Death Row Conditions in Connecticut (2014)
The Clinic, working with the Prisoners’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, investigated and developed litigation challenging conditions on Connecticut’s death row. The state abolished the death penalty in 2012, and although the state supreme court applied the abolition to those already on sentenced to death, many of them remained on death row.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Secret Deportation Hearings of Non-Citizens (2003)
For the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, which represents non-citizens, the Clinic did extensive historical research on early common law precedents and comparative legal sources. The research assisted a major case involving secret deportation hearings of non-citizens, almost all charged with routine visa violations, arrested in the months after September 11, 2001, and designated as “special-interest” detainees. A September 21, 2001, Department of Justice directive, requiring that these hearings be closed to the public, prevented officials from even “confirming or denying whether such a case was on the docket or scheduled for a hearing.”
Case Against Ariel Sharon for Sabra and Shatilla Massacre (2001)
The Clinic worked with counsel who brought suit in Belgium against Ariel Sharon, then prime minister of Israel, on behalf of 23 plaintiffs who were injured and lost family members or property in the September 1982 massacre in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Lebanon. Sharon, minister of defense when Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982, was in command of Israeli forces who were in control of the camps and who allowed Christian Phalangist militia to enter the camps, where they committed the massacre. Plaintiffs brought suit in Belgium, seeking the criminal prosecution of Sharon and others, under a statute that allowed prosecution, under a doctrine of universal jurisdiction, of individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The Clinic wrote research memos on issues of international law that the plaintiffs’ attorneys used in briefs on jurisdictional matters. The Belgian parliament ultimately amended the universal jurisdiction statute, ending the litigation against Sharon.
Ford v. Garcia – Case Against El Salvadoran Officials Responsible for Death of American Church Women (2000)
The Clinic worked with the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First) on a case, Ford v. Garcia, brought in the Southern District of Florida on behalf of the families of four U.S. church women murdered in El Salvador in December 1980. The suit sought to hold two former high-ranking Salvadoran military officials, living in Miami, liable under the Torture Victim Protection Act for the torture and death of the church women. The Clinic researched key international law issues and drafted proposed jury instructions on the critical issue of command responsibility. The jury held for the defendants.
Law Suit Against Ethiopia for Wartime Expropriation of Eritreans’ Property (1999)
The Clinic developed the foundation and secured pro bono counsel for a case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of people of Eritrean descent whose property was expropriated when they were expelled from Ethiopia following the outbreak of armed conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Clinic provided research memoranda on international human rights law, and students traveled to Eritrea to interview plaintiffs and potential witnesses and to draft witness declarations. The class action suit, brought under the takings exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act against Ethiopia and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, was ultimately dismissed.
Doe v. Karadzic – Case Against Bosnian Serb Leader for Wartime Atrocities (1997)
The Clinic was co-counsel for plaintiffs in Doe v. Karadzic, a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, brought against Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic on behalf of victims of Bosnian-Serb abuses during the war in Bosnia. Following a default judgment finding Karadzic liable, the Clinic assisted at the damages trial and prepared a supplemental trial brief on the factual and legal bases for liability and for punitive damages. The jury awarded plaintiffs damages of $4.5 billion.
International Justice Network: Arbitrary Detention of Former U.S. Prisoners in Afghanistan (2014)
The Clinic prepared petitions to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of three former Bagram detainees who remain in detention in Afghanistan. The petitions aimed to put additional pressure on the Afghan authorities to release the clients or resettle them to a safe third country.
Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC): Collective complaint against Ireland on inclusive education of children with Autism (2014)
The Clinic worked with MDAC to draft a collective complaint to the European Committee of Social Rights on the obstacles parents of children with autism in Ireland faced in enrolling their children in mainstream schools. The team of Clinic students attended a conference in Ireland to meet with affected families.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Padilla v. United States, Petition to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2012)
The Clinic worked with the ACLU to file a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of Estela Lebron and her son, Jose Padilla, who was the only known U.S. citizen to have been seized, detained, and tortured in U.S. military custody without charge or warrant in connection with the U.S. “war on terror.”
Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti: Protecting Victims of Violence by Mayor of Les Irois, Haiti (2012)
Over the course of several years, the Clinic researched possible means of providing protection to three victims of Jean Morose Viliena, a convicted human rights offender who took office as mayor of the Haitian town of Les Irois in August 2012. The Clinic authored a successful request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for precautionary measures to generate pressure on the government of Haiti to ensure the safety of the three victims.
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL): Complaint to the World Bank Inspection Panel (2011)
The Clinic worked with CIEL and Yale Law School’s Transnational Development Clinic, on behalf of a coalition of Kosovar human rights and environmental organizations, to file a complaint to the World Bank Inspection Panel. The complaint, which was based on the Bank’s resettlement, environmental impact assessment, and economic assessment policies, advocated for extensive reforms to ensure that new energy production in Kosovo is done sustainably and with respect for human rights.
Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA): Prosecution in Spain of Former Salvadorian Officials for Murder of Jesuits (2010)
CJA asked the Clinic for assistance in attempting to hold the former president of El Salvador and his joint chiefs of staff accountable for the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter. In fall 2010, the team reviewed witness and expert testimony and prepared a brief arguing that the defendants could be held criminally liable under the doctrine of command responsibility. In May 2011, a Spanish judge issued an indictment and arrest warrants for the defendants.
Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI): Secret Detention and Torture in Poland and Transfer to U.S. Custody of Guantanamo (2010)
The Clinic worked with OSJI to prepare a petition to the European Court of Human Rights for a case focusing on the Polish government’s involvement, through cooperation with the U.S Central Intelligence Agency, in the torture, secret detention, and extraordinary rendition of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi citizen.
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR): Submission to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights concerning the Use of Military Courts to Try Civilians in Egypt (2009)
The Clinic drafted submissions to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights for a high-profile case involving 28 Egyptian civilians who were tried before a military court. The submissions outlined how international standards for fair trials prohibit trying civilians before military courts.
Adalah: Limitations on Palestinian Use of Roads in the West Bank (2005)
The Clinic provided the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) with legal and factual research assistance to help it evaluate the potential for a legal challenge, in the Supreme Court of Israel, to prohibitions imposed by the Israeli army on the use of roads by Palestinian residents of the West Bank. The Clinic team traveled to Israel and the West Bank to document the effects of road closures on Palestinian communities.
Human Rights Law Network: Accommodation Owed to Evicted Squatters (2005)
The Clinic provided the Human Rights Law Network in India with research assistance on international law and comparative national practices concerning the accommodation owed to squatters who are evicted from public land. The Clinic’s research was incorporated in a submission to the Supreme Court of India in Sahaj v. Government of Gujurat, a case that challenged the government’s decision to force a community in Gujurat to leave public land, on which it had been living for decades, without providing alternative accommodation.
Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti: Complaint against the governments of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the United States (2004)
The Clinic prepared a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concerning violations arising out of the overthrow of Haiti’s democratically elected government. The petition, submitted with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, and the TransAfrica Forum, argued that the Interim Government of Haiti and the governments of the U.S. and the Dominican Republic deprived the Haitian people of their right to participate in representative government by undermining, overthrowing, and replacing the democratically elected Haitian government. The Commission rejected the petition.
Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL): Civilian Prosecutions of Officials Responsible for Massacre in Colombia (2000)
The Clinic worked with CEJIL on a case concerning possible civilian prosecutions of those responsible for a massacre in Colombia. The Clinic’s work addressed the legitimacy of trying military officers in military courts for human rights violations. The Clinic and CEJIL sponsored a roundtable in Bogotá on the limitations of non bis in idem (double jeopardy) in such cases. With CEJIL, the Clinic wrote the discussion paper, and two Clinic students presented it to Colombian jurists, scholars, and human rights advocates attending the session.
Amicus Brief on Retroactivity of the Repeal of the Death Penalty in Connecticut (2013)
To support a motion to preclude the death sentence of a man charged with a capital offense before Connecticut abolished the death penalty, the Clinic filed an amicus brief before the Connecticut Supreme Court describing international law on lex mitior, the principle that a person has a right to benefit retroactively from laws that reduce relevant sentences.
American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut: Isolation in Connecticut Prisons (2010)
As part of a multi-year project with the ACLU-Connecticut that investigated Connecticut’s super-max prison, the Clinic prepared an amicus brief for the Connecticut Supreme Court in a case that questioned whether transfer to the prison invokes a liberty interest under the Due Process Clause.
American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California: Amicus Brief on the Use of Secret Evidence (2005)
The Clinic filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Nadarajah v. Gonzalez on the legality of immigration detention without procedural safeguards that allow the detainee to meaningfully challenge the source and substance of adverse evidence. The U.S. government detained the petitioner for more than four years, based on anonymous evidence, despite having granted him asylum twice based on his fear that he would be persecuted if he returned to Sri Lanka. In March 2006, the Court granted Mr. Nadarajah’s habeas petition and ordered his release.
Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL): Proportionality of Punishment (2005)
The Clinic researched and prepared a section of an amicus brief on international standards concerning proportionality of punishment that CEJIL submitted to the Colombian Constitutional Court. The brief challenged Colombia’s Justice and Peace Law, which provides paramilitaries with generous benefits in exchange for demobilizing. In May 2006, the Court upheld reduced sentences for paramilitaries who comply with the law’s requirements but struck down provisions that could have allowed paramilitaries to evade responsibility for human rights violations. In particular, the Court required paramilitaries to fully and truthfully confess their crimes to be eligible for the law’s benefits.
Experts Ruled U.S. Treatment of Detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan Constituted Torture (2005)
On behalf of two international experts, the Clinic prepared an amicus brief arguing that the prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment was universal, obligatory, specific, and definable, and that the kinds of abuses allegedly suffered by detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan were prohibited under these norms. The brief was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in a case brought against Donald Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials. The District Court dismissed the case in March 2007.
Daniel Benitez v. John Mata, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (2004)
The Clinic submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the case of Benitez v. Mata, which presented the issue of the lawfulness of the U.S. government’s policy of indefinitely detaining inadmissible aliens who have been ordered deported but for whom deportation is impossible or unforeseeable. The Clinic’s brief presented to the Court an accurate picture of the people affected by this policy and demonstrated the hardship that the policy, particularly the conditions of detention and the inadequacies of the process for considering release, creates for them and their families.
Haiti’s Detention of National, Deported by U.S. in Violation of Torture Convention (2003)
The U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut requested an amicus brief to address whether the prolonged or indefinite detention of a repatriated Haitian criminal alien would constitute torture as defined by the Convention Against Torture (CAT). After completing prison terms in the U.S., Haitian nationals deported on criminal grounds were being detained upon arrival in Haiti and held indefinitely in prisons with horrendous conditions. A Haitian national convicted of an aggravated felony in the United States filed a habeas petition, claiming that the CAT prohibited the United States from returning him to Haiti, where his detention in Haitian jails would violate the CAT. The Board of Immigration Appeals had found, in an earlier case, that the conditions of Haitian prisons did not constitute torture. The Clinic’s brief applied the torture definition to the petitioner’s claim. The Clinic filed a second amicus brief containing this analysis with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit after the case was transferred from the District Court as a result of reforms of the Immigration and Naturalization Act.
