THE ONLINE HOME OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS PROGRAM & INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CLINIC

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October 27, 2016

Tomorrow, Oct. 28: “Criminal Justice Reform in Pakistan”


Poster for event, Criminal Reform in Pakistan, shows the Pakistani flag symbols over a green outline of the country.October 28, 2016


Criminal Justice Reform in Pakistan: A Case Study


2:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Hauser 102

Please join us for a lunchtime discussion with Professor Osama Siddique, Henry J. Steiner Visiting Professor in Human Rights, on the human rights implications of criminal justice system reform in Pakistan. In most developing countries, criminal justice reform is driven by internationally-funded efforts, which often cut out critical local actors. In Pakistan, members of the justice sector are engaged in complex and meaningful dialogue that has influenced the process and content of criminal justice reform to more sustainable effect. Professor Siddique examines Pakistan’s cutting-edge effort and considers what lessons can be drawn from it for other countries.

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October 25, 2016

Commentary: Justice is long overdue for the widows of South African mineworkers


We’re very pleased to cross-post this piece by Emily Nagisa Keehn, Associate Director of HRP’s Academic Program, who argues in The Guardian that it’s vital the court of appeals uphold a ruling that makes South Africa’s gold mining industry accountable to women whose husbands died from silicosis. Emily co-authored the piece with her former colleague, Dean Peacock, Executive Director of Sonke Gender Justice in South Africa.

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October 24, 2016

Tomorrow, Oct. 25: “The Importance of Institutional Design in Governing Transnational Corporations”


October 25, 2016


The Importance of Institutional Design in Governing Transnational Corporations

A Talk by Deval Desai, Human Rights Program Research Fellow


12:00 p.m.
WCC 3036


Please join us for a brown bag lunch discussion with Human Rights Program Research Fellow and S.J.D. candidate Deval Desai, on regulating transnational corporations. Drawing on his research in northern Uganda and Sierra Leone, Deval will examine the pitfalls of evidence-based approaches to the governance of transnational corporations, recast this governance challenge in terms of institutional design, and consider the lessons that human rights law might offer. Deval is also Fellow-in-Residence at the Institute of Global Law and Policy, and previously worked at the World Bank and UN as a rule of law reform expert in Nigera, Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

This event is co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program and the Institute of Global Law and Policy.

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October 20, 2016

Alleged abuses against civilians in non-ceasefire areas may constitute violations of Myanmar’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement


PRESS RELEASE


Alleged abuses against civilians in non-ceasefire areas may constitute violations of Myanmar’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement


Legal analysis shows ceasefire’s civilian protection commitments extend nationwide


(Cambridge, MA, October 20, 2016)
–  Reported abuses of civilians in non-ceasefire areas by the Myanmar military and other signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) would, if verified, constitute violations of key civilian protection provisions established by the agreement, said Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic (the Clinic) in a legal memorandum released today. The military and other signatories should act immediately to address such reports, including by engaging with the mechanisms and processes established by the NCA and investigating alleged abuses.

The Clinic’s memorandum comes on the heels of the one-year anniversary of the signing of the NCA by the government and eight ethnic armed organizations (EAOs). While the agreement failed to include many of the EAOs that participated in the ceasefire talks, it was still heralded as a significant step in the country’s peace process. Over the past year, however, armed conflict has intensified in Shan State, Kachin State, and elsewhere, with reports of widespread abuse of civilians by the Myanmar military in particular.

“Ongoing abuses in conflict zones cast doubt on the military’s commitment to the NCA and undermine the trust between Myanmar’s government and ethnic nationality populations,” said Tyler Giannini, Co-Director of the Clinic. “Myanmar military officers can’t hide behind the fact the NCA was signed with only some ethnic armed organizations to abuse civilians in non-ceasefire areas.”

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October 20, 2016

Tomorrow, Oct. 21: “Addressing Climate Displacement Globally and Locally”


October 21, 2016


“Addressing Climate Displacement Globally and Locally”


A Panel Discussion

12:00- 1:00 p.m.
Milstein West

Please join us for a panel examining challenges at the intersection of climate change, human rights, and displacement. Experts from around the world will discuss international and domestic approaches to dealing with displacement driven by climate change crises, ranging from drought in Somalia to rising tides in Alaska.

