Columbia Law School Professor Sarah H. Cleveland was recently nominated to serve as an independent expert on the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee, which monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by state parties. Elections to confirm new committee members will take place June 24 in New York City.
“The Human Rights Committee is one of the premier international bodies responsible for interpreting international human rights law and promoting state compliance,” said Cleveland, the Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights and faculty co-director of the Human Rights Institute. “I have long followed the committee’s work as a scholar, as a teacher, and as a human rights lawyer inside and outside of government. It would be a great privilege to contribute to the committee’s work, and I look forward to discussing my qualifications with states in the period before the election.”
From 2009 to 2011, Cleveland served as the counselor on international law to the U.S. State Department’s legal adviser. In 2010, she was appointed to serve as the U.S. expert on the European Commission on Democracy Through Law, also known as the Venice Commission, a constitutional advisory body. Cleveland is also a member of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law. During the past several years, she has advised the government of Bahrain on human rights issues and worked as an independent legal expert in U.S. dialogues with China, among many other endeavors.
If elected, Cleveland will serve a four-year term, succeeding former Columbia Law School faculty member Gerald L. Neuman. The position was also once held by renowned human rights scholar and Columbia Law School Professor Louis Henkin.
“Sarah has all the virtues that are needed for the varied roles of a Human Rights Committee member,” said Neuman. “She has wide knowledge and broad experience in the field, dedication to the promotion of human rights, superb legal skills, and practical understanding of how governments work.”