Thursday, December 5, 2013
The United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB) yesterday called on all political parties and actors in Burundi to show restraint as the country carries out its constitutional review process. BNUB also welcomed the Government’s commitment to promote dialogue before the adoption of important instruments, particularly the constitution and the electoral code. BNUB called on all Burundian political parties and actors “to be measured and show restraint when addressing these issues” and urged them "to participate effectively in the planned inclusive consultations in order to express their concerns.”
The small, war-scarred nation in Africa’s Great Lakes region has been undertaking efforts towards peace and stability after decades of factional and ethnic fighting between Hutus and Tutsis killed hundreds of thousands of people. BNUB, which is currently headed by Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, has been tasked with assisting the country with its peacebuilding efforts, including providing support for elections scheduled for 2015.
(adapted from a UN press release)
Marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations is calling for global efforts to ensure that the more than one billion people worldwide who live with some form of disability can reap the benefits of development and fully participate in society. “We must remove all barriers that affect the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in society, including through changing attitudes that fuel stigma and institutionalize discrimination,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day, observed annually on 3 December. “We need to work harder to ensure that infrastructure and services support inclusive, equitable and sustainable development for all.”
About 15 per cent of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, and those persons face physical, social, economic and attitudinal barriers that prevent them from effectively participating in society. Persons with disabilities are also disproportionately represented among the world’s poorest, and lack equal access to basic resources such as education, employment, healthcare and legal support systems.
At the first High-level Meeting on Disability and Development, held in September, countries adopted a landmark outcome document seeking to promote development initiatives that take into account the needs of persons with disabilities.
The theme for this year’s Day – ‘Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all’ – seeks to build on that commitment, and is particularly important as countries prepare to shape the next development agenda that will follow the Millennium Development Goals after their 2015 target date.
“We must take aim at breaking down barriers and creating opportunities so that all human beings can live their lives to the fullest,” John Ashe, the President of the General Assembly, said in his message for the Day. Hailing the commitments made at the High-level Meeting, Mr. Ashe said what the world needs now are tools for action and change to realize an inclusive society where everyone’s rights are protected and equal opportunities are supported.
(adapted from a UN press release)
Top United Nations officials marked the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on Monday with a call for concerted action to eradicate the contemporary forms of this heinous practice. “It is vital that we give special consideration to ending modern-day slavery and servitude which affects the poorest, most socially excluded groups – including migrants, women, discriminated ethnic groups, minorities and indigenous peoples,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day, observed annually on 2 December.
The International Day marks the date in 1949 of the adoption by the General Assembly of the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. The focus of the day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
Today, 21 million women, men and children are trapped in slavery all over the world, according to the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), which has teamed up with prominent artists, athletes and advocates in its campaign to “End Slavery Now.”
Mr. Ban noted that there has been important progress in the last year, including stronger legislation and greater coordination by a number of countries to combat slavery. Also, more and more businesses are working to ensure their activities do not cause or contribute to contemporary forms of slavery in the workplace and their supply chains. “I strongly support these initiatives and urge all Member States to ratify the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, develop robust and effective domestic legislation and boost enforcement on the ground. The partnership of the private sector in implementing these efforts is critical,” said the Secretary-General. He also urged continued support for the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, which has helped restore human rights and dignity to tens of thousands of children, women and men for over 20 years, he said.
General Assembly President John Ashe said in his message that the Day serves as a reminder to all people that, much like its historical antecedent, modern slavery is an egregious violation of a person’s basic human rights. “The majority of those who suffer are the most vulnerable and marginalized in society,” he stated. “Each year, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are kidnapped and sold into bondage across international borders. Trafficking in persons is an issue of great global concern and affects almost all countries,” Mr. Ashe noted. “This inhumane activity continues to flourish owing to vast economic disparities between nations, increasing flows of labour and commodities across international borders and transnational organized criminal networks.” He called on Member States to eradicate slavery in all its forms; to boost initiatives that promote social inclusion; and to end all forms of discrimination. “We must promote and protect the rights of those most vulnerable within our societies, and help to restore the dignity of victims of slavery.”
