International Legal Expert, Alex Moorehead, Joins Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute as Director of Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict, and Human Rights
New York, August 8, 2016—Alex Moorehead, an international lawyer with extensive experience on the protection of human rights in the context of counterterrorism and armed conflict, joined Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute this month to lead the Institute’s Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict, and Human Rights.
Moorehead has carried out human rights fact-finding and research in Afghanistan, Egypt, the occupied Palestinian territory, and Uganda and has worked as a legal and policy advisor specializing in security and human rights for both the United Nations and Amnesty International. He said he was excited to join the Institute and to be a part of its sustained and enhanced focus on human rights, armed conflict, and counterterrorism.
“The Human Rights Institute – together with Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic – has been instrumental in promoting human rights through research, advocacy, and dialogue in this field,” Moorehead said. “Recent global events and political developments only underscore the importance of the Institute’s work on issues such as transparency and accountability for the use of lethal force. The Institute has a critical role to play bringing together governments, academics, and civil society advocates to ensure that human rights are at the core of any efforts to counter terrorism.”
“We are delighted to welcome Alex Moorehead to the Institute,” said Professor Sarah H. Cleveland, the Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights at Columbia Law School, and Faculty co-director of the Human Rights Institute. “He brings a rare combination of legal expertise, research, and pragmatic advocacy experience, acquired on the ground around the globe, often in the context of armed conflict.”
Moorehead’s work has included research and monitoring of civilian casualties, the use of force, torture in detention, and violence against women in Afghanistan and the occupied Palestinian territory. He has worked extensively on the issue of counterterrorism and human rights, co-authoring a series of third party submissions to the European Court of Human Rights in litigation related to the CIA-led secret detention and rendition programs. He has also provided internal advice within Amnesty International and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the application of international human rights and humanitarian law in a range of complex situations, including Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the South Caucasus, Ukraine, and Yemen.
“We are thrilled that Alex Moorehead will be leading our counterterrorism team at the Human Rights Institute. His international expertise will contribute to civil society efforts to improve the U.S. government’s respect for human rights,” said Professor Sarah Knuckey, Lieff Cabraser Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Human Rights Institute faculty co-director and director of the Human Rights Clinic. “In working with the Clinic, he will also be able to share his advocacy skills with Columbia Law students, helping them to develop effective tactics for protecting rights during counterterrorism and war.”
The Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict, and Human Rights aims to strengthen respect for human rights and international law in the context of counterterrorism and armed conflict. It works by promoting dialogue among governments, academics, and civil society advocates, and carrying out independent research, human rights and law of war investigations, legal analysis and advising, trainings and expert workshops, and advocacy around the world. The Institute has previously carried out work on drone strikes and ‘targeted killings,’ torture and detention, compensation for victims, strengthening armed conflict laws, and war crimes investigations.
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Founded in 1998 by the late Professor Louis Henkin, the Human Rights Institute serves as the focal point of international human rights education, scholarship practice at Columbia Law School and draws on the law school’s deep human rights tradition to support and influence human rights practice in the United States and throughout the world.
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