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January 14, 2019
The Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School invites applications for its post graduate fellowships: the Henigson Human Rights Fellowship in Human Rights and the Satter Human Rights Fellowship in Human Rights. Applications are due March 15, 2019. These fellowships are open to graduating LLMs, JDs, and recent alumni holding clerkships or public interest fellowships. Come to our information session on Wednesday, January 30 in WCC 3018 to learn more and speak with advisors.
About the Henigson Fellowship
The Henigson Fellowship was made possible by a generous gift from Robert and Phyllis Henigson. The fellowship is awarded annually to present HLS students or recent graduates with a demonstrated commitment to international human rights. It supports individuals with an interest in exploring a career as an academic, activist, official, or practitioner in which human rights plays a significant role.
The Henigson Fellowship supports ten to twelve months of work in the developing world, usually with a nongovernmental organization (NGO). Each full fellowship carries a stipend of $27,000 and $1,500 toward international health insurance. Fellows may supplement the fellowship from other grants and awards up to a limit of $18,000.
About the Satter Fellowship
The Satter Fellowship has been made possible by a generous gift by Muneer A. Satter ’87. Students are awarded Satter Fellowships annually to work with organizations promoting human rights defense in response to mass atrocity or widespread and severe patterns of rights abuse.
The Satter Human Rights Fellowship focuses on human rights violations in countries classified as “Not Free” (rated 7) in the Freedom House index. The fellowship is limited to work on the following areas: 1) situations of mass atrocity; 2) situations of widespread and severe violations of human rights such as crimes against humanity that may be associated with civil conflict, failed states, authoritarian leaders or other highly repressive regimes; 3) situations of transition in the aftermath of conditions that meet the criteria outlined in (1) or (2). Preferred fellowship locations are for work in the Middle East and Africa. Other locations (e.g., Myanmar) that meet the above criteria may also be considered.
The fellowship carries a stipend of up to $45,000 for the twelve-month fellowship period.
January 9, 2019
The Human Rights Program Summer and Visiting Fellowship applications are due February 1st. These Fellowships are but two of the opportunities the Academic Program offers to scholars and students to conduct research and work in the human rights field. Summer fellowships are offered to Harvard Law School returning JD students and SJD students. Visiting fellowships give scholars and practitioners with a substantial background in human rights the chance to spend a semester or an academic year conducting research on a human rights topic related to their expertise.
About the Summer Fellowship
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. Interns work for at least eight weeks with nongovernmental or intergovernmental organizations concerned with human rights, exclusively outside the United States. The Program encourages interns to work in organizations in the developing world that are actively involved in monitoring and responding to human rights violations, grass roots mobilization, or similar activities. Before applying, students must meet with Emily Keehn, Associate Director of the Academic Program, for advising.
About the Visiting Fellowship
The Visiting Fellowship Program gives thoughtful individuals with a demonstrated commitment to human rights an opportunity to step back and conduct serious inquiries in the human rights field. Individuals who become fellows at the Program are usually scholars with a substantial background in human rights or experienced practitioners and activists. Typically, fellows come from outside the United States. They form an essential part of the human rights community, engage in a Fellows Lunch Colloquium, and devote the majority of their time to research and writing. During this time, they may also audit courses in human rights and related subjects.
January 4, 2019
How Facebook is Reconfiguring Freedom of Speech in Situations of Mass Atrocity: Lessons from Myanmar and the Philippines
Posted by Jenny Domino LLM'18
Jenny Domino is a Satter Human Rights Fellow (funded through the Human Rights Program) working with ARTICLE 19 to counter hate speech. In an article for OpinioJuris, she argues that Facebook’s secrecy around its community standards and its intermediary status as a hosting “platform” detract from international law’s ability to hold the corporation accountable for its role encouraging harmful rhetoric that fuels mass atrocity. Find the full text of the article below and at OpinioJuris.org. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and not the views of ARTICLE 19.
Facebook has been described as a service to democracy. This perception arguably peaked during the Arab Spring uprisings, touted as Facebook’s crowning glory in its mission to connect people. The past two years have effectively undermined that rhetoric, as serious lapses in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the Russian hacking in the 2016 US Presidential election have shown.
In Southeast Asia, we don’t need to look far to see how Facebook has been used to oppress. The OHCHR Fact-Finding Mission in Myanmar recently concluded that Facebook was instrumental in the dissemination of hate speech against the Rohingya. In the Philippines, disinformation on Facebook has enabled the triumph and reign of Duterte, whose war on drugs has reportedly claimed thousands of civilian lives. Notably, both situations are under preliminary examination at the International Criminal Court. If Facebook has failed in a mature democracy such as the United States, it has all the more failed in struggling democracies. Rather than bringing the world closer, Facebook has facilitated the spread of divisive rhetoric even within borders.
