I’ve been asked to announce that the deadline for the Call for Participants for the Symposium on Corporate Social Responsibility in Emerging Markets has been extended to October 8. All materials and/or inquiries should be directed to William Buschur at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of South Carolina’s Journal of International Law and Business has issued a call for participants for a symposium entitled “Corporate Social Responsibility in Emerging Markets.” Interested scholars and practitioners are welcome to submit statements of interest and CVs no later than October 1, 2014:
The staff of the South Carolina Journal of International Law and Business (SCJILB) invites you to participate in its Spring 2015 symposium entitled Corporate Social Responsibility in Emerging Markets, to be held February 5-6, 2015. SCJILB seeks to explore the role of corporations in protecting the rights of people affected by their activities in emerging markets and to propose solutions to issues that arise when corporate and local interests intersect. The Symposium aims to facilitate scholarly discussion regarding current trends and issues in corporate social responsibility (CSR) from a variety of perspectives.
To accompany the Symposium, SCJILB will publish a dedicated issue covering, but not limited to, the role of collective bargaining in CSR, a comparison of approaches to CSR from experts in various industries such as textiles, electronics, and extractive industries, and the applicability of domestic methods of bottom-up CSR to international markets. SCJILB offers a full range of editorial services and will work with authors who seek publication.
The Symposium will feature the presentation of 3-4 traditional symposium-length papers which will be critiqued in short-form essays by two other participants as part of a panel. SCJILB seeks participants willing to present and publish these short form critical essays. To be considered for publication, please submit: (1) a statement of interest of no more than 750 words describing your background and research interest in CSR topics and (2) a curriculum vitae (CV). SCJILB will compensate attendees for travel to and lodging in Columbia, SC. Please submit all materials to William Buschur, Symposium Editor, at email@example.com no later than October 1, 2014.
The SCJILB staff will notify authors of their selection for publication on or before October 31, 2014.
Questions should be directed to William Buschur, Symposium Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About SCJILB: The South Carolina Journal of International Law and Business is a student-run, faculty-regulated law journal published biannually by the students of The University of South Carolina School of Law.
Friday, November 15 marked the passing of Justice Amos Twinomujuni of the Ugandan Supreme Court. Judge Twinomujuni was appointed to the Supreme Court in June of this year, but was unable to serve due to health issues. Prior to this appointment, Twinomujuni was a justice on the Court of Appeals of Uganda, which also convenes as the Constitutional Court.
Twinomujuni was well known for his Constitutional Court opinions and dissents, many of which were very progressive on women’s rights and other human rights issues. In 2004, Twinomujuni wrote the opinion of the Constitutional Court finding that sex discriminatory provisions of the Divorce Act violated the rights of both men and women, in contravention of Uganda’s constitution. In 2010, he notably dissented from the Constitutional Court’s refusal to find the practice of demanding payment of bride price unconstitutional, arguing that, “the practice no longer serves any useful purpose in society. It has now become purely commercialized and highly exploitative and humiliating to women.” Twinomujuni instead supported the emergence of practice of a marriage payment that “is voluntary…is not demanded…does not humiliate the bride and…is never refunded when the marriage breaks down.” Twinomujuni has also authored opinions upholding the guarantees associated with the right to a fair trial, declaring the custom of female genital mutilation unconstitutional, and protecting freedom of speech while delineating the limited circumstances under which the government may limit a fundamental constitutional right.
His presence on the court will certainly be missed.
The reproductive rights debate rages on in the U.S. as much as in the rest of the world, with the most recent hotspot of activity in Texas. Yesterday, during its last night of a special legislative session, the Texas Senate considered a bill that would severely restrict access to abortions within the state. Among other things, the bill would ban (with limited exceptions) abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and require abortion clinics to have admitting privileges with a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic, a high bar for rural area clinics. Delving deeply into the rules of parliamentary procedure, opponents managed to block the passage of the bill by delaying any vote on it until after the session expired at midnight.
Emerging as a pro-choice hero was state Senator Wendy Davis, whose plans to filibuster for approximately 13 hours were interrupted 11 hours in by a discussion of whether Davis’s filibuster had ended due to her alleged violations of parliamentary procedure. During the filibuster and discussion (when it remained unclear whether her filibuster had officially ended), Davis remained standing, without leaning, eating, drinking, or taking a bathroom break, as per the rules of the Senate. Davis’s colleagues supported her to the end, prolonging the discussion and preventing a vote by raising a number of parliamentary points of order. The Senate finally voted to end Davis’s filibuster with minutes remaining in the session, despite several attempts by Senator Leticia Van de Putte to be heard before the vote. Van de Putte perhaps had the last word of the night, however, when she asked, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?,” provoking a deafening uproar from pro-choice protestors in the gallery which ultimately prevented the passage of the bill before the session expired.
