CHRGJ Publishes Spring 2015 Newsletter
June 15, 2015


CHRGJ is the hub of human rights study at NYU School of Law, the top-ranked program for international law in the country and one of the premier law schools in the world.



Spring 2015 Newsletter

This spring, CHRGJ launched a new initiative on “Inequality, the Global Economy, and Human Rights,” appointed Pablo de Greiff Director of the Project on Transitional Justice, and showcased student scholarship and alumni achievements; the Global Justice Clinic testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;  Special Rapporteur Philip Alston visited Chile; Just Security briefed Congress; and the Bernstein Institute for Human Rights hosted its inaugural conference.


The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice has launched a new initiative on Inequality, the Global Economy, and Human Rights.  Building upon the Center’s work in 2012-2014 on human rights fact-finding, methods and evidence, this new initiative shifts the focus to economic and social rights (ESR).  The aim of the multiyear program is to critically examine the role of international human rights law and institutions in regulating the global economy and countering growing inequalities.  By promoting research and scholarship focused on the intersection of the global economy and human rights, the Center seeks to elucidate structural causes of the widening gap between the rich and the poor within and across countries, including the impacts of economic and fiscal policies on the enjoyment of rights.  It also seeks to strengthen community efforts to document the lived effects of those policies and to identify and reinforce channels of accountability for ESR violations.

Growing inequalities have sparked outcry from nearly all corners, prompting protests across the globe, spurring new research by political scientists and economists, and pushing policymakers to respond.  Yet, in this rising chorus, the voices of human rights scholars and practitioners have been far from prominent. To address this gap, CHRGJ is developing a range of activities, including, among others:

  • convening interdisciplinary workshops that foster dialogue on the inequality dimensions of various contemporary human rights issues;
  • organizing an international conference on taxation and human rights, planned for spring 2016;
  • coordinating the publication of a volume of new scholarship on these issues; and
  • hosting visiting fellows and student scholars-in-residence who are conducting research and writing on cutting edge issues in economic and social rights.


In March, Professor Philip Alston conducted his first country visit as UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. At the end of his visit to Chile, Professor Alston issued a statement, noting that “[i]n relation to poverty, Chile is a paradox. It has made extraordinary progress in terms of economic growth, overall development, and poverty reduction. But at the same time, troubling rates of poverty and extreme poverty persist, and inequality levels are extremely high.”

Professor Alston voiced concern that Chile’s reforms were mostly middle-class driven and poverty was overlooked. Among the issues contributing to poverty and inequality in Chile, Professor Alston pointed to gender discrimination and discrimination against LGBTI persons as well as insufficient protection of labor rights. He further said that Chile’s record on the rights of indigenous peoples, represents the ‘Achilles Heel’ of its human rights record in the twenty-first century and that extreme poverty in Chile cannot succeed without a concerted focus on the situation of indigenous peoples.

During his mission, on which he was joined by his senior advisor Christiaan van Veen and OHCHR Human Rights Officer Junko Tadaki, Professor Alston visited Bajos de Mena, a social housing project in Santiago and Campamento San Francisco, the largest “campamento” (slum) in the Metropolitana region.  In addition, the group met with President Michelle Bachelet, as well as the President of the Senate, and many other officials, in addition to civil society leaders, academics, and international organization representatives.

Other Issues:


This spring, Pablo de Greiff, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, was appointed Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice’s Project on Transitional Justice. The Project on Transitional Justice seeks to maximize the opportunities for students at NYU School of Law to engage in intensive study and undertake internships and summer fellowships with leading organizations in the field.  Dr. de Greiff, who joined CHRGJ as a Senior Fellow last fall, is one of the leading figures worldwide in the this field. He was appointed as the UN Human Rights Council’s first Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence in 2012. In February, CHRGJ hosted Dr. de Greiff in a conversation with Professor Ryan Goodman—a unique opportunity for students and the community to engage in an informal discussion on the challenges, opportunities, and strategies for the new transitional justice mandate, as well as those of UN special procedures generally.


