December 2012 Archives

tents.jpgDuring the week of December 3rd - 7th, the Human Rights Program Student Advisory Board organized a diverse series of events with the aim of spreading knowledge of human rights issues and facilitating student engagement on campus. The events varied from a multimedia exhibit to a night of performing arts to documentary screening and presentations, and each was a huge success!

University of Minnesota-Colombia Project Underway

colombia.jpgThe University of Minnesota and Medellín, Colombia law schools partnership kicked off when Human Rights Program Director Barbara Frey and Humphrey Fellow Diana Quintero traveled to Medellín during the first week of December. Frey and Quintero met with the deans of all four law schools involved in the project to finalize objectives. This successful trip is the first step in a nearly three year USAID High Education for Development project designed to strengthen the capacities of the Colombian law schools to teach, research, and provide clinical legal representation toward the promotion of international human rights.

Rain pelted the side of the empty school building, drowning out all other sounds. In the distance I could see lightning strike across the rolling green hills. The weather couldn't have fit the situation better. For even though the classrooms were vacant, they were far from empty--they held the corpses of over 800 people killed in the 1994 genocide perpetrated against Tutsis in Rwanda. Continue reading...

beneath.jpgTrekking through more than a foot of snow, dozens of University of Minnesota students and members of the human rights community gathered together on Monday night for a showing of Beneath the Blindfold: Four Survivors, One Truth. A panel discussion featuring filmmaker Ines Sommer, Center for Victims of Torture director Curt Goering, Advocates for Human Rights director Robin Phillips, Human Rights Center co-director Kristi Rudelius-Palmer, and survivor Blama Massaquoi followed the screening. The panelists lauded the efforts of organizations such as the Center for Victims of Torture and the Kovler Center and urged audience members to take action, by simply starting conversations about the use of torture or by calling legislators to ask them to stand up against torture or by volunteering in any way possible.

Director Frey joined Eric Schwartz, Dean of the Humphrey School, and Hick Hayes, Professor of History at Saint John's University, to discuss the controversy over Susan Rice, the ethics of drones and other foreign policy challenges facing President Barack Obama as he prepares for his second term. Listen here.

Quito, Ecuador - Some people in the US were not keen at all on the Geronimo codename given to the final military operation against Osama bin Laden. Native Americans were understandably upset. Continue reading...

General Cullen: Military Commissions Are A Damaged Brand

cullen1.jpgFormer Chief Judge (IMA) of the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals General James Cullen rounded out the 2012 Terrorism and Human Rights Speaker Series. In 2004, along with seven other retired officers, General Cullen called on President Bush to allegations of torture and other abuse of prisoners in U.S. military custody. In his presentation on Monday, Cullen delved into the background, scope, and viable of military commissions, especially in the aftermath of 9/11. The federal courts, not military commissions, Cullen argued, are the best place to try suspected terrorists.

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that the state Department of Corrections (DOC) can no longer use labels such as "administrative segregation" as an end-run around legal protections designed to prevent prisoners from being held in solitary confinement without end and without due process. Continue reading...

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