Month: February 2022

Using International Human Rights to Counter Urban Displacement and Advance Rights in Cities

Friday, March 4, 2022
12:30pm - 2:00pm
Virtual Event

About This Event:

In the second meeting of the Economic & Social Rights Group for Spring 2022, we welcome Jackie Smith, Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Smith will discuss a new white paper, Pittsburgh’s Affordable Housing Crisis: Is Privatization the Solution?, which she wrote with colleagues involved in Pittsburgh’s Human Rights City Alliance. She will discuss how the project emerged from the work of a diverse alliance of human rights organizers and how it contributes to ongoing local and translocal movement-building to advance housing as a human right. It also demonstrates important roles for networks of university- and neighborhood-based activists to play in advancing human rights in cities and communities. The white paper is available to read here, courtesy of Smith and her colleagues.


Jackie Smith’s research focuses on how globalization impacts people and communities, and how social movements for the environment, health, and economic justice have advanced transformative struggles. She has documented long-term trends in transnational social movement organizations and coalitions, in addition to research on connections between global politics and activism in cities and communities. Smith is currently engaged in participatory research with Pittsburgh and with national human rights organizers and engaged in work to connect municipalities with United Nations human rights work.

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This event is virtual and will be hosted on Zoom. Click the link above to register to attend. The event will be recorded.

The Economic & Social Rights Group (ESRG) is an interdisciplinary monthly gathering of faculty and graduate students who meet to share ongoing research and to discuss current scholarship around economic and social rights. It is the central to the mission of the Research Program on Economic & Social Rights.

The Research Program on Economic & Social Rights brings more than a dozen UConn faculty together with over 30 affiliated scholars from across the United States and Canada. Together, we have generated numerous graduate and undergraduate courses, several edited volumes, multiple co-authored articles, and the National Science Foundation-funded Socio-Economic Rights Fulfillment Index (SERF Index).

Russia’s Crackdown on Religious Minorities, Journalists, & Human Rights Defenders

Tuesday, March 8, 2022
12:00pm - 2:00pm
Virtual Event

About This Event:

Join us for a discussion on the escalating persecution of religious minorities, journalists, and human rights defenders currently under way in Russia. Over the past several years, Russian authorities have labeled Jehovah’s Witnesses as “extremist” organizations and used anti-extremism laws to launch a campaign of arrests, harassment, and intimidation. During this event, we’ll explore the history and current reality of this case of religious persecution and hear first-hand accounts from community members.

Dr. Zoe Knox of the University of Leicester will deliver the keynote address, followed by reflections from targeted members of the Russian Jehovah's Witness community. Glenn Mitoma, Director of Dodd Impact, will moderate.

Keynote Speaker:

Zoe Knox is Associate Professor of Modern Russian History at the University of Leicester. Her research explores issues of religious tolerance and intolerance in the modern world, in Russia and beyond. Her publications include Russian Society and the Orthodox Church: Religion in Russia after Communism (Routledge, 2005); Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Secular World: From the 1870s to the Present (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); and Voices of the Voiceless: Religion, Communism, and the Keston Archive (Baylor University Press, 2019), co-edited with J. deGraffenried.


Dmitri Antsybor, Kirill Kravchenko, & Aleksandr Tsvetkov


Glenn Mitoma, Director of Dodd Impact

This event is virtual and will be hosted on Zoom. Click the link above to register to attend. This event may be recorded.

Business, Human Rights, & the Triple Planetary Crisis

Thursday, March 10, 2022
12:00pm - 1:15pm
Virtual Event

About This Workshop:

The Business and Human Rights Workshop is dedicated to the development and discussion of works-in-progress and other non-published academic research. Read below for the abstract of Prof. Sara Seck's upcoming paper, the focus of this workshop. The full paper is available to view and download below in advance of the workshop.

