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May 28, 2019
By Susan Farbstein
As graduation approaches, students often ask us, “Am I ready?” As in, “Am I ready to go out into the world and be a real human rights practitioner?”
Yes, you are ready. Look at what you have accomplished this year:
You built momentum for a preemptive ban on killer robots through publications, advocacy, and legal analysis. In collaboration with Human Rights Watch, you published a major report examining the legal and moral problems with these weapons. You participated in the global meeting of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, helping to shape the Campaign’s legal positions on the elements of a new treaty, and advocated at three UN disarmament conferences.
You traveled to Guinea to examine the human rights implications of the country’s booming bauxite industry, the raw material needed to make aluminum. Working alongside Guinean NGOs, you conducted fieldwork and interviews in communities that have lost land to mining, as well as in areas facing the threat of mining in the near future. Your work will assist Guinean NGOs to convey concerns about the impacts of mining on land and the local environment to the Guinean government and mining companies.
You developed materials for, and delivered trainings to, arms expert officials from twelve Central and Eastern European governments, so they can better assess arms export requests to account for the risk that arms could be used to commit gender based violence or other human rights violations.
You drafted a shadow report to the CEDAW Committee highlighting gaps in legal protections for Muslim women in Mauritius and the resulting injustices that these women face, in collaboration with Musawah and Mauritian advocates. You helped brief CEDAW Committee experts and engaged closely in the debate on proposed legal reforms, leading the CEDAW Committee to incorporate these proposals in its recommendations to the State of Mauritius, which local advocates are using as one more advocacy tool to push for reform of the national civil code.
You designed and ran workshops for multi-ethnic, multi-faith stakeholders in Yangon, aimed at de-escalating communal tensions and developing messages for peace and religious tolerance in Myanmar. You developed a facilitation guide that will be shared with local partners and used to train future facilitators so that these workshops will continue in the coming years.
You helped finalize and launch two reports on freedom of movement and business documentation in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp, in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council. Thanks to the outstanding coalition-building of work of local staff at the NRC, measures to implement the reports’ recommendations are now a reality.
You interviewed medical doctors, scientists, and veterans about the impacts of burn pits used by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Working closely with colleagues from Amnesty International, you designed a project investigating how these burn pits caused serious health problems for veterans, local and foreign contractors, and Iraqi and Afghan civilians living nearby.
You researched and published a report for the Women’s League of Burma which details procedural and substantive recommendations for the proposed draft Protection and Prevention of Violence Against Women Law. The report has been widely disseminated among key stakeholders in Myanmar.
You collaborated with Helem and The Legal Agenda in Lebanon to support their ongoing efforts on behalf of persons targeted by criminal prosecutions because of their sexual activities or orientation, developing a model legal defense for use in strategic litigation.
You produced briefing papers and government submissions promoting the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, working closely with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. You played a leading role in interpreting and advocating for the treaty’s innovative positive obligations to assist survivors and remediate environmental impacts.
You continued to push for justice on behalf of the victims of Bolivia’s Black October, working relentlessly with attorneys from the Center for Constitutional Rights and Akin Gump as the Mamani case went on appeal before the Eleventh Circuit.
You helped convene a high-level meeting at the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s Ferencz International Justice Initiative around international accountability for atrocity crimes in Myanmar. The meeting brought together international human rights organizations, policy makers, international criminal law experts, human rights defenders, and activists from Myanmar to strategize and coordinate about accountability efforts.
You engaged with and interviewed global experts on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender and on the creation of a new treaty for crimes against humanity.
You learned from a superstar roster of visiting clinicians—Thomas Becker JD ’08, who supervised a team investigating femicide in Bolivia; Amelia Evans LLM ’11, a co-founder of MSI Integrity, who worked with students to re-conceptualize industry and government in an era of extreme poverty; Nicolette Waldman JD ’13, previously the Iraq and Syria researcher for Amnesty International, who led trainings on field research in armed conflict; and Jim Wormington, an Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, who brought perspective on how to integrate locally-driven, participatory work into advocacy at large international human rights organizations.
As you leave the Law School and launch your careers, your success may depend upon your ability to think analytically, to write clearly, and to speak persuasively—but equally it will depend upon your capacity for compassion, empathy, and generosity; your ability to draw strength from friends and colleagues; your willingness to connect and collaborate across difference; and your resilience and optimism in the face of serious challenges.
