International Human Rights Framework training seminar image


Tuesday June 11, 2013 at 9:00 AM PDT
Wednesday June 12, 2013 at 12:30 PM PDT

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UC Hastings, Alumni Reception Room (ARC) 
200 McAllister Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

Driving Directions 


Lisa Reinsberg 
International Justice Resource Center 
(415) 735-4180 

The International Human Rights Framework:

Opportunities for Social Justice and Civil Rights Advocates 

Whether in individual representation or as part of broader campaigns for reform, incorporating international norms and human rights mechanisms into our advocacy strategies can yield powerful results in advancing civil rights and social justice.

Separate panel discussions, led by some of the country’s most experienced practitioners, will focus on the United Nations human rights mechanisms, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, domestic litigation of international norms, local and state level implementation of human rights standards, and documenting human rights abuses.  

Attorneys and other advocates engaged in defending individuals' rights or advancing civil rights and social justice will gain a fundamental understanding of the relevance of the international human rights framework to protecting their clients and communities’ basic rights and freedoms.  This seminar is relevant to those working in the areas of immigration and asylum, discrimination, women's rights and gender equality, sexual orientation and gender identity, the environment, poverty reduction, criminal justice, and workers' rights, among other issues in the United States or abroad.

This training has been approved for over 10 Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit hours by the State Bar of California.

We hope you will join in this important discussion!

Register Now! The sliding fee scale is intended to make this training accessible to all interested individuals.  Please contact IJRC ( in the case of financial hardship.



June 11, 2013

9:00 - 9:30     Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:30 - 10:30   The United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms: Overview and Examples

In this session, panelists will provide an overview of the United Nations human rights system, as relevant to the United States. The U.S. reports to four UN treaty bodies: the Human Rights Committee, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Committee against Torture, and Committee on the Rights of the Child; and is monitored by the UN Human Rights Council’s special procedures and the Universal Periodic Review.  Presenters will provide examples of engaging with the UN human rights mechanisms to advance local or national social justice concerns.  

Risa Kaufman, Executive Director, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

Alberto Saldamando, international indigenous human rights advocate

Colin Bailey, Executive Director, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

Coffee Break

10:45 – 12:30   Implementing the ICCPR: the Human Rights Committee’s 2013 Review of the U.S.

This session will focus on the UN Human Rights Committee’s ongoing review of the United States’ implementation of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The panelists will explain the process, opportunities for civil society engagement, and how the dialogue and outcome can help shape domestic policy debates. This session will also include concrete discussion of participants' engagement in the review, specifically around the questions raised in the Committee’s List of Issues.

Jamil Dakwar, Director, Human Rights Program, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Lunch Break

1:30 - 3:00   The Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights

Through its individual complaint system, emergency protection measures, rapporteurs, thematic hearings and reporting, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has addressed injustices in the U.S. and in all of the Americas and brought about significant changes in government policy and practice.  Presenters will explain the system’s components, current challenges, and opportunities for engagement.

Roxanna Altholz, Associate Director, International Human Rights Law Clinic, UC Berkeley Law

James Cavallaro, Director, International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, Stanford Law

Coffee Break

3:15 – 4:45  Implementation of Human Rights Standards at the State and Local Level

This session will explore the ways in which local and state governments have directly implemented international human rights treaties, and the lessons learned from these experiences. Local examples include the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and the Berkeley and San Francisco ordinances implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Risa Kaufman, Executive Director, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

David Kaye, Director, International Justice Clinic, UC Irvine School of Law

Zo Polk, Policy Coordinator, San Francisco Human Rights Commission

Ann Lehman, Policy Director, San Francisco Department on the Status of Women

4:45 – 5:00  Closing Remarks


June 12, 2013

9:00 – 10:30 Litigation of International Norms in Domestic Courts

International human rights norms can be, and have been, invoked in domestic litigation in a wide variety of contexts, including with regard to domestic violence, prisoners and detainees’ rights, public benefits, the death penalty, reproductive and privacy rights, immigrants’ rights, and asylum.  This litigation has invoked the U.S.' international legal obligations - including the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - and also relied on domestic legislation such as the Alien Tort Statute, the Torture Victim Protection Act, and asylum law. Panelists will illustrate the ways in which international norms can be used to strengthen arguments for protection or redress, while also identifying the challenges and limitations of these strategies. 

Chimene Keitner, Professor of Law, UC Hastings College of the Law

Kathy Roberts, Legal Director, Center for Justice & Accountability

Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Professor of Law, UC Hastings College of the Law

Karen Musalo, Director, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, UC Hastings College of the Law

Coffee Break

10:45 – 12:00 Documenting Human Rights Abuses

The organized collection and presentation of information demonstrating the existence of harmful or discriminatory practices or conditions is a powerful component of the human rights toolkit. Whether for use in court proceedings, public education or advocacy, documenting human rights violations can be sensitive and challenging. Panelists will identify methodologies and their applications, and discuss the ethical and other considerations involved.

Patrick Ball, Executive Director, Human Rights Data Analysis Group

Robin Levi, human rights consultant

12:00 - 12:30      Closing Remarks and Return of Surveys