HLS Human Rights Program 30th anniversary | Panel I: Human Rights Advocacy Across the Generations


SUSAN FARBSTEIN: Thank
you for joining us. There are still plenty
of seats if folks want to move in and have a seat. I’m Susan Farbstein. This is Tyler Giannini. We co-direct the clinical part
of the Human Rights Program and want to welcome everyone
to this first panel, which is going to look at human
rights across the generations. We mean that both in terms
of the rights themselves, but also in terms
of the movement, in terms of the
representation of folks who’ve graduated
at different times. And we also hope to look
at different strategies and tactics as they’ve evolved
and changed over the years. As you heard during the lunch
session, this is a celebration but we also hope it can be a
moment for critical reflection. So this panel really
will be a discussion. Tyler and I are going
to pose some questions but we hope that the panelists
can engage with each other and engage with all of us. We’ll spend about
an hour looking at five different topics. First, at some seminal
moments in human rights over the past 30 years. Second, at the movement itself. Third, we want to
talk a little bit about the limits
of human rights. Fourth, look at trends and
strategies over the years. And then finally,
pivot and look forward. So that’s our plan. And then we’ll
leave whatever time we have at the end for
questions from all of you. TYLER GIANNINI:
So Susan and I are joined by four esteemed
practitioners and advocates who’ve worked for many
years in the field. And so this is really coming
from a perspective of practice and experience, and trying to
interrogate a lot of the themes and issues that came up at
the lunch talk about where is rights and the
rights movement, and how has it evolved
over the last 30 years. If it was in the youth stage
20 years ago, where is it now? Even if the program
may be 30 years old, where are we on the
trajectory of some of the goals and debates? The four people who we’re joined
by today are Doctor Raymond Atuguba who has an LLM from
the school and an SJD– completed his SJD here in ’04. He’s currently serving with
the– as the executive– as an Executive Secretary
to the President of the Republic of Ghana. But he’s not only founded
one, but two human rights organizations and development
organizations in Ghana. So he’s going to bring that
perspective and experience to bear on the discussion. To my left is Rangita
de Silva de Alwis, who also has a SJD from
the school from 1997. And she currently directs
the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative and the Women in
Public Service Project, which was launched by the
former Secretary Hillary Clinton and the Seven
Sisters Colleges at Woodrow Wilson International
Center for Scholars. To Rangita’s left
is Jim Goldston, who is a JD from 1987. And he is the Executive Director
of the Open Society Justice Initiative, which
advances rule of law and legal protection for rights
all around the world using a variety of strategies. And then last but not
least is Clara Long, and she’s a JD graduate
from ’12, 2012. She’s currently a researcher on
immigration and border policy with the United States Program
for Human Rights Watch. And we’re actually going
to start with Clara and put her on the spot with
the first question, which is, as Susan said, to talk
about some seminal moments, and since 1984– which is really
when the program started– what have been those seminal moments? And how have they changed
human rights for the better or for the worse? And what are the implications
of those moments? So Clara, if you
could launch us? CLARA LONG: OK, great. Thank you. First I want to say it’s
a huge honor to be here. I think I might be the fewest
of the many years of experience on this panel. So I might represent the fewest. So it’s a great honor to
be here and to be back. I owe an incredible amount
to HRP and to this program, to the people who I studied
and worked with here. They completely have
shaped me and shaped the trajectory of what I do now. And so it’s great to be here. When you said this question,
again with the fewest of the years of experience
perhaps on this panel, I can speak from where
I sit in human rights advocacy in the United States. And the trajectory of at least
Human Rights Watch’s work on this–on human rights
in the United States– is very much shaped by
the experience of 9/11 and the experience of Katrina. I think in the
past 15 years we’ve seen both very
disappointing developments and in terms of national policy. But just to name few–
torture, discrimination, potentially abusive actions
in the global war on terror continued in issues
that I work on. The continued labor
and criminal abuses of undocumented migrants,
family separation, of people who lived in– have
lived in this country for many, many years due
to harsh criminal laws, of course over
incarceration, of populations under harsh criminal
laws in this country. Generally– so when we think
about the last 15 years– and we think about what
parts of those US abuses were shaped by both 9/11 and
Katrina– I think we can, at least in a human
rights analysis in terms of the
practice that we do, it’s very easy to see the
ways in which 9/11 allowed us to crystallize a
critique of US practice, of counter-terrorism policy. And perhaps that
Katrina crystallized a critique of some of
the issues of poverty, and discrimination,
and criminal justice in ways that perhaps
hadn’t existed in this country in
the previous decade. And then I think the movement
in the previous decade– and the previous two
decades, perhaps– I think this might not
be the case if we go back to the middle of
the civil rights movement in which human rights
and human rights language had a different resonance. It is a new thing. And it is a development
that is both rooted in some very worrying actions
and worrying realities, but provides and has created
and given energy to a movement in this country that I’m
very proud to be a part of and very inspired by. So that’s what I would propose. JIM GOLDSTON: I just want
to thank the organizers and thank you colleagues
for being here. And as the person perhaps who
has the longest history out since being at the
law school, I assume I’m here because Natalie
Hudson couldn’t make it. But I found the questions,
and this one in particular, really interesting. And it prompted it in
me moments of transition thinking that in
some ways I think 1989 has been a very
critical moment– a hinge, as it were, for the human
rights world in some ways in a couple of senses. And one is very
personal, in that of course it was the beginning
of the end of the Cold War. And of course in many
parts of the world, that was hugely significant,
perhaps nowhere more so than in Central and Eastern
Europe and the former Soviet Union. But in 1989, I was in El
Salvador on a fellowship from– well, extending
from a fellowship from this law school. And there was at the very time
when the Berlin Wall came down, there was a military offensive
by the FMLN guerrilla movement in El Salvador that was the
greatest military threat to the US-backed
government in the course of a 10-year-long Civil War. And I remember watching
on a television– which is what we had back
then– on something called CNN, which was the only
source of news in the world. Hard to believe. And watching the
wall go down, that was the number one
story that night. And we were holed
up under a curfew and fighting was going
on around the capital. And those of us were
thinking, wait, where is this? Where is this story? How come that’s the most
important story going on there? And of course the two
were deeply connected because the offensive
in El Salvador sparked the beginning of
the end of the war there. And of course, wars
were coming to an end throughout Central
America, which had been at war for the
better part of a decade, and the beginning of a period
of enormous hope in Central America and a part
of a period of hope throughout Latin America. And if you look at
the world, I think, over the last 25, 30 years,
the consolidation of democracy, of the rule of law throughout
Latin America, the advances that that region has made
in terms of accountability for great crimes– some
enormous advances in Argentina, and Chile, and Peru, in
Colombia, despite its flaws. So there’s a real
sense of great promise, I think, in terms of what
has transpired since then. On the other hand,
if you think of 1989 as the beginning of a period
when things became possible globally and the
opening up of a window, when grand ideas
came to fruition, when the actors who had,
for a long time, dreamed of international tribunals
to address the most serious crimes– war crimes and crimes
against humanity or genocide. Where for 50 years, 45 years
that was simply not possible since the Nuremberg
and Tokyo Trials. It newly became possible. And of course, after
the horrors in Bosnia, we had the creation of the
Yugoslav Tribunal, the horrors in Rwanda, despite
the wholly inadequate international response. There was an international