We know you are ready for whatever comes your way because we have watched with pride as you have practiced these habits together, through your clinical projects. You have worked tirelessly and passionately, asking all the right questions and making space for both reflection and action. You have inspired us with your creativity and intelligence, and motivated us to improve ourselves and our Clinic.
We celebrate with each of you, and look forward to seeing the difference you will continue to make in the world. Congratulations to the Class of 2019!
May 21, 2019
By Audrey Kunycky
After consecutive internships at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court, Radhika Kapoor LL.M. ’19 came to HLS to take advantage of Harvard’s institutional expertise in international law, humanitarian law, and post-conflict stability. “I really wanted to equip myself with tools that would let me explore questions that had come up during my internships. For example, I think there are a lot of countries that have concerns about acceding to international instruments like the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. How could they be self-sufficient in addressing issues of transitional justice?” Kapoor asks.
As she wraps up her LL.M. studies, Kapoor can readily identify the ways in which her LL.M. coursework has sharpened her thinking. She took a course on the Nuremburg trials, with Professor of Practice Alex Whiting, which “asked the question of whether an international court is the best stage to process large-scale humanitarian or human rights violations. I came away from it thinking that courts are perhaps best seen as a complement to a system of transitional justice and not necessarily the only way forward.” Kapoor also especially enjoyed a class on “Geopolitics, Human Rights and Statecraft,” with Professor of Practice and former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power. “I learned that it’s possible to think about foreign policy in humanistic terms,” she recalls, adding with a laugh that “we got to see somebody we had only seen on TV, in class, cold-calling on us.”
She also immersed herself in clinical opportunities at HLS. Last fall, for HLS Advocates for Human Rights, one of the law school’s student practice organizations, she led a team monitoring the trial of Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of the Côte d’Ivoire, for crimes against humanity. This spring, in the law school’s International Human Rights Clinic, she worked on two projects, both conflict-related and related to gender, but through very different lenses. One of the projects concerned accountability for sexual violence perpetrated against detained men and boys in conflict situations. The other was an arms and gender project that brought her, classmate Terence Flyte LL.M. ’19, and their clinical instructor, Anna Crowe LL.M. ’12, to Geneva, Switzerland, where they joined signatories and NGOs in working meetings to discuss ways forward for implementing the United Nations’ landmark Arms Trade Treaty. At the conference, Crowe presented “Interpreting the Arms Trade Treaty: International Human Rights Law and Gender-based Violence in Article 7 Risk Assessments,” a paper co-authored by Kapoor and three other HLS students enrolled in the International Human Rights Clinic. The clinic has been collaborating with ControlArms, an international NGO, in advocating for countries to restrict arms exports if there is a risk that the weapons will be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international human rights law, with a specific focus on gender-based violence.Continue Reading…
May 20, 2019
By Alexis Farmer
Lindsay Bailey JD ’19, Lisandra Novo JD’19, and Elisa Quiroz JD’19 are the winners of the 2019 David Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Team Award. The award, named in honor of the late Clinical Professor of Law David Grossman JD’88, a public interest lawyer dedicated to providing high-quality legal services to low-income communities, recognizes students who have demonstrated excellence in representing individual clients and undertaking advocacy or policy reform projects.
The trio were honored for their exceptional work with the International Human Rights Clinic on a complicated lawsuit, Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín. The Mamani case was litigated in U.S. federal court on behalf of the family members of Bolivian citizens who were killed by the Bolivian military in 2003. The suit brought claims against Boliva’s former president and minister of defense for their roles in orchestrating these killings.
Over the course of two years, the students were involved in many aspects of the case — from discovery and depositions, to summary judgment, to a month-long trial, to the current appeal.
[Clinic Co-Director] Professor Susan Farbstein praised their advanced level of legal analysis, judgment, creativity, and empathy with clients. “Together, Lindsay, Lisandra, and Elisa have demonstrated all the hallmarks of thoughtful, critical, and reflective human rights advocacy,” she said. “They have done it as a team which is, in fact, the only way real change ever happens. Each of them is whip smart, passionate, and committed, and can be depended on to tackle the toughest assignments with rigor and produce the highest quality of work. Yet together, they are even greater than the sum of their individual talents.”
