Blog: Sexual and Reproductive Rights

November 9, 2015

Tomorrow: “After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate”

“After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate”

November 10, 2015

12:00- 1:00 p.m.

WCC 3012


Please join us for a book talk with Prof. Mary Ziegler, Stearns Weaver Miller Professor of Law at Florida State University College, for a discussion of After Roe: The Lost History of The Abortion Debate (Harvard University Press, 2015). After Roe uses more than 100 oral history interviews and extensive archival research to challenge the conventional legal and historical account of social-movement reactions to Roe v. Wade. In studying the decade after Roe, the project explores reasons for the contemporary polarization of the abortion wars. Prof. Ziegler is a 2007 graduate of Harvard Law School.

Co-sponsored by HLS Law Students for Reproductive Justice. Books will be available for purchase.

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April 10, 2015

Australian Radio Interviews Tyler Giannini on Mining Company Settlement with Rape Survivors

Posted by Cara Solomon

Earlier this week, Australian radio interviewed Tyler Giannini about a significant development in the world of business and human rights: one of the world’s largest mining companies, Barrick Gold, recently settled claims with a group of women in Papua New Guinea who were raped by the company’s security guards. The settlement, negotiated by EarthRights International, came as the women were preparing to file suit.

The International Human Rights Clinic has been investigating abuses around the Porgera mine for several years, along with NYU’s Global Justice Clinic and Columbia’s Human Rights Clinic. Reports of rape around the mine in the highlands of Papua New Guinea date back to at least 2006, but the company did not acknowledge them for years.

In 2012, the company set up a complaint mechanism, which Tyler describes in the interview as inadequate. Initially, the company was preparing to offer the women who stepped forward a compensation package of used clothing and chickens. At the urging of advocates, including the Clinic, the company later revised its offer, and more than 100 women accepted the settlement.

EarthRights represented a group that did not agree to settle through the company’s complaint mechanism. At least one woman described the original settlement offers as “offensive.”

“If you have settlements that aren’t really getting to justice, the discourse with the community is not really healed, and you don’t get real reconciliation,” Tyler said in the interview. “That’s not good for the company, that’s not good for the survivors, and I think that’s one of the lessons that needs to be taken away.”

Listen to the full 7 minute interview here

March 6, 2015

March 9-10: “The Role of African Women in the Post 2015 Development Agenda and +20 Beijing”

URGENT ACTION Conference Progr_Page_01March 9-10, 2015

“The Role of African Women in the Post 2015 Development Agenda &  +20 Beijing”

9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.

Austin Hall (on March 9)

Wasserstein Milstein AB (on March 10)


Please join the Human Rights Program, Urgent Action Fund–Africa, and the Ford Foundation-East Africa Office for a two-day round table discussion on the role of African Women in the Post 2015 Development Agenda and the Beijing +20. Review the program here.The meeting brings together approximately 50 African women leaders from across socio-economic and political arenas. They, and their US-based counterparts, include women’s rights advocates, femocrats, academics, United Nations representatives, corporate and media professionals. Together they will share success stories, challenges, innovations, knowledge, and history to advance and cement women’s leadership as part of the 2015 global agenda for integration, development and social change.


ALSO on March 9, a rescheduled event:


15 01 26 Gender -Re-assignment poster“Gender (Re)assignment: Legal, Ethical and Conceptual Issues”

12:00 p.m.
Pound Hall 102

Lunch will be served


Trans and intersex individuals face a series of legal, medical, and social challenges. This panel explores these overlapping issues, including: healthcare coverage of treatments such as gender reassignment therapy, the legal recognition of trans identities, intersexuality, and asexuality. Join us for a wide-ranging panel discussion with panelists Noa Ben-Asher, Visiting Associate Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Elizabeth F. Emens, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia Law School; Gerald L. Neuman, J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, Harvard Law School; Matthew J.B. Lawrence, Academic Fellow, Petrie-Flom Center; with moderator I. Glenn Cohen, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and Faculty Director, Petrie-Flom Center.

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November 3, 2014

Namibia’s Highest Court Finds Government Forcibly Sterilized HIV-Positive Women

Posted by Mindy Roseman

In a long-awaited decision today, Namibia’s Supreme Court found that the government forcibly sterilized women living with HIV/AIDS. The ruling upholds the 2012 High Court’s decision in Government of the Republic of Namibia v LM and Others.

Below, we’ve re-posted a press release from the Namibian Women’s Health Network (one of the International Human Rights Clinic’s partners) and the South Africa Litigation Centre, one of the legal partners on the case. While there may be much to cheer about in the decision, the Supreme Court’s affirmation that no evidence of discriminatory animus on the basis of HIV status still disappoints.

In 2010, the Clinic teamed up with the Namibian Women’s Health Network and Northeastern University School of Law to document the full range of discriminatory treatment that women living with HIV/AIDS face in seeking and receiving health care. Forcible sterilization was one of the many human rights violations HIV positive women suffered. Our report, “At the Hospital There Are No Human Rights,” was issued in July 2012.



