Land Rights in Liberia
Extractive industries and destructive investments are prevalent and highly problematic in West Africa. Advocates for Community Alternatives promotes public interest lawyering and supports cases and communities seeking a sustainable, positive development path in West Africa. They are partnering with Green Advocates International in Liberia to represent communities who have lost their land and livelihoods to an agricultural corporation. The two organizations are looking at legal options for seeking redress, including litigation in Liberian courts. Students on this project will be assisting these organizations in this endeavor. U.S. common law is highly persuasive in the Liberian courts, so the student team will be responsible for conducting U.S.-based legal research on land rights and property law. The founder and Lead Campaigner for Green Advocates International is a Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University this year, so students will also get an opportunity to meet and discuss the case with him.
Waste Pickers in Latin America
In cities across Latin America, waste pickers—workers in the informal economy who collect, sort, recover, grade, and sell recyclable waste for a living—face challenges to their rights, including repressive regulatory regimes, risks of eviction and displacement, societal discrimination, economic insecurity, and heightened health and safety risks. Some even suffer criminal penalties for their recycling activities. In this project, a student team will work with WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing)—a global network of organizations of informal workers and researchers, statisticians, and development practitioners—to conduct research on the situation of waste-pickers in six Latin American countries: Argentina, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Uruguay. The team will also research relevant human rights standards to support a report on waste pickers to the Inter-American human rights system.
Child Asylum-Seekers in Israel
The project seeks to document and address the human rights violations of asylum-seeking children in Israel. This population of approximately 7000 children, most of whom are from Eritrea, Sudan and other African countries, has not been the subject of research to date, and have not been addressed as such. The students will conduct research towards a shadow report to be submitted to the Committee on the Rights of the Child following the Israeli state submission to the committee. Research will include in-depth interviews with migrants’ rights NGOs, state and municipal authorities, grass root organizations, etc. Research will touch several topics such as the lack of provision of health services to asylum seeking children; violations of their rights under domestic and international employment law standards in the work place; their lack of documentation and the consequences it entails; infringements on their right to family life; etc. Following the research, the students will draft the shadow report on behalf of a coalition of women and children organizations on asylum-seeking women and children’s rights.
Communities and Mining in Guinea
Human Rights Watch is concluding a research project that considers the human rights, social, and environmental impact of bauxite mining in Guinea (Conakry). To accompany the release of a report and video in late 2017/early 2018, this Advocates project will explore models for using human rights research to empower mining-affected communities to better articulate and advocate for their rights in dialogue with companies and local government. Advocates will conduct research on methods for sharing research results with low-education populations and, as the report release nears, draft tools for training and educating communities. Other tasks – still linked to mining and human rights – might be set if required.
War Crimes in Iraq
In this project, students will partner with the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), a global pro-bono law firm that engages directly with states and non-state actors on issues that include war crimes prosecution, peace negotiations, and post-conflict constitution drafting. Students will work directly with staff attorneys to support PILPG’s work with Iraqi clients engaged in human rights documentation. The project incorporates key tenets of international criminal law, international humanitarian law (the laws of war), and international human rights law. Students will conduct intensive research on core issues relating to the Iraqi conflict and major violations of these international law frameworks in the Iraqi context. The final analysis produced by team members will be a memorandum with a sample indictment detailing the prima facie case for the indictment of Iraqi ISIS leaders, which may be used directly to support PILPG’s Iraqi clients.
Violent Extremism in Tanzania
In this project, students will partner with the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), a global pro-bono law firm that engages directly with states and non-state actors on issues that include war crimes prosecution, peace negotiations, and post-conflict constitution drafting. Students will work directly with staff attorneys to support PILPG’s work with Tanzanian clients engaged in countering violent extremism through the Tanzanian judiciary. PILPG works with Tanzania’s Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) and civil society organizations to strengthen their ability to evaluate, monitor, and coordinate with the Tanzanian judiciary to promote fair and effective criminal trials. The Advocates project incorporates key tenets of justice-sector related drivers of violent extremism, including prison conditions, lengthy pre-trial detention, or lack of access to counsel. The project also focuses on identifying and evaluating the methods by which states have attempted to address these drivers, whether through legislation, jurisprudence, or public policy. Students will conduct intensive research on these core issues. The final analysis produced by team members will be a memorandum detailing the major justice-sector related drivers of violent extremism, as well as state responses to these drivers, each topic to be supported by case studies.