Columbia Law School Releases New Practice Guide Addressing Gender-Based Violence

New Resource on Human Rights Approach to Gender-Based Violence in the United States

Columbia Law School Logo

By: JoAnn Kamuf, Bringing Human Rights Home

A new resource developed by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and the University of Miami International Human Rights Clinic is now available.

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault in the U.S.:  A Human Rights Based Approach & Practice Guide includes core human rights principles related to gender-based violence, as well as relevant treaties, case-law, related reports and organizational resources.   It also discusses recent developments in U.S. policy and the value added of human rights in the U.S. domestic context.  It can be accessed through this link or on our publications page.

This resource is an outgrowth of a DOJ-DOS sponsored roundtable held in April of this year and reflects the input of a number of network members and U.S. government representatives.  Building on conversations that took place at the roundtable, the Practice Guide offers concrete ideas for incorporating human rights into federal policy and practice.

What’s at Stake for Hong Kong?

Hong Kong Protests

By: Scott Neuman, National Public Radio (NRP)

Masses of pro-democracy protesters continue to pack the streets in Hong Kong, defying police who have responded with tear gas. The demonstrators are angry that Beijing has insisted on vetting all candidates for the territory’s next chief executive.

Here’s a closer look at the issue and what’s at stake:

What Was In The Handover Agreement?

Hong Kong was designated a “special administrative region” within China and promised a “high degree of autonomy,” including the eventual election of its chief executive. Hong Kong people retained their own passports, making it easier for them to travel abroad than it was for their mainland counterparts. The territory has also retained the Hong Kong dollar as its currency and issues its own postage stamps, though Queen Elizabeth’s image no longer appears on either.

“The central government will not interfere,” Lu told People’s Daily, according to The Wall Street Journal. China touted its relationship with Hong Kong as “one country, two systems.”

Although Hong Kong’s first several chief executives were selected by a committee appointed by Beijing, China promised that the election of the territory’s leader would eventually be democratic.

Continue reading here.  Photo credit Carlos Barria (Reuters/Landov).

UN Climate Summit 2014 Yields Mass Public Mobilization, Political Commitments as Participants Hope to Lay Groundwork for Global Climate Change Treaty

UN Photo Climate Summit

By: International Justice Resource Center

The much anticipated one-day Climate Summit 2014 took place this Tuesday, September 23 at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, marking the international community’s latest effort to address climate change. Hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Climate Summit 2014 aimed to engage world leaders and encourage international action to slow climate change. Governments at the Summit were expected to produce “concrete initiatives” and discuss ways to lower industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases that contribute to the heating of the planet.  The primary purpose of Climate Summit 2014 is to generate momentum for a global agreement on climate change in 2015.

Continue reading here.  Photo credit: Mark Garten/UN Photo

Update: Public & Private Solutions to Providing Legal Aid for Unaccompanied Minors

Statute - justice for all

By: ABA Access to Justice Blog

In early August “U.S. Vice President Joe Biden made an impassioned plea to U.S. law firms…to free up attorneys to help deal with the surge of Central American children who have entered the country illegally by providing more pro bono representation…  Biden urged lawyers to step up and help deal with a backlog of court cases.”

Since then, government (on all levels), law firms, and other private-sector actors are reacting to the glut of unaccompanied minors who are being processed through the U.S.’s byzantine immigration system without legal counsel.  Here’s the underlying problem as reported by the Press Democrat:

Border patrol agents picked up more than 66,000 unaccompanied children, most of them from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, along the southern U.S. border between Oct. 1, 2013, and the end of last month. They were turned over to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, then underwent medical checks and were given immunizations before being placed in shelters or with relatives and sponsors.

Those shelters and other living accommodations are scattered throughout the U.S. So the question has arisen about how to ensure that unaccompanied minors have access too legal services.

Continue reading here.