ABA International Human Rights e-Brief, 15 Aug 2011 / Issue No. 460

ABA International Human Rights e-Brief
15 August 2011 / Issue No. 460

  • Bulletin Board
  • Human Rights News
  • Job, Fellowship and Volunteer Postings
  • Educations Courses & Conferences

Bulletin Board


Starting in this issue and going forward, the International Human Rights Committee is pleased to provide updates on what we are focused on.



Following up on last year’s very successful Books for Africa project, Special Projects Vice Chair Royce Murray has done research on organizations that are helping women and children in the displaced persons camps in Haiti.  Royce and others have identified two projects to address vulnerability of women and children at night:

(1) Emergency whistles so a woman who is being attacked can alert others in the community and get help; and (2) Solar lanterns to address the poor lighting in the camps and again, make women and children more able to protect themselves and each other.  Royce is working directly with organizations to get these items directly to women and children in Haiti.

For more information or to contribute to these two initiatives, please contact Royce directly at roycebmurray@gmail.com




The award is given to scientists or engineers or their associations whose exemplary actions have served to foster scientific freedom and responsibility. Such achievements can include: acting to protect the public’s health, safety or welfare; focusing public attention on important potential impacts of science and technology on society by their responsible participation in public policy debates; or establishing important new precedents in carrying out the social responsibilities or in defending the professional freedom of scientists and engineers.

To submit a nomination…

  • Send the names, addresses, phone number, and e-mail of both the nominator and the nominee.
  • A summary of the action(s) that form the basis for the nomination (about 250 words).
  • A longer statement (no more than three pages) providing additional details of the action(s) for which the candidate is nominated.
  • The candidate’s vita or short biography (no more than three pages).
  • Any documentation (books, articles, or other materials) that elucidates the significance of the nominee’s achievement may also be submitted. (All materials become property of AAAS.)


You may see information about the award on the AAAS web site at http://www.aaas.org/about/awards/freedom.shtml

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL Deborah Runkle at 202.326.6794 or email her at drunkle@aaas.org


Human Rights News


An appeals court allows a suit against Donald Rumsfeld to go forward.

By Dahlia LithwickPosted Monday, Aug. 8, 2011

Last week, a federal district court judge in Washington, D.C., determined that a lawsuit filed against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld by a former military translator who claimed to have been tortured by U.S. forces at Camp Cropper in Iraq could go forward despite claims from Rumsfeld and the Obama administration that he should be immune from suit. After assessing the claims of “John Doe,” Judge James S. Gwin found that American citizens don’t lose their constitutional rights simply because it’s wartime. “The court finds no convincing reason,” wrote Gwin, “that United States citizens in Iraq should or must lose previously-declared substantive due process protections during prolonged detention in a conflict zone abroad.”

On Monday, a three-judge panel from the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals came to pretty much the same conclusion. Reviewing a different lawsuit, filed by two different military contractors, alleging similar forms of abuse at the same camp, the panel determined, with one judge filing a partial dissent, that their suit against Rumsfeld could proceed.

Read more: http://www.slate.com/id/2301176?wpisrc=xs_wp_0001


Compliments of Larry Albrecht: you can read the entire Seventh Circuit decision upholding the propriety of a Bivens Fifth Amendment claim against the government’s defense that it’s constitutional to torture US citizens, and also denying Rumsfeld’s qualified immunity, and finding that the right to be free from torture is well-established under both international and US law at: http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/tmp/AA0VMZ4E.pdf



The nine, wanted in the 1989 killings of six Jesuit priests during El Salvador’s civil war, turn themselves into Salvadoran authorities as they fight extradition to Spain. 

By Alex Renderos, Los Angeles Times

August 9, 2011

Reporting from San Salvador— Nine former Salvadoran soldiers and military officials were in custody Monday at an army base while fighting extradition to Spain in the killings of six Jesuit priests and two others during El Salvador’s civil war.

The Salvadoran government said in a statement that the men, among 20 ex-soldiers indicted by a Spanish judge in May, were in the custody of a civilian court that handles extradition cases.

The suspects turned themselves in at the military installation Sunday afternoon, as Salvadoran police were preparing to arrest them on an extradition order from Interpol. A 10th suspect, former army chief of staff Rene Emilio Ponce, died in May, before the indictments were issued.

The Salvadoran Defense Ministry, now in the hands of a leftist government, has said it would not interfere in civilian proceedings against the men, who have asked the country’s Supreme Court to block the extradition. It would be the first time Salvadoran officers were extradited to face crimes stemming from the conflict.

