Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Blog Symposium on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Decision

The Human Rights at Home LawProfs Blog and the Reproductive Rights Law Profs Blog are planning a symposium on the U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision which is anticipated by Summer 2022.  The symposium will  The Reproductive Rights and Human Rights at Home Blogs will cross-post essays featuring reactions and takes on the Jackson decision with a view towards international and comparative law.  If you are interested in writing a blog post as part of this symposium, please email HRAH Blog Editor Lauren Bartlett before March 1, 2022. 

December 22, 2021 in Reproductive Rights, Women's Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 20, 2021

UCI Law International Justice Clinic Successfully Urges LA County to Implement Global Treaty on Gender Justice

By Mary Hansel, Co-Editor

Since 2019, Prof. Mary Hansel and her students in the UCI Law International Justice Clinic (IJC) have advocated for Los Angeles County to pass a measure implementing the United Nations Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW is the core international human rights treaty for intersectional gender justice and has been ratified by all but six countries — including the United States. In response to the U.S.’s failure to ratify the treaty, grassroots advocates have focused on passing local CEDAW measures; indeed, a Cities for CEDAW movement has emerged (as discussed in previous posts here, here and here). The local measures, to date, have brought about remarkable strides in gender justice and helped promote human rights awareness.

Recently, after nearly three years of IJC advocacy, the County passed a binding ordinance implementing CEDAW. The ordinance provides that CEDAW “must be integrated in the County’s role as an employer, service provider, and community and business partner, and must apply to women and girls of all identities and categories.” It explicitly addresses gender justice in the areas of economic development, education, housing and homelessness, gender-based violence, healthcare, criminal justice and voting rights. The County has already started conducting a gender impact assessment to take stock of how it can align its activities with the ordinance and further promote gender justice. IJC is hopeful that this ordinance will improve the lives of the County’s 10 million residents.

Prof. Hansel has been invited to join the National Cities for CEDAW Advisory Committee. As a Committee member, she looks forward to facilitating the implementation of CEDAW in local jurisdictions across the country.

December 20, 2021 in CEDAW | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Unalienable Rights Commission: Dead or Dormant?

By Sandy Recinos, ’23, Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, Northeastern University School of Law

On March 30th, 2021, Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken decisively repudiated the report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights, Secretary Mike Pompeo’s human rights advisory committee. This bold and controversial move ended any notion that the Biden administration would carry on with the Commission’s ideas or initiatives. Blinken specified that human rights are universal and co-equal; that unlike what was noted in the report, there is no hierarchy that makes some rights more important than others. Yet on November 14th Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for international Studies held a three-day conference featuring six of the twelve members of the Commission. Day three of this conference was titled, “Where do we go from here?”

The conference, Inalienable Rights and the Traditions of Constitutionalism was held in person at Notre Dame Law School. At first, the event was invite-only, with only a few invitations extended to human rights attorneys and advocates who were critical of the Commission’s report. As the date approached, however, conference organizers announced the event would give Zoom access to invitees, be shared on a YouTube livestream, and generally invite comments and discourse from Commission critics. The schedule was divided into five themes led by five keynote speakers and respondents, followed by questions from the audience, and panels discussing the keynote presentation and the theme.

This direct line of access to the Commission members is a stark contrast to the Commission’s policies prior to the creation of its report. A coalition of human rights organizations sued Secretary Pompeo in March of 2020 for violating the Federal Advisory Committee Act’s requirement for transparent operations. They described the Commission’s process as one that continuously held closed-door meetings outside of the public view or did not provide adequate notice of meetings. Human rights groups and State Department diplomats also said they were being sidelined and taken out of the key conversations regarding international human rights commitments and foreign policy decisions.

So, does the Committee members’ willingness to entertain questions, criticism, and competing ideas represent a positive development and a shift in their process for future endeavors? Well, as Commission member Paolo Carozza of the University of Notre Dame said in the final panel of the conference: the Commission is dead, and future efforts will not be made under the Commission’s authority and name. However, the ideas articulated in the Commission report, such as prioritizing religious freedom and property rights over other human rights and anchoring human rights principles in natural law, seem to have found a home at the Kellogg Institute of Notre Dame.

This shift to an academic setting has multiple implications. On the one hand, Notre Dame breathes new life into ideas that the Biden administration tried to banish. The university and the Kellogg Institute also put institutional weight behind future endeavors to promulgate the report and its ideas. A panelist on the last day of the conference suggested Notre Dame host student seminars, symposiums inviting worldwide contributions to address outstanding questions, and annual conferences on unalienable rights specifically for journalists and judges. Another spoke about actively seeking institutions and organizations abroad that resonate with the report and collaborating with them to further these ideas abroad.

