Thursday, February 2, 2023

Event 2/23: Webinar on The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Reparations to Africa

On February 23, 2023, from 11:00AM to 12:30PM EST, join the American Society of International Law for a webinar panel which will address three main topics: 1) reparations for the injustice against enslaved Africans and their generations; 2) reparations for Africans traumatized by the effects of slavery; and 3) the process of healing between Africans affected by slavery around the globe. The distinguished panelists will be Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, Mario Nisbett, Crystena Parker-Shandal, and Carl Patrick Burrowes. The moderator will be Matiangai Sirleaf.

The webinar is free and open to all, but participants must have an ASIL account in order to register. The link to do so can be found here.

 

February 2, 2023 in Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Clearing the Fog: The Importance of Pay Transparency in Remedying Wage Discrimination

Nunn  Michael 24-BLS headshot (2)By Michael Nunn, 2L at Brooklyn Law School

Historic biases against women and people of color have repeatedly been shown to contribute to long-term economic instability. Despite laws such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act’s broad retroactive remedies, pay inequality persists in American society. Significantly, our federal framework fails to fully address employees’ limited access to pay information and their limited ability to negotiate. This is troublesome considering that, to prove discrimination, the laws also place the onus of information-gathering and negotiation on employees, who typically lack the means to avoid under-compensation resulting from historical discrimination.

Usually, those subject to pay discrimination are unaware they are being paid unfairly or fear backlash. As a result, salary negotiations are statistically unfavorable to women and, in particular, people of color: for example, Black and Hispanic women in the U.S. are estimated to achieve parity with white men’s salaries only by 2133 and 2220 (respectively). Recognizing the difficulty in accessing information that shows pay discrimination, pay secrecy among employers is a common denominator in the persistence of the wage gap. Since 2016, as many as a dozen states and localities have either established pay transparency laws, with recent legislation in New York, California, Washington, Colorado, and Connecticut that demand responsibility from employers.

California’s pay transparency law, effective January 1, 2023, now requires employers to include salary ranges in all job advertisements. Additionally, large employers must now submit annual pay data reports disclosing the median and mean hourly rates within each listing by race, ethnicity, and sex. It further provides a private right of action for individuals who file a complaint within a year of learning of employer violations. These provisions make California’s one of the most demanding and progressive pay transparency laws to date.

Similarly, since November 1, 2022, New York City’s pay transparency law requires employers to disclose salary minimums and maximums for all job advertisements based on a “good faith” belief of what they would pay a successful applicant. The New York State legislature recently passed similar legislation, signed in December, and taking effect later this year.

A common motivation among jurisdictions passing such legislation is to make discrimination more identifiable for employees and employers. If given upfront access to comparative salary data as a reference, employees may identify instances of pay discrimination earlier in the hiring process. Moreover, these laws push employers to actively evaluate the validity of their pay practices, as they stand to lose out on talent if their payscales are incongruous with market-rate salaries for similar positions.

Concurrently, the European Union reached a similar conclusion as it, too, struggles to enforce equal pay laws, with a persistent gender wage gap of about 13% (compared to about 17% in the U.S.). In a 2020 report, the European Commission found a significant issue hindering access to justice is “the establishment of a prima facie case of pay discrimination,” with lack of pay transparency as the main obstacle to addressing gender inequality. In response, the Commission issued an equal pay directive in 2021 focused on increasing access to justice and pay transparency for employees. On December 15, 2022, the European Parliament and the Council on the Directive reached agreement on implementing rules.

In practice, the benefits of transparency are readily observed. In unionized workplaces, where pay transparency practices are the most common, the wage gap is significantly smaller than in nonunionized workplaces. Studies have shown that union representation reduces women’s wage gap by “nearly 40% compared to the wage gap experienced by non-union women.” This benefit is attributable to the “transparency and equality provided in union contracts,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau. Such benefits had been observed in Europe, where EU member states that implemented pay transparency laws found that workforce participation and retention improved, and women’s career progression strengthened.

In a notable fashion, pay transparency laws have begun cropping up in states across the U.S. Although non-compliance concerns have invariably arisen since the pay transparency laws have gone into effect, many believe these laws will be the most effective in dispersing the fog of confidentiality that enshrouds wage discrimination.

January 31, 2023 in Race, Women's Rights, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 26, 2023

New Article: Commission on Recognition and Reconstruction for the United States: Inspirational or Illusory?

