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

Hansdeep Singh, JD, LLM


Hansdeep Singh is Co-Founder and Director of Legal Programs for the International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination (ICAAD), a litigation and advocacy center focused on the eradication of structural discrimination globally and the promotion of human rights norms consistent with public international law. His experiences include work at Human Rights Watch (HRW) women’s rights and legal division focusing on domestic violence and religious freedom.  At the International Criminal Tribunals of Rwanda and Yugoslavia, he worked with a team of experienced international lawyers in chambers and also with the Office of Prosecution (OTP) to address mass atrocities (i.e. crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide).

In 2011, he authored a Report arguing that the treatment of specific minorities by the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) amounted to degrading treatment in violation of Art. 16 of the Convention Against Torture (CAT). He also he co-authored the Global Sikh Civil & Human Rights Report in 2010.

Additionally, Hansdeep has published extensively in law review journals:

  • Article, European Union: Impact of Airport Security Regulations on Sikhs, 45 THE INT’L LAWYER 385 (2011)
  • Article, Crimes Against Humanity Bill of 2009: The Domestic and International Implications of Addressing Impunity through   National Legislation, 17 ILSA J. INT’L & COMP L. 23 (2010)
  • Note, The Efficacy of Indefinite Detention: Assessment of Immigration Case Law in Kiyemba, 5 U. MASS. ROUNDTABLE SYMP. L. J. 188 (2010)
  •  Article, Critique of the Mrkšic Trial Chamber (ICTY) Judgment: A Re-Evaluation on Whether Soldiers Hors de Combat are Entitled to Recognition as Victims of Crimes Against Humanity, THE LAW & PRAC. OF INT’L CTS. & TRIBUNALS, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 247-296 (2009)
  • Note, Bringing Fairness to Extradition Hearings: Proposing a Revision of the Evidentiary Threshold for Political Dissidents, 38 CAL. W. INT’L L.J. 177 (2007)

Hansdeep graduated Fordham School of Law with a L.L.M. in International Law & Justice and graduated from California Western School of Law (CWSL) with a J.D., and is a member of the New York (and soon to be California) bar. He has his BA in Biology and History from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, where he grew up.

Read Hansdeep’s CV.


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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