Training: The International Human Rights Framework – Opportunities for Attorneys + Advocates (Boston)

This training seminar is designed to familiarize attorneys and advocates with the opportunities for enhanced rights promotion and protection offered by the international human rights framework.

Date: May 18, 2012

Time: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Location: NonProfit Center, 89 South Street, Boston, MA

Whether in individual representation or as part of broader campaigns for reform, incorporating international norms and international mechanisms into our advocacy strategies can yield powerful results.Separate panel discussions, led by some of Massachusetts and the country’s most experienced practitioners, will focus on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations human rights mechanisms, domestic litigation of international norms, and documenting claims of persecution and human rights abuses.Attorneys engaged in public interest or criminal defense work, as well as advocates focused on civil rights and social justice issues, will gain a fundamental understanding of the relevance of the international human rights framework to protecting their clients and communities’ basic rights and freedoms.  We hope you will join in this important discussion.


Agenda Overview

Human Rights Advocacy at the Regional and International Levels

8:30 – 9:00         Registration

9:15 – 10:00      Opening Remarks: Overview of the International Framework 

Michael Greco, Chair, ABA Center for Human  Rights; Partner, K&L Gates

10:00 – 11:00   The Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights

Panelists will provide an overview of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the procedural and practical considerations involved in submitting a complaint, seeking protective measures, or participating in the Commission’s human rights monitoring and reporting activities.

Francisco Quintana, Deputy Program Director, Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)

Lisl Brunner, Staff Attorney, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Lisa Reinsberg, Executive Director, International Justice Resource Center

11:00 – 11:15    Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:30     Engaging with United Nations Human Rights Bodies

Panelists will explain the work of the Charter- and treaty-based bodies that monitor human rights conditions in the United States. These include the Human Rights Committee, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and Committee against Torture.  Panelists will also provide an overview of the mandate of the UN Human Rights Council, including its special procedures and the Universal Periodic Review.  Discussion will focus on best practices for effective engagement.

Gerald Neuman, Member, UN Human Rights Committee;  J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign and Comparative Law, Harvard Law

Suzanne Egan, Lecturer in International and European Human Rights Law at the School of Law, University College Dublin; Visiting Fellow, Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School

Lorie Graham, Professor, Suffolk University Law School

12: 30 – 1:30   Lunch break and afternoon registration

Documentation and Domestic Litigation of Human Rights Claims

 1:30 – 2:45      Invoking International Norms in Domestic Advocacy

International norms can be a powerful tool for effective advocacy, contributing to greater protection of individuals’ rights.  Panelists will discuss the ways in which international human rights norms can be, and have been, invoked in domestic litigation and advocacy in a variety of contexts, including immigration and asylum. Panelists will provide examples of consideration or application of international norms by domestic courts and legislatures.  

Martha Davis, Faculty Director, Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, Northeastern University Law School

Christy Fujio, Asylum Program Director, Physicians for Human Rights

2:45 – 3:00      Break

3:00 – 4:00       Documenting Claims of Persecution and Other Human Rights Violations

Presenting human rights claims before domestic, regional or international bodies requires appropriate documentation of the alleged violation or risk of persecution.  Further, continued monitoring of government compliance is an integral part of effective human rights advocacy.  Panelists will explain and discuss the methodology of human rights documentation and monitoring, including the use of specialized experts.

 Christy Fujio, Asylum Program Director, Physicians for Human Rights

Laura Rótolo, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Massachusetts

4:00 – 4:15      Closing Remarks