In March, the GJC joined two Haitian civil society coalitions, the Justice in Mining Collective and the Megaprojects Observatory, to testify at a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The groups testified to the social, environmental, and political costs of the lack of transparency surrounding the development of the tourism and mining industries in Haiti. They described how farmers lost their crops to tourist development projects and signed land agreements with mining companies without adequate information about the risks they faced. In live and video testimony, advocates exposed the failure of the Haitian government to provide basic information about planned projects—even to those directly affected—and denounced proposed legislation that would keep all information about the mining sector confidential for ten years.

The hearing was granted on the basis of a joint request filed by the GJC and its Haitian partners following a workshop in Port-au-Prince co-led by GJC student Etienne Chenier-Lafleche LLM ’15, Nina Sheth ’16, and Nikki Reisch. Lafleche presented testimony at the hearing alongside Haitian advocates. The hearing has already had at least one “positive outcome” according to Lafleche: the IACHR’s Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression expressed concern over a confidentiality clause in the Haitian government’s proposed mining law, something Lafleche and the Global Justice Clinic emphasized in their testimony and brief.  Clinic student Astrid Caporali LLM ’15 made significant contributions to the brief the Clinic submitted to the IACHR and helped prepare the witnesses for the hearing. Jean-Luc Adrien ’17 volunteered while still a 1L, helping with the Clinic’s research and collaboration with Haitian partners.


As its second anniversary approaches, Just Security (the online forum for U.S. national security law and policy based at CHRGJ) continues to expand its readership and gain influence in the policymaking sphere. In May, Just Security held a briefing for congressional staff regarding the upcoming sunset of Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the legal authority for the NSA’s bulk telephony metadata program. Just Security‘s Co-Editor-in-Chief Steve Vladeck moderated a discussion between Just Security Founding Editor Julian Sanchez, several Just Security guest contributors, and leading experts including: Access’s Amie Stepanovich; Liza Goiten of the Liberty & National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice; Neema Singh Guliani of the American Civil Liberties Union; and Carrie Cordero, Director of National Security Studies at Georgetown University Law Center. The bipartisan panel debated the various legislative proposals that would renew, retire, or reform Section 215. The event was widely attended by senior congressional staff, and offered an opportunity to engage in a wide-ranging legal discussion about the looming surveillance reform debate. Lauren Doney, Just Security’s new Communications and Engagement Director, helped organize the highly successful briefing.

Visit Just Security online at or sign-up for Today on Just Security to receive a summary of the day’s content in a single email. If you’d like a curated digest of national security news delivered to your inbox before the start of business each weekday morning, sign-up for Just Security’s Early Edition. You can also follow Just Security on Twitter and Facebook.


In January 2015, NYU School of Law launched the Robert L. Bernstein Institute for Human Rights, naming Professor Satterthwaite as its Faculty Director.  The Institute will promote human rights opportunities for students through scholarship, education, and advocacy and will synergize the activities of NYU’s existing human rights-related centers—CHRGJ, the US-Asia Law Institute, and NYU Stern’s Center for Business and Human Rights.

The Bernstein Institute’s inaugural conference was held on April 21-22. The conference examined human rights responses to inequalities, highlighting efforts to end racial and ethnic inequalities, inequalities in global wealth and health, and anti-discrimination law in China. Its spotlight panel featured emerging voices in human rights—CHRGJ and NYU Law alumnae Andrea Gittleman ’09 (now Program Manager of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum), Beatrice Lindstrom ’10, (now Staff Attorney at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti), and Tafadzwa Pasipanodya ’08 (now Associate at Foley Hoag LLP)—alongside Dean Trevor Morrison and NYU Stern’s Professor Michael Posner. The panelists discussed their current work in diverse areas of advocacy and credited NYU for launching their careers, which Dean Morrison lauded as exemplifying “not just excellence in the craft of lawyering… but a whole new set of skills.”

Watch the panels here!


