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)

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Event 11/1: Can the United Nations Solve Racism? Symposium on the Global Anti-Racism Architecture of the UN

On Tuesday, November 1, 2022, from 5:30 – 7:30pm EST, join Fordham University School of Law’s Center on Race, Law, & Justice and Leitner Center for International Law and Justice for a discussion and reflection on the United Nations General Assembly’s session addressing racial discrimination, which will take place the day before. This event will be moderated by Gay McDougall, and the distinguished panelists include E. Tendayi Achiume, Gaynell Curry, Dominique Day, Justin Hansford, Justice Yvonne Mogkoro, and Verene Shepherd. The panelists will discuss anti-racism mechanisms of the UN and reflect on the new anti-racism architecture of the UN human rights system. Attendance for the event is available both in-person in Fordham Law’s McNally Amphitheater and online via Zoom Webinar.

To register for this event, click here.

October 18, 2022 in Discrimination, Global Human Rights, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 15, 2022

More on Juvenile Sentencing and the Case of Adnan Syed

Barlett_crawfordLauren E. Bartlett recently recorded a podcast with her former client Ike Crawford,  discussing juvenile sentencing in the United States and the case of Adnan Syed.  Mr. Crawford was released in February 2021 after spending more than 29 years in prison. Mr. Crawford was sentenced to life without parole at 17 years old. 

That podcast is available here

October 15, 2022 in justice systems, Juveniles, Lauren Bartlett | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Event 10/14: Harvard Law Webinar on the UN General Assembly Report on Peace, Security, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

On October 14, 2022 at 12:40pm EST, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Senior Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program and United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, will speak at Harvard Law School previewing his report on peace, security, sexual orientation and gender identity to the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations.

In his report, Victor Madrigal-Borloz calls for greater awareness of how gender and sexual orientation and gender identity dynamics operate in the context of armed conflict, and within peacebuilding and peacekeeping. He aims to provide insight on the application of a comprehensive set of legal resources to foster prevention, participation, protection, relief and sustainable peace for persons, communities and peoples suffering from violence and discrimination in war-torn contexts. The report seeks to establish a basis for expanding existing policies within the United Nations system.

Register for this webinar here.

October 13, 2022 in Gender, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Juvenile Sentencing in the U.S. and the Case of Adnan Syed

Bartlett_laurenBy Lauren E. Bartlett

Adnan Syed was seventeen years old when he was charged with an adult crime, tried in adult court, and given an adult sentence (life imprisonment plus 30 years). When he walked out of court on September 19, 2022, he was forty one.  Adnan had served twenty three years in prison for a crime he committed when he was a kid.

There has been so much written and recorded about Adnan’s case since the “Serial” podcast debuted in 2014.  There’s no need to summarize it all here. In fact, I am going to ignore a lot of what is being currently discussed–DNA evidence, Brady violations, the prosecutor under investigation, appeals of the decision to release Adnan and put him on home detention. I am also not going to discuss Adnan’s innocence or guilt.  Instead, what I am going to focus on is the life plus 30 years sentence that was imposed upon him and, more broadly, the human rights violations that are juvenile sentencing in the United States.

I have to admit that I come at this case from unpopular or even seemingly contradictory stances. When I first listened to the Serial podcast in 2014, I was convinced that Adnan was not innocent. Second, regardless of or despite what he did, I don’t believe that he should have been in prison for as long as he was and I’m glad he’s out of prison.

My Human Rights at Home Litigation Clinic students and I have been representing individuals for the purposes of juvenile life without parole hearings here in Missouri for the last two years.  We have represented eight individuals, so far, who were sentenced to life without parole for crimes they allegedly committed when they were kids–Ages fifteen to seventeen years old. Seven of our eight clients have had parole hearings.  Of those seven, all received out dates, and five individuals have already been released on parole after more than thirty years inside.  These cases have been lifechanging for my clients, for my students, and for me. 

One of the minor ways this work has changed my life, is that I now can’t stand true crime podcasts, or true crime tv shows, or any of it.  I have no desire to figure out who dunnit or to listen to the hosts call for a witch hunt for a supposed murderer.  With my post-conviction work, none of that matters to me. My clients are all human beings who have been in prison since they were kids.  They have faced some of the worst things that any human has to face–lack of adequate healthcare, constant fear, fights, endless solitary confinement, hopelessness, lack of adequate food and water, tortuous security tactics, being cut off from friends and family and even religious services during the pandemic, and no real opportunities for rehabilitation. I will fight for my detained clients’ release forever.