The men argue that the case involving the 1989 deaths of the Jesuit priests was closed in 1991 after a court handed down convictions against at least two officers. The convictions were set aside under an amnesty that came when the civil war ended in 1992, setting the stage for a legal battle over whether the suspects have immunity from prosecution on fresh charges of crimes against humanity.

The case has been closely watched here since Judge Eloy Velasco of Spain, acting under a principle known as universal jurisdiction, charged the 20 former military men.

Five of the six slain priests were Spaniards.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-salvador-soldiers-20110809,0,1553482.story



Head of UN-backed tribunal probing murder of ex-Lebanon PM says suspects will get fair trial if they hand themselves in.

The president of the UN-backed tribunal investigating the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister, has called on the four suspects in the case to turn themselves in, promising they will get a fair trial.

In an open letter published on Thursday, the deadline following 30 days in which Lebanese authorities were given to search and arrest the suspects, Judge Antonio Cassese addressed the accused, informing them of the possibility of appearing via video-link during the court proceedings.

“If you do not wish to come to the tribunal in person, the option might be available – following the procedures in our rules – of appearing by video-link, thus participating in the proceedings without physically coming to The Hague,” Cassese said.


He went on to insist on the need for the accused to obtain legal counsel, and that “substantial funds have been earmarked” specifically for the defence team, in case they cannot afford it.

In June, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) issued arrest warrants for four members of Hezbollah for alleged involvement in the February 14, 2005 truck bombing in Beirut that killed Hariri and 22 others.

The STL, which was established in 2007 under Chapter Seven in the UN mandate, has had a polarising effect on Lebanese domestic politics, dividing the country into two distinct camps; those who believe the STL is pushing forward a political agenda to bring down Hezbollah, and those who believe that the court is the only institution that will be able to objectively seek the truth.

Read more: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/08/201181116494850716.html


11 August 2011


The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast says that 26 people have been executed in the last month.

It says the killings have been carried out principally by armed forces who helped the new President, Alassane Ouattara, take power.

The report came as Ivory Coast officials said they had charged 62 former army officers.

Mr Ouattara has been president since April when his forces arrested former President Laurent Gbagbo.

Mr Gbagbo is now under house arrest in the north of the country. Some alleged killings were blamed on his allies.

The rights representative for the UN mission in Ivory Coast, Guillaume Ngefa, said there had been 26 cases of “extrajudicial execution, summary or arbitrary” and “85 cases of arbitrary arrest and illegal detention”.

The killings were reported between 11 July and 10 August of this year, he said, adding that locals and victims identified most of the perpetrators as men belonging

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14495336



Posted By Josh RoginWednesday, August 10, 2011

Thirteen U.S. senators, all women, are calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to take concrete action to address the Burmese junta’s use of rape as a weapon of war.

“Given the Burmese regime’s unabated use of rape as a weapon of war, we urge you to call on the regime to end this practice and pursue our shared goal of establishing an international Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the senators wrote in an Aug. 10 letter, obtained by The Cable.

The signers on the letter were Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Susan Collins (R-ME), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).

The senators cited several reports that the Burmese army has been using gang rape in its conflicts with ethnic minorities along its borders recently. For example, the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand  reported that dozens of women have been gang raped since the truce between Burma and the Kachin Independence Army broke down in June, and that Burmese soldiers claim they have “orders to rape women.”

The Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) has also been documenting all known cases of rape during the Burmese government’s new offensive against the Shan State Army following the collapse of a 22-year ceasefire.

“Burma Army troops are being given free rein to rape children, the pregnant and the elderly,” said SWAN coordinator Hseng Moon in a press release. “We strongly condemn these war crimes.”

Read more: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/08/10/another_obstacle_to_burma_engagement_gang_rape


Job, Fellowship, and Volunteer Postings


The ABA-SIL Human Rights Committee is pleased to announce a comprehensive new Job Board consisting of web pages for potential employment opportunities from dozens of international human rights NGOs. The job board was developed by ABA member Ellen J. Tabachnick. It can be accessed from the Committee Resource module in the lower right column of our committee’s home page at http://www.abanet.org/dch/committee.cfm?com=IC950000.



Refugee Protection Program

New York Office

START DATE: September 1, 2011

Human Rights First is seeking a two-year Leon Levy Fellow for the Refugee Protection program in the New York Office. The Leon Levy Fellow will play a key role in developing and overseeing the asylum screening program designed to promote and facilitate pro bono representation in the asylum and immigration adjudication systems.

