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The International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination: 20 Years After U.S. Ratification.

Start/End Friday, May 02, 2014 08:30 AM EDT -- 05:00 PM EDT
Location Name Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Four Times Square
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The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute presents "The International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination: 20 Years After U.S. Ratification: 20 Years After U.S. Ratification"  * 6 NYS CLE Credits available*

May 2, 2014  ●  8:30 A.M. -  5:00 P.M. ●SKADDEN, ARPS ● FOUR TIMES SQUARE ● NEW YORK CITY

The United States ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in 1994.  As the U.S. government and civil society prepare for the latest periodic review of the United States’ compliance with its obligations under the convention, this symposium will examine the history and impact of U.S. ratification and engagement with the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which monitors compliance with the convention, and explore possibilities for ensuring U.S. accountability for its human rights commitments. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the scope of protections under the CERD, opportunities it offers for engaging both with the treaty monitoring body and government officials, and strategies for integrating the CERD framework to advance social justice advocacy. 

Co- sponsored by:

Northeastern University School of Law, Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Agenda

8:30 – 9:15 A.M. – Registration & Coffee

9:15 – 9:30 A.M. -- Welcoming Remarks 

  • Risa Kaufman, Executive Director, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

9:30 – 10:00 A.M. – Introductory Keynote Remarks

  • Wade Henderson, President & CEO,  The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; The Leadership Conference Education Fund

10:00 – 11:15 A.M. SESSION I. An Introduction to the CERD

This panel will explore the history of US ratification of the CERD, the scope of protections under the convention, and opportunities for engaging in advocacy with the treaty mechanism.  It will also examine the US government’s approach to the periodic review by the treaty monitoring body.

  • Lisa Crooms, Professor of Law, Howard University School of Law
  • Jotaka Eaddy, Senior Advisor to the President & CEO and Senior Director for Voting Rights, NAACP
  • Jesse Tampio, Attorney-Adviser, Office of Human Rights & Refugees, U.S. Department of State

Moderator: Hadar Harris, Executive Director, Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law, American University Washington College of Law

11:15 – 11:30 A.M.  Break

11:30 – 12:45 P.M. SESSION II.  Impact of U.S. Ratification of the CERD

Panelists will discuss the impact of US ratification of the CERD on domestic policies at the federal, state and local level, as well as its impact on US foreign policy.  The panel will also address the utility of a CERD National Plan of Action.

  • Ejim Dike, Executive Director, US Human Rights Network
  • Deborah Vagins, Senior Legislative Counsel, Washington Legislative Office, ACLU
  • Karen Stevens, Senior Counsel & Director, International and U.S. Attorneys Civil Enforcement Programs, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Mischa Thompson, Policy Advisor, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • Evelyn Aswad, Professor of Law and the Herman G. Kaiser Chair in International Law, University of Oklahoma College of Law

Moderator: Cynthia Soohoo, Director, International Women's Human Rights Clinic, CUNY Law School

12:45 – 1:00 P.M. Break

1:00 – 1:45 P.M. Lunch & Keynote

  • Carlos Manuel Vázquez ’83, Professor of Law, Georgetown University School of Law; Member, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • Gay MacDougall, Mulligan Distinguished Visiting Professor of International Law, Fordham Law School; former UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues; former Member, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Moderator: Jamil Dakwar, Director, Human Rights Program, ACLU

1:45 – 2:00 P.M. Break

2:00 – 3:15 P.M. SESSION III.   The Dynamics of Engagement

This panel will explore how civil society engagement with the treaty reporting process contributes to organizing and advocacy efforts and government accountability with its human rights commitments.  The panel will also address advocacy efforts through the CERD’s Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure and efforts to integrate the CERD into litigation in US courts.

  • Marcia Johnson-Blanco, Co-Director, Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Chandra Bhatnagar ’02, Senior Staff Attorney, Human Rights Program, ACLU
  • Victoria Schultz, Associate Dean, University of Baltimore School of Law
  •  Megan Haberle ’08, Policy Counsel, Poverty and Race Research Action Council

Moderator: JoAnn Kamuf Ward, Associate Director Human Rights in the U.S. Project, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

3:15 – 3:30 P.M. Break

3:30 – 4:45 P.M. SESSION IV. Roundtable

Roundtable participants will explore strategies for integrating the CERD framework in specific issue areas, including political participation, education, criminal justice, immigration and migrants’ rights, and housing. 

  • Wilhelm Joseph, Executive Director, Maryland Legal Aid
  • Alan Jenkins, Executive Director, co-founder, The Opportunity Agenda
  • June Zeitlin, Director of Human Rights Policy, The Leadership Conference Education Fund and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Antonio Ginatta, Advocacy Director, US Program, Human Rights Watch
  • Julie Fernandes, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Foundations
  • Catherine Tactaquin, Executive Director, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Moderator: Martha Davis, Professor of Law & Faculty Director, Program on Human Rights & the Global Economy, Northeastern University School of Law

4:45 – 5:00 P.M. Closing Remarks

  • Larry Cox, Co-Director, Kairos: The Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice, Union Theological Seminary

View the schedule and  register for this event.