criminal tribunal for Rwanda that was established to provide
a semblance of accountability. And then of course one
had the Pinochet case before the House of Lords in
the United Kingdom several years later, giving
meaning to the notion of some kind of
transnational accountability for grave crimes. And then, of course, in
1998 the Rome Statute of the International
Criminal Court, the world’s first permanent
court, came into being. And I think from a period of
’89 to perhaps 2001, 9/11, I think we were in a rather
unusual period of hope and possibility in terms of
institution building anyway– at least in part of
the human rights world. But I do think that has changed. And for a whole variety
of reasons one can look. And these are obviously all
huge, broad brush strokes that aren’t
sufficiently nuanced. But since 2001, I
think we have seen the push back against those
kinds of institutions. Of course, the ICC
has encountered enormous difficulties. But first it was
encountering the opposition of the United States government. That’s been tempered
since then, since the end of the Bush Administration. But the assertion
of unilateralism in a way by the United
States, by Russia– of course, very recently– the explicit
rejection of the liberal rights order, it’s quite
extraordinary that just within the past couple of months
the Prime Minister of Hungary would give a speech in
which he would expressly attack the notion of a
liberal rights ideals, and view, and say that
Russia under Putin is a model that
Hungary is looking to and that many people are
looking to around the world. So it’s not just a covert. This is an explicit
rejection of so much of what has been achieved
in the rights arena. And the fact that that is being
so openly challenged, I think, marks a very different period
that we’re in right now. TYLER GIANNINI: Great, thanks. Rangita? RANGITA DE SILVA DE
ALWIS: Thank you Tyler. I want to take a moment
to celebrate and honor Henry Steiner, Malcolm Mtwere,
and [INAUDIBLE] when they’ve said that there’s
no part of the world that Henry Steiner and his
students have not touched. And I can personally testify
to that because my partners from over 80 countries attest
to the power of Henry Steiner’s legacy and to what he has
done to shape and inspire us even now in our work 20 years
after left Harvard Law School, he continues to take a deep
and abiding interest in, not just what I do, but
what my family does. So thank you, Henry. Thank you for being here. The Human Rights Program
finds its deepest expression in, as we were
reminded, this afternoon in critical reflection. And in that tradition,
I do want to take a moment to critique
Tyler’s questions. The questions that he sent to
us as well as the indicators that he sent to us, as well
as [INAUDIBLE] own comments. First, let’s start with Tyler. Tyler, you had
identified– and I know that these are
not exhaustive– some of the seminal moments
in the human rights, the history of the
human rights discourse, and the human rights movement. And what was
conspicuously absent were two seminal moments,
two pivotal moments– 1993, the Human Rights
Conference in Vienna, and 1995, the Beijing
Women’s World Conference. And how could you
forget that, when the 30th anniversary of
the Human Rights Program marks the 20th anniversary of
the Beijing Women’s Conference? So the confluence of these
two events are remarkable. And we need to honor that
moment in the history of women’s human rights. And I think the conspicuous
absence of those dates and the conspicuous
absence of [INAUDIBLE], who I revere– I have
to take a moment to celebrate him and his work. His presentation
had no reference to women’s human rights
and that was appalling. I was mortified because
just recent– I mean, we know all of this. The women in this
room know this, and the men who are all
human rights advocates, human rights leaders know
this– that the worst and most pervasive and unaddressed
human rights violation on earth happen to be women’s
human rights. This was something
that President Carter articulated just a
couple of days ago. And the United Nations
has said, perhaps the number one pervasive human
rights abuse in the world, which happens in every
country in the world, happens to be
women’s human rights. So how could he
have forgotten that, and how could the
Human Rights Program not have articulated
better women’s human rights violations? Having said that, I
need to take a moment to reflect on what happened
in 1993 at the Vienna World Conference. Secretary Clinton, my
boss, said it best in 1995 that women’s human
rights are human rights. Women’s rights are human rights. And that cry electrified the
global women’s rights movement. But it was first asserted
in 1993 at the Vienna World Conference when it was
articulated unequivocally that women’s rights
are human rights. The conference also
rejected the notion of what then was known
as the Asian values concept– the concept that
human rights are not universal and that cultural relativism
trumps human rights. So that was completely
attacked and challenged at the Vienna World
Conference and the assertion that human rights are
indivisible, interrelated, and inextricably interrelated
was asserted very clearly at the Vienna conference. And then finally at
the Vienna conference, that the CEDAW, the
Convention of the Elimination of Discrimination Against
Women and the need for an optional
protocol, which called for independent– that
both individual as well as independent ways in which
that the CEDAW committee could be addressed was asserted. So the optional protocol
was first given birth to, was first articulated at
the Vienna conference. The Beijing conference,
20 years ago in 1995 and we had the cusp
of that moment in history, also articulated and
affirmed that women’s rights are human rights. Moreover, the first time
that women’s presence and the importance
of women’s voice in shaping peace and
conflict resolution was affirmed and asserted
at the Beijing conference, and was articulated in the
Beijing Platform of Action. Those 12 critical steps that
were articulated at the Beijing Platform of Action helped
to shape legislation in over 133 countries on
violence against women. And what we see now as being
the global women’s human rights movement was given birth to
during that moment in history. Of course, there were
these nascent movements that started way back at
the Mexico Conference, at the Copenhagen
Conference and in Nairobi. But what has now come to be
this cohesive women’s movement, the global women’s movement,
was shaped in Beijing and continues to be
replicated at the local level by the local women’s
human rights movements. RAYMOND ATUGUBA: I’d like to
join everyone else in thanking Henry Steiner and
everyone else who has been a part of human rights in
Harvard Law for helping shape the last 15
years of my life. I want to return to where
Clara left off, 9/11. I looked at the
list and immediately zeroed in on 9/11 as
a critical moment. Before 9/11, the language
that was used to condemn injustice and look at
the national level, at the international
level, what’s the language of human rights? And you can check that. It was very consistent that
when these things happened the language of human rights
was used to condemn them and to speed people for action. What 9/11 did was to replace
the language of human rights with another language–
security, policy, whatever they call it nowadays. That was very, very significant
because the most important tool of human interaction
is language. It’s so pervasive. We are interacting
now through language. So one of the ways of
changing something permanently is to change its language. And unless we focus
on this and try to reclaim what we
had before 9/11, we would have been
dealt a blow that has taken us 10
years or more back. Because what 9/11
did was take us back to the ’70s when the language
of security was used by Idi Amin to abuse human rights. And that’s critical. We can’t move ahead
with women’s rights. We can’t move ahead with
the rights of people with disability and
so forth unless we claim back that language. So that universally,
when things go wrong, when injustice happens,
the first words will be “human rights.” That’s what I wanted to add. TYLER GIANNINI: And
maybe I can jump in because I think your
point is exactly right. I think that the lists– we
had a preliminary list, which you guys don’t see– which
did not have Beijing on there, or ’93, so it’s
completely right. And we also talked–
Susan and I talked about what we would consider
to be the seminal moments, and why. And for me– two, the
one I first spoke about was on the list and that
was the end of apartheid. But the reason why I took
that one was because, with the end of apartheid and
the constitution coming out of South Africa, there was
a non-Western touchstone for the first time
on a global level. And I think that that
was a very profound shift from a practical perspective. And I think that’s still
part of the discourse now that people look
to South Africa. And I think your
