Return to flip book view

The Promise Institute for Human Rights Annual Report 2020-2021

Page 1

A N N U A L R E P O R T2 0 2 0 - 2 0 2 1THE PROMISE INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Page 2

Page 3

UCLA School of Law acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional landcaretakers of Tovaangar (Los Angeles basin, So. Channel Islands). As a land grantinstitution, we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), 'Ahiihirom (Elders), and'Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present, and emerging. O U R F O U N D I N G S T O R YAWARENESS THROUGH THE ARTSThe Promise Institute owes its founding to Dr. Eric Esrailian,producer of the film, The Promise. As the first feature filmto tell the story of the Armenian Genocide, The Promise is apowerful example of the way art can connect history toaction. The Armenian genocide began in 1915, and in timemore than 1.5 million people would perish in an atrocitydriven by ethnic and religious intolerance. Following the film's premiere, Dr. Esrailian and fellowproducer Anthony Mandekic used the film's proceeds tolaunch our Institute. "The Promise Institute is so namedbecause UCLA and the UCLA School of Law are making thepromise to refugees and people suffering from injusticethat we will create the tools and train the people toaddress these crises." L A N D A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T

Page 4

E X C E R P T F R O M "U N / S A F E"KAREN McCARTHY WOOLF / FULLBRIGHT SCHOLARPROMISE POET-IN-RESIDENCEKA RE N Mc CA RT HY W OO LF 'S P OE TR Y EX PL OR ES N AT UR E, T HE C IT Y AN DTH E SA CR ED A ND H OW H UM AN R IG HT S AC RO SS D IV ER SE C OM MU NI TI ESAN D CU LT UR ES A RE C ON FI GU RE D IN E CO LO GI CA L CO NT EX TS . UN /S AF E IS A N ES SA Y WR IT TE N DU RI NG M cC AR TH Y WO OL F' S TI ME I NRE SI DE NC E AT T HE P RO MI SE I NS TI TU TE .

Page 5

Human Rights Litigation Clinic FellowRIE OHTAM E E T T H E T E A MHuman Rights in the AmericasProject DirectorJOSE P H BERR AExecutive DirectorKATE MACK I NTOS H Assistant DirectorJESS PEAK EDeputy DirectorCATH E RINE SWEE T SERCommunications and Development ManagerNATA L IE MONS A NTO Program ManagerSHER R Y YUANRacial Justice Policy CounselPRIY A MORL E YProm is e In st it ut e Ch ai r in Hu ma n Ri gh tsKIM BE RLÉ CRE NS HAWPr om is e In st it ut e Ch ai r in Co mp ar at iv e an d In te rn at io na l La wKAL RAU ST IAL AFaculty DirectorASLI BÂLI

Page 6

The 2020-2021 academic year was certainly a unique one. As we adapted topandemic conditions, our body of work continued to grow along with our team. Ourstudents proved themselves resilient and dedicated during the remote experience,and we count ourselves among the very, very fortunate to have been able tocontinue our work in such an extraordinarily uncertain landscape. As the pandemic unfolded, we worked to safely continue in-person support ofvulnerable clients, and use our scholarship to expose racial and global inequities in the COVID-19 response - including book chapters, articles, and podcasts. We werepart of litigation, on-site inspections and negotiations to improve conditions in theLA County Jails. We monitored the situation at homeless encampments, and weraised issues with the City about the ability of unhoused persons to shelter in place. The work of our previous Faculty Director, E. Tendayi Achiume, led to a report in June 2021 from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on systemic racismagainst Black people and people of African descent. We received funding to amplifyour work on racial justice and have used it to support efforts across Promise,including the Human Rights Litigation Clinic and our Reimagining Rights in theAmericas project. As our first Racial Justice Policy Counsel, newest team memberPriya Morley will reinforce this work for wider policy impact. Efforts seeded in our 2020 symposium bloomed this year into the announcementof a proposed definition of ecocide - a watershed moment in international law anda potentially powerful tool to protect our climate. We expanded the curriculumwith innovative new skills training such as our new Human Rights DigitalInvestigations Lab. As more of our lives move to digital platforms, and as mis- anddis-information ripple throughout information ecosystems this work is at thecutting edge of human rights and the digital frontier and trains our students inOpen Source Intelligence (OSINT) methodology. The Fall 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh Conflict between Armenia andAzerbaijan became a key research initiative. We compiled a publicly availableConflict Research Database to support future scholarship; convened a high levelpanel and report on the right to self-determination, and will soon publish ourOSINT research into related online disinformation. In Spring 2021, we were proud to convene our annual symposium on International Human Rights and CorporateAccountability: Current and Future Challenges, with an adjacent practitioners'workshop. As we look to the coming year we know we have much yet to do, but thebreadth of our efforts and the power of our impact illustrate the vital importance of this work. Thank you for joining us in supporting human rights - in the UnitedStates and around the world. T H E Y E A R I N R E V I E W Executive DirectorKATE MACK I NTOS H

