Blog: Sexual and Reproductive Rights
January 28, 2014
“Legal Challenges and Strategies for Combatting Sexual Violence Against Children”
12:00- 1: 00 p.m.
Please join us for a talk by Corinne Dettmeijer, the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children. A former public prosecutor, and a current judge at the district court of The Hague, Dettmeijer will discuss the evolution of the perspective on child pornography as a crime, and the legal framework that has been developed in response. She will analyze the current situation by discussing two major child pornography cases: Paroline v. United States, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Robert M., a case that shocked the Netherlands at the end of 2010.
November 5, 2013
“Reproductive Rights around the Globe: A Panel Discussion”
-In gamete donor identifiability v. anonymity (I. Glenn Cohen, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Faculty co-Director, Petrie-Flom Center)
-The politics of evidence and expertise in domestic and international abortion litigation (Aziza Ahmed, Associate Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law, and Visiting Scholar, Petrie-Flom Center, Spring 2014)
-The use of international fora, including courts and treaty bodies, to advance reproductive rights (Mindy Jane Roseman, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, and Academic Director, Human Rights Program)
The panel will be moderated by Elizabeth Bartholet, Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School.
September 18, 2013
Events Thursday, Sept. 19: Litigating Rights of LGBTI Persons in Uganda; Millennium Development Goals
Posted by Cara Solomon
We’ve got a treat for you tomorrow: two great events, on completely different topics, at completely different times! Details below.
“Using the Constitution to Litigate on the Rights of LGBTI Persons:
A Case Study of Uganda”
Please join us for a talk by Ugandan lawyer and advocate Adrian Jjuuko, the Executive Director of Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, an NGO providing legal aid services to LGBTI, sex workers and other marginalized groups in Uganda. Previously, Mr. Jjuuko was coordinator of the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law-Uganda, which won the US State Department’s Human Rights Defenders Award 2011 for its efforts to oppose the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. Mr. Jjuuko has been instrumental in bringing cases challenging the constitutionality of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, including Kasha Jacqueline & 2 Others v. The Rollingstone Publications (2010) and Jjuuko Adrian v. Attorney General of Uganda (2009).
HRP is co-sponsoring this event with HLS Lambda
“Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights:
Past, Present, and Future”
Please join us for a discussion of the forthcoming book, Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights: Past, Present and Future. Since they were established in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been a source of great debate- considered by some to be the seminal initiative in international development and others to be a betrayal of human rights and universal values. Panelists at this event include: Malcolm Langford, Research Fellow, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo; Stephen Marks, Professor of Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health; Richard Morgan, Senior Advisor on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, UNICEF; Michael Stein, Executive Director, Harvard Law School Project On Disability, Harvard University; and Alicia Ely Yamin, Director of the Program on the Health Rights of Women and Children at the FXB Center, and Lecturer, Harvard School of Public Health.
HRP is co-sponsoring this event with the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights
March 20, 2013
Posted by Cara Solomon, Deborah Popowski and Stella Kim, JD '13
Yesterday, on the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, we joined our coalition partners in the launch of the Right to Heal initiative, a collaboration between Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), the Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), and the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI), as well as other supporting organizations. One by one, standing in front of the White House, members of IVAW and OWFI delivered the message that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not over for them.
The organizations, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, announced that they would file a petition for a thematic hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, calling for U.S. accountability for the human cost of these wars. In testimonies that were both moving and motivating, speakers on both sides of the U.S.-led conflict in Iraq described the toll that a decade of war had taken on their communities, including the loss of thousands of lives; devastating trauma and injury with shamefully inadequate or non-existent medical care; a legacy of health and environmental poisoning due to toxic munitions and burn pits; gender-based violence as a weapon and byproduct of war; and a generation of orphans and displaced people.
Joyce Wagner, a longtime member of IVAW, spoke about the violence the war had unleashed on women, and specifically, about her experience with Military Sexual Trauma. We thank her for allowing us to reprint her comments below:
In recent years, the United Nations has taken a strong stance against gender-based violence, calling it a “pandemic” that concerns not only women, but every single person on the planet.