example of Beijing and the women’s movement
is another place where the power shift
is very evident. The movement, I
would say, the one that resonates for me is the
way that violence against women became not about state actors
doing that exclusively, but about the state
having a duty to protect. And that duty is now
well accepted and part of just standard practice. But it emanated from the effort
of women in the violence arena. And I think that was a profound
effect over the last 30 years that wasn’t there. And Beijing is a marker. But I think it’s
broader than that. It’s not one event, which you
know, but I’m reinforcing that. I think the diversification
of the touchstones to engage in that language
debate is different than it was 30 years ago. SUSAN FARBSTEIN: Yeah. And I think, for
me, I completely agree with what the two of
you have said about 9/11 being an essential moment. But, for me, the moment that
I think I would pick out is the genocide
in Rwanda in 1994. I mean, I was young at the time. I was in high school. But I remember being
completely confused as to why no one
was doing anything. And, Jim, you referred
to that and Bosnia sort of opening up the pathway
for the international criminal tribunals, and then the ICC. And I guess, for me, that’s
more of an issue of concern because it seems like there
was so much focus and so much attention that was
given for a period of time and still is given to
international criminal laws, a form of accountability,
and the answer. And we see that, even now,
students come into the program and come into the clinic
and are very much interested in litigation and prosecution
and that narrow kind of accountability as an answer. So I hope that we
can talk more about that as the
discussion progresses. Maybe to turn to
the second question that we wanted to
pose, which has to do with the movement itself. How has the movement evolved? And, Rangita, I’ll turn
to you first on this one, if you could talk to us a
little bit about how you see the movement has changed
over the last 30 years. Where has it adapted well? Where has it not adapted well? Is it more diverse in a
meaningful way than it used to be or are there still
strides that we need to make? RANGITA DE SILVA
DE ALWIS: Right. I want to speak of movement
building through the lenses that Raymond spoke of. In use of language,
the vernacular, the human rights vernacular has
been a very powerful organizing tool. It has been useful not just
to mobilize and galvanize women at the grassroots level
to be able to shape legislation, whether it’s violence against
women, legislation on gender equality legislation
or constitution making. But it has also been used as
an interpretative tool to fill the gaps in national laws or
when the national laws did not speak to either violence against
women or sexual harassment or sexual abuse. It has also being
used as a way in which to legitimize and
to give credibility to some of the claims
that the women had been asking for a long time. But it does also– I want to take a moment to look
at what you have talked about, the importance of criminal law. Michelle Bachelet, the
former head of UN Women, has often said the rule
of law rules women out. Women don’t have
access to justice. Women do not have access
to legal services. And what happens,
because of that, is women are not able to vindicate the
human rights that they claim. And that’s one of the reasons
why some of the human rights leaders are silent when it
comes to women’s rights issues. I want to also talk about
one of the questions that you had sent us. What is wrong with the
human rights discourse? There’s nothing wrong with
the human rights discourse. It is more about the ways
in which human rights have been interpreted as
a Western discourse. And again, we all know
here that that is not so. But I think what is important
is to recreate, redefine human rights in the vernacular,
in the ways in which human rights can find its
deepest expression in some of the traditions, whether they
be the historic traditions, cultural traditions that
are so deeply rooted in the different cultures,
whether it is in the Hindu culture, the Arabic
cultures, human rights are a part of those
narratives, those histories. And that’s an
important part of it. Going back to the
movements, the movements that are most successful
are those movements that are reinterpreted in the
Koran, that are reinterpreted in the Koran from a feminist
lens, from a human rights lens. And I think that’s the way in
which I see the human rights movement can remain
dynamic, can remain organic, and can have the most
amount of potential as a transformative tool. Going back to the use of the
vernacular, use of language, I think what I would
like to articulate is the ways in which those
moments in the women’s human rights summits or
human rights conferences have shaped some of the
new ways and the new lenses that we have now found
the most powerful. So for example, in
Beijing, the whole issue of women’s absence from conflict
resolution and peacemaking was articulated. And Security Council
Resolutions 1325, 1820, as well as the most recent
general recommendation to CEDAW, which is
general recommendation 30, called for women’s leadership in
peace and conflict resolution. So the use of the human rights
discourse and the language have been very important
not just an organizing tool, but a transformative tool. Can more be done? Yes, of course. More can be done. The ICC– we’ve
talked about the ICC. Not a single-
despite the language, despite the language of
the ICC, the constitution of the ICC, not a single case
on gender-related violations has yet to come before the ICC. So language is powerful. But language, unless
it’s made real, will not fulfill
its full potential. SUSAN FARBSTEIN: Do
you want to jump in? CLARA LONG: I would love to. Putting together this
comment that you’ve just made and what Jim said
in the last round, it makes me think
of– you mentioned the ’90s as this period
of institution building in human rights and the opening
of various international fora, in which human rights
claims could be heard, and the stories of victims
could come out in a way that they weren’t able to come
out in domestic, political, or judicial, or
legislative processes. And I just wonder. I wanted to put to the
panel this question that raises for me. This question of, where
should our energies go now? Is it appropriate,
if, as Raymond said, we’ve been kicked back
30 years, should we restart where we were, trying
to rebuild these institutions, trying to build
these institutions into effective international
human rights fora? Or is there another path
that’s more appropriate? One thing about
them that I think that we, as Harvard-educated
lawyers, should recognize is that there are
lead spaces, dominated by people with the
lead educations. Perhaps there’s a way in which
this vernacular that we agree is so powerful can be
effective in different sorts of institutions, in local
human rights councils. What are the ways that– I would be interested in
your thoughts generally and your thoughts about what
are the sorts of institutions that the movement should
be aiming for now? TYLER GIANNINI: Raymond? DR. RAYMOND ATUGUBA:
Rangita and Clara are just dead right
on this point. Back to language, when
push comes to shove, the battle of human rights and
security council resolutions, general assembly declarations,
the text of the law, the interpretation of the
law by a judge in the court, that’s all language. So perhaps what the movement
should be focusing on in greater detail, in
greater seriousness is the processes of
constructing those various forms of language. So right now, as
the UN is developing the post-2015 agenda,
the human rights movement should be intimately
watching the language that goes into all of that because
for the next several decades it’s that language
that’s going to rule us. It’s that language that’s
going to govern us. And if we are not in that
language, we are out. So the processes of constructing
that architecture that builds up, we should be
very concerned about, and the words that go into that
at the international level, and also at the national
level, where people are passing national policy
and passing national laws. Because in the end, as I say,
it goes down to that language. A little judge sitting
in a magistrate court in a little hamlet,
looks at the text and says, you don’t have that
right to inheritance because you’re a woman. Or the Security
Council of the UN says, we can’t
intervene in this case, although we know thousands
and millions of people are going to die. And they would refer
you to the language and justify it in that way. TYLER GIANNINI: There’s
really two issues going on there, right? Because you’ve got
the language question. But then, I think, part
of what Rangita is saying is there’s an access to
who’s shaping the language. And part of what,
Clara, I took away was the proliferation
of institutions might inhibit that access issue. RANGITA DE SILVA
DE ALWIS: Right. You’re right. Harold Cole said, “If the
