Discussion Friday 3 April: Domestic Violence During COVID-19: Sheltering at Home When Home is the Most Dangerous Place

The Roosevelt House Human Rights Program of Hunter College and the Sisterhood is Global Institute are hosting a live online discussion on Friday April 3 with frontline women’s rights activists from across the world.

Friday, April 3, 2020 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT (17.00 – 18.00 GMT)

For victims of domestic violence, home is often the most dangerous place on earth. As the world moves towards lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, women may have no safe place to turn. Moderated by Jessica Neuwirth, the discussion will explore current realities of domestic violence victims and solutions for supporting women in this vulnerable moment.

Discussants:
Carmen Espinoza, Executive Director of Manuela Ramos in Peru
Shafiqa Noori, Director of Humanitarian Assistance for Women and Children of Afghanistan
Diane Rosenfeld, Lecturer on Law and Director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School
Randa Siniora, Executive Director of the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling in Palestine

Registration is required. You may register here and join at zoom.us/j/580841531

Go On! IACHR to hear testimony on domestic violence in United States Monday, Oct. 27

This coming Monday at 10:15 ET, there will be a hearing on the U.S.’ compliance with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ 2011 decision in Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. US, concerning the human rights of domestic violence survivor Jessica Lenahan. Human rights scholars and advocates the country have been integrally involved in this case for nearly 10 years. The hearing is open to the public, and people are encouraged to attend!  It will also be webcast.   More details below.


Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to Hear Testimony on Domestic Violence in U.S. Monday Oct. 27

Human Rights Groups Demand U.S. Govt. Implement Changes to Domestic Violence Policy in Accordance with IACHR 2011 Decision

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES ONLY
October 23, 2014

CONTACT: Crystal Cooper, ACLU National, 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

WASHINGTON – The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Human Rights Clinics at the University of Chicago Law School and University of Miami School of Law, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union will appear before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) Monday, October 27 to seek justice for domestic violence survivor Jessica Lenahan and domestic violence policy reforms in the U.S.
In 2011, the Commission decided Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States, finding that the government violated the human rights of Ms. Lenahan and her three daughters. The Commission recommended that the government conduct an investigation into its failure to respond to the 1999 domestic violence incident in Castle Rock, Colorado that resulted in the deaths of the three girls and the circumstances of their deaths. It also recommended that the government adopt reforms at the federal and state levels to ensure domestic violence protections.

The U.S. has made almost no progress in providing justice to Lenahan or implementing systemic reforms since the Commission issued the decision.

The organizations appearing before the IACHR are the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Human Rights Clinics at the University of Chicago Law School and University of Miami School of Law, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union.
WHAT
Petitioners will present testimony detailing the United States’ failure to implement changes to domestic violence laws and policies or investigate the failures in Ms. Lenahan’s case in the three years since the IACHR decision. The U.S. government will have an opportunity to respond.

WHO

WHEN
Monday, October 27, 2014 10:15 a.m.EDT

WHERE
Organization of American States, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
1889 F St. N.W., Padilha Vidal Room (TL – Terrace Level), Washington, DC, U.S.A. 20006

The testimony will also be available via webcast at:
http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/coverage.asp

Torture in Kenya: Ending Impunity by Speaking the Victims’ Truth

kenya flagMy heartfelt thanks to IntLawGrrls for the opportunity to contribute this introductory post.

This month, the Committee against Torture will meet in Geneva to conduct a review of Kenya’s progress in meeting its obligations under the Convention against Torture (UNCAT). I worked with Physicians for Human Rights to submit an alternative report in April on Kenya’s efforts to comply with UNCAT. The report highlights Kenya’s inability to address torture stemming from unchecked gang activity, its failure to stop the torture of domestic violence, and its de facto acquiescence to torture in the form of female genital mutilation.

Kenya submitted a report describing its own progress and challenges faced in ending torture. Other nongovernmental organizations submitted reports about Kenya’s efforts to address the insidious, destructive problem of torture within its borders. The independent observations of NGOs are central to the UNCAT reporting process, offering alternative perspectives to the self-serving reports submitted by the states.

PHR, while largely known for its cutting-edge forensic work exposing human rights abuses, is also home to the Asylum Program. The Asylum Program is a unique model that provides direct services to asylum seekers while advocating for improved conditions in immigration detention centers and documenting human rights abuses suffered by immigrants. To document torture suffered by asylum seekers in their home countries, the Asylum Program pairs volunteer physicians and mental health experts with asylum seekers in the U.S. The medical professionals perform evaluations, prepare affidavits based on those evaluations, and submit the affidavits along with the asylum seekers’ applications, providing medical documentation to support claims of torture and abuse.

In writing the report to the Committee on behalf of PHR, I read all the medical affidavits for asylum seekers from Kenya since 2008, written by professionals affiliated with the Asylum Program. (2008 was the last time Kenya participated in the reporting process to the Committee; the Committee had been requesting a report from Kenya for each of the preceding nine years, and the country finally complied for the first time in 2008).

The affidavits make up a stark narrative of torture and ill-treatment suffered by Kenyans at the hands of the mungiki, a criminal gang that has terrorized the country with impunity for decades. Rape, genital mutilation, and beheadings characterize its violence. Despite its status as an illegal organization, Kenya has been powerless to put a stop to the mungiki’s torture and has even harmed innocent civilians in its efforts to address mungiki violence. The government allegedly formed a secret police force to kill members of the mungiki on sight. When Kenyan activists began to investigate these extrajudicial killings, the police then began targeting the activists to silence their investigations. Staff of human rights organizations faced threats and beatings from police for their work in exposing the execution-style murders of suspected mungiki members.

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