This year, Facebook finally published its Community Standards in an effort to be more transparent. It has also started to publish a report of their Community Standards enforcement. These were announced during the first Asia-Pacific Facebook Community Standards Forum held last month in Singapore, which I attended.
Conspicuously, relevant information on how these rules operate remain shrouded in secrecy. We have the applicable rules and the results of their implementation, but we are left in the dark as to what happens in between. Facebook did disclose the type of people they hire as content moderators (ranging from counter-terrorism experts to previous law enforcers), or the fact that they use human labor and algorithms to review content, but when pressed about the details on the process, they invoke their content reviewers’ safety in refusing to disclose any information on this aspect.
This seems odd. If Facebook has chosen to disclose the type of people they are hiring, why can’t they disclose their procedure on content moderation, which is arguably less likely to reveal the identity of their content reviewers and thus expose them to physical risk?
This is crucial in monitoring Facebook’s efforts to improve its operations in situations of mass atrocity. Information on procedure would help civil society monitor social media companies’ timely detection and moderation of hate speech posted on their platform, which could prevent further escalation of violence or abuse towards a victim group. This, in turn, could strengthen the normative force of the Genocide Convention’s preventive provisions, including the crime of direct and public incitement to commit genocide.
Information on procedure can also shed light on how a certain situation will be prioritized over others. During the forum, Facebook admitted that the company prioritizes certain content over others, but there is no information on how these priorities are decided. The situation in Myanmar is unique in that the UN itself made a finding on Facebook’s enabling role; what metric does Facebook plan to use moving forward? This will be crucial in the work of the ICC, whose recent statementson potential situation countries include references to incitement to violence, where the battle is increasingly being fought on Facebook.
The kind and depth of information that Facebook chooses to disclose regarding its Community Standards reflect the ease with which corporations can evade accountability through the use of the “platform” nomenclature. Tarleton Gillespie has written about how intermediaries manipulate the ambivalent, multi-layered meanings of the term “platform” to serve different constituencies – ordinary citizens, businesses, policymakers, and so forth. Though platforms seem to only “facilitate” expression, there is nothing neutral about the curating, filtering, and “orchestrating” of posted content that they take on. As mediators of content, platforms also crucially mediate relations among users, between users and the public, between users and sellers, and even between users and governments.
Facebook’s earlier reference to itself as a neutral platform could explain its previous indifference to the impact of its operations in Southeast Asia, but it also continues to frame corporate policy on public engagement. Because the term “platform” does not carry with it a clear, corresponding set of obligations for accountability on Community Standards enforcement, Facebook can conveniently choose what to disclose depending on what their interests dictate at a given point in time – whether improving public image, expanding operations, or fulfilling the demands of the UN.
This is worrying. While our demand for transparency from our public officers is guaranteed by law, our expectation from Facebook is not. We can only know what Facebook lets us know despite the impact of their Community Standards enforcement to situations of mass atrocity. Continue Reading…
November 16, 2018
The Human Rights Program invites applications for its Visiting Fellows Program for the 2019-2020 academic year.
About the Visiting Fellows Program
The Visiting Fellows Program gives individuals with a demonstrated commitment to human rights an opportunity to step back and conduct a serious inquiry in the human rights field. Visiting Fellows are usually scholars with a substantial background in human rights, experienced activists, or members of the judiciary or other branches of government.
Typically, fellows come from outside the U.S., and spend from one semester to a full academic year in residence at Harvard Law School, where they devote the majority of their time to research and writing on a human rights topic.
The fellows form an essential part of the human rights community at Harvard Law School, and participate in the Human Rights Program’s Visiting Fellows Colloquium, as well as a number of other activities.
The Human Rights Program provides between four to eight fellows annually with a shared office space, access to computers, and use of the Harvard library system.
In order to profit from the fellowship, fluent spoken English is essential.
For the 2019-2020 year, HRP has a particular interest in research focusing on the topic of indirect discrimination in comparative perspective.
As a general matter, the Human Rights Program does not fund fellows. However, applicants who are nationals of low or middle income countries are eligible to apply for the Eleanor Roosevelt Fellowship, which offers a stipend to help defray the cost of living.
The deadline to submit applications is February 1, 2019. Click here for more information on how to apply or write to Emily Nagisa Keehn, the Associate Director of the Academic Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 23, 2018
This piece originally appeared as a spotlight feature on Harvard Law School’ s Today homepage on May 22, 2018, written by Ian Spaho.
In recognition of their demonstrated excellence in representing clients and undertaking advocacy or policy reform projects, Amy Volz ’18 and Ha Ryong Jung (Michael) ’18 were named the 2018 recipients of the David A. Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award at Harvard Law School. The award is named in honor of the late Clinical Professor David Grossman ’88, a public interest lawyer dedicated to providing high-quality legal services to low income communities.