process is not equitable, then the policies
are not equitable.” And that’s why women,
numbers alone are not enough. This is very important
for me to stress. It’s not about having
more women at the table, but having the kind of women
who are able to articulate a woman’s point of
view at the table. And with that in mind, I want to
just take one minute to go back to your point
about the language. The language is very
important because– and again, speaking from a gender lens–
violence against women, until there was language
on violence against women and violence against
women has criminalized, what happened was that
violence against women had been seen through the
lenses of public decency and public morality. And that was very problematic. And it was only once we had
the criminal law language that we were able
to prosecute these as human rights violations. And even in issues of
culture– you know, look at issues of
women were most often sacrificed at the altar
of either a community’s culture or a family’s culture. And that was problematic. And human rights discourse
provides a new lens, through which we can look
at culture as problematic. SUSAN FARBSTEIN:
Jim, you wanted in. JIM GOLDTON: Yeah. It’s just I want to come back
to Raymond’s point on post-2015. But I wanted to circle there. And I first wanted
to start as well by thanking Henry
for his inspiration and his leadership
and his courage back in the dark ages when
human rights did not exist, at least institutionally,
at Harvard Law School. And as one who was here
near the moment of creation, I just feel like I owe an
extraordinary debt to him, to those who were
here at that time. And picking up on the point
about how important South Africa was as a reference
point for the globe when it underwent transition,
it was through the human rights program that I was able to
spend some time in South Africa and bring that back to the
divestment movement, which was very big at Harvard
in the 1980s, and just enormous meaning for me in
charting the course of my life. So thank you so much. Just in terms of the changes
in human rights movement, I will apologize if
this is off point, but I just want to say it. I see this from a
number of lenses. On the one hand,– and I’m
looking at this in part as a donor as well. When I was coming out of
law school, the number of human rights organizations
that I at least knew about and were potential
places to work, even for very little
money, were very few. Human Rights Watch
did not exist. There were a number
of individual geographically-spaced
watch committees. Amnesty International was the
touchstone internationally, at least in the
world I was from. And there were very small
groups in a number of countries who were not very
well-connected. And, of course, that has
changed dramatically. At one level of the
movement Human Rights Watch came in and actually has
taken over a good deal of the work of
Amnesty International in a way that has
been extraordinary and has been unhealthy. And Amnesty is rejuvenating in
a very powerful way now, which is very important for the
leadership of the human rights movement. It’s very important for
the success at that level. And it’s something that I
think is very important because of the different natures
of these two organizations, one that is very much in
an elite sphere, one that is very much rooted with
it’s extraordinary membership and the power people at the
grassroots to achieve change, if they can mobilize that. In terms of the changes in the
movement, the number of groups who are working not only on
civil and political rights, but thematically exploding
into a whole variety of areas, of course economic, social, and
cultural rights, human rights of climate, human rights
relating to corruption. Just the thematic expansion
of the issue is extraordinary. And globally and geographically,
of course, as well those small movements, small
groups in different places that existed early on, at
least for me, my early on, have become awesome
and powerful. And there are
increasing organizations from the global South, who are
leaders globally in the field. And that’s an extraordinarily
healthy thing, it seems to me. But increasingly, we are
looking to organizations in Africa, in Latin
America, in Asia for leadership globally of
the human rights discourse. And then just finally, I do
think post-2015 the development agenda is an important
marker for us all. It relates to language,
as has been said. It relates to the future of
the human rights movement, it seems to me. In 2000, when the Millennium
Declaration was promulgated, there were promises in the
declaration about human rights and the rule of law. But when those were translated
into the first generation of Millennium Development
Goals, all the reference to justice, rights,
and law left. The goals have
achieved a fair amount, depending on where
you’re looking. But the absence of justice
and the rule of law and rights has been telling. And it is a sign of the strength
of the movement to some extent that one year before– We are right now, the General
Assembly meeting next week. The Secretary General’s going
to be presenting his report. The outcome document of the
Open Working Group just a couple of months ago has
a plank that is all about the rule of law
and access to justice. And it is incumbent on
us to ensure that when the final document
is issued next year that it includes language that
is responsive to the concerns that we care about. SUSAN FARBSTEIN: So
maybe just to pick up on a few of these
threads and particularly the concerns about
elitism and the concerns about the proliferation
of institutions. I think that I agree with
what you’re both saying here, that it has to be a
strength of the movement, that there are so many
more institutions operating at so many different levels and
in so many different countries. But I wonder if it still
needs to be a concern that even within, whatever
we want to call them, the local organizations,
the grassroot organizations, that to a certain extent those
are dominated still by elites– maybe not Harvard Law School
educated elites, but elites within those countries or
elites within those societies. So is there more thinking and
more work to be done still? TYLER GIANNINI: And we were
talking about it earlier today about how one of our
concerns is that– and we don’t know the
answer to this per se, but something to watch is
that this stratification about the elites, whether
it’s in a national level or in an international
or outside the local, whether they’re still
required to come and verify the efforts of local
community organizations and whether the communities
are still not valued enough for what they do,
which is great work, whether that’s something that
the human rights movement still needs to interrogate. That in order for
it to be validated, it still has to have that
big organization, wherever that is in the global
South or global North that comes in and verifies. And that’s a question we pose
to the movement really more than the panel. Maybe going forward,
I think for time we’re going to try and actually get
two other questions out there. So Raymond, I’m
going to come to you with a question about trends. And maybe you can
respond to that trends with the strategies. And then maybe Susan could
ask Jim a quick question and then Clara and Rangita
can respond to these two at the same time. Just on trends and
strategies, how have the trends and tactics
changed in the last 30 years, for better or worse? And what’s been the
cause of the changes? Maybe it is 9/11 and
the language debate. But maybe there’s
some additional things you’d want to expand on. DR. RAYMOND ATUGUBA: Of course,
language has to do with it. But I would like
to talk about this without mentioning language. It’s more or less personal. I just want to look
out there and say what I think happened
in the last 30 years. I think that at the beginning
of the last 30 years the human rights
movement was still very much in service
delivery mode, and service defined broadly. So the human rights
movement was going out there and giving services to people. And they did it in
a variety of ways. Here’s a bag of maize. My own human rights work
started as a relief officer, where I would go out
and distribute food, like real food, to people
who didn’t have food to eat. Flood victims. I remember one very scary
day when we were in a canoe. And then the canoe was leaking. The water was getting in, and
then we’re scooping it out. If you don’t scoop it out fast
enough, you’re going to sink. And we had a long way to go
before we got across the water to the other side
to deliver the food. But service delivery mode. Then it moved into a
second phase, I think, where human rights people
got more intimately connected with the folks they were
working with and for. That was the time when Henry
would fund our work in Africa. We would go with
maybe 30 students from here and other schools. I saw Sabir here. Sabir was one of the
very first students we worked with, in I think 2000. And we’d go and we’d live with
