Tuesday, March 3, 2015

International Human Rights and Constitutional Transformation -- New Scholarship

Professor David Sloss of Santa Clara Law School, has just posted a fascinating study and re-thinking of the relationship between U.S. constitutional race jurisprudence and international human rights law, titled How International Human Rights Law Transformed the U.S. Constitution.

Forthcoming in 37 Human Rights Quarterly, 2015, the article is currently available at Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 415  and through SSRN.

Here is the Abstract:      

Adoption of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights created a new international norm prohibiting racial discrimination. That anti-discrimination norm had been a part of the paper Constitution in the United States since adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, it did not become a part of the living Constitution until the Fourteenth Amendment was subjected to the magnetic pull of international human rights law. Adoption of the Charter sparked a chain of events culminating in the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which heralded the end of apartheid in the United States. Many Americans think that modern anti-discrimination law was a U.S. invention that we exported to the rest of the world. In fact, U.S. anti-discrimination law is properly understood as an outgrowth of the creation of modern international human rights law.

March 3, 2015 in Equality, Global Human Rights, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Resource on Land Grabbing

As students start selecting topics for spring semester papers or Notes, many will want to explore the burgeoning issues around land grabbing.  Don't let them re-invent the wheel!  Jootaek Lee, of Northeastern Law School, has written a useful and timely research guide on land grabbing.  The paper, titled "Contemporary Land Grabbing, Research and Bibliography," will appear in the forthcoming Law Library Journal, v. 107 (Spring 2015).  Meanwhile, the complete paper can be downloaded from SSRN.  Here is the abstract:


Researching contemporary land grabbing issues is complicated and more difficult than traditional land grabbing research which covered between the colonial period and the early twenty-first century.  Contemporary land grabbing research is difficult for researchers because of the complex reasons and motivations behind the contemporary land grabbing, the number of stakeholders involved, the interdisciplinary nature of research, the many different types of legal sources to search — international treaties, custom, jurisprudence, soft law, and domestic statutes and customary law — lack of empirical evidence, and scattered resources in many different places.  The research is a mixture of international and domestic legal research and legal and non-legal research.   In this article, I will first investigate the contemporary land grabbing and land alienation and their definitions and identify the difficulties of research.  Next, I will delineate various mechanisms and international principles which can be useful for the protection of the rights of indigenous and local people from the attack of State and non-State actors.  Finally, I will selectively review several books and articles with annotations which I believe will provide great starting points for contemporary land grabbing research.

February 25, 2015 in Economic Justice, Native American, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Health Journals Seek Human Rights Submissions

Two health-related journals are seeking submissions addressing human rights issues.  First, the influential Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is planning a 2015 theme issue on trauma associated with violence and human rights.  For the issue, which will be published in August 2015, JAMA is soliciting papers on trauma resulting from unintentional and intentional injury, from interpersonal and community-levels of violence, and from mass conflict, war, displacement, and natural disasters.

According to the JAMA announcement, "[a]uthors may submit manuscripts addressing any topic related to trauma, injury, violence, war, civil conflict, disaster, and human rights abuses. We are particularly interested in manuscripts reporting on studies of interventions to address the effects of trauma, new modes of management and treatment, and optimal systems of care in a variety of settings. Randomized clinical trials of preventive, therapeutic, or rehabilitative interventions are of primary interest, but we will also consider reports of observational studies and systematic reviews that address new and important findings as well as scholarly Viewpoints that address timely topics on clinical management, research, and policy related to trauma, violence, or human rights."

Manuscripts received by March 15, 2015, will have the best chance of consideration for publication in the JAMA theme issue. More information about submission procedures is here

Second, the open access Health and Human Rights Journal, edited by Dr. Paul Farmer and Carmel Williams, is soliciting submissions for its special issue on Tuberculosis and human rights.  According to the call for papers, TB and human rights is a neglected topic.  Possible subjects to be addressed in the special issue, slated for June 2016, are: 

    -- The individual rights and entitlements of people living with and vulnerable to TB;

    -- The obligations of States and non-state actors under human rights law to respect, protect and fulfill rights, including through prevention measures, and diagnosis and treatment;

    -- The role of human rights in promoting the availability, accessibility and acceptability of good quality testing and treatment for TB;

    -- The impact of stigma and discrimination in the lives of people living with and vulnerable to TB;

    -- The situation of key affected populations;

      --The State’s duty to protect against violations of human rights by non-state actors, such as pharmaceutical companies and private health providers.

Submissions should be received by September 20, 2015.  Guidelines for submission are here.


February 23, 2015 in Health, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Model United Nations and Human Rights Perspectives

Did you first learn about human rights issues at a Model United Nations?  

According to the U.S. United Nations Association, more than 400,000 students participate in Model United Nations programs each year.  Through Model UNs, students practice skills like drafting, advocacy, negotiation and public speaking.  Importantly, they are also exposed to human rights issues on a global and national scale as they research the policy positions of their assigned countries and evaluate possible alliances with other nations.  Prominent Americans who participated in Model UNs range from Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to famous "first child" Chelsea Clinton to actor Samuel L. Jackson.

With support from Newman's Own Foundation, in 2010 the U.S. United Nations Association created a special human rights curriculum to be used in conjunction with a Model UN program in a middle-school or high school classroom setting.  Special topics in the curriculum include children's rights, free expression and universal primary education.

Interestingly, though Model UN is a huge driver of human rights education at high schools and universities across the U.S., its origins are obscure and it operates as a loose, decentralized and student-powered network.  Further, the legal academy has virtually ignored the role of Model UNs in shaping Americans' views of human rights and global politics.  Legal scholars only occasionally note the role that Model UN programs play in expanding American awareness of transnational perspectives.  A deeper analysis of the ways in which Model UNs have served as a decades-long forum for developing Americans' global perspectives -- perhaps reinforcing exceptionalism or alternatively, straining against it -- would be a fascinating contribution.  

February 19, 2015 in Global Human Rights, Martha F. Davis, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)