hrbrief

In Their Own Words: Burmese Law Students Respond to Reports of Economic Change

In Burma, Human Rights on May 17, 2010 at 9:32 am

By the Peace Law Academy Class of 2010

Burmese villagers being forced to work as uncompensated manual labor. Courtesy of HURFOM.

The Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC) is an independent organization of Burmese lawyers on the Thai-Burma border that fights oppression and human rights abuses in Burma (Myanmar) and advocates for the restoration of the rule of law. The BLC runs a two-year capacity-building law school known as the Peace Law Academy (PLA). The PLA’s 25 university-aged students come from inside Burma and from refugee camps in Thailand for a law-based education that prepares them for work in a variety of NGOs. The long-term vision of the PLA is to help create a new generation of informed leaders, capable of navigating a changing political landscape despite the complex challenges posed by Burma’s ethnic diversity, rich natural resources, and decades of stagnation, oppression, and civil war under ruthless military rule.

As one of the final assignments in a six-month Environmental Ethics course exploring relationships between environmental, economic, political, and human rights issues in Burma, the students wrote “Letters to the Editor” of the New York Times in response to a March 17, 2010 article entitled, “Change Comes to Myanmar, but Only on the Junta’s Terms.”

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Obstacles to Justice: Jurisdictional and Systemic Challenges to Eradicating Domestic and Sexual Violence in Indian Country

In Criminal Law, Domestic Violence, Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples, Uncategorized on April 21, 2010 at 8:00 am

By Ashly Hinmon

Colby Duren of WCL's Native American Law Students Association making introductory remarks.

A panel of experts on domestic violence in Indian Country addressed the Washington College of Law community on February 3, 2010. The panel included Michelle Begay, Program Analyst with Indian Health Services, Christopher Chaney, Deputy Director at the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Tribal Justice, Dawn Sturdevant Baum, Staff Attorney at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and Professor Ezra Rosser, WCL faculty and specialist in Indian law. The panel examined how conflicts between federal and tribal jurisdiction can lead to a lack of prosecution and enforcement of domestic violence cases in Native American communities and identified the various policy mechanisms that have been developed to address the high rates of domestic and sexual violence in Indian Country.

Bangladeshi War Crimes Tribunal in the Works

In Bangladesh, ICC, International Criminal Law, Rome Statute, War Crimes on April 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm

By Bhavani Raveendran

In March 2010, almost forty years after the 1971 fight for independence from Pakistan, the Bangladeshi government created a war crimes tribunal to prosecute those who committed atrocities during the bloody nine-month conflict. The Bangladeshi government estimates three million people were killed during the war by Pakistani soldiers and Bangladeshi collaborators. Two hundred thousand women are estimated to have been raped; and the numbers of displaced persons reached the millions.