Described by nominators as “the embodiment of Grossman’s tireless pro bono spirit,” Volz contributed thousands of hours of pro bono service to clients through the Harvard Immigration Project (HIP), the International Human Rights Clinic, and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC).
At HLS, Volz co-founded the Immigration Response Initiative, a student group comprised of nearly 400 students. The Immigration Response Initiative focused on more than a dozen projects, including legal research for the American Civil Liberties Union; state and local advocacy for immigrant-friendly policies; and support for HIRC’s litigation efforts to stop the Muslim Ban. Volz wrote answers to frequently-asked-questions related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and helped organize DACA renewal clinics for members of the Harvard community. She also drafted portions of an amicus brief to stop President Trump’s Executive Order from cutting refugee admissions. She did all of this work pro bono without receiving any academic credit.
Volz also put together a noteworthy report detailing a range of issues, including detention, denial of parole or release from detention, criminalization of asylum seekers, and the expansion of expedited removal proceedings. The report became the basis for a request for a hearing before the Inter-American Commission and litigation before the Canadian courts.
“Amy is a consummate professional and clear communicator who is thoughtful about her role as well as her place on a team. She listens effectively but, at the same time, she is always prepared to offer her opinions and ideas,” wrote her nominators from the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. “She is smart, enthusiastic, thoughtful, and totally reliable.”
Her commitment to social justice is also evident in her work with the International Human Rights Clinic, where she worked for two years. Throughout this time, she worked on a complicated lawsuit, Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín, which was litigated in U.S. federal court on behalf of the family members of Bolivian citizens who were killed by the Bolivian military in 2003. The suit brought claims against Boliva’s former president and minister of defense for their roles in orchestrating these killings. In April, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the families, awarding them $10 million.
“Volz was involved in all aspects of the litigation and her work was nothing short of outstanding. She developed a deep, detailed knowledge of a very intricate case, from the most minute factual details to larger strategic decisions, a testament to not only her intelligence but also her commitment,” her nominators wrote.
“Her ability to connect with people in such a meaningful way, combined with her deep understanding of the case and the evidence that we needed to provide at trial, helped us elicit the testimony that we needed to prove our case from multiple difficult witnesses,” said Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director of the International Human Rights Clinic Susan Farbstein, who also nominated Volz.
“I am incredibly honored to be a recipient of this award and grateful for the many opportunities I have had to get involved in clinical and SPO work at HLS,” said Volz. “Working with amazing mentors in the Immigration & Refugee Clinical Program and the International Human Rights Clinic has been the greatest gift of my time in law school. I am excited to carry on the lessons I have learned here as I begin my career.”
Ha Ryong Jung (Michael)
Ha Ryong Jung, a native of South Korea, was recognized for his unparalleled commitment to clinical education and the field of children’s rights. At HLS, he contributed more than 2,000 pro bono hours with the International Human Rights Clinic, Child Advocacy Clinic, and HLS Advocates for Human Rights. He also worked pro bono at the regional office of the United Nations Children’s Fund in Thailand, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Boston Juvenile Court, and Volunteer Lawyers Project.
“Jung has spent the better part of his lifetime building his capacity to promote the human rights of children, particularly the neediest children,” wrote his nominators in the Child Advocacy Program. They noted that his clinical and academic work were outstanding, showing a drive to learn, intellectual curiosity, and the ability to make connections.
In the Child Advocacy Clinic, Jung received special recognition for his important contributions to his placement organization and the quality of his participation and engagement in the clinic seminar. He worked on laws and policies affecting children and young people, including those undergoing removal proceedings and experiencing custody complications due to undocumented parents facing deportation. “His thoughtful and reflective contributions made him a beloved member of his fieldwork office and the class,” wrote his nominators.
Jung has taken his clinical experiences and infused them into other aspects of his law school life. He is the first student to complete the Harvard-wide Child Protection Certificate Program administered by the Harvard François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Additionally, he re-ignited HLS’ student group Child & Youth Advocates, organizing events and skills-based training related to child welfare, education, and juvenile justice. He also created a student database to encourage networking among HLS students and graduates interested in the field of child advocacy.
One of his most impressive accomplishments, according to his nominators, was establishing the Child Advocacy Hub, which connects organizations working on children’s issues to law students interested in working remotely on short-term projects. Seeing an unmet need in the legal services community for additional help, and a desire on the part of HLS students to volunteer, Jung came up with the idea of matching the two groups. With this vision and his exceptional organizational and leadership skills, he reached out to stakeholders and launched the Hub in early 2018. “Jung’s efforts were driven by his ability to identify a problem and solve it, and also by his deep drive to ensure that the range of opportunities to gain skills and participate in child advocacy-oriented activities for current and future HLS students is as robust as possible,” wrote his nominators.
