Monday, January 17, 2011

AALS human rights section news

(My thanks to IntLawGrrls for the opportunity to contribute this guest post)

As the new Chair of the Section on International Human Rights of the Association of American Law Schools, I want to welcome everyone to the section and invite you to become active members.
We had a terrific session earlier this month at the AALS annual meeting, on which IntLawGrrls posted here and here.
Featured at our section's session were 8 “new voices” in human rights.
► In the first part, presenters spoke on specific current issues in international human rights law. Jena Martin Amerson (West Virginia) (left) examined the role of transnational corporations as bystanders under international law in order to move towards a better working theory of corporate accountability. Angela B. Cornell (Cornell) (left) approached the human rights responsibilities of corporations from a different angle, suggesting that private international agreements might provide opportunities to encourage corporate entities to take more responsibility toward the individuals and communities in which they operate. Benedetta Faedi Duramy (Golden Gate) (left) spoke about the ways in which women are victims of violence can become perpetrators of violence, exploring the reasons why women commit violence, based on her research in Haiti; and Jonathan Todres (Georgia State) emphasized the importance of listening to and working directly with children who are the victims of human rights abuses so that we can better understand the challenges they face.
► In the second part of the session, we focused on implementation issues. David Baluarte (American) spoke about state implementation of regional human rights bodies, with particular emphasis on the Inter-American system. IntLawGrrls alumna Alexandra Huneeus (Wisconsin) (near right) followed David's presentation up by looking more closely at which institutions within the domestic government are responsible for implementing orders from the Inter-American Court; Alexandra further made recommendations to encourage greater enforcement of regional court orders. Austen Parrish (Southwestern) argued that globalization and territorial governance can be consistent in the field of human rights. And IntLawGrrls alumna Caroline Bettinger-López (above, far right) described a collaborative effort among several human rights clinical faculty using lessons of critical theory to offer a proposed shift in human rights lawyering and advocacy; that is, a shift from identifying the immediate circumstances of human rights violations to articulating the structural realities that serve as the framework for those violations, and incorporating victims’/clients’ voices and goals into the advocacy.
The Executive Committee of the Section comprises William V. Dunlap (Quinnipiac), Michèle Alexandre (Mississippi) (near left), Stuart Ford (John Marshall), immediate past Chair Sarah Paoletti (Penn) (far left) and me. Right now we are working on:
► Setting the communications platform which we hope to develop as a list-serv for faculty members interested in human rights law; and
► Establishing a mentoring project to help new faculty members who are just starting to teach in this area.
Watch for announcements about these projects, as well as plans for the 2012 annual meeting, to be held in January in Washington, D.C.
Most of all, we welcome suggestions, comments or any other expressions of interest. So please contact one of us to share your thoughts.

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