According to the United Nations, the world is facing a triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature (biodiversity) loss, and pollution and waste, with the most egregious consequences felt by those least responsible. These crises are also intertwined: nature-based solutions are promoted as climate change solutions even as heat domes fuel forest fires; extraction of minerals for green energy solutions negatively impacts biodiversity and creates pollution and waste; and carbon major companies are also among the largest producers of plastic pollution. International human rights law is increasingly grappling with environmental rights and responsibilities, as evidenced by the work of special rapporteurs on the environment and on toxic substances, among others. This paper will consider how business and human rights instruments could help to guide solutions to triple planetary crisis that are attentive to the need to reduce overconsumption by the rich while supporting equity and resilience of those most vulnerable to planetary crisis.

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Prof. Sara Seck, Dalhousie University


Prof. Chiara Macchi, Wageningen University

This event will not be recorded.

This event is sponsored by the Business and Human Rights Initiative, a partnership founded by Dodd Human Rights Impact, the UConn School of Business, and the Human Rights Institute. 

Tracking Rights Fulfillment in the Human Rights Measurement Initiative

Thursday, February 24, 2022
3:00pm - 4:30pm EST
Virtual Event

About This Event:

In this month’s workshop, we feature the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI), co-founded by Susan Randolph, Emerita Professor of Economics at UConn.

HRMI is a global collaborative venture between human rights practitioners, researchers, academics, and other supporters to measure performance on 13 key human rights metrics internationally. In this workshop, the HRMI team will provide an overview of the methodology underpinning their innovative metrics, demonstrate the rights tracker (a key tool of their impact strategy), and highlight several new endeavors.


Anne-Marie Brook, Co-Founder and Vision & Strategy Lead (based at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Institute in New Zealand)

Annie Watson, Children's Rights Co-Lead (based at Middle Georgia State University)

Chad Clay, Co-Founder and Methodology Research and Design Lead (based at University of Georgia)

Elizabeth Kaletski, Children's Rights Co-Lead (based at Ithaca College)

Matt Rains, Civil and Political Rights Lead (based at University of Georgia)

Stephen Bagwell, Economic and Social Rights Team (based at University of Missouri-St. Louis)

Susan Randolph, Co-founder and Economic and Social Rights Lead (based in Connecticut and Oregon

This event is virtual and will be hosted on Zoom. Click the link above to register to attend. The workshop will be recorded.

This event is sponsored by the Human Rights Research and Data Hub (HuRRD) at the Human Rights Institute. The Hub seeks to advance human rights research at UConn by supporting faculty and student projects and providing students the opportunity to develop research and data analysis skills that will advance their careers after graduation.

Human Rights Film+ Series: Tacheles – The Heart Of The Matter

Monday, March 28, 2022
3:30pm - 4:45pm
Virtual Film Discussion


Please watch the film before the discussion. A link to view the film will be sent to registrants in advance. Register to receive the link.

3:30pm - Discussion with filmmaker Jana Matthes, Sebastian Wogenstein (Center for Judaic Studies), and James Coltrain (Digital Media & Design).
Yaar Harell, the main protagonist of the film, will also join us. Moderated by Heather Elliott-Famularo (Digital Media & Design). 

This event has been rescheduled to March 28, 2022 from November 16, 2021.

About the Film:

The Human Rights Film+ Series presents Tacheles - The Heart of the Matter, written and directed by Jana Matthes & Andrea Schramm (Germany 2020).

Synopsis: In this moving documentary, we follow the story of Yaar, a young Israeli living in Berlin who is rebelling against his Jewish identity. He accuses his father of suffering from the Holocaust although he never experienced it firsthand. In order to face his own family history, Yaar decides to engage with the Holocaust in a new way: via a computer game. Together with his two German friends, he creates a 1940s Germany in which Jews can defend themselves and Nazis can act humanely. His father is shocked. “Tacheles – The Heart of the Matter” shows how the trauma of the survivors affects the third generation. By blurring the truth and switching the roles of victims and perpetrators - can anyone cope with their own history? Is reconciliation possible with a Computer Game?

Co-sponsors: Human Rights Institute, Dodd Impact, Digital Media and Design, Center for Judaic Studies & Contemporary Jewish Life