The following is a list of previous HRP-sponsored or co-sponsored events for the 2007-2008 Academic Year. For more information on these events, please click on the following links or contact the HRP office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EVENTS HELD DURING THE 2007-2008 ACADEMIC YEAR
Bombs Away: Negotiating an International Treaty to Ban Cluster Munitions
As negotiations for a treaty to ban cluster munitions reach their height, Human Rights Program clinical students organized a panel of experts to discuss the humanitarian harm caused by these weapons and the treaty process by which they will be banned. The panelists, who have all been involved in advocacy surrounding the process, highlighted ways in which human rights activists can galvanize countries to come together and forge new international law. Panelists included: Simon Conway (Director, Landmine Action, UK), Bonnie Docherty (HLS Human Rights Program Clinical Instructor and Lecturer), Steve Goose (Executive Director, Human Rights Watch Arms Division), and Ken Rutherford (Co-Founder, Landmine Survivors Network). The panel was moderated by Harvard Law School Clinical Professor Alex Whiting.
Progress at the Khmer Rouge Tribunals: The Genocide Trials of the United Nations and Cambodia
With the arrest of five senior-most surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge, the judicial activities of the United Nations assisted Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia have increased considerably. Anees Ahmed, the tribunal's Assistant Prosecutor, spoke at this event about the recent developments and the substantive and procedural issues likely to be raised before the tribunal. This event was co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, the Asian Pacific Law Student Association, the Human Rights Advocates Asia Group, and the Harvard International Affairs Council.
Lawyers are the Key to Freedom: From Guantanamo Bay to Haditha
This event featured Lieutenant Colonel Vokey, who has tried hundreds of military courts-martial and other cases as both a prosecutor and defense counsel. He served as lead defense counsel for Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr, at the Military Commissions for offenses that were allegedly committed as a 15-year-old boy in Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Vokey is currently assigned to defend Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, the Marine squad leader charged with the deaths of a number of Iraqi men, women and children as a result of events that occurred in November 2005 in Haditha, Iraq. Vokey spoke about his experiences representing clients in Guantanamo Bay and Haditha. This event was co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, International Legal Studies, and HLS Advocates for Human RIghts.
Elections and Politics in Zimbabwe
This event addressed the current political and human rights situation in Zimbabwe, in the wake of controversial recent elections. Tawanda Mustasah, an LL.M. candidate ('08) at Harvard Law School and Executive Director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa spoke about the political complications, as well as possible next steps for Zimbabwe's civil society, as well as how the rest of the African community might respond to Zimbabwe's political and electoral crisis.
Human Rights and Wrongs: Slavery, Terror, Genocide
This presentation focused on the persistence of crimes against humanity since the Holocaust - including slavery, terror, and genocide. Based on a book of the same name, Helen Fein used case studies to explain such gross human rights violations in terms of an integrated theory of life integrity, then discussed the positive links among human rights, freedom, and development to draw out policy recommendations from her findings. Fein is the Director of the Institute for the Study of Genocide in New York, an Associate of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a former Visiting Fellow with the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School.
Reproductive and Sexual Health Rights in Comparative Perspective: U.S. and UN Advocacy
The event addressed reproductive and sexual health rights, and how these issues are seen within a United Nations framework, and within advocacy groups in the United States. The panelists included Priscilla Smith, a Visiting Fellow with the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, and Kathy Hall, the Deputy Director of the United Nations Foundation's Women and Population Program. The event was co-sponsored by HLS for Choice, and was the fourth in a series of yearlong events examining abortion from a comparative law perspective.
Reconstituting the African State to Protect Human Rights
This event marked the Human Rights Program's 2008 Edward A. Smith Lecture, which was given by Maina Kiai, Chairperson of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. The event was part of the Human Rights Program's National Human Rights Institutions" speaker series. Kiai focused on the current political crisis in Kenya, and spoke about the changing nature of human rights and rights protection in Africa.
Unbearable Witness: Watching Sexuality in Iran
Iran's criminal code punishes homosexual conduct with the death penalty. President Ahmedinejad has claimed there "are no homosexuals" in Iran. Are these words self-enforcing? How do Western identity politics, and the politics of human rights, affect or illuminate or distort the reality of how laws are enforced, and lives are lived, in Iran? Reflections on these questions were offered by Scott Long, director of Human Rights Watch's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program.
