Blog: Sexual and Reproductive Rights

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 [email protected].

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

Event Notice

“Transgender 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

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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

Please 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

lease 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

Iraqi Civilians and U.S. Veterans Come Together to Demand the Right to Heal

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.

On the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Joyce Wagner, member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, gives testimony in front of the White House. Drake Logan, a member of the Civilian-Soldier Alliance, stands beside her.
On the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Joyce Wagner, member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, gives testimony about the oppression of women on both sides of the conflict. Drake Logan, a member of the Civilian-Soldier Alliance, stands beside her.

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

SAVE THE DATE: Special Event to Mark the 10th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq

March 26, 2013

“For Us, The Wars Aren’t Over: The Right to Heal Initiative”

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Wasserstein 2012

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

School Pregnancy Case Before South Africa’s Constitutional Court Today

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.

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March 1, 2013

Coming Monday: Rendition and the European Court of Human Rights; Rethinking Personhood

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.

105 Hauser

Lunch will be served

Please join the Human Rights Program and the Harvard National Security and Law Association for a discussion with Souad Mekhennet, a journalist and Nieman Fellow at Harvard University who has covered conflict and terrorist groups for The New York Times, Der Spiegel and others. Ms. Mekhennet helped break the story for the Times of Khaled el-Masri, a German-Lebanese man who had been kidnapped and sent via extraordinary rendition to Afghanistan. In December 2012, the European Court of Human Rights found that el-Masri’s treatment amounted to torture, and that he had been effectively disappeared by the US and Macedonian authorities.

Ms. Mekhennet will talk about the timeline of the case, and how further research took her to Algeria, Pakistan and to el-Masri himself. She will also discuss where the case stands today, what the ruling of the court means, and what has happened to el-Masri.

Also on March 4th:

Rethinking Personhood: Fetuses, Animals, and Robots

12-1:30 pm

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.

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