these people we were working with, talk with them, use our
legal expertise, our research capacities, our links
to international bodies to do campaigns and actually
get real problems solved. Of course we got frustrated. Because you couldn’t
do everything. And we blamed the government
for what we couldn’t do. And then we left. Then the third mode, I
think, was working on policy. Forgive me, but
working on language from outside of politics. And trying to
change the language so that more of these
people we’re working with could benefit from
what we’re trying to give them on a
one-on-one basis. So instead of fighting for one
person up to the Supreme Court so that he gets an inheritance,
you get the law changed, so that thousands of people
can get an inheritance. And the fourth and last
phase– and many, many African human rights activists
have gotten into this trap. I’m getting into
it myself, where you try to influence policy
from inside government. Because there’s only so much you
can do from outside government. So this happened to me–
it’s happening to me. I don’t want to say it’s
happened to me already, it’s happening to me. It’s happened to a lot of
Henry’s former students. Mahama Ayariga went
into the parliament. He’s now the Minister for
Youth and Sports in Ghana. [INAUDIBLE] who came later. He’s not quite into
it yet, but he’s now the lawyer for the
president, so [INAUDIBLE] moved from [INAUDIBLE]. He’s now the Human Rights
Commissioner in Nigeria, but appointed by the president. Abdul [INAUDIBLE],
Samuel Amadi is now the chair of the Nigerian
electricity cooperation, or something. And if you know Nigeria, one
of their greatest problems is power. So it’s that fourth
phase where people are moving right into
corridors of power. And trying to use the
instrumentation of politics to change things for the
benefit of people’s rights. So these are the four phases I
can see in the last 30 years. Service delivery, working
right there with the people, influencing policy from
outside, and influencing policy from inside. SUSAN FARBSTEIN:
So, that’s great. I would love to hear
the panelists respond to those four phases. Maybe I can also throw another
question out there, Jim. And you can, perhaps, try to
answer both, or pick the one that you would
rather answer, which has to do with whether the
past 30 years have in some ways exposed the limits of human
rights work and human rights movement. Are we at a point
where there’s fatigue, or human rights
have become passe? This is something that
I think we hear a lot. What does that mean? Is that true? JIM GOLDSTON: I think we have
seen that, as Raymond has said, human rights have become
institutionalized in a way that was really unimaginable
not long ago. At the intergovernmental
level, the fact that there is an
office of the High Commissioner of
human rights, that is not sufficiently well
resourced, but well resourced to have a large
number of people. And that that voice
is so prominent, that the High Commissioner,
during the tenure of the immediately
preceding High Commissioner was speaking regularly
to the Security Council, and taken seriously
on these issues, is very, very important. At the national level,
as Raymond has explained, there are human rights offices,
there human rights actors who are moving into
government to pursue human rights values
and policies. And that’s been,
on the one hand, extraordinarily beneficial. On the other hand, the
institutionalization, to some extent, I
think has simply meant that when you get down
to the brass tacks of putting norms into practice,
you encounter all kinds of challenges. And that means that the
struggle, as has just been described, is less
about fulfilling a dream, or as Vaclav Havel
would have described it, transcending politics. It’s very much about
politics, in fact. And about making things
happen by engaging with all kinds of
actors, and government, civil society, business, etc. And that inherently
has– the nature of that is to create numerous
limits on what human rights can do, because it’s engaging very
practically in the real world. Another set of limits,
it seems to me, is that people have great
expectations about rights. And it’s understandable
that there’s been some disappointment in
that rights haven’t produced everything that
people might want. Rights have not produced
economic prosperity. They haven’t produced
an end of corruption. They haven’t led to
an end to our climate ecological challenges. So the recognition that
rights are a discourse with enormous power, but
they’re not all everything. And then I think we’re
confronting, as well, the limits of hypocrisy
and exceptionalism in the human rights
movement, right? And picking up on some of the
earlier discussions we’ve had, just about how for so long,
in its highly imperfect way, the United States government,
with all the contradictions that that entailed,
plausibly, at least for some, put itself out there
as a leading promoter of human rights for a while. But the credibility
of that assertion, to the extent that
it existed pre-2001, collapsed for so many
people thereafter. And in some ways,
many movements have been trying to
respond to that fact. The European Union, of course,
was created in many ways, and has human rights throughout
much of its rhetoric, etc. But it too is living up so
imperfectly to the policy, both of projecting
human rights abroad, and of fulfilling it
internally with regard to its increasingly
diverse populations. And just the
increasingly stark nature in which double standards are
revealed, and are called out, while healthy, is also a
limit on the universality of the rights agenda. It’s something that movements
have to push back against. But the fact that people
who are clothing themselves in rights language
in practice say, that’s for you and not for
me, is an enormous limitation that we need to be increasingly
cognizant of and overcome, it seems to me. RANGITA DE SILVA
DE ALWIS: I want to respond to Raymond,
as well as to some of the other members
of the panel. But since both of
you have encouraged us to have a dialogue
with our fellow panelists, I have a question
for Raymond, which touches on a couple of
issues that we had raised. The problem is not with elites
in the human rights movement, but with the elites outside
of the human rights movement. And Raymond, I have
a question for you. In 2007, when the
domestic violence law was passed in Ghana, after
many years of struggle by the grassroots
women’s movement, there was a provision that
dismantled the marital rape exemption in the criminal law. But soon after, it was
promulgated because of elites in the government,
that provision in the domestic violence
law had to be dismantled. So the problem was not
with the so-called elites, the elite women who
struggled for the law, because this was both a struggle
by urban elite educated women as well as women
from the grassroots. Because these issues
that we’re talking of, issues of equality in
inheritance rights, equality of property,
equal rights to education, are not issues confronting just
elite women, but all women. And I think that needs
to be kept in mind, that these are not elite issues. These are issues
that confront women in the grassroots as much
as women in the urban areas, or more so women
in the grassroots. But it’s generally
male hierarchies that respond in negative ways. So that’s my question to you. And to some extent, that also
responds to your question about the new face of the
human rights movement. And I think what
started in the 1980s, especially in the
women’s movement as being very much an urban
educated, western educated, urban women’s movement has
now– the face of the movement has changed. And you see this on television. Or, in my case, when
I’m on the ground, especially in
India– and you must have seen this–
post-Nirbhaya, the woman who was raped and
succumbed to injuries in India on a public bus. The movement that was mobilized
due to that tragic event was very much an organic,
endogenous movement. Perhaps started by
the urban elites, but it grew and exploded
in the provinces in India. And the call for a
violence against women law and the revisions of the
criminal procedural law was very much an
organic call to action. So yes, I think what lies
ahead for the moment is to become much more
nuanced in the way that it captures the
needs of women all over. But also the ways in
which both youth and men have engaged in what was
hitherto limited to women only. So the missing link of the
Global Women’s movement was that it failed
to engage men. And now, more and more,
we are realizing that without men leaning in to
support women’s human rights, just women leaning in–
and we have been doing that for generations,
though some have not noticed– it’s not going
to make any difference. RAYMOND ATUGUBA: I think that
is a great example of how there was a deliberate, conscious
contestation over language in the 2007 domestic
violence field. People were conscious that
the language that goes into it would determine whether