U.N. General Assembly Third Committee (the one that deals with Human Rights) Approves Draft Resolution on Right to Privacy
A draft resolution to protect the right to privacy in the digital age that was approved last week by a General Assembly committee is a first step, according to an independent UN expert who called for more to be done to ensure trust in the safety of communications. “If States are truly committed to ensuring that all the rights which apply offline continue to be valid online, they urgently need to take concrete steps to secure respect for the privacy of communications as a universal right everywhere – not only within their own borders,” the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, said in a news release.
The General Assembly committee dealing with human rights questions, also known as the Third Committee, on Tuesday unanimously approved the text recognizing the need for States to establish oversight mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability for surveillance initiatives. The 193-member Assembly is expected to vote on the non-binding resolution next month.
“To demonstrate their commitment to protect privacy and to ensure people can communicate freely, States can start by immediately revising their own laws and the role of the judiciary, in order to correct serious gaps that exist in most national legal frameworks,” said Mr. La Rue. He emphasized that the surveillance of communications must never be conducted without independent judicial oversight, even though it might be exceptionally required to monitor communications in order to respond to criminal activity or national security threats.
Parliaments should also play a role through the systematic review of the work of security and intelligence entities. “Blanket and indiscriminate surveillance should never be legal,” Mr. La Rue stressed. “International human rights standards demand that any interference with human rights be considered on a case-by-case basis in which a court weighs the proportionality of the benefit to be gained against the harm which may be done.”
Despite technological changes, the expert felt that no new international legal instruments are needed. “Privacy is a recognized human right. For decades there has been a solid understanding that privacy in postal services should be respected by all States. Therefore, there are no reasons for questioning existing guarantees to privacy in telephone or internet communications,” he said.
(mew) (adapted from a UN press release)
Now that Viet Nam has made great strides in economic development, it is time to increase opportunities for public debate and better protect ethnic, artistic, and academic freedom of expression, an independent United Nations human rights expert said last week. “Viet Nam finds itself at an important juncture,” Farida Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights, said at the end of a 12-day mission to the South-east Asian country. “It is time that the impressive progress made in reducing poverty and ensuring economic development is complemented by an increased space for public debate and the expression of a plurality of voices as the country moves forward,” she stressed.
She also urged the Government “to significantly increase its efforts to map and mitigate the negative effects of development schemes so that the country can fully benefit from the strength of the varied cultures of its peoples to promote sustainable development.” Although tourism has provided a supplementary source of livelihood to local people, they are not the primary beneficiaries of the revenue generated, she said.
“Measures are needed to ensure that the people whose cultural heritage is being used to promote tourism are empowered to manage these activities to their best advantage,” Ms. Shaheed said, citing the situation in Sa Pa, one of the locations she visited. “People should not be obliged to perform rather than live their own cultures,” she said.
On academic freedoms, she expressed concern over the absence of private publishing houses as well as the use of a single history textbook in schools, underscoring the need to promote critical thought, analytic learning and debate.
She said she was also deeply concerned about surveillance and conviction of artists under a law that forbids “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.”“I sincerely hope that the Government would review its policy to ensure greater freedom of artistic expression and creativity, in accordance with international standards,” the expert said.
During her mission, Ms. Shaheed visited cities and villages around the country, meeting with State authorities as well as artists, academics, representatives of civil society, members of ethnic communities and people involved in the tourism industry.
Special Rapporteurs are independent, unpaid experts who report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Ms. Shaheed will present a comprehensive report to that body with her findings and recommendations on Viet Nam in 2014.
(adapted from a UN press release)
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
A group of independent United Nations human rights experts today urged the Kenyan Government to reject legislation that would impose severe restrictions on civil society. The bill, which was presented to Parliament on 30 October, would amend Kenya’s Public Benefit Organization Act of 2012 and grant the Government “sweeping and potentially arbitrary powers” to deny registration for such organizations, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), according to a news release issued by the experts. “The bill is an evidence of a growing trend in Africa and elsewhere, whereby governments are trying to exert more control over independent groups using so-called ‘NGO laws’,” the experts warned.
The bill would also cap foreign funding at 15 per cent of their total budgets and channel all their funding through a government body, rather than going directly to beneficiary organizations.