The issue, discussed for the better part of 11 hours through Senator Davis’s own words and the anecdotes of supporters around the state, highlighted the importance of access to women’s health facilities for all women regardless of economic class, and the notion that the bill wouldn’t lower the number of abortions but would instead drive these medical procedures underground. Indeed, around the world, lack of access to safe and legal abortions has been connected to a rise in women seeking unsafe, clandestine abortions.
This may be a small victory for reproductive rights advocates, as the bill may simply be put to vote again in another special session. Even still, for the many following along in person, on the live feeds, or on Twitter, the day and night felt momentous. To the many pro-choice advocates, the coming together of the Senators and the public in the gallery was proof of democracy at work. The filibuster, a tool designed to allow a minority to fight against complete majority rule, did precisely that last night.
The intensity of the last few hours of the legislative session may also be an indicator of an increasingly intense debate to come. Texas is one of several states that has attempted to or succeeded in severely restricting abortion access in recent years, despite vociferous protest from pro-choice advocates and constitutional injunctions in states like North Dakota preventing strict abortion rules from becoming practice. But the scene in Austin last night showcased the dedication of the pro-choice movement, surprising many who did not expect such a showing from Texas. This may very well have renewed the momentum of the movement. Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood and daughter of former Texas governor Ann Richards, has proclaimed:
“They lit the fuse in Austin – but the fire is catching all over the country.”
EDITED TO UPDATE: Texas Governor Rick Perry confirmed that he will be calling a special session, beginning July 1, 2013, to revisit the bill.
While international eyes are focused on Kenya in light of the recent elections, an important debate is ongoing in Uganda.
Uganda’s Marriage and Divorce Bill of 2009 is finally being debated in its parliament. The bill in its various iterations has been waiting for parliamentary approval for approximately 40 years. Although it would be an important step forward for women’s rights in marriage, many provisions of the bill remain controversial.
The Marriage and Divorce Bill has a long and tortured history. A version of the bill was presented to Parliament in the 1970s, designed in part to improve women’s rights in marriage and also to consolidate the multiple acts regulating customary marriage, Hindu marriage, civil marriage, Christian marriage, and Islamic marriage. This bill failed to pass. A 2003 Domestic Relations Bill sought to achieve the same goals, but faced enormous resistance from Muslim groups opposed to the provisions banning polygamy. After being rejected by Parliament in 2006, the bill was split into a Muslim Personal Bill, which covers Muslim marriages, and the Marriage and Divorce Bill, currently being debated.
Among the controversial provisions in the current bill are those that pertain to brideprice, a customary practice requiring payment of consideration by a groom to his wife’s family. For years women’s groups have contested the customary practice requiring payment of brideprice to legitimize a marriage, yet its supporters consider it to be an important cultural element of marriage. The Constitutional Court recently refused to ban the practice, a decision that is currently being appealed to the Supreme Court. The current Marriage and Divorce Bill states that brideprice cannot be treated as a pre-requisite for marriage, and makes criminal the act of demanding repayment of brideprice.
Although many argue that this payment is merely symbolic, in conversations with me, Ugandan women have complained that it permits men to consider their wives their property and grant them few rights. In connection with women’s ability to own or inherit property, I have often heard the phrase, “property cannot own property.”
The demand for repayment of brideprice can also keep women in abusive or unhappy marriages. If a woman seeks a divorce, her husband or his family often demands a return of brideprice. Unfortunately, that brideprice has not been paid to the woman herself, but her family, and it is not often available to be returned.
The bill, if enacted, would improve women’s rights dramatically. In addition to the brideprice provisions, the bill prohibits “widow inheritance” (the practice of marrying off a widow to her deceased husband’s relative), grants certain rights to cohabiting couples, and equalizes the previously discriminatory divorce provisions. On the other hand, an unfortunate effect of the bill is that it codifies the prohibition on same-sex marriages. In addition, some feel that it does not adequately address the harms of polygamy.
Women’s groups have waited 4 decades for an improved marriage law. Yet on March 9, 2013, President Yoweri Museveni suggested that the process of passing the bill is being rushed, and called for caution before enacting the bill. Supporters can only hope that “caution” does not translate into failure to act.