or not this human rights problem of domestic
violence would be solved or not, and to what extent. I agree that the political
elite at the time negotiated language. That made it more difficult to
solve all of the issues that would confront real
domestic violence. But I also want to say that
sometimes the problem is also from the human rights movement. When we don’t pay much
attention to language. There are a couple
of people here that I’ve worked with
in Ghana for– we worked for about three years to
construct what we believe is the human rights
constitution. Now, that thing almost
failed in cabinet. It passed, but it almost failed. And I was astounded when some
of the vociferous critics of it in the cabinet were
human rights people. And right now, there
are various movements against that
constitution in Ghana. And they are led by
human rights people. And it’s difficult to understand
why they cannot see that your greatest ticket for
promoting human rights is having language that is friendly
to human rights in your highest law. So sometimes, yes, the problem
is from these politicians. But also, at times, we fail
to realize, as human rights people, that there
are opportunities there to be taken. So I guess it’s both ways. SUSAN FARBSTEIN: Clara,
do you want to respond? And then I think Tyler
has a final question to pose to everyone. CLARA LONG: Yeah, briefly. So on that secret list that
you guys didn’t get to see, there was another
item, which was when Al Gore invented
the Internet. And I just wanted to– backing
up a couple questions– I just wanted to touch on
that as seminal moment. Or not Al Gore’s contribution
perhaps, but the relationship that we have now to information. And as someone whose job it is
to– as the Human Rights Watch tag line is “Investigate,
expose, and change.” I still see, despite working
within the contradiction of elitism, which you very
aptly articulated Jim, and also noting the growth
of Human Rights Watch and taking over
the space perhaps of information creation. There is still a need for
human rights advocates, and human rights
investigators, I believe, to bring and
to verify information that is otherwise hidden. And perhaps, part
of that– Tyler raised this really interesting
question which is, do we still need elite organizations,
or elite people, to rubber stamp
the findings that are known on the ground for
those who are going through it, and are wading through it,
and are organizing and working in it every day? I say this with the full
knowledge of the contradictions of what I say, but I
think maybe perhaps, maybe perhaps there is a need. My colleagues, for
example, who work on Egypt recently released a report
about the Rabaa Square Massacre in which 600 members of
the Muslim Brotherhood were killed by the
Egyptian government. These were known facts
to some, but were not recognized until they submitted
the elite organization, came in and was able to
marshal this information in a systematized way. How that relates to the way that
information sharing constructs and helps to build the
movements that you work within I think is interesting as well. And to what extent
does that activity, that sort of owning
of the knowledge or taking of the knowledge in
order to present it in a way that elites will recognize. To what extent does that
hamper organizational efforts? That’s a very interesting
question for me. I believe there’s a way to
do it that helps organizing. And I hope that
I do it that way. But I recognize that it might be
quite easy to fall into a trap where you can take up
space from the people who are more authentically connected
to the experience of abuse. TYLER GIANNINI: So
for time reasons only, we’d like to shift to give
you guys a few moments each to think about where this leaves
us now, and going forward. So maybe a closing
thought or two about how does
this affect what we do going forward as
human rights advocates. The past informs going forward,
but what are the big issues. Maybe there’s things that
you’re going to take forward from this conversation, but
a forward-looking closing thought. That’s a big ask. CLARA LONG: I don’t mean to– TYLER GIANNINI: Go for it. You don’t want to–? CLARA LONG: And I
want to say that this is what my experience with
HRP in the clinic taught me. For me, the most important
part about moving forward, personally, as an
advocate, is to be able to work in contradiction. And I don’t mean to work
crosswise to myself, but to be able to
hold a critical space for my own actions, and my
own effects as an advocate, and as an investigator,
at the same time that I don’t stop moving. And to the extent that I think
that the movement can do that, generally I think
we learn from that. And of course the place
that I learned to do that was here in this program. That’ll be my thought. I don’t mean to pass it off
to you, Raymond, like that. You’re right there. RAYMOND ATUGUBA: Closing words. Three words. Watch the language. [LAUGHTER] RANGITA DE SILVA DE
ALWIS: And building on what Raymond has said,
language is important. But in many instances,
language is mainly rhetoric, and hortatory,
and aspirational. And the promise of the
language needs to be realized. Harold Cole spoke about five
freedoms, the UN women’s call to action, the Clarion
call to shaping the post-2015 development goals
called for three freedoms. And the first freedom is
freedom from violence. And I’m not going to go
into the other two freedoms. The other the two freedoms have
to do with the capabilities– women’s capabilities– and
occurred on women’s leadership, both in public and in private. My second thought is that the
human rights movement is not a monolithic,
homogeneous movement. And that’s why it’s important
to ensure that women are always a part of the human
rights movement. And women must also
make sure that there isn’t a single
concept of a woman. Women are often defined
by their abilities, by their religious status,
by their sexual identities, and by their social status. But on that basis,
I think what’s so fascinating about the
human rights discourse and the movement is the fact
that it’s a dynamic discourse. And there are new
claims that are cropping up every
day, as we speak. Harold Cole spoke about the
human rights-based approach to tobacco control. And that’s such a
fascinating area that we when we were
in school 20 years ago had never thought of. But again, even within that
area, there is no homogeneity. It’s not a monolithic movement. He didn’t speak
of the importance of looking at it
through a gender lens. Secondhand smoke has a
disproportionate impact on women. And because of the ways in
which many parts of the country, tobacco is most often
connected to food security. Men tend to spend most of
their earned income on tobacco, thus it’s girls and women
who are most often affected by the food security
aspect of tobacco. And finally, the ways
in which women’s bodies have been used as areas
for the sale of tobacco. And women’s bodies have been
both commodified and glamorized and sexualized in
the sale of tobacco. So with that,
where I want to end is by again paying tribute
to my guru, Henry Steiner. None of this would be
possible if not for you, for your inspiration. And for your continued interest
in our lives, and in our work. Thank you. JIM GOLDSTON: Yeah. I was trying to get below
three words, but I can’t. So I think living with
contradiction, and using that. And on the one hand, as we’ve
said, the fact that rights are supposed to
transcend politics. And so much of the importance
of that comes from that notion. And on the other
hand, recognizing that to give meaning
to rights, we often have to engage in
political struggle, and doing both of
those at the same time. TYLER GIANNINI: OK. Great that’s why we
wanted to wrap up, so that we got some
time for questions. So one and then– AUDIENCE: Can you help us
through the dark ages as well? [INAUDIBLE] AUDIENCE: –three students
on Henry Steiner’s sofa. [INAUDIBLE] I also
want to honor Henry and as I look around this
room and see a movement that affects the world,
we can demonstrate what one man can
do to influence it. Secondly, I did want
to add a phrase. When you were talking
about human rights moments over the last
30 years, a moment that comes from the disability rights
movement– nothing about us without us. So the rise of
the civil society, the NGO, the human
rights, quote, “victim” as human rights actor,
as setting the standards, and as influencing
the implementation of those standards. GEORGE EDWARDS:
I’m George Edwards. I am from the Dark Ages as well. There are several
in the room who are past students or
faculty at the time, in 1984 when the
program was founded. And I’m extremely
grateful for Henry, and for the others who were
here with me back in those days. But I wanted to add
maybe a fifth item to Raymond’s list of four. He spoke of infiltrating
the government. I speak of kind of infiltrating
academic institutions. [LAUGHTER] A number of us are
law professors. And we have founded
human rights programs. In fact, down in Indiana,
