Thursday, April 28, 2016

American Society of International Law Announces Five Helton Fellows

The American Society of International Law (ASIL) has announced the five students and young professional winners of its 2016 Helton Fellowships for projects in international law, the twelfth class of Helton Fellows. Selected from a pool of applicants from around the world, the winners received grants of $2,000 to pursue fieldwork in or research on issues involving human rights, international criminal law, humanitarian affairs, and other international law areas.

Arthur HeltonASIL established the Helton Fellowship Program in 2004 in memory of its member Arthur C. Helton, an internationally renowned lawyer and advocate for the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons. Helton died in the August 19, 2003, bombing of the United Nations (U.N.) mission in Baghdad. Helton fellowships are funded by charitable contributions from Society members. Following are this year's recipients.

Alice Barrett is a J.D. candidate at ASIL Academic Partner Georgetown University Law Center, where she is also earning a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. Prior to law school, Barrett spent two years working in Guatemala, first as a Fulbright fellow researching return migration and then at Comunidad Esperanza, a non-profit organization where she founded a youth development program and supported rural health workshops. She has interned for the U.N. High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR), the German Office of Migration and Refugees, the American Bar Association's Human Rights Center, and the Legal Aid Justice Center of Virginia. She has also worked as a summer associate for ASIL Leadership Circle Law Firm Member Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP. As a Helton fellow, Barrett will be working with Georgetown Law's Human Rights Institute to conduct research and advocacy regarding refugee repatriation in Rwanda, with a focus on how the repatriation process has evolved in light of the Pinheiro Principles on housing and property restitution for refugees and displaced persons. In addition to assessing treatment of land and property rights of returning refugees and secondary occupants, she will create advocacy tools to raise awareness of these rights among both populations.

Orga Cadet is a J.D./M.P.P. student at Georgetown University Law Center and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. As a summer associate with the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), Cadet provided legal advice on peace negotiations and transitional security arrangements for the Syrian peace process. Prior to that experience, Cadet was a legal intern in Beirut, Lebanon, with the UNHCR. Cadet will return to work with PILPG as a law fellow. Based in Istanbul, Turkey, he will support PILPG's provision of legal and policy advice to the Syrian peace process. In particular, Cadet will conduct legal research and writing - as well as provide policy advice - on peace negotiations, transition planning, constitution drafting, transitional justice, and other matters related to international law and security.

Natasha Latiff is a human rights lawyer with an LL.B. from the University of Warwick and an LL.M. with distinction from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is the founder of the non-governmental organization Strategic Advocacy for Human Rights, which works to defend human rights globally. In 2010, the attorney general of the United Kingdom recognized Latiff for the most outstanding individual contribution to pro bono work amongst all U.K. law faculties. With the aim of one day litigating violations of women's rights in Afghanistan, Latiff will travel to Afghanistan as a Helton fellow to interview lawyers and prosecutors in order to document how women's rights cases are being litigated and to research how human rights arguments under Afghan, Islamic, and international law can be deployed to safeguard the rights of women litigants.

Alexandra Tate is a human rights advocate who specializes in human trafficking and women's issues in India. She currently works at the Human Rights Law Network, a non-profit lawyers' collective based in New Delhi. Her work involves public interest litigation in the High Courts and Supreme Court of India, as well as human rights documentation based on fieldwork. Tate served as a visiting lecturer in the International Law Department of the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing. She is a recent graduate of ASIL Academic Partner University of Chicago Law School and worked at the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and at the U.S. State Department in Washington, DC, and São Paulo, Brazil. As a Helton fellow, Tate will work with the Human Rights Law Network to document human trafficking cases in the rural state of Jharkhand, India, a major source area of human trafficking victims. She will submit a report on the cases she encounters as evidence for two public interest litigation cases in the High Court of Jharkhand and the Supreme Court of India. Her petitions will aim to expose the lack of enforcement of international, national, and local trafficking laws; propose solutions to plug gaps in the current legal framework; and advocate for the implementation of international standards on trafficking.

Andrew White is an Australian lawyer, admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Victoria. He has worked as a refugee and immigration detention advocate at Refugee Legal and as a resettlement consultant with UNHCR in Ethiopia. White holds an LL.M. with distinction in human rights and public law from the University College London, where he also founded its parliamentary law reform pro bono project. As a Helton fellow, White will work with HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, in Uganda, providing support to its legal protection team's work advocating for the resettlement of the most vulnerable refugees in urban Kampala to the United States and Canada. He will be assigned a caseload of refugees, identified by HIAS for their serious and urgent protection needs. Over the course of a two-month placement, White will interview the refugees, assess their cases against international refugee law and resettlement standards, and draft submissions in support of their resettlement applications, with a view to finding a durable solution to each refugee's displacement predicament.

"The Society is honored to be the host institution for this living tribute to Arthur Helton, whose work so embodied our mission of promoting a just world under law," said ASIL Executive Director Mark Agrast. "I know that Arthur would have been delighted with this latest class of Helton Fellows, who will be carrying on the work to which he devoted his life."

The Helton Fellowship Program is administered by ASIL through its Career Development Program. It is funded by grants from the Planethood Foundation and contributions from individuals. For more information, visit

  • To contribute to the Helton Fellowship fund, visit

ASIL is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational membership organization. It was founded in 1906, chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1950, and has held Category II Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council of the UN since 1993. ASIL's mission is to foster the study of international law and to promote the establishment and maintenance of international relations on the basis of law and justice. The Society's nearly 4,000 members (from more than 100 countries) comprise attorneys, academics, corporate counsel, judges, representatives of governments and nongovernmental organizations, international civil servants, students, and others interested in international law. For more information, visit

Hat tips to Sheila Ward and Mark Agrast.


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