News Releases

Transatlantic Symposium Spotlights Human Rights Abuses in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Academics, governmental and corporate representatives, and human rights advocates from the United States and Europe gathered for a high-profile conference in Chicago to address human rights abuses against civilians in Darfur, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The fifth annual Transatlantic Dialogue, entitled “Symposium on the Humanitarian Crises in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” took place at the Chicago campus of Northwestern University on Oct. 5 and 6.

Northwestern Law professors David Scheffer and Stephen Sawyer organized the conference, which was co-presented by the Bluhm Legal Clinic's Center on International Human Rights with the Northwestern University Journal of International Human Rights and the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. The event was offered in partnership with Columbia University's Human Rights Institute, the University of Notre Dame's Center for Civil and Human Rights, and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and enjoyed the support of major U.S. based law firms with an international practice.

Participants addressed the gross human rights abuses against civilians over a period of years in Darfur (Sudan) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and evaluated the response of the international community to those crises. Panel topics focused on recommendations along three tracks: humanitarian, security, and judicial. Conference panelists focused attention on the human rights abuses and call for concrete action to redress the wrongs, analyzing in the process the roles of the United Nations, the African Union, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, humanitarian organizations, governments, national courts, and the International Criminal Court.

The Honorable Barbara Masekela, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to the United States, delivered a keynote address at a dinner at Northwestern University School of Law, 357 E. Chicago Ave., on Thursday, Oct. 5. Attendance at this event was by invitation only.

Christoph Harnisch, Delegate General for Africa for the International Committee of the Red Cross, delivered a luncheon address on Friday, Oct. 6, at Northwestern University, Wieboldt Hall, 340 East Superior. Attendance at this event was by invitation only.

All October 6 panel events, including an Opening Address by Mark Bowden, Chief of Policy, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, were free and open to the public and took place in Wieboldt Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and from 1:45 to 5:45 p.m. View full schedule below

Established in 1998, Northwestern Law's Center for International Human Rights is dedicated to fostering the use and study of international law as a means to defend human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. Likewise, the Northwestern University Journal of International Human Rights is dedicated to providing a dynamic forum for the vigorous discussion of human rights issues among scholars of all disciplines and perspectives.

This symposium is part of the Northwestern Law's continued focus on international human rights and the globalization of business as it prepares both domestic and international students for a legal practice in a changing world. The symposium is also a Centennial Regional Meeting of the American Society of International Law.

EVENT SCHEDULE

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*By invitation only

Thursday, October 5
All events on Thursday will take place in the Law School Atrium (357 East Chicago Avenue) on Northwestern University's Chicago campus.

6:00 p.m.
Cocktail Reception*

7:00 p.m.
Dinner*

Introductory Remarks
David Scheffer, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law and Director, Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern University School of Law

Keynote Address
The Honorable Barbara Masekela, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to the United States

Friday, October 6
All sessions on Friday will take place in Wieboldt Hall (339 East Chicago Avenue) on Northwestern University's Chicago campus.

8:00–8:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast*
Wieboldt Hall, Room 440

All morning session events after breakfast will take place in Wieboldt Hall, Room 540.

8:30 a.m.
Introductory Remarks
Henry Bienen, President, Northwestern University
David E. Van Zandt, Dean, Northwestern University School of Law
Stephen Sawyer, Clinical Assistant Professor and General Counsel, Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern University School of Law

9:00 a.m.
Opening Address
Mark Bowden, Chief of Policy, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

9:45 a.m.
The Transatlantic Dialogue on Africa
Jan Wouters, Professor of Public International Law, Catholic University of Leuven, and Professor of European Banking and Financial Law, Universiteit Maastricht

10:15–10:30 a.m.
Coffee Break

10:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Morning Session: Darfur
Moderator: Douglass Cassel, Lilly Endowment Professor of Law and Director, Center for Civil and Human Rights, University of Notre Dame Law School

The Humanitarian Challenge
Eric Reeves, Professor of English and Literature, Smith College

The Judicial Challenge
Rosa Brooks, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

The Options for U.S. Policy: Two Perspectives
John Prendergast, Senior Advisor, International Crisis Group
Richard Williamson, Partner, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, former U.S. Representative to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights

12:15–1:30 p.m.
Lunch*
Wieboldt Hall, Room 541

Introduction
Tom Geraghty, Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law

Luncheon Address
Christoph Harnisch, Delegate General for Africa , International Committee of the Red Cross

All afternoon session events will take place in Wieboldt Hall, Room 540.

1:45–3:30 p.m.
Afternoon Session: The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Humanitarian and Security Challenges
Moderator: Richard Joseph, Professor, Northwestern University and Director, Program of African Studies
Dr. Richard Brennan, Director of Health Programs, International Rescue Committee
Jennifer Cooke, Director, Africa Program, Center for Strategic International Studies
Steve Lenahan, Executive Officer for Corporate Affairs, AngloGold Ashanti
Stephan Parmentier, Professor, Faculty of Law, Catholic University of Leuven/Jean Migabo Kalere, Researcher, Law and Society Institute, Faculty of Law, Catholic University of Leuven

3:30–3:45 p.m.
Coffee Break

3:45–5:30 p.m.
The Political and Judicial Contexts
Moderator: David Scheffer, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law and Director, Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern University School of Law
Madeline Seidenstricker, Foreign Service Officer and Desk Officer for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, U.S. Department of State
Peter Rosenblum, Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein Associate Clinical Professor of Human Rights, Columbia University School of Law
Paul Lemmens, Professor, Faculty of Law, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

5:30–5:45 p.m.
Concluding Remarks
Stephen Sawyer, Clinical Assistant Professor and General Counsel, Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern University School of Law


Posted: October 05, 2007