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Yale Law School Hosts Annual Bernstein Human Rights Symposium, March 30-31

Yale Law School Hosts Annual Bernstein Human Rights Symposium, March 30-31

New Haven, Conn. -- The annual symposium of the Robert L. Bernstein Fellowship in International Human Rights will be held at Yale Law School, 127 Wall St., on March 30 and 31.

This year's symposium, "Politics and Human Rights: A Bipartisan Agenda for U.S. Foreign Policy," will focus on prospects for an effective human rights policy during the Bush Administration, which has assumed leadership at a critical moment in international human rights. It is free and open to the public.

"The end of apartheid, the establishment of two war crimes tribunals and the adoption of a treaty to establish a permanent international criminal court have been seen as signs of hope," said Riva Khoshaba, Schell Center student director. "But the genocide in Rwanda, ethnic warfare in Kosovo, massive destruction of civilian life in Chechnya, and the persistence of abuses against ethnic, racial and religious minorities and women throughout the world have served as reminders of the difficulty of building an effective international human rights regime."

The Bernstein Symposium will examine the legacy and lessons of the Clinton Administration, discuss the extent to which a clear bipartisan human rights agenda has emerged, explore its content and limitations and debate what should constitute an appropriate and effective U.S. human rights policy for the beginning of the 21st century.

The event is sponsored by the Law School's Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights. Paul Kahn, the Robert W. Winner Professor of Law and the Humanities, is director of the center; the executive director is James Silk.

The Robert L. Bernstein Fellowships in International Human Rights were established in 1997 to honor Robert Bernstein, the former chair, president and CEO of Random House, Inc. and the founding chair of Human Rights Watch. The fellowships provide financial support to allow two Yale Law School graduates to pursue full-time international human rights work for one year.

Former Bernstein Fellows have worked on projects promoting and protecting human rights in such diverse locations as Eritrea, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Thailand and Tibet. The 2001-2002 Bernstein Fellows will be announced at a reception that will follow Saturday's roundtable discussion.

A symposium agenda follows.

Friday, March 30
12:30 p.m. Human Rights Workshop, Faculty Lounge
Current Bernstein Fellows will discuss their work.
Fiona Doherty, YLS 1999, Committee on the Administration of Justice, Northern Ireland
Robert Sloane, YLS 2000, International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet

3 p.m. Workshop
Effective Advocacy: Advancing International Human Rights with the U.S. Government
Screening: "Raising the Roof," Amnesty International film on effective lobbying.
What works and doesn't work in efforts to influence Congress, the State Department and the White House? Human rights advocates will look at strategies for bringing the issue to the attention of Washington policymakers. How can public constituencies be mobilized to increase pressure on Congress and the Administration? How will the change from the Clinton Administration to the Bush Administration affect human rights advocacy strategies?

Elisa Massimino, Washington director, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
Steve Rickard, director, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights

Saturday, March 31
10 a.m. Building on the Human Rights Lessons of the Clinton Years
John Shattuck, chief executive officer, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor (1993-1999)

Lessons from the Human Rights Crises of the 90s
Harold Koh, the Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law, Yale Law School, and former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor (1999-2001)

The Human Rights Legacy of the Clinton Administration: Response and Discussion
Tom Farer, dean, Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver
Susan Waltz, professor, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, former president of Amnesty International USA

Noon. Lunch

1 p.m. Does the United States Have a Bipartisan Human Rights Agenda?
David Unger, editorial board, The New York Times (moderator)
David Abramowitz, Democratic chief counsel, House Committee on International Relations
Charlotte Oldham-Moore, legislative assistant, Office of Senator Paul Wellstone
Grover Joseph Rees, majority staff director and chief counsel, Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, House Committee on International Relations
Andy Semmel, legislative assistant, Office of Senator Richard Lugar

3 p.m. Critical Perspectives on U.S. Human Rights Policy
Tom Farer, dean, Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver (moderator)
Radhika Coomaraswamy, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
Michael Posner, executive director, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
Sergio Sarmiento, journalist, chair, editorial board, TV Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico

5 p.m. Reception