“The amendments to the regulations of associations contained in the draft law could have profound consequences for civil society organizations in Kenya, including for those involved in human rights work, and could deter individuals from expressing dissenting views,” stressed the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya. She called on Kenyan authorities to immediately suspend the legislative process of the bill, and to re-evaluate it in line with international human rights norms and standards, and urged them to further consult civil society in a meaningful way, and pay due attention to their concerns.
The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, noted that “the proposed amendments lack clarity and could lead to restrictive interpretations that would unduly limit the rights to freedom of association, and opinion and expression.”
The bill “opens the door to undue State interference in civil society affairs,” said the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, noting that it allows a closer presidential oversight of the board commanding the associations’ regulatory body. “The authorities should not be entitled to condition any decisions and activities of the associations,” he stressed. “The State should not have the capacity to ‘register and de-register’ associations as it is the case with this bill. Instead, associations should be free to determine their statutes, structure and activities and make decisions without State interference.”
The experts drew special attention to the provisions on funding of associations, which create administrative barriers to accessing funding, compromise associations’ independence and run counter to international law and best practices.
Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
(UN press release)
The U.S. State Department has announced the next meeting of the Advisory Committee on International Law which will take place on Friday, December 13, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to approximately 2:30 p.m. at the George Washington University Law School, Frederick Lawrence Student Conference Center, 2023 G Street NW. Acting Legal Adviser Mary McLeod will chair the meeting, which will be open to the public up to the capacity of the meeting room.
Members of the public who wish to attend should contact the Office of the Legal Adviser by December 9 (202-776-8442) and provide their name, professional affiliation, address, and phone number. A valid photo ID is required for admission to the meeting.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Case No. 12.794, involving Wong Ho Wing, a Chinese national who was taken into custody in Peru.
Peru took Mr. Wong Ho Wing into custody on October 27, 2008 pursuant to an extradition request from China. The extradition process is still ongoing. In its Report on the Merits of the case, the IACHR concluded that Mr. Wong Ho Wing has been and continues to be subjected to an arbitrary and excessive deprivation of liberty that has no procedural basis and that has been extended for more than five years under the concept of “provisional arrest,” without a final determination having been made as to his legal situation.
The IACHR concluded that at the different stages of the extradition proceedings, domestic authorities committed a series of omissions and irregularities in the processing of the case and in procuring and weighing the reported assurances offered by China. The IACHR determined that these omissions and irregularities constituted not only violations of several aspects of due process, but a failure to comply with the obligation to guarantee Mr. Wong Ho Wing’s right to life and to humane treatment, given the risk that the death penalty or possible acts of torture could be applied.
The IACHR also concluded that since May 24, 2011, when the Peruvian Constitutional Court ordered the executive branch to refrain from extraditing Mr. Wong Ho Wing, the Peruvian State authorities have failed to fully comply with this court ruling, which is incompatible with the right to judicial protection.
The case was sent to the Inter-American Court because the IACHR determined that Peru has not complied with the recommendations contained in the IACHR's Report on the Merits of the case. After concluding that Mr. Wong Ho Wing's right have been violated, the IACHR recommended that Peru bring the extradition process to a conclusion as soon as possible. The IACHR also recommended that the State order an ex officio review of Wong Ho Wing’s provisional arrest, and make full reparations to him for the violations established in the merits report. Finally, the IACHR recommended that Peru adopt measures to ensure that the procedures established in the Code of Criminal Procedure are followed to the letter in future extradition processes and that the necessary safeguards are in place to ensure that any diplomatic or other assurances offered by the requesting State are procured and weighed in accordance with relevant international standards.
This case offers the Inter-American Court it first opporunity to develop case law on the standards to be applied to extradition requests so that States do not violate their obligations under the American Convention on Human Rights.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Decmeber 11, 2013 in a case concerning international child abduction. The issue is whether the one-year filing deadline for a petition under the Hague Convention to return an abducted child is tolled when the abducting parent conceals the whereabouts of the child from the other parent.
Yesterday, a dispute resolution panel of the World Trade Organization (WTO) found the European Community (EC) ban on the the importation and marketing of seal products to be contrary to WTO rules. Canada initiated the dispute resolution proceeding in 2009, complaining that the EC Seal Regime violates the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994. The WTO dispute resolution panel agreed.
