Thursday, July 29, 2021
New Article: Global Impunity: How Police Laws & Policies in the World's Wealthiest Countries Fail International Human Rights Standards
Claudia Flores, Brian Citro, Nino Guruli, Mariana Olaizola Rosenblat, Chelsea Kehrer, and Hannah Abrahams, Global Impunity: How Police Laws & Policies in the World's Wealthiest Countries Fail International Human Rights Standards, 49 Ga. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 243 (2021). Abstract below.
The use of lethal force by law enforcement falls within the constraints set by international human rights. In particular, four standards govern whether and to what extent police may use lethal force: legality, necessity, proportionality, and accountability. However, every year, tens of thousands of civilians die at the hands of law enforcement worldwide, indicating a dysfunction in the nature of policing at a global scale. This study examines the written directives provided to police officers in the largest cities of the twenty-nine wealthiest countries and evaluates their compliance with the above standards. The study concludes that none of the directives in these cities complied with basic human rights standards, falling short in a variety of ways. By evaluating these directives, the report sheds light on enduring concerns about government abuses of power and suggests a way to constrain police use of force going forward.
Sunday, July 25, 2021
By Martha Davis, Northeastern University School of Law
The U.S. has yet to prepare a Voluntary National Review as part of the international push to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, three U.S. cities -- New York, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh -- have taken up the challenge by preparing their own Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs). Orlando has promised to issue its VLR in the near future, and other U.S. cities may be coming on line over time. These U.S. cities are not alone. Around the world, dozens of cities have prepared their own VLRs, often in dialogue with their corresponding national governments’ reports.
Preparing a VLR is a significant undertaking, and these cities are to be particularly commended for filling a void left by U.S. inaction. As these cities have recognized, the SDGs cannot possibly be met without participation at every level of government, a fact that was stressed repeatedly at the recent UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development that reviewed several national SDG reports.
Still, there is more that U.S. human rights advocates and cities themselves can do to ensure that the VLR processes lead to the transformation needed to reach sustainability.
In a new report, Northeastern Law School’s Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) examines these three U.S. cities’ treatment of SDG #6, on access to water and sanitation. Because the SDGs are intended to incorporate human rights, the report uses a human rights lens to analyze the VLRs’ treatment of water and sanitation, both of which have the status of independent human rights.
As an initial matter, some of the VLRs fail to even acknowledge the human rights underpinnings of SDG #6, an omission that will ultimately undercut the effectiveness of these local initiatives. Without a fixed place for human rights considerations, it may be all to easy to pursue laudable end goals without taking proper account the human impacts.
Further, the VLRs vary widely in the level of community engagement that they pursued as the cities identified goals and implementation strategies. Again, the human rights principles that inform the SDGs demand significant outreach and opportunities for input at every stage. As cities update their VLRs in the future, they will have the chance to improve this aspect of their process.
This small study demonstrated that there is an important role for human rights advocates to play in developing city-level VLRs. As SDG implementation goes forward, we urge human rights advocates to recognize the opportunities presented by the VLR process and to work with local governments to ensure that the pursuit of sustainability includes consideration of local human rights.
Thursday, July 22, 2021
On July 27, 2021, from 12:00-1:00 pm EST, join the ABA International Law Section’s International Human Rights Committee as their roundtable experts evaluate the second revised draft treaty on transnational corporations and business enterprises regarding human rights prepared by the Open-ended intergovernmental working group. Roundtable experts will assess the future of the treaty process and provide insights into opportunities and challenges in treaty adoption and its effective implementation by States, as well as activities businesses can take to promote and guarantee victims’ access to remedy. The distinguished roundtable experts are: Claire O’Brien, Steven Ratner, Maria Isabel Cubies Sanchez, Matthias Thorns, Douglass Cassell, and Carlos Lopez. Moderated by: Anita Ramasastry and Henry M. Jackson.
The event is free and open to all, but registration is required to receive the Zoom link. To register for this, click here.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Charlotte Alexander and Jonathan Todres, Evaluating the Implementation of Human Rights Law: A Data Analytics Research Agenda, University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Vol. 43, forthcoming 2021. Abstract below.
