Human Rights Clinic Reports Reflected in U.N. Human Rights Committee Recommendations

April 18, 2012

University of Minnesota human rights advocates traveled to U.N. headquarters in New York in March 2012 to attend and testify at the 104th session of the U.N. Human Rights Committee.

The Minnesota delegation consisted of 2L students Michele Lobo, Laura Matson, and Faiza Majeed and Professor Jennifer Green from the Human Rights Litigation and International Legal Advocacy Clinic; Barbara Frey, director of the Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota and Law School adjunct professor; and Claire Leslie, associate coordinator for the Midwest Coalition of Human Rights.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee of 18 independent experts reviews compliance of member states with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. States are required to provide their human rights records for periodic review, and the Committee invites non-governmental organizations to submit reports with additional information.

Clinic students had prepared reports on the human rights consequences of misuse, improper regulation, and illicit transfer of small arms and light weapons in three countries under Committee review: the Dominican Republic, Philippines, and Yemen. Among their research findings: in 2011, security forces in Yemen using powerful rifles and machine guns killed more than 2,000 people, chiefly during peaceful protests. The reports also noted numerous deaths at the hands of law enforcement in the Dominican Republic. Majeed testified before the Committee about the misuse of arms in Yemen, illicit transfers, and the continuing problem of the use of child soldiers.

When the committee issued concluding observations on the Dominican Republic and Yemen, it included recommendations on the misuse of arms and the use of child soldiers. The list of issues regarding the Philippines has not yet been released publicly.

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