Pro Bono Opportunities, Summer Funding, US Human Rights Treaty Compliance and a Victory for the Homeless

Meena Jagannath ’10 Shines Light on US Failed Compliance with Human Rights Treaties

Police Shooting TeenBy Trymaine Lee at MSNBC, photo courtesy of John Minchillo/AP

A broad umbrella group of American human and civil rights groups has filed a joint submission to the United Nations, calling for the United States and the Obama administration to hold itself to the same international standards of human rights compliance as it does other nations.

In more than 30 so-called shadow reports filed by the U.S. Human Rights Network (USHRN), advocacy groups raised a number of concerns and issues, including racial profiling, gun violence, stop-and-frisk policies and Stand Your Ground laws.

“While USHRN recognizes the positive steps the U.S. has made towards the advancement of human rights, it remains concerned about the general trend of the country and the large number of individuals whose rights as provided for under the [International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights] remain unprotected, in particular the racial, ethnic, gender, and class disparities that persist in the enjoyment of those rights,” the USHRN wrote in its submission.

Read full article here.

ABA Commission on Homeless & Poverty Annouces 2014 Summer Grant Program

homeless_headerThe Curtin Justice Fund Legal Internship Program is seeking motivated law student interns to apply for stipends available for the Summer 2014 Program. These students should have a position offered, contingent on funding, from a qualified organization.

The Curtin Justice Fund Legal Internship Program is managed jointly by the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty and the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants. The Program will pay a $2,500 stipend to three law school students who spend the summer months working for a bar association or legal services program designed to prevent homelessness or assist homeless or indigent clients or their advocates. The Legal Internship Program will provide much-needed legal assistance to organizations serving the under-represented and give students direct experience in a public interest forum. Through this, it aims both to help homeless clients and to encourage careers in the law that further the goals of social justice.

Application Deadline: March 31. For complete description and application instructions please click here.

For more info on how to fund your summer in public service please attend the January 14 Social Justice Tuesday. You can also learn more here.

Volunteer Interpreters Needed to Support the Clinical Law Program

InterpreterIf you speak a second language, the Clinical Law Program Language Bank needs your skill.  All foreign languages are required but there is a high demand for interpreters of Spanish.  As a volunteer interpreter, you will assist clients of the Clinical Law Program (CLP) and Immigrant Families Advocacy Project (IFAP).

A free interpreter orientation (four hours) will be provided here at the Law School.

Interpreting assignments involve phone conversations and face-to-face interviews as well as document translations.  No in-court interpreting is involved.  Assignments are offered via email and you decide whether to volunteer for the assignments.  In most instances, dates and times for the interpretation are set in coordination with your fellow law student who is assisting the client; thus, providing maximum scheduling flexibility.  Most assignments do not require any travel.

Although requiring only a few hours of your time during the year, by volunteering you will provide invaluable public service and experience the satisfaction of helping others.

For more information or to volunteer send your full name, class, UW email address, phone number, language competency and any questions to:

Volunteer for UW Law’s International Treaty Monitoring Project

CEDAWApplications to be involved with the International Treaty Monitoring Project, sponsored by CHRJ, are due this Friday, October 18. Click here to access the application form!

This is a great opportunity to gain experience in international human rights law and learn about treaty enforcement. Questions? Please contact Brittany Tri at

Victory for Homeless People’s Rights

HomelessArizona’s Anti-Begging Law Declared Unconstitutional. In Flagstaff, Arizona, a federal judge struck down as unconstitutional an Arizona state law that made it a crime to beg in public places.  The ruling follows a recent trend, reported in the May issue of IJT, of federal rulings striking down laws banning begging. Read the full decision here.

The ruling comes at a time when increased need has pushed more and more people out on the streets. In a misguided response, many communities have adopted ill-conceived laws and policies to criminalize conduct such as sleeping, eating and begging in public places. According to the National Law Center on Homeless and Poverty’s Criminalizing Crisis report, over 120 cities of 234 surveyed had bans on begging, and such bans had increased 7% over the previous two years.

The lead plaintiff, a 77 year old Hopi woman, had been arrested after asking an undercover police officer for $1 in bus fare.