Penelope Andrews, A Commission on Recognition and Reconstruction for the United States: Inspirational or Illusory?, 66 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev 359 (2022). Abstract below.

In this article I suggest that President Joe Biden issue an executive order to establish a Commission on Recognition and Reconstruction (CRR) to comprehensively confront the ongoing challenges to racial justice. I envisage the CRR as an adjunct to, and not a replacement for, the several measures currently being undertaken in law and policy to address these challenges. I imagine the CRR providing a national focus on the many ways that public and private institutions have responded to this current moment of racial distress, while also highlighting the obstacles and omissions toward the attainment of racial justice. The proposed CRR would then establish goals to be measurable in the short-, medium-, and long-term.

January 26, 2023 in Books and articles, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Event (video): Economics Reimagined: Building a Human Rights Economy

The New School, Aspen Institute, and the OHCHR, co-sponsored an event in Washington D.C. on January 19th, 2023, focusing on a human rights economy in the U.S. Arecording of the discussion is available at the following link: Aspen Institute - Economics Reimagined a Discussion on Building a Human Rights Economy

Description:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted 75 years ago by the United Nations, set forth a set of civil, social, and economic rights that inspired the development of human rights’ laws around the world. The declaration has been a north star for those working to build an equitable and fair society for all people ever since. But over the intervening decades, our economic agenda and policymaking have often focused on economic growth and business success metrics at the expense of human well-being. This economic framework, which preferences profits over people, has contributed to skyrocketing wealth and income inequality, economic instability, social unrest, and recently the rise of new authoritarian movements. The economic rights from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, however, are reemerging as part of a call for a more moral and equitable economic order.

In this context, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and The New School’s Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy recently announced the Partnership for a Human Rights Economy. The partnership will help advance scholarship and economic policymaking toward achieving human rights. Join the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program and The New School’s Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy for “Economics Reimagined: A Discussion on Building a Human Rights Economy” on January 19 from 2:00 to 3:45 p.m. EST. Learn more about The New School’s exciting new partnership with the UN and explore the legacy and lasting influences of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the philosophies and values that have come to shape our economy and the consequences, and how we build a moral and inclusive economy based on human rights.

January 24, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 19, 2023

January - February 2023 Deadlines: Call for Inputs by UN Human Rights Mechanisms

The following calls for inputs have been issued by UN Human Rights Mechanisms with deadlines in January – February 2023 and law professors whose practice, research, and/or scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission:

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs regarding promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights within the context of addressing inequalities in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Deadline: January 31, 2023. Read more.

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs regarding human rights and the regulation of civilian acquisition, possession and use of firearms, to inform the High Commissioner’s report pursuant to Resolution 50/12. Deadline: January 31, 2023. Read more.

Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Call for inputs regarding the impact of militarization on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Deadline: January 31, 2023. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism – Call for inputs regarding the global study on the impact of counter-terrorism measures on civil society and civic space. Deadline: February 1, 2023. Read more.

Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances - Call for inputs for a thematic study on “new technologies and enforced disappearances.” Deadline: February 3, 2023. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression – Call for inputs to the thematic report of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression to the UN Human Rights Council: “Freedom of Opinion and Expression and Sustainable Development - Why Voice Matters.” Deadline: February 3, 2023.

Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association – Call for inputs from the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and for his report to be presented at the 53rd session of the HRC. Deadline: February 6, 2023. Read more.

Special Procedures – Call for inputs to inform the Special Rapporteur’s report on how to expand and diversify regularization mechanisms and programs to enhance the protection of the human rights of migrants. Deadline: February 15, 2023. Read more.

Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Call for inputs on persons with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies for the Day of General Discussion the Committee will hold on March 16, 17, and 20. Deadline: February 15, 2023. Read more.

International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in Law Enforcement – Call for Inputs on Upcoming Country Visit to the United States of America by the United Nations International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the context of Law Enforcement from 24 April – 5 May 2023. Deadline February 24, 2023. Read more.

This information was compiled from https://www.ohchr.org/en/calls-for-input-listing.

January 19, 2023 in Global Human Rights, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

New Article: Foreword: Centering Intersectionality in Human Rights Discourse

Johanna Bond, Foreword: Centering Intersectionality in Human Rights Discourse, 79 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 953 (2022). Abstract below.