Lindsay Bailey has long been actively involved in international human rights focused organizations. Prior to HLS, she spent three years in Ghana working with municipal governments to improve project planning, budgeting, and municipal taxes. In Ghana she worked for a variety of organizations, including Engineers Without Borders, Amplify Governance, Global Communities, and UNICEF.
Since beginning law school, she has spent four semesters in the International Human Rights Clinic, volunteered with HLS Advocates for Human Rights for two years, and has been a research assistant at the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (HLS PILAC). She currently serves as the co-president of the Harvard Law and International Development Society (LIDS).
Bailey spent a winter Independent Clinical with the Public International Law and Policy Group in Jordan as part of the Reginald F. Lewis Internship Program. She also was an article editor on the Harvard Human Rights Journal, and an article editor and community development director for the Harvard International Law Journal, in which she published an article, “Can There Be an Accidental Extrajudicial Killing? Understanding standards of intent in the Torture Victim Protection Act” last August. Next year Bailey will continue her work in human rights litigation at the Center for Justice and Accountability.
Born in Cuba, Lisandra Novo narrowed her interest in international human rights and criminal law early on, focusing particularly on accountability for human rights violations committed by state officials. She was awarded a Chayes Fellowship in 2017 to work at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica. There she worked primarily on cases related to the justiciability of social, cultural and economic rights. In her first year at HLS, she was a member of the Harvard Immigration Project’s Removal Defense Project (HIP’s RDP), an interpreter for the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC), co-communications chair for the Harvard European Law Association (HELA), and an article editor for the Harvard International Law Journal’s Online Symposium on the crime of aggression. She spent the fall semester of her third year at the Graduate Institute for International Law and Development in Geneva, Switzerland. Novo and Quiroz both participated in a spring break pro bono trip in Puerto Rico for hurricane relief work in March 2019. After graduation she will be conducting independent research on enforced disappearances in Spain as a Fulbright Fellow.
Elisa Quiroz had an interest in pursuing a career in international human rights work long before coming to HLS. Her childhood in Chile exposed her to human rights issues early on. “If you grow up in a country that has lived through a dictatorship, you hear the stories all the time, and that makes human rights law very tangible in a way that maybe countries that are more removed from that experience don’t know,” she told Harvard Law Today. In 2017, Quiroz was also awarded a Chayes Fellowship to work in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva (OHCHR). At OHCHR, Quiroz worked on projects with the UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression, independence of judges and lawyers, the right to health, and the right to education. During her 2L year, she was awarded a Human Rights Program travel grant to conduct research in Chile examining the government’s legislative and policy responses to the country’s rapid rise in migration. Next year, she will be working as a legal fellow at TRIAL International in Geneva, Switzerland.
This piece originally ran on HLS Today on May 20, 2019 as “Three students win the David Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Team Award.”
May 9, 2019
The Human Rights Program is pleased to present its 2019-2020 Post-Graduate Fellowship Cohort. This year, we have awarded Satter and Henigson Fellowships to five remarkable 2019 Harvard Law School graduates: Terence (Terry) Flyte, Imani Franklin, Rez Gardi, Daniel Levine-Spound, and Nerissa Naidoo. HRP’s post-graduate fellowships are designed to help launch the careers of students who have demonstrated great promise as advocates and shown dedication to human rights while here at the Law School. Learn more about the new fellows and their projects below.
Terence Flyte LLM’19 is a Satter Fellow in Human Rights who will work with Legal Action Worldwide in Beirut, Lebanon. During his fellowship, Terry will represent survivors of sexual violence perpetrated during the Syrian civil war. He will focus on empowering survivors to advocate for themselves, establishing survivors’ associations, and assisting these associations in planning and carrying forward their pursuit for justice. In a partnership project between LAW and the Mukwege Foundation, Terry will contribute to a reparation and rehabilitation framework for survivors of sexual violence. He will also assist in preparing the case for Shanti Mohila, a group of Rohingya women subjected to sexual violence during clearance operations in Myanmar, in proceedings before the International Criminal Court.
Terry developed a commitment to tackling sexual violence while working on a clinical project researching conflict-related sexual violence in situations of detention in the International Human Rights Clinic, as well as during his time as a member of the legal team for the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. He has a strong interest in access to justice issues, having been involved in projects aimed at improving the treatment of vulnerable individuals in UK social security appeals, and highlighting problems in immigration detention hearings in Scotland. As passionate writing about international law as practicing it, Terry was one of the legal researchers that contributed to Oppenheim’s “International Law Volume III.” He holds an LLB with First Class Honours from the University of Glasgow.