Atkins v. Virginia: Execution of the Mentally Retarded (2002)
The Clinic prepared an amicus brief for the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Atkins v. Virginia, challenging the execution of the mentally retarded. The brief, written on behalf of a group of former senior U.S. diplomats, argued that the U.S.’s continued use of the death penalty against the mentally retarded damaged the U.S.’s diplomatic standing and global position of moral leadership, and that the Court should take into account international consensus against the execution of the mentally retarded in determining whether the practice violates the Eighth Amendment. The Court ruled that the execution of the mentally retarded is unconstitutional.
U.S. District Court for the Virgin Islands, Constitutionality of the Status of the U.S. Virgin Islands (2001)
The U.S. District Court for the Virgin Islands asked the Clinic to submit an amicus brief in support of a pro se suit challenging the constitutionality of the status of the U.S. Virgin Islands as a non-self-governing territory. The Clinic’s brief argued that the continuation of this status violates residents’ rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other binding international law. A Clinic student presented the Clinic’s arguments in a hearing called specifically to discuss the brief. In September 2006, a judge sitting by designation dismissed the case, holding that, among other things, the Court did not have jurisdiction to address the international law issues that had been raised by the district court judge and briefed by the Clinic.
Amicus Brief on Climate Effects of Norwegian Oil-Drilling Licenses (2016)
The Clinic authored and submitted an amicus brief to the Oslo District Court in a case challenging the Norwegian government’s authorization of new oil drilling in the Arctic. The suit, filed by Greenpeace Nordic and Nature and Youth, a Norwegian NGO, argues that the government’s decision to issue new oil-drilling licenses conflicts with the Norwegian Constitution’s guarantee of the right to a healthy environment and with commitments Norway made by ratifying the Paris Agreement. The Clinic’s brief examines the impact of these licenses on Norway’s compliance with its international human rights law duties, including the rights to life and health, the rights of the child, and the rights of future generations.
Women’s Link Worldwide: Amicus Brief on Informed Consent for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2016)
A Clinic team submitted an amicus brief to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the right to informed consent under international human rights law for a case concerning a woman who was sterilized without her consent in a public hospital in La Paz, Bolivia, in 2001.
Human Rights Watch (HRW): Amicus Brief for Supreme Court Petitions on Prison Conditions in Brazil (2015)
The Clinic worked with HRW to author an amicus brief for the Brazilian Supreme Court that examined Brazil’s obligations under international law to improve prison conditions and analyzed how these obligations have been interpreted and applied by courts elsewhere.
Amicus Brief for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the Rights of Miskitu Community of Honduras (2013)
The Clinic prepared an amicus brief for submission to the IACHR for two cases addressing violations of the rights of the Miskitu indigenous people, who were employed in underwater fishing under highly unsafe conditions and without proper regulation or oversight by the State, which caused the death or permanent disability of many Miskitu divers.
Amicus Brief on Freedom or the Press and Speech for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2012)
The Clinic submitted an amicus brief to the Inter-American Commission on behalf of a columnist for an Ecuadorian newspaper and three members of the paper’s board of directors who had been tried and convicted for defaming Rafael Correa, the Ecuadorean president.
Human Rights Watch (HRW): European Court of Human Rights Amicus Brief in Bosnian Removal Case (2011)
The Clinic worked with HRW to draft an amicus brief for submission to the European Court of Human Rights regarding Bosnia-Herzegovina’s detention and attempted deportation of a Syrian-born Bosnian citizen.
Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR): Forced Sterilization of HIV-Positive Women as a Form of Discrimination (2009)
The Clinic prepared an amicus brief for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in support of a ruling that the forced sterilization of a young HIV-positive Chilean woman during a cesarean operation constituted a form of prohibited discrimination that states are obliged to prevent.
Health Action International: Kenyan Constitutional Challenge to Anti-Counterfeit Laws that Deny Access to Essential Medicines (2009)
The Clinic prepared an amicus brief for the Kenyan Constitutional Court in support of three Kenyans living with HIV who claimed that Kenya’s anti-counterfeit legislation denies HIV-positive individuals access to essential medicines and, therefore, violates their human right to life under the Kenyan Constitution.
Center for Justice and International Law: Modes of Individual Criminal Responsibility Under International Law (2008)
The Clinic drafted and submitted an amicus brief to the Peruvian court trying former president Alberto Fujimori for his alleged involvement in murders and kidnappings. The brief addressed the requirements of extradition law and modes of individual criminal responsibility under international law. In April 2009, the court convicted former President Fujimori of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to twenty-five years in prison.
Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI): Economic and Social Rights Violations in Equatorial Guinea (2008)
A Clinic team drafted an amicus brief, submitted on behalf of a group of African international-law scholars, in support of a complaint brought by OSJI, acting on behalf of Asociaciòn Pro Derechos Humanos de España, in the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The brief analyzed massive systematic corruption in resource-rich Equatorial Guinea as a violation of internationally protected rights.