In the last decade, intersectionality theory has gained traction as a lens through which to analyze international human rights issues. Intersectionality theory is the notion that multiple systems of oppression intersect in peoples’ lives and are mutually constitutive, meaning that when, for example, race and gender intersect, the experience of discrimination goes beyond the formulaic addition of race discrimination and gender discrimination to produce a unique, intersectional experience of discrimination. The understanding that intersecting systems of oppression affect different groups differently is central to intersectionality theory. As such, the theory invites us to think about inter-group differences (i.e., differences between women and men) and intra-group differences (i.e., differences in the experiences of discrimination and rights violations between white women and women of color).

January 17, 2023 in Books and articles, Gender, Race, Women's Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Event 1/27: Temple's Inaugural Professor Henry J. Richardson III Lecture on Racial Justice by Gay McDougall

On January 27, 2023, from 3:00PM to 6:00PM EST, join Temple University Beasley School of Law’s Institute for International Law and Public Policy, the Blacks of the American Society of International Law, the Temple Law School Black Law Students’ Association, the Temple Law International Law Society, and the Temple International and Comparative Law Journal for the Inaugural Professor Henry J. Richardson III Lecture, presented in honor of the life work of Professor Henry J. Richardson III, who has for decades pursued racial justice in international law in his scholarship, teaching, and mentorship.

The speaker will be Professor Gay McDougall, a globally acclaimed expert on international human rights law who currently serves as an independent expert on the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  In December 2022, Professor McDougall was the first recipient of the AALS International Human Rights Section's Nelson Mandela Award

The event will feature brief opening remarks, including remarks by Professor Richardson, a lecture by Professor McDougall followed by a question-and-answer session, and a reception. This event will take place in person at Temple’s Shusterman Hall as well as over Zoom.

The link to register for this free event can be found here.

January 12, 2023 in CERD, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

New Article: Human Rights and Lawyer's Oaths

Lauren E. Bartlett, Human Rights and Lawyer’s Oaths, 36 Geo. J. Legal Ethics ____ (2023). Abstract below.

Each lawyer in the United States must take an oath to be licensed to practice law. The first time a lawyer takes this oath is usually a momentous occasion in their career, marked by ceremony and celebration. Yet, many lawyer’s oaths today are unremarkable and irrelevant to modern law practice at best, and at worst, inappropriate, discriminatory, and obsolete. Drawing on a fifty-state survey of lawyer’s oaths in the United States, this article argues that it is past time to update lawyer’s oaths in the United States and suggests drawing on human rights to make lawyer’s oaths more accessible and impactful.

January 10, 2023 in Books and articles, Ethics, Lauren Bartlett | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

New Article: Mobilizing Universalism - The Origins of Human Rights

Catherine B. Duryea, Mobilizing Universalism: The Origins of Human Rights, Berkeley J. of Int’l L. Vol. 40, Iss. 1, Art. 3. (August 2022). Abstract Below.

Human rights law claims to be universal, setting rights apart from paradigms based on shared religion, culture, or nationality. This claim of universality was a significant factor in the proliferation of human rights NGOs in the 1970s and remains an important source of legitimacy. The universality of human rights has been challenged and contested since they were first discussed at the United Nations (UN). Today, much of the debate centers around the origins of human rights-particularly whether they arose out of Western traditions or whether they have more global roots. For too long, discussions about universality have ignored the practice of human rights in the Global South, particularly in Arab countries. Instead of searching for evidence of universality in the halls of the UN, this Article looks at how activists mobilized and produced universality through their work. Archival sources and interviews show that the turn to human rights in the Arab world was rooted in the politics of the 1970s but relied on the concept of universality as embodied in the foundational human rights documents of the 1940s and 1960s. Activists used these documents to advance conceptions of human rights that were compatible with several distinct political visions. Their work supports the claim that human rights can be universal, not because rights exist outside of politics or have diverse origins, but because they were constantly reinvented to support a range of different, sometimes contradictory, political goals.

November 29, 2022 in Books and articles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Event 12/6: Prof. Tendayi Achiume Speaks in Honor of Human Rights Day

On December 6, 2022, from 12-1pm ET, please join Northeastern University School of Law, the Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers’ Network and Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) for an event featuring speaker Professor Tendayi Achiume. Professor Achiume will reflect on her time a U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. This event will be sure to provide a lot of insights for U.S. advocates on working with Special Rapporteurs.

Register for the virtual event here.