Human rights law relies on national-level implementation and enforcement to give it full meaning. The United Nations’ reporting process, a built-in component of all major human rights treaties, enables monitoring and evaluation of countries’ progress toward human rights goals. However, the operation and effectiveness of this process have been largely under-studied. This Article lays the foundations for a data analytics research agenda that can help assess the reporting process and inform human rights law implementation. As a first step, we use a relatively new set of computational tools to evaluate the Concluding Observations issued by a human rights treaty body, the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Concluding Observations provide both an appraisal of states’ practices and a set of recommendations that act as an agenda for the state going forward. Using text and data analytics tools, we mined the text of Concluding Observations issued by the Committee on the Rights of the Child over a twenty-seven year period to identify the topics addressed in each report and parsed the language of these reports to determine the tenor and tone of the Committee’s discussion. We then mapped our findings by state and year, to form a detailed descriptive picture of what the Committee has said, and how the Committee has delivered its message(s), across both geography and time. In doing so, we hope to show how these data analytics tools can contribute to a deeper understanding of the Committee’s work and, more broadly, of the effectiveness of the reporting process in securing and protecting human rights.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
We’re excited to announce that the Human Rights at Home Blog has just joined Twitter! We’ll be sharing our Blog posts with the Twittersphere, as well as retweeting content related to U.S. human rights developments. Our hope is that this platform will help increase awareness of human rights in the U.S. and connect scholars and advocates working in this space. Please follow, retweet and like us @HRHBlog!
Monday, July 19, 2021
Event: 7/20 Current Levels of Representation of Women in Human Rights Organs and Mechanisms: Ensuring gender parity, a discussion on the Report of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee
On Tuesday July 19, 2021, join the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, ASIL's Women in International Law Interest Group, GQUAL, and the Institute for African Women in Law for a virtual event discussing the recently-published report of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, which outlines findings on the current levels of representation of women in UN human rights bodies and puts forth recommendations on how to promote and implement gender balance in these organs. Panelists include:
- Prof. Jarpa Dawuni, Associate Professor of Political Science at Howard University & Executive Director of the Institute for African Women in Law
- Prof. Nienke Grossman, Professor of Law & Co-Director of the Center for International and Comparative Law at the University of Baltimore
- Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and a Member of the Secretariat of the GQUAL Campaign
- Elizabeth Salmón, Member of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee & Professor of Law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
- Liz Snodgrass, Partner at Three Crowns LLP
Professor Claudia Martin, Co-Director of the Academy and a member of the Secretariat of the GQUAL Campaign, will be moderating the conversation.
More information and registration for this virtual event is available here.
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
By Chris Hegwood, 2L at St. Louis University School of Law
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights set new protections for trans people throughout the Americas in its judgment in the case of Vicky Hernández et al. v. Honduras. In its ruling, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found the State of Honduras to be responsible for the death of Vicky Hernández, a transgender sex worker woman and activist who was found murdered following her evasion of an attempted arrest by police patrol the night of June 28, 2009.
The Court found numerous indications of the State’s role in the violating Vicky Hernández’s right to life, personal integrity, and her right to gender identity. The Court found a lack of due diligence in the authority’s investigation into the murder, failure to consider the context of discriminatory practices and police violence against LGBTI persons and trans women sex workers. The Court also found that Vicky Hernández’s relatives right to a life free of violence was violated.
In response to these violations, the Court ordered eight reparations that included promoting and continuing Vicky Hernández’s murder investigation, performing a public act of recognition of international responsibility, establishing a scholarship in Vicky Hernández’s name for trans women, and several procedural undertakings which are enumerated in the Court’s press release.
Monday, July 12, 2021
From the Yale Law Journal’s managing editors:
The deadline is approaching on July 15, 2021 for the Yale Law Journal’s Special issue on the Law of the Territories. Yale Law Journal invites submissions covering the broad range of local, federal, and international issues arising out of and affecting the U.S. territories and their people, for Volume 131’s Special Issue. For more information, please visit the Journal’s announcement.
