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July 16, 2014
Here’s some good news for recent grads committed to doing human rights work: we’re re-opening the application process for our Satter Fellowship!
The Satter Human Rights Fellowship is designed to support and promote human rights defense in response to mass atrocity or widespread and severe patterns of rights abuse.
Past fellows have worked with Amnesty International, building the evidence base and capacity for crimes against humanity and war crimes in West Africa; with Public International Law & Policy Group in Libya providing legal advice on issues related to constitution making, transitional justice and accountability, and access to justice; and with Fortify Rights International in Thailand on monitoring, advocacy, and training to protect and promote human rights in several different regions in Myanmar.
To apply for the Satter, you must have graduated from Harvard Law School within the last three years. Applications will be accepted until the fellowship is filled.
March 26, 2014
(This tribute was written by Henry Steiner: founder of the Human Rights Program in 1984 and its director for 21 years; Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law Emeritus)
Robert Henigson, my cousin and lifelong close friend, died on January 28 this year. We were classmates at Harvard Law School. After our graduation in 1955, HLS continued to figure in both our lives. I spent my academic career here. In a different environment and career, Bob’s activities linked him as well to this school.
I refer to the reach of his extensive philanthropy to HLS and its Human Rights Program. Bob became a leading supporter of our work in this field. His gifts enabled HRP to open fruitful paths toward its growth, while also contributing to the breadth of the school’s faculty and curriculum.
Bob practiced law at the Los Angeles firm of Lawler, Felix, and Hall, where he became a prominent lawyer and managing partner. He came to know people organizing a number of start-up companies, some related to scientific invention (Bob held two degrees from Caltech), that piqued his interest. His long-term investments in a few of them led to enduring relationships by Bob’s serving as their adviser, director or board chairman. In his last, seriously ailing years when travel was onerous, Bob’s joining meetings by phone had to do the job. Those years also brought to an end the hyperactive outdoor life that he and his wife Phyllis had relished – skiing, running, biking, hiking.
As his career in practice wound down, Bob’s attention to public-interest issues absorbed ever greater time, to the point where philanthropy trumped other ongoing activities during the post-retirement decades. His social, cultural and political concerns retained their earlier vitality. Bob found outlets or expression for them in a variety of philanthropic ventures. Some responded to liberal commitments to domestic civil liberties as well as to his liberal internationalism embracing the human rights movement. Other ventures assisted early education for the less well off or university centers; aided cultural institutions like orchestras and theatres; and strengthened organizations protecting against the spoiling of the natural world. At the same time, Bob worked closely with community leaders to advance the welfare of the local community on Orcas Island where he and Phyllis retired.
In my view, two innovations in human rights education stemming from Bob and Phyllis’s ongoing gifts to the school top the list of what those gifts made (or will make) possible. The first in time, the endowed Henigson Human Rights Fellowships that HRP administers, are available principally to graduating J.D. and LL.M. students who have demonstrated their commitment to human rights and their interest in building that field into their careers. Those students selected for fellowships actively participate for about a year in the work of a human rights NGO designated by them within a developing country. Stipends are in the neighborhood of $27,000. Recent comments (see below, directly following this tribute) from several of the 35 Henigson Fellows over the last 13 years describe ways how their experiences bore on their later, ongoing human rights work. These experiences were gained in such countries as Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Congo, Egypt, Hungary, India and Uganda. Continue Reading…
March 21, 2014
Posted by Taylor Landis, JD '11, Satter Fellow and Researcher at Fortify Rights
Last month, the government of Myanmar made the shocking decision to evict Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) from Rakhine State, cutting off tens of thousands of mostly-stateless Rohingya Muslims from their last refuge of lifesaving medical care.
The decision came on the heels of a new report by Fortify Rights, offering definitive proof that the Myanmar government has targeted the minority Rohingya Muslims of Rakhine State for decades. The 79-page report, Policies of Persecution: Ending Abusive State Policies Against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, is based on leaked government documents, witness testimony, and public records, revealing severe violations of human rights of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, including restrictions on the freedom of movement, marriage, childbirth, lifesaving medical care, and other aspects of daily life in northern Rakhine State.
Denied citizenship in Myanmar, the 1.33 million Rohingya are confined to worsening conditions in Rakhine State. In our report, we make 20 recommendations to the government of Myanmar; chief among them is a call to abolish these abusive policies and end their enforcement.
The government’s response was telling: Within hours of publication, presidential spokesman Ye Htut condemned Fortify Rights and doubled-down on the government’s official line of racism by labeling the organization a “Bengali lobby group” – at once dismissing credible human rights concerns while invoking incendiary terminology (“Bengali”) employed to deny the Rohingya ethnicity and erroneously imply the Rohingya population are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Rendered stateless by Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Law, an estimated 140,000 Rohingya have been forced into camps for internally displaced persons since 2012. when an eruption of violence between the Rohingya and ethnic-Rakhine Buddhists quickly gave way to orchestrated attacks on the Rohingya. Tens of thousands of others have fled the country by sea. Myanmar security forces have repeatedly failed to protect the Rohingya from attacks, and in some cases have participated in killings and other abuses against them. Continue Reading…
January 31, 2014
“Post-Graduate Fellowships: An Informational Session”
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Please join us for pizza and an informational session about the post-graduate fellowships offered through the Human Rights Program. We’ll fill you in on the Henigson and Satter fellowships, both of which have deadlines in March.
