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February 23, 2015

TODAY: “Mediation, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: Challenges Facing the UN’s Mediation Support Unit”

February, 23, 2015

“Mediation, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: The Challenges facing the UN’s Mediation Support Unit”

A brown bag discussion with Mark Muller Stuart, Q.C.

WCC 4059
12:00 – 1:00  pm

Light lunch will be served

Mark Muller Stuart QC currently works with the UN Department of Political Affairs Mediation Support Unit. He is a senior advocate associated with Doughty Street Chambers in London and the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh, where he specializes in public international law, criminal, terrorism and human rights related litigation. Muller regularly advises numerous international bodies on humanitarian and conflict resolution related issues.

Co-sponsors: Harvard Law and Development Society and the Harvard National Security Law Association

February 13, 2015

TODAY, Feb. 13: “Colombia’s Peace Process: Decision Time”

 

February 13, 2015

“Colombia’s Peace Process: Decision Time”

12:00 p.m.
WCC 3018

 

Please join us for a talk by Christian Voelkel, a Senior Analyst with the International Crisis Group, a non-governmental organization committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict. Christian has been based in Bogotá with the Crisis Group since 2011 and focused on Colombia and the Andean region since 2004. He will offer insights into ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and FARC, the country’s largest guerrilla group, focusing specifically on the challenges of finding a sustainable transitional justice model and managing FARC’s transition to civilian life.

February 12, 2015

Today, Feb. 12: “Law School Matters: Reassessing Legal Education Post-Ferguson” and other events

Today is packed with powerful events, starting at noon with Harvard Students for Inclusion’s two-day symposium, “Law School Matters: Reassessing Legal Education Post-Ferguson,” with a retrospective of race and social movements at HLS. In the early evening, starting at 5:15 p.m., there will be a teach-in on contextualization in legal education.

Finally, at 7:30 p.m., join the Muslim Law Students Association for dinner and a panel discussion on “The Role of Lawyers in Enabling and Justifying Torture,” featuring clinical instructor Deborah Popowski, professor of practice Alex Whiting and Center for Constitutional Rights’ Wells Dixon.

ENJOY.

February 11, 2015

Tomorrow: The Role of Lawyers in Enabling and Justifying Torture

February 12, 2014

“The Role of Lawyers in Enabling and Justifying Torture”

7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
WCC 1010

Dinner will be served

Please join Alex Whiting, Deborah Popowski, and Wells Dixon as they discuss the role of lawyers in authorizing the post-9/11 US torture program. The panelists will speak about their experiences litigating torture cases, explore ways in which individuals implicated in torture can be held accountable, and discuss possible institutional reforms in legal pedagogy and curriculum at HLS aimed at producing more morally-conscious and ethical leaders.

February 04, 2015

Tomorrow, Feb. 5: “A Right to Health?”

February 5, 2015

“The Right to Health?”

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

WCC 3019


There have been recent calls to establish a framework convention on health grounded in the human right to health. But is there really a human right to health? If there is, what does it entitle us to, and how do we decide? John Tasioulas, Professor and Director of the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy, and Law in The Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College London, will offer new answers to these questions, and will further argue that global health policy has to be responsive to all human rights, not just the right to health, and that we must address more than human rights in order to create effective global health policy. Professor Tasioulas is the 2014-2015 Lisa Goldberg Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. I. Glenn Cohen, Faculty Director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, BioTechnology and BioEthics, will respond.

January 29, 2015

Clinic Files Opening Brief in Apartheid Litigation Appeal

Posted by Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein

The Clinic and our partners filed an opening brief yesterday in the Second Circuit in an appeal in In re South African Apartheid Litigation. The case, which is being litigated under the Alien Tort Statute, seeks relief against IBM and Ford for assisting and supporting human rights violations committed in apartheid South Africa.

Back in August, the district court dismissed the case when the court denied Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to file an amended complaint against these two U.S. Defendants. The lower court reasoned that the claims did not sufficiently “touch and concern” the territory of the United States, as required by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, which established a presumption against extraterritoriality in ATS cases.

