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June 11, 2019
On June 11, 2019, the New Zealand Court of Appeal announced that it would block the extradition to China of Kyung Yup Kim for an alleged homicide. The Court cited New Zealand’s commitment to human rights and a reasonable fear that Mr. Kim would suffer torture or other abuse and lack of a fair trial in the Chinese criminal justice system. Human Rights Program Visiting Fellow Dr Tony Ellis, who is also a New Zealand barrister with Blackstone Chambers, has represented Mr. Kim for the last ten years.
In a press release, Dr. Ellis said that the nearly 100-page judgment should have “profound human rights importance” for New Zealand and the greater Common Law world. Following the Court’s decision, Justice Minister Andrew Little will be forced to consider the human rights situation in China, and whether or not to trust “diplomatic assurances given by China” that torture will not be used, and that Mr. Kim would receive a fair trial, said the New Zealand Herald. In The New York Times and elsewhere, Dr. Ellis stated that he was hopeful the judgment would remain undisturbed, given Prime Minister Arden’s and the Labour government’s focus on human rights and criminal justice reform, as well as favorable circumstances around the makeup of the Court, and the powerful precedent they have set in this decision.
In quashing the extradition order, New Zealand joins its neighbor Australia in concerns over Chinese human rights abuses and its implications for extradition. Over the past week, protesters have taken to Hong Kong streets, demonstrating against a proposed law that would likewise allow for extradition to mainland China.
Dr. Ellis has been in residence at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program for the Spring Semester of 2019. Here, he focuses his research on the arbitrary detention of the intellectually disabled within an international setting.
May 9, 2019
The Human Rights Program is pleased to present its 2019-2020 Post-Graduate Fellowship Cohort. This year, we have awarded Satter and Henigson Fellowships to five remarkable 2019 Harvard Law School graduates: Terence (Terry) Flyte, Imani Franklin, Rez Gardi, Daniel Levine-Spound, and Nerissa Naidoo. HRP’s post-graduate fellowships are designed to help launch the careers of students who have demonstrated great promise as advocates and shown dedication to human rights while here at the Law School. Learn more about the new fellows and their projects below.
Terence Flyte LLM’19 is a Satter Fellow in Human Rights who will work with Legal Action Worldwide in Beirut, Lebanon. During his fellowship, Terry will represent survivors of sexual violence perpetrated during the Syrian civil war. He will focus on empowering survivors to advocate for themselves, establishing survivors’ associations, and assisting these associations in planning and carrying forward their pursuit for justice. In a partnership project between LAW and the Mukwege Foundation, Terry will contribute to a reparation and rehabilitation framework for survivors of sexual violence. He will also assist in preparing the case for Shanti Mohila, a group of Rohingya women subjected to sexual violence during clearance operations in Myanmar, in proceedings before the International Criminal Court.
Terry developed a commitment to tackling sexual violence while working on a clinical project researching conflict-related sexual violence in situations of detention in the International Human Rights Clinic, as well as during his time as a member of the legal team for the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. He has a strong interest in access to justice issues, having been involved in projects aimed at improving the treatment of vulnerable individuals in UK social security appeals, and highlighting problems in immigration detention hearings in Scotland. As passionate writing about international law as practicing it, Terry was one of the legal researchers that contributed to Oppenheim’s “International Law Volume III.” He holds an LLB with First Class Honours from the University of Glasgow.
Imani Franklin JD’19 is a joint JD-MPP student at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. As a Satter Fellow, she will work with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) in Beirut, Lebanon. At IRAP, she will focus on transitional justice and resettlement for Syrian refugees. In this capacity, she will work with Syrian human rights defenders to document the abuses they’ve faced in hopes of seeking accountability for perpetrators and seeking safe resettlement to third countries.
During law school, she served as a clinical student in the International Human Rights Clinic and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic. She is a member of HLS’s IRAP chapter, the Black Law Students Association, and the Harvard Law Review. Over the summers during graduate school, Imani has interned with: the Southern Center for Human Rights, Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), DOJ’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labor and Social Development, and Mercy Corps in the West Bank and Gaza. She previously worked at the Ford Foundation and with the youth empowerment nonprofit Think Unlimited in Amman, Jordan. Imani graduated in 2013 from Stanford University, where she majored in international relations and minored in Arabic.
Rez Gardi LLM’19 is a Satter Fellow in Human Rights who will work with the Free Yezidi Foundation in Duhok, in the Kurdish Region of Iraq. During her Fellowship, Rez will gather evidence of the targeted genocidal campaign carried out by ISIS against the Yezidis, including mass executions, kidnapping, torture, sexual violence, and other egregious human rights abuses, using a victim-centric approach. This evidence will be used to build cases in collaboration with relevant European and Iraqi/Kurdish authorities to prosecute the perpetrators.