Namibia’s Highest Court Finds Government Forcibly Sterilised HIV-Positive Women


(Windhoek, Namibia, Nov. 3, 2014) –  Today the Namibian Supreme Court affirmed that HIV-positive women have been forcibly sterilised in public hospitals in Namibia.

“This decision by the country’s highest court is a victory for all HIV-positive women as it makes clear that public hospitals in Namibia have been coercively sterilising HIV-positive women without their consent,” stated Jennifer Gatsi Mallet, Director of Namibian Women’s Health Network (NWHN). “However, these three women are only the tip of the iceberg. We have documented dozens of cases of other HIV-positive women who have been forcibly sterilised. The government needs to take active steps to ensure all women subjected to this unlawful practice get redress,” added Gatsi Mallet.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Government of the Republic of Namibia v LM and Others affirmed the High Court’s July 2012 order finding that the government had subjected women to coercive sterilisation. The case was brought by three HIV-positive women who were subjected to sterilisation without their informed consent in public hospitals. The High Court found in favour of the women and held that the practice of coerced sterilisation violated the women’s legal rights.

“This decision has far-reaching consequences not only for HIV-positive women in Namibia but for the dozens of HIV-positive women throughout Africa who have been forcibly sterilised,” said Priti Patel, Deputy Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. “This decision sends a clear message that governments throughout Africa must take concrete actions to end this practice,” said Patel.

NWHN first began documenting cases of forced sterilisation in 2007. Since then, dozens of HIV-positive women in Namibia and in other countries in Africa have come forward describing similar experiences at public hospitals. Despite numerous requests to the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services in Namibia, very little action has been taken to address this practice.

The three women at the centre of the case were represented by lawyers from the Legal Assistance Centre and supported by the Namibian Women’s Health Network and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.


For more information:

Jennifer Gatsi-Mallet, Director, NWHN: +264 (81) 129 6940 (m);

Veronica Kalambi, NWHN: +264 (81) 787 8326 (m);

Priti Patel, Deputy Director, SALC: +27 (0) 76 808 0505 (m);

Nyasha Chingore-Munazvo, Project Lawyer, SALC: +27 10 596 8538 (o); +27 72 563 5855 (m);

September 24, 2014

Tomorrow, Sept. 25: Film Screening and Panel Discussion of “After Tiller”

September 25, 2014

“After Tiller”

A Film Screening and Panel Discussion

5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Kresge G1 Auditorium
Harvard School of Public Health
677 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA


Please join the Harvard School of Public Health’s Women, Gender, and Health Interdisciplinary Concentration for an evening screening of the award-winning documentary “After Tiller,” which explores the topic of third-trimester abortions in the wake of the 2009 assassination of practitioner Dr. George Tiller that left behind only four doctors in the United States who perform this procedure. After the screening, HSPH will host a panel discussion.

The Human Rights Program is co-sponsoring this event, along with Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Reproductive Rights; Group on Reproductive Health and Rights; Harvard FAS Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality; IBIS Reproductive Health; Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology; and MIT Graduate Consortium of Women’s Studies.

Please RSVP to

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March 4, 2014

Tomorrow, March 5: “The Right to Life and the Inter American Court of Human Rights”

Event Notice


“The Right to Life and the Inter American Court of Human Rights”

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

WCC 3007


Please join us for a brown bag talk with Professor Paola Bergallo, Faculty of Law, Universidad de San Andrés, Buenos Aires, and HRP Visiting Fellow. Bergallo served as an expert witness in the landmark case Artavia Murillo et al. (“In Vitro Fertilization”) v. Costa Rica, which discusses human rights definitions regarding the right to life, among other health and human rights matters. Professor Gerald Neuman, co-director of the Human Rights Program will moderate.

This event is being co-sponsored by Harvard Law Students for Reproductive Justice and HLS Advocates for Human Rights

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February 27, 2014

Tomorrow, Feb. 28: “Trangender Identity, Mental Health, and Human Rights: The DSM V and Beyond”

Event Notice


“Trangender Identity, Mental Health, and Human Rights: The DSM V and Beyond”

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Hauser 102

Light lunch will be served


Please join us for a discussion with panelists: Sara Kimmel, staff psychologist at Harvard University Student Mental Health Services; Eszter Kismödi, international human rights lawyer on sexual and reproductive health law, policy, and research; Zack Paakkonen, staff attorney with GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project; and moderator Mindy Roseman, Academic Director of the Human Rights Program and Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School.

This event is being co-sponsored by the Radcliffe Institute, HLS Lambda, and the Petrie-Flom Center

January 28, 2014

Tomorrow: “Legal Challenges and Strategies for Combatting Sexual Violence Against Children”

Event Notice


“Legal Challenges and Strategies for Combatting Sexual Violence Against Children”


12:00- 1: 00 p.m.
Wasserstein 3016


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.

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November 5, 2013

This Thursday, Nov. 7: Reproductive Rights Around the Globe

Event Notice

“Reproductive Rights around the Globe: A Panel Discussion”


12:00-1:00 p.m.
WCC 1023


Reproductive Rights PosterPlease join us for a discussion of selected topics in the field of international reproductive rights. Expert panelists will address a range of issues, including:

-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.

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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”


12 p.m.

WCC 3016

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”


 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

 WCC 3016

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

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