Human Rights and the Politics of Solidarity

A Conference in Honor of Wiktor Osiatyński

April 4-5, 2019 • Storrs, CT

Human Rights and the Politics of Solidarity  A Conference in Honor of Wiktor Osiatyński, April 4-5, 2019
Wiktor Osiatynski and Ewa Woydyllo

Wiktor Osiatynski and Ewa Woydyllo

The commitment to solidarity in human rights practice is under attack from both external and internal threats. Externally, rising populism, nativism, and xenophobia pose significant challenges for human rights advocates seeking to make the case for universal rights. Internally, as well, human rights faces significant disillusionment and critique. And the means and methods of human rights—mobilizing shame, finding facts, seeking prosecution—appear increasingly ineffectual. Governments are shameless, the international criminal law project is feared to be failing, and even “truth” is under siege.

Drawing inspiration from the work of the late Polish scholar and human rights advocate, Wiktor Osiatyński, this conference seeks to reclaim solidarity as an affirmative agenda for responding to these external and internal threats. Osiatyński played an instrumental role in fostering civil and political rights mobilization and the democratic transition of many states in Central and Eastern Europe. His work in the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and as a board member of the Open Society Foundations had a profound impact on programs ranging from the rule of law and constitutional development to gender-based violence and health and substance use.

In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Human Rights Institute, this conference will consider the history and origins of human rights and the ability of the movement to meet future challenges. Osiatyński worked closely with faculty and students at the University of Connecticut to help build the Human Rights Institute into one of the leading interdisciplinary programs on human rights. Towards the end of his life, Osiatyński reflected with the Institute on the meaning of Trump’s election, Brexit, inequality, and the rise of illiberal politics. Osiatyński called for human rights advocates and scholars to challenge the ascent of nationalism and fear, urging the use of new methods and means of human rights work to protect the rights of all.

Taking inspiration from Osiatyński’s words, this conference will consider the meaning of solidarity and its role in creating an affirmative agenda for responding to the challenges facing the human rights movement in the 21st century. The conference will begin with a high level discussion of current threats to solidarity in human rights work, followed by panels designed to consider these issues in historical perspective as well as addressing the particular challenges in areas such as international criminal law and economic justice.

Conference Outline

Thursday, April 4, 2019

All panels on April 4th will take place at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

9:00am-9:45am – Welcome and Opening

Recognition of Wiktor Osiatyński’s work and legacy.

10:00am-11:15am – Opening Keynote Panel:  Solidarity and Human Rights

Human rights is under siege. Externally, rising populism, nativism, and xenophobia pose significant challenges for those making the case for universal rights. Political leaders are transforming human rights into a zero-sum game, with guarantees of rights for “others”—whether refugees, prisoners, or minorities—increasingly perceived as threats to one’s own rights. Internally, as well, the human rights movement is facing significant disillusionment and critique. Charges of its failures—its elitism, its neglect of economic inequality, its essentially political nature—seem louder than ever. This panel will consider these threats and ask what role solidarity might play in responding.


  • Adam Bodnar, Human Rights Ombudsman for Poland
  • Harsh Mander, Centre for Equity Studies
  • César Rodríguez-Garavito, Center for Law, Justice and Society (Dejusticia)
  • Kathryn Sikkink, Harvard University

Moderator: Kathryn Libal, University of Connecticut

11:30am-12:45pm – The Foundations of Human Rights: Law and Constitutions

Human rights is a unique kind of social justice language, one founded on legal norms that enable individuals to make claims based not only on the morality of their demands but also their legal command. At the same time, these legal claims are often unenforceable. This panel will consider the role of law and constitutions in promoting and protecting rights. Does law matter? Is the legal foundation of human rights a strength or weakness? What is the role of courts and constitutions in pushing back against rising illiberalism and authoritarianism in nations around the world? Is human rights better understood as a political discourse rather than a legal one? Can human rights law promote solidarity, even across borders? Do we need to go beyond rights-based legal claims to pursue social justice goals?


  • Phillip Ayoub, Occidental College
  • David Landau, Florida State University
  • Wayne Sandholtz, University of Southern California
  • Małgorzata Szuleka, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Moderator: Molly Land, University of Connecticut

1:00pm-1:45pm – Lunch

2:00pm-2:30pm  – Keynote Address

Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus, Open Society Foundations

2:30pm-3:45pm -Transitional Justice and Accountability After Mass Crimes

Transitional justice institutions emerged in Latin America in the 1980s as a response to widespread impunity and the perceived inadequacies of the criminal justice system. Some human rights defenders, however, continued to pursue criminal liability for perpetrators through domestic trials and new international criminal tribunals that were established in the 1990s and thereafter. For a time, the divergence in opinion on the central priorities of transitional justice institutions widened, but the debate between “reconcilers” and “retributivists” has moderated somewhat, and today there is more recognition of how institutions with different agendas might complement and coordinate with one another. At the same time, however, the universalist vision of criminal justice has faltered, as the legitimacy of the international criminal court has been challenged by inadequate resources and state defection. This panel will review the state of the field and advance a vision of how a holistic field of transitional justice might be achieved that integrates the various approaches to the central objectives of transitional justice-truth-finding, mediation, reparations and accountability and seeks to understand the respective roles of international and national institutions.


  • Rachel Lopez, Drexel University
  • Jamie Rowen, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Matiangai Sirleaf, University of Pittsburgh
  • Kimberly Theidon, Tufts University

Moderator: Richard A. Wilson, University of Connecticut

4:00pm-4:30pm – 21st Century Human Rights Work: A View from Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

With Maciej Nowicki and Małgorzata Szuleka from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

Friday, April 5, 2019

9:00am-10:45am – Economic and Social Rights: Grappling with Inequality

Location: Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Inequality has emerged as a flashpoint in debates on the relevance of human rights in a context of heightened populism, nativism, and authoritarianism in the 21st Century. Philip Alston recently called for the human rights community to address “the extent to which extreme inequality undermines human rights.” This panel will explore the relationship between rising levels of inequality and anti-globalization currents, and, by extension nativist backlash. How do human rights methods and tools address increased levels of inequality a national and global levels? What are human rights approaches to government spending and taxation? Is it possible to revitalize movements to advance economic and social rights in the face of austerity? How should human rights grapple with economic crises?


  • Varun Gauri, World Bank
  • Tara Melish, State University of New York, Buffalo
  • Istvan Rev, Central European University
  • Ignacio Saiz, Center for Economic and Social Rights
  • Katherine Young, Boston College

Moderator: Shareen Hertel, University of Connecticut Moderator:

11:00am-12:30pm – New Modes of Mobilization for Human Rights

Location: Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

The traditional means and methods of human rights—mobilizing shame, finding facts, seeking prosecution—appear increasingly ineffectual in responding to modern human rights problems. Governments are shameless and “truth” seems irrelevant or non-existent. How is human rights advocacy evolving, and responding to new challenges? Should human rights change its tactics? Are those mobilizing for human rights at national and transnational levels equipped to meet challenges? This panel will explore examples of human rights advocacy and research that are uniquely well placed to meet current challenges.


  • Gerardo Reyes Chávez, Coalition of Immokalee Workers
  • Kasia Malinowska, Open Society Foundations
  • Rashida Manjoo, University of Cape Town
  • Margaret Satterthwaite, New York University
  • Jessica Wyndham, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences

Moderator: Glenn Mitoma, University of Connecticut

1:00pm-3:00pm: Lunchtime Breakout Sessions – Methodological Innovations on Human Rights

Location: Rome Commons Ballroom

This is an interactive session allowing conference participants to choose a breakout session on methodological innovations in human rights mobilization. Human rights practitioners will give brief presentations, followed by a guided discussion with attendees.

Session Topics/Presenters

Mobilizing the World to End Violence Against Women: The Campaign for an International Treaty
This session offers a window into the growing movement for a stand-alone, legally-binding international treaty addressing violence against women and girls. Presenters from the global NGO “Everywoman Treaty” will discuss the movement’s origins, their group’s strategy and tactics, and the political and mobilization-related challenges ahead.

  • Charlie Clements, Everywoman Treaty
  • Lola Ibrahim, Everywoman Treaty
  • Moderator: David Richards, University of Connecticut

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative
This session introduces the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI), a global collaborative project that is focused on providing human rights data useful to practitioners, researchers, journalists, and everyday people worldwide. HRMI uses a co-design process tapping the insights and needs of human rights advocates, practitioners, and researchers across disciplines and professions to produce human rights data rigorously grounded in international law and present it in a way that is readily usable and understandable for academics, policy makers, journalists, advocates on the front line and ordinary people alike.

  • Susan Randolph, University of Connecticut

Enhancing Human Rights Through Mediation and Peaceful Dispute Resolution
This session will address the interrelationship of human rights, rule of law and peaceful dispute resolution. The presenter, founder of an NGO dedicated to promoting mediation and ADR worldwide, will discuss the strategies (and some of his “eye opening”experiences) to provide access by underserved populations to timely, fair and effective justice in heavily backlogged court systems.

  • Vic Schachter, Foundation for Sustainable Rule of Law Initiatives

Protecting Scholars at Risk and Academic Freedom
This session introduces the protection work of Scholars at Risk (SAR), which is an independent not-for-profit hosted at New York University and global network of universities supporting scholars targeted for their work. A total of 294 attacks on higher education communities in 47 countries were reported by SAR from September 1, 2017, to August 31, 2018. As attacks on the higher education community, scholars, and academic freedom grow in number, we will discuss ways in which universities and individuals can mobilize and get involved with SAR’s work to promote academic freedom and protect scholars facing risk. 

  • Shreya Balhara, Scholars at Risk

Genocide Prevention in the 21st Century
Twenty-five years after the Rwandan genocide mass atrocities continue to occur around the world. Can we ever successfully prevent atrocities? In this breakout, we will discuss contemporary efforts aimed at making atrocities prevention a reality as well as how you can get involved in advocating for legislation that would improve the US government’s ability to prevent atrocities.

  • Mike Brand, Human rights/atrocities prevention advocate

4:00pm – Performance and Closing Address 

Location: Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Musical performance and closing keynote talk by Mai Khoi.

Contexts of Human Rights

10th Anniversary Conference

September 19-21, 2013 • Storrs, CT

Human Rights in the USA, October 22, 2009

This international conference will showcase the “Connecticut School of Human Rights,” a contextual approach to human rights that has been advanced at the Human Rights Institute of the University of Connecticut over the last ten years. Despite the predictions of some that the era of human rights had ended, interest in human rights has expanded beyond law schools and mushroomed throughout the academy, and in particular in the social sciences and humanities. The panels of this conference—evaluating the idea of human dignity, affirmative action policies, humanitarianism and visual media, the enforcement of economic rights, refugee camps, health and human rights, historical memory and transitional justice, and the future of the European Court of Human Rights—cut distinct routes through the human rights terrain while remaining steadfastly rooted in rigorous social science and humanities methods of inquiry. These conversations, along with those inspired by the wider lens of the Keynote Address, point toward new horizons for the Institute and for the interdisciplinary study of human rights for decades to come.

Founded in 2003, the Human Rights Institute has fostered an empirical and historical approach to human rights teaching and research that subjects universal moral values and legal rights to rigorous scrutiny. Today’s HRI is a vibrant intellectual community, with seven joint faculty members in five different departments and several dozen associated faculty across the University, three established research programs, annual external and internal faculty fellowships, a graduate certificate program, the first undergraduate major at a public research university, and funding opportunities for faculty and student research. HRI has provided a meeting place for scholars across disciplines, instigating and supporting collaboration across conventional academic boundaries. Situated at the intersection of academic inquiry between the legal, social science, and humanities traditions, the University of Connecticut is a place where the promise and claims of human rights are interrogated through empirical research into institutions and process, both global and local. Human rights are not simply academic subjects, however, and we seek to inform and shape policy decisions through our empirical investigations. This conference, with panels rooted in the Institute’s research programs, demonstrates the multidisciplinary nature of the human discourse field, as well as the important ongoing interchange between human rights scholarship and human rights practice around the world. Beyond the University of Connecticut, the Human Rights Institute has fostered a distinctive and lively global network of human rights scholars—an accomplishment we intend to both celebrate and build on with this international conference. The Institute has served as a meeting place and a place of departure for the emergent field of human rights studies. Since 2003, HRI has hosted five major international conferences and eight faculty workshops, bringing together a diverse range of human rights scholars, advocates, and artists to meet, discuss, and discover. Each focused on a distinctive facet of the human rights field, from human rights and terrorism (2004) to human rights in the early British Empire (2011), from the quantification and promotion of economic rights (2005) to human rights, humanitarianism and the media (2010). This conference will continue this tradition, drawing scholars and practitioners from around the world to renew ongoing conversations and to inspire new ones about the latest challenges in the field.

Conference Overview

Thursday, September 19, 2010

Except where noted, all events will take place in the Konover Auditorium at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

1:00-2:30pm Evaluating Human Dignity: Looking Forward
2:30-4:00pm Translating Economic Rights into Practice: Multiple Paths to Enforcement
4:00- 6:00pm Keynote Lecture: Thomas Pogge (Yale University)
6:00-6:30pm Reception
6:30-8:00pm Dinner in Honor of the Service of the Founding Director of the UConn Human Rights Institute, Richard Ashby Wilson | Registration required | Wilbur Cross Reading Room

Friday, September 20, 2010

8:00am – Breakfast Reception
9:00-10:30am Health & Human Rights: Articulating, Implementing, Critiquing Right to Health Claims
10:30am-12:00pm Humanitarianism and the Photograph Rethought
12:00-2:00pm Keynote Lecture: Aryeh Neier (Open Society Foundation) | Registration required | Wilbur Cross Reading Room
2:30-4:00pm Colombia’s Search for Justice in the Time of Conflict
4:00-5:30pm The European Court of Human Rights: Challenges of the New Europe
6:00-8:00pm Dinner and Puppetry Performance | Registration required | Wilbur Cross Reading Room

Saturday, September 21, 2010

8:00am Breakfast reception
9:00-10:30am Sanctuary Without Refugee Camps
10:30am-12:00pm Mobilizing for Economic and Social Rights in Canada and the United States
12:00-1:00pm Lunch | Registration required | Wilbur Cross Reading Room
1:30-3:00pm Affirmative Action Policies: Lessons Learnt and Moving Forward
3:00-4:30pm Roundtable: Human Right in the Liberal Arts
4:30-5:00pm Conference Discussion

Associated Graduate Student Conference

The Graduate Human Rights Conference will kick off the interdisciplinary conversation on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at the Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. We aim to bring together graduate students interested in human rights, from multiple disciplines, to present and share their research interests. The Graduate Conference will include a workshop on publishing in the field of human rights as well as complimentary breakfast and lunch. We encourage Graduate students to come to these events on Wednesday and stay for the 10th Anniversary Conference which will include many prominent human rights scholars.

Human Rights in the USA


October 22-24, 2009 • Storrs, CT

Human Rights in the USA, October 22, 2009

As international human rights laws and institutions rose to global prominence in the latter half of the twentieth century, conventional wisdom in the United States held that human rights were only for beleaguered foreign populations. US citizens did not require international human rights protections, it was argued, because their rights are protected by the Constitution and US Supreme Court, and strong liberal democratic state institutions. Constitutional nationalism and a deep-seated political isolationism in the USA had resulted in ‘American exceptionalism’, the encompassing view that US sovereignty should not be compromised by the international legal and political order it has helped to create, and thus does not need to ratify international rights conventions or treaties.

The US relationship to international institutions and foreign policy questions has developed alongside a certain domestic view of human rights. While recent public opinion polls show that many human rights enjoy substantial legitimacy among the US populace, knowledge of international human rights is not extensive compared with other parts of the world, including Africa, Europe and Latin America. A survey by Amnesty International in the late 1990s showed that only four percent of US citizens could name a right contained in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, such was their reliance on domestic rights instruments and institutions. There is in US history, however, a political tradition in which human rights occupy a more central role, from the Declaration of Independence to the nineteenth century antislavery movement to the civil rights movement and campaigns to end capital punishment in the twentieth century. There is precedent, then, for a more locally derived US narrative on human rights.

After the 9/11 attacks and ensuing security measures that jeopardized certain civil liberties and legal due-process rights, it became apparent that US citizens could no longer afford their longstanding isolation from the international human rights system. This renewed project to apply human rights in US courts and state institutions emerged not only as a means to defend established legal entitlements such as habeas corpus, but also as a wider project for social justice. Human rights are now being applied to questions as diverse as gay marriage, the ethics of new research in human genetics, the treatment of undocumented immigrants by state agencies, capital punishment, gender and race discrimination in the workplace and poverty in American cities and rural areas. Few political or legal values have such a potentially broad reach as human rights, and the consequences of applying human rights varies in each of these areas. At this point we might inquire whether human rights are the best mechanism for addressing all social ills and inequalities.

The “Human Rights in the USA.” Conference at the University of Connecticut in Fall 2009 will evaluate how international human rights laws and norms are presently applied in the USA and will suggest recommendations for the future. It will focus on human rights litigation and recent legal innovation, and contextualize the law by examining the wider impact of human rights campaigns on gender violence, racism, poverty and health care. Significantly, it will seek to integrate the perspectives offered by disparate social movements and connect law, politics and social policy in ways that can provide greater scope for the realization of human rights.

Organized in Association with the University of Connecticut Law School

Co-Sponsored by the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, Humanities Institute, Institute of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, and James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair of Early American History

Conference Information

Panel Schedule

Keynote Speakers


Thursday, October 22

4:00pm Raymond & Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture Series | UConn Law School

  • Dorothy Q. Thomas, Research Associate at the Centre for International Relations and Diplomacy, School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London | “Are Americans Human?: An Ex-Patriots Guide to the Future of Progressive Politics in the US”


Friday, October 24

9:00am James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair of Early American History Lecture | UConn, Storrs Campus

  • Linda K. Kerber, May Brodbeck Professor in Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Iowa,Department of History | “Universal Human Rights and the Asymmetries of Citizenship”

Conference Agenda

Thursday, October 22

UConn Law School, Hartford

4:00pm Sackler Distinguished Lecture in Human Rights | William R. Davis Courtroom, Starr Hall

  • Introductions by University of Connecticut President, Mike Hogan
  • Dorothy Q. Thomas, Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics’ Centre for the Study of Human Rights | “Are Americans Human?: An Ex-Patriot’s Guide to the Future of Progressive Politics in the U.S.”


Friday, October 23

UConn Law School, Hartford

8:00-9:00am Registration & Breakfast | William F. Starr Hall, Reading Room

9:00-10:30am Session One (Panels Run Concurrently)

  • Criminal Punishment in the United States
    • Chair: Susie Schmeiser,University of Connecticut School of Law
    • Ben Fleury-Steiner, University of Delaware | “Confronting HIV/AIDS in U.S. Carceral Institutions: Lessons from the Southern Center for Human Rights’ Leatherwood Litigation.”
    • Mie Lewis, ACLU Women’s Rights Project | “The Future of Human Rights for Child Prisoners in the United States.”
    • Linda Meyer, Quinnipiac University | “The Ignominious or More Painful Parts”: The Cruelty of Punishment in America.”
    • Nkechi Taifa, Open Society Institute | “Manifestations of Genocide: The Impact of Racism in the U.S. Criminal Justice System.”
  • Environmental Justice, Future Generations and Human Rights
    • Chair: Rich Hiskes, University of Connecticut
    • Joanne Bauer, Business and Human Rights Resource Center | “Human Rights: The Critical Link between Environmental Justice and Corporate Responsibility.”
    • Rebecca Bratspies, CUNY School of Law | “What are Environmental Rights?”
    • Elizabeth Burleson, University of San Diego School of Law | “Climate Change Displacement to Refuge”
    • James Nickel,University of Miami |“Linkage Arguments from Human Rights to Environmental Protections.”

10:30-10:45am Break | William F. Starr Hall, Reading Room

10:45am-12:15pm Session 2 (Panels Run Concurrently)

  • Economic Rights and Poverty
    • Chair: Shareen Hertel, University of Connecticut
    • Discussant: Ken Neubeck, University of Connecticut Emeritus
    • Discussant: Susan Randolph, University of Connecticut
    • Catherine Albisa, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative | “Drawing Lines in the Sand: The Development of New Rights Norms in the United States”
    • Philip Harvey, Rutgers University School of Law, Camden | “A Rights-Based Anti-Recession Strategy: What American Progressives Learned from the New Deal and then Forgot.”
    • Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, Wilfred Laurier University | “The Yellow Sweatshirt: Human Dignity and Economic Human Rights in Advanced Industrial Democracies.”
    • Gillian MacNaughton, University of Oxford | “A Holistic Human Rights Perspective on Poverty.”
  • Disability and Human Rights
    • Chair: Kaaryn Gustafson, University of Connecticut School of Law
    • Jill Anderson, University of Connecticut | “Rights in Pieces: The Language of Disability Discrimination.”
    • Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Wellesley College | “Transforming the Intersections of the CEDAW and CRPD in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Nepal: Some Lessons for the United States.”
    • Janet Lord, American University | “The Law and Politics of US Participation in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”
    • Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
  • The Degree to which the U.S. is Answerable to International Institutions Regarding Human Rights
    • Chair: Richard S. Kay, University of Connecticut School of Law
    • William Dunlap, Quinnipiac University School of Law | "American Exceptionalism and International Criminal Tribunals"
    • Ellen Messer, Brandeis University | “The Human Right to Food. Is or should the U.S. be answerable to international institutions?”
    • Simon Payaslian, Boston University | "The U.S. War in Iraq, War Refugees, and International Obligations"
    • Andreas Teuber, Brandeis University | "The Hunting of the Snark: Finding Human Rights in International Law and the U. S. Constitution."

12:30-2:00pm Lunch | William F. Starr Hall, Reading Room

2:00-3:30pm Session Three (Panels Run Concurrently)

  • Health Care Coverage in the USA through a Human Rights Lens
    • Chair: Audrey Chapman, University of Connecticut Health Center
    • Alicia Ely Yamin, Harvard University Law School | “Health care reform in the US: The Relevance of International Human Rights.”
    • Anja Rudiger, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative | “Human Rights Principles for Health Care Reform.”
    • Nancy Turnbull, Harvard School of Public Health | “Health Reform in Massachusetts: A Human Rights Perspective.”
  • Human Rights, Institutional Cultures, and the Legacy of the War on Terror
    • Chair: Janet Bauer, Trinity College
    • Janet Bauer, Trinity College | “Entrapment and the War on Rights: Ethnographic Interventions.”
    • Zachary Calo, Valparaiso University School of Law | “Torture, Necessity, and the Authority of Human Rights.”
    • Christopher Einolf, DePaul University School of Public Service | “Human Rights Law, Informal Norms, and Torture in the History of the United States Army.”
    • Winifred Tate, Colby College | “The U.S. Southern Command, Human Rights, and Military Memory: Lessons from US Engagementin Latin America.”
  • Mobilizing and Legislating for a Human Rights Based Approach to Welfare
    • Chair: Kathy Libal, University of Connecticut
    • Discussant: Nancy Naples, University of Connecticut
    • Mimi Abramowitz, Hunter College School of Social Work and the Graduate Center, CUNY | “The US Welfare State: A Battlefield for Human Rights.”
    • Ken Neubeck, University of Connecticut Emeritus | “Human Rights Violations as Obstacles to Escaping Poverty: The Case of Lone Mother-HeadedFamilies.”
    • Eric Tars, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty | “A Proper Home for Housing Advocacy: A Human Rights Approach to Housing and Homelessness.”

3:30-3:45pm Break

3:45-5:15pm Session 4 (Panels Run Concurrently)

  • Children’s Human Rights in the United States
    • Chair: Kathy Libal, University of Connecticut
    • Discussant: Lynne Healy, University of Connecticut
    • Kathy Libal, University of Connecticut | “America’s Shame: The Politics of Recognizing Children’s Economic Human Rights in the UnitedStates.”
    • Rosemary Link, Simpson College | “Are Children’s Rights a Family Affair: Parental and Cultural Implications of the Convention on theRights of the Child?”
    • Susan Mapp, Elizabethtown College |“Violations of Children’s Rights in the United States.”
    • Jonathan Todres, Georgia State University College of Law | “The U.S. Role in Advancing the Rights and Well-being of Children at Home and Abroad.”
  • Immigration Rights and Political Agency
    • Chair: Mark Overmyer-Velazquez, University of Connecticut
    • Andrea Dyrness, Trinity College
    • Kica Matos | US Reconciliation and Human Rights Program – Atlantic Philanthropies
    • Enrique Sepulveda, St. Joseph’s College

7:30pm Theatrical Production | Barca Hartford

  • Amalia’s Story: a vignette of The Parkville Project


Saturday, October 24

9:30-11:00am Keynote Lecture | University of Connecticut, Storrs Campus Rome Ballroom

Sponsored by the James and Shirley Draper Chair in Early American History

  • Opening Remarks by CLAS Dean Jeremy Teitelbaum
  • Introductions by Bob Gross, James and Shirley Draper Chair in Early American History
  • Professor Linda Kerber, University of Iowa | “Universal Human Rights and the Asymmetries of Citizenship”

11:00-11:15am Break

11:15-12:30pm Session 5

  • The Shield of Citizenship: Historical Anomalies for Human Rights
    • Chair: Richard Brown, University of Connecticut
    • Discussant: Linda Kerber, University of Iowa
    • Bethany Berger, University of Connecticut Law School | “Realizing Human Rights: Native American Dilemmas.”
    • Elizabeth Hillman, University of California-Hastings College of Law | “Human Rights and Military Justice: from the Civil War to the ‘War on Terror’.”
  • Katrina through an Economic Rights Lens
    • Chair: Evelyn Simien, University of Connecticut
    • Discussants: Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, The New School and Heather Turcotte, University of Connecticut
    • Davida Finger, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
    • Rachel Luft, University of New Orleans | “Post Hurricane Katrina Evacuation and Housing Policy: A Human Rights and Social Movements’Analysis.”
    • Hope Lewis, Northeastern University School of Law | “‘Darkness Made Visible’: An American Disaster in Transnational Perspective”
    • Kristen Lewis, Social Science Research Council, American Human Development Project | “A Portrait of Louisiana: Louisiana Human Development Report 2009.”
  • Implementing Human Rights at the Local Level
    • Chair: Ken Neubeck, University of Connecticut Emeritus
    • Judith Blau, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill | “International Human Rights Arrive in Carrboro, North Carolina – Processes, Coalitions, Projects.”
    • Ejim Dike, Human Rights Project Urban Justice Center | “Advancing Substantive Equality through City Governance: Lessons from the Human RightsFramework.”
    • Risa Kaufman, Columbia University Law School |“State and Local Commissions as Sites for Domestic Human Rights Implementation.”
    • Chivy Sok, Ginetta Sagan Fund of Amnesty International USA | “A Challenge to All: Meaningful Implementation of Human Rights.”