Here in Missouri, our legislature enacted bill SB 590, reforming sentencing for juveniles convicted of murder in the first degree.  Now instead of being sentenced to life without parole or the death penalty, judges may also sentence juveniles to life with parole or to between 30 and 40 years in prison.  To be clear, this change did not ban juvenile life without parole in Missouri, instead just made the sentence non-mandatory. In 2021, the legislature enacted SB 26, allowing offenders sentenced to fifteen or more years as a minor for nonviolent crimes to apply for parole after fifteen years of imprisonment. Next Missouri needs an overhaul of the parole hearing process, but I’ll leave that discussion for another date.

Unlike Missouri, Maryland, where Adnan Syed was convicted, has prohibited sentencing a minor to a life imprisonment without the possibility or parole or release.   In addition, Maryland law now states that individuals, like Adnan, who were sentenced to juvenile life without parole may petition a judge after serving at least twenty years, to reduce their sentence.  Maryland has gone further than Missouri in both of these respects.  Missouri is not resentencing and has not banned juvenile life without parole. 

Moreover, the United States is the only country in the world that allows for the sentencing children to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In fact, human rights law requires that children under the age of eighteen years old be detained for the shortest period of time possible, and their sentences must be proportionate to the circumstances and gravity of their offenses, as well as their own individual circumstances and needs. In some countries juveniles are not sentenced to prison at all.

Sarah Koenig in Serial Episode of 11: Rumors asked “can you tell, really? Can you tell if someone has a crime like this in him? I think most of us think if we know someone well, we can tell.?” Essentially she is asking: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what a person is capable of? What if you change those words to ‘How can you know a child’s character?’ I believe a child’s character, even the character of a child who is 17 years old, is not fixed. Instead, I assume a child’s character is going to change, mold and grow, over time, depending on life circumstances and more. To me, knowing a child’s character seems an impossible task.  I think that’s what the U.S. Supreme Court was getting at in dramatically curtailing juvenile sentencing over the last couple of decades.  Children sometimes do really bad things, but they can still grow up to be beautiful, wonderful human beings, all of the time, if given the opportunity and support. The law and legal system needs reflect that, at the international, federal, state and local level.

October 11, 2022 in Children, Criminal Justice, Lauren Bartlett | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 10, 2022

New Article: The State, the UDHR, and the Social Construction of Family in Human Rights: The Case of the Scarborough 11

Abby S. Willis, Mary C. Burke, Davita Silfen Glasberg, The State, the UDHR, and the Social Construction of Family in Human Rights: The Case of the Scarborough 11, Societies Without Borders, Volume 16 Issue 1 (2022). Abstract below.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) declares in Article 16(3) that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to the full protection by society and the state.” However, the UDHR does not define family, but rather presumes it is defined by traditional heteronormative marriage in a nuclear family. The failure of the UDHR to consider a more expansive view of family leaves the definition of family centrally in the hands of the state, and affects the ability of all but traditional nuclear family forms to access other human rights. We add to the scholarship on the role of the state in defining and maintaining family and family inequality through an examination of the case of the Scarborough 11, an intentional family sued by the city of Hartford, CT for violations of residential zoning ordinance based on family. This case challenges hegemonic constructions of family and illustrates the limits of the UDHR to protect all families. The case demonstrates the importance of the related questions: 1) how legal definitions of family create the capacity for local residents to understand non-nuclear families living among them, 2) whether the end-goal of this problem should be to expand the state’s definition of family or remove that power from the state in total (a question of reform vs. abolition) and, 3) what might a case concerning white middle-class professionals’ struggles to thrive tell us about boundary maintenance and the struggles of the poor to survive?

October 10, 2022 in Books and articles, Universal Declaration of Human Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

New Article: I Exist, Therefore I Should Vote: Political Human Rights, Voter Suppression and Undermining Democracy in the U.S.

Davita S. Glasberg, William T. Armaline, Bandan Purkayastha, I Exist, Therefore I Should Vote: Political Human Rights, Voter Suppression and Undermining Democracy in the U.S., Societies Without Borders, Volume 16 Issue 1 (2022). Abstract below.

The right to vote is clearly delineated among the rights identified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the US has long held itself as the beacon of that democracy and enfranchisement. Yet, a long history persists of practices and policies of voter suppression and gerrymandering that targets the rights of Black, brown, and indigenous populations in the US, a history that has in recent years escalated. We use the framework of the Human Rights Enterprise to unpack this history and to explore why efforts of voter suppression are intensifying at this particular moment in history.

October 4, 2022 in Books and articles, Voting | Permalink | Comments (0)