Thursday, September 30, 2021
During the webinar on Thursday, Oct. 7th from 4pm to 5pm, Rachel Lopez and her co-author Kempis Songster will be presenting their article, Redeeming Justice, which will be published next week in the Northwestern Law Review, and the presentation will be followed by commentary by Harvard Law Professor Andrew Crespo.
Redeeming Justice draws from the lived experience of co-authors who were sentenced to life without parole over three decades ago and human rights law to argue for a right to redemption. The central argument is that all human beings are capable of change and that this should be reflected in the law, meaning that impermeable sentences like LWOP, which allow for no opportunity to revisit indefinite incarceration, amount to cruel and unusual punishment. Here is a link to the article .
To register for the webinar here.
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Event: 10/4-10/5 UN Office at Geneva and Nizami Ganjavi International Center Webcast on "Peace, Diversity and our Common Humanity"
On October 4-5, 2021, the United Nations Office at Geneva and the Nizami Ganjavi International Center will be holding a webcast on “Peace, Diversity and our Common Humanity”. From the event organizers:
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has just published his report “Our Common Agenda”, calling on the international community to join forces to tackle the rising nationalism, deep-rooted rifts, glaring inequalities and the climate emergency which mark our current world situation, and to strengthen and accelerate multilateral cooperation in the coming years.
The aim of this high-level event is to heed this call and to endorse both multilateralism and the values of peace, human rights, dignity, equality, justice, and solidarity that have underpinned the work of the United Nations for over 75 years. Over the course of the two-day event, different aspects of the current world situation will be discussed in the following four panels: “Peace and Security in a Changing World”, “Diversity in the Context of Our Common Humanity”, “Environment and Climate as All-Encompassing Issues” and “Equality within the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Monday, September 27, 2021
New Article: Investors as International Law Intermediaries: Using Shareholder Proposals to Enforce Human Rights
Kisha Parella, Investors as International Law Intermediaries: Using Shareholder Proposals to Enforce Human Rights, Seattle University Law Review, Vol. 45, No. 2 (forthcoming 2022). Abstract below.
One of the biggest challenges with international law remains its enforcement. This challenge grows when it comes to enforcing international law norms against corporations and other business organizations. The United Nations Guiding Principles recognizes the “corporate responsibility to respect human rights,” which includes human rights due diligence practices that are adequate for “assessing actual and potential human rights impacts, integrating and acting upon the findings, tracking responses, and communicating how impacts are addressed.” Unfortunately, many corporations around the world are failing to implement adequate human rights due diligence practices in their supply chains. This inattention leads to significant harms for the victims of these human rights abuses and a variety of risks – legal, reputational, business, and regulatory – for the companies involved. Over the years, lawsuits have been brought against Walmart, JC Penney, Hershey, Nestle, Purina, Tesla, Google, Chevron, and many others regarding their human rights practices.
This Article explores how shareholders have attempted to change the human rights due diligence practices of companies by submitting shareholder proposals requesting information on a company’s human rights policies, assessments, and implementation strategies. While many of these resolutions are filed by faith based organizations and other members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), recent proposals have also received support from actors such as BlackRock and Vanguard. This Article provides a descriptive account of the proposals submitted, evaluates the various shareholder reasons for proposing and supporting these proposals, discusses the outcomes of these proposals (such as approval, exclusion, and withdrawal), and analyzes the possibilities and limitations of enforcing international human rights norms through the mechanism of shareholder proposals.
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
On September 14, 2021, the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls: Melissa Upreti (Chair), Dorothy Estrada Tanck (Vice-Chair), Elizabeth Broderick, Ivana Radačić, and Meskerem Geset Techane; Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and Reem Alsalem, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Elina Steinerte (Chair-Rapporteur), Miriam Estrada-Castillo (Vice-chairperson), Leigh Toomey, Mumba Malila, Priya Gopalan, Working Group on arbitrary detention, issued a statement denouncing the Texas SB 8 Abortion Ban.
"This law is alarming. It bans abortion before many women even know they are pregnant" the experts said.
"The law will have a particularly devastating impact on women from marginalised communities. Women with low incomes, women living in rural areas, and women from racial and ethnic minorities as well as immigrant women will be disproportionately affected by this ban," the experts said, adding that this law is simply a blatant attack against women in situations of poverty as those with the means will be able to terminate their pregnancy in another state.