November 27, 2013
Posted by Mindy Roseman
The Human Rights Program invites applications from advocates and/or practitioners to be in residence for a period of one or two semesters, to take a step back and conduct a serious scholarly inquiry into the field of human rights. Our fellows come from all around the world: Africa, Europe, Latin America, and occasionally the US and beyond. They are usually scholars with a substantial background in human rights, or experienced activists.
For the academic year 2014-15, we are particularly – though not exclusively – interested in applications from scholars and practitioners interested in producing scholarship related to the UN treaty bodies: the ten committees and the treaties they monitor.
A residential appointment at the Human Rights Program offers considerable benefits to scholars and practitioners. We provide shared office space and access to a computer and wireless network. Visiting Fellows have full access to the extensive research and library resources of Harvard University. Fellows may audit classes and interact and engage with faculty as well as with other visiting scholars in fellows programs across the university.
Visiting Fellows are expected to participate in a number of activities, the most important of which is the bi-monthly visiting fellows colloquium. Attendance is required of Visiting Fellows. Chaired by the Human Rights Program’s Co- Director, Professor Gerald Neuman, the colloquia offer Visiting Fellows the opportunity to share their work among colleagues, Harvard Law faculty, law (LLM) students, and the occasional visitors.
The deadline for applications is February 13, 2014. Applications are available here.
November 14, 2011
Posted by Cara Solomon
Last year, the Human Rights Program funded more than 20 students to work at internships abroad. You can meet several of them today at the International Summer Jobs Student Panel in Pound 213; they’ll be eating free burritos and dispensing their best advice there from 12:00- 1:00 pm.
In advance of the panel, we talked last week to Brett Stark, JD ’12, who worked at RefugePoint, an organization in Kenya that helps to meet the needs of people affected by war and conflict. He described how he came to care about this work; what he learned from his first summer internship; and why his second internship proved so successful.
HRP: You have a long-standing interest in social justice advocacy. Why did you choose law school to express it?
I thought it would be the most effective way for me to be the best social justice advocate I could be—given our system, and the powers that lawyers have, and also given what I felt like my abilities were, as an oral advocate, as a person who enjoys connecting with people, and as someone who loves to write. That stuff kind of blended together with law.
When I came here, I was trying to figure out: what’s my thing going to be? I didn’t really know; I wanted to look around. One of the things I did was the Immigration and Refugee Clinic, and that was really awesome. Working with a client is an amazing experience. With teaching, which I had done before law school, you’re connecting with students, but with clients, it’s a different kind of connection. Continue Reading…
November 8, 2011
Posted by Susan Farbstein
Here’s some exciting news. HRP alumna (and my old friend from law school) Chi Mgbako, JD ’05, was just named to the National Law Journal’s “Minority 40 Under 40” list, which celebrates the top 40 minority lawyers in the country under the age of 40.
After graduating from HLS, Chi received a Harvard Henigson Human Rights Fellowship to join the West Africa office of the International Crisis Group, where her work focused on justice sector reform in Liberia and Sierra Leone as well as political reform in Nigeria.
Since 2007, she has built and directed the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham University School of Law, where her students conduct mobile legal aid clinics and engage in legal and policy analysis, human rights trainings, submissions before human rights bodies, and public interest litigation in partnership with international human rights NGOs. Recent projects have focused on prisoners’ rights, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, legal empowerment, sex workers rights, HIV/AIDS, and U.S. foreign policy.
Congrats, Chi, on all your amazing work and this well-deserved recognition!
July 1, 2011
Posted by Cara Solomon
As South Sudan’s official independence day approaches, former Satter fellow Nasredeen Abdulbari, LLM ’08, reflects on challenges past and present in a compelling piece for today’s Guardian. He also offers a message of hope:
“The past six decades of northern and southern Sudan’s relations, no one could deny, were difficult, painful and full of problems. However, our two nations need to open a new chapter, as we both move into the terra incognita of tomorrow.
In the name of all northern Sudanese, who have nothing in their hearts for the people of the south but love, I say to the people of South Sudan what Martin Luther King and others from all over the world said to the people of Ghana the day it gained its independence from Britain: ‘We greet you. And we give you our moral support. We hope for you God’s guidance as you move now into the realm of independence.'”
Nasredeen is currently a lawyer, academic, and lecturer in the International and Comparative Law Department at the University of Khartoum. For an article on his time at Harvard Law School, go here.
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