Blog: Sexual and Reproductive Rights
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June 17, 2019
The Human Rights Program is pleased to announce that Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the United Nations Independent Expert (IE) for the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), will be joining HRP as a Senior Visiting Researcher. Mr. Madrigal-Borloz will be in residence at Harvard Law School from July 2019 to December 2020 while carrying out his mandate as Independent Expert. He will build a team of students to support his research agenda, take part in HRP’s prestigious Visiting Fellowship Colloquium, present his research publicly to the HLS community, and join the larger human rights community at Harvard University.
“The Human Rights Program is honored to welcome Victor Madrigal-Borloz to Harvard Law School while he carries out his mandate,” said Gerald Neuman, Co-Director of the Human Rights Program and J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School. “His work demonstrates his nuanced understanding of the issues and his sophisticated approach to dialogue with governments in order to achieve progress. Even as homosexuality is decriminalized in India, we see the world take steps backward elsewhere. Advocacy on these issues is more timely than ever.”
The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Mr. Madrigal-Borloz for a three-year term beginning January 2018. As Independent Expert, he is pursuing two overarching objectives: 1) heightening awareness of the violence and discrimination people experience due to sexual orientation and gender identity and 2) identifying measures that States may undertake to eradicate such violence and discrimination. He pursues these objectives via a variety of mechanisms: writing thematic reports, reviewing allegations of human rights violations, and evaluating country-specific situations, among others.
“I am delighted to have found an ideal match in the Human Rights Program for three key reasons: its resolve to pursue excellence to ensure the furtherance of human rights, the commitment of its faculty to the eradication of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the intellectual curiosity and contagious enthusiasm of its students,” said Mr. Madrigal-Borloz.
Until recently, Mr. Madrigal-Borloz was the Secretary-General of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (ICRT). He was previously Head of the Registry of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in addition to serving as a member of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture. In the latter role, he was Rapporteur on Reprisals and oversaw a draft policy on the torture and ill-treatment of LGBTI persons.
Mr. Madrigal-Borloz previously visited HRP in February 2019 for a public talk. He participated in a live Q&A with Zhadé Long JD’20, which can still be viewed on our Facebook page.
April 9, 2018
April 10, 2018
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Protection of LGBTQI Rights
12:00- 1:00 p.m.
Lunch will be provided
Please join HLS Lambda for a discussion with Ana Helena Chacón, Vice President of Costa Rica, on the landmark Advisory Opinion 24 issued last January by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights regarding same-sex marriage and transgender rights. The Court resolved that same-sex couples should be recognized and guaranteed “all the rights that are derived from a family bond between people of the same sex” and that governments must guarantee access “to all existing forms of domestic legal systems, including the right to marriage, in order to ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples without discrimination.” The Opinion sets precedent for 19 other Latin American and Caribbean countries that have agreed to abide by the Court’s decisions.
In addition to being the Vice President of Costa Rica, Madame Chacón acted as the Representative of Costa Rica in the case before the Inter-American Court and is globally recognized as a vocal champion for LGBT rights.
This event is being co-sponsored by La Alianza and the Harvard Women’s Law Association.
March 12, 2018
Earlier this month, we welcomed Carol Sanger, Visiting Professor at HLS and Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, and Mindy Roseman, Director of International Programs and Director of the Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women’s Rights at Yale Law School, for a timely and compelling conversation about human rights and the criminal punishment of abortion. Below is the full audio of their conversation.
February 28, 2018
March 1, 2018
“Criminal Abortion in the U.S.”
11:45- 12:45 p.m.
Please join us for a lunch talk on human rights and the criminal punishment of abortion with Carol Sanger, Austin Wakeman Scott Visiting Professor of Law at HLS and Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, and Mindy Roseman, Director of International Programs and Director of the Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women’s Rights at Yale Law School.
Despite Vice President Pence’s pledge to consign Roe v. Wade to the “ash heap of history,” there are signs that many Americans would not support the re-criminalization of abortion. Professor Sanger will discuss this evidence and raise questions about the criminal punishment of abortion, such as why pregnant woman have not been subject to criminal abortion laws in the U.S. and whether the current administration and red state politicians actually want Roe V. Wade to be overturned. Dr. Roseman will situate the U.S. experience within a global context by discussing criminal abortion in other countries and examining the treatment of criminal abortion under international human rights law.
This event is being co-sponsored by the HLS Criminal Justice Policy Program, the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics, and HLS Students for Reproductive Justice.
January 31, 2018
Thursday, February 1, 2018
“A Road Less Traveled: Feminism and Advocacy in Saudi Arabia”
A talk by Saudi scholar and activist Hala Aldosari
12:00- 1:00 p.m.