The EC Seal Regime contained two exceptions to the general ban: one for seal products that resulted from hunts by indigenous communities (IC exception) and one for seal products that resulted from marine resource managment purposes (MRM exception). The panel found that the EC Seal Regime is a technical regulation and that the exceptions violate Article 2.1 of the TBT Agreement because they treat imported seal products less well than domestic and other foreign products (e.g., products from Greenland) without legitimate regulatory reason. The panel also found that the EC Seal Regime violates the GATT 1994. The EC now has 60 days in which to determine whether to bring its EC Seal Regime into conformity with the WTO rules or lodge an appeal.
More information on this WTO dispute (DS400) may be found on the WTO website.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Reiterating its strong condemnation of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its use of children in armed conflict, the Security Council today demanded that the group immediately cease all hostilities, release all abductees, and disarm and demobilize.
Issuing presidential statement the Council urged the United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), the UN political and peacekeeping missions in the region, and the Organization’s other relevant presences, to enhance their support for the implementation of the UN Regional Strategy to address the threat and impact of the activities of the LRA. It called on the international community to support the implementation of the Strategy where possible.
The LRA, notorious for carrying out massacres in villages, mutilating its victims and abducting boys for use as child soldiers and forcing girls into sexual slavery, was formed in the 1980s in Uganda and for over 15 years its attacks were mainly directed against Ugandan civilians and security forces, which in 2002 dislodged it. It then exported its activities to Uganda’s neighbours, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan.
The 15-member body reiterated its strong support for the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative against the LRA, commending the “significant” progress by the African Union Regional Task Force. It urged all regional Governments to fulfil their commitments under the Initiative and provide basic provisions for their security forces.
Welcoming steps taken to deliver an enhanced, comprehensive and “more regional” approach to the humanitarian situation, the Council underlined the primary responsibility of States in the LRA-affected region to protect civilians. In that context, it welcomed efforts by the DRC, South Sudan, Uganda and the CAR, in coordination with the African Union, to end the LRA threat, urging additional efforts from those countries, as well as others in the region.
Further, the Council expressed serious concern that the increased security vacuum in the CAR continued to negatively affect counter-LRA operations. As LRA attacks have reportedly taken place outside the Task Force’s principal area of operations, it emphasized the need for strong coordination among the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA), the Task Force, and the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) in the context of protecting civilian activities and counter-LRA operations.
Regionally, the Council encouraged the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) to reinforce efforts to address the LRA through improved responsiveness to imminent civilian threats, training and capacity-building of the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) and implementation of the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration, and resettlement programme to encourage further LRA defections.
In addition, the Council urged MONUSCO and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to enhance their cooperation with the Regional Task Force to coordinate operations, patrols and protection of civilians strategies, and to provide logistical support within their existing mandates and resources. It took note of reports of an LRA base in the disputed enclave of Kafia Kinga, on the border of the Central African Republic, and between South Sudan and Sudan.
(UN Press Release)
Malaysian Government Urged to Reverse Decision to Ban Catholic Publication from using the Word "Allah" to Refer to God
Several independent United Nations human rights experts today urged the Malaysian Government to reverse its decision to ban a Catholic publication from using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God, warning that the case may have far-reaching implications for religious minorities in the country. “Freedom of religion or belief is a right of human beings, not a right of the State,” the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, stressed in a news release. “It cannot be the business of the State to shape or reshape religious traditions, nor can the State claim any binding authority in the interpretation of religious sources or in the definition of the tenets of faith.”
The Bahasa Malaysia, or standard Malay, translation for one God is ‘Allah’, which entered the language from Arabic and has been used by Christians in the region for many centuries, according to the press release. In January 2009, the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered the newspaper Herald-The Catholic Weekly to stop using the word ‘Allah’ or face losing its publication permit. The newspaper argued the ban was unconstitutional and won an appeal in the Malaysian High Court.
However, last month, the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that non-Muslims cannot use ‘Allah’ to refer to God. It stated that the usage of the name ‘Allah’ is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity. “Such usage, if allowed, would inevitably cause confusion within the community,” the appeal court judges ruled. The case is currently pending consideration at the Federal Court level. Mr. Bielefeldt cautioned that “the current case may affect the right of all non-Muslims in Malaysia to use the word ‘Allah’ while referring to God.”