November 22, 2022 in Race, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 21, 2022

New Article: (G)local Intersectionality

Martha F. Davis, (G)local Intersectionality, 79 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1021 (2022). Abstract below.

Intersectionality theory has been slow to take root as a legal norm at the national level, even as scholars embrace it as a potent analytical tool. Yet, in recent years, intersectionality has entered law and policy practices through an unexpected portal: namely, local governments’ adoption of international norms. A growing number of local governments around the world explicitly incorporate intersectionality into their law and practice as part of implementing international antidiscrimination norms from human rights instruments like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

This “relocalization” phenomenon—which brings intersectionality back to its roots in domestic law—is visible in many parts of the world. In Europe, cities in Spain proactively integrate intersectional approaches into their local human rights regimes. Outside of Europe, Montréal applies an intersectional analysis under its Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, a local governance document grounded in the values of fundamental human rights and dignity. Human rights cities like Gwangju, Korea, embrace intersectionality as a programmatic imperative. In the United States, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and Cincinnati, among others, incorporated intersectional approaches to nondiscrimination in the wake of adopting local CEDAWs.

The relocalization process is not always straightforward. Challenges include the difficulties of reconciling local intersectional approaches with national laws that may not recognize intersectionality, and developing indicators tailored to local experiences. On the other hand, local adoption of intersectionality opens up robust possibilities for participation in communities’ legal and political processes, which many local governments emphasize.

November 21, 2022 in Books and articles, CEDAW, CERD, Martha F. Davis | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Addressing Hunger through Human Rights

R.-Denisse-Cordova_headshot2   LawHeadshot

By: R. Denisse Córdova Montes, Acting Associate Director & Mackenzie Steele, Student Intern, Human Rights Clinic, University of Miami School of Law

Hunger in the United States is not the result of a lack of enough food, but the result of laws and policies that prioritize profits over people and their human rights. During National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, we urge the adoption of a human rights approach to addressing hunger in the United Staes.

Food insecurity, which is defined as a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food, affects around 11% of U.S. households every year. In 2021, 3.8% of households, or 5.1 million households, had very low food security, meaning that their eating patterns were repeatedly disrupted resulting in a consistent state of hunger. Put more simply, food-insecure households are forced to make impossible decisions, such as choosing between paying for food and heat, electricity, rent, and transportation, with dire impacts on their health and overall wellbeing.

Notably, food insecurity has a disparate impact by race. 21.7% of Black households and about 17.2% of Latinx households experienced food insecurity in 2020, compared to only 7.1% of white households. One in four Indigenous persons experience food insecurity, compared to one in eight of Americans overall. Eight out of 10 essential Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) workers faced food insecurity during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, compared to only five in 10 white essential workers.

Racial disparities in food insecurity stem from the U.S.’s long history of racial discrimination. BIPOC communities have historically faced structural barriers to land ownership, which are intrinsically tied to their ability to produce food and feed themselves and their families. For example, the Homestead Act of 1862, which encouraged the development of the American West, had detrimental effects on tribal nations and their ability to exercise food sovereignty in their territories. Throughout the 20th century, USDA racist policies have disenfranchised Black farmers. In 1920, Black farmers owned over 16 million acres of land, yet, today, Black farmers only own two million acres of land.

Food insecurity also stems from corporate control of the food system. Bill and Melinda Gates are the largest private owners of farmland in the U.S. with some 269,000 acres across dozens of states. Today, four companies (Bayer, Corteva, ChemChina, and Limagrain) control more than 50% of the world’s seed market. The corporate capture of the food system has resulted in consistently low wages for food workers, natural resource extraction affecting Indigenous communities and low-scale food producers, and inadequate diets leading to negative health outcomes for BIPOC communities.  

Moreover, the U.S.’s focus on federal nutrition assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to address hunger has failed to adequately address the root causes of hunger. Outside of these programs, the U.S. focuses on a charity-based model, relying on donations and food banks to feed those in need, and in turn, reinforcing hierarchical structures and failing to address the root causes of the problems causing food insecurity.

This past summer, our Human Rights Clinic supported a nascent coalition of food justice advocates, legislators, and people with lived experiences of hunger, including West Virginia University’s Center for Resilient Communities, WhyHunger, Food for Maine’s Future, EDFU Foundation, Grow with the Flow, LLC, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and the Agroecology Research-Action Collective, in advocacy before the U.N. Committee to End Racial Discrimination (CERD), as it reviewed the U.S. for compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). This included submission of a shadow report on Racial Injustice and Violations of the Human Right to Food in the U.S., development of a factsheet, and discussions with CERD and U.S. delegation members.