Lunch will be served
Saudi activist and scholar Hala Aldosari will discuss the status of women’s rights advocacy in Saudi Arabia, drawing lessons for feminists who choose to tread an uncharted, less traveled road. In this talk, Aldosari will draw personal insights and reflections from women’s rights campaigns and the ongoing journey to organize thought and action in a country where activism continues to be criminalized.
Co-Sponsored by the Middle Eastern Law Students Association, HLS Advocates, and the Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change.
January 26, 2018
Monday, January 29, 2018
“Punishing Disease: HIV and the Criminalization of Sickness”
Lunch will be served
Please join us for a talk with Trevor Hoppe, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University at Albany, SUNY, on his book, Punishing Disease: HIV and the criminalization of sickness. The book examines how and why U.S. policymakers and public health systems have adopted coercive and punitive responses to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. It also looks at how others diseases have been punished throughout history, and cautions against the extension of criminalization to diseases such as hepatitis and meningitis.
This talk is part of the Human Rights Program’s year-long speaker series examining the criminalization of human rights concerning gender, sexuality, and reproduction. The event is co-sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law, Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics, the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, and the Criminal Justice Policy Program.
November 9, 2017
Tomorrow, Nov. 10: Addressing the Harms and Curbing the Use of Armed Drones; LGBTQ Rights in the Arab World
Friday, November 10, 2017
“Armed Drones: Addressing Harms and Curbing Use”
A talk by Elizabeth Minor, Advisor, Article 36
12:00- 1:00 p.m.
Please join us for a brown bag informal lunch discussion with Elizabeth Minor, an Advisor at UK-based disarmament NGO Article 36. Minor will explore the current state of international action by states and NGOs to address the concerns raised by armed drones. She will also discuss the need to work towards agreement on the limits of the acceptable use of these technologies in order to respond to the harm they cause.
Minor is a researcher and campaigner who has worked for eight years with NGOs and in international coalitions, undertaking policy analysis and advocacy to address armed violence and harm from certain weapons. Most recently with Article 36 she worked to achieve the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017.
This event is part of the International Human Rights Clinic’s work on armed conflict and civilian protection.
“Dismantling Oppressive Structures: LGBTQ Rights in the Arab World”
A panel discussion
12:00- 1:00 p.m.
This event is open to Harvard Law School affiliates only
Over the past ten years, new battle lines have begun to form in much of the Arab world. Quietly, slowly, but firmly, LGBTQ activists across the region have begun to resist the legacy of decades of injustice and discrimination against them visibly and vocally by organizing their ranks and embarking on brave acts of resistance.
This panel will examine the cultural and sociopolitical origins and dynamics of homophobia and transphobia in the Arab world and engage in an open and honest conversation about what queer liberation would look like in this complex region. Panelists will draw on their own experiences as activists and debate solutions to dismantle the existing structures of oppression in a number of contexts, including Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, and Palestine.
The panelists: Sa’ed Atshan, Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College (Palestine); Dalia Al-Farghal, LGBTQ Rights Activist, (Egypt); Senda Ben Jbara, LGBTQ Rights Activist (Tunisia); and Tarek Zeidan, LGBTQ Rights Activist, Helem or Lebanese Protection for LGBTQs (Lebanon).
This event is co-sponsored by Lambda, HLS Advocates, MELSA, and the Human Rights Progam, all at Harvard Law School.
September 27, 2017
Thursday, September 28, 2017
“Rights, Action, and Accountability: Tackling Gender-Based Violence and HIV in Southern Africa”
A talk by Dean Peacock, Executive Director, Sonke Gender Justice
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Lunch will be served
Please join us for a talk by Dean Peacock, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sonke Gender Justice, an award winning South African NGO working across Africa to prevent gender-based violence, reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS, and promote human rights. Dean is a visiting scholar at the University of California, San Francisco Center for AIDS Prevention Studies and is an honorary senior lecturer at University of Cape Town’s School of Public Health. He is an internationally recognized expert on masculinities and serves on many advisory boards, including the Nobel Women’s Initiative Campaign to Stop Rape and Domestic Violence in Conflict, and was a member of the U.N. Secretary General’s Network of Men Leaders.
September 12, 2017
Posted by Anna Crowe, Yee Htun, Salma Waheedi, Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein
As human rights advocates, we support the student groups Lambda and QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) in their action today against Harvard Law School’s decision to allow JAG recruiting on campus, which is the school’s only exception to its anti-discrimination policy. We also support the students’ call for increased support and awareness for issues affecting the transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming community. We stand in solidarity with the students, staff and faculty seeking to build a more inclusive Harvard Law School.
Read the students’ statement here.
February 28, 2017
“Shifting Grounds in International Human Rights”
12:00- 1:00 p.m.
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.
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