Open Society Justice Initiative: Petition on Behalf of Nubian Children in Kenya to African Committee of Experts for the Rights and Welfare of the Child (2007)
A Clinic team traveled to Kenya to collect testimony from Kenyan Nubians, particularly children, to support a petition being prepared by the Open Society Justice Initiative for submission to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The testimony and the petition focused on how the Kenyan government has denied Nubian children’s right to nationality, which has, in turn, resulted in violations of their rights to health and education.
Atala v. Chile – Amicus Brief on Sexual-Orientation Discrimination in Chile for Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2006)
The Clinic prepared an amicus brief for the IACHR in Atala v. Chile, a case challenging a Chilean Supreme Court decision to deny a Chilean woman custody of her children on the basis of her sexual orientation. The brief addressed international and comparative law on the issues of privacy and non-discrimination. When the case went to the Inter-American Court, the Clinic resubmitted its briefs.
Centre for Minority Rights (CEMIRIDE): Amicus Brief on Nationality for the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (2006)
The Clinic submitted an amicus brief to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights that provided a legal analysis of the right to a nationality under international law and the applicability of this right to the issues in a case brought by the Nubian Community in Kenya against the government of Kenya. The Nubians, originally from Sudan, have lived in Kenya since the early 1900s. Although entitled to Kenyan citizenship, they are prevented from obtaining proof of this citizenship, which has deprived them of access to employment, health care, and education. The Clinic argued that because the right to a nationality is a necessary condition for the protection of other rights, the African Commission should find that the right to a nationality is implicit in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Equipo Nizkor: Amicus Brief Challenging Appeal of Conviction of Argentine General Scilingo (2006)
The Clinic submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of Spain arguing that the facts in a criminal judgment against Adolfo Scilingo, a former Argentine military official, for conduct during that country’s “Dirty War” were consistent with crimes against humanity, as charged, and not the crime of genocide.
Amicus Briefs for Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on Costa Rica’s Ban of In Vitro Fertilization Procedures (2005)
The Clinic prepared an amicus brief for the IACHR in Villalobos v. Costa Rica, a case involving a ruling by Costa Rica’s highest court that in vitro fertilization procedures (IVF) violate the right to life of the embryos that are not successfully implanted. The Clinic’s brief argued that such a ban violates rights protected under the American Convention on Human Rights, including the right to nondiscrimination, the right to found a family, and the right to privacy.
Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS): Analysis of Argentina’s Human Rights Obligations (2005)
Working with CELS and other NGOs in Argentina, the Clinic drafted portions of an amicus brief arguing that Argentina’s human rights obligations limited its obligations under bilateral investment agreements. A coalition of Argentine consumer and human rights groups submitted the brief to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in arbitration proceedings against Argentina initiated by foreign private companies that supplied water and sanitation services to Buenos Aires. The companies demanded massive compensation for the effect on their revenues of economic emergency measures that the government of Argentina adopted in response to the 2002 economic crisis.
Survival International: Amicus Brief for the High Court of Botswana Analyzing the Relocation of the Baswara (Bushmen) People (2005)
The Clinic filed an amicus brief with the High Court of Botswana in Sesana v. Attorney General, a case brought by the Basarwa people challenging their forced relocation from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The Clinic’s brief discussed the duty of states to consult with and gain the informed consent of indigenous peoples before moving them from their traditional lands and argued that the relocation of the Basarwa raised significant questions about whether the government of Botswana had fulfilled this duty. In December 2006, the High Court ruled that the government’s forced relocation of the Basarwa was unconstitutional and that the Basarwa had the right to live on their ancestral lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR): Challenging the Categorical Ban on Abortion in Colombian Law (2004)
In partnership with the Center for Reproductive Rights, a Clinic team prepared an amicus brief in a case that challenged a Colombian law that made abortion a crime under all circumstances. The brief surveyed different approaches to the treatment of abortion in the laws and jurisprudence of several European and Commonwealth countries. The Colombian Constitutional Court issued a decision in May 2006 finding the law unconstitutional.
African Commission on Human Rights: Human Rights Abuses by Ethiopia and Eritrea (2000)
The Clinic prepared an amicus brief for the African Commission on Human Rights, which had been asked by African organizations to consider claims of human rights abuses by both Ethiopia and Eritrea arising from the war between the two countries. The brief addressed Ethiopia’s expulsion of some 70,000 men, women, and children of Eritrean descent as a violation of international law.
Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL): Human Rights Abuses in Peru (2000)
The Clinic worked with CEJIL, the NGO most active in using the inter-American human rights system to seek redress of human rights violations, in its efforts to bring about the prosecution of past human rights abuses within domestic judicial systems. The Clinic filed an amicus brief with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in a case from Peru that involved issues related to the duty to investigate, prosecute, and punish those responsible for a notorious massacre.
American Jewish World Service and its Haitian Partner Organizations: Food Security and Development-Induced Displacement in Haiti (2016)
The Clinic prepared a research paper for the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and other relevant U.N. bodies regarding the dangers of Haiti’s large-scale development projects, particularly in agriculture, that are designed and implemented without participation from affected communities.
Asia Floor Wage Campaign (AFWA): Establishing A Living Wage for South Asian Garment Workers (2016)
A Clinic team wrote a white paper for AFWA arguing that a minimum living wage is a fundamental right and that supply-chain accountability must be a critical part of the International Labor Organization (ILO)’s agenda. The team presented the white paper at an ILO meeting in Geneva in June 2016.
