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Past Projects of the International Human Rights Clinic

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the Matter of Tagaeri and Taromenani Indigenous Peoples in Isolation (Ecuador)

Students of the Clinic conducted field-work  near the Amazon in Ecuador for the purpose of writing an amicus brief to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in a case involving communities who are in voluntary self-isolation. Those groups are being killed by neighboring groups and their lands invaded by illegal loggers and miners.  Their amicus brief argued that Ecuador should create a new body to advise it on how best to protect communities who are unwilling to make any contact with the state.

Cornell and NOMADESC Report Documents Devastation to Indigenous Communities of the Salvajina Dam

During the 2018 spring semester, the Cornell Human Rights Clinic team worked with the Colombian human rights organization NOMADESC to perform a field study in regard to the indigenous community of Cerro Tijeras, part of the Nasa Indigenous People located in Southwest Colombia. The study focused on the impact the construction of the Salvajina Dam posed to their community, and the resulting court ruling that found the national and local government and the company, EPSA, responsible for several human rights violations of the community.

Should Compensated Surrogacy Be Permitted or Prohibited? Policy Report Evaluating the New York Child-Parent Security Act of 2017 that Would Permit Enforceable and Compensated Surrogacy

This September 2017 report is the result of a collaboration between the Cornell Law School International Human Rights Policy Advocacy Clinic (Cornell) and the Transnational Human Rights Seminar at the National Law University in Delhi, India (NLU-Delhi). Under the supervision of faculty and teaching fellows, students worked in teams to investigate the following perspectives on surrogacy: surrogacy in the United States, surrogacy in India, international human rights and surrogacy, comparative law and surrogacy, and transnational surrogacy.

Indian Parliament Standing Committee Incorporates Views of Cornell International Human Rights Policy Advocacy Clinic

The Indian government proposed a bill in 2016 to prohibit compensated surrogacy in India, but allow for uncompensated surrogacy. Foreigners were denied visas for surrogacy in 2015, but the bill of 2016 would have prohibited even Indians from working with surrogates. On August 10, 2017, a standing committee of the Indian Parliament rejected the prohibition. Instead, the committee suggested that the bill should be modified to allow compensated surrogacy, but only for people in India and for non-resident Indians. In April 2017, Students in the Cornell International Human Rights Clinic and in the Transnational Human Rights Seminar at the National Law University in Delhi conducted a joint fact-finding study in which they interviewed surrogates, lawyers, doctors, and other stakeholders throughout Delhi and Gujarat. The finding of this research was submitted to the standing committee, which the committee incorporated into parts of the report.

Women in Prison in Argentina: Causes, Conditions, and Consequences

In May 2013, Cornell Law School’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice, and International Human Rights Clinic, University of Chicago Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, and the Public Defender’s Office in Argentina released a report on the causes, conditions, and consequences of women’s imprisonment in Argentina. The report found that women and their families are disproportionately affected by the harsh penalties imposed for low-level drug offences in Argentina.  Drawing on data collected from a survey of nearly 30% of women incarcerated in Argentina federal prisons, onsite visits to two prisons in Argentina, and interviews with women prisoners, activists, judges, and other stakeholders, the report examines the crucial issues for women deprived of their liberty.

Protection to Punishment: Post-Conviction Barriers to Justice for Domestic Violence Survivor-Defendants in New York State

In summer 2013, the International Human Rights Clinic completed a comparative study on the causes, conditions, and consequences of women’s imprisonment. The report was presented at an expert group meeting on women’s incarceration convened by the University of Chicago Law School International Human Rights Clinic to inform the work of Rashida Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. Special Rapporteur Manjoo cited the Center’s research in her own August 2013 report submitted to the UN General Assembly.

India Law Reform Study

In March 2013, the Avon Global Center, in partnership with the University of Chicago Law School and Jindal Global Law School in Sonipat, India, undertook a study of the law reform efforts undertaken by the Indian government in response to the December 2012 gang rape of a young student and the countrywide protests and activism that emerged in the wake of that violence.

India UN Trafficking Protocol Compliance Project

In May 2011, India ratified the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (UN Trafficking Protocol). The Avon Global Center and International Human Rights Clinic conducted a study of the gaps in India’s anti-trafficking laws, policies, and practices, in partnership with the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School and Jindal Global Law School in Sonipat, India.

Clinic Examines Acid Attacks Against Women and Girls in Bangladesh Cambodia and India

The Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School, the New York City Bar Association, the Cornell International Human Rights Clinic, and the Virtue Foundation conducted a comparative study of acid violence in Bangladesh, India, and Cambodia. The resulting report demonstrates that acid violence is a form of gender-based violence, and outlines concrete measures that governments and businesses should take to prevent acid violence.

Public Interest Litigation Brief on Witch Hunting in India

The Cornell Law School International Human Rights Clinic wrote a brief that was filed by the Human Rights Law Network, a prominent public interest law firm in India, seeking to end witch hunting practices. This public interest litigation asks the government to enforce current laws prohibiting witch hunting, enact stronger legislation, and provide support services to victims of witch hunts.

Amicus Brief in Support of Petition on the Right to Free Education in Colombia

Cornell International Human Rights Clinic students submitted an amicus brief in support of a petition to the Colombian Constitutional Court challenging the constitutionality of the General Education Law’s provisions permitting educational institutions to charge enrollment and other school fees.

Conference in Cali and Botoga on the Right to Education of Minorities in the Americas

In collaboration with several partners, the Clinic organized a two-day, multi-city conference to connect local, national and international leaders to discuss the right to education of minorities in the Americas.

Amicus Brief Supporting Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on Safe Pregnancy in Bihar, India

Clinic students prepared an amicus brief outlining the international legal framework and government obligations supporting a petition that urged the Indian government to ensure safe institutional deliveries and to fulfill the service guarantees provided for in the National Rural Health Mission’s Framework for Implementation.

Right to Information Act Request to Indian Government for Data and Methods Used to Calculate the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR)

In collaboration with the Human Rights Law Network and the faculty and students at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the Clinic submitted a Right to Information Act request to access the raw data and methods that the Indian government uses to calculate its maternal mortality statistics.

Judicial Training Manual on Fair Trial Standards for Trial Judges in India

Students created a manual implemented in the official Indian training program for trial judges in India.  The manual covers rules relating to arrest, detention, trial procedures, and sentencing.

Hearing of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the Right to Education for Minorities in the Americas

Based on field-work conducted in Colombia in December 2007, the Clinic wrote a report for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights dealing with access to education for minorities in Colombia. The report focused on the limits on access to education for Afro-descendants and indigenous peoples in the Americas.

Intervention in the European Court of Human Rights on Reproductive Rights on Behalf of the Special Rapporteur for Health

Students drafted an amicus brief on behalf of Paul Hunt, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Health, for a case in which the petitioner was denied the right to receive prenatal testing.

Brief in the Federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Interpreting the U.N. Convention Against Torture

Clinic students drafted and filed briefs to the Federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for a case in which they argued that deportation of a client to Haiti would likely result in death due to the lack of medication, food and water in Haitian prisons, which violates U.S. obligations under the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

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