Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute Symposium to Explore Opportunities in the Inter-American System for Advancing Human Rights at Home
New York, June 8, 2015 – The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute will convene more than 100 U.S. lawyers, academics, and other international human rights experts in New York on June 12 to discuss approaches to strengthening human rights protections in the U.S. through engagement with the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS).
The day-long symposium, “Engaging with the Inter-American Human Rights System for U.S. Advocacy,” will explore strategies for effective engagement with the IAHRS to advance U.S.-based advocacy, as well as challenges and opportunities offered by the system for strengthening human rights accountability throughout the region.
The IAHRS is comprised of the D.C.-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The system monitors and ensures human rights implementation in the 35 countries of the Americas that are members of the Organization of American States.
Presenters at the June 12th event will include human rights advocates, staff and current and former IACHR Commissioners, members of the U.N. Human Rights Committee, and U.S. State Department representatives. Commissioners James Cavallaro and Tracy Robinson will deliver keynote addresses.
“The Inter-American Human Rights System offers an important avenue for social justice lawyers to raise U.S. human rights concerns on a range of issues, including immigration detention, violence against women, racial justice, and national security,” said Risa Kaufman, executive director of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the symposium’s sponsor.
The Human Rights Institute developed the symposium as this year’s annual Bringing Human Rights Home (BHRH) Lawyers’ Network’s Continuing Legal Education program, a signature event.
“U.S. lawyers have engaged with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for decades,” said JoAnn Kamuf Ward, associate director of the Human Rights Institute’s Human Rights in the U.S. Project, and co-chair of the Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers’ Network Inter-American Working Group. “Recently, however, we’ve seen growing interest in developing new strategies to leverage success at the Commission to advance advocacy here at home.”
Skadden Arps will host the event at its Times Square office. Co-sponsors include the Center for Justice and International Law, the International Justice Resource Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, and the University of Pennsylvania Transnational Legal Clinic.
An agenda to the event is available here.
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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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