12:30-2:00pm - Lunch

2:00-3:30pm Session 6 (Panels Run Concurrently)

  • Economic Justice
    • Chair: Davita Glasberg, University of Connecticut
    • Angie Beeman, University of Connecticut
    • Colleen Casey, University of Texas at Arlington | “Keeping Hearth and Home: Economic Justice and Resistance to Predatory Lending and HousingForeclosure.”
    • Jon Green, Working Families Party
    • Bandana Purkayastha, University of Connecticut | “Never a Right in Sight”: Economic Justice from the Perspective of Immigrant Female Workers inthe Informal Economy.”
  • Is Domestic Violence in the USA a Human Rights Violation?
    • Chair: Serena Parekh, University of Connecticut
    • Caroline Bettinger- Lopez, Columbia University Law School, Human Rights Clinic | “Domestic Violence as a Human Rights Violation: New Directions for Advocates and Scholars.”
    • Sally Merry, New York University | “The Curious Resistance to Seeing Domestic Violence as a Human Rights Violation in the USA.”
    • Evan Stark, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey | “Framing Coercive Control as a Human Rights Crime.”
  • Neither Separate Nor Equal: Human Rights and the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual andTransgendered Individuals in the United States
    • Chair: Valerie Love, University of Connecticut
    • Lee Badgett, Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Massachusetts, Amherst | “Gay economic interests vs. the Gay Marriage Movement? Reconciling the Tensions between TwoHuman Rights Movements”
    • Leslie Gabel-Brett, Lambda Legal National Headquarters | “Marriage Equality for Same-Sex Couples: A Fundamental Human Right.”
    • Julie Mertus, American University | “LGBT Rights are Human Rights: Gatekeepers, Draw Bridges and the Rainbow Parade.”

3:30-3:34pm Break

3:45-5:15pm Session 7 (Panels Run Concurrently)

  • Rights Activism around CEDAW in the USA
    • Chair: Manisha Desai, University of Connecticut
    • Ashley Balbian, SUNY-Potsdam
    • Susanne Zwingel, SUNY-Potsdam | “American Exceptionalism” and International Women’s Rights – An Unhappy Marriage?”
    • Sheila Dauer, Columbia University Teachers College | “Human Rights’ Best Allies: Survivors of Violence and Discrimination, Service Providers and NGOs.”
    • Debra Liebowitz, Drew University | “The Practice of Feminist Human Rights: Theorizing the Substance and Politics of Local HumanRights Ordinances in the United States.”
  • Researching Economic Rights in the USA
    • Chair: David Richards, University of Memphis
    • Discussants: David Richards, University of Memphis and Lyle Scruggs, University of Connecticut
    • David Cingranelli, SUNY-Binghamton | “Measuring and Explaining the Gap between ILO Standards and US Labor Policies.”
    • Patrick Heidkamp, Southern Connecticut State University | “Measuring Economic Rights in the USA: A Spatial Analytic Perspective.”
    • Lanse Minkler, University of Connecticut | “On the Cost of Economic Rights in the US.”
    • Susan Randolph, University of Connecticut | “Economic Rights in the Land of Plenty: Monitoring State Fulfillment of Economic & Social RightsObligations in the United States.”


Conference Panel Descriptions

Economic Rights and Poverty – Panel Chairs: Shareen Hertel, UConn- Political Science
This session will consider US poverty as a violation of the right to an adequate standard of living (enshrined in Article 25 of the UDHR). Panelists will contrast this new approach with those usuallyfound in the development literature that focus on economic growth.

This session will consider US poverty as a violation of the right to an adequate standard of living (enshrined in Article 25 of the UDHR). Panelists will contrast this new approach with those usuallyfound in the development literature that focus on economic growth.

Katrina Through an Economic Rights Lens – Panel Chairs: Evelyn Simien, UConn- Political Science
The devastation wrought by the Katrina Hurricane on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region can be thought of a violation of a series of different economic rights. While the hurricane affected all socio-economic groups, those most seriously affected were poor minorities. Patterns of discrimination in housing, hurricane protection, and evacuation plans left them most vulnerable, while in the aftermath their plight was exacerbated by the government’s unwillingness to treat them as Internally Displaced Persons as described in international agreements.

Researching Economic Rights in the USA – Panel Chairs: David L. Richards, University of Memphis
This panel will give scholars a chance to present their cutting edge research on a variety of topics in Economic Rights in the USA with a focus on empirical research/methods.

Mobilizing and Legislating for a Human Rights Based Approach to Welfare – Panel Chair: Kathy Libal, UConn School of Social Work
Panelists will explore the possibilities and limits of framing access to social welfare provision for vulnerable individuals (women, children, disabled, etc.) as human rights concerns and will engage both legal and social activist approaches to realizing economic and social rights in the United States.

Economic Justice – Panel Chair  Davita Silfen Glasberg, UConn- Sociology
This session will focus on resistance to and attempts at change in the denial of equal economic rights in the US.

Natural Rights, Bills of Rights and Human Rights – Panel Chair: Richard Brown, UConn- History
This panel would consider the several states in the USA, as well as the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution of 1787. The central theme would be the long process of universalizing rights that were once viewed as limited in application to property holders, then white male citizens, then male citizens, then citizens, then all humankind.

Is Domestic Violence in the USA a Human Rights Violation? – Panel Chair: Serena Parekh, UConn- Philosophy
The topic of women’s rights receives a lot of attention, but that attention is usually focused on the kinds of atrocities that are unfamiliar to most people in the United States – FGM, honor killings, widow burnings, etc. Yet many women in the United States experience violence in the private sphere on a regular basis. Should we understand such domestic violence as a violation of human rights?

Environmental Justice, Future Generations, and Human Rights – Panel Chair: Rich Hiskes, UConn- Political Science
This panel will draw papers from a variety of potential topics that bring human rights concerns into issues that have for the most part been argued on other grounds. Issues of fossil fuel consumption, environmental protection, global warming, justice across generations, etc., will be explored as areas of human rights abuses and, potentially, protection.

Implementing Human Rights at the Local Level – Panel Chair: Ken Neubeck, UConn Emeritus
Panelists will explore efforts to implement international human rights principles and standards at the local municipal level of governance in the United States. The panel will address the rationale for undertaking local implementation as a strategy and discuss examples of projects in which panel members have been involved that can be emulated elsewhere.

Immigration Rights and Political Agency – Panel Chair: Mark Overmyer- Velzaquez, UConn- History
This interdisciplinary panel of scholars and activists will discuss how State proxies, corporate entities, and nativist organizations have recently harassed, detained, and deported undocumented immigrants in border settings, immigrant worksites, and first generation ethnic enclaves. Presenters will also highlight the potential for political and cultural agency secured by immigrant rights organizations, local governments, and loosely organized political fronts. They will variously ponder new sites and regimes of normative rights in national and transnational settings.

Health Care Coverage in the USA through a Human Rights Lens – Panel Chair: Audrey Chapman, UConn Health Center
Using human rights concepts, panelists will examine health care reform in the United States and cultural and political origins of the current state of the US health care system. Health care reform political activists will also engage with human rights scholars in assessing the success of the Massachusetts health care model and the implications of implementing proposals for health care reform nationally.

Children’s Human Rights in the United States – Panel Chair: Kathy Libal, UConn School of Social Work
The United States is one of two countries that have not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In this cross-disciplinary panel (law, social work, sociology, anthropology, and history) scholars examine the implications of the U.S. refusal to participate in the treaty. They address topics including children’s human rights violations in the juvenile justice system, the politics of monitoring under the CRC’s optional protocols, immigrant children and human rights, and the potential impact of the CRC for social work practice with children.

Neither Separate Nor Equal: Human Rights and the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Individuals in the United States – Panel Chair, Valerie Love, Curator for Human Rights and Alternative Press Collections
This panel will address lingering inequalities for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people in the United States, including the ramifications of unequal access to health care, insurance and financial benefits; protections against bias-motivated harassment which vary by state and do not currently exist at the federal level; the lack of legal recognition for marriages and unions between same sex couples; and ongoing legislation and initiatives to deny rights to LGBT individuals and couples.

CEDAW and the United States – Panel Chair, Manisha Desai, Director UConn Women’ Studies Program
Among the important trends in women’s human rights activism are the use of the human rights frame by the US women’s movements for domestic issues and the move away from only addressing violations of rights to the enjoyment of rights. The papers in this panel address how women’s movements in the US are using CEDAW to address gender justice even though the US has not ratified it and discuss the implications of non-ratification by the US.

Human Rights, Institutional Cultures, and the Legacy of the War on Terror –Panel Chair, Janet Bauer, Trinity College-International Studies
Post 9/11 war on terror and counterinsurgency policies arose in ad hoc fashion, raising many questions about the moral and legal violation of international human rights. These papers explore these questions by uncovering how institutional structures, social practices, and cultural assumptions have contributed to the formation and execution of military and security initiatives on the ground.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Mimi Abramowitz, Hunter College School of Social Work and The Graduate Center, CUNY
  • Catherine Albisa, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
  • Lee Badgett, Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Ashley Balbian, SUNY – Potsdam
  • Joanne Bauer, Business and Human Rights Resource Center
  • Janet Bauer, Trinity College
  • Angie Beeman, University of Connecticut
  • Bethany Berger, University of Connecticut, School of Law
  • Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Columbia University Law School, Human Rights Clinic
  • Judith Blau, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Rebecca Bratspies, CUNY School of Law
  • Zachary Calo, Valparaiso University School of Law
  • Colleen Casey, University of Texas at Arlington
  • Audrey Chapman, UConn Health Center
  • David Cingranelli, SUNY – Binghamton
  • Sheila Dauer, Columbia University Teachers College
  • Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Wellesley College
  • Ejim Dike, Human Rights Project Urban Justice Center
  • William Dunlap, Quinnipiac University School of Law
  • Andrea Dyrness, Trinity College
  • Christopher Einolf, DePaul University School of Public Service
  • Alicia Ely Yamin, Harvard University Law School
  • Davida Finger, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
  • Ben Fleury-Steiner, University of Delaware
  • Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, New School University
  • Leslie J. Gabel-Brett, Lambda Legal National Headquarters
  • Jon Green, Working Families Party
  • Philip Harvey, Rutgers University School of Law, Camden
  • Lynne Healy, University of Connecticut
  • Patrick Heidkamp, Southern Connecticut State University
  • Elizabeth Hillman, University of California – Hastings College of Law
  • Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights at Wilfred Laurier University
  • Risa Kaufman, Columbia University Law School
  • Linda Kerber, University of Iowa
  • Mie Lewis, ACLU Women’s Rights Project
  • Kristen Lewis, Social Science Research Council, American Human Development Project
  • Hope Lewis, Northeastern University School of Law
  • Kathryn Libal, University of Connecticut
  • Debra Liebowitz, Drew University
  • Rosemary Link, Simpson College
  • Janet Lord, American University
  • Rachel Luft, University of New Orleans
  • Gillian MacNaughton, University of Oxford
  • Susan Mapp, Elizabethtown College
  • Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
  • Kica Matos, Atlantic Philanthropies
  • Sally Merry, New York University
  • Julie Mertus, American University
  • Ellen Messer, Brandeis University
  • Linda Meyer, Quinnipiac University
  • Lanse Minkler, University of Connecticut
  • Nancy Naples, University of Connecticut
  • Kenneth Neubeck, University of Connecticut Emeritus
  • James Nickel, University of Miami
  • Simon Payaslian, Boston University
  • Bandana Purkayastha, University of Connecticut
  • Susan Randolph, University of Connecticut
  • David L. Richards, University of Memphis
  • Anja Rudiger, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
  • Lyle Scruggs, University of Connecticut
  • Enrique Sepulveda, St. Joseph’s College
  • Davita Silfen Glasberg, University of Connecticut
  • Chivy Sok, Ginetta Sagan Fund of Amnesty International USA
  • Evan Stark, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey
  • Nkechi Taifa, Open Society Institute
  • Eric Tars, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
  • Winifred Tate, Colby College
  • Andreas Teuber, Brandeis University
  • Dorothy Thomas, Visiting Fellow London School of Economics Center for the Study of Human Rights
  • Jonathan Todres, Georgia State University College of Law
  • Nancy Turnbull, Harvard University
  • Heather Turcotte, University of Connecticut
  • Susanne Zwingel, SUNY – Potsdam

Speaker Biographies

Mimi Abramovitz is the Bertha Capen Reynolds Professor of Social Policy at Hunter School of Social Work and The CUNY Graduate Center. Dr. Abramovitz has written extensively about the issues of women, work, poverty, and social welfare policy. She is the author of several books including the award-winning Under Attack, Fighting Back: Women and Welfare in the US. She is the recipient of seven prestigious awards from major professional associations for her overall contributions to social work and social policy, including from The Council of Social Work Education and the New York City chapter of the National Association of Social Work, NASW’s largest chapter. Most recently she was inducted into the Columbia University School of Social Work Hall of Fame. Her research has appeared in major academic journals as well as in the popular press including Women’s eNEWs, New York Times, Washington Post, MS Magazine and Women’s Review of Books. An activist and a scholar, Dr. Abramovitz is regularly invited to present papers on social policy at national and international conferences, serves on numerous policy making, foundation, and community organization boards, and is frequently interviewed by the print and broadcast media. Dr. Abramovitz is also a board member of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI).


Cathy Albisa is Executive Director of the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative. Ms. Albisa is a constitutional and human rights lawyer with a background on the right to health. Ms. Albisa also has significant experience working in partnership with community organizers in the use of human rights standards to strengthen advocacy in the United States. She co-founded NESRI along with Sharda Sekaran and Liz Sullivan in order to build legitimacy for human rights in general, and economic and social rights in particular, in the United States. She is committed to a community- centered and participatory human rights approach that is locally anchored, but universal and global in its vision. Ms. Albisa clerked for the Honorable Mitchell Cohen in the District of New Jersey. She received a BA from the University of Miami and is a graduate of Columbia Law School.


Janet Bauer is an Associate Professor of International Studies at Trinity College, where she serves on the Faculty Advisory Board of the Human Rights Program and teaches courses on women’s rights and immigrant/refugee rights. Her ongoing ethnographic research and publications focus on the consequences of migration and refugee resettlement for women and families in Muslim communities in places like Iran, Turkey, Trinidad, Hartford, Berlin, Toronto and Vancouver—with particular attention to cultural rights. Her work on Iranian political asylum seekers includes the English translation and introduction to Raziye Gholami-Schabani’s memoir, I Am Raziye.


Joanne Bauer is Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where she teaches “business and human rights.” She is also Senior Researcher and New York Representative of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, a London-headquartered organization that works with advocates worldwide to increase the transparency of companies’ human rights impacts, bringing information about their conduct (positive and negative) to a global audience. Previously, from 1993-2005, she was Director of Studies at the Carnegie Council on Ethics & International Affairs, where she founded and directed two program areas on human rights and on environmental values. She is the founding editor of Human Rights Dialogue (a publication of the Carnegie Council), the editor of Forging Environmentalism: Justice, Livelihood, and Contested Environments (ME Sharpe), and co-editor (with Daniel A. Bell) of The East Asian Challenge for Human Rights (Cambridge University Press).


Angie Beeman is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at the University of Connecticut. Her research interests include race/racism, media, social movements, and gender. She has published research on racism and film in Ethnic and Racial Studies and on domestic violence in Violence Against Women. Her dissertation, which received an award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems, examines the use of strategic color-blind ideology by grassroots interracial social movement organizations.


Bethany Berger is a Professor of Law University of Connecticut School of Law where she teaches Federal Indian Law, Tribal Law, Property, and Conflict of Laws. She graduated with honors from Wesleyan University, where she was elected to phi beta kappa, and from Yale Law School. She has worked on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations as the Director of the Native American Youth Law Project of DNA-People’s Legal Services, and currently serves as an Appellate Judge for the Southwest Tribal Court of Appeals. Professor Berger, who has published widely on issues of Federal Indian Law, race, gender, and legal history, is the co-author of a casebook on Federal Indian Law, and an executive editor and co-author of Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law, the preeminent treatise in the field. Her work has been reprinted and discussed in several casebooks and edited collections, has won scholarly prizes, and has been cited to Congress and the Supreme Court.


Caroline Bettinger-López is the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Institute and a Clinical Staff Attorney and Lecturer in the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School. Caroline focuses on international human rights law and advocacy, including the implementation of human rights norms at the domestic level. Her main regional focus is the United States and Latin America, and her principal areas of interest include domestic violence and violence against women, gender and race discrimination, and immigrants’ rights. At Columbia, Caroline helps to coordinate the Human Rights in the U.S. Project and the Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers’ Network. Prior to joining Columbia, Bettinger-López clerked for Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. in the Eastern District of New York and worked as a Skadden Fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union, Women’s Rights Project. At the ACLU she focused on employment and housing discrimination against domestic violence victims and low-wage immigrant women workers.


Judith Blau is Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she is the chair of the undergraduate Social and Economic Justice Minor. She also is past president of the Southern Sociological Society, President of the U.S. chapter of Sociologists without Borders, co- founder of its Think Tank, an international interactive site devoted to human rights, and director of the Human Rights Center of Chapel Hill & Carrboro. Dr. Blau has recently co-authored numerous books with Spanish author, Alberto Moncada, including Human Rights: A Primer (Paradigm Publishers, 2009). Her earlier books include Race in the Schools (recipient of Oliver Cromwell Cox Award in Race Studies), Architects and Firms, and The Shape of Culture. She has also written over a hundred articles and co-edits the journal, Societies without Borders: Human Rights & the Social Sciences (Brill of the Netherlands). She helped to launch human rights sections in the International Sociological Association and the American Sociological Association. She also serves as co-chair of the Educational Committee of the Science and Human Rights Coalition of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Zachary Calo is Assistant Professor of Law at the Valparaiso University School of Law. He joined the faculty in 2007 after having practiced business and commercial law at a Washington, DC firm. He holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, a B.A. and M.A. in history from The Johns Hopkins University, a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a Ph.D. candidate in religious studies (ethics) at the University of Virginia. He has been a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and the Institute for Humane Studies. He is currently writing about theology and torture, religion and international human rights, the history of economic ethics, and the philosophy of political necessity.


Colleen Casey is an Assistant Professor at the School of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington. She has a Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis with an emphasis in Urban and Community Development Policy. She has published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, and has co-authored reports for the Brookings Institution. Her theoretical research interests include the social context of policy administration and implementation, with a particular focus on collaborative governance. Her topical research areas include community reinvestment, inequality, and access to credit.


Audrey Chapman is Professor of Community Medicine and Healthcare and holds the Healey Memorial Chair in Medical Humanities and Ethics at the University of Connecticut Medical School. Prior to coming to the University of Connecticut in July 2006, she served as the Director of the Science and Human Rights Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Senior Associate for Ethics for the AAAS Program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion. She received a Ph.D. in public law and government from Columbia University and graduate degrees in theology and ethics from New York Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary. She has worked on a wide range of human rights and ethical issues related to health and human rights, health equity, genetic developments, and transitional justice. She is the author, coauthor, or editor of sixteen books and numerous articles and reports including Core Obligations: Building a Framework for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (with Sage Russell) and Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Did the TRC Deliver? (with Hugo van der Merwe). She is currently working on a book reinterpreting a rights based approach to health.


Sheila Dauer is the founder and former director of Amnesty International USA’s Women’s Human Rights Program from October 1997 to December 2008 and was on the staff of AIUSA from 1979 to 2009. Since 1988, as a charter member of an AIUSA Taskforce on Women’s Human Rights, she has worked with, both, AI international and AIUSA staff, board and volunteer leaders to develop AI’s policy, action, and publications on women’s human rights. In 1991, she prepared AI’s first international report on women’s human rights, Women in the Front Line. As Acting National Campaign Director in 1995, she directed AIUSA’s campaigns on Nigeria, Indonesia, and China, and on women’s human rights concurrent with the United Nation’s 4th World Conference on Women. Dr. Dauer, who holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology, did fieldwork for two years in Tanzania and received two research fellowships, one from the National Institute of Mental Health and a Ford Foundation Fellowship on Women’s Studies. She is an emeritus member of the American Anthropological Association’s Committee for Human Rights. She has taught international women’s human rights at Columbia School of International Affairs and Teachers College.


Rangita de Silva de Alwis is the Director of International Human Rights Policy at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College. Rangita has worked with a vast network of civil society and government organizations to develop innovative women’s rights and human rights initiatives around the world including India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico, Georgia and soon in Egypt and the Middle East. Her work focuses on using international human rights norms to guide law reform initiatives. She also advises UNICEF’s and UNFPA’s law reform initiatives in compliance with the relevant treaties and is on the Advisory Group brought together by UNIFEM and UNDP to develop United Nations Evaluation Guidelines. She has published widely including twice in the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism. Rangita has a S.J.D. from Harvard Law School and was a Teaching Fellow with the European Law Research Institute at Harvard Law School and a Research Fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPP) at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.


Ejim Dike is Director of the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center. She has worked on social policy issues for over ten years and in the domestic human rights arena for the past seven years. Her human rights work focuses on addressing poverty and discrimination using a human rights framework. She recently coordinated a shadow report of over 30 local groups on racial discrimination in New York City for submission to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in December 2007. Since 2002, Ejim has provided key leadership for the New York City Human Rights Initiative (NYCHRI), an organizing and legislative project to get principles based on two international anti-discrimination treaties enacted as a New York City ordinance. Ms. Dike came to the Urban Justice Center from the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, where she worked for several years to implement programs aimed at increasing access to employment in low-income neighborhoods. She has a Master of Urban Planning from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.


Andrea Dyrness is an Assistant Professor of Educational Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Her research interests focus on the relationship between education and struggles over cultural rights, identity, and inclusion in the U.S. and Latin America. She has studied the schooling experiences of Latino (im)migrant communities in California and most recently,
transnational communities in El Salvador with ties to the United States. She is interested in research methodologies and epistemologies that illuminate the cultural critique of (im)migrant
communities and advance their capacity to enact change in their schools and society. As such, her work is informed by theoretical strands in activist anthropology, critical theory, U.S. third world feminist theory, critical race theory, and new developments in Latina feminist thought. Andrea received her Masters and PhD in Social and Cultural Studies in Education from the University of California, Berkeley, and her BA in Anthropology and Education Studies from Brown University, and was a Fulbright Scholar in El Salvador.


Christopher Einolf is Assistant Professor at the DePaul University School of Public Service. He has published a book on asylum law, The Mercy Factory: Refugees and the American Asylum System and a book of military history, George Thomas: Virginian for the Union, which won the Army Historical Foundation’s award for best biography of 2007. On the issue of torture, he has published “Explaining Abu Ghraib: A Review Essay,” in the Journal of Human Rights; “The Fall and Rise of Torture: A Comparative and Historical Analysis,” in Sociological Theory; and “U.S. Torture of Prisoners of War in Historical Perspective,” in Torture, Law, and War, an edited volume under contract with University of Chicago Press.

Karen Eltis is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa (Section de droit civil), Director of the bijuridical National Programme, and Co-Director of the Center for Law and Technology. A past Director of the Human Rights Centre, Professor Eltis specializes in constitutional law, with particular interest in democratic governance, health and new technologies. She served as Senior Advisor to the National Judicial Institute, and taught Constitutional/Human Rights Law at McGill University, University of Montreal, l’Université de Rennes, and the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzlia. Professor Eltis holds law degrees from McGill University (B.C.L/LL.B/B.A), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Columbia University (thesis, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar). She clerked for Chief Justice Aharon Barak of the Supreme Court of Israel. Prior to joining the University of Ottawa, Karen was a litigation associate in New York City. Her recent publications include: “A First Step Towards Curtailing Illicit Cross-Border I-Pharma” in Health Law Journal; “E-mail Eavesdropping in the Workplace” in McGill Law Journal; and “The Impact of the Internet on Courts and Judicial Ethics” forthcoming in L. Sossin and A. Dodek eds. Judicial Independence in Canada and the World, University of Toronto Press, 2009.


Alicia Ely Yamin, JD MPH is the Joseph H. Flom Fellow on Global Health and Human Rights at Harvard Law School and an Instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health. She also serves as Special Advisor to Amnesty International’s global campaign on poverty: Demand Dignity (in particular, in relation to maternal mortality). Before beginning her fellowship at Harvard Law School in September, 2007, Yamin was the Director of Research and Investigations at Physicians for Human Rights, where she oversaw all of the organization’s field investigations. Yamin has conducted human rights documentation and advocacy with both international and local Latin American organizations for almost twenty years. She is internationally recognized as a leader in the conceptualization and implementation of rights-based approaches to health, and has published dozens of scholarly articles and several books relating to health and human rights in both English and Spanish. Yamin is Acting Chair of the Center for Economic and Social Rights and additionally serves on the advisory boards the International Initiative on Maternal Mortality and Human Rights, Human Rights Ahead, the Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health, as well as several human rights advocacy organizations in Latin America. She is also a member of the editorial review boards of Human Rights Quarterly, Human Rights and the Global Economy, and the Revista Iberoamericana de Derechos Humanos.


Davida Finger is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans where she teaches the Community Justice Clinic and the Law & Poverty course. In managing the law school’s Katrina Clinic, Davida has worked in collaboration with community organizations on cases and policy matters related to government accountability with rebuilding and distribution of disaster funds at the federal, state, and local levels. During 2008-09, Davida was a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School and an “Effective Leadership” Fellow with Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy in its inaugural program for emerging Louisiana leaders. She is a 2009 teaching fellow with the Neighborhood Partnership Network’s first capacity college in New Orleans designed to develop community members’ advocacy and organizing skills. Davida received a J.D. from Seattle University Law School in 2002. She received the Faculty Award at graduation and was named an inspiring alum in 2007. She graduated with an M.A. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998.


Benjamin Fleury-Steiner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. Fleury-Steiner has published numerous articles on issues of inequality, rights, and criminal punishment. His most recent book, Dying Inside: The HIV/AIDS Ward at Limestone Prison (University of Michigan Press, 2008), investigates activism and cause lawyering concerning preventable deaths of HIV-infected prisoners in Alabama and the U.S. more broadly. Davita Silfen Glasberg is Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Connecticut. She has published several books and dozens of journal articles in the area of political economy, political sociology, and human rights. Her most current research project, co-authored with Angie Beeman and Colleen Casey, is an analysis of predatory lending and its implications for reproduction of racialized inequality and patterns of human rights violations.


Jon Green is Director of the Connecticut Working Families Party, a grassroots coalition of labor unions, community groups, and concerned citizens, united to hold elected officials accountable on issues of economic justice. Working Families has championed issues such as living wage laws, universal healthcare, progressive taxation, and paid sick days. Since its inception in 2002, the Working Families Party has grown to be the state’s largest and most effective minor party, receiving more than 85,000 votes in the 2008 Congressional elections. In Hartford, the Working Families Party has elected its own members to the City Council, Board of Education, and Registrar of Voters Office. Prior to founding the Connecticut Working Families Party, Jon worked for five years as a political organizer for a labor-community coalition in Chicago, where he helped win passage of the Chicago Jobs and Living Wage ordinance and managed campaigns for grassroots, progressive candidates.