On appeal, Plaintiffs contend that the lower court failed to undertake the necessary inquiry into the U.S. Defendants’ own conduct in the United States, and instead focused only on actions that took place in South Africa. The proposed amended complaint contains detailed new allegations about how, from the United States, both Defendant corporations aided and abetted the South African security forces and government to commit human rights violations over several decades. Defendants will file their opposition brief in the coming months.

Clinical students Ariel Nelson, J.D. ’15, Brian Klosterboer, J.D. ’16, and Peter Stavros, J.D. ’16, contributed research and drafting for the brief.

January 26, 2015

Call for Papers: Hague Yearbook of International Law

The following publication opportunity comes via Prof. Jure Vidmar, a former Visiting Fellow at HRP, and an editor of the Hague Yearbook of International Law:

Yearbook2The Hague Yearbook of International Law – Call for Papers

Deadline: 1 March 2015.

We welcome articles (8,000-20,000 words) and shorter commentaries (4,000-7,000 words) on any aspect of private or public international law, written in either English or French. All submissions will be peer-reviewed. More information is available here.

January 21, 2015

Post-Graduate Fellowships: Upcoming Deadlines!

This is your friendly reminder from the Human Rights Program that there are several post-graduate fellowship opportunities with deadlines in February and March. The full list from OPIA is available here.

http://today.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/murciano_inside2_0265.jpg

Judy Murciano, Fellowships Director

We strongly advise you to tap into the wisdom and generosity of Judy Murciano, Fellowships Director, who is available for advising now and throughout the year. She is, without a doubt, one of the best resources available at HLS.

A couple of pressing deadlines are worth noting: Materials for the University Traveling Fellowships (The Kennedy, Knox and Shelton Traveling Fellowships, as they are collectively known, and the Australian Graduate Research Fellowships) must be submitted to Judy, by hard copy, the week of Feb. 2, so that she can write nominating letters by Feb. 13. The fellowships support a full academic year of research or study abroad for Harvard graduate/doctoral students or 2015 graduates of one of Harvard’s professional schools.

Applications for the Ford Foundation’s Post-Graduate Fellowship in Public Interest Law are due to OPIA by February 9. The fellowship funds one year of full-time work at a Ford Foundation grantee organization beginning in fall 2015. Only 3Ls, clerks, and JD alumni presently on 1 year fellowships may apply. Strong preference will be given to 3Ls.

The application for the Public Service Venture Fund is due March 2 for work in the public interest at either a non-profit or government agency. Strong preference for 3Ls, but clerks and LLMs may apply. All materials must be submitted online.

HRP also offers two post-graduate fellowships- the Henigson and the Satter- both of which have deadlines in early March. To find out more about those fellowships, please join us on Jan. 30 for an informational session at noon in WCC 4059.

December 17, 2014

Clinic and Partners Call on Myanmar Officials to Drop Charges against Father Complaining of Rights Violations

Posted by Matthew Bugher, Global Justice Fellow

In a letter to Myanmar’s President Thein Sein on December 8, the International Human Rights Clinic and five leading international human rights organizations called for criminal charges to be immediately and unconditionally dropped against Shayam Brang Shawng, a resident of Kachin State in northern Myanmar. Brang Shawng is accused of making “false charges” in a complaint to the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission about the alleged killing of his 14-year-old daughter, Ja Seng Ing, by Myanmar Army soldiers. A Myanmar Army officer initiated the case against Brang Shawng, and the action appears to be retaliatory in nature. The Myanmar government has not responded to a letter, reposted below, which the Clinic and its partners published today.

 

December 08, 2014

President Thein Sein
President’s Office
Nay Pyi Taw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar

Re: Prosecution of Shayam Brang Shawng

Dear President Thein Sein,

We write to you to express our concerns about the criminal prosecution of Shayam Brang Shawng (hereinafter Brang Shawng), an ethnic Kachin resident of Sut Ngai Yang village, Hpakant Township, Kachin State, who has been charged under Article 211 of the Myanmar Penal Code.

