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May 27, 2016
Dear Class of 2016,
First of all: CONGRATULATIONS! YOU MADE IT!
Secondly, we want to send a special congratulations to Katie King, whose tireless work with our partners in South Africa on the right to education earned her the William J. Stuntz Memorial Award for Justice, Human Dignity and Compassion. And to the many clinical students who gave more than 1,000 hours of pro bono work during their time at HLS: Chike Achebe, Keaton Allen-Gessesse, Lauren Blodgett, Daniel Carpenter-Gold, Mira Chernick, Carson Cook, Rebecca Donaldson, Michelle Ha, Anna E. Joseph, Brian Closterboer, Liz Loftus, Lindsay Mullett, Courtney D. Paterson, Brittany Reid, Ariel Simms, Peter Stavros, Matt Thiman, Jillian Wagman, Noorulain Zafar, and Ye H. Zhang.
Lastly, if we missed you at yesterday’s commencement party, here’s what we would have told you: Thank you. Thank you for bringing not just your intelligence into our community, but your curiosity, your openness, and your kindness as well. The heart part is really important to us, and your class had it in spades.Continue Reading…
May 25, 2016
Today at Class Day, we had the great honor of watching our colleague Gabriela Gonzalez Follett rise before the Class of 2016 and accept the Suzanne Richardson Staff Appreciation Award. It was a beautiful sight to see, second only to the sound of her voice as she gave a speech that moved many in the audience to tears.
The Suzanne Richardson Staff Award is given each year to a member of the staff who demonstrates commitment to the student experience and concern for students’ lives and work at the Law School. The Class of 2016 selected Gabriela (Gabbie) as the recipient of this year’s award for her work “around the clock to make sure that students are having an optimally enriching educational experience at HLS.”Continue Reading…
May 20, 2016
Posted by Cara Solomon and Tyler Giannini
The International Human Rights Clinic had the great honor last month of hosting a three-day workshop in Yangon for some of the leading women advocates in Myanmar- all of them pioneers in their various fields, and all of them pushing for change. The training, facilitated by The Op-Ed Project, focused on voice and messaging in the media’s opinion sections, where women’s bylines are too rarely found.
The title of the workshop: “Write to Change the World.” Below, some images from those three days, with thanks and appreciation for what these women have done to strengthen the world already, and what they will surely do in the decades to come.
May 19, 2016
Posted by Gehan Gunatilleke, LLM '10
Seven years ago on this day, the civil war in Sri Lanka came to a brutal end. Since then, a national conversation on transitional justice has gathered momentum, with the current government expected to fulfill its international commitments to establish mechanisms on truth, justice and reparations. As it does so, it will be confronted with a recurring claim advanced by certain actors within the state. Their claim is that the ‘Sri Lankan approach’ to transitional justice is based on ‘forgiving’ and ‘forgetting’.
My own experience as a lawyer and researcher in Sri Lanka has prompted me to reflect on this claim. These reflections inspired “Confronting the Complexity of Loss”, an introspective study that tests this claim by examining the views and opinions of 45 victims and survivors of human rights atrocities from across the ethnic and religious divide. In some ways, its conclusion—that Sri Lankans often differ on fundamental questions of truth seeking, memorialization and accountability—makes intuitive sense.
Imagine, for example, a family around a dinner table grieving the death of a loved one in a DUI incident. We would not expect them to cope in the identical manner. We would not expect them to uniformly forgive the offender, nor unanimously demand his punishment. Some disagreement around that table would hardly surprise us. If we can conceive of a single family producing such diverse views, should we then reduce Sri Lankan victims and survivors to a single narrative?
I started asking these questions early on in my career when I represented victims in cases involving torture, detention and custodial death in Sri Lanka. In one particular case in 2008, I represented the wife of a man who died in the custody of the police. She wanted to know the truth about what happened to her husband. Despite police intimidation and her own family’s discouragement, she sought justice in the form of a declaration that her husband’s fundamental rights had been violated. Her resolute demand for truth and justice left a lasting impression on me, and influenced my understanding of Sri Lankan attitudes to truth and justice.
A year later, as a student in the International Human Rights Clinic, I focused mainly on the rights of detainees in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay. That work challenged me once again to reflect on the diversity of victim and survivor narratives. When I returned to Sri Lanka after graduating in 2010, I decided to engage in a study of the country’s history of violence, talking to victims and survivors who experienced violence firsthand. I focused on several tragic events, including the July 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom; the 1987-89 Marxist insurrection; the 1990 expulsion of Muslims from the Northern province; the 30-year ethnic war, including its final stages in 2009; and the 2014 anti-Muslim riots. From these interviews and historical analyses, I wanted to glean insights into how Sri Lankans understand and internalize notions of truth and justice.Continue Reading…
May 12, 2016
Posted by Bonnie Docherty
Today, we in the International Human Rights Clinic are excited to announce that Anna Crowe, LLM ’12, has been promoted to clinical instructor at Harvard Law School.
I first met Anna when she was an LLM student in my disarmament seminar and a member of my cluster munition clinical team. I knew right away she was someone special. She stood out from her peers, impressing me with both her intellect and her character. Four and a half years later, she continues to impress me on a daily basis.
Since Anna returned to the Clinic as a fellow in 2014, she has demonstrated a gift for teaching and a commitment to promoting human rights and international humanitarian law. She has trained clinical students in the skills of our field, earning their respect and inspiring them to perform at the highest levels. She has published multiple reports in the areas of disarmament, privacy, and refugees, all of which have had real advocacy impact. Outside of the Clinic, she has mentored members of HLS Advocates and collaborated with some of our visiting fellows.
Anna has also been a great friend and colleague to me and the rest of the Clinic.
I could go on and on about all that Anna has brought to our community, but suffice it to say, the Human Rights Program is thrilled that she will be around for the coming years.
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