The hard work paid off when CERD’s Concluding Observations addressed the right to food in a recommendation to the U.S. for the first time. CERD recommended that the U.S. “take all necessary measures to guarantee the right to adequate food, to strengthen its efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity, which disproportionally affects racial and ethnic minorities, and especially women and children, including by strengthening the institutional framework and adopting a comprehensive and rights-based national plan to end hunger. The Committee then called on the U.S. “to take effective measures against hunger in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including members of the communities most affected by food insecurity.”

Following the release of CERD’s Concluding Observations, our Clinic supported a satellite event linked to the September White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health focused on disseminating and discussing what the U.N. recommendations could mean for a national plan to end hunger. The discussions called for a transformation of the food system through the rebuilding of local food and farm economies and transformation of neighborhood institutions into community spaces that support the development of nourishing food systems. Our Human Rights Clinic will continue promoting the implementation of a rights-based approach to hunger through its support of a growing right to food movement in the U.S. that perceives the tackling of racism in the U.S. food system as a precondition for the realization of the right to food for all.

To learn more about this growing movement and be part of the discussion, join us in Miami on April 13 and 14 at the Food, Housing, and Racial Justice Symposium!

November 17, 2022 in CERD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 14, 2022

Addressing Homelessness through Housing not Handcuffs

  _TE Headshot  Taylor Headshot 2022-2

By: Tamar Ezer, Acting Director, & Taylor Moore, Student Fellow, Human Rights Clinic, University of Miami School of Law 

As we mark the beginning of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, we urge a focus on real solutions to end hunger and homelessness.

In the United States, instead of addressing homelessness, many of our municipalities have sought to make it invisible by criminalizing activities people experiencing homelessness must engage in to stay alive, such as sleeping, sitting, or eating. According to a 2019 survey of 187 cities, 55% have laws prohibiting sitting and or lying down in public; 72% have laws prohibiting camping in public places; and 60% laws prohibiting loitering, loafing, and vagrancy.

Moreover, criminalization is on the rise, and laws that prohibit sleeping in public have increased by 50% since 2006! In the past two years, the City of Miami, where we live, has passed ordinances criminalizing encampments on public property and food sharing without a permit and at non-designated locations. Amidst the devastation of COVID, the City has thus resorted to "hunger as a weapon against the poor."

Criminalization is counterproductive and costly. It results in fines people cannot pay, jail time, and criminal records, trapping people in a cycle of poverty and perpetuating homelessness. In fact, diverting resources to law enforcement can cost two to three times more than it would to provide affordable housing. As one of our partners, David Peery, the Executive Director of the Miami Coalition to Advance Racial Equity (MCARE) describes, “Criminalization is an expensive way to make homelessness worse.”

Moreover, criminalization of homelessness has a disparate impact by race. Black Americans make up 40% of the U.S. homeless population, while only 13% of the overall population. Additionally, laws criminalizing life sustaining activities are predominantly enforced against people of color. As the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Racism has noted, “The enforcement of minor law enforcement violations . . . take a disproportionately high number of African American homeless persons to the criminal justice system.”

Current disparities in housing and homelessness stem from a long history of discrimination, including redlining when the U.S. Federal Housing Administration refused to insure mortgages in or near Black neighborhoods. Today, while almost 75% of white families own their homes, less than half of Black families own their homes. As renters, Black families are at greater risk of housing instability and homelessness. Additionally, Black and Hispanic renters are twice as likely to be evicted as white renters. Barriers to housing based on arrest records further have a disparate impact by race.

Our Human Rights Clinic had the opportunity to support a coalition, including MCARE, the National Homelessness Law Center (NHLC), the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC), Partners for Dignity and Rights, and the South Florida Community Development Coalition, in advocacy before the U.N. Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), as it reviewed the U.S. for compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). This included submission of a shadow report on Racial Injustice in Housing and Homelessness, development of a factsheet, and discussions with CERD and U.S. delegation members.

