Blog: Harvard Human RIghts Journal

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June 9, 2021

Harvard Human Rights Journal on Indirect Discrimination and Religion

Grounded in an April 2020 symposium hosted by the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, the latest issue of the Harvard Human Rights Journal focuses on indirect discrimination on the basis of religion. HHRJ’s Volume 34, Issue 2 (Summer 2021) invited scholars who attended the private workshop to explore the concept in more detail, exploring issues in a comparative and international manner. The April event was hosted by Gerald Neuman, HRP Director and J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School, who also contributed an essay to the journal on the “normative background to prohibitions on indirect discrimination” and “the current state of indirect discrimination law domestically and internationally.”

Other essays in the series explore the nuances between indirect discrimination and reasonable accommodation, the inclusion of religion in public education to promote tolerance, and the difference between the right to freedom of religion and the right against religious discrimination. Expert contributors included Tarun Khaitan, Professor of Public Law and Legal Theory at Wadham College, Oxford University; Rashad Ibadov, Assistant Professor of Law at the School of Public and International Affairs, ADA University, and a former HRP Visiting Fellow; and Sarah Cleveland, Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights at Columbia Law School; among others.

Two commentaries round out the issue. Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Eleanor Roosevelt Senior Visiting Researcher and Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, spoke to how the theory of indirect discrimination might be applied to the lived realities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and other gender diverse (LGBT) persons; and Yuval Shany, Hersch Lauterpacht Chair in Public International Law at Hebrew University, wrote about the choices made by national and international human rights bodies in employing guarantees of religious freedom and prohibitions of indirect discrimination as alternative bases of protection.

Read the full issue on the HHRJ website.

For the last two years, HRP has hosted three private workshops focused on indirect discrimination and other factors. Most recently, workshops explored indirect discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) and indirect discrimination arising from the pandemic, with a discrete focus on SOGI.

Learn more about the 2020-2021 workshops here.

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March 26, 2015

Tomorrow, March 26: “International Criminal Courts and Tribunals: Challenges and Successes”

We’re very pleased to co-sponsor this year’s Harvard Human Rights Journal Symposium, which takes place tomorrow, Friday, March 27. The half-day event will focus on the challenges and successes of international criminal law as a response mechanism to world crises. The event panels are as follows:

“Where Has International Criminal Law Taken Us and Where Can it Go?”

Keynote Address by Serge Brammertz, Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY
12:00 – 1:00 pm, Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall
Lunch will be served

“The Laws of War: Enforcement in Human Rights Versus International Criminal Courts”

1:30 – 3:00 pm, WCC 1015

This panel will feature Judge Robert Spano of the European Court of Human Rights (graciously brought to the Symposium by Harvard European Law Association), Nema Milaninia of the ICTY in the Appeals Division of the Office of the Prosecutor, Fergal Gaynor of the International Criminal Court Victims Division, former ICC prosecutor Professor Alex Whiting, and Vanderbilt University Professor Michael Newton. The panel will discuss the pros and cons of enforcing international humanitarian law in international criminal courts versus international human rights courts. This panel is cosponsored by the Harvard European Law Association.

Coffee with the Experts

3:00 – 4:00 pm, WCC 3038

“Prosecuting a War: Justice for Syria?”

4:00 – 5:30 pm, WCC 1023

Syria triggers critical questions for the role of international criminal law. What system of justice will best address the atrocities that have been committed and documented by various actors throughout the conflict? National courts? An international tribunal? A hybrid model? What role should local forms of justice play in such a process? How can the lessons of past justice models inform the international community’s approach to Syria? What role should the US or other Western powers play? The panel will feature Emily Hutchinson and Jim Hooper of the Public International Law and Policy Group, and Federica D’Alessandra from the Harvard Kennedy School. All three panelists have been involved in Syria fact-finding missions, and Ms. Hutchinson and Mr. Cooper have participated in negotiations with key members of the moderate coalition. Susan Farbstein from the Harvard Human Rights Program will moderate the panel.

[pageWine and Cheese Reception

WCC 1023, HLS Pub

October 29, 2014

Book Talk: “The International Rule of Law Movement”

October 30, 2014

“The International Rule of Law Movement: A Crisis of Legitimacy and the Way Forward”

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

WCC 3007

Please join us for a book talk by David Marshall, LLM ’02, editor of “The International Rule of Law Movement: A Crisis of Legitimacy and The Way Forward,” along with Michael Woolcock and Louis-Alexandre Berg, contributors to the volume. Marshall is a former Visiting Fellow with the Human Rights Program, and currently the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Focal Point for Rule of Law, Peacebuilding and South Sudan. Woolcock is Lead Social Development Specialist with the World Bank’s Development Research Group in Washington, D.C. and a Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School. Berg is a Research Fellow, International Security Program at the Belfer center for Science and International Affairs Harvard Kennedy School.

This event is being co-sponsored by the Harvard Law and International Development Society and the Harvard Human Rights Journal


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September 29, 2014

Tomorrow, Sept. 30: “Apartheid of the Ahmadis in Pakistan”

September 30, 2014

“Apartheid of the Ahmadis in Pakistan”

A Talk by Pakistani Jurist Mujeeb-ur-Rahman

12:00 – 1: 15 p.m.

Wasserstein 2019

Lunch will be served

Please join us for a discussion with renowned Pakistani jurist Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, who has been at the forefront of the struggle for religious liberty in Pakistan for five decades. Mr. Rahman has argued scores of human rights cases before the Pakistan Supreme Court, including Zaheeruddin v. State, which legitimized persecution of the Ahmadi Muslim minority by affirming the power of the state to legally define who may call him or herself a Muslim.

This event is being co-sponsored by HLS Advocates for Human Rights, Harvard Human Rights Journal, Harvard South Asian Law Students Association, and Ahmadiyya Muslim Lawyers Association USA.

December 13, 2012

From “Glamorous” Activism to Global Movements: An Online HRJ Symposium

Posted by James Tager, JD '13, Online Editor, Harvard Human Rights Journal

Anniversaries are always a great time to reflect on the past and to examine opportunities for the future. This Monday marked the 64-year anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Which is why we at the Harvard Human Rights Journal chose this Monday, December 10, to launch our new Online Symposium examining the concept of the ‘broad-based activist movement’ and what it means for human rights. Entitled “Avoiding the Trap,” the Symposium showcases the work of several notable human rights academics as they wrestle with three questions:

1. Is it possible to have a broad-based activist movement that is global in scope and sufficiently informed of the issues? If so, how do we build such a movement?

2. Is there a necessary trade-off between the nuance of a human rights situation and public support for its remedy? If so, where is that trade-off located and how should it be addressed?

3. How do we build a new ‘anti-atrocity constituency’ without falling into the trap of a Savage-Victim-Savior mentality?

Our contributors each provide their own take on these questions, with answers ranging from systematic prescriptions to deeply personal reflections, from a close examination of the recent Kony 2012 debate to insightful analysis of such expansive concepts as “global civil society” and the “glamour” of human rights. As someone who read and re-read these pieces prior to publication, I found myself connecting with them intellectually and at times even emotionally. Each piece challenges us to re-examine some of our own ideas on how to solve some of the Big Issues: atrocities, massive violence, core violations of international law.

The Harvard Human Rights Journal is proud to share these original pieces of human rights scholarship,  which we hope you will find insightful and thought-provoking. The Symposium can be found at the Harvard Human Rights Journal website.

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