Reform of Agricultural Plantation Laws in Liberia (2016)
To provide input for a Liberian government-led consultation process to determine whether the plantation sector needed reform, a Clinic team prepared a research paper that outlined the environmental and social impact of the country’s plantation industry, the gaps in Liberia’s current framework for granting plantation concessions, and the content of regulatory frameworks from other African countries. The paper included recommendations to submit to Liberia’s Governance Commission. The team traveled to Liberia to carry out research for the report and returned to present its findings to a roundtable of government and civil society officials.
Human Rights First: International Obligations to Asylum Seekers (2015)
At the request of Human Rights First, a Clinic team produced a paper for U.S. policymakers that analyzed how specific U.S. policies and practices of immigration detention, including the use of family detention centers, violate international human rights law.
Accountability Counsel and Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples: Access to Remedy at the World Bank (2014)
In a paper on the new Operating Procedures of the World Bank Inspection Panel, a Clinic team analyzed the practice of delaying and, at times, cancelling investigations into Bank-funded projects’ inconsistencies with Bank policies in order to give the Bank time to resolve issues independently. The team traveled to Nepal to interview people affected by a project for which an investigation was delayed. The paper found that the practice created a barrier for communities seeking access to remedies.
Experts’ Group on Global Climate Change Obligations: Human Rights-Based Obligations of States and Other Actors in Relation to Climate Change (2013)
The Clinic prepared a memorandum for the Experts’ Group on Global Climate Change Obligations that used international human rights law to delineate the concrete obligations of states and companies to mitigate climate change and remediate its effects. The Group relied on the Clinic memorandum in drafting the Oslo Principles on Global Climate Change Obligations and the Commentary to the Principles.
Adalah: Advocacy for the Bedouin Population of Israel (2013)
Working with Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, a Clinic team wrote a memorandum of law for submission to the Supreme Court of Israel on whether a state may forcibly displace one community, the Arab Bedouin, who have long been living in a location, from “state land” for the sole purpose of giving the space to another community, in particular, members of the majority Jewish population.
Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE): Comparative Research for Initiative to Reform State Information Laws in Egypt (2012)
At the request of AFTE, the Clinic conducted a comparative study of international legal regimes and individual countries’ law and practices regarding television and radio broadcasting. The report also outlined how seemingly benign regulations are used to suppress media freedom in various countries.
Human Rights Violations in Iran from 1979 to 2009 (2012)
The Clinic, working in support of several Iranian human rights organizations, wrote a paper that analyzed the standards that have been used in establishing previous U.N. Commissions of Inquiry and evaluated the possibility of establishing such a commission for past human rights abuses in Iran.
Yale Sudan Divestment Campaign and Update (2005; 2012)
In 2005, a Clinic team engaged in a successful advocacy campaign encouraging Yale University and the Connecticut state government, in response to Sudanese government atrocities in Darfur, to divest from companies involved in certain activities in Sudan. The team wrote a report on its findings and also worked together with the Connecticut State Treasurer’s Office and members of the Connecticut legislature to develop legislation authorizing the Treasurer to divest. The bill was passed. In 2012, the Clinic prepared an update on the situation in Sudan for the Yale Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility.
American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland: Challenging Conditions of Confinement in Girls’ Juvenile Prison (2008)
A Clinic team prepared a memo that analyzed conditions at Maryland’s Waxter Children’s Center in light of international human rights standards and evaluated the extent to which Article 19 of the Maryland Constitution, which guarantees all Marylanders the availability of a remedy for every rights violation, could be used to address violations of international human rights law.
Human Rights Watch (HRW): Reform of Counterterrorism Laws (2008)
The Clinic prepared a research memorandum for HRW that described and critically analyzed the counterterrorism laws of a large, representative sample of countries and offered a comprehensive set of recommendations to governments and U.N. bodies to support legal reform efforts.
The Niapele Project: Advocating for Support for Repatriated Refugee Children and Other Vulnerable Returnees in Liberia (2008)
The Clinic prepared a paper for the Niapele Project analyzing states’ international law obligations to returning refugees. It also evaluated the best practices of several states that have faced large-scale repatriations of their nationals. The Clinic’s paper applied the international standards and comparative best practices to the situation of returning refugees in Liberia.
Human Rights Watch (HRW): Unprotected Migrants, Zimbabweans in South Africa’s Limpopo Province (2007)
A clinic team prepared research memoranda on temporary protection regimes to support a HRW project to document the plight of recent Zimbabwean migrants to South Africa who are denied asylum.
Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CFF): Memorandum on the Rights of Indigenous People of Fiji to Natural Resources (2006)
At the request of CFF, a Fijian organization, the Clinic prepared and submitted to a legislative committee in Fiji an analysis of the proposed QoliQoli Bill, which provided for indigenous communities’ ownership of their traditional fishing waters and adjacent coastal land. The analysis relied on international law regarding the duties of states to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples over lands, territories, and natural resources traditionally owned or used by them.
Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC): Housing Segregation in the U.S. (2005)
The Clinic prepared a publication to help PRRAC, a U.S. NGO, expand its use of international human rights standards and participation in international and regional fora to advocate on issues related to housing segregation in the United States. The Clinic also submitted a letter on international law and U.S. housing segregation to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for a thematic hearing on the right to housing.
Analysis of Potential Consequences of Haiti Ratifying the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) (2003)
A group of organizations inside and outside of Haiti, including the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux in Port-au-Prince, asked the Clinic to prepare an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages for Haiti of ratifying the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The paper was translated into Haitian Kreyol to use in advocating ratification.