Imani Franklin JD’19 is a joint JD-MPP student at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. As a Satter Fellow, she will work with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) in Beirut, Lebanon. At IRAP, she will focus on transitional justice and resettlement for Syrian refugees. In this capacity, she will work with Syrian human rights defenders to document the abuses they’ve faced in hopes of seeking accountability for perpetrators and seeking safe resettlement to third countries.
During law school, she served as a clinical student in the International Human Rights Clinic and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic. She is a member of HLS’s IRAP chapter, the Black Law Students Association, and the Harvard Law Review. Over the summers during graduate school, Imani has interned with: the Southern Center for Human Rights, Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), DOJ’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labor and Social Development, and Mercy Corps in the West Bank and Gaza. She previously worked at the Ford Foundation and with the youth empowerment nonprofit Think Unlimited in Amman, Jordan. Imani graduated in 2013 from Stanford University, where she majored in international relations and minored in Arabic.
Rez Gardi LLM’19 is a Satter Fellow in Human Rights who will work with the Free Yezidi Foundation in Duhok, in the Kurdish Region of Iraq. During her Fellowship, Rez will gather evidence of the targeted genocidal campaign carried out by ISIS against the Yezidis, including mass executions, kidnapping, torture, sexual violence, and other egregious human rights abuses, using a victim-centric approach. This evidence will be used to build cases in collaboration with relevant European and Iraqi/Kurdish authorities to prosecute the perpetrators.
Rez is a Fulbright Scholar from New Zealand. During her time at HLS she was involved in the International Human Rights Clinic, served as Co-Director for Programming for Advocates for Human Rights, as an Executive Article Editor for the Human Rights Journal, and held various positions on the International Law Journal, and Women’s Law Association.
Prior to HLS, Rez worked as a legal officer at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission; as a solicitor in the disputes and litigation team of New Zealand’s preeminent law firm; and as a human rights intern at the United Nations Human Settlements Program in Nairobi, Kenya. As a former refugee, she is passionate about supporting young refugees and founded Empower Youth Trust to address the underrepresentation of refugees in higher education. She holds an LLB (Honours) and a BA double majoring in international relations and criminology from the University of Auckland.
Daniel Levine-Spound JD’19 is a Satter Fellow in Human Rights who will work with the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) in Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo on their Peacekeeping Program. At HLS, Daniel spent three semesters in the International Human Rights Clinic, served as co-President of Advocates for Human Rights, co-founded the Progressive Jewish Alliance, and conducted research with several professors on international humanitarian law, counterterrorism, and disarmament. He recently co-authored a book, A History of the Criminalization of Homosexuality in Tunisia, tracing the history and contemporary application of the Tunisian sodomy law.
Prior to law school, Daniel worked at the Euro- Mediterranean Human Rights Network and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies in Tunis; taught high school English and interned at Human Rights Watch on a Fulbright grant in Paris; and worked as a researcher at C Global Consulting, where he designed a course in conflict resolution. He graduated from Brown University with honors in Comparative Literature in 2012.
Nerissa Naidoo LLM’19 is a Fulbright scholar from Durban, South Africa. As a Henigson Fellow, she will work at Social Media Exchange (SMEX) in Lebanon. SMEX focuses on Internet policy research and digital advocacy in the Middle East and globally. From issues around freedom of expression and open governance to privacy and surveillance, Nerissa will contribute to SMEX’s work in advancing human rights norms in a digital world. In particular, Nerissa will map and analyze the impacts of legal frameworks in digital environments, enabling civil society organisations and human rights defenders to view the operation of digital rights across jurisdictions around the globe.
Having grown up in the Global South and on the Internet, Nerissa has always been curious about the experiences of minorities online and is interested in the intersection of technology, identity and society. She’s blogged about ending violence against children for UNICEF, contributed to the Health Professions Council of South Africa’s Ethical Guidelines on Social Media Use for Doctors, and wrote her graduate dissertation on copyright protection for Black Twitter’s memes via cultural intellectual property principles. She serves as the Communications Director for Harvard Law School’s Advocates for Human Rights, the Social Media Chair for the Harvard African Law Association, and is also on the boards of the Harvard Human Rights and Business Association and Global South Dialogue. She graduated with her LLB degree summa cum laude from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in April 2018.
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