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Shaping the Discussion on Human Rights in the US

The Center has been a leading force in shaping discussions and debate around human rights in the United States. As part of its robust program of conferences and panels each year, a significant number of events are held which focus specifically on human rights in the U.S. A partial list of such activities is below. Webcasts and podcasts of most events are available. For a list of all past Center events see here.

Conferences, Panels and Events


Human Rights Implications of the Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Decision (April 2013): On April 23, 2013, the Center hosted an online briefing  to examine the human rights implications of the Kiobel decision and how it may impact future human rights cases.

Human Lawyering at the State and Local Level in the U.S. (April 2013): On April 22, 2013, the Center hosted a day-long conference focused on the growing use of human rights law in local and state advocacy by legal aid attorneys and juvenile public defenders in the U.S.  Panels will ranged from clients and advocates sharing their experiences of fighting for human rights protections in the U.S., to a discussion of how to spread and strengthen the movement to use human rights law in local advocacy.


Human Rights Implications of SCOTUS Decisions in the 2012 Term (July 2012): On July 18, 2012, the Center hosted a webinar to analyze the effect of several key Supreme Court decisions of the 2012 Term on human rights in the United States. Specifically, the event focused on immigration, life without parole for juveniles, and health care. Over 100 scholars and practitioners attended the online briefing.


The Obama Administration and Human Rights Conference (April 2011): In April 2011, the Center held a visionary two-day conference to examine the successes and challenges of the Obama Administration in the realm of human rights at home and abroad during its first two years in office. The conference featured 20 panels, four plenary sessions, over 80 speakers and more than 200 people in attendance. Webcasts of each session are available on the conference website.


Controversial Conversations in Human Rights (Fall 2010): Controversial Conversations aims to foster a dialogue among students about hot-button, cutting-edge human rights issues and to view these issues from innovative angles. The 2010 series focused exclusively on human rights in the U.S. Featuring issues such as “Does Foreign Aid Work?” “Who is Illegal?” and “Is the US Sui Generis When it Comes to Human Rights?”


Upholding International Human Rights: Shared History and Shared Challenges for the Netherlands and the United States (October 2009): Acknowledging the 500th year anniversary of the arrival of Dutch explorers to the Hudson Valley, the Center, together with the Royal Embassy of the Netherlands, held a high-level discussion of shared history and shared challenges for human rights faced by the US and the Netherlands.

The Obama Administration and the State Secrets Privilege (March 2009): A discussion regarding the Obama Administration’s announcement that it would maintain the same position as its predecessors with respect to the state secrets privilege and the extent to which it bars lawsuits arising out of allegations of extraordinary rendition.


Human Rights Film Series (Fall 2008): Each year, the Center explores ways in which film and media can be used to promote human rights through its annual human rights film series. In 2008, the Human Rights Film Series focused on human rights issues in the United States, including a special event focused on the social and economic impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast.

Countering Terrorism Through Domestic & International Sanctions Listing A Rule of Law Perspective (September 2008)

Boumediene v. Bush and the Future of U.S. Detention Policy (September 2008)

The Role of US Law Schools in Promoting and Protecting Human Rights (April 2008)

International and US Perspectives on Implementation of the New UN Disability Rights Convention (March 2008)


Racial Discrimination in the US Criminal Justice System and International Human Rights Standards: Reporting to CERD (May 2007)

From United Nations Consensus to State Implementation: How An International Convention May Impact the Rights of People with Disabilities (April 2007)

Comparative Approaches to Enforcement of Human Rights: India & the United States (March 2007)

U.S. Education Law and Its Human Rights Impact on Racial Minorities (February 2007)


Exposing Sexual Violence Behind Bars: The Implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (November 2006)

September 2006: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: Implications of Military Commissions (September 2006)

Human Rights Implications of Hurricane Katrina: 6 Months Later (April 2006)

Discussion with Aryeh Neier on Economic and Social Rights (January 2006)


Race, Class and "Refugees": Human Rights Implications of Hurricane Katrina (September 2005)

Beyond Roper: International Laws and Standards for the Treatment of Children in Conflict with the Law (May 2005)

IM4HR: Instant Messaging for Human Rights (May 2005)


Strengthening Criminal Justice Advocacy: How to Use the International Human Rights System (April 2004)