Also speaking out is Rita Izsák, the Independent Expert on minority issues, who said discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in this instance is a breach of the rights of a religious minority to freely practice and express their faith. “Such actions may present an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations between faith communities,” she warned.
The Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, called on the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Malaysian Government to take steps to immediately secure the right to freedom of opinion and expression of the newspaper and withdraw unconditionally from further litigation on this issue.
Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
(adapted from a UN press release)
Four people have been arrested for alleged witness tampering in the war crimes trial of former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced yesterday. The four men are accused of "corruptly influencing witnesses before the ICC and presenting evidence that they knew to be false or forged," according to a news release from The Hague-based Court. It is alleged that the suspects were part of a network for the purposes of presenting false or forged documents and bribing certain persons to give false testimony in the case against Mr. Bemba, whose trial started in November 2010.
The four men, arrested this week following a warrant issued on 20 November by Judge Cuno Tarfusser, include Mr. Bemba's Lead Counsel Aimé Kilolo Musamba taken into custody by Belgian authorities, and Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, a member of Mr Bemba's defence team and case manager, who was arrested in the Netherlands.
The two other men are Fidèle Babala Wandu, a member of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Parliament and Deputy Secretary General of the Mouvement pour la Libération du Congo - who was taken into custody in the DRC - and Narcisse Arido, a Defence witness, who was arrested by French authorities.
"On behalf of the Court, the Registrar of the ICC, Herman von Hebel, expressed his gratitude to the States' authorities for their cooperation," the ICC said, adding that these are the first arrests made in relation to such charges before the Court.
Mr. Bemba is the alleged President and Commander-in-Chief of the Mouvement de libération du Congo being tried for two counts of crimes against humanity (rape and murder) and three counts of war crimes (rape, murder and pillaging) allegedly committed in the Central African Republic (CAR).
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)
The Republiek Suriname (in Dutch) is located on the northeast coast of South America. It sits between French Guiana and Guyana with Brazil to the south. Suriname was colonized by the English and the Dutch in the 17th century. Read more here about Suriname.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued the following statement to recognize the day:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of the Republic of Suriname as you celebrate 38 years of independence on November 25.
The United States and Suriname share common interests in protecting the environment, preserving our cultural heritage, and celebrating the rich diversity of our nations’ citizens.
The participation of a Suriname–South Dakota National Guard Color Guard in this year’s national day festivities underscores the ties of friendship between the people of Suriname and the United States.
As you mark this jubilee and celebrate the accomplishments of the Surinamese people, I send best wishes for a bright and prosperous future.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Leila Nadya Sadat is a professor at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, where she directs the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute. She also a special advisor to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on the important subject of Crimes Against Humanity.
Professor Sadat came to Chicago this week to speak at The John Marshall Law School, where she discussed her work as editor of a new book on "Forging a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity," being published this month by Cambridge University Press. Here's a blurb about the book:
Crimes against humanity were one of the three categories of crimes elaborated in the Nuremberg Charter. However, unlike genocide and war crimes, they were never set out in a comprehensive international convention. This book represents an effort to complete the Nuremberg legacy by filling this gap. It contains a complete text of a proposed convention on crimes against humanity in English and in French, a comprehensive history of the proposed convention, and fifteen original papers written by leading experts on international criminal law. The papers contain reflections on various aspects of crimes against humanity, including gender crimes, universal jurisdiction, the history of codification efforts, the responsibility to protect, ethnic cleansing, peace and justice dilemmas, amnesties and immunities, the jurisprudence of the ad hoc tribunals, the definition of the crime in customary international law, the ICC definition, the architecture of international criminal justice, modes of criminal participation, crimes against humanity and terrorism, and the inter-state enforcement regime.
And here's the impressive list of contributing authors (in addition to Professor Sadat): Sir Richard Goldstone, Gareth Evans, Roger S. Clark, Payam Akhavan, M. Cherif Bassiouni, David Crane, Valerie Oosterveld, Göran Sluiter, Guénaël Mettraux, John Hagan, Todd J. Haugh, Diane Orentlicher, Elies van Sliedregt, Michael P. Scharf, Michael A. Newton, Kai Ambos, Ambassador David Scheffer, Laura M. Olson, and Gregory H. Stanton. These are names well known to those of us who work in the field of international criminal law.