Finding the Human Rights Frontier: Regulating Labor and Land Markets in the Post-Washington Consensus
This talk was the fifth and final event in a yearlong series sponsored by the Human Rights Program that critically examined the study and practice of human rights. Professor Kerry Rittich, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto School of Law, focused on rights-based development, the rise of good governance, and the complex relationship of development to human rights in the context of the post-Washington Consensus.
Legitimizing Third World Human Rights NGOs: Lessons from Nigeria
This talk was the fourth event in a yearlong series sponsored by the Human Rights Program that critically examined the study and practice of human rights. Obiora Okafor, Associate Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, spoke about his research into the NGO community in Nigeria, and the issues faced when NGOs from the Global North work or partner with NGOs from the Global South. Before joining Osgoode Hall Law School, Professor Okafor held faculty positions at the University of Nigeria and Carleton University. He is currently working on a SSHRC-funded study relating to human rights activism in Nigeria, as well as on a project examining the comparative character of refugee rights in the Canada and the USA post 9/11.
Commissioning the Truth: Residential Schools, First Nations and Human Rights in Canada
This event, co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, the Native American Law Studentís Association, the Harvard University Native American Program, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, discussed the recently concluded, though long negotiated agreement between the First Nations and the Canadian Government regarding redress for its practice of forcible institutionalization of First Nation children in Indian Residential Schools. Panelists included Phillip (Phil) Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Prof. Kathleen Mahoney, a Professor of Law at the University of Calgary and a former Visiting Fellow with the Human Rights Program. The event was moderated by Prof. Henry Steiner, founder of the Human Rights Program.
Abortion in Comparative Perspective: Latin America and the United States
This event, co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program and HLS for Choice, was the second in a series of events looking at comparative perspectives on abortion. This event looked specifically at Latin America and the United States, and featured Priscilla Smith (Visiting Fellow with the Information Society Project at Yale University), and Luisa Cabal (Director of the International Legal Program, Center for Reproducitve Rights).
The Unknown Black Book: The Holocaust in the German-Occupied Soviet Territories
This forum commemorated the release of "The Unknown Black Book: The Holocaust in the German-Occupied Soviet Territories," edited by Joshua Rubenstein and Ilya Altman. "The Unknown Black Book," provides, for the first time in English, a compilation of testimonies from Jews who survived open-air massacres and other atrocities carried out by the Germans and their allies in the Occupied Soviet Territories in World War II. These testimonies are first-hand accounts by survivors of work camps, ghettoes, forced marches, beatings, starvation and disease - collected under the direction of two renowned Soviet Jewish journalists, Vasily Grossman and Ilya Ehrenburg.
Evaluating National Human Rights Institutions: Independence, Composition and Influence
This forum continued to explore the Human Rights Program's thematic concentration on National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). The event featured Morten Kjaerum, the Executive Director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights and an expert on NHRIs, who focused on the ways in which the efficacy of NHRIs is measured, as well as how national institutions act as the missing link between international/regional human rights mechanisms and the national implementation level.
Islamic Law, Human Rights and Dilemmas of Critical Engagement
This lecture by Naz Modirzadeh of the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University, was based on her piece, "Taking Islamic Law Seriously: INGOs and the Battle for Muslim Hearts and Minds." This was the third in a year-long lecture series featuring scholars producing work which critically examines the study and practice of human rights.
Human Rights, Violence, and the Elections in Kenya
This forum focused on the historical and current context of violence in Kenya, as well as how the media reports on ethnic tribal violence, in the wake of the contested December 2007 elections. The event featured Joseph Mwaura, a Visiting Fellow with the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, and a Lecturer in Law at Queens University in Belfast (UK).
Abortion in Comparative Perspective: Poland and the United States
This event, co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program and HLS for Choice, was the first in a series of events looking at comparative perspectives on abortion. This event looked specifically at Poland and the United States, and featured Priscilla Smith (Visiting Fellow with the Information Society Project at Yale University), and Wanda Nowicka (Executive Director of the Federation for Women and Family Planning in Warsaw).
The Challenges of Civic Engagement in Pakistan Under Emergency Rule
This event, co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program, International Legal Studies, the European Law Research Center, and East Asian Legal Studies, featured HRP alum Osama Siddique (LL.M. '97), a Professor in the Department of Law and Policy and the Lahore University of Management Studies (LUMS) in Pakistan. Professor Siddique spoke about public reaction to and the historical context of the state of martial law in Pakistan, and focused on recent political and judicial developments.
