The committee also praised ICAN for filling a legal gap. Before the treaty, the other weapons of mass destruction—chemical and biological weapons—as well as several indiscriminate conventional weapons had been banned. Yet there were no global restrictions on the use of the world’s deadliest arms.
Although the nuclear weapons states and most of NATO boycotted the negotiations, the treaty and the Nobel Peace Prize highlight the value of declaring nuclear weapons to be illegal as well as immoral. They also increase the stigma against the weapons and show that progress in nuclear disarmament is possible.
The Clinic has long been involved with humanitarian disarmament. It contributed to the negotiations of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions and is currently working to ban or strengthen international law on fully autonomous weapons, incendiary weapons, and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
At a time of heightened tensions between nuclear powers, ICAN’s well-deserved recognition reinforces our conviction that humanitarian disarmament is more essential and achievable than ever. We look forward to continuing this vital work.
The Clinic team consisted of Bonnie Docherty, associate director of armed conflict and civilian protection, Clinical Instructor Anna Crowe, Carina Bentata Gryting, JD ’18, Molly Doggett, JD ’17, Lan Mei, JD ’17, and Alice Osman, LLM ’17. For the students’ impressions of the negotiations, see this post.
October 4, 2017
Thursday, October 5, 2017
“The Origins and Evolution of the Health & Human Rights Movement”
A talk by Alicia Ely Yamin, Visiting Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, and Andrés Constantin, Global Health Law Scholar, Georgetown University Law Center
12:00- 1:00 p.m.
Please join us for a discussion with Alicia Ely Yamin, Visiting Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, and Andrés Constantin, Global Health Law Scholar and LL.M. Candidate in Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center, on the topic of human rights advocacy within the context of health. The application of human rights frameworks to the study of health has had critical implications: it has extended the bounds of human and governmental agency; helped re-interpret norms in light of gendered and other experiences; demonstrated the porousness and arbitrariness of divides between the public and private, and political and economic realms; as well as created institutional frameworks and procedures at national and international levels. Throughout this history, the most significant source of human rights consciousness and energy has come from the diverse people who have been affected by, and collectively struggled against “pathologies of power.”
October 2, 2017
Monday, October 2, 2017
“The Syrian Crisis in Film:
Two Award-Winning Short Narratives”
12:00- 1:00 p.m.
Join us for the screening of two short films inspired by true events of the Syrian war. “Fireplace” (2017) and “Orshena” (2016) both recount tales of the devastating human consequences of war and give deep intellectual insights into the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
The screening will be followed by a discussion with award-winning directors Muhammad Bayazid and Samah Safi Bayazid.
In “Fireplace,” a 12-minute film, it is Christmas Eve in Syria; a small child plays hide and seek with his dad and picks the most unexpected place to hide in: the fireplace. Within a few seconds, a jet fighter bombards their house to the ground. The fireplace stands still; however, the small child finds himself trapped alone.
In “Orshena,” which means “Land of Peace” in the ancient Syriac language, an old man loses his youngest daughter while migrating to Europe on a rubber boat. The accident changes his life forever. He keeps imagining his daughter everywhere he goes, while trying to make peace with himself.
This event is co-sponsored by ILSP: Law and Social Change, the Human Rights Program, and the Criminal Justice Program at Harvard Law School
September 28, 2017
Friday, September 29, 2017
“Feminist Voices in Islam: Rethinking Patriarchal Ethics in Muslim Legal Traditions”
A talk by Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Founding Member, Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family
12:00- 1:00 p.m.
Please join us for a talk by Ziba Mir-Hosseini, a leading scholar of Islamic feminism. She will discuss the emerging reformist and feminist voices in Islam and their potential in challenging the long-established classical interpretations of Shari’a and rethinking their underlying patriarchal ethical values and norms, with a particular emphasis on the pioneering work of Musawah, a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family. This event is co-sponsored with the Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change. Vegan lunch will be served.
September 27, 2017
Thursday, September 28, 2017
“Rights, Action, and Accountability: Tackling Gender-Based Violence and HIV in Southern Africa”
A talk by Dean Peacock, Executive Director, Sonke Gender Justice
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Lunch will be served
Please join us for a talk by Dean Peacock, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sonke Gender Justice, an award winning South African NGO working across Africa to prevent gender-based violence, reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS, and promote human rights. Dean is a visiting scholar at the University of California, San Francisco Center for AIDS Prevention Studies and is an honorary senior lecturer at University of Cape Town’s School of Public Health. He is an internationally recognized expert on masculinities and serves on many advisory boards, including the Nobel Women’s Initiative Campaign to Stop Rape and Domestic Violence in Conflict, and was a member of the U.N. Secretary General’s Network of Men Leaders.
September 26, 2017
Yesterday the International Human Rights Clinic livestreamed on Facebook a conversation about the Rohingya crisis and its long-term implications for Myanmar. It was the first in a series of conversations we plan to livestream on critical topics in the world of human rights.
Tarek Zeidan, HKS ’18, moderated the discussion between Yee Htun, clinical instructor and former director of the Myanmar Program for Justice Trust, and Tyler Giannini, the Clinic’s co-director and co-founder of EarthRights International, who lived and worked on the Thai-Burmese border for a decade. You can watch the conversation on our FB page.
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