Page 7

O U R A P P R O A C H- FOCUS A RE AS . -A C C O U N T A B I L I T YT H E E N V I R O N M E N TR A C E & I N D I G E N E I T YM I G R A T I O NT E C H N O L O G YEMPOWERINGthe next generation ofhuman rights lawyersand leadersGENERATINGnew thinking onhuman rightsENGAGINGour students and ourresearch to drivepositive real worldimpact- STRATEG IC G OA LS -

Page 8

E M P O W E R I N G A N E W G E N E R A T I O N O F H U M A N R I G H T S L A W Y E R S & L E A D E R S- S T R A T E G I C G O A L -

Page 9

Ta ug ht by Da nn y Va nn uc ch i, fo rm er Gl ob al He ad of Im pa ct & Le ar ni ngat Am ne st y In te rn at io na l, an d of fe re d fo r th e fi rs t ti me th is ye ar, th isco ur se of fe re d a ma st er cl as s in le ve ra gi ng hu ma n ri gh ts le ga lfr am ew or ks fo r re al wo rl d im pa ct.S T R A T E G I E S F O R S U C C E S S F U L H U M A N R I G H T S A D V O C A C YFr om in te rn at io na l ca se s de fe nd in g vi ct im s of ch il d sl av er y in th eco co a in du st ry to de fe nd in g th e ri gh ts of th e un ho us ed in Lo s An ge le sth is pa st ye ar, De pu ty Di re ct or Ca th er in e Sw ee ts er's Cl in ic wa s apo we rh ou se ex pe ri en ce fo r st ud en ts, fu si ng do me st ic an din te rn at io na l hu ma n ri gh ts wo rk.H U M A N R I G H T S L I T I G A T I O N C L I N I CTh ro ug h hi s 30+ ye ar te nu re wi th Hu ma n Ri gh ts Wa tc h an d lo ng st an di ngro le as Di re ct or of th ei r In te rn at io na l Ju st ic e Pr og ra m, Ri ch ar d Di ck erbr ou gh t hi s we al th of ex pe ri en ce an d in si gh t to th is co ur se.P R O S P E C T S F O R I N T E R N A T I O N A L J U S T I C ETh e st ra te gy an d nu an ce d ex pe rt is e ta ug ht in th is co ur se by Vi si ti ngPr of es so r Ja me s Ca va ll ar o is in fo rm ed mo st no ta bl y by hi s te nu re asPr es id en t of th e In te r-Am er ic an Co mm is si on fo r Hu ma n Ri gh ts.R E G I O N A L H U M A N R I G H T S P R O T E C T I O N :T H E I N T E R - A M E R I C A N S Y S T E MINNOVA T I VE HUMAN RIGHTS E DUCATIONPr of es so r Ri ch ar d St ei nb er g co nt in ue d hi s lo ng st an di ng ov er si gh t ofth e IC C Fo ru m th is ye ar. Th e Fo ru m wo rk s cl os el y wi th th e Of fi ce ofth e Pr os ec ut or of th e In te rn at io na l Co ur t, an d in vi te s in-de pt hco mm en ta ry fr om in vi te d gl ob al ex pe rt s tw ic e ye ar ly. St ud en tsre se ar ch an d he lp cr af t th e qu es ti on s an d pr ep ar e su bm is si on s fo rpu bl ic at io n on th e Fo ru m. I C C F O R U MEngaging leading scholars and practitioners allows us to enrich the law school curriculum with abroader array of human rights courses. Our students graduate with the right foundation forimpactful careers.