The book can be ordered online from Cambridge University Press by clicking here. Enter the discount code "SADAT13" at checkout to save a few bucks.
Pictured in the photo with Professor Sadat are Professors Mark E. Wojcik, William B.T. Mock, and Shahram Dana, all of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
The next international law faculty roundtable scheduled at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago is on the subject "National Security and International Law," a presentation by Assistant Professor Vijay Padmanabhan of the Vanderbilt Law School on February 13, 2014.
The United Nations agency leading the response to the AIDS epidemic is calling for an end to gender-based violence, which is not only a serious human rights violation but also increases the risk of HIV infection. Recent research has established a clear association between intimate partner violence and HIV, with women experiencing such violence facing a 50 per cent increased risk of acquiring the virus, according to the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
“Every hour 50 young women become newly infected with HIV,” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said in a message ahead of Monday’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. “Women and girls have the right to live free of violence and inequities and to protect themselves against HIV,” he said.
About one in three women globally experience physical or sexual violence by a partner or sexual violence by a non-partner, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has said. Around 150 million girls under the age of 18 have experienced some form of sexual violence, according to agency, with many never disclosing their traumatic experience.
Responding to gender-based violence and HIV is “a matter of shared global responsibility for social justice,” UNAIDS said in its news release. In the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, UN Member States pledged to eliminate gender inequalities, gender-based abuse and violence, and to protect women from the risk of HIV infection.
Yet gender-based violence is a pervasive reality across the globe, noted UNAIDS. It affects women and men around the world. In particular, women who inject drugs, female sex workers and transgender people are most affected.
(adapted from a UN press release)
Friday, November 22, 2013
The John Marshall Law School in Chicago hosts an annual Dominick L. DiCarlo Lecture series on the U.S. Court of International Trade. The lecture series invites judges from the U.S. Court of International Trade to talk about the court and its work in the field of customs and international trade law. It is sponsored by the International Law Center at The John Marshall Law School. The annual lecture series honoring Judge DiCarlo and the U.S. Court of International Trade has been held now for the past 12 years.
This year's lecture was held on November 14, 2014 with one of the newer judges on the Court of International Trade, Judge Claire R. Kelly. Before joining the Court, Judge Kelly was a Professor and Associate Director of the Dennis Block Center for the Study of International Business Law at Brooklyn Law School, where she had also taught international trade law and legal writing.
Judge Kelly was interviewed by Adjunct Professor Larry Friedman, a customs and international trade law attorney and partner in the Chicago offices of Barnes Richardson. He and Judge Kelly recalled their work together (before she became a judge) with the Customs and International Trade Bar Association (CITBA). They also spoke at length about the changing landscape of trade adjustment assistance cases before the U.S. Court of International Trade, including reasons for the dramatic decline in the number of cases now before the Court.
Pictured here (from left to right) are Judge Claire Kelly of the U.S. Court of International Trade, Professor Mark E. Wojcik (former law clerk to Judge Dominick L. DiCarlo of the U.S. Court of International Trade), John Marshall Law School Dean John Corkery, and Larry Friedman (another former law clerk to Judge Dominick L. DiCarlo). Not pictured are Cole Kain and Francis Hadfield, two other John Marshall alumni who have clerked for the U.S. Court of International Trade, Professor Stephen Schwinn who has organized groups of students to work with the U.S. Court of International Trade on pro bono projects on Trade Adjustment Assistance, Professor Paul Lewis and Virginia Russell of the John Mashall International Law Center (which sponsored the program), and Professor William Mock (a former trade attorney whose scholarship includes work on cumulation statistics by the United States International Trade Commission).
The event was well attended by law students, faculty, representatives of the U.S. Customs Service, and members of the customs and international trade bar in Chicago.
The United Nations-backed International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea today ordered that Russia release the Greenpeace ship and its crew that it seized in September following a protest over oil drilling off its coast, once the Netherlands posts a bond of 3.6 million euros.
The Arctic Sunrise – an icebreaker operated by the environmental group and which flies the flag of the Netherlands – was boarded by Russian officials on 19 September, brought to the port of Murmansk Oblast and detained.
