March 22, 2017

Tomorrow, March 23: A film screening and discussion of Palestinian women living under the occupation

March 23, 2017

“Speed Sisters”:
Palestinian women living under the occupation

5:00- 7:00 p.m.
WCC 1023

Please join us for a screening of “Speed Sisters,” followed by a panel on Palestinian women living under the occupation. This is part of an ongoing film series sponsored by Islamic Legal Studies: Law and Social Change on women, rights and activism in the Muslim world.

The Speed Sisters are the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East. Grabbing headlines and turning heads at improvised tracks across the West Bank, these five women have sped their way into the heart of the gritty, male-dominated Palestinian street car-racing scene. Independent, determined and always on the move, they have deftly charted their own course through the pressures of social expectations, family dynamics, community politics and an ongoing Israeli military occupation.

Following the screening, our panelists Zena Agha, Rana Wahbe, and Nour Soubani will take a closer look at the complexities and vulnerabilities of Palestinian women’s lives under the Israeli occupation, offering personal perspectives and first-hand accounts.

Share By Email


March 21, 2017

Today, March 21: Human rights in the U.S. under President Trump; Anti-impunity and the human rights agenda

HRWMarch 21, 2017

Human Rights in the U.S. Under President Trump

A talk by Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno,
Co-Director, U.S. Program, Human Rights Watch

12:00- 1:00 p.m.
WCC 3034
Harvard Law School

Lunch will be provided

Please join us for a talk with Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, Co-Director of the U.S. Program for Human Rights Watch, on human rights in the U.S. under the Trump administration. She will reflect on the President’s policies that would harm rights protections, and his positions vis-à-vis institutions of law that are essential to the functioning of democracy. She will also discuss how Human Rights Watch is responding to these challenges, and consider broader questions arising about the role of the human rights movement today.




Event“Anti-Impunity and the Human Rights Agenda”

A book talk and panel discussion

5:00- 7:00 p.m.
Lewis 214A
Harvard Law School


In the 21st century, fighting impunity has become both the rallying cry and a metric of progress for human rights. The new emphasis on criminal prosecution represents a fundamental change in the positions and priorities of students and practitioners of human rights and transitional justice: it has become almost unquestionable common sense that criminal punishment is a legal, political, and pragmatic imperative for addressing human rights violations. A new collection from Cambridge University Press, Anti-Impunity and the Human Rights Agenda, challenges that common sense.

Please join us for a book talk by two of the book’s editors, Karen Engle, Professor, University of Texas at Austin School of Law, and Zinaida Miller, Assistant Professor, Seton Hall University, along with chapter authors Samuel Moyn, Professor, Harvard Law School, and Helena Alviar Garcia, Professor and former Dean, Los Andes Law School, Bogotá, for a discussion and celebration of the publication of Anti-Impunity and the Human Rights Agenda, chaired by Professor David Kennedy, Harvard Law School.

This event is being co-sponsored by the Institute for Global Law and Policy, the Human Rights Program, and the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas, Austin.


Share By Email


March 20, 2017

Moving on: Maureen Corrigan leaves HRP for fresh start in California

Posted by Cara Solomon

Just the other day, we said goodbye to one of the gentlest souls on the Harvard Law School Campus: Maureen Corrigan, HRP’s longtime financial manager, is headed to family and a new job in California.

Over the course of her years at HRP, Maureen navigated the increasingly complicated finances of a program that works not only with dozens of students and staff every year, but with visitors from around the world. It was not an easy job.


Maureen Corrigan, our longtime financial manager, at left, with her fans from HRP.

The receipts alone would have done a lesser person in. They came to her ripped and wrinkled from around the world: scraps of paper with words written in Arabic, in Thai, in Bosnian, in illegible English. Maureen took them by the handful and calmly proceeded to trace them back to something expense-able, like dinner.

Certainly, there were predictable rhythms to her job, like the demands of budget season. But it was not uncommon to pass by her office, and hear the whirring and clacking of Maureen’s old-fashioned calculator as she tackled a problem one of us had dropped in her lap that day. With a plea that she solve it as soon as possible. While we panicked down the hall.

She always did, and in a way that put all of us at ease.

Mostly she did it with humor. Always she did it with heart.

It was no accident that Maureen volunteered to organize the birthday celebrations for everyone in the office. She was that kind of considerate. She knew the names of the people and the pets we loved. She asked after them, and after us, and offered hugs when we didn’t even know we needed them.

This is why, in the great East Coast/West Coast rivalry, none of us is pleased to cede Maureen to California. But she’s headed there for a job in the financial department of Chapman University, which happens to be exactly three blocks from her new house, where she will live with her husband, her two dogs, and her college senior son.

We wish her all the happiness she’s given us through the years, along with the very best luck life has to give.

Share By Email


March 17, 2017

Monday, March 20: A year in: Examining Myanmar’s democratic transition

Myanmar_finalMarch 20, 2017

A Year In: Examining Myanmar’s Democratic Transition 

A talk by May Sabe Phyu,
Kachin leader and winner of “International Woman of Courage” award

12:00- 1:00 p.m.
WCC 4059
Harvard Law School

Lunch will be provided

Please join us for a talk by May Sabe Phyu, a Kachin leader and a winner of the State Department’s “International Woman of Courage” award. She will discuss efforts to prevent violence against women; the ongoing armed conflicts in Kachin and Shan States; and how peace activists are attempting to address entrenched militarization in the country.