Worldwide, it is estimated that one in five women will be raped in her lifetime. In the US military, it is estimated that one in three women will be raped during her time in service. I am the one in three. Continue Reading…
March 11, 2013
March 26, 2013
“For Us, The Wars Aren’t Over: The Right to Heal Initiative”
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Food will be served
Ten years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Human Rights Program and organizations from across the Harvard and Boston communities mark the anniversary with speakers from two groups still living with the consequences of the last decade of U.S.-led wars: Iraqis and U.S. veterans and service members. Members of the Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and Iraq Veterans Against the War will speak about the costs of war they share. Together with attorneys from the Center for Constitutional Rights and Harvard Law School, they will discuss the Right to Heal Initiative, the partnership they have formed to fight for redress.
Yanar Mohammed, President, Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq
Ms. Mohammed is the founder of OWFI, a nongovernmental organization that promotes women’s rights and interests in Iraq. She will speak about OWFI’s work in an Iraqi town near a U.S. military base that has seen dramatic increases in the incidence of birth defects, cancers, and other severe health ailments.
Matt Howard, Member, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Mr. Howard served two tours in Iraq with the Marine Corps. He will discuss the costs of war for U.S. service members and veterans, particularly the obstacles that prevent too many from receiving proper medical and mental health care. IVAW and its subcommittee, Afghan Veterans Against the War, have advocated for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and for reparations to Iraqis for the costs of war.
Pamela Spees, Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights
Ms. Spees will discuss CCR’s role as a support player in the Right to Heal’s collaborative project to ensure the U.S. takes concrete steps for health care, accountability, and reparations.
Moderator: Deborah Alejandra Popowski, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School
This event is being co-sponsored by: HLS Advocates for Human Rights, Harvard National Security and Law Association, Islamic Society of Boston, National Lawyers Guild (Mass. Chapter), Veterans for Peace (Ch. 9, Smedley D. Butler Brigade), BC Law Holocaust/Human Rights Project, HKS Human Rights Professional Interest Council, HLS American Constitution Society, HLS Democrats, HLS Human Rights Journal, Harvard International Law Journal, HLS Muslim Law Students Association, Harvard Women’s Law Association, HSPH Muslim Student Group, MIT Amnesty International, MIT Center for International Studies, MIT Muslim Student Association, Northeastern Univ. Arab Student Association, Human Rights Caucus at Northeastern Univ. School of Law, Tufts Univ. New Initiative for Middle East Peace, Tufts Univ. Fletcher School Human Rights Project
March 5, 2013
Posted by Susan Farbstein
Our partner in South Africa, Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), is appearing as an amicus curiae before the Constitutional Court today in a case that will determine whether school governing bodies can suspend pregnant students. EELC will help to challenge lower court decisions holding that a provincial Head of Department cannot instruct a principal to ignore a school governing body pregnancy policy, even when that policy results in the unlawful suspension students on the grounds of pregnancy.
EELC, in support of the Head of Department, contends that the school governing body’s pregnancy policies unfairly discriminate on the basis of gender and pregnancy, violate female students’ right to a basic education, and are not in the best interest of the child or the circumstances of affected students. In addition, the school governing bodies’ actions violate national and provincial policies which seek to ensure that pregnant students are able and encouraged to attend school as long as they are physically capable, and return to school as soon as possible after giving birth.
More information about the case, as well as relevant court documents, are available here.
March 1, 2013
Posted by Cara Solomon
We’ve got two very different and pretty fascinating talks coming up on Monday. Plan ahead! And in the meantime, happy weekend.
Monday, March 4, 2013
“The United States and the European Court of Human Rights: Coming to Terms with the Judgment in El-Masri v. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”
A Discussion with Journalist Souad Mekhennet
Nieman Fellow, Harvard University
12- 1 p.m.
Lunch will be served
ALSO ON March 4:
Rethinking Personhood: Fetuses, Animals, and Robots
Austin Hall 111
Are there entities that we do not (or would not) recognize as persons but should, or entities that we do (or would) recognize as persons but should not? Should fetuses, animals, or artificial intelligences have “human” rights? On what grounds should we recognize the moral and legal standing of others? Please join the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics and the Human Rights Program for a panel discussion on these and related questions with leading experts who will look to entities whose status is unclear or contested in order to rethink the nature of moral and legal personhood.