Many immigrants in removal proceedings—including asylum seekers and others with legitimate claims to lawful immigration status—face the harsh prospect of being removed from the United States simply because they cannot afford competent attorneys. Without a right to government-funded counsel in immigration proceedings, there is a need for legal service providers to partner with law firms to provide pro bono legal representation for these individuals.

To learn more about this opportunity or to apply, please visit http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/Jobs/apply_position.aspx?qs=BVEAXY7ao4A%3d



University of Saskatchewan – College of Law

The Sallows Chair will be of interest to outstanding candidates who have made distinguished contributions to research and/or practice in human rights; the candidate must have the academic qualifications required for an academic appointment. Past holders include Penelope Andrews, Marilou McPhedran, Virginia Leary, Paul Mahoney, Shelley Wright, the late Martin Ennals, Rebecca Wallace, Abdullah An-Na’im, Nihal Jayawickrama, Francisco Forrest Martin and Roy Adams.

Successful candidates for the Chair will be in residence in the College of Law, and it is normally expected that the candidate will pursue a research program, teach a course or seminar, give a public lecture and oversee the planning for a conference. Tenure will normally be for one year, but in any event no longer than two years. Salary will be commensurate with the experience and standing of the holders. The date for appointment is flexible, and may be as early as January 1, 2012.

Letters of application, accompanied by a current curriculum vitae and an outline of the research plans of the candidate, should be sent to:

Beth Bilson, Acting Dean
College of Law
University of Saskatchewan
15 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
S7N 5A6

Deadline:  December 31, 2011




Fundraising Officer

Kurdish Human Rights Project

Location: London

Last Date: August 20, 2011



United Nations Relief and Works Agency

Location: Amman

Last Date: August 23, 2011


Program Officer

Save the Children

Location: Washington D.C.

Last Date: August 25, 2011



Fundraising Officer

Association for the Prevention of Torture

Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Last Date: August 26, 2011


Legal Adviser

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

Location: Geneva , Switzerland

Last Date: August 31, 2011


Senior Legal Policy Researcher – Human Rights

Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)

Location: New Caledonia

Last Date: August 31, 2011


Director, Global Communications

Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP)

Location: Brussels, Belgium

Last Date: September 5, 2011



SOURCE: See more jobs at: http://www.DevNetJobs.org or by sending a blank email to:



Educational Courses & Conferences


HUMAN RIGHTS SYMPOSIUM: Realising Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the UK

Date: 21st and 22nd of October 2011

Location: Law Society, Chancery Lane, London

The Law Society is organising a conference on ‘Fairness, Justice and Human Rights: Realising Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) in the UK’.

The conference is designed to enable approximately 250 judges, scholars, policy makers, legal practitioners and community representatives to exchange views and consider the problems and prospects for the effective enjoyment of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) in the UK. It will feature a mixture of keynote addresses, breakout sessions/workshops as well as informal opportunities to exchange ideas and build relationships.

Key speakers include:

– Justice Albie Sachs (former Justice of the South African Constitutional Court)
– Lady Justice Arden (Lady Justice of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales)
– Kate Green MP (Labour MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty , member of the Work and Pensions Committee)
– Professor Francesca Klug OBE (Director, Human Rights Futures Project, LSE)
– Baroness Walmsley (Patron, CRAE, co-Chair Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Policy Committee on – Education, Families and Young People and sponsor of the 2009 ROCK Children’s Rights Bill)
– Professor Emeritus Richard Wilkinson (Director, Equality Trust and author ‘The Spirit Level’)

For more info: http://international.lawsociety.org.uk/node/11415


FINAL CALL: Applications for Short Certificate Courses — October-November 2011

HREA is issuing a final call for applications for the following short certificate courses, which will be offered in the third trimester of 2011 (September-November):

Environment and Human Rights (5 October-15 November 2011)
Health and Human Rights (19 October-29 November 2011)
Housing Rights are Human Rights (5 October-15 November 2011)
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (5 October-15 November 2011)


These short e-learning courses are six weeks in duration and involve approximately 40 hours of reading, interaction with participants and instructor on discussion boards, quizzes and “webinars” with invited guests.

There are also still a few places available in the following 11-week specialised e-learning courses:

Election Observation (14 September-29 November 2011)
Human Rights Advocacy (14 September-29 November 2011)

Applications can be submitted online. For further information about each course please click on the course link above. The application deadline is 1 September 2011. For a listing of all upcoming courses, please visit www.hrea.org/courses



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Thank you again for your interest and participation!


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