No Place to Hide: Gang, State and Clandestine Violence in El Salvador
Building on the Clinic's February 2007 report, No Place to Hide, on gang, police and clandestine violence in El Salvador, the Clinic completed a revised version distributed in book format by Harvard University Press in February 2010. The Clinic has also drafted affidavits and helped prepare expert testimony for submission in asylum cases stemming from such violence.
Escher et al. v. Brazil, Case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Partnering with the Brazilian Global Justice Center (Justiça Global) and other organizations that promote land rights, the Clinic assisted in all phases of litigation in the Escher matter. The case involved illegal wiretapping of the phones of a cooperative tied to the landless movement. Students travelled to the hearings on the case held in Mexico City, and assisted in developing direct and cross-examination as well as closing arguments. In 2009, the Court issued a ruling favorable to the victims on whose behalf the Clinic had been working.
Mining and Indigenous Rights
Working with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), the Clinic provided support to two First Nations bands in Canada that are facing threats to their culture, subsistence, and way of life from mines. Students investigated the human rights implications of mining and mapped the possible human rights approaches for advancing indigenous interests in these cases.
Security in Paraguay
From 2005 to 2007, the Clinic researched and drafted Security in Paraguay: Analysis and Responses in Comparative Perspective. At the request of the Paraguayan Ministry of the Interior, and as a follow-up to this book, the Clinic subsequently prepared a briefing paper and organized a high level expert meeting in Asunción to develop human rights-based approaches to security issues in Paraguay.
Judicial Enforcement of Economic and Social Rights in Colombia
This project, undertaken in collaboration with the Human Rights Clinic at the University of the Andes in Bogotá, investigated the implementation and empirical effects of a groundbreaking Colombian Constitutional Court judgment on health equity and budget-setting, and on the availability, accessibility, and quality of health facilities and services in that country. The project also explored the role that the Constitutional Court has played in fostering social change in Colombia, in particular its relation to other branches of government and to social movements. Students participated in a field investigation in Colombia, including a public symposium on implementation of the Court's judgment.
Education and Corruption in Liberia
The Clinic finalized a discussion paper and coordinated an advocacy workshop to discuss community monitoring of child exploitation in Liberia's public schools. The Clinic conducted comparative research on reporting, monitoring, and sanctions mechanisms for teachers in the Liberian education system. Clinical students also prepared and executed a multi-sectoral stakeholder meeting in Monrovia, presenting their research and organizing community initiatives on this subject.
Human Rights and Constitutional Reform in Zimbabwe
In collaboration with two leading Zimbabwean NGOs-the National Constitutional Assembly and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights-the Clinic authored a report to inform the constitution-drafting process in Zimbabwe. The report, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Zimbabwe: Options for Constitutional Protections (August 2009), argued that the inclusion of economic, social and cultural rights is an essential component of a new constitution; examined Zimbabwe's obligations under international law to respect, protect and fulfill human rights; outlined different options for constitutional protections of human rights; and offered detailed analysis of six economic, social and cultural rights recommended for incorporation into a new Zimbabwean constitution. The report was released in Zimbabwe with the help of the Clinic, including a fellow from the program, who was in the country for a year prior to its release.
Prosecuting Apartheid-Era Crimes? A South African Dialogue on Justice
The Clinic traveled to South Africa nearly a half dozen times between 2006 and 2008, conducting scores of interviews to document the wide variety of opinions within South Africa about prosecution of apartheid-era crimes. In June 2008, the Clinic and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa launched a report at the South African Human Rights Commission. The report received widespread media attention, and during the 2008-2009 academic year, a clinical team turned this initial report into a book for distribution by Harvard University Press. The book is entitled Prosecuting Apartheid-Era Crimes? A South African Dialogue on Justice (2009). To finalize the book, the clinical team researched and analyzed previous attempts at prosecutions in South Africa, recent developments in a relevant constitutional case, and the international legal implications of abandoning prosecutions efforts.
Community Awareness on Child Labor in Diamond-Mining
Based on interviews in more than two dozen artisanal diamond mines in Sierra Leone, the Clinic published a report entitled, "Digging in the Dirt": Child Miners in Sierra Leone's Diamond Industry (2009). A clinical team also travelled to Sierra Leone to engage in media and other advocacy work to launch the report locally. Students wrote press releases, a radio drama, and songs for Sierra Leonean broadcast. The advocacy was widely covered in Sierra Leone and internationally, prompting further debate on the report's recommendations.
Access to Justice for Sexual Violence Cases in West Africa
Building from a prior report released by the Clinic on Sierra Leone, a clinical team provided technical support to the International Rescue Committee's gender-based violence program in Liberia. The Clinic's work focused on increasing prosecutions of sexual violence cases, and included an October 2008 fact-finding trip to interview local stakeholders and investigate the operations of the Liberian "Special Courts," designed to address specifically complaints of sexual and gender-based violence. The project produced a public report that presented the research and findings from the work in Sierra Leone.
Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Shell
On November 10, 1995, internationally renowned author and human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight of his colleagues, who had led nonviolent opposition to Shell's human rights abuses and environmental destruction in the Niger Delta, were hanged in Nigeria. Their families brought an Alien Tort Statute case that charged Shell with collaborating and conspiring with the Nigerian military to suppress violently the Ogoni people’s peaceful opposition to the company's exploitation of oil and natural gas resources. Working with partner attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights and EarthRights International, the Clinic helped prepare the case for trial and assisted in negotiations that ultimately led to a US$15.5 million settlement in June 2009.
Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman Energy Inc.
The Clinic authored and served as counsel of record on an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of leading international law scholars in this major corporate Alien Tort Statute case. The brief argues that those who knowingly aid and abet egregious human rights violations can be held liable under customary international law. The Second Circuit previously ruled that purpose—rather than knowledge—was required to establish liability, a position that amici assert would overturn sixty years of established international jurisprudence dating to the Nuremberg era. The case was brought by Sudanese citizens seeking to hold Talisman Energy liable for its alleged complicity in human rights abuses committed against non-Muslims living in the area of its oil concession in southern Sudan.
Samantar v. Yousuf
The Clinic authored and served as counsel of record on a U.S. Supreme Court brief on behalf of more than twenty amici curiae, including leading human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The brief argues that the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA) does not immunize individual former officials from suit in U.S. courts for violations of fundamental human rights such as torture and extrajudicial killing. The case, Samantar v. Yousuf, brings claims against a Somali general for torture, rape, and mass executions committed against the civilian population of Somalia during the 1980s. In June 2010, in a major victory, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that foreign government officials who commit human rights abuses while in office are not entitled to immunity in U.S. courts under the FSIA.
Shwe Natural Gas Pipeline: Corporate Accountability and Korea
This clinical project stems from the lessons learned from the Yadana gas pipeline, which led to numerous human rights violations and culminated in the seminal Doe v. Unocal Alien Tort Statute case. Since 2004, the Clinic has been working with a coalition of NGOs to minimize the threat of similar human rights and environmental impacts related to the Shwe natural gas pipeline project in Burma. Concerns exist that the Korean-Chinese-Indian multinational corporate project will lead to forced labor, forced relocation, and other abuses, as well as serious environmental abuses. In 2008, the Clinic filed a complaint with the Korean National Human Rights Commission behalf of two individuals from Burma and Korean organizations. The clinical team is currently authoring a chapter on Shwe and Yadana in a book-length report on foreign corporate energy development in Korea.
Cluster Munitions Use in Georgia
Cluster munitions are large weapons that release dozens or hundreds of submunitions. They cause harm both during attacks because of their broad area effect and afterwards because many do not explode on impact and lay around like landmines. The Clinic conducted a fact-finding mission to Georgia to research Russia's use of cluster munitions in August 2008, interviewing witnesses, deminers, doctors, and government and military officials. The Clinic contributed to a final report on Russia's use of cluster munitions, A Dying Practice: Use of Cluster Munitions by Russian and Georgia in August 2008, released by Human Rights Watch.
Climate Change and Human Rights
The Clinic launched a multi-year project on the link between climate change and human rights. The first phase prepared background documents for an expert meeting, held in Geneva in January 2009 and organized by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), to promote discussion before a Human Rights Council session. For the expert meeting, students produced a paper analyzing both the link between human rights and climate change and how the international community could address the human rights violations related to climate change.
Environmental Guardianship for Future Generations
The Clinic collaborated with the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN) on a project addressing the rights of future generations to a clean and healthy environment. Students drafted a model statute and a constitutional provision designed to protect and promote these rights. In addition, the Clinic developed a document, Models for Protecting the Environment for Future Generations, which describes how ombudsmen, guardians, and other legal entities could help guarantee a habitable planet for future humans.
World Health Organization (WHO) and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
The Clinic researched issues in countries scheduled for review by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and the Human Rights Committee. The research focused on the health of particular population sectors within the chosen countries, considering health status, access to services, and other chosen indicators, assessing how the data bear on human rights obligations. Students examined State Party reports and analyzed issues related to sexual and reproductive health and human rights. They produced a technical report for use by the WHO and in-country partners, including NGOs.
ICJ Advisory Opinion on Nuclear Weapons
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty requires states parties to "negotiate in good faith" to achieve complete disarmament. Concerned about states' lack of progress since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued its 1996 Advisory Opinion on Nuclear Weapons, the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) and the Clinic authored a report calling on the UN General Assembly to request that the ICJ to issue an new advisory opinion on what "good faith" means in this context.