Please join us for an informal lunchtime discussion with a different LL.M. each week about human rights issues in her or his country of origin as well as his or her work experiences in the legal profession. This is a great way to meet students with fascinating experience than and to meet other J.D. students interested in human rights issues.
Sign-up is limited to 15 students per lunch. Your attendance will be confirmed via e-mail a few days before the scheduled event. Please contact Elizabeth Summers, Speakers and Events Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Monday, October 4: Emma Fenelon (Ireland): The Liberation of Irish Women: Past, Present, and Future
As a traditionally Catholic country, Ireland has come a long way since the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement was founded in 1970. At that time, the sale or advertising of contraceptives was illegal. Homosexuality was illegal. Women working in the Civil Service were forced to leave their jobs once they married and constituted a mere 10% of the workforce. Divorce was unavailable and child allowance was paid to the father. Ireland had never had a female President. Women were effectively barred from jury service, which was limited to certain categories of property owners. Single mothers who became pregnant were often incarcerated in homes run by the religious, usually until their children were adopted, and in many cases against the will of their mothers.
Emma Fenelon is an Irish LL.M. student who graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in 2010. Join her for a discussion about the struggles that brought about the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement, the current situation for women and homosexuals in Ireland, and the challenges that remain today.
Tuesday, October 19: Abdelkhalig Shaib (Sudan): The International Criminal Court and Sudan: Did the Lack of Human Rights Really Cause the Conflict in Sudan?
The ICC has been a center for controversial debate among human rights activists, peace seekers and politicians. During this event, we will discuss human rights and respect for human dignity before the conflict in Darfur. We will then talk about ICC and its impact on the ongoing peace process in Darfur, including the dissolution of the indigenous conflict resolution mechanisms in Darfur and the warrant of arrest that has been issued against the incumbent president.
How this will put an end to the conflict and push the peace process at the same time? How can we balance the access to justice with achieving peace? Must President Bashir appear before the ICC or would it be better for a special court to convene in Khartoum to address this issue? Abdelkhalig Shaib, the facilitator for this discussion, is a Sudanese LL.M. student. He is also a human rights activist and a commercial and corporate lawyer.
Monday, October 25: Maia Jaliashvili (Republic of Georgia): Human Rights in Georgia: Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assaults
No, it's not Russia, and the Georgian language is not at all close to Russian. Come and learn about human rights advocacy in a former Soviet state that has received a lot of media attention in recent years for its tense relationship with Vladimir Putin and its challenges with transitioning to democracy.
Even though positive steps have been taken by the government of Georgia to address human rights issues involved in human trafficking and domestic violence, there is still a substantial amount of work to be done. Maia Jaliashvili is a human rights advocate from the Republic of Georgia. She focuses primarily on women's issues. She has worked in NGO advocacy for three years, providing free legal aid (in the form of legal consultations and court
representations) for vulnerable part of the society. Maia is excited to chat about the practical aspects of the criminal adjudication of gender violence cases, the difficulties in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of legislation, and procedures and remedies for promoting and ensuring gender equality.
Tuesday, November 2: Elisa de Anda Madrazo and Fernando Elizondo García (Mexico): The Mexican War on Drugs and its Human Rights Implications
In what seemed the blink of an eye, Mexico started waging a war: the so-called war on drugs. For the first time in history, we were faced with military presence on the streets of Mexico assuming police functions. The collateral damage of this tactic was the death of civilians.
During this discussion, we will analyze the reaction of the federal executive branch to this situation. Additionally, we will look into the responses of the Mexican judiciary to the cases brought before the courts, including Supreme Court decisions. We will also discuss the opportunity to bring these cases to the Inter-American Human Rights System. We believe these cases will, in fact, reach the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and be subject of study in years to come.
Elisa de Anda Madrazo and Fernando Elizondo García will co-facilitate this discussion. Fernando has worked at a law firm in Mexico on civil, administrative, and constitutional litigation. He has also worked for the legal department of CEMEX and concentrated on corporate legal issues. Elisa’s professional experience has included litigation in Mexico and internationally. She has worked on cases involving constitutional and public interest issues, human rights issues and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, commercial and civil law issues, and international commercial arbitration.
Monday, November 15: Benjamin Luis (Philippines): The Maguindanao Massacre: Anatomy of the “single worst killing of journalists on record”
Reported by the New York Times as the “single worst killing of journalists on record,” the November 23, 2010 Maguindanao Massacre in the Philippines will be the starting point for discussions on protection of press freedoms under hostile political regimes. The Maguindanao Massacre involved the brutal killings of at least 57 innocent civilians, including 30 journalists, in broad daylight. Evidence pointed to the involvement of Philippine government officials and members of the Philippine police.
The Maguindanao Massacre points to a larger picture: the decay of press freedoms fanned by political acuity and exacerbated by limitations of prosecutorial systems in resolving assaults on press freedoms. With the prosecutorial system having problems of its own, there are increasingly emboldened crimes against advocates of press freedom. This is the political and judicial malady of the Philippines, which was cited by the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York as the “third worst country in the world in bringing killers of journalists to justice,” just trailing behind Iraq and Somalia.
LL.M. student Benjamin Luis will be facilitating this discussion. Benjamin served as one of the government-deputized prosecutors against the perpetrators of the Maguindanao Massacre.
Tuesday, November 30: Lara Talsma (Netherlands): Advocating for the Rights of Asylum Seekers in Europe: A perspective of a policy officer for the Dutch Council for Refugees
Lara will discuss her experiences working as a policy officer, including her failures and successes. She will also discuss lobbying, building relationships with politicians and government officials, partnering with other refugee organizations, and the interaction with parties within the European framework. She will draw examples from cases of Somali asylum seekers and the deplorable situation of asylum seekers in Greece (in relation to the Dublin II Convention, under which many asylum seekers in the Netherlands are sent back to Greece).
In 2005, Lara Talsma received her Master’s degree in International and European Law from the Vrije University in Amsterdam. She has worked as a Law Clerk for the Immigration and Asylum Division of the Amsterdam Court. Before joining the LL.M. program, Lara worked for a year and a half as a policy officer for the Dutch Council for Refugees in Amsterdam.