C. Patrick Heidkamp is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and also serves on the graduate faculty in the Program in Urban Studies at Southern Connecticut State University. In addition, he is an affiliate of the Economic Rights Research Group at the University of Connecticut’s Human Rights Institute. Dr. Heidkamp’s interdisciplinary research agenda is geographically sensitive, international in context and focuses on the economic geography of environmental issues and the geography of human rights. As an environmental economic geographer, his research focuses on the interaction between economic activity and the biophysical environment. He aims to analyze landscape as the setting in which economic activity enabled, shaped, and mediated by social relations takes place. Dr. Heidkamp is particularly interested in changing geographies in the agro-food sector, such as the growing significance of alternative trade networks, their environmental implications, and their relevance for economic development and economic rights.

Shareen Hertel is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut and holds a joint appointment with the university’s Human Rights Institute. She has served as a consultant to foundations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and United Nations agencies in the United States, Latin America and South Asia. Hertel has written professionally on the UN’s role in economic and social development and helped develop a standard for labor rights monitoring in global manufacturing (SA8000). She is the author of Unexpected Power: Conflict and Change Among Transnational Activists (Cornell 2006) and co-editor of Economic Rights: Conceptual, Measurement, and Policy Issues (Cambridge 2007). Hertel also serves on editorial boards of: Human Rights Review, Human Rights and Human Welfare, and the International Studies Intensives book series of Paradigm Publishers. She is an Advisory Board member for Counter-Sourcing Incorporated (a fair-trade apparel sourcing company), and in 2008 was elected to the Steering Committee of the American Political Science Association’s Human Rights Section. At the University of Connecticut, Hertel has developed a range of new courses on human rights and a faculty research program on economic rights. She also serves as a member of the University of Connecticut President’s Committee on Corporate Responsibility, which guides University policy on sourcing and manufacturing of logo-bearing apparel and other products.


Elizabeth Hillman is a professor at the University of California, Hastings College of Law. Hillman attended Duke University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship, received a degree in electrical engineering, and served as a space operations officer and orbital analyst in Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base, Colorado Springs. Before joining the Hastings faculty in 2007, she taught history at the U.S. Air Force Academy and law at the Rutgers University School of Law, Camden. She holds a J.D. and Ph.D. in history from Yale University and is a board member of the National Institute for Military Justice, for whom she is also Reporter for the 2009 Cox Commission. Her scholarship focuses on American military law and history since the mid-20th century. She is now studying the law and politics of strategic bombing and the scourge of military sexual violence.


Rhoda Howard-Hassmann is Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she holds a joint appointment in the Department of Global Studies and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2006 the Human Rights section of the American Political Science Association named Dr. Howard-Hassmann its first Distinguished Scholar of Human Rights. Among many other published works on human rights, she is co-editor of the 2006 volume, Economic Human Rights in Canada and the United States, and author of a forthcoming book with Penn State University Press on human rights and globalization.


Risa Kaufman is the executive director of the Human Rights Institute (HRI) at Columbia Law School and a Lecturer-in-Law. At HRI, Risa works to advance international human rights norms and strategies in the U.S. by developing legal theories and advocacy strategies using international human rights law and mechanisms to address economic justice in the United States; directs the Institute’s treaty implementation initiative; coordinates the Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers’ Network; and developed human rights training programs for practicing attorneys. She also serves on the steering committee of the Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda, which seeks to build a stronger federal and local infrastructure for human rights monitoring and enforcement in the U.S.  Risa has extensive experience in public interest litigation, advocacy and legal education with a special focus on women’s rights, poverty law, and access to justice. Prior to joining HRI, she engaged in impact litigation, policy initiatives, and public education focusing on welfare, housing rights, racial profiling, access to legal services, rights of incarcerated persons, and voting rights. She served as associate counsel at the Community Service Society of New York, as a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at the law firm of Gibbons, P.C., and as a Skadden Fellow at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (now Legal Momentum). Risa has taught at Fordham Law School, Seton Hall Law School, and New York University School of Law, where, immediately prior to joining Columbia, she was an acting assistant professor in the Lawyering program.


Linda Kerber is the May Brodbeck Professor in the Liberal Arts & Sciences, Professor of History and Lecturer in the College of Law at the University of Iowa. She has held visiting appointments at the University of Chicago, Stanford University, and Oxford University. She holds a D.H.L. from Grinnell College (1992) and an Honorary A.M. from Oxford University (2006). She was elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Kerber served as president of the American Historical Association in 2006; she is also past-president of the Organization of American Historians (1996-97) and of the American Studies Association (1988). In 2006-07 she was Vyvyan Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University. She is an elected member of the Society of American Historians, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Massachusetts Historical Society and PEN/American Center. She has been a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and a resident scholar of the Rockefeller Study Center at Bellagio. She has also served on many editorial boards and advisory committees; currently she serves as an advisory editor to the “Gender and American Culture” series of the University of North Carolina Press, on the editorial boards of Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society and The Journal of Women’s History. She recently completed a term as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.


Hope Lewis is Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law and a leading international legal scholar, teacher, and human rights advocate. Her book, Human Rights and the Global Marketplace: Economic, Social, and Cultural Dimensions (with Jeanne M. Woods), is the first US human rights textbook to focus primarily on globalization and economic, social and cultural rights. The book received the 2008 Notable Contribution to Human Rights Scholarship Award from the US Human Rights Network. A co-founder of the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, Lewis co-edits the Social Science Research Network online publication, Human Rights and the Global Economy. Professor Lewis was a Fall 2008 Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow at Harvard University’s Du Bois Institute for African & African-American Research and a recipient of the 2001 Haywood Burns-Shanara Gilbert Award from the Northeast People of Color Legal Scholarship Network in recognition of her teaching, scholarship and human rights advocacy. She has been a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School and the Washington College of Law at American University.


Kristen Lewis is the co-director and co-founder of the American Human Development Project, which began in 2007 and which last year released a first ever human development report for the United States. Previously she had worked in international development for 15 years, primarily in the areas of gender and development, environment, and water and sanitation. She began her development career with UNIFEM, the United Nations fund for women, before moving to the United Nations Development Programme, where she was a policy advisor in the Bureau for Development Policy. She was task force manager and senior policy advisor for the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Water and Sanitation and is co-author of its 2005 final report, Health, Dignity and Development: What will it take? She consults in gender and development as well as water and sanitation for a variety of organizations, including UNDP, UNIFEM, UNICEF, and the World Bank. She holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University.


Mie Lewis is a staff attorney at the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU, where she works on behalf of women and girls in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. In conjunction with Human Rights Watch, she authored the report, Custody and Control, documenting the abuse and neglect of girls incarcerated in New York’s youth prisons. Mie is lead counsel in K.C. v. Townsend, a suit challenging the solitary confinement and unwarranted strip searching of girls incarcerated in a Texas youth prison. She is also lead counsel in Jones v. Hayman, a suit challenging as arbitrary and sex discriminatory the confinement of adult women prisoners in a New Jersey men’s supermax prison.


Debra Liebowitz is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Political Science at Drew University in New Jersey and is Director of the Drew Semester on the United Nations. Dr. Liebowitz has worked for the past nine years doing gender and human rights related-training and research at the United Nations. She has worked closely with IWRAW Asia Pacific, a Malaysia-based international women’s human rights organization and is a member of their International Program Management Team. In 2007 she was the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio Study and Conference Center Grant to hold an expert group meeting on “Using International Human Rights Agreements to Redress Violations of Women’s Human Rights: The Case of CEDAW.” She recently completed a project in conjunction with WILD for Human Rights (a San Francisco-based women’s human rights organization) evaluating the extent to which the City and County of San Francisco have implemented their local women’s human rights ordinance. She is currently working on a book focused on gender, women’s organizing and the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). She has published numerous articles in journals such as Feminist International Journal of Politics and Women’s Studies Quarterly. She was the President of the Women & Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association in 2008-9.


Rosemary Link is Dean of Graduate Studies and Professor of Social Work at Augsburg College, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dr. Link has worked as a school social worker and educator in a variety of countries, including the UK, Mexico, Slovenia, and the US and is an external examiner for the University of the West Indies, Mona and the University of Bharathiar, India. Dr Link has published several books and articles relating to children, the impact of poverty and social policy, including, “When Children Pay” for the Child Poverty Action Group in England; “All Our Futures” (with co- author Chathapuram Ramanathan); and a chapter on children’s rights in the book Safeguarding and Promoting the Well-being of Children, Families and Communities, edited by Jane Scott. Dr. Link just completed chairing the Capital Campaign and building renovation for Southside Family Nurturing Center ( in Minneapolis and currently focuses her research on social development as it relates to children’s rights and family participation in service and community planning.


Janet Lord is Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Maryland School of Law, Research Associate at the Harvard Project on Disability, and Senior Partner at BlueLaw International LLP. An international lawyer with more than 15 years professional experience, she specializes in democracy and governance programming in developing, transitioning and post-conflict countries and focuses
primarily on designing and implementing human rights institution-building projects and inclusive development projects for marginalized populations. An expert in human rights treaty negotiations, she participated in all of the negotiations for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, serving as legal advisor to several lead governments and coalition of non-governmental organizations. Recent publications include: “Disability Rights and the Human Rights Mainstream: Reluctant Gatecrashers?” in Rights on the Rise (Clifford Bob, ed., University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008) and “Future Prospects for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” (with Michael Stein) in The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: European and Scandinavian Perspectives (Oddný Mjöll Arnardóttir & Gerard Quinn eds., 2009). She has taught at the University of Edinburgh, American University, and the University of Baltimore, School of Law. Prior to joining BlueLaw International, Ms. Lord served as director of advocacy and legal counsel at an international NGO working in landmine-affected countries and as an attorney at the World Bank Group in Washington DC. She has also served as USIP Peace Scholar and International Rule of Law Fellow at the George Washington University Law School.


Rachel E. Luft is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of New Orleans. Her areas of specialization are race, gender, intersectionality, and social movements. Since Hurricane Katrina her research, writing, and activism have focused on grassroots movement responses to the disaster.


Gillian MacNaughton is a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford. Her research examines the relationship between equality and social rights in the International Bill of Human Rights, focusing in particular on the rights to education and health. While at Oxford, Gillian also has been a tutor in international human rights law at several colleges and programs affiliated with the University. Previously, she was a senior research officer at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, assisting Professor Paul Hunt on his mandate as UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health. She has also worked on human rights impact assessment, women’s rights and disability rights. Gillian holds degrees in education (McGill), law (Vermont), public administration (Harvard) and international human rights law (Oxford). She is a member of the Vermont Bar and was an attorney with the Vermont courts for almost ten years.


Kathleen Martinez was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the third Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 25, 2009. As head of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Ms. Martinez advises the Secretary of Labor and works with all DOL agencies to lead a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities.


Kica Matos is Program Executive and Head of the U.S. Reconciliation & Human Rights Program at The Atlantic Philanthropies. Ms. Matos has extensive experience as an advocate, community organizer, and lawyer in the civil and human rights fields. Prior to joining Atlantic Philanthropies, she served as Deputy Mayor and Administrator of Community Services in the city of New Haven. In this capacity she oversaw all of the city’s community programs and services and launched a number of programs and initiatives that included prisoner re-entry, youth and immigration integration. Ms. Matos was previously the Executive Director of JUNTA for Progressive Action, New Haven’s oldest Latino community-based organization, located in a low-income neighborhood with a large immigrant community. She also has extensive experience in criminal justice in the United States and has worked as a assistant federal defender for death sentenced inmates and with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Amnesty International on death penalty and criminal justice issues. She is a recipient of numerous awards, including the 2005 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, given annually to two individuals under 40 whose contributions in elective office, community service or advocacy demonstrate the impact and the value of public service in the spirit of John F. Kennedy.


Linda Ross Meyer is Carmen Tortora Professor of Law at Quinnipiac University School of Law. She is the author of many articles on jurisprudence and the philosophy of punishment. Her forthcoming book, The Justice of Mercy, the Mercy of Justice, is in press at Michigan University Press.


Ken Neubeck is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut. He served as director of the University’s interdisciplinary human rights minor prior to his retirement in 2003. Ken resides in Eugene, Oregon, where he is a member of the City of Eugene Human Rights Commission. He is coordinating the Commission’s “Human Rights City Project,” (, which is exploring ways that international human rights treaties and standards can be brought to bear on city government operations. Ken is the author of When Welfare Disappears: The Case for Economic Human Rights (New York: Routledge, 2006), which addresses poverty in the United States as a human rights violation. In an earlier book, Welfare Racism: Playing the Race Card Against America’s Poor (New York: Routledge, 2001), Ken and co- author Noel Cazenave analyzed the impact of racism on U.S. welfare policy.


James Nickel is Professor of Philosophy and Law at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. He teaches and writes in human rights law and theory, constitutional law, jurisprudence, and political philosophy. He is the author of Making Sense of Human Rights (2nd ed. 2006) as well as many articles in philosophy and law. Recent articles include “Rethinking Indivisibility: Towards a Theory of Supporting Relations between Human Rights,” “Who Needs Freedom of Religion?” and “Are Human Rights Mainly Implemented by Intervention?” During 2008-09 Nickel was Visiting Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. From 2003-08 he was Professor of Law at Arizona State University. From 1982-2003 Nickel was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado where he served as Director of the Center for Values and Social Policy (1982-88) and as Chair of the Philosophy Department (1992-1996).


Simon Payaslian is the Charles K. and Elisabeth M. Kenosian Chair in Modern Armenian History and Literature within the History Department at Boston University. He has published numerous articles on international human rights and authored United States Policy Toward the Armenian Question and the Armenian Genocide.


Bandana Purkayastha is Associate Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut. She was educated in India (Presidency College) and the US and has published more than twenty-five peer reviewed journal articles and chapters as well as several books, including Living Our Religions: Hindu and Muslim South Asian Women Narrate their Experiences. She is a co-editor, with Davita Glasberg and William Armaline of a book (under review) on Human Rights in the US. Her scholarly work on race, gender, class, women’s organizing and human rights have been published in the US, UK, Germany, and India. She serves on two research councils of the International Sociological Association, and is the Deputy Editor for Gender & Society.


Susan Randolph is Professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut. She also serves as a graduate faculty member for the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department and International Studies through the Office of International Affairs. She is a member of the Economic Rights Reading Group and a faculty affiliate of the Human Rights Institute, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Center for Contemporary African Studies, and the India Studies Program. She has served as a short term consultant to The World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development, and is affiliated with the Connecticut Center for Eliminating Health Disparities among Latinos. Prior to coming to UCONN, she worked for four years as head of the Program Development Division with Turkiye Kalkinma Vakfi, a grass roots development organization that enables poor, landless households to establish viable, self- sustaining economic enterprises. Dr. Randolph’s research has focused on a broad range of issues in development economics, including poverty, inequality, food security and economic rights, at both the country and regional levels and has been published in numerous refereed multidisciplinary as well as economic journals. Dr. Randolph’s on-going research projects focus on assessing and understanding household level food insecurity in Senegal, and assessing economic rights provision.


Anja Rudiger is director of the Human Right to Health Program, a joint initiative by the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI). Anja works with community organizations and national coalitions to develop human rights tools for health care reform in the U.S. Anja has many years of experience integrating a rights-based approach to policymaking at the local, national and international level. Her previous roles include directing the research department at the British Refugee Council and managing the UK Secretariat of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, both based in London.


Evelyn Simien is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut. A nationally recognized teacher, she was awarded the 2006 Anna Julia Cooper Teacher of the Year Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS). She teaches Black leadership and civil rights, Black feminist theory and politics, as well as African American Politics. Her first book, Black Feminist Voices in Politics (State University of New York Press, 2006), uses a national telephone survey of the adult African American population to assess the simultaneous effects of race and gender on political behavior specifically, voter turnout, and campaign activity. Other publications have appeared in the Journal of Black Studies, Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, PS: Political Science and Politics, Political Science Quarterly, Politics and Gender, Social Science Quarterly, as well as Women and Politics. Currently working on a second book project, which utilizes an intersectional approach to study the modern civil rights movement, Dr. Simien exposes the bias of traditional civil rights history by examining different movement experiences determined by race, class, gender, and sexual dynamics. Dr. Simien has delivered guest lectures at American University, Central Connecticut State University, Louisiana State University, Loyola University of New Orleans, Texas A&M University, Minnesota State University, and the University of Mississippi. Besides her academic and professional accomplishments, Dr. Simien is devoted to community service and has worked with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Springfield School Volunteers, Connecticut Valley Girl Scouts, and the National Urban League of Greater Hartford.



Chivy Sok, an educator, trainer, and researcher on human rights and child labor, currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Ginetta Sagan Fund of Amnesty International USA. She is also the former Program Director of Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Human Rights and former Deputy Director of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR). While at the UICHR, she was appointed as an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Iowa, School of Law where she co-taught an advanced research seminar on international human rights and child labor and also concurrently served as the Project Director of a $1.2 million initiative on global child labor under contract with the U.S. Department of Labor. She has worked with a number of human rights projects and NGOs during the last decade, including serving as Co-Director of the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development for Human Rights and the National Campaign Coordinator at the Cambodian Association of Illinois. She is also currently engaged in philanthropic research and consulting in support of social justice. The underlying goal of all her professional commitment is to identify ways that translate ideas and principles embedded in the human rights framework into concrete and meaningful implementation locally, nationally, and internationally.


Evan Stark is a Professor at the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University- Newark and Chair of the Department of Urban Health Administration at the UMDNJ School of Public Health. He is also a forensic social worker who has served as an expert in more than 100 criminal and civil cases, consulted with numerous federal and state agencies, including the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control, and won a number prestigious awards for his work. A founder of one of the first shelters for abused women in the U.S., in the l980’s Dr. Stark co-directed the Yale Trauma Studies with Dr. Anne Flitcraft, path-breaking research that first documented the significance of domestic violence for female injury as well as its links to child abuse and a range of other health and behavioral problems. He was the lead expert for the plaintiff mothers in Nicholson v. Williams, a landmark class action law suit that enjoined NYC from removing children solely because their mothers were abused. He is the author of Coercive Control: The Entrapment of Women in Personal Life (Oxford University Press, 2007), named the best book published in sociology/social work in 2007 by the American Publishers’ Association, and recently co-edited the four-volume set, Violence Against Women in Families and Relationships (Praeger, 2009).


Nkechi Taifa serves as Senior Policy Analyst for the Open Society Institute and Open Society Policy Center, focusing on issues of criminal and civil justice reform. She also serves as a Commissioner on the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights, and has served on the boards of scores of public interest organizations, receiving numerous awards for her accomplishments in social justice. She also convenes the Justice Roundtable, a broad network of advocacy groups advancing federal criminal justice policy in Washington. She was an adjunct professor at Howard University School of Law for ten years and was the Founding Director of the Law School’s Equal Justice Program from 1995-2002. She has also served as legislative counsel and primary spokesperson on criminal justice
issues for the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Office; policy counsel for the Women’s Legal Defense Fund; staff attorney for the National Prison Project; and Network Organizer for the Washington Office on Africa. While in private practice, Nkechi represented indigent adult and juvenile clients, and specialized in employment discrimination law. As a catalyst in raising the visibility of issues involving unequal justice, she has testified, written, and spoken extensively on issues of civil/human rights, and criminal and civil justice reform, before the U.S. Congress, the United States Sentencing Commission, the District of Columbia City Council, and the American Bar Association Justice Kennedy Commission.


Eric Tars currently serves as the human rights Program Director and Children and Youth Staff Attorney with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. In his human rights capacity, he works with homeless and housing advocacy organizations to train and strategically utilize human rights as a component of their work. In his youth rights capacity, he works to protect homeless students’ rights to education and advocates for homeless youth and families through trainings, litigation, and policy advocacy at the national and local levels. Before coming to the Law Center, Eric was a Fellow with Global Rights’ U.S. Racial Discrimination Program, and consulted with Columbia University Law School’s Human Rights Institute and the US Human Rights Network. He coordinated the involvement of hundreds of organizations in the hearings of the U.S. before the UN Committee Against Torture and Human Rights Committee in 2006. Eric has conducted numerous trainings on integrating human rights strategies into domestic advocacy and he currently serves as the Chair of the Training Committee of the US Human Rights Network and on the Steering Committee of the Campaign for a New Domestic Human Rights Agenda.


Andreas Teuber was a student at Oxford and a graduate student at Harvard, where he studied with John Rawls and Robert Nozick under whose supervision he wrote his Ph.D dissertation. He is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Brandeis University and a Professor of Philosophy. He has received, among other honors and awards, a Fulbright Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and has been a Member and Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is also the recipient of two Brandeis teaching awards: The Michael Laban Walzer Award for Excellence in Teaching and The Kermit H. Perlmutter Fellowship Award for Teaching Excellence.



Jonathan Todres is Associate Professor of Law at Georgia State University College of Law, where he teaches courses on children’s rights, health law, and torts. His research focuses primarily on children’s rights issues, particularly on trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children and on domestic interpretations of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Professor Todres lectures frequently on children’s rights issues and has testified before the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child and in congressional briefings in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate on trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. He serves as a regular advisor to non-governmental organizations working on children’s rights issues, including as Child Rights Advisor to ECPAT-USA. Professor Todres is the author of numerous articles on children’s rights and co-editor of the book, The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child: An Analysis of Treaty Provisions and Implications of U.S. Ratification (Brill Academic, 2006). Professor Todres has previously taught at New York University School of Law and Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University, and has been a visiting professor of human rights law at Vytautas Magnus University School of Law in Lithuania.


In the Balance: Humanitarianism and Responsibility

Conference of Humanities Institute and the Human Rights Institute of the University of Connecticut

October 10-12, 2008 • Storrs, CT

Economic Rights: Conceptual, Measurement, and Policy Issues October 27-29, 2005

Kimsooja, Bottari Truck, 2000, 2.5 ton truck stacked with Bottaris, installation view at Rodin Gallery, Seoul. Photo by Kim Hyunsoo. Courtesy of The Samsung Leeum Museum of Art, Seoul

The central aim of this conference is to think through the rapidly expanding body of scholarship on humanitarianism – both as a discourse and practice – beyond its longtime amalgamated human rights framework. We hope to better understand the concept of humanitarianism as it is currently deployed around the globe, and to assess its future as a guiding political principle for behavior on the individual, state, and transnational levels. Our complementary focus on responsibility leads us to interrogate how humanitarianism defines obligation towards the other, to consider the effects of such definitions – including the limitations they impose – and to raise problems and possibilities for alternative conceptions of the ties that bind humans together.

Conference organizers: Alexis Dudden and Kerry Bystrom. Please continue to check this website for updated information.

Sponsored by Foundations of Humanitarianism, the Human Rights Institute and UCHI’s Foundations of Humanitarianism Initiative.

Conference Information

Conference Agenda

Friday October 10th

4:00pm Keynote Lecture: (Open to the public) | “A World History of Genocide”

  • Ben Kiernan, Yale University | Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center
  • Reception to follow


Saturday October 11

All panels will be held in the Rome Ballroom and are open to the public by pre-registration only.

9:00-10:30am “Coding the Humanitarian”

  • Jacqueline Bhabha, Harvard University
  • Timothy Shorrock, Independent journalist
  • Ron Dudai, University of York
  • Moderator: Alexis Dudden, UConn

10:45am-12:15pm “Institutional Responsibility”

  • Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Australia National University
  • David Forsythe, University of Nebraska;
  • Selma Leydesdorff, University of Amsterdam
  • Moderators: David Leheny, Princeton University and Emma Gilligan, UConn

1:15-3:00pm “The Morality of Responsibility”

  • Eyal Sivan, Filmmaker/University of East London
  • Eyal Weizman, Architect/University of London
  • Christiane Schonfeld, National University of Ireland
  • Moderators: Mark Bradley, University of Chicago and Thomas Keenan, Bard College

3:15-4:30pm “Culture, Theory, Responsibility”

  • Mark Sanders, NYU
  • Jennifer Wenzel, Universityof Michigan
  • Sarah Nuttall, WISER/University of the Witwatersrand
  • Moderator: Eleni Coundouriotis, UConn

4:30pm “In the Balance”

  • Nuruddin Farah, Novelist; Zakes Mda, Novelist
  • Joseph Slaughter, Columbia University
  • Moderator: Kerry Bystrom, UConn


  • Jacqueline Bhabha, Harvard University
  • Mark Bradley, University of Chicago Ron Dudai,University of York Nuruddin Farah, Novelist
  • David Forsythe, University of Nebraska Thomas Keenan, Bard College
  • Ben Kiernan, Yale University
  • David Leheny, Princeton University
  • Selma Leydesdorff, University of Amsterdam Zakes Mda, Novelist
  • Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Australia National University
  • Sarah Nuttall, WISER/University of the Witwatersrand
  • Mark Sanders, NYU
  • Christiane Schonfeld, National University of Ireland
  • Timothy Shorrock, Independent journalist
  • Eyal Sivan, Filmmaker/University of East London
  • Joseph Slaughter, Columbia University
  • Eyal Weizman, Architect/University of London
  • Jennifer Wenzel, University of Michigan

Organizer Biographies

Alexis Dudden (PhD, Chicago, 1998) is Associate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. She is the author of “Troubled Apologies Among Japan, Korea, and the United States” (Columbia University, 2008) and “Japan’s Colonization of Korea: Discourse and Power” (University of Hawaii, 2005) as well as a number of articles and Internet essays. She is currently researching the politics of food security in Northeast Asia and its ramifications for humanitarian response and action. She teaches courses on modern Japanese and Korean history.


Kerry Bystrom (PhD, Princeton, 2007) is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. She is currently at work on a manuscript exploring the public role that the retelling of “roots,” genealogies, and other family origin stories has played in the recent Argentine and South African transitions to democracy. She is also developing a project that focuses on the move beyond “human rights” to rival ethical paradigms of responsibility in contemporary fiction by JM Coetzee, Amitav Ghosh, and Kazuo Ishiguro. Dr. Bystrom holds a B.A., summa cum laude, in Government and English/Creative Writing from Dartmouth College, NH. She has taught at Princeton University, NJ; Bard College, NY; and the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and author of forthcoming articles on South African and Argentine literary and cultural studies.


Humanitarian Responses to Narratives of Inflicted Suffering

Conference of the Humanities Institute and the Human Rights Institute of the University of Connecticut

October 13-15, 2006 • Storrs, CT

Humanitarian Responses to Narratives of Inflicted Suffering, October 13-15, 2006

This international conference will analyze humanitarian responses to private and public narratives of politicized suffering that has been inflicted by states, private political groups and also by more structural causes such as apartheid, colonialism, and social conflict. The main themes of this conference are: first, to understand the character, form and voice of the narratives themselves; and second, to explain how and why some narratives of suffering become part of political movements of solidarity, whereas others do not.

