Friday, December 22, 2017

U.S. Department of Labor Announces $60 Million in Grants to Help End Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Other Exploitative Labor Practices

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced nearly $60 million in grants to NGOs and a range of organizations to promote labor law enforcement and help end exploitative labor practices in 25 trade partner countries. The grants will support projects to combat some of the most abusive labor practices, including the use of child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking in global supply chains. New technical assistance will also support trade partners’ compliance with the labor requirements of U.S. trade agreements and preference programs.

The new grants are part of a broader departmental effort to combine direct enforcement of trade-related labor commitments with targeted technical assistance to help trade partners who share our commitment, but lack the means, to strengthen the rule of law and fully comply with commitments made in trade agreements.

“Meeting trade agreement labor standards helps to shine a light into the shadowy acts of offenders who use the deplorable path of exploitation of their own people to try and gain an unfair advantage over U.S. competition,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “These grants are a useful tool for the U.S. and our allies in our goal of permanently rooting out the despicable practice of labor exploitation.”

Grants announced today by the Department will strengthen and expand efforts to identify, monitor, and combat abusive labor practices abroad that put U.S. businesses and workers at an unfair disadvantage.

Specific issues the projects will address include encouraging partnerships between the coffee industry in Latin America and buyers in the U.S. to develop social compliance systems to combat exploitative labor in their supply chains; working with labor ministries and other labor stakeholders to build their capacity to identify indicators of forced labor and human trafficking; and developing a toolkit to help program implementers reduce the risk of child labor and unacceptable conditions of work in women’s economic empowerment initiatives. Another project will help improve enforcement of minimum wage laws, hours of work and occupational safety, and health laws in the agricultural export sector, helping to ensure U.S. trading partners comply with their labor commitments.

The grants are made available through the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, whose mission is to promote a fair global playing field for workers in the U.S. and around the world by enforcing trade commitments, strengthening labor standards and combating international child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking.

For more information about the Department’s work on international labor issues, visit

(U.S. Department of Labor Press Release)

December 22, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The University of Illinois at Chicago and The John Marshall Law School

The American Bar Association Journal and other media outlets have reported that the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and The John Marshall Law School (JMLS) of Chicago have been discussing a possible merger that would make JMLS the first public law school in the city of Chicago. If an agreement is reached, the law school would remain at its downtown location next to the Chicago Bar Association and across the street from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

A page of frequently asked questions about the possible merger provides this additional information:

UIC is one of the few public research universities designated with the highest Research 1 classification by the Carnegie Foundation that does not have a law school. Sixty-five percent of all Research 1 universities, public and private, have a law school.

The John Marshall Law School is an independent law school and the possibility of becoming Chicago’s only public law school would allow it to expand its current mission and grow its quality, unique programs within a strong public university.

A natural alignment exists between UIC’s public mission and JMLS’s commitment to provide access and opportunity to students from underserved communities and to help fill the justice gap for citizens in the Chicago area. The new arrangement would fill a significant void in the country’s third largest city. Chicago is one of very few major cities in the United States without a public law school.

Any merger arrangement would require:

  • approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees;
  • approval by The John Marshall Law School Board of Trustees;
  • degree approval from the Illinois Board of Higher Education;
  • approval of a major change in operation from the American Bar Association’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar; 
  • approval from the Higher Learning Commission, which is a regional accreditor for both institutions.

The timeline for a merger would also depend on the steps needed to ensure a smooth transition for students, faculty, staff, and alumni of each institution.

Click here to read more.


December 7, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

U.S. Abandons the Global Compact on Migration

U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson announced today that the United States has decided to stop its participation in the U.N. process to develop a Global Compact on Migration (GCM). Secretary Tillerson issued this statement:

Negotiations on the GCM will be based on the New York Declaration, a document adopted by the UN in 2016 that commits to “strengthening global governance” and contains a number of policy goals that are inconsistent with U.S. law and policy.

While we will continue to engage on a number of fronts at the United Nations, in this case, we simply cannot in good faith support a process that could undermine the sovereign right of the United States to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders.

The United States supports international cooperation on migration issues, but it is the primary responsibility of sovereign states to help ensure that migration is safe, orderly, and legal.

The Global Compact on Migration arose from the September 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, when 193 U.N. Member States adopted a political declaration (U.N. Doc. A/71/L.1) in which Member States committed to:

  • protect the safety, dignity and human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migratory status, and at all times;
  • support countries rescuing, receiving and hosting large numbers of refugees and migrants;
  • integrate migrants in humanitarian and development assistance frameworks and planning;
  • combat xenophobia, racism, and discrimination towards all migrants;
  • develop, through a state-led process, non-binding principles and voluntary guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations; and
  • strengthen global governance of migration, including by bringing International Organization for Migration (IOM) into the United Nations family and through the development of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration

Click here to read more about the Global Compact on Migration.

Hat tip to Paul Johnson


December 3, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Legislation Introduced to Repeal FACTA

U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced legislation to repeal the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). U.S. Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House. FACTA, a federal statute enacted in 2010, requires foreign financial institutions to report private financial information on U.S. citizens or else face a 30% withholding tax on U.S.-source income.

In response to the law, many foreign banks simply choose to deny any banking services to U.S. citizens because of the burdens and costs of compliance and fear of running afoul of the law.

Adapted from a news release from Senator Rand Paul.



December 2, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Five Judges Elected to the ICJ, Marking First Time that the United Kingdom is Not Represented on the Court

The U.N. General Assembly and Security Council elected five judges last month to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). After five rounds of simultaneous voting, Ronny Abraham (France), Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia), and Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil) were re-elected to the ICJ and Nawaf Salam (Lebanon) was elected for the first time. A run-off between sitting judges Christopher Greenwood (UK) and Dalveer Bhandari (India) was held for the fifth seat on the court. With overwhelming support for Judge Bhandari in the General Assembly, the United Kingdom withdrew Judge Greenwood's candidacy, marking the first time in the history of the court that the ICJ will not have a British judge. Some observers characterized the development as fallout from Brexit. (mew)

December 1, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ICTY Convicts Ratko Mladić of Genocide in Srebrenica and Other Crimes

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) convicted Ratko Mladić, who served as a Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army from 1992 to 1996, “of genocide and persecution, extermination, murder, and the inhumane act of forcible transfer in the area of Srebrenica in 1995; of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation and inhumane act of forcible transfer in municipalities throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina; of murder, terror and unlawful attacks on civilians in Sarajevo; and of hostage-taking of UN personnel.” Mladić was sentenced to life imprisonment.


December 1, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Former U.S. National Security Advisor Pleads Guilty to Lying to the FBI

Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty today to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. about conversations he had last December with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition. According to a report in the New York Times, Mr. Flynn acknowledged that he was cooperating with Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election in the United States. (mew)

December 1, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)