The panelists are: Jane McAdam, Scientia Professor of Law and director of the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at University of New South Wales (UNSW), and the leader of the UNSW Grand Challenge on Refugees & MigrantsWalter Kälin, a professor of constitutional and international law at the University of Bern, envoy of the chairmanship of the Nansen Initiative, and formerly Representative of the United Nations’ Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons; and Robin Bronen, a human rights attorney, senior research scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and co-founder and executive director of the Alaska Institute for Justice. This panel will be moderated by Bonnie Docherty, senior clinical instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic.

This event is part of a three-day, mostly closed-door conference sponsored by the International Human Rights Clinic, the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic.

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October 19, 2016

Tomorrow, Oct. 20: A conversation with Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, on climate change displacement

Event poster shows a headshot of Mary Robinson wearing a red blazer over a black shirt and pearls.

October 20, 2016


Climate Change Displacement: Finding Solutions to an Emerging Crisis


A conversation between Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland;
President of the Mary Robinson Foundation- Climate Justice; UN Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate and HLS Dean Martha Minow

3:00- 5:00 p.m.
Milstein West

Please join us for a conversation between Mary Robinson and Martha Minow on the topic of climate change, human rights and displacement. Ms. Robinson is formerly the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, as well as the former UN Special Envoy on Climate Change.

This conversation is part of a three-day, mostly closed-door conference sponsored by the International Human Rights Clinic, the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic examining challenges of climate change, human rights, and displacement, and efforts to address this emerging crisis in the wake of the Paris COP 21 agreement.

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October 12, 2016

Clinic Highlights Human Rights Costs of South African Gold Mining


For Immediate Release


South Africa: Protect Residents’ Rights from Effects of Mining


Government Response to Environmental and Health Threats Falls Short


(Cambridge, MA, October 12, 2016)—South Africa has failed to meet its human rights obligations to address the environmental and health effects of gold mining in and around Johannesburg, the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) said in a new report released today.

The 113-page report, The Cost of Gold, documents the threats posed by water, air, and soil pollution from mining in the West and Central Rand. Acid mine drainage has contaminated water bodies that residents use to irrigate crops, water livestock, wash clothes, and swim. Dust from mine waste dumps has blanketed communities. The government has allowed homes to be built near and sometimes on those toxic and radioactive dumps.

Report cover shows fencing in front of a dilapidated house and what looks to be the South African landscape.

Examining the situation through a human rights lens, the report finds that South Africa has not fully complied with constitutional or international law. The government has not only inadequately mitigated the harm from abandoned and active mines, but it has also offered scant warnings of the risks, performed few scientific studies about the health effects, and rarely engaged with residents on mining matters.

“Gold mining has both endangered and disempowered the people of the West and Central Rand,” said Bonnie Docherty, senior clinical instructor at IHRC and the report’s lead author. “Despite some signs of progress, the government’s response to the crisis has been insufficient and unacceptably slow.”

The report is based on three research trips to the region and more than 200 interviews with community members, government officials, industry representatives, civil society advocates, and scientific and legal experts. It provides an in-depth look at gold mining’s adverse impacts and examines the shortcomings of the government’s reaction.

For example, although acid mine drainage reached the surface of the West Rand in 2002, the government waited 10 years before establishing a plant that could stem its flow. In addition, the government has not ensured the implementation of dust control measures and has left industry to determine how to remove the waste dumps dominating the landscape.

The Cost of Gold calls on South Africa to develop a coordinated and comprehensive program that deals with the range of problems associated with gold mining in the region. While industry and communities have a significant role to play, the report focuses on the responsibility of the government, which is legally obliged to promote human rights.

The government has taken some positive steps to deal the situation in the West and Central Rand. This year, it pledged to improve levels of water treatment by 2020. In 2011, it relocated residents of the Tudor Shaft informal settlement living directly on top of a tailings dam. The government along with industry has also made efforts to increase engagement with communities.

Nevertheless, The Cost of Gold finds that the government’s delayed response and piecemeal approach falls short of South Africa’s duties under human rights law. As a result, the impacts of mining continue to infringe on residents’ rights to health, water, and a healthy environment, as well as rights to receive information and participate in decision making.

“The government should act immediately to address the ongoing threats from gold mining, and it should develop a more complete solution to prevent future harm,” Docherty said. “Only then will South Africa live up to the human rights commitments it made when apartheid ended.”

For more information, please contact:
In Cambridge MA, Bonnie Docherty: [email protected]

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