Recent discussions of narrative and suffering have gravitated toward the uniqueness of the relationship between violence, language and meaning, concentrating on how violence is involved in the dialectical unmaking and remaking of our understanding of subjectivities and bodies. Elaine Scarry’s (1985) influential treatise The Body in Pain asserts that pain destroys language and dissolves the world of the victims. Pain and suffering create conditions of radical epistemological doubt, which may not be possible to articulate by the sufferer, or knowable by the ‘other’. For writers such as Jean-Francois Lyotard, the silencing of narratives through terror is the most fundamental of all human rights violations. In each of these formulations, narrative and suffering are contradictory terms that preclude one another.

Although Scarry’s and Lyotard’s approach has its uses, this perspective can be understood to define one area of human subjectivity as ultimately ineffable and unknowable. Consequently this might obstruct theorization of narratives on suffering and hinder scholarly inquiry into how public forums for speaking about suffering not only constrain, but also elicit testimony. Even if it is true that experiences of political violence and suffering can defy speech, this has not prevented post-conflict governments and the United Nations from establishing national forums (e.g., truth commissions) and international criminal tribunals to hear, collect, and preserve victims’ voices. As the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission demonstrates, public testimony from victims and confessions from perpetrators are now recognized as essential to the process of democratization and reconstruction in post-conflict countries. This phenomenon is not new and it is the latest in a long history of private and public expressions of suffering in literature, the media, visual artistic representations, and other more private locations such as letters, diaries and journals.

Because documented narratives on suffering have existed for centuries, researchers need to analyze in more detail the content, form and structure of these narratives, so as to understand why authors or artists generate narratives on suffering and how their motivations shape the types of narratives they construct. Studies such as Veena Das, et al. (2000) and Arthur Kleinman et al. (2001) have examined the aftermath of political violence and provided insights into how narrative plays a central role in the reconstitution of the self and the remaking of a social world. They argue that if pain and suffering destroy people’s capacities to speak and explain themselves, then the resuscitation of narrative can be the first step towards recreating social selves. Scholars must evaluate whether this is the case and how this process of reconstructing the social self proceeds.

Another key element of this discussion involves the relationship between private narratives of suffering and the institutional contexts that elicit such narratives and channel them into the public sphere. Law is the central institution here, and we must investigate to what degree the legal process evokes and authorizes particular narratives on suffering, and also excludes other kinds of narrative selectively. A number of authors have come to argue that courts of law and much of the international discourse of human rights, although created for speaking about violence, actually constrain speech by molding experience into pre-set formulations that reduce the diversity and specificity of violation narratives. Increasingly, writers on this subject have come to question the efficacy of existing political, legal and institutional contexts for speaking about violence. Legal language and human rights conventions, they argue, filter out important symbolic and expressive dimensions of fear and intimidation.

A major theme of the conference will focus upon the politicization of narrative, and will examine how narratives on suffering have contributed to the creation of political constituencies. In the United States, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin [1852] and a dozen first-person slave narratives such as that of Frederick Douglass [1845] famously intensified the anti-slavery movement. In the twentieth century, South African novelists such as André Brink, J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Alex La Guma, Njabulo Ndebele and Lewis Nkosi vividly portrayed the massive injustices of racism and apartheid for a local and international readership, thus helping to inspire a global anti-apartheid movement. Conference papers will address how such narratives reinforce, or even call into being local and global humanitarian movements. They will consider whether the capacity of a narrative to galvanize national and international opposition to systems of suffering lies in the compelling content and form of the narrative itself and its ability to arouse indignation. The success of suffering narratives may depend on the extent to which they translate political ideology into a widely accessible medium. “Successful” narratives seem to be those that construct an appealing idea of common humanity, and invoke the imperative of empathy and solidarity despite divisions of race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion.

In order to complement such aesthetic concerns, we must also hold in view a more “political” understanding of empathy and narratives of suffering that emphasize political factors external to the narratives themselves. Here, we must be aware of the instrumental and even cynical use of narratives by political elites as a way of giving expression to amorphous popular sentiments. Narratives on suffering are often sequestered by new political elites engaged in nation-building projects and used to advance their own self-interest. Nearly every nation, such elites claim, is founded on original acts or events that include suffering and violence. In this nation-building process, the diverse stories of victims are refashioned into genres of suffering and redemption, and then used to create new foundational myths of the nation. The conference participants will consider under what conditions this does or does not happen.

Finally, the conference will encourage greater deliberation on the ethics of researching narratives on suffering, so that scholars might be more reflective about the methods and theories they use. They will assess the special considerations that may impinge upon the processes of reading about, listening to, and documenting and recounting narratives of fear and suffering. They will weigh whether specific ethical issues are involved in studying victims’ testimonies and documenting the attempts of individuals to “remake a world” through narrative. The aim of the conference would be to create a better understanding of how researchers in various disciplines can respect the integrity of testimonies, but at the same time draw out their social nature, and examine the degree to which they are embedded in historical, political, social and cultural processes. To explore the multiple kinds of suffering narratives and to encourage cross-cultural and cross-temporal comparisons, the conference will offer broad plenary discussions as well as thematic sessions which will include the place of narratives of suffering in the following contemporary and historical contexts:

  • Slavery and Abolition
  • Apartheid
  • Colonialism and Decolonization
  • Genocide
  • Legal Institutions and Human Rights Commissions
  • Media and Visual Representations
Conference Organizers: Richard D. Brown, Humanities Institute and Richard A. Wilson, Human Rights Institute

Conference Information

Conference Agenda

Friday October 13th

6:00pm Reception

6:30pm Keynote Lecture | Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center

  • Thomas Laqueur | 'Reason, Popular Radicalism, and the Human in “Human Rights"'


Saturday October 14th

8:00am Registration and Breakfast | Rome Ballroom, South Campus

9:00am-10:30am Session 1 (Panels Run Concurrently)

  • International Law and Global Politics
  • Anglo-American Slavery and Abolitionism
  • Visual Media and Suffering

10:30-11:00am Break and Refreshments

11:00-12:30pm Session 2 (Panels Run Concurrently)

  • Media and Propaganda
  • Christian Humanitarianism
  • Colonization and Decolonization in Africa

12:30-2:00pm Lunch

2:00-3:30pm Session 3 (Panels Run Concurrently)

  • Literary Humanitarianism
  • The Holocaust
  • When Victims Speak

3:30-4:00pm Break and Refreshments

4:00-5:30pm Session 4 (Panels Run Concurrently)

  • Humanitarianism in the French Revolutionary Tradition
  • Speaking for the Victims
  • Refugees as Victims

6:30pm Dinner


Sunday October 15th

8:00am Registration and Breakfast | Rome Ballroom, South Campus

9:00-10:30am Summary Roundtable

10:30-11:00am Break and Refreshments

11:00am-12:00pm Discussion

12:00pm Box Lunches Available



  • Peter Balakian, Colgate University
  • Rony Brauman, Former Director, Doctors Without Borders
  • James Dawes, Macalester College
  • Ron Dudai, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  • Ilana Feldman, New York University
  • Shoshana Felman, Emory University
  • David Forsythe, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Ann T. Gardiner, Philadelphia University
  • Jennifer Geddes, University of Virginia
  • Robert Gross, University of Connecticut
  • Micheline Ishay, University of Denver
  • Carol Jacobsen, University of Michigan
  • Elizabeth Jelin, CONICET-IDES, Buenos Aires
  • Rhonda Jones, Duke University
  • Margaret M.R. Kellow, University of Western Ontario
  • Thomas Keenan, Bard College
  • Flora Keshgegian, Brown University
  • Thomas Laqueur, University of California, Berkeley
  • Michael Marrus, University of Toronto
  • William Miles, Northeastern University
  • Adam Nadel, Photographer/NYT Pulitzer Nominee
  • Klaus Neumann, University of Melbourne
  • Matthew Powell, Humanitarian NGO Photographer
  • Terence Ranger, St. Anthony’s College, University of Oxford
  • Bruce Robbins, Columbia University
  • Mark Sanders, Brandeis University
  • Kristin Sandvik, S.J.D. Candidate, Harvard Law School
  • Susan Shepler, American University
  • Joseph Slaughter, Columbia University
  • Susan Slyomovics, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Laura Suski, McGill University
  • Miriam Ticktin, University of Michigan
  • Ruti Teitel, New York Law School
  • Brenda Carr Vellino, Carleton University
  • Lars Waldorf, World Policy Institute, The New School
  • Ronald Walters, Johns Hopkins University


Abstracts and Papers

Keynote Speaker

Thomas Laqueur, University of California, Berkeley | “Reason, Popular Radicalism, and the Human in “Human Rights”




Peter Balakian, Colgate University | “History, Self, and Memory: Black Dog of Fate and the Armenian Genocide”

How can a family memoir that deals with the memory of genocide create an “an appealing idea of common humanity”? (The phrase is from the conference description). In exploring how a memoir can create an empathic response across ethnic and national boundaries, I will explore certain formal dimensions of my memoir that deal with the relationship between the personal and the historical. One of my interests in Black Dog of Fate was to eschew a degree of individualism that defines memoir with a historical perspective and experience that takes the form of a kind of inter-textuality.

In creating a collage of historical voices in the second half of my story, the journey of the “I” gives way, in part at least, to a historical ”other.” A polyphony of voices intrudes on the self’s experience; the world ceases to be a negotiation between the self and personal recollection, but becomes instead a negotiation between the self and unfamiliar voices of another time and place— in this case, Ottoman Turkey during the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Voices hitherto unknown, texts from other cultures, countries and places intrude upon the self that is seeking knowledge of the past. Such a collage of voices creates a layering of historical presence, inviting the reader into the past in a way that presents history as an open field of discovery for both the self and the reader.

Historical voices and texts create a space in the story that is detached from the self, a place in which the reader can come to some solid ground of history. The reader understands, of course, that this is not a historian’s history but a historical perspective of the author’s selection, but that, still, it is something to hold on to—something empirical and evidentiary. It is here perhaps that the memoir can be a witness to history and history can witness the self in its own journey toward understanding.

My own pursuit of history led me to create a polyphonic, multi-layered narrative that I hoped the reader would find something like unpeeling an onion; text after text unfolds another clue, another node of understanding. Sections from Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story (the memoir of the US ambassador to Turkey in 1915), U.S. Consul reports, eye-witness accounts from the Bryce-Toynbee Parliamentary Blue Book, a confession from an Ottoman general at a military tribunal; a human rights claim filed by my grandmother in 1920, a poem based on an eye-witness account, a Turkish propaganda pamphlet. The texts become characters in the unfolding story.

As the self of the story works through these texts, so too, must the reader. It must be an active experience, perhaps a variation on what Whitman once called “a gymnast’s struggle,” – reading as discovery; for as the “I” encounters these texts, the story takes on a new dimension, the terrain of history assumes a presence, and the reader, perhaps, can experience the story in a way that drives deeper into the source of the trauma, the inflicted suffering of genocide.

Does this kind of memoir, then, allow more readers into its sphere? Does the story widen its parameters? Are readers engaged in a more communal experience? As the author, I can’t say; I can only reflect on my own approach to form. I would note, as well, that the collage is a form that has interested me as a poet from the time I wrote a longish poem, “The Claim,” by grinding up my grandmother’s human rights lawsuit into a poem in my 1983 book Sad Days of Light. Through out my successive books of poems I have used various techniques of layering and polyphony that I call collage.


Rony Brauman, Former Director, Doctors Without Borders | “Tsunami, Darfur: from relief to propaganda”

In the realm of relief, two major events occurred in 2005, which gave place to two opposed narratives: the tsunami in South East Asia and a food crisis in Niger. In the first case, most of the survivors’ urgent needs were met, primarily through local responses. In spite of the magnitude of the destructions, the post disaster situation rapidly settled, as is always the case in natural
disasters (the earthquake in Kashmir is a notable exception). Nonetheless, false needs were created by international aid actors, in terms of urgent medical needs, abandoned children, lack of water, management of refugees camps etc. Repeated international appeals were launched in a context where spontaneous donations were already flowing in. Furthermore, though hardly any of them had ever handled a post disaster reconstruction program, many NGO’s presented them selves as proficient to enhance reconstruction. In Niger, tens of thousands of children were suffering from severe acute malnutrition in spring 2005, many of them being at risk of imminent death. As occurred in the tsunami relief operation, most of the agencies (primarily intergovernmental and governmental in this case), dismissed the field observations. Unlike the tsunami case, they denied the existence of a life threatening food crisis in this country. Distributions of food were withheld out of fear that they would disrupt long term structural aid programs to Niger. In both cases, public controversies broke out over what should be done to alleviate the sufferings of the victims. This chapter raises questions about the relationship between humanitarian organizations and the media. It describes the main features of both crises in order to understand to what extent these mainstream “humanitarian narratives” are related to or ignored factual observations and lessons from experience.


James Dawes, Macalester College | “Human Rights and the Ethics of Representation”

My talk, “Human Rights and the Ethics of Representation,” examines the representational crises that have become recurring, urgent concerns for both the fiction and fieldwork of human rights and humanitarianism. It begins with the story of one UNHCR legal officer who summed up here experiences by describing an interview she conducted with an asylum-seeker whose face had been so severely burned during her torture that the only recognizably human features that remained were the holes where her eyes and lips should have been. It was hard to know where, and if she should look. For those whose job it is to look, to document and to bring pain into language, the process of creating a surrogate voice for victims of deep shock can feel morally suspect. How must the words of the survivor be translated, edited, and rewritten to fit the officially sanctioned vocabulary of the institution? What for the organization counts as legitimate memory? Human rights fiction insistently thematizes such key issues in representational ethics. Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost, for instance, not only questions what it means for its protagonists (forensic anthropologists working for a fact-finding commission) to unbury corpses and to subject the remains of torture victims to professional scrutiny, but also questions what it means for an author and a reader to do so. What is at stake in creating or reading a beautiful work of fiction about humiliation or exposure? My talk examines the ethical responsibilities of the artist and audience, the limits of privacy, and the potential of art both to heal and to damage.

These questions of authors and readers apply also to larger communities: what does it mean for a culture to disseminate and use images of suffering? After the Bangladesh War, for example, photographers who filmed a staged massacre of unarmed Biharis were awarded Pulitzer Prizes, while those who left the scene — believing the perpetrators would not go ahead with the murders without the presence of the cameras — were forgotten. What is at stake in rewarding such acts of witnessing? When does non-intervention amount to complicity? How can the voice of the survivor be used to draw attention to the needs of suffering groups, and how can this language be purposefully or inadvertently stifled, turned against itself? Understanding the sometimes infinitesimal difference between revealing and shaming, resisting and enabling, is essential to the artist, aid worker, and citizen alike. I will explore all of the questions raised above by treating issues in fieldwork and literary texts as illuminating paradigms for the ethical structure of language and voice.


Ron Dudai, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London | “Can You Describe this?: The Language of Human Rights Reports and What it Tells us about the Human Rights Movement”

In her poem Requiem, the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova wrote how, when waiting with other women outside a Leningrad prison in the days of Stalinist Terror, one woman recognized her and asked her: “Can you describe this?”. When she replied “Yes, I can”, that woman smiled. This scene concisely provides the background themes for this paper: the significant role we attach to the description of atrocities and terror, the need to identify who has the authority and ability to describe, the relationship between the victims and those whose task it is to describe their suffering to others. While analysis of representations of suffering is usually focused on works of fiction, media accounts or historical studies, here my focus is on the work of Human Rights Organizations, and the way they document, report, frame and describe abuses.

“Information is indispensable to taking action and making choices. Readers of B’Tselem publications may decide to do nothing, but they cannot say, ‘We didn’t know’”. Thus, the mission statement of B’Tselem, the leading Israeli human rights NGO; and in a nutshell, the philosophy behind that characteristic product of the modern human rights movement: the human rights report. Produced by numerous international and local NGOs in growing numbers over the last couple of decades, this type of publication has now quietly established itself as a genre of its own. We tend to casually refer to these reports for their fact-finding and legal analysis of a specific phenomenon, but here I would like to raise the gaze and address more broadly the format, style, and the unwritten yet almost universal rules of writing of the human rights report. The assumption behind this paper is that in order to fully appraise the strengths and limitations of the human rights movement’s response to atrocities and suffering we need to look not only at the abstract legal and normative principles associated with it, but also at the concrete tools it uses. The main case-study will be reports on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though broader conclusions will also be drawn.

My analysis is centred on identifying a tension between two ambitions. The language of human rights reporting seeks to achieve two main goals: to establish the credentials of the organization itself as an authoritative and credible voice, in order for governments and public opinion to listen to it; and to convey and generate empathy, in order that its readers will take action to change there ported reality. To advance the first goal, organizations adopt a “professional” mode: the report sare distinguished from other types of commentary on the conflict in their detached, restrained, almost minimalist, language. They exclude moral assertions, or any reference to historical orreligious arguments. In order not to be perceived as partial to either side in the conflict, there ports adopt a single point of reference: the international human rights conventions. The constant use of footnotes is almost the emblematic feature of this genre: factual pronouncements are carefully sourced to eye-witness accounts or official statements; condemnations of an actionor a policy are unfailingly referenced to international conventions. As such the reports successfully distinguish themselves from partisan polemic, and are read as reliable.

Nevertheless, this comes with a price. The cold style of writing minimizes the potential readership, and even more importantly, the conviction that knowledge will lead to action is too simplistic, as Stanley Cohen has shown in his work on States of Denial. The reports’ potential to generate empathy is compromised by their objective-rational-legal tone, and the axiomatic belief in the status of universal human rights norms may not easily translate itself to each local context.

One of the ways the authors of human rights reports try to resolve or diminish this tension is through inserting first-person testimonies of victims into the text, a practice especially common in reports on Israel/Palestine. I will reflect on the way the victims’ subjective narratives are weaved into the text, and the possible dissonance with the authors’ objective tone. I will also deal with the growing practice of using first-person testimonies of perpetrators; the way the reports refer to local legislation, court cases and procedures and the tension between that and the stated exclusive reliance on international law; the awkward conflation of human rights standards and the law of armed conflict; and the exclusion of offering long-term political solutions to the political conflict.

In a “retrospective participant-observation”, the study is partly based on reflections on my personal past experience as a human rights NGO researcher in Israel, and is part of a wider research project on responses of Israeli, Palestinian and international NGOs to the violence in the
Middle East.


Ilana Feldman, New York University | “The Quaker Way: Ethical Labor and Humanitarian Relief”

The 1948 war over Palestine created an immediate and massive refugee problem. Faced with this humanitarian crisis, the United Nations commissioned a number of relief agencies to provide assistance to the refugees. The American Friends Service Committee [AFSC] was asked to take responsibility for the new Gaza Strip. From late 1948 until mid-1950, when the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees [UNRWA] took over, the Quakers provided aid to some 200,000 refugees from other parts of Palestine. This paper explores this short AFSC project, which was a source of both pride and consternation for the Quakers. AFSC practice was constrained both by the UN mandate and by the conditions they encountered on the ground. Quakers were committed to pacifism, yet had to work closely with the military. They wanted to provide assistance to anyone in need, yet were compelled to limit their reach. Perhaps most fundamentally, they wanted to be more than humanitarian – to be Quaker, to be engaged in a project that would help advance the cause of peace and justice – yet often found themselves acting as “a relief agency and nothing more.” In looking at the dilemmas that their work in Gaza posed for the volunteers who staffed the effort, my interest is to better understand the formations of humanitarianism. Ethical challenges are an endemic part of humanitarianism, and the process of working through them is important in shaping its practitioners. The dynamics of these issues in Gaza is a reminder of the often awkward relation between need and rights, between human rights and humanitarian relief.

The AFSC project in Gaza provides a window into humanitarianism from its margins. Not only did the AFSC resist defining itself as humanitarian, even as it repeatedly found itself being so, this was an early and uncertain moment in the development of the post-World War II humanitarian regime– a regime that includes both legal mechanisms for the protection of refugees and a proliferation of relief organizations. Further, compared to organizations like the ICRC, the AFSC was a very small actor within this arena (the Gaza project really strained its resources). When Quakers struggled with the ethical dilemmas of their work, they understood these questions to be particularly Quaker– and to a certain extent they were. At the same time, though, they shed tremendous light on problems that have come to be recognized as endemic to humanitarian relief in almost any circumstance. Questions about whether relief work might actually prolong suffering (Terry 2002),whether neutrality is an ethical position (Rieff 2002), and how relief projects represent and shape refugees (Malkki 1996) always accompany this work. The AFSC project shows people grappling with these problems before they were familiar. It also highlights another important feature of the humanitarian dilemma – its impact on and consequences for relief providers.

In elucidating and exploring the “ethical field” (Faubion 2001) of Quaker practice in Gaza, then, this paper sheds light on both the AFSC’s specific style of intervention and on humanitarianism more generally. It considers both what was distinctive about the Quaker approach and what their work shared with other humanitarian organizations that have followed. A close consideration of the debates among volunteers that were a consistent feature of the project illuminates an ethical practice that joined concern for others with “care of the self” (Foucault 1997), a practice that was equally attentive to an obligation to be ‘in the world’ and to be true to oneself. Considering the dilemmas that haunt humanitarian practice from this distinctive perspective (both historically and conceptually) may shed new light on them.


Shoshana Felman, Emory University | “Human Heads and Humanitarian Beheadings: Balzac’s genius of Storytelling and the Embodied Narrative of the French Revolution”

Balzac’s novella “The Red Inn” starts with the story of a murder executed with a surgeon’s knife. The murderer’s medical knowledge beheads the victim with such a speedy anatomical precision that it
prevents the victim’s cry or suffering. This beheading cannot but recall Dr Guillotin’s revolutionary plan for a swift and merciful decapitation, a humanitarian concept that triggered the
invention of the guillotine.

The murder in Balzac is followed by a trial in which an innocent accused is executed. This story gives rise to two other stories, each of which is also focused on a trial. [Each trial reenacts the previous trial and repeats its failure.] My interpretation suggests that the obsessive trials at the center of the text symbolically evoke the primal scene of the French Revolution: the trial and decapitation of the King, inaugurating the unstoppable frenzy of trials and decapitations that followed in the Reign of Terror.

I read the repetition of the trial in Balzac as a repetition of the trauma, embodying the Revolution’s contradictory, traumatic legacy. The repeated trials reenact each time what is ungraspable to legal argument in the historical//juridical/political unconscious. Balzac asks, how can literature advance us toward justice, and what can we do with such a legacy.


David Forsythe, University of Nebraska-Lincoln | “International Humanitarianism: Models and Dynamics”

A more globalized world has meant a more organized international humanitarianism. The “neutral” Red Cross model started about 1860, expanded after 1920, and became more systematized after 1970. A more “engaged” model developed along with the League of Nations and United Nations, pulling various NGOs in its wake. Both are affected by media coverage of the human condition. Both rely on a delicate combination of state political calculation and private transnational morality. The latter is a thin or weak morality. Neither has been able to overcome the thick morality that is produced by nationalism. For humanitarianism as for so much else, our globalized world is still largely a nationalized world.


Ann T. Gardiner, Philadelphia University | “Resistance to Slavery in Word and Image: Germaine de Staël, Auguste de Staël and the French
opposition to slavery”

This paper explores the relationship between word and image in treatises against slavery in France at the turn of the 19th century. I am particularly interested in Germaine de Staël’s texts against slavery, and the continuation of that battle by her son, Auguste, who used images before the French parliament to make a more forceful appeal. The paper thus compares two different media and two public spaces used to publicize opposition to human suffering. Particular attention will be paid to the form and structure of the media used — journal articles and fiction by the former, political speech and prints by the latter — as well as to the different spaces in which these appeals were made. Gender considerations will also play a significant role to explore public reaction to these appeals. I argue that feminized fiction could not compete with masculinized images, but that the son benefited from his mother’s previous work in the field. Interestingly, although Auguste de Staël’s work galvanized his contemporaries far more than that of his mother, today it is Staël rather than her son who is remembered in the humanitarian debate. The paper will thus also address the dialectic of remembering and forgetting and consider why certain narratives return to center stage, while others do not.


Jennifer Geddes, University of Virginia | “Towards an Ethics of Responding to Narratives of Suffering: Four PublicTestimonies of Holocaust Survivors”

An ethics of responding to narratives of suffering must take its cues from the sufferers who write or speak those narratives, attending to the implicit and explicit requests that sufferers make of us within them—including the ways they constrain and chasten our responses, on the one hand, and elicit and shape them, on the other. In my paper, I will briefly look at four public testimonies of Holocaust survivors—Charlotte Delbo’s Auschwitz and After, Sarah Kofman’s Smothered Words, Jean Améry’s At the Mind’s Limits, and Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz—to see what they might tell us about how we should respond to their narratives. I will argue that they point to gaps, misconceptions, and presumptions in our thinking about suffering that need to be addressed in order to begin to respond responsibly. They ask us to acknowledge the ways in which we misrepresent suffering, often by domesticating it; avoid responding to it; and are at times contributors to it, whether knowingly or not. The chastening is particularly pertinent to the case of scholarly responses to narratives of suffering, where the probing of research and the presumed neutrality of position can tread heavily on sensitive ground.


Robert Gross, University of Connecticut | “Humanitarian Interests: Anti-Slavery Activism in Concord, Massachusetts in the First Decade of Abolitionism”

Is a “politicized narrative of inflicted suffering” necessary to spur humanitarian action on behalf of those in need, as our conference theme suggests?

This case study of anti-slavery activism in Concord, Massachusetts, during the first decade of abolitionism tests that proposition. Launched in Boston with William Lloyd Garrison’s Liberator in 1831, abolitionism grew into a grassroots movement throughout the North over the next half- decade. In hundreds of local communities from Maine to Ohio, men and women organized local voluntary societies to fight for an end to slavery in the South and equal rights for all Americans, blacks as well as white. These efforts culminated in their participation in a national petition campaign organized in 1837-38 by the American Anti-Slavery Society and the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women. The goal was to flood Congress with memorials calling for an end to slavery and the slave trade in the nation’s capital and opposing the annexation of Texas into the Union and the admission of any new slave states. Altogether, the crusade gathered up some 425,000 signatures in 1837-38, with 70 percent coming from women. The success of this campaign represented the high point of abolitionism during the 1830s. Thereafter the movement broke into competing factions, and anti-slavery petitioning reverted to uncoordinated local and state-wide activities.

How were so many people enlisted in this unprecedented mobilization of civic activism? What appeals stirred participation in the vast collective enterprise, and by what means were they spread? This
paper gauges the level of support for anti-slavery petitions in Concord and searches for social, economic, political, and religious characteristics distinguishing signers from non- signers. As it turns out, support for the petitions cannot be easily explained on such grounds. Far from reflecting existing conflicts, the petition campaign overcame the divisions that had set neighbor against neighbor for much of the decade. By what means was this broad base established? Shifting the focus, the paper examines the varied anti-slavery messages disseminated to the people of Concord from 1831 to 1838. It finds no single metaphor, no coherent narrative driving anti-slavery appeals. Abolitionists employed multiple means and media of persuasion. If any form was dominant, it was the polemic; abolitionists argued their case in much the same rhetorical style as was used by the party press of the era. Narratives of suffering slaves played a surprisingly small role.

