Members of Equal Education march to the Department of Education in Pretoria to demand norms and standards. (Photo courtesy of Equal Education)
Via the Human Rights@Harvard Law Blog | By: Susan Farbstein
As South Africa and the world remember Nelson Mandela, there is perhaps no greater way to honor his legacy than to continue the struggle for social justice. A quality education for all children must be at the core of such efforts, as Mandela himself recognized. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” he said. In the week before his death, real progress was made on the education front in South Africa.
After three years of sustained campaigning by our South African partners, Equal Education (EE) and Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga finally released binding norms and standards for school infrastructure on November 29th. The norms represent a significant victory for future generations of South African students, and for South Africa itself.
The norms—which are legally binding—mandate substantial changes to public schools across the country, many of which must be realized on a relatively short time horizon.
Continue reading the story on the Human Rights@Harvard Law Blog
Photo courtesy of Equal Education Law Centre
By: Melissa Shube, JD ’15
After soliciting feedback from hundreds of South African students and parents, Equal Education (EE) and Equal Education Law Center (EELC) have submitted comments on the South African Minister of Basic Education’s second draft of minimum regulations for public school infrastructure. While the submission recognizes that the Minister’s draft represents important progress, EE and EELC raise significant concerns with respect to the draft’s long timeline for implementation. As Moto Singulakka, a Grade 10 learner at Oscar Mpetha High School in the Western Cape, asked, “What about now? Where are the learners going to learn?”
The legacy of Apartheid is still palpable in South Africa’s education system, where many rural and township schools lack basic infrastructure to provide students with a safe environment conducive to learning. Binding norms and standards will help promote equality in education for South Africa’s historically disadvantaged students by requiring all public schools to meet minimum thresholds in relation to physical facilities.
Please read the full story on the Human Rights Program Blog.
Report Cover Page
Via: Harvard Law School News
Seven years after the end of Nepal’s armed conflict, civilian victims are still struggling in the absence of effective help from the government, according to a report released Sept. 26 by Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC), in partnership with the advocacy group Center for Civilians in Conflict. According to the report, a government relief program, set to end in 2014, has failed to deliver sufficient services and support.
“Assistance Overdue: Ongoing Needs of Civilian Victims of Nepal’s Armed Conflict” documents Nepali victims’ calls for financial and in-kind assistance as well as justice and truth after a decade-long conflict between government and Maoist forces. The report also evaluates the Nepali government’s current programs and proposals in light of victims’ needs and expectations.
Please read the full article on the Harvard Law School News.
Via the Human Rights @ Harvard Law Blog
Senior Clinical Instructor Bonnie Docherty is in Geneva today at the annual meeting of the Convention on Conventional Weapons, making the case for a pre-emptive ban on fully autonomous weapons, or “killer robots.” By her side are two students from the International Human Rights Clinic: Lara Berlin, JD ’13, and Ben Bastomski, JD ’15.
The Clinic has been working closely with Human Rights Watch (HRW) for more than a year on the threat of fully autonomous weapons, which would have the ability to identify and fire on human targets without intervention. Today, they released their latest joint paper on the topic and urged international talks to begin. Thanks to Bonnie, Lara, Ben, and Elina Katz, JD ’14, for their work on the paper.
Please read the full post by Cara Solomon on the Human Rights @Harvard Law Blog
Attention 1Ls and 2Ls interested in doing human rights work this summer! The application process for summer fellowships through the Human Rights Program is now underway. Please see this for further information as well as the timeline for the application process.
Feel free to reach out the HRP fellowship student advisors, Tess Borden (firstname.lastname@example.org), Sam Birnbaum (email@example.com), and Sarah Wheaton (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions. You can find their bios (and office hours) at this link.
At a UN meeting in New York, the International Human Rights Clinic and Human Rights Watch called for urgent action to stop the development of fully autonomous weapons, or “killer robots.” The Clinic and HRW released a question and answer document that makes plain the seriousness of the threat from these weapons, which would have the ability to identify and fire on human targets without intervention. The document builds on a November 2012 Report jointly published by the Clinic and HRW, entitled Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots.
Clinical students Kenny Pyetranker, J.D. ’13, Jonathan Nomamiukur, J.D. ’13, and Harin Song, J.D. ’14 contributed both research and writing to the paper. Please see here for the full press release from HRW.
Note: This post was adapted from the International Human Rights Law Clinic website.
L-R: Lily Axelrod, HLS ’15 and Isabelle Sauriol, HIRC Summer Interns 2013
By Isabelle Sauriol, a 2013 L.L.B. graduate of the University of Montreal
The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) is an intern’s dream come true. While the place is unique in and of itself – filled with natural light, welcoming photos and captivating artwork – it’s the people occupying it that make the Clinic so special. One immediately feels at home in the friendly work environment of HIRC, where laughter, opinions (and candy consumption!) are encouraged.
Working with refugees can be challenging at times, given the constant need to adapt oneself to the cultural and religious backgrounds and often tremendously difficult pasts of each client. But as HIRC Fellow Emily Leung puts it, it is first and foremost an “incredibly rewarding experience.” Professor Deborah Anker and her team have made it their mission to help out this vulnerable population by extending the limits of the law by way of amicus briefs and conferences on topics such as gender-based asylum claims and gang-related asylum, as well as by exploring creative interpretations of asylum law.
Interning at the HIRC provided me with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with various immigration processes such as asylum, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and protection under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), under the supervision of two amazing lawyers, the Clinic’s own Phil Torrey and Sabrineh Ardalan. Together, we conducted interviews with asylum seekers and gathered evidence to corroborate our clients’ cases through country conditions research, medical expertise and psychological reports. I also had the privilege of exploring some of the fascinating course material offered to HLS students, such as Crimmigration: The Intersection of Criminal Law and Immigration Law and a reading group on Trauma, Human Rights and Refugee Law.
Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein of the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) are part of a team of lawyers representing family members of those killed in government-planned massacres in Bolivia in 2003. Read more in HLS News and on the IHRC blog about the most recent allegations against the former president and former defense minister and the role of IHRC clinical students who contributed to the case.
L to R: Clinical Instructor Bonnie Docherty, Jonathan Nomamiukor, JD ’13, and Kenny Pyetranker, JD ’13, at an NGO forum
Jonathan Nomamiukor (JD ’13) writes movingly on the International Human Rights Clinic blog about how his experiences in the clinic helped dissipate his disillusionment with law school:
“In a room with political activists, ethicists, and scientists, I could see the important role lawyers also played in the production of frameworks that protect human and civil rights worldwide. It may have taken a while, but thanks to the International Human Rights Clinic, I now know how to begin using these tools–and I’m ready to get started.”
Read more about what compelled him to take a break from law school, his work with the International Human Rights Clinic on the issue of fully autonomous weapons, and the mentorship he received from Clinical Instructor Bonnie Docherty in the full post.
Check out the International Human Rights Clinic blog for a series of pictures from their commencement party with Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC). In the meantime, enjoy a few highlights:
L-R: Elian Maritz, Phil Torrey, Kaitlyn Hennigan
L-R: Lisa Dealy, Gerald L. Neuman
L-R: Deborah Popowski, James Tager, Cara Solomon