"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

Training Law Students on Human Rights Accountability Institutionalizing UPR Accountability in Law Schools

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Training Law Students on Human Rights Accountability Institutionalizing UPR Accountability in Law Schools
New York, U.S.A. – October 28, 2014: In August 2014, ICAAD began a collaboration with the Leitner Center for International Law & Justice at Fordham School of Law. ICAAD staff designed a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Training & Human Rights Lawyering program and are conducting the course as Clinical Supervising Attorneys. The in-person and virtual program provides experiential learning to students from the Leitner Center International Human Rights Clinic, led by Director Chi Mgbako.
 Lesley Wexler UPR Clinic
Lesley Wexler, Professor at Illinois Law School in Champaign, IL; Roshika Deo, Human Rights Lawyer in Suva, Fiji; Jaspreet Singh, ICAAD Co-Founder in Portland, OR; and Hansdeep Singh ICAAD Co-Founder, Leitner Center Students in New York, NY — Discussing Gender Equality & Structural Discrimination on Google Hangout.
One of the most formative courses for any young aspiring lawyer are the clinical courses offered in law school. These courses provide law students with the opportunity to work on real world problems and to begin applying their legal skills even before graduation. In our course, students are:

  • Learning how to define structural discrimination;
  • Identifying how structural discrimination manifests in society;
  • Conducting analysis on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to identify sources of structural discrimination that impact women and minorities globally; and
  • Drafting UPR Reports that will be submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council as part of ICAAD’s advocacy to strengthen accountability within the UPR system.

Part of the 12 week course includes a speaker series with experts globally discussing how they see structural discrimination in their respective fields. Three sessions are highlighted below:

Looking at Structural Discrimination through the Lens of Gender Discrimination: Perspectives from Academics & Advocates 

Lesley Wexler – Professor of Law at Illinois School of Law; expertise in international humanitarian law, human rights law, and sex discrimination. Roshika Deo – International Woman of Courage Awardee by the U.S. Dept. of State; human rights advocate; and recently ran for parliament in Fiji.

The Role of Impact Litigation in Addressing Structural Discrimination Domestically

 Tejinder Singh – Counsel, Goldstein & Russell, P.C.; expertise in Supreme and Appellate court litigation on issues of civil rights, financial regulation, privacy rights, and environmental protection.

Daniel Mach – Director of ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief; engages in a wide range of religious-liberty litigation, advocacy, and public education efforts nationwide, and often writes, teaches, and speaks publicly on religious freedom issues.

Looking at Structural Discrimination through the Lens of Gender Discrimination: Perspectives from the Judiciary

Judge Marjory Fields – Counsel Bedlock Levine & Hoffman LLP; retd. Family Law & Supreme Court of NY Judge. She has published articles and lectured extensively around the world on the topic of domestic violence, human rights of women, family law, and jurisprudence.


*More details to follow about the expansion of ICAAD’s UPR Accountability Initiative to European law schools.

Learning About Human Rights Systems
Why is the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) the cornerstone of the program?:

  • Universal: 100% buy-in from 193 UN Member states;
  • Periodic: human rights review process occurs every 4 ½ years;
  • Comprehensive: states, UN bodies, NGOs, academics, and human rights defenders all submit reports;
  • Peer Reviewed: other states make recommendations on how the State Under Review can improve its human rights record;
  • Accountable: states must accept or take notice of each recommendation; and
  • Consistent Monitoring: every 2 years states’ implementation of recommendations are reviewed and every 4 ½ years the state must show steps it has taken to implement recommendations it has accepted.
ICAAD is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of advocates, activists, and people like you who believe that equality is a fundamental human right.Raise Your Shield and make a contribution today.
The International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination (ICAAD) is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded for the purpose of eradicating structural (institutionalized) discrimination globally, and to promote human rights norms consistent with public international law.ICAAD uses a systems approach to address structural discrimination on behalf of women and minorities globally. We identify gaps in the societal structures that marginalize vulnerable communities using an interdisciplinary approach that combines law, technology, and art. Our evidence based research utilizes teams of experts to identify specific structural discrimination policies, marshal resources and key partnerships, and provide strategic support of local NGOs with the aim of systematically uprooting discrimination within different societal sectors (e.g. legislative, judicial, law enforcement, health, faith, etc).For more information, please visit: www.icaadglobal.org





This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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