"We deeply regret that, on 1 September, the Supreme Court denied the emergency request filed by several organisations and failed in stopping this extremely retrogressive law from taking effect." the experts said.
Read the full statement here.
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
On Thursday September 23, 2021, at 9am ET, the first day of the Annual Strategic Litigation Roundtable 2021 will take place virtually, co-hosted by UNHCR, HIAS, Asylum Access and, this year, the new Global Strategic Litigation Council for Refugee Rights.
The first panel will provide an opportunity to share insights on recent legal issues in different jurisdictions. In the second session, we are glad to introduce the Global Strategic Litigation Council for Refugee Rights which will serve as a hub for activists seeking to use strategic litigation and related legal advocacy to advance the protection of refugee rights and the consistent and progressive development of international law worldwide. The third panel will explore a few of the litigation challenges on COVID- 19 related border closures and ensuring the inclusion of refugees and asylum-seekers in COVID-19 relief grants.
Monday, September 20, 2021
Events on 9/21: ABA Listening Event on White House Gender Policy Council & Get to Know the ABA Commission on Immigration
Two ABA events are being held tomorrow that might be of interest.
First, the ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence and the White House Gender Policy Council are holding a listening event on the White House’s development of a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence on Tuesday September 21, 2021, at 2:30pm ET.
- Vivian Huelgo (she/hers/ella), Chief Counsel, ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence
- Professor Andrew King-Ries (he/him), Chair, ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence
- Rosie Hidalgo (she/hers/ella), Senior Advisor on Gender-Based Violence and Special Assistant to the President, White House Gender Policy Council
- Carrie Bettinger-Lopez (she/hers/ella), Special Advisor, White House Gender Policy Council
To register and for more information on House Gender Policy Council's National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, please visit https://americanbar.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FdBlLL-QTJ-KiwYuP7RKaA.
Second, the ABA Commission on Immigration is holding a webinar to present on the Commission’s work both nationally and locally in California and the Commission’s valuable resources available to practitioners on Tuesday September 21, 2021, at 3pm ET. Panelists include:
• Wafa Hoballah, WJH Law Group, APC
• Wendy Wayne, Commission on Immigration Advisory Committee and Director, CPCS Immigration Impact Unit
• Stephanie Baez, Pro Bono Counsel, ABA Commission on Immigration, ABA Commission on Immigration
• Adela Mason, Director, ABA Immigration Justice Project
To register and for more information on the ABA Commission on Immigration event, please visit: https://americanbar.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_niTbTm-QQIit9RpXSVWD6A.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
A couple of weeks ago Yale Law professor Samuel Moyn wrote a scathing and seemingly unfounded attack on the late Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights in the New York Review of Books. I had considered posting about that piece here, but decided that it was too strange and awkward, personally blaming one man who had passed away five years earlier for the endless war on terror, to be worthy of additional attention.
However, Joseph Margulies and Baher Azmy’s response to Moyn in Just Security is more than worth a read. Margulies and Azmy, as practicing attorneys, litigators, present their point of view in light of their long careers and personal experiences working alongside Ratner.
In summing Moyn’s criticism of Michael Ratner, Margulies and Azmy state:
The idea is that by challenging detentions rather than the war itself…Ratner…validated the war on terror. And by smoothing down the roughest edges of the detention policy—providing detainees with a largely symbolic right of access to the courts, for instance—[he] gave a patina of legitimacy to what is at its core an illegal, immoral war, and in that way enabled our current quagmire of endless, boundless conflict.
Margulies and Azmy argue in response that “the idea that the detention litigation in general, or Rasul in particular, is somehow the reason the war on terror has become an endless, lawless monster is just silly” and also point out that “a person can obviously oppose war and torture at the same time, and Michael did both.”
They also point out that Moyn may also be “simply making the spectacularly banal point that litigation has unintended, and sometimes tragic consequences.” To that point, Margulies and Azmy respond:
But as our friend and Yale law professor Hope Metcalf says, “so what?” No experienced civil rights lawyer, and certainly not one as political as Michael Ratner, needs a law professor to explain that the courts are not a reliable friend of the weak. The insight that litigation by itself cannot achieve progressive change was old when Gerald Rosenberg put it in writing 30 years ago. And tying this observation to a larger political lesson—that power adapts to protect its interests—was old when Marx wrote it down nearly two centuries ago.