What appeals worked? This paper finds that abolitionist rhetoric was as controversial as its objects. Critics were alienated by the denunciatory style of its polemics. Garrison and his compatriots, they complained, were too personal, too emotional, too extreme. They exaggerated the cruelties of slavery and drove away the very slaveholders upon whom the fate of slaves hinged. In place of such harsh tactics, the critics strived to fashion an alternative rhetoric that eschewed concrete examples, appealed to reason rather than passions, and based its case on the impersonal ground of universal morality. In effect, the anti-abolitionists challenged the organizing proposition of this conference: politicized narratives are not necessary for humanitarian action, and, in fact, they may well have lost the very people they seek to persuade.

But the experiment in impersonal persuasion, free from examples and narratives of suffering, was still-born. Its appeal was even more limited than Garrisonian polemics. Perhaps, narrative was essential, after all. In the 1840s and 1850, abolitionism expanded with a growing reliance on the narratives of fugitive slaves and with the popularity of anti-slavery fiction.


Micheline Ishay, University of Denver | Power Politics, and the Politicization of Human Suffering

History shows how in civil strife or wars, different sides have always used narratives of suffering. Oppressors may justify their actions in terms of their own prior oppression, just as the oppressed may unleash terrible suffering to avenge their own grievances, and just as interveners may propagate their ethos of rescuers while degenerating into ruthless occupiers. Yet not all these suffering, let alone their narratives, will be heard and many will remain in the tragic silence of the spirit of the times. Only recorded narratives of human suffering gain legitimacy, and to survive the test of time, these narratives have to be within the orbit of, in tactical association with, or in successful resistance to power politics.

With this historical understanding, I will consider how since the end of the cold war, narrativesof human suffering have been politicized to conform to two emerging yet opposite human rights worldviews crystallized by the ascendance of the US as a “lonely” global superpower. These two conflicting positions on the appropriate response to human suffering was shaped by the new role of the US as the main orchestrator of globalization, as the driving force behind military (or humanitarian) intervention, as the main force in the war on terror.

While one side of the debate has viewed the progress of globalization as the best vehicle to alleviate human suffering, the other believes that globalization has worsened the lives of the poor. While one perspective has viewed military intervention from Bosnia to Iraq as a way to rescue individuals from suffering under tyrannical regimes or genocide, the other sees such interventions as serving the geopolitical interest of the West and (more precisely of) the US, with a resulting increase in human suffering. While one position sees political efforts at democratization and nation building as the ultimate panacea against human suffering, the other see these endeavors as the reflection of US imperialism in the making. Can one transcend these Manichean human rights worldviews providing political and economic relief to the suffering of the needy within and beyond the geopolitical ambit of great powers politics? This is a central question that will animate my discussion.


Carol Jacobsen, University of Michigan | “Representing Torture, Clemency, Human Rights: A Grassroots Project”

A decade ago, Amnesty International launched its first ever campaign on torture occurring in the U.S. Working with human rights activists, including prisoners, guards, attorneys and artists, the ongoing campaign focuses on the chaining, rape, retaliation, and other forms of torture of women in U.S. prisons. As a grassroots, social documentary filmmaker working with Amnesty on this issue, a director of the Michigan Battered Women’s Clemency Project, and an educator teaching documentary video, many questions about issues of representation, power, exploitation ,censorship and voice are involved in producing and disseminating images and visual narratives of torture and human rights, and are critical to the development of cultural discourse as we struggle to make torture a visible and public issue and ultimately to end it. This presentation will include an excerpt from my film, “Segregation Unit”.

Segregation Unit, 30 min., 2000
Carol Jacobsen, Director

Agonizing look at a torture unit inside Scott Women’s Prison, in Michigan. The film is narrated by the woman seen in the footage which was shot by guards during her incarceration, and obtained after her release through the Freedom of Information Act. In 2000, She sued the State of Michigan for torture and won. Co-Sponsored by Amnesty International USA. A nonprofit film available free to activists.


Elizabeth Jelin, CONICET-IDES, Buenos Aires | “Victims, relatives and citizens in Argentina: whose voice is legitimate enough?”

Argentina can be considered an extreme case of the power of testimony and personalized narratives of suffering. In post-dictatorial Argentina, “truth” came to be equated with testimony, first in the hands of blood relatives of victims of the repression (the emblematic figure of the “Madres”, complemented afterwards by the “HIJOS” and then by the “Hermanos”). Survivors of clandestine detention camps and militants/activists of the early seventies were not heard until later on –coming to occupy center stage almost thirty years after the military coup of 1976. This prominence implies considerable power in defining the human rights agenda of the country. “Truth” and Legitimacy of voice (or “ownership” of the issue) are embedded in personal experience and genetic bonds. This implies a political and symbolic dominance, with relatively little room for broader societal voices –based on citizenship or a universal perspective on the human condition-that have to struggle for a place in the public sphere.


Rhonda Jones, Duke University | “One Day in May: Responses to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Advertisement in the New York Times Concerning Civil Rights Demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama 1963”
Margaret M.R. Kellow, University of Western Ontario | “A Hard Struggle of Doubt”: Abolitionists and the Problem of Slave Redemption

As long as slavery persisted in the United States, Americans wrestled with the probity of purchasing the freedom of those held in bondage. Increasingly, enslaved African Americans and black and white abolitionists denied a slaveholder’s right to place a price on freedom. Invoking evangelical righteousness, Garrisonian abolitionists denounced slaveholding as a crime, rejecting any suggestion that “criminals” should receive compensation. Yet despite their loud denunciations of compensation schemes, white abolitionists contributed readily to funds to purchase the liberty of individual slaves. By the same token, fugitive slaves stole themselves out of their masters’ possession thereby rejecting claims of ownership and then spent years raising the money to purchase their loved ones. These contradictions informed the debate over slave redemption in antebellum America, exposing tensions between legal and moral condemnations of slavery as an institution and emotional or humanitarian responses to enslaved individuals. At every turn, narratives created by former slaves explicating the suffering and evil inherent in bondage underscored these tensions. Confronted by the suffering these narratives revealed, abolitionists were neither unanimous nor entirely consistent in their objections to slave redemption. Although they knew very well that there were good reasons not to do it, when the slave in question was someone known, or when the
slave’s situation resonated with prevailing cultural norms, abolitionists, black and white, set their principles to one side and ransomed thousands of slaves out of bondage. When narratives of suffering brought abolitionists face to face with the real suffering engendered by slavery, few chose righteousness over compassion. As in so many instances, ideological purity and humanity coexisted uneasily. Confronted with this dilemma, most abolitionists appear to have opted for humanity.


Thomas Keenan, Bard College | “Open Secrets”

Cameras wait on Somali beaches for the Marines, and at Sarajevo intersections for snipers. Paramilitary commanders wave at television crews in Kosovo, and London’s Underground bombers record their last wills in Waziristan. Abu Ghraib’s guards use images of torture as screensavers, and insurgent armies in Iraq circulate tapes of beheadings and daylight assassinations in Internet forums. My paper attempts to track what remains of secrecy, shame, and dissimulation — and with them, the classical human rights strategies of reporting and exposure — in an era of generalized glasnost and publicity. Why does the CIA keep its fleet of private jets and network of secret prisons hidden even after senior officials confirm their existence on the front page? Why do insurgent armies never release videotapes of attacks on purely civilian targets, even as their leaders openly call for sectarian violence? Human rights norms seek to regulate actions, to prevent crimes or enable just responses to them, but they also have an aesthetic dimension, providing frames for representation, legitimizing and de-legitimizing certain narratives and images, and too often the two functions can become confused. What do they have to do with one another?


Flora Keshgegian, Brown University | “‘Starving Armenians’: The Politics and Ideology of Humanitarian Aid in the First Decades of the Twentieth Century”

During the genocide of Armenians by the Turkish government during World War I, American missionary organizations, which already had a presence in Turkey and whose missionaries were often key witnesses to the genocide, organized a separate and independent humanitarian relief effort that, in the years after the genocide, came to be called Near East Relief. Endorsed by the American government and with strong ties to powerful religious, political and economic networks, this hugely successful humanitarian relief campaign provided much needed care to the survivors and refugees of the genocide. It also utilized a particular narrative portrayal of the relationship between white Christian America and the “starving” Armenian refugees who were portrayed as fellow (white) Christians in need of rescue. This paper will discuss and analyze this “salvation as rescue” narrative and argue that in such a narrative the victim has to be similar to and appealing to the hero/rescuer, yet be categorically different as well. The victim also has to be relatively passive and lacking in agency. Meanwhile, the “villain” represents, if not personifies, evil. Such a rescue narrative sets up and perpetuates dependency, does not make for effective solidarity and relies on moral dualism. I will propose that while Near East Relief’s humanitarian efforts were effective in generating an impressive amount of refugee aid, they reinforced and further complicated dynamics of western difference and superiority that continue to impact American- Turkish-Armenian politics and relations today.


Michael Marrus, University of Toronto | “Bystanders to the Holocaust: Why Was There No Humanitarian Intervention?”

This paper will examine a familiar subject — the failure of the international community, particularly the governments of liberal, democratic societies in the West, to come to the aid of Jews persecuted by the Nazis and eventually murdered during the Holocaust, but will do so from an unfamiliar vantage point — the history of what is now considered “humanitarian intervention.” Since the late 1960s and 1970s there has been considerable study of the policies of these “bystanders” to the Holocaust. I have described this history as essentially one of insufficiency— a history of inaction, indifference, and insensitivity. But it is too little appreciated that such assessments usually rest upon an explicit expectation, by the analyst and commentator, of international action. Such action seems to match what is now often referred to as “humanitarian intervention.” How should we understand this expectation? What kinds of precedents were there,
In the 1930s and 1940s, for humanitarian intervention? What were the modern origins of such undertakings, and what was the humanitarian context within which we should understand the posture of the bystanders?


William Miles, Northeastern University | “Indigenization of the Holocaust”

This paper argues that intellectual globalization, overlapping with an age of genocide, is resulting in the indigenization of the Shoah (Holocaust). The focus here is on those nations and societies of the developing world that have experienced their own forms of post-World War II lethal and collective human rights violations. Increasing numbers of intellectuals, scholars and writers from Latin America, Asia and Africa have been exposed to the scholarship and pedagogy that have arisen in the aftermath of Europe’s mid-twentieth century experience with a “Final Solution.” In exposing the group suffering in their own regions, comparative sensitivities (and a need to write for a Western audience) have led to the inclusion of the Holocaust paradigm in their own narratives of inflicted suffering. This paradigm is contextualized, compared, and culturalized: in short, it is indigenized. In such ways, the significance and pedagogy of the Shoah are integrated into host cultures’ historical and moral frameworks. Inevitably, intellectual nativization accompanies the globalization of Holocaust studies within the Third World. Given the baggage of “Third World” ambivalence vis-à-vis Zionism (associated with lingering solidarity with the Palestinian worldview), this is a counterintuitive genre that challenges conventional perceptions of Third World indifference to Jewish suffering. Renascent empathy with the Shoah is informed by more recent, and more comparable, examples of ethnically and religiously motivated mass killing.

A precursor to contemporary Third World Views of the Holocaust is apparent in writings of the négritude movement of the African diaspora, especially those of Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon.
Césaire, Fanon, and other Black minorities in the Caribbean and Europe explicitly invoked anti- Semitism and its genocidal end product in situating their own struggle against international colonialism, the aftermath of slavery, and economic-cum-cultural oppression. More contemporary African invocations of the Holocaust include the “modeling” of the Nuremberg Trials by Gerald Gahima, Rwanda’s prosecutor against perpetrators of genocide, as well as Edward Kissi’s analysis of Holocaust parallelism during Ethiopia’s war of revolution.

In Asia, the budding field of Jewish studies in the People’s Republic of China (led by Xu Xin) parallels Japanese reassessment of its own postwar moral reckoning compared with that of Germany (articulated by Kinue Tokudome). The campaign among diasporic survivors of the Cambodian “killing fields” to establish a memorial in the United States (pace Chivy Sok) is explicitly framed within the context of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Latin America’s conceptualization of the Holocaust is contemplated by the region serving as haven of both survivors and perpetrators of the Shoah. These ambivalent legacies are expressed from Argentina (Luis Borges) to Bolivia (Leo Spitzer) to Mexico (Ilan Stavans). Noteworthy, too, is Dr. Roberto Cabrero’s linkage between his chance visit to Yad Vashem ( Jerusalem’s Holocaust museum) and his gradual recognition of an indigenous Indian genocide in his native Guatemala.

Indigenization of the Holocaust serves as an humanitarian mirror, enabling the West to better perceive its darkest historical side through the eyes of an also genocidally wounded South.


Adam Nadel, Photographer/NYT Pulitzer Nominee | TBD
Klaus Neumann, University of Melbourne | “Refugee Advocacy and Narratives of Suffering: Three Australian CaseStudies”

In a recent production, Le Dernier Caravansérail (Odyssées), Adriane Mnouchkine’s Théâtre du Soleil provides a nuanced and complex picture of forced migration as a global phenomenon. In my paper, I
contrast that theatrical performance of refugees’ narratives with narratives produced by Australian refugee advocates. By comparison, the latter appear truncated in three respects: they rely on a greater degree of mediation; they pay little attention to the lives of refugees before they reached, or tried to reach, Australia, and instead focus on narratives of suffering related to the experience of immigration detention; and they depict refugees as individuals whose worthiness endows them with a value in relation to Australia’s national interest.

In order to offer explanations for these limitations, I situate the current pro-refugee discourse in the broader, historical context of Australian responses to refugees, and in the context of
Australian public debate over asylum seekers in the past seven years. I sketch the genealogy of ideas about refugees as immigrants and about immigrants as people without a pre-Australian history, and suggest that the emphasis on the presumed worthiness of asylum seekers and refugees has to be understood as a reaction to depictions of refugees by the Australian government, according to which asylum seekers pose a security risk and do not deserve Australians’ compassion.

In the program notes for Le Dernier Caravansérail, Hélène Cixous asks those who shared their stories with Mnouchkine and her collaborators: ‘How do we avoid replacing the word from your lips with the sound of good intentions?’ I suggest that the sound of good intentions may easily bear uncanny resemblances to narratives about the nation that valorise xenophobia and collective egotism.


Matthew Powell, Humanitarian NGO Photographer | Humanitarian Photographic Narratives: “A Visual Representation of Suffering And the Humanitarian Response”

As a photographer for an international relief organization I specialize in creating visual narratives of Third World suffering and humanitarian aid responses. The primary purpose of my photography is to generate philanthropic responses from concerned donor audiences. This requires capturing fundamental aspects of human need and emotion in a manner that relates to the psychology of my audience. To do so I must reveal suffering and corresponding aid efforts in a compelling, compassionate manner that inspires hope as opposed to guilt. Thus, my narratives of suffering and the ethos they represent are not ends in themselves, but a subtle questioning to my audience: “There is hope, will you help?”

Through a presentation of my photographs I will illustrate how I conceptualize my narratives utilizing the elements found in human indigence to connect those capable of donating assistance to those in desperate need of it. I will demonstrate my methodology and the role of a narrator in crafting consistent themes from seemingly disparate images. What distinguishes my photographic narratives from others on suffering is that my work focuses on hope in the midst of suffering, not simply documenting pain.

In light of today’s media-connected world in which photos of Abu Graib torture and simple newspaper cartoons possess such obvious influence to elicit global indignation, the power of the photographic narrative demands closer scholarly analysis. Similar to these examples my narratives also demand action, not socio-political acts, but acts of compassion. Perhaps what can be achieved through the power of visual imagery is hope for reconciliation between two worlds: the needy and the powerful.


Terence Ranger, St. Anthony’s College, University of Oxford | “Repression in Matabeleland”

The recent history of Zimbabwe makes an ideal case-study for this conference. In the 1980s there was a very great deal of inflicted suffering in Matabeleland, the western province of Zimbabwe. Estimates of men and women killed by the forces of the Mugabe government in the 1980s range from 30,000 to 50,000. They were killed with great brutality and their bodies slung into mine- shafts or buried in mass graves. Yet the Zimbabwean government was not indicted or sanctioned by any international organisation; not condemned by any human rights body. No report on the atrocities was issued until 1997. [Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and the Legal Resources Foundation, Breaking the Silence. A Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland the Midlands, 1980 to 1988, Harare] The first detailed historical study was published in 2000. [ Jocelyn Alexander, JoAnn McGregor and Terence Ranger, Violence and Memory. James Currey, Oxford] The first fictional treatment by a Zimbabwean novelist appeared in 2002. [Yvonne Vera, The Stone Virgins, Weaver, Harare]

There has been a total contrast with the violence which has taken place in Zimbabwe since 2000 even though nothing like as many people have been killed or tortured. Zimbabwe’s seizure of white-owned farms and its repression of the black opposition has been condemned and sanctioned by the European Union, the United States of America and Great Britain. A United Nations commissioner has issued a scathing report on Zimbabwe’s urban clearances. Innumerable reports have been published by international and national human rights organisations. Many books have already been published. A play has been staged at Stratford and in London and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Thousands of Zimbabwean asylum seekers have arrived in South Africa and Britain.

I myself know about the violence of the 1980s because of the exhaustive historical research my colleagues and I carried out ten years later. I know about the current violence in Zimbabwe because I have written some 160 ‘expert’ reports on individual asylum appeals and several general reports for ‘country’ determinations by the courts. In these reports I document and of course condemn contemporary violence in Zimbabwe. But I am nevertheless struck by the great contrast in the production of humanitarian narratives of inflicted suffering then in the 1980s and now twenty years later.

In this paper I shall seek to explore the reasons for this contrast. Several have been advanced. One is racial – the victims in the 1980s, it is argued, were all black; a minority of the victims in the 2000s have been white. The democratic ‘world’ does not care about blacks: it does care about whites. As I shall show, there is a good deal of truth in this argument but it does not fully explain the contrast.

Another very different argument holds that in the 1980s Zimbabwe was facing a real and dangerous threat from internal rebels and South African destabilisation. [E.P.Makande, Marginalising the Human Rights Campaign: The Dissident Factor and the Politics of Violence in Zimbabwe, 1980-1987, Lesotho, 1992] It was in fact a security crisis rather than a human rights crisis. By contrast – and despite the paranoiac fears of the Mugabe government of invasions and conspiracies – few people believe today that Zimbabwe faces a security crisis. One can add to this sort of argument the fact that Zimbabwe liberation movements had been strongly supported by human rights bodies. These were very reluctant immediately to condemn a new regime in which they had placed such high hopes.

Supporters of the Zimbabwe regime could dismiss reports of atrocities as South African propaganda. As I shall admit from personal experience, there is something in this argument too.

But I shall also argue that availability of information – immediate access to humanitarian narratives of inflicted suffering – has also made a striking difference. In the 1980s it was very difficult to obtain regular and reliable information about what was going on. There were few internal human rights bodies. By contrast the Zimbabwean Human Rights NGO Forum, which brings together a dozen organisations, has issued monthly political violence reports from 2000 to the present. As I prepare my ‘expert’ assessments of asylum appeals I ‘google’ dozens of detailed accounts of human rights abuse in Zimbabwe. I could not now, as I regrettably did in the 1980s, claim that I do not know what is going on. I have myself written an article which draws on some of the most dramatic of asylum seeker narratives of suffering. [Terence Ranger, ‘The Narratives and Counter-narratives of Zimbabwean Asylum: female voices’, Third World Quarterly, 26, 3, 2005]

I shall discuss why there are now so many more human rights NGOs. Are they the product of a vigorous ‘civil society’ which can be said to have developed in Zimbabwe over the last twenty years? Or are they, as the Zimbabwe government alleges, foreign-funded neo-liberal bodies committed to ‘regime change’. I shall end with some discussion of the public debate about human rights which now rages in Zimbabwe.


Mark Sanders, Brandeis University | “Mentioning History: Aporias of Reparation and Remembrance in J.M. Coetzee and Antjie Krog”

What does it mean to think one’s acts as historical? What does it mean to testify to certain acts–or misdeeds–as having been part of a history of wrong? Is it responsible to do so? Is it responsible not to? What if the acts in question are sexual? One major departure in South African literary history is to see even one’s most private acts as historical. From Paton, Modisane, Gordimer, Serote, and Breytenbach, to Coetzee’s early fiction, this is readily apparent. There seems to be a consensus that it is good to see one’s acts as historical. This was a consensus on which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission could rely. In Coetzee’s Disgrace, a tacit response to the Commission, this consensus is questioned: Mentioning the history of which one’s acts (or those of others) were part may, if it is only a mention, lead to a repetition of that history. Concentrating on a history of sexual violence, Coetzee’s fictional response to the Commmission therefore reveals an aporia: history must be mentioned; mentioning history may repeat that history.


Kristin Sandvik, S.J.D. Candidate, Harvard Law School | “The Physicality of Legal Consciousness: Suffering and the Production of Credibility in a Refugee Resettlement in Uganda”

The larger theme of this article is to examine how the legal recognition of particular forms of suffering functions instrumentally as a foundational myth for global humanitarianism, beyond the normative objective of resuscitating subaltern voices in international law. Based on experience as a UNHCR caseworker (2004) and fieldwork (2005) among urban refugees in Uganda, this article traces the complex strategies through which physical and psychological injury are translated into legal narrative.

Resettlement is one of the three durable solutions to bring the plight of refugees to an end. It addresses the special needs of refugees which cannot be met adequately in the country of refuge. Every year, UNHCR resettles thousands of refugees from war-torn poverty-stricken countries in the global south, to wealthy countries in the North. Still, this number accounts for less than 0,5 % off the total refugee population. The pursuit of resettlement occupies a dominant position in the encounter between UNHCR, legal protection officers and the refugee population. While resettlement-officers postulate “the perfect victim” as the ideal resettlement-candidate, resettlement requires substantial individual entrepreneurship.

I consider the process of constructing rape, torture and physical insecurity narratives geared towards fulfilling the legal criteria set out under the resettlement-procedure, and the discretionary credibility assessment embedded within this process. I examine the way distinctions between “true” narratives and manufactured stories are made by the actors, and how ideas about personhood, credibility and chronology are mediated and negotiated. A high number of urban refugees are survivors of devastating physical and sexual violence. I argue that the seeming “trivialization” of past experiences embedded in the future oriented efforts to capitalize on social identity, is fraught with ambiguities for the refugees, and incorporates a complicated view of suffering, where the self slips in and out of sight.

The pursuit of the international is an intense competition over a scarce resource; the annual resettlement quota. The ability to convey a credible story of suffering as demanded by international law, is thus viewed as instrumental by urban refugees. UNHCR officers are continuously presented with “official” letters documenting suffering. Bureaucratic culture seemed to indicate that these be routinely dismissed as “forged”, but they are instrumental for communication between UNHCR and resettlement-countries, if the case is accepted. Due to the rapid spread of internet-use and cell-phone ownership among the urban refugee population in Uganda, communication and monitoring of resettlement-narratives has become extremely efficient. This use of technology for “coaching” and “rehearsal” of impression management is perceived as “cheating” by UNHCR. Furthermore, in a bizarre twist, “true narratives” may be displaced by “syndicated narratives”, as they are perceived as having a higher chance of success. The routine character of stories arises suspicion, and frequently results in failure to be perceived as credible, despite the very real suffering underlying the choice of communication strategy.

I propose that these narratives should lead us to question our perception of purity and credibility embedded in the humanitarian subject. By more consciously rejecting essentialism as a precondition for universalism, stories of suffering may better be able to penetrate legal discourse and find a proper place in international law, contingent upon a more humanist view of survival and struggle.


Susan Shepler, American University | “Can the Child Soldier Speak?”

There is a fairly standard child soldier narrative that is presented in child protection agency documents across different national contexts, from Sri Lanka to Uganda to Colombia. The elements are: I was abducted, I was forced to commit atrocities against my will, and now my only wish is to return to my family. It is safe to say that every document concerning child soldiers by Child Protection Agencies includes narratives from the individual suffering child (usually as an illustrative sidebar). These are narratives of former child soldiers, never from current child soldiers.

What does this do? In the first place, it individualizes the suffering, thereby removing the political context. These narratives of suffering are aimed at mobilizing anti-child soldier movements in the West, and as the call for papers suggest, work best by constructing an appealing idea of common humanity, a world where we all care about the best interests of children.

Can the child speak for his or her self? Children are the subjects for whom it is most automatic(“natural”) to substitute authoritative narratives for a child’s own untutored voice. Pupavac (2001)calls this “misanthropy without borders,” and sees a fundamental mistrust of third-world adults by the international child rights regime that valorizes the speechless child at the expense of the adults charged with his or her care.

Regarding the relationship between private narratives of suffering and the institutional contexts that elicit such narratives and channel them into the public sphere, I ask: What is silenced or ignored in child soldier narratives? (For example, in my research with former child soldiers in Sierra Leone, some boys told me “I enjoyed firing my RPG.”)

Children’s participation in war is not a new phenomenon, what is new is the international child rights framework that has in some ways constructed the identity “child soldier” where it previously did not exist through techniques from the fields of education, psychology, and social welfare that take child soldiers as their objects. (There is, of course, a fine line here. Pointing out that thechild rights framework is imposed from outside does not mean denying the reality of war’s pain.)

My question is: How does “modern childhood” function as an ideology? How does it frame the possibilities for debate and analysis? The role of youth in political narratives has changed over the last ten to twenty years. Yesterday’s freedom fighting heroes are now innocent victims of abduction. I claim that NGO studies are in some ways blinded by their ideology; specifically, as much as they quote child soldier narratives in their documents, they are blinded to the views and practices of child soldiers themselves.


Joseph Slaughter, Columbia University | “The Rights of “Man”; or, What Are We Reading For?”

In the early years of WWII, British novelist H. G. Wells posed a version of the question that I take as my title in an open letter published in the London Times which asked “the Atlantic Parliamentary peoples”: “‘Is this what we are fighting for? And if not, then please tell us what you imagine we are fighting for'”(12;30). In our contemporary era, when military invasion routinely wears the rhetorical mantle of humanitarian intervention, Wells’ question about the relation between war and rights takes on a renewed urgency. This paper considers the role of reading in human rights and humanitarianism, not only in the sense of reading with an attentiveness to human rights in a particular text but in the broader sense of reading as a human rights and/or humanitarian praxis—an activity intended to facilitate the “realization [. . .] of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for [human] dignity and the free development of [human] personality” and to bring about “the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want” (UDHR). What would it mean to read for human rights? Is that what we are reading for? And if not, what are we fighting for?


