Blog: Syria

September 12, 2013

Talk Sept. 13: Noah Feldman on Syria

Event Notice

“Should the U.S. Break International Law to Enforce a ‘Red Line’ on Syria”

September 13, 2013

12- 1 p.m.

Langdell North

Please join us for a talk by HLS Professor Noah Feldman on the ongoing and recent events in Syria, and whether the United States should break international law to enforce a ‘red line.’

Lunch provided.

This event is being sponsored by HLS Democrats, Harvard National Security & Law Association, HLS American Constitution Society, and the Human Rights Program.


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March 21, 2013

Clinic and Human Rights Watch: Obama Should Urge Jordan to Stop Sending Asylum Seekers Back to Syria

Posted by Meera Shah

In a joint press release with Human Rights Watch today, the International Human Rights Clinic called on President Obama to use his visit to Jordan as an opportunity to urge the Jordanian government to stop returning asylum seekers to Syria.

While Jordan has accommodated more than 350,000 refugees since the start of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, it is routinely and unlawfully rejecting Palestinian refugees, single men, and undocumented people seeking asylum at its border with Syria. Based in part on the Clinic’s field research conducted in Jordan and Lebanon over January term, the extended press release documents the difficulties faced by asylum seekers in these categories as they attempt to flee the fighting in Syria.

Below you’ll find the first part of the press release. Here is the full document.


Jordan: Obama Should Press King on Asylum Seeker Pushbacks

Palestinian Refugees, Single Men, and Undocumented Unlawfully Forced Back to Syria

(New York, March 21, 2013) – Jordan is routinely and unlawfully rejecting Palestinian refugees, single males, and undocumented people seeking asylum at its border with Syria, Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic (the Harvard Clinic) said today.

While attention during U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Jordan on March 22, 2013 will focus on the large number of Syrian refugees that Jordan has welcomed and accommodated since the start of the Syrian crisis in March 2011, its rejection of these categories of asylum seekers fleeing the violence should not be ignored, Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Clinic said.  President Obama should seek assurances from King Abdullah that Jordan will not reject any asylum seekers at its border with Syria. The risks to their lives in Syria are too serious to send anyone back at the present time.

“King Abdullah’s support for 350,000 Syrian refugees deserves President Obama’s praise, but Obama should not give Jordan a free pass to force Palestinian refugees and asylum seekers back to Syria,” said Bill Frelick, refugee program director at Human Rights Watch. “Jordan should recognize that everyone —  and that includes Palestinian refugees, single men, and undocumented people — has the right not to be forcibly sent back to Syria to face the risk of death or serious harm.”

In two separate trips to Jordan and Lebanon, in January and February, Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Clinic conducted in-depth interviews with more than 120 Syrian and Palestinian refugees from Syria. Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Clinic documented that, as a matter of policy, Jordan is turning back people from Syria at its border without adequately considering the risk to them. Such a policy violates the international law principle of nonrefoulement, which forbids governments from returning refugees and asylum seekers to places where their lives or freedom would be threatened.

Continue Reading…

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November 1, 2012

Today, Friday, Nov. 2: The International Job Search; Event on Syria Cancelled

Posted by Cara Solomon

Unfortunately, today’s event on Syria and the limits of human rights advocacy has been cancelled, and likely rescheduled for December 7. We’ll keep you updated on that. But please note there’s another important event at noon today, geared mostly toward 1Ls who are interested in a public interest job abroad. Details below:

“The International Job Search”

An Informational Session with Representatives from HRP, OPIA, International Legal Studies and the Office of Student Financial Services

12- 1 pm

Austin West

This session is designed to provide advice to 1Ls seeking summer public interest opportunities abroad. Topics for discussion include:

• How to determine what kinds of jobs to pursue
• How to research employers
• How to land a summer job
• Application logistics, including timing
• Summer funding programs, including the Chayes International Public Service Fellowship and Human Rights Program Summer Internships

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April 9, 2012

TODAY, April 10: “Causes and Consequences of the Stalemate in Syria”

Event Notice


Event poster features an image of people protesting holding a flag.

“Causes and Consequences of the Stalemate in Syria”

12:00- 1:00 pm

Wasserstein B015

As the crisis in Syria continues to unfold, please join us for a discussion with two experts in Middle East affairs: Roger Owen, the A.J. Meyer Professor of Middle East History at Harvard University and the author of the forthcoming book The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life; and Elaine Hagopian, Professor Emerita of Sociology at Simmons College.

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