Panelists include: Lawrence B. Solum, of Georgetown Law; Alice Crary, Department of Philosphy, The New School; and I. Glenn Cohen, of Harvard Law School.
February 21, 2013
Posted by Cara Solomon
In the wake of the Irish government’s formal apology to the women of the Magdalene Laundries, we bring you some thoughts from Maeve O’Rourke, 2010 HRP Global Human Rights Fellow and advisory board member for Justice for Magdalenes. For the past two years, Maeve has been working with the all-volunteer advocacy group to secure a formal apology and reparations for the more than 10,000 women forced to work in residential laundries from 1922 until 1996.
“Brilliant news on Tuesday in Dublin – a full state apology for the Magdalene Laundries abuse and the appointment of former High Court judge and head of the Irish Law Reform Commission, Mr. Justice John Quirke, to provide a mechanism for compensation and reparation.
We are exhausted and delighted for the women and their families. As I said in the Irish Independent last Saturday, they have lived with this truth for too long – that the state could have intervened to protect them and ensure respect for their human rights, but chose not to.
This is an historic moment for Ireland, as we awaken to and acknowledge the discrimination against women that went to the very core of our state and society for so long. Continue Reading…
February 7, 2013
Posted by Cara Solomon
For a while now, this blog has followed Maeve O’Rourke, LLM ’10, a former Global Human Rights Fellow, as she works with other advocates to secure reparations for thousands of women and girls who labored in Ireland’s so-called Magdalene Laundries. Tuesday marked a milestone for the group, Justice for Magdalenes: After years of ignoring the issue, the Irish government released a 1000-page report into the laundries, which were run by various orders of nuns from 1922 to 1996.
For the first time, the government acknowledged its own “significant” role in the forced labor: more than a quarter of the women and girls in the laundries were referred there by the government. Some came from the criminal justice system, prosecuted for nothing more than petty theft; others came from residential institutions; still others from homes for unwed mothers.
After decades of speculation, the government also confirmed a number: more than 10,000 women and girls worked in the laundries. The youngest was 9. The oldest was 89. The average age was 23.
For all the report’s revelations, the government’s formal response to it on Tuesday fell stunningly short. In comments before the Irish Parliament, Prime Minister Enda Kenny expressed mostly sorrow. There was no apology for the government’s role. There was no talk of reparations.
November 13, 2012
November 13, 2012
“The Guatemala STD Inoculation Studies: What Should We Do Now?”
Lunch will be served
In the late 1940s, US and Guatemalan researchers conducted a host of experiments on vulnerable Guatemalan subjects, purposefully exposing them to and infecting them with a number of STDs without their consent. The experiments were kept hidden for more than half a century, until they were discovered and exposed only recently by historian Susan Reverby. The US government has since apologized for what happened, but a class action suit brought on behalf of the Guatemalan subjects was dismissed in June and efforts to directly compensate the victims have not been forthcoming. Please join Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center and Human Rights Program for a panel discussion of the study and possible legal and political responses that may be available now, both domestically and from an international human rights perspective.
Panelists will include: Susan Reverby, Marion Butler McLean Professor in the History of Ideas, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Wellesley College; I. Glenn Cohen, Assistant Professor of Law, Faculty Co-Director, Petrie-Flom Center, Harvard Law School; Holly Fernandez Lynch, Executive Director, Petrie-Flom Center, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School; Wendy Parmet, George J. and Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law; Fernando Ribeiro Delgado, Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law, Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School.
And later today:
“The Supreme Court of India
and the Implementation of Human Rights”
A Panel of Distinguished Guests
5- 7 pm
This panel discussion, moderated by Professor Mark Tushnet of Harvard Law School, will feature: Chief Justice Altamas Kabir of the Supreme Court of India; Justice Swatanter Kumar of the Supreme Court of India; Justice Arijit Pasayat, of the Supreme Court of India; Shri Salman Khurshid, Honourable Minister for Law and Justice; G.E.Vahanvati, Attorney General of India; T.K. Viswanathan, Secretary General of the Indian Parliament; Rakesh Munjal, Senior Advocate; and Professor S. V. Sivakumar, Director of the Indian Law Institute.
This event is being co-sponsored by International Legal Studies and the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research.