I think Margulies and Azmy also did a wonderful job of highlighting the best of what Michael Ratner did, which is what the best human rights advocates do best:
lending our voice to men whose voices had been silenced, and demanding that the law protect them when the state would not.
Sunday, September 12, 2021
Please join us in welcoming three new Co-Editors of the Human Rights at Home Blog:
Acting Director of the International Justice Clinic at the University of California, Irvine School of Law
Practitioner in Residence, Human Rights Clinic & Lecturer in Law at the University of Miami School of Law
Associate Director, Human Rights Clinic; Lecturer in Law; Faculty Director, Human Rights Program at the University of Miami School of Law
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Law professor Andrea Armstrong at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law is profiled in the August 23, 2021, issue of the New Yorker. The article centers on her work to collecting and publicizing information about deaths of those incarcerated in detention facilities in Louisiana, but also covers her legal career, scholarship, advocacy, and even her personal life. It is an inspiring portrait of a law professor fighting for the protection of rights of the incarcerated in her home state.
Eyal Press, A Fight to Expose the Hidden Human Costs of Incarceration, The New Yorker, Aug. 23, 2021 Issue.
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
New Event: Connecting the Threads that Bind: Contextualizing Legalized Violence Against Asian Americans
On Friday September 10, 2021, from 11am-3pm PT, the UC Hastings Law Center for Racial and Economic Justice will host a virtual conference investigating systemic and historic causes of anti-AAPI violence, providing frameworks for understanding the continued subordination of AAPI and BIPOC communities, and discussing AAPI-led advocacy addressing the root causes of violence and disenfranchisement.
For more information and to register for this conference, please visit: https://www.uchastings.edu/event/connecting-the-threads-that-bind-contextualizing-legalized-violence-against-asian-americans/.
Monday, September 6, 2021
The following calls for inputs have been issued by the UN Human Rights Mechanisms with deadlines in September and October 2021 and law professors whose practice, research, and/or scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission:
High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs on report on Combating Intolerance Against Persons Based on Religion or Belief. Deadline September 23, 2021. Read more.
High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs on report on Good Practices and Challenges in Using the Guidelines on Participation. Deadline September 24, 2021. Read More.
Working Group on discrimination against women and girls – Call for inputs on report on various aspects of girls' and young women's participation and activism in the political and public life at different levels. Deadline October 1, 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.
Thursday, September 2, 2021
Human Rights and Hurricane Ida Part II
It has now been four days since Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana and has since forged a path of destruction all the way up the East Coast to Maine. At this point almost one million electric customers in Louisiana remain without power, 30,000 in Mississippi and now over 100,000 customers in the Northeast are also without power. Schools in the New Orleans region are closed indefinitely and the Governor of Louisiana told those who had evacuated not to come home until officials say otherwise. Thousands of people were displaced by Hurricane Ida and it remains to be seen when and if they can come home.
On Monday, in Part I of my posts on Human Rights and Hurricane Ida, I discussed the U.N. Human Rights Committee’s recommendations regarding the human rights of internally displaced persons after Hurricane Katrina.
Today, I will focus on the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination’s recommendations regarding the disparate impacts on low-income African Americans displaced by and dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In its Concluding Observations (see paragraph 31) after its periodic review of the United States in 2008, the CERD Committee stated that the United States should:
- Increase efforts to facilitate right of return, where possible, or to guarantee access to adequate and affordable housing, where possible their place of habitual residence; and
- Ensure genuine consultation and participation of persons displaced by Hurricane Katrina in the design and implementation of all decisions affecting them.
The CERD Committee makes it clear here that human rights law requires U.S., state and local governments to increase efforts to facilitate the right of return low-income African Americans displaced by Hurricane Ida. Moreover, decision making regarding emergency housing assistance and recovery must include genuine consultation and participation by low-income African Americans displaced by Hurricane Ida. We need to and can do better in rebuilding this time around, and luckily we have clear guidance as to some of what went wrong in times past.