Brang Shawng is accused of making “false charges” against the Myanmar Army in a letter he sent to the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) on October 1, 2012. In the letter, Brang Shawng alleged that Myanmar Army soldiers from Infantry Battalion (IB) 389 shot and killed his 14-year-old daughter, Ja Seng Ing, in Sut Ngai Yang village on September 13, 2012.

The criminal prosecution of Brang Shawng appears to be in retaliation for the complaint to the MNHRC and runs contrary to Myanmar’s obligations under domestic and international law. The case also calls into question the ability of the MNHRC and other state institutions to protect persons filing complaints with the commission. We therefore request that you take action to ensure that the charges against Brang Shawng are immediately and unconditionally dropped and that similar cases do not occur in the future.

Death of Ja Seng Ing and prosecution of Brang Shawng

On December 6, 2014, the Truth Finding Committee of Ja Seng Ing’s Death (the Committee)—an independent group of ten civil society organizations from Kachin State—published a 42-page report concerning the death of Ja Seng Ing. The Committee conducted interviews with 16 individuals who had knowledge relevant to Ja Seng Ing’s death. The report includes numerous accounts indicating that Myanmar Army soldiers shot and killed Ja Seng Ing in Sut Ngai Yang village on September 13, 2012.

Read More

December 17, 2014

Pernambuco State Bans Strip Searches of Visitors to Detention Centers

Posted by Fernando Ribeiro Delgado

For decades, human rights advocates have sought an end to the humiliating state practice of strip searching prison visitors in Pernambuco, Brazil, the state housing the notorious Aníbal Bruno Prison Complex. Yesterday, responding to the Aníbal order of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and to a growing national movement against the degrading searches, the Secretariat of Development and Human Rights at last banned the procedures through Administrative Order 258/2014. The order classifies as “humiliating, inhuman or degrading,” all searches that involve “total or partial nudity; any conduct that entails the introduction of objects into the bodily cavities of the persons searches; the use of dogs or sniffer animals, even if they are trained for that end;” and/or “manual contact with the intimate parts of the person being searched.”

Administrative Order 258/2014 in the Pernambuco Official Gazette of the Executive Branch, December 16, 2014, p.3.

Administrative Order 258/2014 in the Pernambuco Official Gazette of the Executive Branch, December 16, 2014, p.3.

The prohibition should benefit an estimated 30,000 families, applying to all detention centers in the state. Until recently, Pernambuco subjected nearly all prison visitors—often including children, elderly persons, and persons with disabilities—to invasive, degrading searches involving nudity and manual inspection of intimate body parts. Women and girls were most frequently subjected to the practice.

The ban is a milestone in decades of local struggle by the Serviço Ecumênico de Militância nas Prisões (Ecumenical Service of Advocacy in Prisons) and the Pastoral Carcerária (Catholic Prison Ministry), among others. The civil society coalition which successfully sought an Inter-American Court order (para. 20) prohibiting humiliating searches includes those two groups as well as Justiça Global (Global Justice) and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School.

A judge in Recife, Pernambuco, had issued a temporary ban on humiliating searches in Greater Recife this past April, two months after the civil society coalition sought the inter-American order. Yesterday’s prohibition on humiliating searches is more expansive, containing no temporal limit and applying to all Pernambuco prisons. It provides for searches to be done “preserving the honor and dignity of the human person,” and calls for the use of metal detectors and other measures to replace the old procedures. According to 2012 data from São Paulo, only 0.02% of 3.5 million humiliating searches yielded drugs or cell phones.

In September 2014, a resolution of the National Council on Crime and Penitentiary Policy recommended a ban on humiliating searches across Brazil. However, Bill 7764/2014, abolishing humiliating searches of prison visitors nationwide, is still pending in Congress.