“Jung is truly a one-of-a-kind person and student, and he is undoubtedly going to make significant contributions to the field of children’s rights once he begins his career,” his nominators concluded.
Reflecting on his three years at HLS Jung said, “When I was notified about this award, my first reaction was one of puzzlement and amazement because I knew so many students who were deserving of an award, and I never considered myself to fit that definition. However, the feelings that followed were of immense gratitude and honor with the understanding that the individuals I deeply admire had recognized my work as contributing to the lives of children and trusted that my efforts will firmly persist. I feel blessed to have been a part of the International Human Rights Clinic and the Child Advocacy Clinic for most of my time in law school, and those experiences have undoubtedly taken me a step closer to becoming an effective advocate for children. This award is the greatest gift that I have received, and it will serve to be an immeasurably valuable source of support and encouragement for me as I continue my pursuit of helping to protect children and their rights.”
March 15, 2018
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.
February 9, 2018
Monday, February 12, 2018
“Fundamental Rights and Impact Litigation in Pakistan”
A talk by Visiting Fellow Yasser Latif Hamdani
12:00- 1:00 p.m.
Please join Human Rights Program Visiting Fellow Yasser Latif Hamdani for a talk on fundamental rights litigation under the Pakistani Constitution. Hamdani will discuss his personal experience as an Advocate of the High Courts of Pakistan, including litigating landmark internet freedom cases. This will cover cases involving YouTube and Blackberry and ongoing challenges under domestic legislation.
Co-sponsored by the Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change, the Human Rights Program, and the South Asian Law Students Association
January 18, 2018
We look forward to seeing you at next Thursday’s informational session on HRP’s post-graduate fellowships, which have advising deadlines in February, and submission deadlines in March! Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about Henigson and Satter fellowships, which provide an invaluable opportunity to work with human rights organizations after graduation.
December 18, 2017
Every summer, the Human Rights Program funds internships at NGOs and government agencies for several law students who are considering human rights work as a career. HRP’s Summer Fellowship is open to JD students going into their 2L or 3L years and some LLMs.
The summer fellowship is a particularly great opportunity for those considering advanced human rights studies during the remainder of law school, and then careers in human rights.
“Human rights work is very rewarding but also challenging,” HRP Associate Director Emily Keehn said. “The summer fellowship enables students to gain substantial field experience, which is critical to the development of their human rights careers.”
Applications are due February 1, 2018; students must meet with Emily before applying.
To get a sense of the range of opportunities, here’s where our 2017 summer fellows worked:
Allie Brudney, JD ’19, worked at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights; Niku Jafarnia, JD ’19, worked at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ankara, Turkey; Alisan Oliver-Li, JD ’19, worked at the Legal Assistance Centre in Windoek, Namibia; Claudia Torres, LLM’16/SJD’20, worked in Mexico City at Brigada Callejera de Apoyo a la Mujer “Elisa Martinez,” an organization advocating for low-income sex workers’ human rights and civil liberties; Thaya Uthayophas, JD ’18, worked at Privacy International, a London-based organization advocating for the right to privacy across the world; and Evelyn Zheng, JD’18, worked at Justice Base, a Yangon-based organization that aims to promote the rule of law in transitional and post-conflict societies.
Emily will be available throughout January to advise students in-person. Please also feel free to email her (email@example.com) with any questions. Detailed information on the application process can be found on HRP’s website.
November 16, 2017
Posted by Emily Nagisa Keehn
The Human Rights Program invites applications for its Visiting Fellows Program for the 2018-2019 academic year. The Visiting Fellows Program gives individuals with a demonstrated commitment to human rights an opportunity to step back and conduct a serious inquiry in the human rights field. Visiting Fellows are usually scholars with a substantial background in human rights, experienced activists, or members of the judiciary or other branches of government.
Typically, fellows come from outside the U.S., and spend from one semester to a full academic year in residence at Harvard Law School, where they devote the majority of their time to research and writing on a human rights topic. The Program currently has a particular interest in fellows working on the United Nations Treaty Bodies in their research, though applications are not limited in this regard.
The fellows form an essential part of the human rights community at Harvard Law School, and participate in the Human Rights Program’s bi-monthly Visiting Fellows Colloquium, as well as a number of other activities.
The Human Rights Program provides approximately four fellows annually with a shared office space, access to computers, and use of the Harvard library system. As a general matter, the Human Rights Program does not fund fellows. However, applicants who are nationals of low or middle income countries are eligible for the Eleanor Roosevelt Fellowship, which offers a stipend to help defray the cost of living. In order to profit from the fellowship, fluent spoken English is essential.
The deadline to submit applications is February 1, 2018. Click here for more information on how to apply or write to Emily Nagisa Keehn, the Associate Director of the Academic Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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