PHRGE Co-Directors, fellows, students and staff work on a myriad of human rights issues in the USA and globally. Our current research projects and educational programs are listed below. Affiliated Faculty also promote human rights by advising governments and nongovernmental organizations on human rights, engaging in research on human rights issues and teaching a variety of human rights courses. The human rights work of Affiliated Faculty is listed on their individual webpages.
Bringing Human Rights Norms into State Courts and Legislatures
Over the past several years, Professor Martha Davis has engaged in numerous projects to implement human rights norms in the USA. These projects have included co-editing the three-volume series "Bringing Human Rights Home." Professor Davis has also participated in trainings on human rights for advocates and legislators, filing amicus briefs asserting human rights norms in domestic cases and producing training materials for litigators. She also authored the article "Human Rights in the Trenches: Using International Human Rights Law in 'Everyday' Legal Aid Cases," published in Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy 413 (Nov/Dec 2007). This year, Professor Davis is working with the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative and the Columbia University Human Rights Institute to update a resource guide on human rights in legal advocacy.
The Boston Principles on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Noncitizens: PHRGE is pleased to present the Boston Principles on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Noncitizens. Professors Hope Lewis and Rachel Rosenbloom coordinate this project aimed at developing Guidelines and Recommendations to protect the human rights of immigrant communities and individuals. The Boston Principles are 30 standards drawn from international human rights, humanitarian, and migration-related treaties, guidelines and other statements of best practice as well as recommendations by U.S.-based civil society. The Boston Principles were the outcome of a two day Institute: "Beyond National Security: Immigrant Communities and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights" hosted by PHRGE and chaired by Professors Lewis and Rosenbloom. The project brought together leading human rights and immigration advocates for a two-day intensive workshop on October 14-15, 2010. Public sessions were held both days over the lunch hour.
International Social and Economic Rights Project (iSERP)
Professors Lucy Williams and Karl Klare lead a global working group of scholars, judges and practitioners - from India, South Africa, Japan, Europe, South America and the USA - focusing on securing economic and social rights for all. SERP aims to assist advocates and also to influence decisionmakers. Their first high-level workshop was held at Northeastern School of Law on March 19-21, 2009. The second of the series was held at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, May 15-16, 2010, and the third was held June 2-4, 2011, at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. The fourth workshop will be held at University College London (UCL) in the Spring of 2012. SERP plans to expand its activities to include research projects, publications and judicial trainings. Many SERP documents are posted on its Wiki, including the reports on the workshops and summaries of over eighty cases on social and economic rights from countries around the world.
Human Rights Frameworks, Strategies and Tools for Policymaking
Due Diligence Project
Gillian MacNaughton, Executive Director of PHRGE, and Mariah McGill, PHRGE Ford Foundation Fellow, are working on several projects to develop and document the use of human rights frameworks, strategies and tools to advance economic and social rights through human rights monitoring and policymaking processes. Human rights practitioners have traditionally relied upon a limited toolbox, including litigation, naming and shaming, and letter-writing campaigns, which all address violations of human rights. Today, human rights practitioners are using a variety of pro-active human rights strategies and tools - including human rights impact assessment, indicators and benchmarks, and budget analysis - to analyze government performance, guide legislative reforms and build social movements for economic justice. In the past, Gillian has advised UNICEF, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health and Rights & Democracy, among others, on developing such human rights tools.
The Due Diligence Project is a two-year research and advocacy project on state obligations with respect to violence against women. The project is implemented by Co-Directors Janine Moussa and Zarizana Abdul Aziz. PHRGE hosts Senior Fellow Janine Moussa, Co-Director of the Due Diligence Project, who also participates in several programs at Northeastern University School of Law, including the program for first-year law students, Legal Skills in Social Context. Zarizana Abdul Aziz is an affiliated scholar at both Columbia University and Northeastern University School of Law.
Human Rights and the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct - PHRGE Affiliated Project
Professor Martha Davis leads an innovative research project examining the ABA Model Rules through a human rights lens to discern how the rules might be improved. To date, Professor Davis presented her preliminary findings at a workshop at the Human Rights Institute of Columbia University in June 2010. Her article on the topic will be published shortly. This year Professor Davis will expand upon the project by examining professional ethics in international and comparative law through a human rights lens.
Valerie Gordon Lecture
In collaboration with the Black Law Students Association, PHRGE presents the annual Valerie Gordon Lecture given by a prominent human rights scholar or practitioner. In 2010, the Valerie Gordon Lecturer was the Honorable Manuel Cepeda of the Constitutional Court of Colombia. In 2011, the Valerie Gordon Lecturer will be Professor Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Associate Professor of Law and Development and Director of the Program on Human Rights and Justice at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
PHRGE organizes a faculty colloquia series bringing together human rights scholars from around New England and beyond. Recently, Professor Helena Alviar from the Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia, presented her ambitious paper "Legal Reform, Social Policy and Redistribution in Colombia," which was followed by Professor Dan Danielsen's insightful commentary and a lively discussion among the twenty-plus faculty gathered.
PHRGE delivers Webinars connecting scholars with practitioners on cutting-edge issues in ESCR. Our next Webinar will address using human rights frameworks, strategies and tools to advocate on issues of concern to people living in poverty. Recent webinars include "An Introduction to the Boston Principles on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Noncitizens" presented by Professors Hope Lewis and Rachel Rosenbloom on June 22, 2011, and "Claiming Our Role as Human Rights Lawyers: How a Human Rights Framework Can Advance Our Advocacy", an online panel discussion moderated by Professor Martha Davis and hosted by Clearinghouse Review on June 21, 2011.