Susan Slyomovics, University of California, Los Angeles | Money Talks: Reparations and Testimony in Morocco and Algeria

Human rights commissions and reparations committees attach conditions to reparation funds they disburse. These conditions are both implicit and explicit. Witness testimony is a prime example of an explicit condition directly relevant to the variety of subsequent remedies available or offered. My project explores what I call the conditionality of witnessing – the narrative of suffering in relationship to pecuniary reparation – and the ways in which the conditionality of witnessing continues to shape, distort, and create the acts of giving testimony about past human rights abuses. My case studies are the Moroccan Truth Commission (mandate ended November 2005), the newly implemented 2005 Algerian commission, and the recent 2004 German Stiftung recognition to indemnify Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian slave/forced laborers from World War II. These three cases emphasize the triumph of the notion that reparation is individual and proven by narratives of suffering while perpetrators’ culpability, also conceived of as individual guilt through careful judicial examination, do not result in any form of accountability – whether acknowledgment (for example, naming torturers) or trials. I analyze the ways in which reparation in these three cases is equally concerned with how one gets something, the process undertaken to be reimbursed, and is less concerned about what one does get back or recover. In fact, what exactly does one get after embarking on the action to produce narratives of suffering that seek financial reparation?

Laura Suski, McGill University | “Children, Suffering and the Humanitarian Appeal”

The paper explores the role of children in international humanitarian narratives. Innocent in the larger structures of violence and oppression that determine their suffering, children often stand as unquestionable victims ?worthy? of international attention and assistance. They come to represent hope and promise for the future of their communities, their nations, and for the global humanitarian movement itself. International development organizations like World Vision, Unicef, and Save the Children have benefited from putting children at the forefront of their campaigns. Some of these organizations seek to create personal relationships between international donors and victims through tactics such as child sponsorship, and in so doing, suggest the possibility of a kind of familial connection that can overcome the differences of race, class, history, and nation. Still, many have been critical of the way in which the suffering of children is used to trigger the humanitarian impulse. Some argue that when humanitarianism asks us to see anyone as an object of pity to be helped, we move humanitarianism from the more politicized space of human rights into the so-called apolitical space of charity.

By drawing on interdisciplinary scholarship in the areas of media analysis, international development, and childhood studies, the paper analyzes the complex ethical relationship that is
built between a humanitarian actor and a suffering child. It is argued that while humanitarian narratives that privilege the suffering of children may risk a more radical version of humanitarianism and may deny the agency of children to express their own suffering, they can also build a profound moral attachment between distant strangers. In addition to sketching a theoretical frame for analyzing the child in international humanitarian appeals, the paper will draw on some historical and contemporary examples of humanitarian appeals from international development organizations.

The paper concludes by suggesting how the exploration of the child as international victim has the potential to transform our understanding of both global ethics and humanitarianism.


Miriam Ticktin, University of Michigan | “Suffering and Slavery in Post-Colonial France”

This paper will examine how narratives by and about “modern slaves” in France elicit greater responses from human rights and humanitarian organizations than narratives by and about undocumented immigrants, despite there being a large overlap between these two types of subject positions and experience. Why is it that the movement against modern slavery has been able to mobilize a transnational following, media presence and funding, while the social movements for undocumented immigrants have not? How do the narratives of these social and political organizations differ? Why is it that narratives by those designated “modern slaves” are increasingly prevalent in French bookstores — what work do they do in the French imaginary? Which narratives of suffering help to build the postcolonial French nation-state, and which challenge it? By looking at the types of social selves allowed to emerge from immigrants and refugees (slaves and non) – in particular, women – I will argue that the suffering that mobilizes humanitarian organizations in fact works by dividing people into “us” and “them” – invoking a feeling of pity and sympathy that perpetuates differentials of power, rather than overcomes them.


Ruti Teitel, New York Law School | ‘The Rise of Humanitarian Discourse: Constructions of Contemporary Suffering and the Loss of the Political.’

This paper discusses the rise of humanitarian discourse in current international politics and reflects upon how this discourse structures violence in a language that is either neutral or highly moral, but which does not fully include a discussion of the political dimensions of violence. It explores several illustrations of this phenomenon ranging from the dilemma of humanitarian intervention and its interaction with the political to the uses of humanitarian discourse in the “war on terror”. It concludes by reflecting upon the reasons of the continued appeal of humanitarian discourse, as well as the ramifications of the impoverishment of the political.


Brenda Carr Vellino, Carleton University | “In Spite of Us…Something is Communicated. An Ethics of Translating Torture in Ariel Dorfman’s ‘First Prologue: Simultaneous Translation.'"

Ariel Dorfman in prefaces, essays, and interviews has repeatedly identified the problem of apathy regarding state inflicted suffering such as torture and has made it a goal of his life-work to enlist his implied readers as co-witnesses in the project of “exorcizing terror.” His human rights witness poetry along with plays and novels seek to awaken in his implied reader a “responsibility to know and assist” through representations that ground ethics in empathy (Cohen). Literary translation of bodily pain under torture is a central human rights pedagogical tactic deployed by Dorfman (and other human rights witness poets) designed to draw the reader towards empathy through recognition of shared sentience and embodiment. However, Dorfman also anticipates the concern of many Latin-Americanist critics about armchair leftists from the North who substitute a “poetics of solidarity” for actual extra literary social movement engagement (Moreiras 198-199). He does so by building into his poems reminders of the many gaps which translation work seeks to bridge– linguistic, cultural, geographical, political, uneven privilege and power, and identity locations. Foregrounding the complexity of North/South translation which both seeks to bring across communicative connection and maintain differences between subjects of suffering and subjects of privilege is a principle tactic by which Dorfman seeks to create a productive tension within the reader, balancing proximity and distance, which then opens the possibility of an ethics of empathy and solidarity.

In the poetic “prologue” to In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land (2000), Ariel Dorfman raises significant questions about his attempt to “translate” into poetry the trauma of torture undergone by many Chilean political prisoners and desaparecedos under Augusto Pinochet’s regime. By invoking the frame of simultaneous translation as an interchangeable trope for his own act of poetic translation, Dorfman abridges two distinct modalities and sites of translation which are typically not seen as related. Literary translation with its own contexts, theoretical debates, and implications implies transferring ideas expressed in writing from one language to another. “Community interpreting,” practiced by a network of professional and volunteer participants who work variously at NGO conferences, for the UN and the European Union, in refugee and immigrant services in local communities positions the interpreter as a linguistic intermediary with social commitments whose role is to interpret orally and sometimes advocate in real time from the source language into the target language. While “simultaneous translation” is sometimes used interchangeably by the lay community with “simultaneous interpretation” to convey the work of a community interpreter, it is not used by the community of translation and interpretation professionals because it already implies a kind of cross-over between two forms of translation perceived to be distinct. This paper seeks to explore what artists, scholars, and readers who seek to witness to human rights violations through creating or engaging representations of traumatic suffering may learn from Dorfman’s overlay of community interpretation and artistic translation as a hybrid model for ethical representation and reception.

Dorfman’s poem highlights a tension that arises both within literary translation theory and through the juxtaposed priorities of literary and community models of translation/interpretation. The speaker struggles between “finding the exact equivalent” and “trying to communicate the essence and the feeling,” to position himself with documentary precision “without emotion” and to convey “sensation” and “feeling.” The mimetic model of literary translation asserts the need for accuracy, a “word for word” or “sense for sense” rendering of the original into the secondary language. Typically the bias of many scholars and critics is that such a translation will always be in some sense inferior to the artistic merit of the original exemplified by the reluctance of many in the literary world to teach texts in translation. A counter position to this view is that of Willis Barnstone and many literary theorists that all writers and readers are translators and many official translators are performing an art of “creative transformance” to create equivalencies of sound, sense, and meaning between the source and target language.

In the case of Dorfman’s poem, the challenge of being an “intermediary” across the many gaps of geographical distance, firsthand experience, bodily trauma and artistic representation is enormous. While Dorfman was deeply involved with the inner circle who worked in support of the quiet socialist revolution of Allende, his fate was to be clandestinely spirited out of Chile rather than be subjected to disappearance , torture, and political murder. From a position of survivor guilt, political and self-chosen exile, and ethical commitment, Dorfman covenants with the dead and the tortured to take up a position of advocacy representation, to create the means for their voices to come through. This puts him in the heavily debated position of a proxy witness, one who deliberately takes the ethical risks of translating bodily and psychic pain into representation to the end of alleviating suffering much as an Amnesty International appeal does (Scarry). If every translation, according to Willis Barnstone, dwells in a liminal space of exile in between languages and home locations (265-266), the endeavor to translate across geographic spaces, radically uneven power relations, subjective experience, and witnessing locations in literary human rights representation is highly charged with the problems and possibilities of its liminality. In Translation and Empire, Douglas Robinson calls for a model of decolonizing translation that does not attempt to cover over “translation inequalities” (31). If cultural and linguistic translation has historically been entangled with the project of empire and imperialism, Dorfman’s work instigates a postcolonial project of “re-translation” which disturbs any notion of a full equivalency between texts, suggesting that the need for the writer and reader who would be proxy witnesses to struggle in the space in-between traumatized bodies, literary representation, and social intervention. While the speaker of Dorfman’s poem self-defines as “an intermediary, not even a bridge”; elsewhere Dorfman describes himself as a “bridge,” a “space for those voices,” forgotten, erased, denied, and not to be confused with the voices themselves. It is up to educators and readers to submit to this liminal space and to answer Ariel Dorfman’s unceasing call to join him as a collaborator in the ongoing project of public acknowledgment and social remediation.


Lars Waldorf, World Policy Institute, The New School |“Don’t Ask Me for Forgiveness! Narratives from Rwanda’s Community Genocide Trials”

In 2002, Rwanda embarked on the most ambitious experiment in transitional justice ever attempted. While other post-conflict states have opted for amnesties, truth commissions, selective criminal prosecutions, or some combination thereof, Rwanda decided to put most of the nation on trial. To accomplish this task, the government radically modified a “customary” dispute resolution mechanism (gacaca) to try hundreds of thousands of suspected Hutu genocidaires in approximately 9000 local communities. In each community, perpetrators, victims, bystanders, and rescuers are supposed to come together once a week to make accusations, hear confessions, give testimonies, and somehow become better neighbors in the process.

This paper explores the construction of local narratives in gacaca proceedings using ethnographic data that I am collecting in three rural communities. It then examines how those local narratives fit with national and international narratives on ethnicity, genocide, reconciliation, and humanitarianism.

Gacaca testimonies are inevitably shaped by local political, socio-economic, and cultural factors. In small, face-to-face communities, narratives are necessarily constrained by what Sally Falk Moore has termed “the micropolitics of local standing.” On Rwanda’s hills, those micropolitics play out against a backdrop of pervasive secrecy, mutual suspicion, and occasional denunciation. Survivors and confessed killers do most of the testifying in gacaca, while their Hutu neighbors remain largely silent. Killers evince little remorse and even less responsibility in their public confessions, which only further embitters survivors. Thus far, gacaca has confounded hopes that narratives of suffering and remorse would lead to local-level reconciliation in Rwanda.

Gacaca narratives reveal contradictions in the state’s legitimating narrative of “national unity and reconciliation.” First, the state has made ethnicity a taboo subject, but it is impossible to narrate the genocide without talking about ethnicity. Second, gacaca narratives occasionally reveal “hidden transcripts”: some Tutsi survivors criticize the state’s failure to provide long-promised reparations, while some Hutu criticize gacaca for not adjudicating the current regime’s war crimes. Finally, the state, which advertises gacaca as a truth and reconciliation mechanism (particularly to Western donors), now seems bent on instrumentalizing gacaca’s narratives of suffering to impose collective guilt on the Hutu majority: gacaca is expected to result in one million genocide suspects (which represents nearly a third of the adult Hutu population).

Gacaca narratives also challenge the international humanitarian response to genocide. First, they offer a more nuanced, micro-level understanding of how the Rwandan genocide occurred, which may assist international actors in preventing future mass atrocities. Second, they point up the problematic nature of humanitarian and reconciliation discourses, which often insist on simplistic dichotomies between victims and perpetrators. Finally, they show how well-meaning, post- genocide interventions (such as international donor funding for gacaca) may become complicit in an authoritarian regime’s legitimation strategies.


Ronald Walters, Johns Hopkins University | "Abolitionist Representations of Suffering"

From 1830 until the Civil War American abolitionists carried their message to the public in a wide variety of ways, making full use of new technologies, innovative organizational strategies, and contemporary popular culture. While scholars have long remarked on this, few have examined in depth what happened to the antislavery message as it migrated across cultural forms and genres. This paper uses narrative responses to the trope of the suffering slave as a way of exploring the importance of form in framing and shaping the humanitarian message. It also looks at inconsistencies and tensions within the abolitionist narrative response itself and examines counter-narratives, both from within antislavery and from its opponents. Finally, the paper suggests that the case of American abolitionist propaganda might be something of a cautionary tale about how—in a modern world of competing media—the availability of a wide variety of alternative cultural forms and narratives simultaneously empowers and constrains reformers’ persuasive strategies.

Conference Organizers

Professor Richard Brown
Director Humanities Institute

University of Connecticut
CLAS Building, Suite 300-312, Unit 4234
215 Glenbrook Road
Storrs, CT 06269-4234, USA


Professor Richard A. Wilson
Gladstein Chair of Human Rights
Director, Human Rights Institute

Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
University of Connecticut
U-1205, Storrs, CT 06268, USA


Economic Rights: Conceptual, Measurement, and Policy Issues


October 27-29, 2005 • Storrs, CT

Economic Rights: Conceptual, Measurement, and Policy Issues October 27-29, 2005

Scholars and policymakers are increasingly attempting to link socio-economic and classic civil and political rights in unprecedented and innovative ways. The University of Connecticut will host a conference on “Economic Rights: Conceptual, Measurement, and Policy Issues” (October 27-29, 2005) to move this new research and debate forward.

Having been marginalized in the West during the decades of the Cold War, economic rights are now emerging as one of the most exciting areas of human rights. Though economic rights lack the historical depth of theoretical and policy discussions in more established areas of core rights, influential thinkers are increasingly attempting to link socio-economic and classic civil and political rights in unprecedented and innovative ways. However, since this intellectual work is still pioneering in nature, economic rights remain less well articulated conceptually than civil and political rights, less accurately measured, and less consistently implemented in public policy.

The existing academic work in this area ranges across disciplines — from economics and philosophy to law and political science — with few shared concepts or common measures and, at best, a series of scattered “lessons learned” on policy application. In an era of significantly increased global economic interdependence and instability, however, issues of economic deprivation and inequality have become increasingly socially and politically salient – not only for their intrinsic moral force but also because these conditions are the harbingers of social unrest and political violence.

Co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, in celebration of the Dodd Center’s 10th Anniversary Celebration.

Conference Information

Concept Paper

Economic Rights: Conceptual, Measurement and Policy Issues
A Conference at the University of Connecticut
Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
October 27-29, 2005

This conference, co-sponsored by the University of Connecticut Human Rights Institute and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, will serve as an intellectual focal point for the Dodd Center’s Tenth Anniversary celebrations, which have as their central theme “Globalization and Human Rights.” We will solicit, by direct invitation and through a call for papers, contributions from well-known scholars as well as new creative researchers from a variety of disciplines. A conference on economic rights, culminating in the publication of an edited volume released by a scholarly press in 2006, will thus make a significant and timely contribution to the field of human rights along with key social science disciplines.


Concepts: There is considerable debate over the content of economic rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a principal normative reference in this area, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights both enumerate a wide range of rights but do not define them per se, nor group them into distinct subcategories. Hence there is considerable debate over the basic nature of economic rights and their relationship to other rights. Important unresolved questions remain about the philosophical nature of economic rights, especially within the familiar debates around: a) positive versus negative rights; b) the interdependence and indivisibility of human rights; and c) the relationship of economic rights to other state interests, especially trade and national security. Similarly, there is debate over how relationships of obligations and claims are structured in the area of economic rights. While some would argue that civil and political rights generate relatively clear relationships (i.e., the state as the party obliged, the individual as the claimant), others argue that economic rights involve non-state actors as obligatory parties (such as corporations) and groups as claimants rather than solely individuals. More generally, recent breakthroughs have demonstrated important links between human rights and economic development. For instance, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has shown how the link between human well being –when properly conceived – and income and economic growth is not as simple as once believed. States that safeguard human rights can sometimes achieve higher levels of human well being than those single mindedly pursuing economic growth or those with higher incomes. Sen also illustrates how government programs like unemployment insurance and temporary job creation can help prevent famines. It would be natural to conceive of these policies as state obligations, based on citizens’ economic rights. These kinds of insights have fundamentally altered the way that scholars and international institutions think about both economic development and human rights.


Measurement: Existing human rights databases focus principally on violations of rights, yet most of those violations are civil and political in nature. The monitoring measures we have available today tend to track incidences of state abuse of rights. With very few exceptions, these databases rank countries in terms of performance on negative rights, or freedoms “from” abuse. Existing standards-based scales as well as events-based measures include the Freedom House Index or the Political Terror Scale – both of which offer upwards of three decades worth of data on civil and political rights in scores of countries. There is little to no standardized data available on economic rights issues. In part, this is a function of the type of documenting done by states-parties to treaties and by NGOs. In part, it is a function of the
general tendency to map violations by states (rather than non-state actors) and to focus on violation rather than promotion of rights. As Victor Dankwa, Cees Flinterman, and Scott Leckie have argued, it is “necessary to develop new approaches in data collection, analysis, and interpretation, focusing on the status of the poor and disadvantaged groups but also disaggregating the data for a number of variables, including gender.”8 Economic rights thus add complexity to the task of measuring not only violations, but also the “progressive realization” of rights over time.


Policy: What conception of economic rights is politically viable – in the short-run, the long-run, and across cultures? How are economic rights implemented in practice? What are the obstacles to implementation? In a final section of our conference, scholars and practitioners who work on the applied legal, institutional and programmatic aspects of economic rights will be invited to share lessons learned in their own work and research. For example, Wiktor Osiatynsky, the first Distinguish Visiting Gladstein Professor of Human Rights, has drafted related aspects of the Polish Constitution. He has advised law makers and policy advocates throughout the developing world and in countries-in-transition on the practical aspects of codifying economic rights. Other participants will add a vital “on-the-ground” perspective to the conference.


Rationale: The University of Connecticut is already well-positioned to host such an event and can take advantage of the comparable lack of attention to this issue area to catalyze scholarship. In so doing, we will further solidify our reputation for innovative cross-disciplinary scholarship in human rights. Our Human Rights Institute strategically identified economic rights as the focus of its first joint-faculty hire (made with the Department of Political Science in Spring 2004). This faculty member and a senior member of the Economics faculty coordinate an “Economic Rights Research Reading Group,” which involves a committed group of senior scholars from a range of departments in bi-weekly scholarly exchanges.

The University also has a proven record of drawing top scholars and policymakers to participate in conferences and symposia. For example, our Human Rights Institute hosted a Fall 2005 conference on terrorism and human rights involving the foremost intellectual and policy experts on this topic internationally, and will release a related edited volume through Cambridge University Press later this year. We have the convening power to draw a similarly high profile group to campus to discuss economic rights issues, and are committed to securing a top academic publisher to produce an edited volume following the conference.


Conference Agenda

Thursday, October 27

4:00-5:00pm Introduction and Keynote lecture | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Introduction: Richard Wilson, Provost Peter Nicholls
  • Keynote lecture: Kaushik Basu (Cornell University) | 'Human Rights as Instruments of Emancipation and Economic Development'

5:00-6:00pm Reception | Dodd Center lobby

6:00-7:30pm Dinner | North Reading Room- Wilbur Cross


Friday, October 28

7:45-8:45am Continental Breakfast & Registration | Dodd Center lobby

8:45-9:00am Opening Remarks | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Shareen Hertel, Lanse Minkler

9:00-10:00am Panel One | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Chair: Eleni Coundouriotis
  • David Forsythe | 'International Welfare Rights: The US Record at Home and Abroad'
  • Audrey Chapman | 'The Status of Efforts to Monitor Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights'

Discussion (20 minutes)

10:00-10:20am Coffee break

10:20-11:50am Panel Two | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Chair: Leslye Obiora
  • Mark Gibney & Sigrun Skogly | 'Transnational State Obligations and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights'
  • Shawna Sweeney | 'Respect for Women’s Economic Rights: A Cross National Analysis, 1981-2004'
  • Clarence Dias | 'Progressive Realization of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Through Human Rights-Based Development'

Discussion (30 minutes)

11:50am-12:30pm Introductions | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
(facilitated by Shareen Hertel and Lanse Minkler)

12:30-2:00pm Lunch | Wilbur Cross North

2:00pm Welcome and Remarks | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Philip Austin, President, University of Connecticut

2:10-3:40pm Panel Three | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Chair: Lyle Scruggs
  • Philip Harvey | 'Quantitative, Qualitative and Equal Opportunity Aspects of the Right to Work'
  • David Cingranelli and David Richards | 'Measuring Government Respect for Economic Human Rights'
  • Claire Apodaca | 'Measuring the Progressive Realization of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights'

Discussion (30 minutes)

3:40-3:50pm Coffee break

3:50-5:20pm Panel Four | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Chair: Celina Romany
  • Peter Dorman | 'Worker Rights and Economic Policy'
  • Samson Kimenyi | 'Economic Rights, Human Development Effort and Institutions'
  • Rhoda Howard-Hassmann and Susan Dicklitch | 'Achieving Economic Rights in Africa: Ghana and Uganda'

Discussion (30 minutes)

5:30-6:30pm Reception | William Benton Museum

6:30-9:00pm Dinner and Jazz | North Reading Room


Saturday, October 29

8:00-9:00am Continental breakfast & registration | Dodd Center lobby

9:00-10:00am Panel 5 | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Chair: Michael Freeman
  • Sakiko Fukuda-Parr | 'Rich countries obligations for development: Goal 8 of the Millennium Development Goals the lens of human rights'
  • Jack Donnelly | 'Liberalism and Economic Rights'

Discussion (20 minutes)

10:00-10:20am Coffee break

10:20-11:50am Panel 6 | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Chair: Richard Hiskes
  • Michael Goodhart | 'A Democratic Defense of Economic Rights and Basic Income'
  • Albino Barrera | 'Economic Rights in the Knowledge Economy: An Instrumental Justification'
  • Wiktor Osiatynski | 'Needs-based Approach to Social and Economic rights'

Discussion (30 minutes)

11:50am-12:10pm Closing Remarks | Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Richard Wilson

(Box lunches available upon departure)

Confirmed Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Kaushik Basu


Albino Barrera
Jack Donnelly
Peter Dorman
Mark Gibney
Michael Goodhart
Philip Harvey
Sigrun Skogly



Clair Apodaca
Audrey Chapman
David Cingranelli
Samson Kimenyi
David Richards
Shawna Sweeney



Albino Barrera
Susan Dicklitch
Clarence Dias
David Forsythe
Rhoda Howard-Hassmann
Wiktor Osiatynski
Sakiko Fukuda-Parr

Speaker Biographies


Shareen Hertel is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut, and holds a joint appointment with the University of Connecticut Human Rights Institute. She specializes in comparative politics, human rights and international development. Dr. Hertel has also served as a consultant to foundations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations agencies in the United States, Latin America and South Asia. She has written professionally on the United Nations’ role in economic and social development and helped develop a standard for labor rights monitoring in global manufacturing (SA8000).


Lanse Minkler is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut, and Director of Socio-Economic Rights at the University of Connecticut Human Rights Institute. Much of his research has concerned worker knowledge contributions and worker motivations. Most recently, he has been interested in the intersection between ethics and economics — resulting int he book manuscript Integrity and Agreement: Economics as if Principles Mattered. His current research interests center on economic rights, most particularly on the right to work. He has served on the Editorial Board for the Review of Social Economy, and recently finished a term as Associate Editor for that journal.


Richard A. Wilson is Gladstein Chair of Human Rights and Director of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut. He is the author or editor of numerous works, including books on political violence and social movements in Guatemala; human rights and culture; and memory, truth and justice — among them, The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: legitimizing the post-apartheid state (2001, Cambridge University Press). Most recently, Dr. Wilson edited Human Rights in the ‘War on Terror’ (Cambridge University Press, 2005). He has served as a technical advisor on human rights reports for the United Nations, and is a member of the editorial boards of Critique of Anthropology, Social Justice and the Journal of Human Rights.



Clair Apodaca is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Florida International University, and has served on the Executive Committee on Human Rights of the American Political Science Association as Section Secretary. Her areas of research include United States foreign policy, the international protection of human rights, and women’s human rights. Her work has appeared in International Studies Quarterly, Human Rights Quarterly, Journal of Refugee Studies and Asian Survey.


Albino Barrera is Professor of Humanities at Providence College, where he teaches economics and theology. He has published in the Journal of Development Economics, History of Political Economy, Review of Social Economy, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Religious Ethics, Downside Review, Journal of Peace and Justice Studies, Labor Law Journal and Forum for Social Economics. His recent books are Modern Catholic Social Documents and Political Economy(Georgetown University Press, 2001), Economic Compulsion and Christian Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and God and the Evil of Scarcity: Moral Foundations of Economic Agency(University of Notre Dame Press, 2005).


Kaushik Basu is Professor of Economics and the C. Marks Professor of International Studies at the Department of Economics, Cornell University, and the Director of the Program on Comparative Economic Development at Cornell. He has held visiting positions at Princeton University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as the London School of Economics, among others. Dr. Basu is Editor of Social Choice and Welfare, and has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Development Economics, World Bank Economic Review and other journals. A Fellow of the Econometric Society and a recipient of the Mahalanobis Memorial Award for contributions to economics, Kaushik Basu has published widely in the areas of development economics, industrial organization, game theory and welfare economics. He is also a contributor of popular articles to magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Scientific American, India Today and Business Standard.


Audry R. Chapman is Director of the Science and Human Rights Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Co-Director of a new AAAS initiative on Science and Intellectual Property in the Public Interest, and Senior Associate for Ethics for the AAAS. A specialist on economic, social and cultural rights, she has served on several UN expert committees to develop indicators for monitoring human rights, and as a consultant to international foundations, governments, and religious and nongovernmental institutions. She is the author, coauthor, or editor of sixteen books and numerous articles and monographs related to human rights, health, and genetics, including Core Obligations: Developing a Framework for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Intersentia, 2002). Dr. Chapman has served on the faculty of Barnard College, the University of Ghana, and the University of Nairobi, among other institutions.


David Cingranelli is Professor of Political Science at Binghamton University of the State University of New York. He studies the human rights practices of governments from a scientific, cross-national comparative perspective – as reflected in his work on the Cingranelli and Richards (CIRI)Human Rights Project ( The project, which has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the World Bank, offers easily accessible, high quality, annual information on government respect for a broad array of human rights in every country in the world. Covering 24 years (i.e., 1981-present), 13 separate human rights practices, and 193countries, the CIRI Human Rights Project is the largest human rights data set in the world. Dr. Cingranelli is also co-authoring a book on the human rights consequences of structural adjustment programs.