Rez is a Fulbright Scholar from New Zealand. During her time at HLS she was involved in the International Human Rights Clinic, served as Co-Director for Programming for Advocates for Human Rights, as an Executive Article Editor for the Human Rights Journal, and held various positions on the International Law Journal, and Women’s Law Association.
Prior to HLS, Rez worked as a legal officer at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission; as a solicitor in the disputes and litigation team of New Zealand’s preeminent law firm; and as a human rights intern at the United Nations Human Settlements Program in Nairobi, Kenya. As a former refugee, she is passionate about supporting young refugees and founded Empower Youth Trust to address the underrepresentation of refugees in higher education. She holds an LLB (Honours) and a BA double majoring in international relations and criminology from the University of Auckland.
Daniel Levine-Spound JD’19 is a Satter Fellow in Human Rights who will work with the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) in Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo on their Peacekeeping Program. At HLS, Daniel spent three semesters in the International Human Rights Clinic, served as co-President of Advocates for Human Rights, co-founded the Progressive Jewish Alliance, and conducted research with several professors on international humanitarian law, counterterrorism, and disarmament. He recently co-authored a book, A History of the Criminalization of Homosexuality in Tunisia, tracing the history and contemporary application of the Tunisian sodomy law.
Prior to law school, Daniel worked at the Euro- Mediterranean Human Rights Network and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies in Tunis; taught high school English and interned at Human Rights Watch on a Fulbright grant in Paris; and worked as a researcher at C Global Consulting, where he designed a course in conflict resolution. He graduated from Brown University with honors in Comparative Literature in 2012.
Nerissa Naidoo LLM’19 is a Fulbright scholar from Durban, South Africa. As a Henigson Fellow, she will work at Social Media Exchange (SMEX) in Lebanon. SMEX focuses on Internet policy research and digital advocacy in the Middle East and globally. From issues around freedom of expression and open governance to privacy and surveillance, Nerissa will contribute to SMEX’s work in advancing human rights norms in a digital world. In particular, Nerissa will map and analyze the impacts of legal frameworks in digital environments, enabling civil society organisations and human rights defenders to view the operation of digital rights across jurisdictions around the globe.
Having grown up in the Global South and on the Internet, Nerissa has always been curious about the experiences of minorities online and is interested in the intersection of technology, identity and society. She’s blogged about ending violence against children for UNICEF, contributed to the Health Professions Council of South Africa’s Ethical Guidelines on Social Media Use for Doctors, and wrote her graduate dissertation on copyright protection for Black Twitter’s memes via cultural intellectual property principles. She serves as the Communications Director for Harvard Law School’s Advocates for Human Rights, the Social Media Chair for the Harvard African Law Association, and is also on the boards of the Harvard Human Rights and Business Association and Global South Dialogue. She graduated with her LLB degree summa cum laude from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in April 2018.
April 23, 2019
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!
March 12, 2019
In February 2019, OPIA Wasserstein Fellow Lillian Langford JD’13 spent a few days in residence at HLS, where she gave a talk co-sponsored by the Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative on “Sustainable Justice: Lessons from Twenty Years of Domestic War Crimes Prosecutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina” (video linked in title) that reflected on her career and current role as Head of Rule of Law for the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During law school, Lillian was an active member of the International Human Rights Clinic; after graduating, she was awarded a Henigson Fellowship in Human Rights. Following her recent visit to HLS, she spent a few moments reflecting to the Human Rights Program (HRP) on that experience, her career to date, and giving advice to future advocates interested in a path like hers. Read her Q&A below, and don’t forget to apply for the Henigson (and the Satter) Fellowships in Human Rights. Applications are due March 15! Continue Reading…
March 8, 2019
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 2019), 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, presenting their research to Human Rights Program staff, faculty, and other fellows. Read more about past Visiting Fellows and former OPIA/HRP Fellows here.
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 Friday, April 5, 2019.
March 4, 2019
Advice for Prospective Post-Graduate Fellows From IHRC Senior Clinical Fellow Nicolette Waldman JD’13
International Human Rights Clinic Senior Clinical Fellow Nicolette Waldman JD’13 recently shared some advice for prospective post-graduate fellows, including tips for preparing your application and lessons learned for how to make the most of your year abroad. As a Satter Fellow in Human Rights in 2013-2014, Nicolette worked as a field researcher with Center for Civilians in Conflict in Somalia, the Philippines, and Syria, focusing on civilian experiences in armed conflict. In the video below, Nicolette also traces her career trajectory back to this fellowship, as it gave her the field experience and independence required for her later work with Amnesty International and others.
For more on how to apply to post, visit our fellowships page. For the 2019-2020 cycle, applications for the Henigson and Satter Fellowships will only be accepted online (through one portal). Applications are due March 15, 2019 and prospective applicants should meet with an advisor before applying.
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 email@example.com.
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