Global Rights: Protecting the Rights of Nomadic Communities in Mongolia (2003)
The Clinic prepared a paper for Global Rights (formerly the International Human Rights Law Group) to inform its collaboration with lawyers in Mongolia seeking to protect the rights of that country’s nomadic population. A post-Communist law providing for private ownership of land threatened nomadic communities’ rights to move across Mongolia’s grasslands and to have access to traditional grazing areas. The Clinic’s paper surveyed international law and state practice and developed potential arguments for protecting these rights.
OXFAM: Rights of Communities with Resource Extraction Projects (2002)
On behalf of OXFAM America, the Clinic examined the emerging right of local communities under international law to free, prior, and informed consent to resource extraction projects on local lands. The Clinic produced an opinion paper to inform reform initiatives, including the World Bank’s Extractive Industries Review and a dialogue on mining and sustainability convened by the global mining industry following the World Summit on Sustainable Development. A student presented the analysis to a workshop attended by representatives of organizations concerned with these issues. In a second phase of the project, the Clinic developed a framework for implementing a right of consent.
Human Rights First: Interdiction of Refugees and Immigrants on the High Seas (2001)
For Human Rights First, the Clinic prepared an analysis of international law concerning the interdiction of refugees and other immigrants on the high seas. The Clinic drafted a detailed report of U.S. practice, including a description of the actions of the Coast Guard, the INS, and other relevant agencies. The report was instrumental in gaining endorsement of a set of international principles on safeguarding refugees (the Ottawa Principles) and an announcement from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that it planned to issue guidelines on interception.
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR): Special Administrative Measures (2016)
The Clinic, in partnership with CCR, investigated Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), federal restrictions that amount to the most extreme form of solitary confinement known to exist in the United States. The U.S. Attorney General has unilateral authority to impose these harsh measures on prisoners deemed to pose a “significant threat” due to the risk they will be involved in gang- or terrorism-related violence. The Clinic’s report sheds light on this opaque process, including the disproportionate use of SAMs against Muslim detainees. The report relies in part on FOIA documents the government released after years of litigation by Yale’s Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic on behalf of Human Rights Watch.
Justice Project Pakistan (JPP): Report on Executions in Pakistan (2016)
In the wake of Pakistan’s resumption of the death penalty, JPP and the Clinic co-authored a report on the human rights violations the executions entail, including the use of evidence obtained by torture, the execution of juveniles and individuals with mental illness, and the prevalence of “death row” syndrome, whereby individuals choose death over the torturous conditions of confinement.
Fortify Rights: The Question of Genocide Against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (2015)
The Clinic, at the request of Fortify Rights, analyzed Myanmar’s treatment of its minority Rohingya Muslim population. The Clinic’s report found strong evidence of each of the legal elements of genocide and recommended that the U.N. Human Rights Council establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations in Myanmar’ Rakhine State. The team presented its findings to international and local media, officials, civil society representatives and Rohingya activists in Myanmar and Thailand.
Forced into Breaking the Law: The Criminalization of Homelessness in Connecticut (2014)
A Clinic team collected testimonies of homeless people in Connecticut exposing the discrepancy between the promises of the state’s recently enacted Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and the lives of people living in homelessness in Connecticut. The Clinic published a report focusing on the effects of towns adopting laws that make normal and necessary activities of homeless people criminal offenses.
Project X: Abuses Against Transgender Sex Workers in Singapore (2014)
A clinic team collaborated with Project X to author a report that outlines the abuses transgender sex workers in Singapore face at the hands of police, clients, brothel owners, and others. The team traveled to Singapore to interview sex workers and officials for the report, which situates these abuses against the backdrop of discrimination in schooling, housing, and social benefits.
Human Rights Watch (HRW): Failures to Prosecute High-Level Corruption in Uganda (2013)
Based on an investigative trip to Uganda, a Clinic team contributed to a HRW report that analyzed Uganda’s legal and executive mechanisms to address corruption, particularly the Anti-Corruption Court, and detailed the obstacles to credibly and effectively prosecuting corruption.
Justice Project Pakistan (JPP): Systematic Brutality and Torture by the Police in Pakistan (2013)
The Clinic authored a report for JPP advocacy on police torture in Faisalabad, Pakistan. The Clinic also wrote two follow-up reports, one on the abuse of juveniles and another on the abuse of women by the Faisalabad Police. JPP relied on the reports in an advocacy campaign to stop police torture.
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP): Abuses Affecting the Homeless in the U.S. (2013)
The Clinic partnered with NLCHP on a report, submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, on harassment and abuses faced by the homeless in the United States. The Clinic team also submitted testimony on its findings to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights.
Connecticut Juvenile Justice and Sentencing Reform (2012)
The Clinic, working with Quinnipiac Law School’s Criminal Justice Clinic, investigated long sentences for individuals who were convicted for crimes committed when they were children. The two clinics published a report that described the effects of these sentences and provided an assessment of them under international human rights law, as well as comparisons with the practices of other countries. A team of Clinic students testified before a committee of the Connecticut legislature. A Clinic team also wrote and published a second report, featuring narratives of several men serving such sentences. Together, the clinics built a strong campaign for legislation eliminating juvenile life-without-parole sentences and providing special parole hearings for juvenile offenders serving long sentences. The Connecticut legislature passed a version of the bill in 2015.
