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Human Rights Advocacy in the U.S.: A Training for Attorneys, Organizers and Other Public Interest Practitioners in the Greater Miami Area

Aug. 16-17, 2013

University of Miami School of Law

Faculty Meeting Room, Law Library (4th Floor)

1311 Miller Road, Coral Gables, FL, 33146

 

Flyer

Presentation Materials:

 

Sponsored by the Local Human Rights Lawyering Project at the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law and the Miami Law Human Rights Clinic

The Local Human Rights Lawyering Project based at the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law provides training, coaching, and mentorship to legal aid attorneys and public defenders with the aim of integrating the human rights framework into daily work at the state and local level in the U.S. The Project has been working closely with two partner legal aid organizations, Maryland Legal Aid and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, for the past year with great success. This summer we are expanding the reach of the project to encourage others to integrate human rights arguments into advocacy before judges and policy makers, as well as to integrate human rights principles into the client-lawyer relationship and into organizational decision-making systems. To that end, we planned this free training at the University of Miami School of Law on August 16-17, 2013 (CLE credits are available for members of the FL Bar).

The University of Miami School of Law Human Rights Clinic, which launched in January 2011, exposes students to the practice of law in the international and cross-cultural context of human rights litigation and advocacy at the local, national, and international levels. In the classroom, students critically engage with human rights law and contemporary social problems while honing their lawyering and advocacy skills. Outside the classroom, students gain hands-on experience working on cutting-edge human rights projects and cases before the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and other human rights bodies.

Lauren E. Bartlett, Local Human Rights Lawyering Project Director, as well as Nelson Mock, Human Rights Coordinator at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, faciliated the training, along with faculty and staff at the University of Miami. Speakers included:

  • Carrie Bettinger-Lopez, Associate Professor of Clinical Legal Education and Director, Miami Law Human Rights Clinic
  • Stephen J. Schnably, Professor of Law, University of Miami School of Law
  • JoNel Newman, Professor of Clinical Legal Education and Director, Miami Law Health Rights Clinic
  • Rebecca Sharpless, Associate Professor of Clinical Legal Education and Director, Miami Law Immigration Clinic
  • Jessica Carvalho Morris, Director of International Graduate Law Programs, Miami Law & General Secretary, Board of Directors, Amnesty International USA
  • Kelleen Corrigan, Practitioner-in-Residence and Lecturer, Miami Law Human Rights Clinic
  • Cathy Albisa, Executive Director, National Economic & Social Rights Initiative
  • Nelson Mock, Human Rights Coordinator, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
  • Lauren E. Bartlett, Local Human Rights Lawyering Project Director, American University Washington College of Law

Agenda:

Day 1 – Friday, August 16, 2013

Day 1 of the training focused on the practical application of the human rights framework to everyday work and provided a basic overview of each of the topics included in our Human Rights in the U.S. Handbook for Legal Aid Attorneys (available for download here, along with other human rights resources and materials).

8:30am – Continental Breakfast Served

9:00am – Welcome & Introductions (Facilitator: Carrie Bettinger-Lopez)

9:15am – Introduction to the Local Human Rights Lawyering Project (Facilitator: Lauren Bartlett)

9:45am – Human Rights 101 (Facilitator: Stephen J. Schnably)

This session provided a basic overview of human rights law, and the human rights standards and strategies that legal services lawyers can engage to advocate on behalf of their clients.   Participants gained an understanding of the sources of human rights in US law, as well as the international and regional human rights systems that the US participates in and US obligations under human rights law.

10:45am – Coffee Break

11:00am – Human Rights as Applied to Housing & Domestic Violence (Facilitators: Nelson Mock, Lauren Bartlett, & Carrie Bettinger-Lopez)

This session introduced the participants to the basic strategies that US advocates can use to bring human rights into their everyday work.  Specifically this session focused on human rights as applied in housing and domestic violence contexts.  It was designed to provide the background necessary to strategically integrate human rights into litigation and advocacy work. Using the Handbook for Legal Aid Attorneys, we explpred specific examples of persuasive human rights arguments in state and federal court.

12:00pm – Lunch Served

1:00pm – Working with Special Rapporteurs, Treaty Bodies and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Facilitators: Jessica Carvalho Morris, Carrie Bettinger-Lopez & Cathy Albisa)

This discussion focused on the role of Special Rapporteurs, Treaty Bodies and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, how to work with these entities, and best practices for selecting cases and issues to bring before each type of international mechanism.  Specific examples of cases and issue areas were provided

2:30pm - Break

2:45pm – Small Group Exercise Focused on Using the Handbook to Create Human Rights Arguments and Strategies (Facilitators: Nelson Mock & Lauren Bartlett)

The larger group was broken into smaller groups to go over sample intakes (each participant is asked to bring a sample intake from their office, a fairly common fact pattern for a housing or domestic violence case, with all private information removed). Each group chose 1-2 intakes and use the handbook to: design advocacy strategy; write up human rights arguments; and walk through taking a case from intake to completion using the human rights framework.  The small groups were thenasked to report back to the larger group on what they came up with.

4:30pm – Closing Thoughts & Begin Discussion on Where to Go From Here (Facilitator: Becky Sharpless)

5:30pm – Reception

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Day 2 – Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 2 of the training focused on a more in-depth application of human rights to everyday work beyond advocacy.

9:30am – Continental Breakfast Served

10:00am – Integrating Human Rights into the Client-staff Relationship and Inter-office Systems (Facilitators: Nelson Mock & Lauren Bartlett)
This session explored possibilities for participants to use human rights principles to guide and improve the client-staff relationship, as well as office systems such as intake, deciding which cases to take, staff-management relations and inter-office protocols. 

11:00am – Human Rights Messaging (Facilitator: Kelleen Corrigan)

This session focused on the efficacy of framing work in terms of human rights and will provide specific examples of U.S. advocates who have used human rights messaging with great success.

12:30pm – Lunch Discussion on Where to Go From Here (Facilitator: JoNel Newman)

2:00pm – Closing