This summer, CERD released its Concluding Observations and noted with concern “the increasing number of state and local laws that criminalize homelessness and . . . the disproportionately high number of persons belonging to racial and ethnic minorities affected by homelessness.” The Committee then called on the U.S. government to “abolish laws and policies that criminalize homelessness,” redirect “funding from criminal justice responses to adequate housing and shelter programs, in particular for persons belonging to racial and ethnic minorities most affected by homelessness,” and “affirmatively further fair housing and protection against discriminatory effects.”

Moreover, CERD addressed the right to food in a recommendation to the U.S. for the first time and called for the adoption of a “rights-based national plan to end hunger in consultation with members of the communities most affected by hunger.”

Now is the time to focus on domestic implementation of these recommendations. Take the opportunity this week to get involved in your community and help address hunger and homelessness. Our Human Rights Clinic will be participating in NHLC’s Right to Housing Forum and sharing preliminary findings from a Report Card, assessing U.S. performance on the right to housing. Let’s make the U.S a place where everyone can access adequate housing and feed themselves with dignity.

November 14, 2022 in CERD, Homelessness | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, November 11, 2022

New Publication: ABA Human Rights Magazine: Economics of Voting Rights

American Bar Association Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, Human Rights Magazine: Economics of Voting Rights, Vol. 48, No. 1 (October 2022). Excerpt from introduction and featured articles below.

Introduction

Juan R. Thomas - “My theme as chair of the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice for the 2022–23 bar year is economic justice. I believe that a civil rights agenda without an economic agenda is like clapping with one hand. As the 2022 midterm election approaches, it is particularly timely to focus our attention on the economics of voting rights and the role money plays in our body politic. I want to sincerely thank the authors of this edition of Human Rights magazine for helping me realize my vision of economic justice in the context of voting rights.”

Featured Articles

To read more and access other articles in this issue of the ABA’s Human Rights Magazine, click here.

November 11, 2022 in Books and articles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 4, 2022

Event 11/16: Work Law as Privatized Public Law Series: On Critical Wage Theory

Download

On November 16, 2022, at 12:45pm ET, join Brooklyn Law in person or online for panel of organizers and schools exploring the crosscurrents in contemporary organizing and the future of public/private tensions in work law.

Panelists:

  • Prof. Ruben Garcia (UNLV, author of Critical Wage Theory (forthcoming 2023))
  • Bethany Khan (Culinary Workers Union)
  • Prof. Shirley Lin (Brooklyn Law School, Moderator)*
  • Yanin Peña (Ain't I A Woman?! Campaign)*
  • Chris Smalls (Amazon Labor Union)*

*Appearing in-person

Location: Hybrid Event 

  • Brooklyn Law School, Moot Court Room
  • 250 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, and Zoom

Co-Sponsors: 

  • BLS Labor and Employment Law Association, LALSA, BLSA, APALSA, SALSA, DALSA, Law Association of Women, Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest, Women of Color Alliance, NLG.

For more information and to register, click here.

November 4, 2022 in Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 3, 2022

New Article: Certain Prosecutors: Geographical Arbitrariness, Unusualness, & the Abolition of Virginia’s Death Penalty

Bernadette M. Donovan, Certain Prosecutors: Geographical Arbitrariness, Unusualness, & the Abolition of Virginia’s Death Penalty, Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, Vol. 29, Issue 1, Fall 2022. Abstract below.

Virginia’s abolition of the death penalty in 2021 was a historic development. As both a southern state and one of the country’s most active death penalty jurisdictions, Virginia’s transition away from capital punishment represented an important shift in the national landscape. This article considers whether that shift has any constitutional significance, focusing on the effect of Virginia’s abolition on the geographical arbitrariness of the country’s death penalty.

As a starting point, the death penalty in America is primarily regulated by the Eighth Amendment, which bars “cruel and unusual punishments.” The United States Supreme Court has held that the death penalty is not per se unconstitutional, but that the Eighth Amendment constrains its application. In particular, modern death penalty law is concerned with the arbitrary or unusual infliction of the death penalty. Since 2015, the concept of “geographical arbitrariness”—that the death penalty’s localization could render it so random or rare as to be unconstitutional—has gained increased attention.

This Article examines whether and how Virginia’s abolition contributes to the geographical arbitrariness of capital punishment in America. The Article finds that Virginia’s experience demonstrates the geographical arbitrariness of the contemporary death penalty in two important ways. First, this Article examines the localization of capital sentencing within Virginia. Capital sentencing and execution data show that as Virginia’s death penalty declined, the practice was kept alive by a small minority of prosecutors who had an unusual passion for death sentencing. In its latter years, Virginia’s death penalty thus increasingly reflected the unfettered discretion of local decisionmakers. Second, this Article considers how Virginia’s abolition affected the national landscape of the death penalty. The Article concludes that both quantitively and qualitatively, the end of Virginia’s death penalty supports a conclusion that capital punishment has become too arbitrary to be constitutional.