Page 10

Nobel Peace Laureate, 2011LEYM A H GBOW E ERe pa ra ti on s fo r Sl av er y an d Co lo ni al is m Se ri esWo me n, Ge nd er & th e La w Se ri esHu ma n Ri gh ts Ar ou nd th e Wo rl d Se ri esSp an is h-La ng ua ge Sp ea ke r Se ri es A co nv er sa ti on wi th UN Hi gh Co mm is si on er fo r Hu ma n Ri gh ts, Mi ch el leBa ch el et Professor EmeritusRICH A RD FALKUN Special RapporteurJOSÉ FRAN C ISCO CALÍ TZAYUN Special RapporteurDUBR A VKA ŠIMO N OVIĆCalifornia Secretary of StateSHIR L EY WEBE RSpecial Advisor for Gender to the ICC Prosecutor PATR I CIA SELL E RSUN High Commissioner for Human RightsMICH E LLE BACH E LETEVENT & SPEAKER HIGHLIG H T S

Page 11

Page 12

G E N E R A T I N G N E W T H I N K I N G O N H U M A N R I G H T S- S T R A T E G I C G O A L -

Page 13

We pushed forward with research at intersections of our focus areas this year. Cross-pollinating our environment and accountability themes was our work on a new internationalcrime of ecocide. Throughout 2020-21 we hosted a Promise Institute Working Group, bringingtogether experts on international criminal law and international environmental law. The group'swork fed deliberations of an International Expert Panel which launched a new definition of thecrime of ecocide to much fanfare and press coverage in June 2021. Our Executive Director KateMackintosh was deputy co-chair of the Panel. We also launched www.ecocidelaw.com, a legaland historical resource, in partnership with the Stop Ecocide Foundation. In keeping with technological advancements and their impact on human rights, we areexcited to be developing a new Human Rights Digital Investigations Lab. Assistant DirectorJess Peake is leading the UCLA branch of a collaboration with research labs at UC Berkeley andUC Santa Cruz to make our three programs the combined national leaders in digitalinvestigation. She secured a University of California Multicampus Research Programs andInitiatives grant to support Digital Fact Finding Training, through which our students learncutting edge Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) methodology to identify and verify evidence ofwar crimes and human rights violations discoverable online, and to ensure that it is admissiblein court. As more of our world moves to digital platforms, these initiatives are increasinglyvaluable tools for human rights work. One example of this is our forthcoming report ondisinformation in the Fall 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh conflict. Our annual symposium this year addressed International Human Rights and CorporateAccountability. The symposium was followed by a dynamic and fruitful strategy workshop forpractitioners in this evolving area. Research in our Reimagining Rights in the Americas project,directed by Joseph Berra, led to publications on the racialized impact of COVID-19 and achapter on the exercise of Indigenous language sovereignty together with Dr. ShannonSpeed, Director of UCLA’s American Indian Studies Center, and Odilia Romero, ExecutiveDirector of CIELO. One important force-multiplier for us has been supporting human rights-related researchacross the wider UCLA campus. We have provided research funds to a broad range of projects,ranging from forensic video evaluation of asylum seeker claims to universal jurisdiction forinternational crimes and the provision of immigration counsel to indigent criminal defendantsin California. SYNTHE S I ZING THOUGHT LE A D ERSHIP