Last month, the Netherlands instituted arbitral proceedings against Russia under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, claiming that that the arrest and detention of the vessel and its crew by Russia violated the treaty. It also requested that the Tribunal, based in the German city of Hamburg, prescribe provisional measures pending the arbitral proceedings. By a vote of 19 to 2, the Tribunal’s judges today ordered that, pending arbitration, Russia “shall immediately release the vessel Arctic Sunrise and all persons who have been detained, upon the posting of a bond or other financial security by the Netherlands which shall be in the amount of 3,600,000 euros . . . .”
The Arctic Sunrise was used by Greenpeace International, a non-governmental organization, to stage a protest against the offshore ice-resistant fixed platform ‘Prirazlomnaya’ in the Barents Sea.
(UN press release)(mew)
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
We're pleased to share a Guest Blog Post from Anne Abramson, the Foreign and International Law Librarian at the Louis L. Biro Law Library of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. She's written the first review of a new legal research book for international law. The book launches a new series of international legal research texts being published by Carolina Academic Press.
International Law Legal Research
Reviewed by Anne Abramson
When I first learned that there would be a new print textbook on international legal research, I wondered just how useful it could be. So much international legal research is done electronically these days, how could a print text keep up with the incessant changes in the electronic environment?
Then I took a look at the just-published book on International Law Legal Research and realized why this new text is essential even if it cannot record every new database development. In fact, the best format for a text such as this one is indeed print. This title is not a brief "one off" taste of the subject but rather a comprehensive, detailed treatment. The quality of the content will stand the test of time.
This book on International Law Legal Research launches a new International Legal Research Series being published by Carolina Academic Press. The series is edited by Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School. This inaugural title in the series was authored by Professor Anthony S. Winer of the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, Mary Ann E. Archer (who served for ten years as the Associate Director for Public Services of the Warren E. Burger Law Library at William Mitchell), and Lyonette Louis-Jacques, the Foreign and International Law Librarian at the D’Angelo Law Library of the University of Chicago Law School.
Professor Winer and his colleagues delve into the historical origins of the international legal system and key organizations like the United Nations. Their thorough discussion of treaties and their resemblance to legislation and contracts is enlightening and useful. Their chapters on judicial and arbitral decisions, UN resolutions, customary international law, and international organizations and bodies such as the International Law Commission are similarly comprehensive and eye opening. The text provides an excellent framework for new students to learn international legal research and for more seasoned legal researchers to hone their skills or fill gaps where necessary. I appreciate, for example, the clarification of that most confusing term “private international law” under both modern and traditional interpretations.
The reader will want to pay special attention to Lyonette Louis-Jacques’ Additional Resources and General Bibliographic References at the conclusion of each chapter. Her concise lists of sources should be part of every international legal researcher’s toolkit. In addition, most librarians like myself are obsessed with “information literacy.” We are constantly called upon to articulate reasons as to why Google is not enough. Thus, I quite like the authors' emphasis on accuracy, currency, and authenticity as well as the adherence to proper Bluebook citation formats. In my view, solid citation skills are part and parcel of good research skills and are necessary for scholars, advocates, and even moot court teams competing in international law moot court competitions. Knowledge of which sources to cite and how to cite to them signals a true understanding of the subject matter in contrast to the tendency to cut and paste from a website.
Professor Winer and his colleagues have even gone where angels fear to tread by explaining Bluebook citation of UN records and reports, a complicated area which, in the current electronic era, has only become more mysterious. Researchers who do not wish to tear out their hair will appreciate his helpful explanations of the Bluebook’s often enigmatic pronouncements
Most valuable of all, this text will give students the necessary context to understand what they are researching and why. This context is all too often lost in today’s world of instant information.
Many thanks to the authors for this excellent contribution to the field and to Carolina Academic Press for launching this promising new series on international law legal research. The book will be a useful one for individual researchers, international law moot court teams, international law review journal staff, and for law schools looking to offer courses in international legal research.
Anthony S. Winer, Mary Ann E. Archer & Lyonette Louis-Jacques, International Law Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2013). Paperback, 308 pages including bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-61163-068-8. LCCN 2012038569. $35.00. Available from Carolina Academic Press www.cap-press.com. Click here for more information.
Anne Abramson is the Foreign and International Law Librarian at the Louis L. Biro Law Library of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org