Thursday, July 8, 2021
The following UN Human Rights Mechanisms have issued calls for inputs with deadlines in July and August 2021 and law professors whose practice, research, and/or scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission:
Special Rapporteur on racial discrimination - Call for input on combating glorification of Nazim, neo-Nazim, and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance. Deadline July 12, 2021. Read more.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for input on analytical report on a comprehensive approach to promoting, protecting, and respecting women's and girls' full enjoyment of human rights in humanitarian situations, including good practices, challenges, and lessons learned at the national, regional, and international levels. Deadline July 12, 2021. Read more.
Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association - Call for input on thematic report addressing the protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests during crisis situations. Deadline July 31, 2021. Read more.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - Call for comments and textual suggestions for the draft convention on the right to development. Deadline: August 20, 2021. Read more.
Special Rapporteur on torture – Call for input for comments on a report on the impact of thematic reports presented by the Special Rapporteur on Torture. Deadline August 31, 2021. Read more.
This information was compiled by Khala Turner, rising 3L at St. Louis University School of Law, from https://ohchr.org/EN/Pages/calls-for-input.aspx.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
New Article: Housing as a Right in the United States: Mitigating the Affordable Housing Crisis Using an International Human Rights Law Approach
Maria Massimo, Housing as a Right in the United States: Mitigating the Affordable Housing Crisis Using an International Human Rights Law Approach, 62 B.C. L. Rev. 273 (2021). Abstract below.
Throughout its history, the United States has perpetuated a double standard in regard to international human rights by urging other nations to protect and promote these rights, while simultaneously forgoing international human rights treaties in favor of its own Constitution and domestic human rights laws. Notably, the United States does not recognize one of the fundamental rights introduced by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and contained in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: The right to adequate housing. Failure to recognize housing as a human or constitutional right has led to a worsening affordable housing crisis in the United States. Domestic policy has proven insufficient to combat this crisis, and the United States must adopt a different approach for resolution. This Note argues that state governments should borrow from international human rights treaties and foreign housing law, and recognize housing as a justiciable right in an attempt to mitigate the affordable housing crisis. States can best ensure a right to housing by including housing as a right in their respective constitutions and creating oversight bodies to promote and protect this new constitutional right.
Tuesday, July 6, 2021
On July 7, 2021, from 12:00–1 pm EST, join the Anti-Corruption Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law and the Anti-Corruption Committee of the International Bar Association as they discuss the main takeaways from the inaugural UN General Assembly (UNGASS) session that took place back on June 2-4. The two organizations will convene for a panel discussion to review the historic UNGASS event and look at the future international agenda. The distinguished webinar panelists are: Claire Daams, Patrick Moulette, Sue Hawley, and Shervin Majlessi. Introductory and conclusory remarks by: Jan Dunin-Wasowicz and Elisabeth Danon.
The panelists will bring together unique perspectives from private practice, international organizations, and civil society to look at the political declaration adopted at UNGASS’ special session and discuss where we go from here.
The event is free and open to all, but registration is required to receive the Zoom link. To register for this, click here.
This information was compiled by Chris Hegwood, rising 2L at St. Louis University School of Law.
Monday, July 5, 2021
By Martha F. Davis, Co-Editor
Save the date for a webinar on July 14, 2021, at 10:00-11:30am Eastern US/16:00-17:30pm Central European, on COVID-19 vaccine access through a human rights lens, featuring UN Special Rapporteur Tlaleng Mofokeng, with Amanda Lyons (U Minn), Steven Jensen (Danish Institute), Brook Baker (Northeastern Law), and Morten Kjareum (RWI). Register for the webinar using this link: https://rwi.lu.se/events/covid-19-vaccines-for-the-few-how-to-ensure-the-right-to-health-for-all/.
The webinar marks the publication of the hot-off-the-presses book COVID-19 and Human Rights (Routledge): https://www.routledge.com/COVID-19-and-Human-Rights/Kjaerum-Davis-Lyons/p/book/9780367688035. Topics addressed in the book include racial justice, land rights, access to medicines, the SDGs, rights of disabled persons, and many others, with a must-read introduction by Olivier de Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty.
Thursday, July 1, 2021