In China’s remote northwestern region of Xinjiang, approximately 800,000 to two million people — largely Uighurs as well as ethnic Kazakhs and Uzbeks, nearly all Muslim — have been detained since 2017 in what the Chinese government calls “re-education camps.” Children of those detained in Xinjiang are often forced to stay in state-run orphanages; and there is evidence that detainees are subjected to surveillance, torture, and forced labor, with reports of female detainees being subjected to sexual abuse and sterilization. Documenting the full scope of violations is currently impossible. …


In its work on statelessness in the MENA region, the IHRC has observed a growing problem: individuals who have not lived outside their home country and are entitled to the nationality of their country who lack formal citizenship and live as undocumented nationals. The IHRC, in its past work in Jordan and Lebanon, referred to these affected populations as “unperfected citizens,” or those who “are unregistered with the State because they or their parents could not obtain identification documents or otherwise perfect their citizenship.” In Egypt, the IHRC is employing the term “undocumented nationals” or “evidentiary statelessness” to better encapsulate…


In 1994, the United States adopted a border patrol enforcement strategy termed “Prevention Through Deterrence.” As discussed in a previous post, the goal behind the strategy was to reduce the number of irregular migrants crossing into the United States by forcing them over “more hostile terrain, less suited for crossing and more suited for enforcement.” Two decades of research has proved that the policy failed in deterring migration, “but has succeeded in shaping border crossing into a well-organized and violent social process.” According to Customs and Border Protection, 7,505 people have died crossing the U.S. Mexico border between 1998 and…


IHRC is currently in its third year of a long-term project focused on statelessness in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The project aims to identify existing norms that can be used to fill protection gaps for stateless populations in countries in the MENA while connecting stakeholders to create a statelessness network in the region. Researching and identifying commonalities within the MENA region’s laws and agreements will help generate a conversation about statelessness and establish a regional statelessness network. Former Clinic student Kristina Fried’s blog post, The Campaign to End Statelessness in Lebanon provides a comprehensive background on statelessness…


Credit: Tibet.net (Students of Tibetan Children’s Village School in Gopalpur, India enacting a short drama on the Chinese authorities’ atrocities against Tibetans during the four-day Tibetan People’s Solidarity Campaign in New Delhi, India, in 2013)

China’s human rights violations in Tibet have been consistently condemned by international human rights bodies, including the U.N. Among these violations is China’s persistent failure to comply with its obligations under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), to which China has been bound since it ratified the treaty in 1987. A fundamental principle underlying the CAT, as stated in the preamble, is that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Under Article 12, State Parties to the treaty must ensure “prompt and impartial” investigations into credible allegations of torture “in any territory…


Enforced Disappearances and the State

When Gabriel García Marquez, in One Hundred Years of Solitude, retells the story of the massacre of striking banana plantation workers at the hands of the Colombian military, he invokes the long history of enforced disappearances in Latin America. The massacre in the novel, which is based on a historical event that took place in 1928, ends with delegates of the United Fruit Company conjuring a cyclone that destroys the workers’ remains, physically and symbolically erasing any memory of the massacre. …


Advocacy for Tibetan Language rights. https://tibetsociety.com/take-action-tell-your-representatives-to-stand-up-for-tibet-at-the-un

Chinese violations of Tibetan peoples’ human rights have continued to be globally criticized since their initial occupation of Tibet in 1950. More recently, China’s abuses of Tibetan rights have been a focal point of international criticism’ in the UN Universal Periodic Review process. The Universal Periodic Review, or UPR for short, is a main function of the Human Right Council. The UPR reviews each state’s fulfillment of its human rights obligations and commitments. All 193 UN member states take part in this mechanism, where each state is reviewed in five-year cycles. During each state’s review, member states part of a…


As my colleague Lori Eller explained in her recent post, the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) is advocating for the creation of a network of civil society actors in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to mobilize around the issue of statelessness. This year’s statelessness project team recently traveled to Amman to meet with organizations working with populations who are stateless or at risk of statelessness. The project aims to identify gaps in Jordan’s laws that create or prolong statelessness. …


The International Human Rights Clinic’s work on the growing crisis of enforced disappearances of migrants in transit to the United States has highlighted the systemic failure of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador (collectively known as the Northern Triangle countries) and Mexico, along with the United States, to comply with their obligations to refugees and migrants under international and regional law. To end the conditions causing thousands of migrants to disappear, all these countries must engage in regional cooperation to locate the disappeared and provide adequate remedies to their families.

In 2019, the United States entered into several migration agreements with the…


There’s a saying that goes, “The worse the wedding the better the marriage.” At least, that is what an optimistic engaged couple told our Tibet team as we sat at Logan Airport in early March. They, like us, were waiting for a flight to Geneva — a flight that was supposed to take off the night before but had been delayed for three hours, then canceled, then rescheduled for the next day. This, all on the brink of what would become a global pandemic by the time our trip had ended! As we sat at Boston’s Logan Airport, thinking about…

BU Intl Human Rights

Boston University School of Law's International Human Rights Clinic.

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