the program that I have, it mimics the Harvard
Hearts Program. And I’ve been at
it for 17 years. And for those of
you who are still in school, who have never
thought about doing anything academic, I didn’t think
of doing anything academic until a little after I
had finished law school. And that’s a place
where some of us can go. And [INAUDIBLE] is here,
[? Jim Moss ?] is here from [INAUDIBLE]. And I see Philip Austin. I think that was
his– and others who work with the program. I don’t know. But for those of
you who are new, think about those of us who have
passed on to greater things, and follow in our footsteps. [LAUGHTER] JESSICA NEWARK: I
am Jessica Newark. And I also want to thank Henry. I was one of those who
was here at the beginning. And it’s very exciting
to see 30 years within an incredible network. But having have said
that, and having moved, I think, in my own career
beyond that network, very much [INAUDIBLE]. And I want to thank you for
raising all of those issues, because I think they
happened at [INAUDIBLE]. I think we need to
really, seriously think about broadening this
human rights [INAUDIBLE]. And when I say human
rights to [INAUDIBLE] now, I mean, in what we think of
as Human Rights Movement. I think other people
sometimes think of themselves as human rights
activists, but the truth is, we said a long time
ago, women’s rights are human rights. But really, the Women’s Rights
Movement and the Human Rights Movement are still
very separate. I think there are so many
amazing groups around the world who have worked on
economic and social rights. And again, it’s just separate. And I just think, at
the academic level, in terms of international
law, there’s actually a lot more
integration than there is as you go into
the real world. And I’m surprised that no
one mentioned R2P today, the responsibility to protect. Because I think that that’s a
really important development. And more of maybe
the academic level, and how it relates to the whole
international legal framework. Is it an effort to complement
or supplement or supplant all the work that
we’ve been doing? You know, it had such a
more political dimension. I think Human Rights has
become a lot more political. And those are all the areas
that I hope you will expand. And most importantly for me,
in terms of hierarchy and also elitism, I think it’s time for
us to much more seriously focus on empowering groups
around the world. There’s way too much money
and visibility and voice. And we say that, and
I know Jim mentioned there is a few
leadership groups. But in my experience,
that’s very, very rare. The people who have access to
international dialog, the UN, and all of that policy
making, are really not representative
of the world, or even the world’s Human
Rights Movement. And I think we should have
a sense of responsibility to change that. Thank you. STEPHANIE TERRIER: Hi,
I’m Stephanie Terrier. So I would comment about
the limits of human rights that was referred to. But before that, I just
wanted to tip a formal hat to Clyde Ferguson,
who I understand was the first person to– [APPLAUSE] And for the folks who might
be newer and don’t know him, just look up Clyde
Ferguson, and he’s just really a true source of
inspiration, even now. So my comment is that, regarding
the question about the limits of human rights– I’ll
put it that broadly– I think that we, as
lawyers, might perhaps place more emphasis on the role
of law than might be warranted. Probably most
people in this room may have told you
to go to law school to learn about the law to
use it as a tool for change. And it’s very important. Martin Luther King said that
laws cannot change the hearts, but they can restrain
the heartless. So they play an important role. At the same time, in at least
a couple of the human rights instruments, they wrote
into those instruments specific provisions
requiring states to take not only legal
measures– don’t only change the Constitution,
Legislation, Administrative Regs– but also take other
nonlegal measures that required in order to bring
about the change. And those are the two
anti-discrimination treaties specific to two groups–
racial discrimination and discrimination
against women in Article 5 and Article 7 of the Race
Discrimination Convection. And also Article 10 of CEDAW. And so I think that
when we’re thinking about how to really
affect change, we have a role as
lawyers with the law. But perhaps we should
be doing more work with social scientists on how
to change the heart, right? How to actually
achieve those goals. Because one reason that
things haven’t changed, in some respects, is
people want to hold on to power and privilege,
preserving power and privilege. But some people with
power and privilege are OK with sharing
a little bit. So one recommendation
is that we really do more work with social
scientists in trying to sort out exactly how are
we going to change the heart? How are we going to
change things more deeply? SUSAN FARBSTEIN: Great. So maybe we’ll just
let6 the panelists respond to the comments
that we’ve had so far. JIM GOLDSTON: I share– I
mean, I really appreciate those comments, all of
those that were made. And I agree that
we need to do a lot more to ensure that
those without voice now have greater
voice going forward. And that’s a very,
very difficult thing, given what the
sources of funding are for human rights
in the world today. And although they’re
a little bit more than they were 30 years
ago, they’re still too few. And we need to think about
how to deal with that. On the question of
R2P, I just wanted to note a very minor note
of hope, very long-term. But in relation to the
point about double standards and exceptionalism and the
fact that the United Nations Security Council continues
to be such an example of that in the retention of the
veto by five powers, it is notable that recently
the French government did propose publicly–
I think a year ago, President Hollande– that in
situations of mass atrocities, that it would be, if
others with the veto were willing to refrain
from use of the veto in those situations. And I do think that’s important. I did want to pick up
just on the point that was made about the
concern about the over criminalization of responses
to rights violations. And I think that’s a huge set of
issues that has been addressed and needs to be addressed more. I think one can they acknowledge
that certain responses have received more
attention, more funding, more political
priority than others. And at the same time,
at least in my view, appreciate the importance and
the value of the institutions that have been created to
address in a criminal law response mass atrocities. And yet, there’s no question. We’ve done a lot
of work in Cambodia around the Extraordinary
Chambers, which was established to deal
with Khmer Rouge crimes. And in a country which
has so many needs, many people have raised
very, very important and legitimate questions
about whether $200 million could have been better
spent than on this deeply flawed process that is the
only, yet, the only process of any accountability for
the extraordinary crimes that took the lives of
almost two million people. RANGITA DE SILVA DE
ALWIS: Now, I also want to echo your point that
the criminalization of violence has been very important. Before the Maria da Penha Law
was promulgated in Brazil, perpetrators were asked
to provide food bags to community centers
as the penalty that they had to endure
for violence against women. But I also want to
add a word of caution. In criminalizing
violence against women, we need to be
careful about being overly excessive about this. So for example, in the
aftermath of the Nirbhaya case, the regulations, the ways in
which the Indian penal code was revised was troublesome. There is now a
provision that calls for the death penalty
in the case of rape. And that is problematic. So we need to be careful
about some of the excesses and the over-criminalization
of some of these issues. I also want to echo
what Hope said. The importance of
rights without us. That “Nothing without
us” was the slogan that the disabled
rights community used, and has now
become a clarion call. And Hope, herself, has been very
much a part of that movement. And Hope was the voice
for those actors, women with disabilities,
women’s human rights lawyers with disabilities
who can forward to shape the CRPD through a gender lens. So thank you, Hope. And finally, I do
want to echo lots of what my fellow panelists and
the commentators earlier said, about looking at this
through the lens of the Holy Trinity of power,
politics, and human rights. And with that, I want
to end on the note that the editor of foreign
policy’s power issue has said, the under representation of
women in positions of power is proof of a system
of the most egregious, widespread, pernicious,
destructive patterns of human rights abuses in
the history of civilization. So having more women
in positions of power, more women in
political participation is another way in which
human rights abuses, women’s human rights abuses, can
