Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute Stands with Human Rights and Social Justice Allies and Calls on New Administration to Respect Human Rights
The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute joins human rights and social justice organizations around the country and the world to demand that the incoming Administration ensures the fundamental human rights and dignity of all—particularly women, people of color, people with disabilities, Muslims, LGBTQI people, immigrant populations, people living in poverty, and those living outside the United States and impacted by its foreign policies.
The Institute stands in solidarity with these communities and individuals.
Much of the rhetoric and many of the new Administration’s proposed policies that emerged in the run-up to the election and in its aftermath represent a threat, if they are implemented, to fundamental human rights. Since the election, the increase in racist and misogynistic rhetoric; the sharp uptick in hate crimes; and the nomination of individuals who have expressed or supported measures that are pro-torture, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and hostile to civil rights protections for African Americans, women, and LGBTQI people to serve in the Administration’s highest ranks, have stoked fear and insecurity at our university, in our communities, and around the world.
In light of these deep concerns, we reaffirm our longstanding commitment to ensuring that the United States government prioritizes and upholds core human rights principles, including equality and dignity for all. We underscore the need for specific actions that promote and protect human rights, and for an Administration that advances human rights through transparent and open governance, responsive to the needs of all.
The Human Rights Institute commits to continue to fight for human rights and seeks to ensure government accountability when those principles are threatened or undermined. Since our founding, the Human Rights Institute has worked in partnership with advocates, communities, and organizations pushing for social justice to build and amplify collective power; to strengthen the human rights framework; to engage with institutions and actors in the United States and around the world to build human rights principles in law, policy, and practice; and to limit government abuse of power, with the goal of ensuring justice and accountability for human rights violations wherever they occur. Since our inception, we have also educated and trained generations of students in the skills and theory of social justice advocacy, cultivating critical, reflective lawyers and advocates who contribute to local, national, regional, and transnational efforts to realize human rights in practice.
The Institute’s current work seeks to advance respect for human rights in conflict, counterterrorism, and law enforcement operations, with a particular focus on United States foreign policy; increase transparency and accountability for security forces; advance access to justice, women’s rights, racial justice, and workers’ rights in the United States; build and promote respect for human rights in business operations and developments in the global economy; and strengthen the global human rights architecture of the UN and regional human rights systems to foster human rights compliance around the world.
These struggles continue.
We will remain vigilant in the fight against bigotry, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, economic exploitation, environmental injustice, and all threats to human rights. The stakes are too high for passivity. We stand with the many communities and civil liberties, human rights, and social justice groups that have stood up in defiance, resistance, and resilience to confront threats to security and dignity. With our colleagues and friends across the country and the world, we will continue to fight for inclusive, supportive government policies that respect, protect, and fulfill human rights for all.
This statement represents the views of the Human Rights Institute and does not purport to represent the views of Columbia Law School or the University.
# # #
The Human Rights Institute advances international human rights through education, advocacy, fact-finding, research, scholarship, and critical reflection. We work in partnership with advocates, communities, and organizations pushing for social change to develop and strengthen the human rights legal framework and mechanisms, promote justice and accountability for human rights violations, and build and amplify collective power.
Founded in 1998 by the late Professor Louis Henkin as the anchor for human rights within Columbia Law School, the Human Rights Institute promotes engagement and knowledge of human rights within the law school, throughout the University, and around the world. Across the many substantive areas of its work, the Institute builds bridges between scholarship and activism, develops capacity within the legal community, engages governments, and models new strategies for progress.
Join us on Facebook: Human Rights Institute
Follow us on Twitter: @CLSHumanRights