Page 14

D R I V I N G P O S I T I V E I M P A C T- S T R A T E G I C G O A L -

Page 15

In the spring of 2020, following the murder of George Floyd, our then faculty director andcurrent UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, E. Tendayi Achiume, spearheaded a call from over40 United Nations experts for the United Nations to investigate systemic racism in the U.S. Thecall resulted in an investigation into discrimination against Africans and persons of African-descent globally, which reported this summer. This chain of events has also led, most recently, toUS Secretary of State Anthony Blinken issuing a formal invitation to Prof. Achiume to visit andreport on the United States under the auspices of her mandate. Our Human Rights Litigation Clinic launched in fall 2020 to defend the human rights ofplaintiffs at home and abroad through domestic US courts. Led by Deputy Director CatherineSweetser, clinic cases over the past year include a case before the Supreme Court on behalf ofchildren trafficked from Mali into the Ivory Coast and held in slavery to harvest cocoa on cocoaplantations; vindicating the rights of a family of brothers, wrongfully detained for four years onthe basis of false evidence, through the Inter-American human rights system; monitoringconditions in the LA jails during the COVID pandemic, and defending against the appeal of aninjunction that was issued to prohibit the City of Los Angeles from depriving unhoused peopleof their property without due process. Impact through litigation is also a feature of our Reimagining Rights in the Americasproject. Director Joseph Berra is co-counsel on three cases against Honduras before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. He has been active in the International ExpertObserver Mission covering the trial of David Castillo, who was found guilty in the assassination ofIndigenous leader Berta Cácares of the Lenca Indigenous rights organization COPINH. We aresupporting a host of cases making their way through Honduran courts, and potentially to theInter-American human rights system, involving protecting Indigenous land rights, theenvironment and resisting extractivist industries. On the policy level, Berra and his students collaborated with CIELO (Comunidades Indígenasen Liderazgo, or Indigenous Communities in Leadership) to map Indigenous languagecommunities in the Greater Los Angeles area as a step to identifying and so remedying policyand service gaps. And we are delighted to share that work with the IEN Coalition (IndigenousEducation Now) obtained Los Angeles Unified School District Board approval of a $10M budgetto support Native and Indigenous children within the school district. We will continueworking with the IEN Coalition on a tribal consultation model for implementation of theinitiative.GENERA T I NG CHANGE

Page 16

The Promise Institute for Human Rights AwardThe International and Comparative Law Program AwardLegal Associate, Int'l Committee of the Red Cross Delegation to the UNBRAD Y MABEThe Promise Institute for Human Rights AwardThe International and Comparative Law Program AwardResearch Fellow, European Centre for Constitutional and Human RightsXUCH E N ZHAN GThe Promise Institute for Human Rights AwardAssociate, Morrison and FoersterLINA JEMI L IThe Promise Institute for Human Rights AwardExtrajudicial Executions Fellow, ReprieveRAMY A SWAM IThe Promise Institute for Human Rights AwardFellow, International Refugee Assistance Program Litigation TeamARY HANS E NOne of the most impactful things we can do is place our students in meaningful careers where theycan be vectors of change in society. This year, six students received prestigious Promise Institutegraduation awards to support them as they enter their careers in human rights. We are alsodirectly supporting two of our 2021 graduates with year-long post-graduate fellowship funding toenable them to work with leading human rights organizations. The Promise Institute Award for Transitions into Human RightsThe International and Comparative Law Award for LLM StudentsAssociate, Wilson ElserJACK I E KALL B ERGJUMP-S T A RTING CAREERS

Page 17

L O O K I N G A H E A D2 0 2 1 - 2 0 2 2We are as grat e ful for your supp o rt thisyear as we are prou d of our work in themids t of such shif t ing circ u msta n ces. As our next year unfo l ds, we look forw a rdto expa n ding our impa c t on ever y fron t,and are exci t ed to see what's next. Abov eall, we are prou d to be the inno v ativ ehome for huma n righ t s at UCLA. We invi t e you to join us as we work tobrin g huma n righ t s to the fore,ever y wher e.

Page 18

F O L L O W U Sprom i sein s titu t e@law.ucla.edu385 Char l es E. Youn g Driv e, EastLos Ange l es, Cali f orni a 9009 5@prom i sein s tUCL AW R I T E U S