This is the first talk in a two-part lunch series that looks at changes in Myanmar since Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy took power in the wake of the first free and open election in a generation. The series will examine the progress underway to protect human rights, achieve peace, and address the legacy of abuses and conflict in Myanmar dating back to the 1950s.

For the second talk, on April 10, Matthew Bugher, an HLS alumnus with investigative experience into international crimes in Myanmar, will discuss accountability efforts in the country, including a major investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity.



Share By Email


March 15, 2017

Disarmament family loses loved and legendary campaigner Bob Mtonga

Posted by Bonnie Docherty

The humanitarian disarmament community lost a legend last week. Bob Mtonga, a medical doctor and long-time activist, died in his native Zambia shortly after returning from one of countless international trips to promote the protection of civilians in armed conflict. He was just 51.

Bob Mtonga-50 ratifications of ATT-2014

Bob Mtonga celebrates the ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty by 50 countries in 2014.

Bob was a much-loved leader in the field of humanitarian disarmament, which seeks to end civilian suffering caused by indiscriminate and inhumane weapons. He campaigned for strong international law on nuclear weapons, and landmines, and cluster munitions, and the arms trade. He served on the leadership committees of several civil society coalitions and had been co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).

In less than two weeks, the UN General Assembly will begin negotiating a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. This coming September marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Mine Ban Treaty. Next year is the 10th anniversary of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Bob contributed to each of these milestones. His absence at the nuclear negotiations and anniversary celebrations will be deeply felt.

While making international law is often a slow process, nothing would ever deter Bob from working to improve the world. One friend wrote after his death, “Wherever we all go from this place, we can be sure that since Bob has preceded us he is already organizing it to be a better place.”

I met Bob more than a decade ago during the Oslo Process, which produced the Convention on Cluster Munitions. I came to know dozens of civil society advocates during those negotiations, but Bob immediately stood out as a campaigner and a personality. Continue Reading…

Share By Email


March 10, 2017

Tracking a remnant of war in Kosovo

Posted by Jared Small, JD '18

Tomorrow, my Harvard Law School colleagues and I will board an airplane for Kosovo. Our goal: track down remnants of a war that ended nearly two decades ago.

The Kosovo War ended in 1999 after a months-long NATO airstrike crippled Yugoslav and Serbian forces and paved the way for an internationally monitored Kosovan autonomy.  Kosovo has since declared independence, and is moving forward towards what it hopes will become full membership in the European Union.

Damage from depleted uranium penetrators in Gjakova/Đakovica. Credit: Naomi Toyoda /  ICBUW

Damage from depleted uranium penetrators in Gjakova/Đakovica. Credit: Naomi Toyoda / ICBUW

But there is an invisible part of this story that has largely escaped the public eye over the past decade and a half.  Our team from the International Human Rights Clinic will travel to Kosovo to better understand potential environmental and human health impacts that linger from the war.

During the course of the NATO airstrikes, United States aircraft deployed at least 5,723 kg of Depleted Uranium (DU) ammunition at Serbian and Yugoslav targets.  As an incredibly dense by-product of the process of enriching uranium, DU is often used by militaries in armor-piercing shells and bullets. American A-10 Thunderbolts fired DU at more than 100 ground targets during the campaign against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who was attempting to cleanse Kosovo of its nearly 90% ethnic Albanian population.

In addition to penetrating armored vehicles, DU rounds ended up in areas now returned to civilian use, including bucolic buildings and urban streets. Even 18 years after the end of the war many of these penetrators remain scattered around Kosovo.

For a minute or so after the war, the world took notice of the fact that Kosovo had been littered with DU. The media reacted to a Pentagon statement acknowledging the use of DU. The Post-Conflict Assessment Unit of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) both made site visits to Kosovo shortly after.

But concern about DU faded from the public eye as the world moved on from the Balkan Wars and new events demanded resources and attention.  The initial UNEP and WHO reports cited neither a “smoking penetrator” nor any cancerous abnormalities in the civilian population.  Those same reports, however, warned of potential longer-term radioactivity issues stemming from ingestion of uranium in drinking water or inhalation of uranium dust suspended in the air.

DU’s chemical toxicity raises other concerns. When ingested, the greatest concentrations of DU may show up in the kidneys, liver tissue, and skeletal structure, potentially causing renal dysfunction and organ damage.

As we head to Kosovo, here’s what we know: calls by concerned stakeholders for longer-term water, soil, air, and livestock monitoring in Kosovo have not been heeded.  And studies of heavily targeted DU sites elsewhere in the Balkans—such as the TRZ Hadžići Tank Repair Facility in Bosnia and Herzegovina—have uncovered health and psychosocial consequences among populations exposed to DU.

Even before setting foot in Kosovo, we have begun discussing the value of increased information sharing and heightened transparency around DU target areas.  Our trip will allow us to examine the state of awareness that surrounds these issues, and ultimately to offer recommendations for a response that is in line with the needs of Kosovan individuals, communities, and civil society.

Share By Email


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.

Share By Email


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.


Share By Email


February 15, 2017

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


“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.



Share By Email


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.


Share By Email