Plan International: Sierra Leone’s Failure to Implement Laws Prohibiting Child Marriage (2012)
The Clinic, in collaboration with Plan International, produced a report that assessed the impact of Sierra Leone’s recently enacted prohibition against child marriage and provided recommendations on how to strengthen implementation. A team of Clinic students traveled to Sierra Leone for research and again to share findings and recommendations at a roundtable for government officials and civil society members.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Trafficking of Third-Country Nationals by U.S. Military Contractors (2011)
The Clinic partnered with the ACLU to produce a report, based, in part, on interviews the Clinic team conducted in India, that exposed the trafficking and abuse of foreign workers hired through U.S. government contracts to work in support of U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The team presented its findings in meetings with U.S. government and congressional staff.
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP): The Rise of Tent Cities in the U.S. (2011)
The Clinic partnered with NLCHP to carry out research and write a report on the rise of homeless encampments, or “tent cities,” in the United States. The team traveled to several cities in the United States to interview people living in encampments.
International Financial Institutions, Farmland Investment, and Food Security in South and Southeast Asia (2010)
The Clinic wrote a report that outlined how the policies and practices of international financial institutions, specifically the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank, encourage “land grabbing” and damage local food security in South and Southeast Asia. Clinic students presented their findings at a regional advocates’ conference in Thailand.
Enough Project: Barriers Faced by Women Seeking to Use Sudan’s Local and Traditional Courts to Redress Wartime Gender-Based Violence (2009)
The Clinic wrote a report on the obstacles to women’s access to justice. These obstacles included restrictive legal definitions of rape and sexual violence, legal immunity for military personnel, the application of discriminatory customary law to cases categorized as family matters, and inadequate government infrastructure.
Investigation on Women’s Rights in Tanzania (2009)
A Clinic team traveled to Tanzania to investigate the implementation of Tanzanian land laws and the impact of those laws on women’s rights. The team prepared a research memorandum for the International Association of Women Judges and the Tanzanian Women Judges Association. It also drafted the text of a public education brochure for the Tanzania Women Judges Association and the Society for Women Against AIDS in Africa to use to inform women about their land rights and the procedures through which they could seek redress for violations of those rights.
The Use of Short-Term Employment Contracts to Exploit Garment Factory Workers in Cambodia (2009)
At the request of the Worker Rights Consortium, the Clinic authored and published a report on the human rights and labor consequences of factories categorizing permanent workers as temporary, a practice that allows them to circumvent legal protections for workers and impedes the enforcement of workers’ rights under local and international law. A team of Clinic students conducted extensive interviews in Cambodia with union, business, government and civil society representatives.
American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska (ACLU-Alaska): Alaska Prison Conditions and International Human Rights Standards (2008)
The Clinic, in partnership with the ACLU-Alaska, combined research, site visits to every major correctional facility in Alaska housing native Alaskan prisoners, and interviews with more than 150 prisoners, to produce a report that analyzed conditions of confinement there in light of international human rights standards.
International Association of Women Judges: Violence against Women in Bangladesh (2007)
A team of Clinic students traveled to Bangladesh to investigate the barriers that women face when they seek to use the legal system to redress violence they have suffered. Based on the interviews conducted on this trip and additional research, the team prepared a report analyzing these issues for the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ).
American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut: Human Rights Report on Zero Tolerance Policies in Schools (2006)
Using data from interviews with a variety of stakeholders, the Clinic analyzed “zero tolerance” policies in Connecticut schools in light of international law and standards regarding school discipline. The report provided recommendations for ways in which the State of Connecticut could amend its policies to comply with U.S. international human rights obligations.
Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR): Government Ban on Emergency Contraception in Manila, Philippines (2006)
In January 2007, the Clinic sent a team to the Philippines to document the implementation of a policy established by the mayor of the City of Manila prohibiting the provision of artificial family planning services or information in city health facilities. The Clinic’s findings and its analyses of the policy from the perspective of international human rights law were incorporated in a report published by the Center for Reproductive Rights and Likhaan, an organization in the Philippines.
Gisha: The Legal Status of Gaza (2006)
For Gisha: Center for the Legal Protection of Freedom of Movement, an Israeli organization that seeks to protect fundamental rights of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories, the Clinic prepared an analysis of the status of Gaza under international law after Israel’s disengagement. The analysis was incorporated in a report published in January 2007.
Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS): Report on Military and Police Impunity in Kashmir (2006)
At the request of the JKCCS, the Clinic researched the failure of the judicial system in Indian-administered Kashmir to address claims against the military and police for human rights violations. A team of Clinic students, which traveled to Kashmir to conduct interviews and obtain documents, published a report on its findings.
International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ): Promoting Women’s Access to Justice in the Context of HIV/AIDS (2005)
IAWJ asked the Clinic to conduct legal and factual research on “property grabbing” – families seizing widows’ inherited property – in Zambia and the challenges that women face in seeking redress from the police and courts. Based on a mission to Zambia in the fall of 2005, a team of Clinic students prepared a report that addressed the intersection of HIV/AIDS, gender, and property rights in Zambia and that documented barriers faced by Zambian women who seek access to the legal system in the HIV/AIDS context. The team presented the report’s findings at a briefing in New York organized by IAWJ in conjunction with the March 2006 session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.
AFL-CIO Solidarity Center: Workers’ Rights in Swaziland (2004)
Working with the Solidarity Center of the AFL-CIO, the Clinic researched workers’ rights in Swaziland, traveled to Swaziland to interview workers, advocates, and others about these issues, and prepared a comprehensive report based on their findings. The Solidarity Center published the report as part of a series designed to address the lack of independent, in-depth country reporting on workers’ rights and to provide a useful resource for programs to train advocates.
The Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate: Repressive Measures by the Government of Turkey (2004)
The Counsel for the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate, which is based in Istanbul, asked the Clinic to analyze, under international human rights law, a number of repressive measures taken by the government of Turkey against the patriarchate. The Clinic advised counsel on possible legal strategies for seeking redress and prepared a briefing paper on human rights violations against the Greek Orthodox church in Turkey. The paper was presented to European Union officials and to a Capitol Hill hearing sponsored by the U.S. Helsinki Commission, a government agency that monitors states’ compliance with their commitments as members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Indonesian Human Rights Network: Human Rights Abuses Faced by Indigenous Communities in West Papua (2002)
The Indonesian Human Rights Network asked the Clinic to examine the history of human rights abuses experienced by the indigenous population of West Papua since the territory became part of Indonesia in 1963. The Clinic gathered available documentation and drafted a paper that includes a comprehensive narrative of Indonesian abuses in West Papua during this period, including as many as 300,000 deaths, and an analysis of whether Indonesian policies and practices there constitute genocide or genocidal conduct. The paper was widely distributed and generated press and official attention.
Report for U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, 1993-2002 (2002)
The Clinic completed a 100-page report for the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Radhika Coomaraswamy, which analyzed U.S. trends, achievements, and best practices in the areas of her mandate during her tenure, 1993-2002. She used a summary of the Clinic’s work in her concluding report on violence against women throughout the world.
Tibet Justice Center: Situation of Tibetan Refugees in Nepal and India (2001)
The Clinic helped the International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet (ICLT, now the Tibet Justice Center) investigate the situation of Tibetan refugees in Nepal and India. Following extensive secondary research, a team of Clinic students, along with the supervising attorney from the ICLT (a former Clinic member), conducted a research mission in Nepal and drafted a report that the Tibet Justice Center published. The report has been used to advocate for the rights of Tibetans in Nepal and to support the asylum claims of Tibetans in the United States.
Amnesty International: Human Rights Violations Against LGBT Individuals (2000)
The Clinic assisted Amnesty International in its effort to raise the visibility of human rights violations committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The Clinic compiled a report detailing governmental and non-governmental human rights abuses committed in various countries over the previous five years. Amnesty International submitted the report to the U.S. State Department as part of an advocacy effort to bring about reporting of these abuses in the annual country reports on human rights conditions. Most of the information in the report was included in that year’s country reports.
Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA): Prosecution of Extrajudicial Killings (2008)
The Clinic, in cooperation with CJA, drafted proposed federal legislation that would enable the U.S. government to prosecute individuals for extrajudicial killings committed anywhere in the world. CJA and the Clinic submitted the proposed legislation to a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
International Longevity Center (ILC): Draft of the Declaration on the Rights of Older Persons (2007)
The Clinic produced, with the ILC, a Draft U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Older Persons. ILC worked with the governments of several countries to encourage them to propose the declaration to the United Nations General Assembly.
Human Rights First: Policing and Human Rights in Northern Ireland (2001)
As part of a larger project with the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First) to study the relationship between effective policing and respect for human rights, the Clinic drafted a proposed code of conduct, with commentary based on international human rights law, for the new Northern Ireland police force.
Model Legislation on HIV/AIDS in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia (2001)
The Clinic drafted model legislation on HIV/AIDS, along with detailed commentary, for four African nations (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia). The Clinic’s project partner sought to work with parliamentarians and members of civil society in these countries to develop model legislation, guided by the needs and realities of those countries, that would secure the rights of women and children and address critical issues related to treatment.
Human Rights Watch (HRW): Analysis of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (2000)
To assist HRW in its advocacy for a strong, effective ICC, the Clinic drafted research memoranda on criminal procedure, rules of evidence, elements of crimes against humanity and war crimes, domestic implementation of the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, and the appropriate use of the relationship agreement between the new court and the United Nations. HRW used the Clinic’s research to draft commentary for lobbying at the U.N. Preparatory Committee conferences on the ICC. The Clinic continued to provide research assistance for HRW’s advocacy efforts concerning the ICC, including preparation of a memorandum on standards for victim indigence.
Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission: The Law of Genocide and the Residential School Program for Aboriginal Children (2011)
At the request of the Commission, the Clinic used international law, drawing specifically on a reading of the Genocide Convention that incorporated the concept of “cultural genocide,” to write a paper that analyzed the Indian Resident School system that aimed to assimilate Aboriginal children into Canadian culture.
WITNESS: Best Practices for Obtaining Consent of Subjects of Video Documentation (2005)
Working on behalf of WITNESS, the Clinic produced a paper on the policies and best practices of human rights, news, and other organizations for obtaining consent from individuals who are subjects of video documentation.
UNICEF: Guide on Child Trafficking (2002)
The Clinic drafted the bulk of an advocacy and implementation guide and reference manual on child trafficking for UNICEF field offices and partner organizations. The guide was a part of UNICEF’s strategic planning process for its program to eliminate child trafficking. The Clinic analyzed relevant international human rights instruments and addressed practical issues faced by international agency staff, NGOs, and local community advocates.
East Timor Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation: Documentation of Human Rights Abuses (2001)
The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor, an independent authority established by the National Council of the East Timorese transitional government with U.N. assistance, asked the Clinic for support in gathering and analyzing documentation, not available in East Timor, of human rights abuses. A team of Clinic students researched the early years of the occupation, 1975-1983, when some of the worst abuses took place, and provided the Commission with summaries of available sources of information.