November 3, 2022 in Books and articles, Criminal Justice | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Event 11/10: University of Miami Symposium on Food, Housing, and Racial Justice in the United States.

On November 10, 2022, the Human Rights Clinic and Program at the University of Miami School of Law, in collaboration with the Human Rights Society at the University of Miami School of Law, the National Right to Food Community of Practice, West Virginia University Center for Resilient Communities, and WhyHunger, present a Symposium on Food, Housing, and Racial Justice in the United States.

Deep reflection, innovative thinking, and joint strategizing with regards to hunger and food equity that put the needs and interests of communities of color at the center is urgent. The event will focus on human rights and racialized approaches to addressing hunger and related economic and social rights violations.

Drawing on efforts from Miami to cities and states around the U.S., the event will discuss:

  • Food insecurity
  • Food system governance
  • Access to land and housing
  • Role of local, state, and federal governments
  • Implementation of United Nations’ recommendations

This event will take place in person and will be available virtually from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM EST, at the University of Miami School of Law. To register, visit here.  

November 1, 2022 in Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 27, 2022

November 2022-December 2022 Deadlines: Calls for Inputs by UN Human Rights Mechanisms

The following calls for inputs have been issued by UN Human Rights Mechanisms with deadlines in November-December 2022 and law professors whose practice, research, and/or scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission:

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs on the protection of the human rights of persons living with rare diseases and their families and careers. Deadline November 1, 2022. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change – Call for inputs for report on addressing the human rights implications of climate change displacement including legal protection of people displaced across international borders. Deadline November 11, 2022. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health – Call for Inputs on digital innovation, technologies and the right to health. Deadline November 15, 2022. Read more.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse – Call for inputs on reparations for child victims and survivors of sale and sexual exploitation. Deadline November 19, 2022. Read more.

Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights – Call for inputs for a report on cultural rights and migration. Deadline November 25, 2022. Read more.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs for report on the adverse impact of climate change on the right to food. Deadline December 9, 2022. Read more.

Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development – Call for Inputs for thematic studies of the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development. Deadline December 30, 2022. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism – Call for Inputs for Global Study on the Impact of Counter-Terrorism Measures on Civil Society and Civic Space. Deadline December 31, 2022. Read more.

This information was compiled from https://www.ohchr.org/en/calls-for-input-listing.

October 27, 2022 in United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

New Articles: University of Miami International and Comparative Law Review 2021 Symposium on International Law & COVID-19

The University of Miami International and Comparative Law Review has published it's symposium issue on International Law & COVID-19.  The articles are now also available on the 2021 International Law & COVID-19 Symposium website, along with videos from the various symposium sessions.  The special issue of the Law Review includes a synopsis report from the symposium, a piece on international regulation and epidemics, an article on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ response to COVID-19, and an article on the duty to protect survivors of gender-based violence in the context of COVID-19, along with a few others. 

October 25, 2022 in Books and articles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Imagine a Day Without Water 2022

From Martha F. Davis, Co-Editor.
 
Today is the annual "Imagine a Day Without Water" Day of Action.
 
To promote greater attention to water affordability and the human right to water for ALL, Northeastern Law School's Program on Human Rights and the Economy has today issued a Briefing Paper: How Five Creative Water Utilities Are Assisting “Hard-to-Reach” Renters as Water Rates Rise.
 
Rising water prices nationwide affect everyone, but the impact on renters is often obscured and forgotten, as they often pay for water prices through rent increases.  Ostensibly neutral on its face, the targeting of water assistance to homeowners is an example of structural racism, since the racial housing gap, the history of redlining and other instances of race-based housing discrimination means that people of color are disproportionately renters.
 
A handful of water utilities around the country have prioritized the assistance to renters, taking different approaches to the problem of assisting water consumers who are not themselves paying water bills. This Briefing Paper highlights the mechanisms adopted by these utilities, in hopes of spreading the word that there are viable approaches to increasing water equity for renters.

October 20, 2022 in Books and articles, Water | Permalink | Comments (0)