On the other hand, Notre Dame is far less politically insulated than the Commission and will invite much more critique. At the conference, voices like Harvard University’s Martha Minnow encouraged inclusion of more diverse perspectives to better reflect American tradition and ideals. On its website, the Kellogg Institute touts that its conference format was intended to enrich public discourse by featuring voices with views on human rights across the political spectrum. However, some attendees believe there wasn’t enough pushback and questioning of ideas presented to create a truly rich conversation. Occasionally, tougher questions were not addressed, or questioners were cut off with a promise for a conversation at a later time. One attendee said they would only attend this conference again if Notre Dame guaranteed much more robust dialogue instead of the tiptoe critique that they saw at this year’s conference.

While the Commission on Unalienable Rights is officially dead, human rights attorneys and advocates must keep an eye on developments at Notre Dame. No one should be lulled into thinking that the ill-conceived parts of the Unalienable Rights report will simply go away quietly.

December 19, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, December 13, 2021

Event: 12/16 First Ever IACHR Thematic Hearing on the right to housing in the United States

On Thursday, December 16th at 14:00-15:30 ET, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will hold a hearing on the right to housing in the United States. Participants include the Center for Human for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law has convened a delegation of experts working to combat the criminalization of homelessness in the United States, including advocates from the National Homelessness Law Center, the ACLU of Northern California, the ACLU of Southern California, and California-based NGO Reach for the Top.   Directly impacted people from across the country will also testify to the Commission, calling attention to human rights violations and offering emerging better practices.

The hearing is virtual and open to the public; click here to register.  Further information on the IACHR’s hearings, schedule, and registration is available here

December 13, 2021 in Homelessness, IACHR | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Events: 12/10 Human Rights Cities: Why and How? at Northeastern and CCR/ICAR Major Takeaways from the 2021 UN Treaty Negotiations

On Friday December 10, 2021, Human Rights Day, there are two events that might be of interest:

The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and the Center for Constitutional Rights will host a webinar on the major takeaways from the 2021 UN Treaty Negotiations. Panelists include June Lorenzo, Legal Counsel, International Indian Treaty Council; Ruwan Subasinghe, Legal Director, International Transport Workers Federation; and Dominic Renfrey, Advocacy Program Manager, Center for Constitutional Rights. Friday December 10, 2021, from 12-1pm ET.  Register for this webinar here

The Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) at Northeastern University School of Law will mark Human Rights Day 2021 with an informative talk by Morten Kjaerum, president of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI).  Friday December 10, 2021, 1-2pm ET. To register for this webinar and for more information, visit: 



December 7, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 6, 2021

December and January Deadlines - Calls for Inputs by UN Human Rights Mechanisms

The following calls for inputs have been issued by the UN Human Rights Mechanisms with deadlines in December 2021 and January 2022. Law professors whose practice, research, and/or scholarship touches on these topics may be interested in submission.

Special Rapporteur of the Independence of Judges and Lawyers – Call for inputs on report on Protection of lawyers. Deadline December 6, 2021. Read more.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for contributions on report on normative standards and obligations under international law in relation to the promotion and protection of the human rights of older persons. Deadline December 6, 2021. Read More.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Call for inputs on Thematic studies of the expert mechanism on the right to development. Deadline December 31, 2021. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation – Call for input to 2022 reports: indigenous peoples and people living in rural areas. Deadline December 31, 2021. Read more.

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – The U.S. will be reviewed at the 10th session of CERD in April 2022. Civil society submissions for the List of Themes will likely be due in mid-January 2022. and shadow reports will likely be due sometime in March 2022. Check the CERD webpage for updates.

Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence – Call for input to 2022 report on the roles and responsibilities of non-state actors (armed groups and other NSAs) in transitional justice processes aimed at addressing the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in conflict and authoritarian settings. Deadline January 14, 2022. Read more.

Working Group on the Right to Development – Call for comments and textual suggestions on the Draft Convention on the Right to Development. Deadline January 16, 2022. Read more.

Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Call for inputs on 2022 report on the militarization of indigenous land. Deadline January 31, 2022. Read more.

Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Call for inputs on student on treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements, between indigenous peoples and States, including peace accords and reconciliation initiatives, and their constitutional recognition. Deadline January 31, 2022. Read more.

Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons especially women and children – Call for inputs on trafficking of persons in the agricultural sector. Deadline January 31, 2022. Read more.

This information was compiled by Khala Turner, a 3L at St. Louis University School of Law, from

December 6, 2021 in United Nations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

New Article: Evaluating the Implementation of Human Rights Law: A Data Analytics Research Agenda

Evaluating the Implementation of Human Rights Law: A Data Analytics Research Agenda, University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Vol. 43, 2021 Forthcoming. Abstract below.

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.

December 1, 2021 in Books and articles | Permalink | Comments (0)