Is Criminal Law a Useful Tool to Address HIV Transmission?
This event featured Rebecca Schleifer, JD, MPH, a research and advocate with the HIV/AIDS Program at Human Rights Watch. Schleifer offered a health and human rights analysis on whether criminal law is a useful tool to address HIV transmission, exploring international and domestic law on HIV/AIDS.
National Human Rights Institutions: Giving Teeth to International Treaties
This event featured Professor Brian Burdekin, Visiting Professor at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Sweden and a Senior Fellow at Melbourne University School of Law. Burdekin is also an International Advisor to a number of National Human Rights Institutions in Africa, Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe. During this lunch time presentation, Burdekin focused on the legitimacy of National Human Rights Institutions and their development over the past ten years, as well as his own experiences in working with National Human Rights Institutions in Asia and Africa.
Reassessing Human Rights: The Dark Sides
This presentation by Professor David Kennedy (Harvard Law School), as the second in a yearlong series, "Critical Perspectives in Human Rights." The series features scholars producing work that critically examines the study and practice of human rights. Professor Kennedy discussed the ideology, ethics, strategies, and consequences of international human rights promotion and practice, based on sections of his book, The Dark Sides of Virtue: Reassessing International Humanitarianism.
Other speakers in this series include Karen Engle (University of Texas at Austin Law School), Naz Modirzadeh (Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University), Kerry Rittich (University of Toronto), and Obiora Okafor (Osgoode Hall Law School).
Promoting Compliance of Armed Groups with the Laws of War: The Experience of Human Rights Watch
This event featured James Ross, Legal and Policy Director at Human Rights Watch in New York. Ross talked about his own experience, as well as that of Human Rights Watch, in working with armed groups to understand and comply with the laws of war. Ross previously worked for Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Bosnia, and for the International Human Rights Law Group in Cambodia.
Women, War and Violence: Engendering Representation
This event featured Jasmina Lukic, Associate Professor with the Department of Gender Studies at Central European University in Budapest, and for 2007-2008 is serving as a Visiting Fellow with the Institute for Research on Women at Rutgers University. Co-sponsored by the Journal on Law and Gender, Lukic used film as a means of analyzing the role of war and violence on women.
This film screening and discussion centered on the film "Final Solutions," which is set in Gujarat, India during February 2002-July 2003. The film graphically documents the changing face of right-wing politics in India through a study of the 2002 genocide of Muslims in Gujarat. Members of the Human Rights Program's International Human Rights Clinic facilitated discussion, and the event was co-sponsored by the South Asian Law Students Association.
Indigenous Roads to Development: Self Determination, Culture and Human Rights
This presentation by Professor Karen Engle (University of Texas at Austin Law School) was the first in a yearlong series sponsored by the Human Rights Program, "Critical Perspectives on Human Rights," examining critical issues in the study of human rights. Prof. Engle is the Director of the Bertrand and Audre Rapport Center for Human Rights and Justice.
Other speakers in this series include David Kennedy (Harvard Law School), Naz Modirzadeh (Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University), Kerry Rittich (University of Toronto), and Obiora Okafor (Osgoode Hall Law School).
Human Rights and the Global Environment: Rights-based Approaches to Environmental Protection at the International Level
This event by Prof. Dinah Shelton, the Patricia Roberts Harris Professor of law at George Washington University, focused on linking human rights and environmental protection by looking at the history of this linkage, the gaps, and the problems that states and institutions face when addressing human rights and the environment. Shelton looked at these issues in the context of theory, international instruments, domestic law instruments, and jurisprudence. Prof. Shelton is the author of two prize-winning books, Protecting Human Rights in the Americas (winner of the 1982 Inter-American Bar Association Book Prize) and Remedies in International Human Rights Law (awarded the 2000 Certificate of Merit, American Society of International Law). She has also authored many other articles and books on international law, human rights law, and international environmental law.
Reparations After Massive Human Rights Abuses
This presentation by Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Professor of Law at UC Hastings, examined the budgeting, planning and restitution of goods of countries handling reparations and the problems and benefits that arise. Roht-Arriaza also addressed the problems of the internal cultural negative attitude of the state towards victims and its affect on their managing of reparations. Prof. Naomi Roht-Arriaza has also written numerous articles on the accountability of both state and corporate, for human rights violations as well as on other human rights, international criminal law and global environmental issues.
For a list of events from Academic Year 2006-2007, click here.