be addressed in combat. RAYMOND ATUGUBA:
I wanted to draw a connection between the
issue of criminalization and what Stephanie talked
about, targeting the heart. There’s actually a connection. As Rangita is
pointing out, it’s not just the fact of
criminalization that is potentially problematic. It’s more about the
penalties that ensue. So that if you have the death
penalty as a penalty for rape, that can be problematic. So there has to be ways in
which the penalties that ensue from criminalization are
constructed to touch and affect the heart in a way
that changes people. The normal penalties of
just throwing people in jail and whatnot cannot achieve that. In fact, in most
cases it worsens it. But if we put more industry
into fashioning out “penalties” that are able to
transform people even as they pay for what they
do, we would be moving the movement
towards what she calls changing people’s hearts. TYLER GIANNINI: And to
build off that, I think, one, that being in a
law school setting, one being that we see, I
think, pretty consistently, is that people equate
lack of impunity with lack of a criminal penalty. And they aren’t equal. We see people early in
their law school careers very focused on criminal
remedies in the human rights context. And I think the diversification
of a concept and a discussion about, how you
deal with impunity? Criminal response is not the
only thing to be on the table. But that’s why, I think, we
flagged it, Susan flagged it. CLARA LONG: And of
course, that connects to Hope’s very important
point about who is in the conversation
about what the remedies are, and what role they can
play in the conversation. TYLER GIANNINI: And it’s
another place, I think, where Susan and I and
others in our clinic feel– and other clinics
around the country, I think, are now trying to
wrestle with this issue, about how you bring the us
of the survivors effectively into clinical teaching in
the human rights context, and the transnational context. Because we believe good
human rights lawyers do that. But a lot of clinics
focus on litigation. They focus on
naming and shaming. How do we bring
in that philosophy into a clinical
setting going forward? SUSAN FARBSTEIN: So think,
a couple of more questions. KATHLEEN MAHONEY: Thank you. My name is Kathleen Mahoney. I’m from Canada, Alberta. And I also want to join the
chorus in praising Henry. I wasn’t a student
here, but I was a Fellow in the Human Rights
Program a number of years ago. I must say, I was a
little bit surprised that the panel didn’t touch on
the challenges going forward, and including the
effects of climate change and environmental
degradation. It seems to me, when we’re,
as human rights people, trying to think about
what’s coming in future, the idea of protecting
future generations is something which we haven’t
even developed the tools to do. We haven’t develop
understandings of the responsibilities of
states for their in-action amongst each other and
lack of cooperation. And to take your
point, as usual, the impacts are going to
be greatest on the poorest people in the world,
women, children, disabled people, and such like. So I just wondered
what your thoughts were on that, going
forward in your planning, clinically, as well as
substantively, in the program. SUSAN FARBSTEIN: That’s great. I just wonder if there
are any other questions? We can just take a final round. Or if not, we can deal with
that as our final question. MARK GOULD: My
name is Mark Gould, and I’m a social scientist. Thinking about how a social
scientists might address questions of transforming
people’s values, one’s standard response would
be to focus on punishing. Punishment shouldn’t be
understood as a deterrent, it should be understood as a
way of defining boundaries. Reaffirm a commitment
to a boundary by punishing people
who violate them. And I guess with
that in mind, I would be interested in hearing
whether folks think that there are functional substitutes
for the way punishment functions in that way. So is the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission an equally effective way
of drawing that boundary? Or are forms of punishment
that are not punitive equally effective in drawing
that boundary? Or are those mechanisms seen
as not taking that boundary seriously, and thus not
having the same exact of reaffirming values to which
we are committed and would like to see other people
as committed? SUSAN FARBSTEIN: Jerry, you’re
getting the final question. JERRY: Yes. I would just like to put
and add-on to Miss Mahoney’s question about the environment
and climate change, and ask, what do you think
about the question of the Human Rights Movement and
human rights advocacy as not being everything? And whether these
are– with everything, it has to be translated into
the human rights issue in order to gain traction. Or whether the Human
Rights Movement needs to cooperate
with other movements, recognizing that
some problems may– it’s a question–
some problems may not be best-phrased as a
human rights problem. TYLER GIANNINI: There
was one hand in the back, but I think we’ll leave it. That’s a lot. We’re going to need two
more hours for the last two questions. [LAUGHTER] HUMANITARIAN WORKER:
I’ll be real quick. If I may, to give
voice to refugees, I’m a humanitarian aid worker,
so I rotate out of countries in conflict every three months. And obviously, there
are structures in place. We tell the victims that there
are laws, there’s protocols. But the frustration for these
people, and I work in Haiti, I work in Eastern Europe during
the ’90s, in the Balkans. I’ve just come back
from the Middle East. They’re frustrated because
they say these measures are in place, but they feel as
though their needs are not being met. So thank you. TYLER GIANNINI: Henry? HENRY STEINER: Just to add
to what Jerry just said. It seems to me that the
spread of rights rhetoric can be understood over some
different prospectives. One is to assume that rights
are sealed-off, autonomous or quasi-autononomous rhetoric, And
if you simply lie down at night and solemnly contemplate,
you’re enabled, and you think hard about
what human rights are. Every one of the issues
that’s has been presented is a rights issue. Plus 10 1/4 million others are
likely to present themselves. It’s a very attractive rhetoric. It’s become a rhetorically
powerful rhetoric. It still draws significant
public newspaper, et cetera, attention. So one can understand them. And babies have
it, and young kids. And my grandkids talk of
their rights at age four, never having attended the
Harvard Law School Human Rights Movement. It’s stunning. It’s almost innate. So what I wanted to
address, in fact, rather than think of rights as
a discrete movement which slowly embraces intergalactic issues
in universe after universe, one can think of
different issues becoming significant
in themselves. And each of them
invites the absorption, of some degree or another,
of rights rhetoric. Rights did not breed
environmentalism. The Environmental Movement,
and its progressively greater perceived threat to all
of us breeds the notion of right as a defense
against callous business that is moving
in certain directions, or callous government that is
moving in certain directions. So I tend not to think
of them all the same, as having a particular rights
era and a particular rights violator. And let’s get them before a
court, in the classic sense, or whatever. But as modes of investing
political claims and interests claims with a sense
of higher dignity, and with a sense of the
personal engagement of everyone in issues like the
environment, however difficult it may be to phrase the
precise parties to a lawsuit, or the precise origins
of the use of rights in environmentalism,
back to don’t torture me government, or the
classic kind of a case. I also want to say
just one brief thing about the many nice things
which have been said about me. And I’ve remained
happily silent. But I just want to say
this, as is perfectly clear, I appreciate everyone’s
comments that the responsibility for so much that so many
of you have achieved in lives that have had a
healthy portion of human rights as part of your diets,
the author of that, the creator of that,
is obviously you. You know that and I know that. So the pleasure that I really
take is that, in some way, this goaded many, or put an
option before many, which so many people in this program
have followed to go on and do important things in
the world outside of their narrowly-conceived
personal interests. And that is the
greatest pleasure that I take in
the program today. TYLER GIANNINI: Great. Should we give Henry
the last thought? So I think the
questions are– Susan and I just conferred,
and we think that, in many ways
for time, that’s a great closing to
the panel, Henry. And we want to thank you
for saying those words. [APPLAUSE] And please thank all
of you, thank you for your great contributions
and there’ll be a short break. And then we’ll come back
for the second panel.

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