Spring Event Highlights

Feb 18: Inequality, Human Rights, and Progressive Realization: Translating State Resources into Social and Economic Rights

Mar 11: Tax Justice for Gender Equality: Capacity-building session for women’s rights advocates & activists

Mar 19: Rights at Risk in Haiti: Access to Information & Participation in Development [Washington DC]

Mar 26: Outcomes of the Brazilian Truth Commission: achievements, failures and challenges

Apr 9: Human Rights Practice Series: Investigating Corporate Human Rights Abuses in the US and Abroad

Apr 24: Keeping Score on Electronic Mass Surveillance: Methods & Human Rights Indicators


Twelfth Annual International Law and Human Rights Emerging Scholarship Conference

The Twelfth Annual International Law and Human Rights Emerging Scholarship Conference showcased impressive written contributions by student scholars and fostered dialogue between students and human rights experts. The annual conference, co-hosted by CHRGJ and the Institute for International Law and Justice, encourages the development of human rights research and scholarship by giving students an opportunity to present papers and works-in-progress in a constructive and collaborative environment. This year’s conference featured commentary from prominent human rights practitioners, including, among others, Zama Coursen-Neff, Chris Albin-Lackey and Daniel Wilkinson (Human Rights Watch), Allison Corkery (Center for Economic and Social Rights), Eduardo Gonzalez (International Center for Transitional Justice), and Darian Pavli (Open Society Justice Initiative). CHRGJ awarded its 2015 Global Justice Emerging Scholar Essay Prize to Oliver Persey for his paper, “Greening the Targeting Process in International Armed Conflicts: The Potential Impact of Environmental Human Rights Law on International Humanitarian Law.”

Transitional Justice and Human Rights Writers Workshop

CHRGJ launched its Transitional Justice and Human Rights Writers Workshop in 2015. The workshop, which is held during several brown bag lunches throughout each semester, is designed to provide NYU law students with an informal opportunity to receive constructive feedback from their peers and from CHRGJ staff about draft papers related to transitional justice, human rights, and other international law topics.
CHRGJ is proud host to a vibrant community of scholars.  Our Spring 2015 group included: Hauser Global Fellow Marlon Weichert; Scholars in Residence Tine DestrooperInga Winkler, and Marcos Zunino; Affiliated Researcher Sévrine Knuchel; Visiting Doctoral Researcher Fredrik von Bothmer; student Human Rights Scholars Emily Buist-CatherwoodNatalia Restrepo, and Allie Wilson; and student Transitional Justice Scholars Nasser Al-Reshaid, Gallia Daor, Jessica Griffiths, Asta Hill, Harry Hobbs, Jorge Martinez Paoletti, Hugh Pennicook, Marcela Prieto Rudolphy, Menaka Tennekoon, and Esther Theyskens.


Merryl Lawry-White (LLM ’13), a former Transitional Justice Scholar, now works as a Juriste Adjoint to a Judge at the International Court of Justice. This involves working with the Judge on all disputes that come before the Court, implicating a broad range of international law issues, including questions of the use of force, environmental law, human rights law, humanitarian law, the law on genocide, reparations, and other areas.

During her time at NYU Law, Lawry-White studied with CHRGJ Faculty Directors Ryan Goodman and Philip Alston, taking International Human Rights and International Law, respectively. Since graduating, Lawry-White has drawn on what she learned at NYU in her work, in several publications, and across many other projects. For example, she advised a human rights NGO in Nepal on the international aspects of two strategic litigation projects (related to transitional justice, the rights of migrant workers, and human trafficking). In the video below, she talks about presenting a paper on reparations as part of CHRGJ’s International Law and Human Rights Student Scholarship Conference in 2013.

Watch this interview with Merryl Lawry-White:

Stay Connected with CHRGJ!

CHRGJ plans to continue to foster bonds between its staff, students, and alumni. We encourage alumni to share their recent accomplishments to be featured on, to meet with students, and to give presentations about their work and career trajectories.

To stay connected:


International Law and Human Rights Fellows’ Blog

CHRGJ’s International Law and Human Rights (ILHR) Fellowships provide NYU Law students with specialized training in international law, a summer internship placement at a leading intergovernmental institution or civil society organization, and guidance in preparing a substantial research paper based on their work experience at their placements. This year’s cohort of Fellows includes 29 students (first- and second-year JD students as well as LLMs) with internships at 22 organizations in 20 countries. Beginning in June 2015, CHRGJ will publish ILHR Fellows’ blog posts about their experiences working with national and international human rights organizations around the world. Read the updates from the fellows here.

Human Rights Job Board

CHRGJ launched its Human Rights Job Board last spring to help students, scholars, and professionals identify options for work, competitive scholarship, or fellowships as CHRGJ becomes aware of them. Updated weekly, the site has become popular with students and post-graduates alike for capturing a broad range of opportunities in our field.

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