Clarence J. Dias is President of the International Center for Law in Development, and has taught law at Boston College and the University of Bombay. He has also practiced law before the High Court of Bombay and has considerable public interest experience. Dr. Dias assisted the drafting group that produced the 1986 UN Declaration on the Right to Development and has served as consultant to various UN agencies and bilateral development agencies, as well as the OECD. He was the primary author of UN Development Programme’s policy on Integrating Human Rights with Sustainable Human Development (adopted in 1997) and has published numerous other scholarly and policy works, including The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Fifty Years and Beyond(United Nations, 1999).


Susan Dicklitch is an Associate Professor of Government at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. and is author of The Elusive Promise of NGOs in Africa: Lessons from Uganda(Palgrave, 1998) as well as articles published in Human Rights Quarterly, Development in Practice, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, International Politics, and the Christian Science Monitor. She has served as an expert witness on Cameroon and Uganda in several political asylum cases in U.S. Immigration Court.


Jack Donnely is Andrew Mellon Professor of International Studies at the University of Denver, and has held academic posts at universities throughout the United States and in Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Israel. Widely published, his books include Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice(Cornell, 2003, 2nd edition) and International Human Rights (Westview, 1998, 2nd edition) along with numerous book chapters as well as articles in journals ranging from the American Political Science Review to the Journal of Human Rights, Human Rights Quarterly, International Affairs, and Ethics and International Affairs. He is on the editorial board of major publications in the human rights field, and is an internationally active lecturer.


Peter Dorman is on the faculty of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where he teaches political economy. He has researched and written on labor standards in national and international contexts for more than twenty years, and is author of Markets and Mortality: Economics, Dangerous Work and the Value of Human Life (Cambridge University Press, 1996) and many articles and reports on working conditions, child labor, international trade and other topics. He has also served as a consultant to the US Department of Labor and the International Labor Organization.


Sakiko Fukuda-Parris currently a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and is writing a book on agricultural biotechnology and development with support of a Rockefeller Foundation grant. From 1995-2004, she was the Director and lead author of UN Development Programme’s Human Development Reports. She has also had a diverse career within UNDP and The World Bank, holding positions with both management and technical responsibilities and working in dozens of countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Human Development: Alternative Economics in Action.


David P. Forsythe is University Professor and Charles J. Mach Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has taught and carried out research on human rights and humanitarian affairs for almost four decades, and was awarded the Quincy Wright Award for distinguished career achievements in international education in 2003. His most recent book is The Humanitarians: The International Committee of the Red Cross (Cambridge University Press, 2005),and forthcoming work includes his “Bush Foreign Policy toward Enemy Detainees,” in Forsythe,, eds., American Foreign Policy in a Globalized World (Routledge, 2006).


Mark Gibney is the Belk Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. His published work includes articles in Human Rights Quarterly, Harvard Human Rights Journal, Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Peace Review, International Studies Journal, and the Boston University Journal of International Law, among others. In addition to his most recent sole-authored book, Five Uneasy Pieces: American Ethics in a Globalized World (Rowman & Littlefield,2005), Dr. Gibney has also edited several volumes including World Justice?: U.S. Courts and International Human Rights (Westview, 991) and Judicial Protection of Human Rights: Myth or Reality? (Praeger,1999) as well as the forthcoming volume, The Age of Apology: The West Faces Its Own Past.


Michael Goodhart is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also holds a secondary appointment in Women’s Studies. His research focuses on democratic theory and human rights, especially in the context of globalization. His has published in journals such as Democratization, Human Rights Quarterly, and Polity, and his forthcoming book, Democracy as Human Rights: Freedom and Equality in the Age of Globalization will be published by Routledge in August 2005. He is President of the American Political Science Association’s organized section on Human Rights (2004-05) and Review Editor for Polity, the Journal of the Northeastern Political Science Association.


Philip Harvey is Associate Professor of Law and Economics at Rutgers School of Law-Camden. He is the author of Securing the Right to Employment (Princeton University Press, 1989) and co-author, with Theodore Marmor and Jerry Mashaw, of America’s Misunderstood Welfare State (Basic Books, 1990). He is widely published in scholarly journals – including the Buffalo Law Review, Columbia Human Rights Law Review, and Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor, among others.


Rhoda Howard-Hassmann is Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Among her numerous books are Colonialism and Underdevelopment in Ghana (Croom Helm, 1978), Human Rights in Commonwealth Africa (Rowman & Littlefield, 1986), and Human Rights and the Search for Community (Westview, 1995). She is also co-editor of Economic Rights in Canada and the United States (forthcoming 2006), and a two-volume work in progress, The Age of Apology: the West Confronts its Past. Dr. Howard-Hassmann’s Compassionate Canadians: Civic Leaders Discuss Human Rights (2003) was named 2004 Outstanding Book by the Human Rights Section of the American Political Science Association.


Mwangi S. Kimenyi is an Associate professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut and has published widely in areas of poverty and income distribution, public finance and public choice and economic development. He is also author/editor of seven books, and the founding Executive Director (1999-2004) of the Kenya Institute for Public Policy (KIPPRA) which was recognized the premier policy institute in Africa by 2004. Kimenyi is recipient of many awards and honors including the Georgescu-Roegen Prize in Economics (1991), Outstanding Research Award, Global Development Network (GDN) of the World Bank (2001) and has been nominated for Who is Who Amongst American Teachers, (2004). His current research focuses on governance and institutional reforms in developing countries.


Wiktor Osiatynski is a University professor at the Central European University in Budapest and has taught at the Stanford University, Columbia University, The University of Chicago Law School, and other universities in the United States and Europe. His main field of interest has been comparative constitutionalism and human rights, and he has published over 20 books. Dr. Osiatynbski has co-directed a center for the Study of Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe at the University of Chicago Law School and also served as an advisor to the Constitutional Committee in his native Poland; he was responsible for proposing the constitutional formulation of social and economic rights. At present, Dr. Osiatynski is advising in the process of creation of a new constitution in Kyrgystan.


David L. Richards is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Memphis and Co-Director of the CIRI Human Rights Data Project ( His human rights research in the areas of democratic processes, globalization and political economy, and measurement has received funding from such agencies as the National Science Foundation and has been published in a number of journals and edited volumes.


Sigrun Skogly is Reader in Human Rights Law at Lancaster University. She has published extensively on issues related to international human rights obligations, and in particular on economic, social and cultural rights. Her publications include The Human Rights Obligations of the World Bank and the IMF (Cavendish Publishing, 2001) and articles in Human Rights Law Review and Human Rights Quarterly. Her book Beyond National Borders: States’ Human Rights Obligationsin their International Cooperation, will be published by Intersentia (Antwerp, 2005). In addition to her academic career, Dr. Skogly has been actively involved with a number of human rights organizations, and was President of Food First Information & Action Network (FIAN) International from 1993 to 1998.


Shawna Sweeny is a Visiting Assistant Professor and Senior Research Associate at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Policy Analysis, and is completing her doctoral dissertation at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she served as a Research Assistant for the Cingranelli and Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Data Project. Her dissertation explains cross-national variations in government protections of women’s economic, social and political rights, and is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Her main areas of interest are comparative politics, women’s studies, economic globalization, and international political economy.


Abstracts and Papers

Keynote Speaker

Kaushik Basu | “Human Rights as Instruments of Emancipation and Economic Development”

Globalization can confer benefits but it also has a tendency to marginalize segments of the population. This is morally unacceptable and, in addition, creates political instability. As globalization brings the world closer together there is, therefore, an urgent need to agree on certain common human and economic rights. At the same time, given the diverse cultures and beliefs of distant nations and distinct geographies, a globalizing world makes it that much harder to agree on a common code of rights. The talk will explore what we need to do and what we can do, and argue that minimal human and economic rights are essential ingredients for development. The task is not easy, since a well-meaning global agreement can trample on local needs and freedoms, and there are intricate analytical issues that need to be solved to avoid an unexpected backlash. One has to delve into philosophy and economics to sort through the puzzles and conundrums of human rights in a globalizing world. Doing this successfully will not solve all conflicts, but it can put to rest a large number of conflicts that are spurious, and are caused by ill-specified terms and misstated agendas.



Clair Apodaca | “Measuring the Progressive Realization of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”

On the face of it economic, social and cultural rights appear to be easily and adequately measured. After all, the World Bank, the International Labor Organization, the IMF, UNESCO, UNDP, among many other international institutions, collect and publish volumes of data. However, many measures currently collected and analyzed have limited relevance. Economic, social and cultural rights are more then the state’s economic development, or on the human side, greater then simply measures of poverty. Following the previous sections debate over the concept of positive rights this paper will attempt to determine how extensive a list of variables or indicators will be required to measure the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights.


Albino Barrera | “Economic Rights in the Knowledge Economy: An Instrumental Justification”

The advent of globalization is an opportune moment for an instrumental justification of economic rights. A high degree of human capital development is a necessary condition for long-term efficiency in the postindustrial economy. The “entry cost” for effective market participation includes not only literacy but also numeracy and tacit knowledge. Moreover, since knowledge has taken an even more central role in value creation, the postindustrial economy’s long-term dynamic growth is now ever more a function of the quality of its aggregate social and human capital. It is in the long-term interest of the knowledge economy to ensure that the basic needs of market participants are met. In addition, economic agents should be provided with meaningful opportunities for participating in the economy as these are the venues for skills development and for accumulating tacit knowledge. Both of the latter are critical for the continued innovative dynamism required by a “learning” economy. Thus, a case can be made for a minimum basket of positive entitlements based on their instrumental value in sustaining allocative efficiency in the knowledge economy. Becker’s and Lancaster’s household production model provides a neoclassical economic framework with which to justify economic rights.


Audrey R. Chapman | “The Status of Efforts to Monitor Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights”

In 1996 this author published an article in the Human Rights Quarterly with the central theme that if economic, social, and cultural rights were to be taken seriously, there needed to be a change in the paradigm for evaluating compliance with the norms set forth in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It argued that “progressive realization,” the primary standard then used to assess state compliance, is inexact and renders these rights difficult to monitor. The article set forth five methodological preconditions for systematic monitoring and concluded that none were being fulfilled. It also criticized the lack of commitment to these rights by the UN human rights apparatus and international NGOs.

In view of the lack of conceptual and methodological development, the article proposed moving to an approach that would focus on violations of these rights rather than progressive realization of their requirements. A group of jurists met the following year and drafted the Maastricht Guidelines on Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Although the Maastricht Guidelines do not have official status, they have influenced the work of nongovernmental organizations and the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

This presentation will provide an overview of developments affecting the understanding and monitoring of economic, social, and cultural rights during the past nine years. It will review the development of interest in these rights in the human rights community and trends in the work of UN treaty monitoring bodies. It will evaluate where we are in meeting the five methodological preconditions for systematic monitoring set forth in 1996. In particular, the presentation will explore the utility and limitations of three methodologies for assessing states’ compliance: a violations approach, a focus on core obligations, and efforts to measure progressive realization. The presentation will also discuss issues related to the development of indicators and benchmarks, which is an important component of assessing progressive realization.


David L. Cingranelli, David L. Richards | “Measuring Government Respect for Economic Human Rights”

Since the end of the Cold War, economic human rights have been given increasing attention. International debates between the representatives of economically developed and developing countries over trade and development aid have included discussions of probable or actual impacts on economic human rights. A growing literature demonstrating the linkage of economic globalization, government respect for human rights, inequality within nations, and the probability of state failure has placed economic human rights in a new light of salience for policymakers. Scholars who have given attention to the subject have analyzed cross-national variations in the level of government protection of economic human rights, using such measures as the Physical Quality of Life Index and the Human Development Index. The problem with such measures is that they are highly correlated with national wealth, and they reflect human rights conditions experienced by the people living in a country — not the human rights practices of governments. This paper establishes and implements a method for measuring the degree of government effort to protect internationally recognized economic human rights. Results and analyses are provided for a sample of 195 countries for the years 1981 to 2002.


Clarence Dias | “Progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights through human rights-based development”

The paper focuses on two, formally unrelated trends: the growing interest and focus in the academic and human rights communities on economic, social and cultural rights and the increasing adoption by the development practitioner community (both multilateral and bilateral)of a human rights-based approach to development.

The paper will examine new methodologies that are evolving within each of the above-mentioned two communities: the development of proactive approaches to human rights to complement reactive (violations-focused) approaches and the adoption of the UN Common Understanding on a Human Rights-based Approach to Development Programming.

The paper will suggest new linkages that will need to be developed between human rights scholars and practitioners; development scholars and practitioners; grass roots communities; and NGOs.

Finally, the paper will suggest what needs to be done to impact on the current situation in the human rights community regarding:
• Legal education
• Human rights education
• Human rights conferences and seminars
• National Human Rigths Development Reports to promote the greater realization of economic, social and cultural rights through a human rights-based approach to development.


Jack Donnelly | “Liberalism and Economic Rights”

A pervasive myth in the human rights literature paints liberalism as opposed to economic rights. This story usually takes one of two forms. The first argues that liberalism rejects all economic rights. But virtually every liberal of every stripe from Locke on has given an important to place to the right property — an economic, not a civil, right. The second argues that liberals recognize only a right to property, not other economic rights. This view has indeed been held by a small minority of liberals over the past half century, and a somewhat larger group in earlier eras. It is not, however, a necessary element of a liberal theory of human rights. Quite the contrary, I will argue, it is incompatible with a central body of liberal rights theory, running from Locke, through Paine, to Rawls. It is thus not an accident that all liberal democratic states for more than half a century have been deeply committed to a substantial range of economic rights. In fact, I will argue, only in liberal democratic states has the often cited principle of the interdependence and indivisibility of all human rights has been taken seriously in practice in any sustained and systematic way.

The paper concludes by looking at two apparent contemporary exceptions to this reading, the United States in its domestic ideology and practice and the neo-liberal “Washington consensus” on international development. Neither, I will argue, actually fits the caricature of an assault on economic rights by the right to property — a vision that is largely shared by the left and the far right, despite their differences in evaluating such a strategy. The (very real) shortcomings in these approaches to economic rights simply cannot be attributed to liberalism. Quite the contrary, I will argue that the mainstream of the liberal rights tradition continues to provide powerful theoretical and practical arguments against an overemphasis on the right to property and for the centrality of economic rights.


Peter Dorman | “Worker Rights and Economic Policy”

Worker rights cannot be defined solely in legal terms; they also make positive demands on economic policy, since workers, and indeed individuals generally, have rights only if it is in their interest to utilize them. This proposition is defended in principle and illustrated with two examples, the right to safe working conditions and the right to be free of exploitative or otherwise harmful child labor. Two related objections are considered. First, it has been argued that economic development is the precondition for worker rights of the sort I have described. Second, it is often claimed that there are significant tradeoffs between policies to safeguard rights and policies to promote economic growth. Taken together, they suggest that, in mistaken pursuit of worker rights in the present context, we may retard the emergence of such rights in the long run. The evidence for the first is weak, but there is somewhat more evidence for the second. Overall, there is no reason to hypothesize a worker rights Kuznets Curve, but there is a case for transnational coordination of policies supportive of such rights.


David Forsythe | "International Welfare Rights: The US Record at Home and Abroad"

Much has been made of the fact that the United States does not officially recognize a fundamental personal entitlement to food, clothing, shelter, health care and work for a living wage both at home and abroad. While true, this essay questions whether too much emphasis can be placed on this fact. This essay examines the central hypothesis that the actual US approach to, and record of accomplishment on, many of these issues is not that different from some other western democracies. First, some history is given about US views toward welfare issues, stressing the views of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the official retreat from those views after 1945.

Second, US contemporary policies toward citizen access to food, clothing, shelter, health care, and work for a living wage are discussed, in comparison to selected other countries starting with the Netherlands. The author expects to find that while there are some differences, there are many similarities. The author expects to conclude that in domestic policy on welfare issues, the US shows more similarities with these other countries of comparison than is widely appreciated.

Third, US contemporary policies toward welfare rights abroad are discussed, in relation to certain international agencies active on these issues. The author expects to find that even as the UNDP,UNICEF, and WHO have become more rights oriented, framing their activities in terms of personal entitlements, the US has NOT reduced its financial and diplomatic support for those agencies. With some exceptions, the author expects to find continuing US support for international welfare agencies on pragmatic policy grounds, despite their emphasis on international welfare rights.

Finally, the author concludes with some thoughts on the importance of formal acceptance of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and other international norms such as “the right to development.”


Sakiko Fukuda-Parr | “Rich countries obligations for development: Goal 8 of the Millennium Development Goals the lens of human rights”

This paper asks the question – does Goal 8 of the Millennium Development Goals constitute rich country obligations to promote the rights to development of people in poor countries, and if so, what would be the appropriate indicators to monitor the fulfillment of these obligations? One of the most significant developments since 2000 has been the international policy initiative to accelerate development to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, the agreed targets in cutting income poverty, hunger, gender disparities, and improvements in health, environment, schooling. Among them is a goal for strengthening international partnership. Though not expressed with the language of human rights, the MDGs are arguably mechanisms to promote the realization of economic and social rights. And the international partnership goal reflects the obligations of rich countries to take action.


Michael Goodhart | “A Democratic Defense of Economic Rights and Basic Income”

This paper articulates and defends the provision of basic income to all citizens as a democratic requirement. It briefly surveys historical and contemporary democratic arguments for the right to economic independence, integrates these arguments into a broad, comprehensive account of democratic human rights, and justifies basic income as a necessary part of an effective social guarantee for those rights. This approach provides a sound warrant for the familiar but sometimes wobbly conceptual claim that all human rights are indivisible and interdependent. It also strengthens the case for economic rights by showing that they are necessary for the realization of other widely recognized democratic rights. Finally, it offers concrete suggestions for configuring and implementing social and economic rights. I argue that basic income is much more feasible politically than many alternative proposals for realizing social and economic rights and that it survives standard objections regarding the nature of the duties and obligations associated with these rights and regarding the purported tension between democracy and human rights.


Philip Harvey | “Quantitative, Qualitative and Equal Opportunity Aspects of the Right to Work”

Support for the right to work (as it has been defined in documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) has eroded during the last several decades, even on the part of organizations that advocate on behalf of workers rights. The role played in this trend by the evolving views of professional economists on the subject of full employment is analyzed, and the implications of the trend for other economic and social rights are assessed. Efforts to salvage support for the right to work by redefining it in ways that de-emphasizes the role of full employment in securing the right are evaluated and criticized, and the consequent need for human rights advocates to develop the capacity to address economic policy issues from a human rights perspective is noted. To assist in this effort, a simple set of benchmarks is proposed for use by human rights advocates in conceptualizing the right to work and for monitoring progress towards securing it. The key features of these benchmarks are (1) their grounding in the conceptual framework of the Universal Declaration, (2) the distinction they draw between the quantitative, qualitative, and equal opportunity aspects of the right to work, and (3) the emphasis they place on recognizing that progress in securing protection for any of these aspects of the right to work does not compensate for a failure to secure the other aspects.


Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, Susan Dicklitch | “Achieving Economic Rights in Africa: Ghana and Uganda”

While economic rights are proclaimed in international law, in practice they are a matter of public policy. At the domestic level, protection of economic rights requires choices about how to allocate scarce goods. However, it is also possible to promote the protection of economic rights by refraining from actions that violate individuals’ economic rights, and by implementing civil and political rights.

Protection of economic rights is dependent on international as well as national policies. Many human rights scholars assume that economic human rights are harmed by globalization, and by institutions associated with globalization such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. This paper will consider the possibility that the economic changes impelled by globalization and managed by world institutions may, to the contrary, promote economic rights.

To illustrate the statements above, this paper will investigate two recent African “success stories,” to determine if, how and why they have made progress in economic rights in the last twenty years. The two success stories are Ghana and Uganda. These two countries have had radically different political histories since independence, yet both are now considered “model” African countries. Ghana has never had a civil war. Uganda suffered civil wars under two extremely brutal dictators, and many hundreds of thousands died in the period 1972-86. Ghana is now a democracy: Uganda is an authoritarian no-party state. The paper will assess which factors, both domestic and international, allow each to be a “model” African country, and what possible risks to economic rights each country faces.


Mwangi S. Kimenyi | “Economic Rights, Human Development Effort and Institutions”

This paper focuses on the link between economic rights and institutions. Simple analysis of data is used to demonstrate countries’ human development effort in advancing economics rights of the citizens. A country’s human development effort is evaluated on the basis of the well-being of the poorest members of the society. An analysis of data reveals that there is a wide variation in countries’ pro-poor stance as evidenced by their human development effort. Classifying countries into human development income deficit and human development effort deficit, it is demonstrated that a large number of countries could achieve higher welfare levels for the poor if they adopted amore pro-poor stance. The paper attempts to explain variations in the observed commitment to economic rights by focusing on pro-poor institutions. The basic thesis advanced in the paper is that pro-poor policies are more likely to be implemented and sustained in those institutions where power is sufficiently diffused such that even the poor have leverage over policy outcomes. The paper focuses on how institutions impact on power diffusion and therefore the adoption of pro-poor policies. The failure of countries to adopt pro-poor policies is attributed to institutional failures manifested in concentration of power. The policy recommendations emanating from the analysis focus on institutional reforms to enhance power diffusion. These policies include enlarging the political space through democratization, strengthening institutions and capacity to fight corruption and improve transparency, and a bringing the government closer to the people through appropriate design and implementation of decentralization schemes.


Wiktor Osiatynski | “Needs-based approach to social and economic rights”

The paper deals with the relationship between social and economic rights and civil liberties and political rights. It looks at historical and contextual differences between the three categories of rights and the diversified ways in which all of them are indispensable for the protection of human dignity. The context of the discussion is the interplay between the protection of rights and setting public policy goals in a constitutional democracy. While rights preclude the outcome of public decisions, public policy and a political process require compromises and ongoing debate about social priorities. The main thesis of the paper is that it is more useful to talk about social an economic needs than rights. In this perspective we can, then, distinguish between the needs that should be protected by constitutional rights, the needs that should be protected by statutory rights, and the needs that should merely be a subject of public policy. The balance between these three types of protection should be a matter of an ongoing public debate. The paper ends with the practical propositions of legislative and institutional change and with suggestions for further research.


Sigrun Skogly, Mark Gibney | “Economic Rights and Extraterritorial Obligations”

Human rights are universally declared to be universal yet the protection of those rights (and even violations of those rights) has been severely limited by territorial considerations. When a child does not receive an education in Kenya, to simply use one example, this situation is viewed as a human rights violation committed by Kenya – but that state alone. Under this approach to human rights – a grossly erroneous approach as we will show in our paper – millions of individuals have been left without any form of human rights protection.

The gist of our paper is that the human rights enterprise will be condemned to failure unless and until states’ extraterritorial obligations come to be recognized and enforced. Part I examines the system of international human rights treaty law. The very meaning of each one of these treaties is the idea (but also the legal commitment) to protect the human rights of all other people. Somehow this point has been lost. Part II focuses on economic, social and cultural rights more specifically. What we show through an analysis of various treaties is that the framers clearly sought to protect these rights through extraterritorial obligations.


Shawna Sweeny | “Respect for Women’s Economic Rights: A Cross-National Analysis, 1981-2004.”

This study seeks to determine why countries across the globe accord varying levels of respect to women’s economic rights. Specifically, this research reports the results of a comparative cross-national study of the relationship between four major trends – economic globalization, increasing levels of democracy in many nations, separation of state and religion (political secularism), and internationalization of human rights norms – and government respect for women’s economic rights in 160 countries between 1981 to 2004. My findings provide significant support for the argument that women’s economic rights attainment is driven by political secularism, democracy, trade globalization, and economic development. Importantly, my research confirms the findings of a wide body of human rights literature that economic development is an essential pre-condition for the advancement of human rights. For my measure of women’s economic rights, I use an original four-point standards-based ordinal measure that captures the extent to which women are able to exercise a number of internationally recognized rights in the economic realm, and the extent to which government enforces these rights. This measure is from the Cingranelli andRichards (CIRI) Human Rights Data Set.

Human Rights in an Age of Terrorism

Inaugural Conference

September 9-11, 2004 • Storrs, CT

Human Rights in an Age of Terrorism, September 7-9, 2004

In the globalizing, post Cold War era of the 1990s, human rights came to play a more salient role in establishing stability in the global order, and ensuring more democratic forms of political and economic participation at the local level. During this time, significant advances were made in creating international human rights institutions which could enforce human rights. Since 2001, the “war on terror” has led to a disconnection between human rights and security concerns and the project to build a system of global justice has been derailed. Human rights advocates have not yet articulated a coherent response to the new global security regime, nor reconceptualized human rights so that they may be more responsive to security concerns. This conference aims to understand and redefine the place of human rights in the present international political order, and to identify the ways in which human rights and security imperatives can be reconciled.

Conference Organizer: Professor Richard A. Wilson Director, Human Rights Institute

Co-sponsored by the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center and the Humanities Institute of the University of Connecticut

Conference Information


“Since the end of the cold war, human rights has become the dominant vocabulary in foreign affairs. The question after September 11 is whether the era of human rights has come and gone.” - Michael Ignatieff. New York Times. 5 February 2002.


Whereas during the Cold War, human rights were often hampered by a deadlocked UN Security Council, the 1990s were a decade where human rights came to play a more prominent role in collective security concerns. In the 1990s, two significant factors led to the transformation of the role of human rights. Firstly, in the context of rapid economic and political globalization, a greater premium was placed upon on global solutions to international stability and security, and a contingent consensus emerged that human rights could play a greater role in securing that stability. Secondly, the ending of the Cold War allowed more coherent international responses to mass human rights abuses.

Importantly for this conference, the foundations were laid in the 1990s for a system of global justice. Although there was a lack of will to actively intervene to stop genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda, two International Criminal Tribunals made international criminal law meaningful in practice, and they secured the first international convictions for crimes against humanity since Nuremberg. The Rome Statute signed by 120 countries in 1998 created the mandate for an International Criminal Court that would prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and wars of aggression. In this era, individual rights edged closer to becoming “trumps” in Dworkin’s terms, which could, in certain situations, transcend the boundaries of national sovereignty.

Since 2001, the emerging relationship between human rights and security has broken down and a new formulation has emerged, where rights are detached from, and displaced by, security concerns. This is partly in response to the changing nature of the security threats: instead of states with conventional weapons and armies, personal security is threatened by individuals and “private” terrorist organizations that may count on the support of some states. In this context, making the world safe from terrorists has become seen as antithetical to developing international human rights mechanisms. The gulf between human rights and security is manifested in a number of different ways, including the US’s attempts to positively undermine the International Criminal Court through bilateral agreements which grant a special exemption from prosecution for US citizens.

