Your Help is Needed Today– Share #SwaziJustice Video and Help WCL Alum Thulani Maseko in prison in Swaziland

We hope you will be willing to assist our partner at American University, the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, with the urgent request below.

Today we need your Twitter and Facebook help to share a video that the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law has launched to support our alum, Thulani Maseko (ILSP ’11) in prison in Swaziland.  Together with the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, the ABA Center for Human Rights and an array of international NGOs we are launching the #SwaziJustice campaign to raise awareness of the case in the lead up to a hearing in the Supreme Court of Swaziland on November 3.  More details of the case can be found at or on the Center’s website.

We have produced a 3 minute video featuring Rev. Desmond Tutu, the actress Alfre Woodard, UN Special Rapporteurs Juan Mendez (torture) and David Kaye (freedom of expression), Kerry Kennedy as well as a wide array of human rights activists and luminaries, to support their cause.  Please watch and share the video through your networks (direct link is at , “like” Swazi Justice on Facebook, tweet and retweet (and retweet) at #SwaziJustice, and go to to find out more ways to take action.

Please spread the video through your personal networks (churches/mosques/synagogues, schools, professional networks, listservs, alumni associations, etc.)  We are trying to make the video go viral and your help is essential!


Take action now to support Thulani and free speech in Swaziland by SHARING THIS VIDEO

I was Thulani’s faculty host at WCL and am awed by the brave work he’s done to promote basic human rights in his country, at great personal expense.  I’m proud of our school and our alumni  – and hope that you will help our colleague, whose only crime was speaking truth to power…

If you have more ideas about how to get this video out into the world, please a) go ahead and do it, and b) let me know if we can help!


For more of the specifics of the case go to

Hadar Harris

Executive Director, Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law

American University Washington College of Law

Video link to the Albie Sachs event October 2, 2014

On October 2, 2014, South Africa’s former Constitutional Court member, Albie Sachs visited the UMN Law School. To view the lecture click the link below.

On November 13, there will also be a screening of Abby Ginzberg’s documentary Soft Vengeance- Albie Sachs & The New South Africa. The screening will take place in Cowle’s Auditorium and will be followed by a discussion with Ginzberg.

No Honor in Racism

We hope you will join us at the No Honor in Racism Rally and March TOMORROW, November 2nd. Meeting at 8:45 am outside the University of Minnesota Northrup Auditorium. The Washington R*** are playing on the University of Minnesota campus and now is our opportunity to tell them that there is no honor in racism.

Come protest the ongoing use of racist names and images in sports. #notyourmascot, #nohonorinracism, #changethemascot, #stoptherword, #changethename,

More details here:

Former Humphrey Fellow Suaad Allami speaks with the UN Security Council

Suaad Allami was a 2009-10 Humphrey Fellow from Iraq. She received the Woman of Courage Award from Hillary Clinton and last year she received the Vital Voices Global Award.

Suaad made a statement to the UN Security Council today at 9 am. You can see the link below to webstream it.

Human Rights Fellowship Stories: Timothy Culver II – Human Rights Research with UMN Law School Professor Christopher Roberts

The International Bill of Human Rights (IBHR) has a history as rich, complex, and vital as the documents that it comprises. The IBHR consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, each of which has its own illustrative origin story. While many publications have considered the nuances and resulting impact of these documents themselves, few have focused on the multitude of diverse individuals, organizations, and other formative input factors that determined their scope and scale.

With the support of the Fellowship, I assisted Professor Christopher N.J. Roberts with his preparation of The Contentious History of the International Bill of Human Rights (the book, forthcoming on Cambridge University Press in late 2014, will be a part of the Cambridge Studies in Law and Society series). In addition to editing and source checking of various manuscripts, I performed additional research tasks, with most requiring that I dive into and synthesize the multitude texts and reports that chronicle the origin stories of the three documents that make up the IBHR.

These stories, often concerning just a few individuals and often minimally documented at the times they occurred, illuminate not only the details of the rights articulated in the IBHR, but also the rights that didn’t quite make the cut. These stories, shaped by the actors they concern, suggest a candid and demanding view of the IBHR. Professor Roberts’ book is motivated by and further encourages this unique and multidisciplinary approach to the origin and nature of human rights.

My own involvement with this effort allowed me to cover a vast research area while also requiring that I took the time to plunge into particularly crucial historical details. This approach guaranteed that I enjoyed a fascinating and invaluably educational experience while providing substantive input on a key addition to the body of human rights literature. I am certain that this opportunity will continue to benefit my own studies and work in the future, by virtue of both the practical skills and the unique perspective that this assistantship required that I take.

While there are a number of summer positions that encourage students to further develop the skills introduced in first year of law school, my particular placement meant that I was able to learn about and actively engage with the history and lessons drawn from a broad spectrum of human rights matters. I could not be more appreciative of this opportunity to work with Professor Roberts and the support of the Human Rights Center that allowed me to do so.

The views expressed in this article represent those of the author and not necessarily those of the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center.  As a forum for dialogue and education, and an acknowledgment of the contentious nature of human rights issues, some views expressed on this blog may not necessarily be those of the Human Rights Center as an institution.

Boarding School Tribunal, Oneida, Wisconsin – Day 2

The second day of the Boarding School Tribunal was an emotional one. Boarding school survivors and the children of survivors testified about their and their families’ experiences of extreme abuse at the hands of school officials, aculturation, and inter-generational trauma. Survivors spoke of the loss of language and traditions, the breaking apart of families, and the lasting personal impacts of boarding school experiences.

The Human Rights Center staff and 2014-15 Humphrey Fellows Athar Waheed (Pakistan), Aneeta Aahooja (Pakistan), Fasoha (Maldives), Abalo Assih (Togo), and Shiran Gooneratne (Sri Lanka) feel extraordinarily honored to participate in this tribunal.

You can read a re-cap of the second day of testimony and watch a livestream of the proceedings via Censored News.