The international language of human rights has not altogether disappeared, but has reappeared in a “securitized” capacity, serving as a secondary justification for military interventions by the United States and Britain. Indeed, the justification shifted in the case of Iraq, from weapons of mass destruction, to human rights, as the WMD failed to materialize. For some, human rights served as a smokescreen for ensuring stable oil supplies for the US, whereas others have pointed out that regardless of US motives, Iraqis are more likely to enjoy their human rights with Saddam gone. Advocates of human rights, having urged governments to act against repressive dictators for decades, should accept the result as a positive development, it is argued. Given the inaction of the UN Security Council, countries such as the USA and UK are forced to pursue security unilaterally and that this is the only way to ensure human rights in the future. At an opposite pole, prominent human rights organizations have restated their commitment to basic legal rights that must be upheld even if they impair the ability to pursue security from terrorism.

The “securitization of rights” is not simply a matter for foreign policy, but has also had an impact on civil liberties at home in the USA. The conference aims to connect foreign policy questions to domestic civil liberties, and to assess the consequences of government actions against terror suspects, including detention without trial, and deportations of non-citizen suspects. The USA Patriot Act of 2001 grants unprecedented powers for homeland security agencies to invade the privacy of individual citizens with few mechanisms of accountability. To what degree have America and other nations been characterized by the Roman maxim “In times of war, the laws are silent”? How can we assess the need to temporarily curtail some liberties in emergency situations, whilst acknowledging and challenging excessive infringements of civil liberties in wartime? This conference aims to understand the implications of the age of terrorism and counter-terrorism on basic human rights and to clarify and redefine the role of human rights. It will feature prominent speakers with a diversity of views in order to illuminate the various positions, and to seek common ground between them where possible. A desired aim will be to forge an understanding robust and flexible enough to advance the protection of human rights in an increasingly adverse environment.

Inaugural Conference Agenda

Thursday, September 9th

Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture Series

5:30pm Reception & Dinner | Rome Commons Ballroom-South Campus Complex

7:30pm The Sackler Human Rights Lecture | Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

  • Introduction by Christopher Dodd, United States Senator for Connecticut
  • Michael Ignatieff: Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University | ‘The Lesser Evil: Hard Choices in the War on Terror’


Friday, September 10th

9:30-10:30am Conference Registration | Nafe Katter Theater-Fine Arts Complex

10:30am-1:00pm Morning Sessions | Nafe Katter Theater-Fine Arts Complex

    • Richard A. Wilson: Director, Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut | Session Chair

10:30-11:30am Session 1

    • Richard A. Wilson: Director, Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut | ‘Do We Have to Choose Between Human Rights and Security? Beyond the Utilitarian Calculus’
    • Mary Robinson: Ethical Globalization Initiative, former Irish President | ‘Connecting Human Rights Human Development and Human Security’

11:30-11:45pm Break

11:45am-1:00pm Session 2

    • Aryeh Neier: President, Open Society Institute | ‘Giving Democracy and Human Rights a Bad Name’
    • Nadine Strossen: President of the American Civil Liberties Union | ‘The US Government’s Post- 9/11 Policies: Unjustified Overreaching’

1:00-2:30pm Lunch | Wilbur Cross Building, North Reading Room

2:30-6:00pm Afternoon Sessions | Nafe Katter Theater, Fine Art Complex

2:30-4:00pm Session 1

    • Thomas Wilsted: Director, Thomas J. Dodd Center, University of Connecticut | Session Chair
    • Peter Galison and Martha Minow: Harvard University | ‘Privacy, Technology and Civil Liberties’
    • Carol Greenhouse: Princeton University | ‘Nationalizing the local: Comparative notes on the recent restructuring of political space’

4:00-4:30pm Break

4:30-6:00pm Session 2

    • Laura Dickinson: Associate Professor, University of Connecticut Law School | Session Chair
    • Michael Freeman: University of Essex, UK | ‘Order, Rights and Threats’
    • Julie Mertus: American University’s School of International Service | ‘Civil Society and a New Age of US Exceptionalism’

6:30pm Dinner | Wilbur Cross Building, North Reading Room

8:00-10:00pm Reception and Film Screening | William Benton Museum of Art


Saturday, September 11th

8:30-9:00am Conference Registration | Nafe Katter Theatre, Fine Arts Complex

9:00am-12:30pm Morning Sessions | Nafe Katter Theatre, Fine Arts Complex

9:00-10:30am Session 1

    • Richard Brown: Director, Humanities Institute, University of Connecticut | Session Chair
    • David Luban: Professor of Law, Georgetown Law School | ‘Eight Fallacies About Liberty and Security’
    • Angelia Means: Dartmouth College | ‘Public International Law and Terrorism’

10:30-11:00am Break

11:00-12:30pm Session 2

    • Laura Dickinson: Associate Professor, University of Connecticut Law School | Session Chair
    • Geoffrey Robertson: Judge, UN Special Court for Sierra Leone | ‘Fair Trials for Terrorists?’
    • Richard Goldstone: Retired Justice of South African Constitutional Court | ‘The Tension Between Combating Terrorism and Protecting Civil Liberties’

12:30-2:00pm Lunch | Wilbur Cross Building, North Reading Room

2:00-6:30pm Afternoon Sessions | Nafe Katter Theater, Fine Arts Complex

2:00-3:30pm Session 1

    • Amii-Omara Otunnu: D.Phil. (Oxon.), UNESCO Chairholder & Executive Director, UNESCO Institute of Comparative Human Rights, Executive Director, UConn-ANC Partnership, Professor of History | Session Chair
    • Richard Falk: Professor, Global Institute, University of California-Santa Barbara | ‘Human Rights Since 9/11: The Shaken Kaleidoscope’
    • Fernando Tesón: Florida State University Law School | ‘Human Rights, Security, and Just War?’

3:30-4:00pm Break

4:00-6:00pm Session 2

    • Howard Reiter: Professor and Department Head, Political Science, University of Connecticut | Session Chair
    • Thomas Cushman: Wellesley College | ‘Morality Versus International Law: The Human Rights Case for the War in Iraq’
    • Wiktor Osiatynski: European University, Budapest | ‘Are Human Rights Still Universal in the Age of Terror?’
    • Neil Hicks Director: International Programs & Human Rights Defenders Program | ‘The Impact of Counter Terror on Human Rights Defenders: A Global Perspective’

6:00-6:30pm Closing Remarks

    • Richard A. Wilson: Director, Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut

7:00pm Dinner | Wilbur Cross Building, North Reading Room


All speakers are confirmed.
The conference organizers wish to thank Gary and Judi Gladstein and Raymond and Beverly Sackler for their generous support.

Personal Biography of Speakers

Thomas Cushman

Thomas Cushman is Professor of Sociology at Wellesley College. His areas of study include human rights, comparative sociology, genocide, and the sociology of culture. He is the author of numerous books and articles on topics ranging from cultural dissidence in Russia to the war in Bosnia and Hercegovina. He is the founding editor of Human Rights Review, and the founding editor and current editor-in-chief of The Journal of Human Rights, published by Taylor and Francis. Professor Cushman was Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellow in 2002, and is a Faculty Associate at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University. His most current work is an edited volume entitled “A Matter of Morality: Humanitarian Arguments for the War in Iraq”, forthcoming with the University of California Press in 2005.


Richard Falk

Richard A. Falk is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice at Princeton University since 1965. B.S. (economics), Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (1952); LL.B., Yale Law School (1955); J.S.D., Harvard University (1962). He has been on the editorial boards of about ten journals and magazines, including the American Journal of International Law (1961-) and The Nation (1978-). Prof. Falk has served on the boards or been otherwise associated with scores of professional organizations, including serving as Chairman of the Consultative Council, Lawyers’ Committee on American Policy Toward Vietnam (1967-75). Prof. Falk has provided expert testimony in many high profile cases and legislative and administrative hearings. He has been a member of international panels of jurors addressing “Marcos’ Policies in the Philippines,” “The Armenian Genocide,” “Reagan’s War Against Nicaragua,” Nuclear Warfare, “Puerto Rico: A History of Repression and Struggle,” and “Amazonia: Development and Human Rights.” Prof. Falk has written extensively on international law and the law of war.


Neil Hicks

Director, International Programs & Human Rights Defenders Program. Joined Human Rights First in 1991. In addition to supervising Human Rights First’s international work, including the work of the International Justice program, Neil Hicks directs the Human Rights Defender program. The Defenders program assists human rights advocates – lawyers, judges and other activists – who have come under attack for defending human rights. Neil supervises defender campaigns that include overseas missions, diplomatic advocacy, public education, and grassroots lobbying. Neil also created and runs our new Middle East Initiative, a project to assist local human rights defenders in the closed societies of the region. Neil is an expert on the Middle East and an Arabic speaker with extensive contacts in the region. Before joining Human Rights First, Neil worked as a researcher for the Middle East Department of Amnesty International in London, where he worked between 1985 and 1991. He has also served as human rights project officer of Birzeit University in the West Bank. In 2000-2001, Neil took a year-long sabbatical from Human Rights First ; he spent his leave as a Senior Fellow in the Jennings Randolph Fellowship Program of the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., where he wrote the forthcoming book, The Crisis of Human Rights Implementation in the Middle East. Neil is the author of many reports and scholarly articles, most recently, Human Rights in Turkey, Some Legal Aspects in Human Rights Review (January 2002) and Does Islamic Human Rights Activism Provide a Remedy to the Crisis of Human Rights Implementation in the Middle East? in Human Rights Quarterly, May 2002. Neil holds a B.A. (Hons.) in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from St. Cuthbert’s Society, University of Durham (1983) and a certificate from the Arabic Language Unit of the American University in Cairo (1982). He studied international refugee law at the Refugee Studies Program, Oxford University (1991). Neil has taught Human Rights in the Middle East at Fordham Law School.


Michael Freeman

He received his BA from Cambridge University, LLB from Stanford University, and his PhD from the University of Essex. He is a part time Research Professor, in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. Dr. Freeman was the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Centre from 1989-1999 and the Director of the MA in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights from 1991-2002. His research interests include democratic theory, philosophy of social sciences, cosmopolitanism and theories of global politics, human rights, genocide, nationalism, multiculturalism and minority rights and ethnic conflict. He has previously taught at Edinburgh, and North Carolina. He has lectured on human rights in more than twenty countries, from China to Brazil. He has been Vice President of the Association of Genocide Studies, Chair of the Human Rights Research Committee of the International Political Science Association (1997-2000). Professor Freeman has published extensively on political theory, human rights and democratic theory, as well as on Asian values and human rights. He is the author of Human Rights: An Interdisciplinary Approach (2002); Edmund Burke and the Critique of Political Radicalism (1980); (co-ed) Frontiers of Political Theory (1980); Nationalism and Minorities (1995).


Peter Galison

Dr. Galison is the Mallinckrodt Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University. In 1997, he was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow; in 1999, he was a winner of the Max Planck Prize given by the Max Planck Gesellschaft an Humboldt Stiftung. Galison is interested in the intersection of philosophical and historica questions such as these: What, at a given time, convinces people that an experiment is correct? How do scientific subcultures form interlanguages of theory and things at their borders? More broadly, Galison’s main work explores the complex interaction between the three principal subcultures of twentieth century physics–experimentation, instrumentation, and theory. His books include How Experiments End (1987), Image and Logic (1997), and Einstein’s Clocks, Poincare’s Maps (2003). In addition, Galison has launched several projects examining the powerful cross-currents between physics and other fields–these include a series of co-edited volumes on the relations between science, art and architecture. He co-produced a documentary film on the politics of science, Ultimate Weapon: The H-bomb Dilemma and is now working on a second, Secrecy about the architecture of the classification and secrecy establishment.


Richard Goldstone

Judge Goldstone graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with a BA LLB cum laude, after graduating in 1962 he practiced as an Advocate at the Johannesburg Bar. In 1976 he was appointed Senior Counsel and in 1980 was made Judge of the Transvaal Supreme Court. In 1989 he was appointed Judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. Since July 1994 he has been a Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. He served as Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry regarding Public Violence and Intimidation which came to be known as the Goldstone Commission from 1991 – 1994. From 15 August 1994 to September 1996 he served as the Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. During 1998 he was the chairperson of a high level group of international experts which met in Valencia, Spain, and drafted a Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities for the Director General of UNESCO (the Valencia Declaration). From August 1999 until December 2001 he was the chairperson of the International Independent Inquiry on Kosovo. In December 2001 he was appointed as the chairperson of the International Task Force on Terrorism that was established by the International Bar Association. He is chairperson of the Bradlow Foundation, a charitable educational trust, and from 1991 until 2003 chaired the board of the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA). He is a member of the boards of Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights and the International Center for Transitional Justice. The many awards he has received locally and internationally include the International Human Rights Award of the American Bar Association (1994) and a number of Honorary Doctorates of Law. He has recently been appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to a three person Committee of Inquiry into the Iraq Oil for Food Program that is headed by Paul Volcker.


Carol Greenhouse

Carol Greenhouse is professor of anthropology at Princeton University. A cultural anthropologist, she received her AB and PhD degrees from Harvard University. Greenhouse’s teaching and research focus on law and politics in the contemporary United States, and the comparative ethnography of law. Her current work addresses the cultural dimensions of state power, particularly federal power in and beyond the United States. She has served as president of both the Law & Society Association and the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology, and has served as editor of American Ethnologist. Prior to joining the Princeton faculty, she taught at Cornell University and Indiana University-Bloomington. She held the French-American Foundation Chair in American Studies at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris), and additional visiting positions at the Universite de Paris II (Assas), Chicago- Kent School of Law (as Centennial scholar), Cleveland State School of Law (as Baker-Hostetler visiting scholar); she has also been a visiting scholar at Wolfson College (Cambridge). Her major publications include Praying for Justice: Faith, Hope and Order in an American Town (1986), Law and Community in Three American Towns (1994,with David Engel and Barbara Yngvesson, co-winner of the Law & Society Association Book Prize), A Moment’s Notice: Time Politics Across Cultures (1996), and edited volumes Democracy and Ethnography (1998) and Ethnography in Unstable Places (2002, with Elizabeth Mertz and Kay Warren).


David Luban

David Luban is the Frederick J. Haas Professor of Law and Philosophy at Georgetown University’s Law Center and Department of Philosophy. He received his B.A., from University of Chicago; his M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., from Yale. Dr. Luban taught at Kent State University and the University of Maryland School of Law and the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Professor Luban joined the Georgetown faculty in 1997. He has been a visiting faculty member at the Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, University of Melbourne, Dartmouth College, the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Private Law (Hamburg) and the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (Frankfurt). His recent publications include The Ethics of Lawyers (ed.), Legal Modernism, and Legal Ethics (coauthored). His numerous articles and chapters have focused on a range of topics in legal ethics, the social responsibility of lawyers, law and philosophy, jurisprudence, and social justice. In addition to legal ethics, his research interests include international criminal law and international human rights, just war theory, and moral responsibility within complex organizations. He confesses to a particular fondness for the philosophy of Hannah Arendt. He is currently writing on human dignity and the law. He has been a Woodrow Wilson Graduate Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Danforth Fellow, a Keck Foundation Distinguished Senior Fellow in Legal Ethics and Professional Culture at Yale Law School, and a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He was chosen by the American Bar Foundation for the 1998 Keck Foundation Lecturer Award in Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility.


Angelia Means

Dr. Angelia Means is an Assistant Professor at Dartmouth College working in the Department of Government. She received her Ph.D from Harvard University in 2000, and her J.D. from Harvard Law in 1993. After law school, she was a Ford Fellow in Public International Law and an Ethics Fellow at Harvard’s Ethics Program. She was also a law clerk at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Her research and teaching focus on democratic theory, aesthetic theory, feminist theory, immigration and public international law. She has published an article on “Narrative Argumentation” and is currently working on a manuscript on deliberative democracy and cultural rights for “natives” and “aliens”, and an article on the International Criminal Court. Her recent presentations include; “Cosmopolitan Citizenship: A Critique and Reconstruction of Liberal Democratic Citizenship,” 94th American Political Science Association meeting, September, 1998. “Four Models of Transnationalism,” 94th American Political Science Association meeting, September, 1998. “Aesthetic and Legal Judgment,” Political Theory Study Group of the Social Studies Program, Harvard University, April, 1997.


Julie Mertus

Julie A. Mertus is an Associate Professor of International Relations at American University where she is also Co-Director of the Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs Program. She is a graduate of Cornell University and Yale Law School. Her research interests include human rights in Central and Eastern Europe, with a specialty on the former Yugoslavia, as well as international law, gender and conflict, ethnic conflict, and transitional justice. In addition to field work in the Former Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe, she has implemented human rights projects in other parts of the world, including Vietnam, Brazil, China and South Africa. Her books include: Bait and Switch: Human Rights & U.S. Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2004); Kosovo: How Myths and Truths Started a War (University of California, 1999), War’s Offensive Against Women: The Humanitarian Challenge in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan (Kumarian, 2000); The Suitcase: Refugees’ Voices from Bosnia and Croatia (University of California, 1999); Local Action/Global Change (UNIFEM, 1999)(with Mallika Dutt and Nancy Flowers, translated into over ten languages). She is a frequent consultant on human rights and humanitarian issues to a number of organizations, including UNHCR, the Humanitarianism and War Project, Women Waging Peace and OXFAM. Her prior appointments include: Senior Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace; Human Rights Fellow, Harvard Law School; Writing Fellow, MacArthur Foundation; Fulbright Fellow (Romania); Law and Religion Fellow, Emory University; and Counsel, Human Rights Watch (Helsinki Watch). She is presently completing a new text on UN Human Rights Mechanisms (Taylor & Francis, forthcoming March 2005). a revised English version of Local Action/Global Change and a co-edited volume, Human Rights and Conflict (United States Institute of Peace, 2004)(co-editor, with Jeffrey Helsing, forthcoming).


Martha Minow

Martha Minow is the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of Law at Harvard University where she has taught since 1981. Her courses include Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law. Professor Minow received an A.B. from Michigan, an Ed.M. from Harvard, and a J.D. from Yale, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. After law school graduation she clerked for Judge David Bazelon on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and then for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. Her books include Breaking the Cycles of Hatred (2003); Partners, Not Rivals: Privatization and the Public Good (2003); Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence (Beacon Press 1998); Not Only for Myself: Identity Politics and Law (The New Press 1997); and Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law (Cornell University Press 1990). Professor Minow has co-edited casebooks on civil procedure, women and the law, and family law. Her research focuses on the legal treatment of children, women, immigrants, persons with disabilities, and members of ethnic, racial, and religious minorities. She served on the Independent International Commission on Kosovo and worked as an advisor to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. She has served on the boards of the American Bar Foundation, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the W.T. Grant Foundation, the Revson Foundation, and the Covenant Foundation, as well as several child welfare organizations. She is a member of the Harvard University Press Board, the Harvard Society of Fellows, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1998, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in education by Wheelock College.


Aryeh Neier

Before joining the Open Society Institute (OSI) and the Soros foundations network as president in September 1993, Aryeh Neier spent 12 years as executive director of Human Rights Watch, of which he was a founder. Prior to that, he worked for the American Civil Liberties Union for 15 years, including eight as national director. From 1978 to 1991, Neier served as an adjunct professor of law at New York University, and he has lectured at a number of colleges and universities in the United and at universities in many other countries. He is the recipient of three honorary doctorates (Hofstra University, Hamilton College, the State University of New York at Binghamton and American University) and the American Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Neier is the author of six books: Dossier: The Secret Files They Keep on You (1975, Scarborough House); Crime and Punishment: A Radical Solution (1976, Stein and Day); Defending My Enemy: American Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, and the Risks of Freedom (1979, E.P. Dutton); Only Judgment: The Limits of Litigation in Social Change (1982, Wesleyan University Press); War Crimes: Brutality, Genocide, Terror, and the Struggle for Justice (1998, Times Books); and Taking Liberties: Four Decades in the Struggle for Rights (2003, Public Affairs). Neier was born in Nazi Germany and became a refugee at an early age. An internationally recognized expert on human rights, he has conducted investigations of human rights abuses in more than 40 countries around the world. Over the past two decades, he has been directly engaged in the global debate on accountability and bringing to justice those who have committed crimes against humanity, the subject of his latest book, Taking Liberties. He played a leading role in the establishment of the international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia.


Wiktor Osiatynski

Wiktor Osiatynski holds degrees in law and sociology from Warsaw University and Polish Academy of Sciences. Since 1995, as a University Professor at the Central European University he teaches at the schools in Budapest and Warsaw, and is also a counsel to the Open Society Foundation. Between 1991 and 1997, Osiatynski was a co-director of the Center for the Study of Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe at the Chicago Law School. Since 1991, he has been a recurrent visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Since 2001, he is a member of Academic Council of the Riga School of Law supported by the Swedish government and the Open Society Foundation. He is also a member of the Board of the Open Society Institute as well as of the Law and Human Rights and Public Health sub-Boards of the OSI Foundation network. Osiatynski’s scholarly interests include comparative study of individual rights and constitutionalism. He has written, in Polish, 17 books, a majority of them about the comparative history of social and political thought. In 1990-1997, Osiatynski has been an advisor to a number of Constitutional Committees of the Poland’s Parliament.He has written extensively on constitutional developments in post-Communist Poland and Eastern Europe. He has been a co-editor of the East European Constitutional Review.In 1997, he wrote a book calling for the adoption of the new Constitution in Poland and in 2000 a definite analysis of the process of constitution-making in Poland, after 1989, co-authored by Osiatynski was published. At present, he is working on a comparative study of theory and history of individual and human rights.


Geoffrey Robertson

Geoffrey Robertson QC has appeared as counsel in many landmark trials and human rights appeals in Britain, Europe and the British Commonwealth. These have included the leading Privy Council cases on Caribbean death sentences; protection of journalistic sources (both in the European Court of Human Rights and the ICTY), official secrets, blasphemy and sedition (House of Lords), illegality of undemocratic government (Fiji Court of Appeal), jurisdiction over internet libel (High Court of Australia) and habeus corpus (Singapore and Malaysia). He was involved in the prosecution of Hastings Banda in Malawi and the extradition proceedings in respect to General Pinochet; he defended dissidents detained by Lee Quan Yew and Irish defendants accused in IRA terrorist trials in London and served as counsel to the Royal Commission which exposed the Antiguan government supply of arms to the Medellin Cartel. He has been for many years Commonwealth counsel for Dow Jones Inc. and has acted for CNN, Washington Post and New York Times and other US publishers and journalists. He has served for the past decade as a Recorder (part-time judge) in London and is currently an appeal judge for the UN War Crimes Court in Sierra Leone and visiting Professor in Human Rights Law at the University of London. His books include Crimes Against Humanity – The Struggle for Global Justice (New Press, Second Edition, 2002), Media Law (Penguin, Fourth Edition, 2002), Freedom, the Individual and the Law and a memoir, The Justice Game (1999). His forthcoming book, The Tyrranicide Brief (Random House) is a study of how Cromwell’s lawyers prepared the first war crimes trial of a head of state. Mr Robertson is a Master of the Middle Temple, has led a number of missions for Amnesty International and has received awards for his writing and broadcasting on human rights issues.


Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson became High Commissioner for Human Rights on 12 September 1997, following her nomination to the post by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the endorsement of the General Assembly. Mrs. Robinson came to the United Nations after distinguished seven-year tenure as President of Ireland. As President, Mrs. Robinson developed a new sense of Ireland’s economic, political and cultural links with other countries and cultures. She placed special emphasis during her Presidency on the needs of developing countries, linking the history of the Great Irish Famine to today’s nutrition, poverty and policy issues, thus creating a bridge of partnership between developed and developing countries. Mrs. Robinson was the first Head of State to visit Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide there. She was also the first Head of State to visit Somalia following the crisis there in 1992, receiving the CARE Humanitarian Award in recognition of her efforts for that country. Before her election as President in 1990, Mrs. Robinson served as Senator, holding that office for 20 years. In 1969 she became the youngest Reid Professor of Constitutional Law at Trinity College, Dublin. She was called to the bar in 1967, becoming a Senior Counsel in 1980, and a member of the English Bar (Middle Temple) in 1973. She also served as a member of the International Commission of Jurists (1987-1990) and of the Advisory Commission of Inter- Rights (1984-1990). Educated at Trinity College, Mrs. Robinson also holds law degrees from the King’s Inns in Dublin and from Harvard University.


Fernando Tesón

Tobias Simon Eminent Scholar. Education S.J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, 1987, LL.M., Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, 1982, J.D., Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1975. Known for his scholarship relating political philosophy to international law, and in particular his defense of humanitarian intervention, Professor Tesón is author of A Philosophy of International Law (Westview Press 1998) and Humanitarian Intervention: An Inquiry into Law and Morality (2d ed., Transnational 1997). He has served as a Professor of Law and Affiliate Professor of Philosophy at Arizona State University, where he taught for 17 years prior to joining Florida State University’s faculty. Before entering academia, Professor Tesón was a career diplomat for the Argentina Foreign Ministry in Buenos Aires for four years, and Second Secretary, Argentina Embassy in Brussels for two years. He resigned from the Argentine foreign service in 1981 to protest against the human rights abuses of the Argentine government. He has served as visiting professor at Cornell Law School, Indiana University School of Law, University of California Hastings College of Law, the Oxford-George Washington International Human Rights Program, and is Permanent Visiting Professor, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina.



Richard A. Wilson

Richard A. Wilson is Gladstein Chair of Human Rights and Director of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of numerous works on political violence and social movements in Guatemala, including the book Maya Resurgence in Guatemala (1995). He has edited or co-edited four books; Low Intensity Democracy: political power in the new world order (1993) Human Rights, Culture and Context (1997), Culture and Rights (2001) and Human Rights in Global Perspective (2003). His research on questions of memory, truth and justice and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission led to the monograph The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa (2001, Cambridge University Press). He has been a visiting Professor at University of Oslo, New School for Social Research and University of the Witwatersrand and acted as a consultant on human rights issues for UNICEF, the British government and non-governmental organizations such as Conciliation Resources. Presently he is writing about the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court. He is editor of the journal Anthropological Theory and on the editorial boards of Critique of Anthropology and the Journal of Human Rights.


Nadine Strossen

Nadine Strossen, Professor of Law at New York Law School, has written, lectured and practiced extensively in the areas of constitutional law, civil liberties and international human rights. Since 1991, she has served as President of the American Civil Liberties Union, the first woman to head the nation’s largest and oldest civil liberties organization. (Because the ACLU Presidency is a non-paid, volunteer post, Strossen continues in her faculty position as well.) The National Law Journal has twice named Strossen one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.” Since becoming ACLU President, Strossen has made more than 200 public presentations per year before diverse audiences, including on approximately 500 campuses and in many foreign countries. She comments frequently on legal issues in the national media, having appeared on virtually every national news program. Strossen has received Honorary Doctor of Law Degrees from the University of Rhode Island, the University of Vermont, San Joaquin College of Law, Rocky Mountain College, the Massachusetts School of Law and Mt. Holyoke College. Strossen is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Strossen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College (1972) and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School (1975), where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Before becoming a law professor, she practiced law for nine years in Minneapolis (her hometown) and New York City.