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Friday, May 18, 2012

The State of Iberoamerican Studies Series: Human Rights Across the Disciplines

iberoamer.jpgProviding a forum for interdiscursive theoretical discussions and dialogue, The State of Iberoamerican Studies Series: Human Rights Across the Disciplines, founded in 1995 at the University of Minnesota Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, supports a number of critical symposia that bring together not only the monologues of traditional scholarly disciplines, but also the powerful, struggling and often unarticulated voices, postures and assumptions of contemporary non-canonical cultural discourses.

The University of Minnesota, The College of St. Benedict /St. John's University, and Teatro del Pueblo, organizers of this annual conference and theater festival are proud to announce the artistic achievements of three of its most recent guests: Carlos Satizábal (Colombia), Patricia Ariza (Colombia), Samir Yazbek (Brasil); and the granting of an International Theater Research Award to Luis A. Ramos-Garcia, founder of the series.
*Carlos Satizábal wins the 2012 Colombian National Poetry Award
The State of Iberoamerican Studies Series group celebrates and congratulates the playwright artist, actor, professor and writer Carlos Satizábal for winning the National Unpublished Poetry Award 2012 in Colombia, thanks to his work "La llama inclinada" exhibited at the international book fair of Bogota. Carlos was in Minnesota in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
*Patricia Ariza Prince Claus (The Netherlands) Award and the Colombian Congress Medal
The International Prince Claus Award honors individuals and organizations reflecting a progressive and contemporary approach to the themes of culture and development. Patricia Ariza received this award as well as the Colombian Congress Medal for her commitment to Universal Human Rights, Peace, and artistic creativeness. Patricia was invited to Minnesota in 2009, and 2011.
*Samir Yazbek (Sao Paulo, Brasil). The Associação Paulista dos Críticos de Arte (APCA) Award 2010 for Best Brazilian writer
One of Brazil's most prominent writers, Yazbek trained under the tutelage of Antunes Filho. His plays have been performed across the world and received translation into English, French & Spanish. Samir's plays include: O Fingidor/The Pretender (Shell Award/1999, best writer); Terra Prometida/Promised Land (among the 10 best plays of 2002, according to the newspaper O Globo); As Folhas do Cedro/Cedar-Tree Leaves (APCA Award 2010 for best writer). Samir will visit Minnesota this coming Fall 2012.
*Luis A. Ramos-Garcia (Lima, Perú). XII Festival Internacional de Teatro de Grupo and Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Lima-Perú) Award 2011
On September 24, 2011, the XII Festival Internacional de Teatro de Grupo (Brasil, Argentina, España, Perú, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, United States, and México); the I Simposio Iberoamericano de Teatro de Grupo; the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Lima-Perú); and the Asociación para la Investigación Actoral Cuatrotablas; presented an International Theater Award and recognition to Luis A. Ramos-García (University of Minnesota) "for his transcendental contribution to Peruvian Theater."
The series was sponsored by an Imagine Fund Special Events grant; the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies; Human Rights Program; President's Faculty Multicultural Research Award; Global Spotlight; Global Studies; Teatro del Pueblo; and College of St. Benedict / St. John's University.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

University of Minnesota Students Take an Active Role in United Nations Treaty Body

studentsUN.jpgThe Human Rights Program and Professor Jennifer Green's Human Rights Litigation and International Legal Advocacy Clinic collaborated in March 2012 to provide the United Nations Human Rights Committee with up-to-date information about the effects of small arms and light weapons in the world today.












The Human Rights Program and Professor Jennifer Green's Human Rights Litigation and International Legal Advocacy Clinic collaborated in March 2012 to provide the United Nations Human Rights Committee with up-to-date information about the effects of small arms and light weapons in the world today.
Students in the law clinic prepared shadow reports on Yemen, the Dominican Republic, and the Philippines, three of the countries being reviewed as part of the Committee's periodic reporting process.
The Human Rights Committee monitors the performance of 167 States that have ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Each state party is required to report periodically its human rights record and non-governmental organizations may submit shadow reports that provide additional information to the
committee's members.
A team of University of Minnesota students carried out in-depth research on violations committed by state agents and private actors made possible by easy access to lethal firearms. In the Yemen report, the students noted the indiscriminate killings of more than 2,000 individuals in 2011 when security forces used powerful weapons including AK-47s, sniper rifles, and 22.7 mm machine guns on largely peaceful protestors. The shadow report on the Dominican Republic highlighted the high number of extrajudicial killings by law enforcement officials.
In response to the U of M's work, the committee called on Yemen to implement a program involving "the collection, control, storage, and destruction of unnecessary weapons." The committee also called on the Dominican Republic to eliminate excessive use of force by law enforcement and to ensure that its laws, policies, and practices comply with international norms on firearm use.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Professor Sikkink receives 2012 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award

sikkinksized.jpg Kathryn Sikkink, University of Minnesota Regents Professor and Human Rights Program Advisory Board Chair, has been named winner of the 2012 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Changed World Politics.













Offered by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, the award recognizes a book which "most faithfully and forcefully reflects Robert Kennedy's purposes - his concern for the poor and the powerless, his struggle for honest and even-handed justice, his conviction that a decent society must assure all young people a fair chance, and his faith that a free democracy can act to remedy disparities of power and opportunity."
Having chosen Sikkink's book top among more than 90 nominations, Selection Panel Chair John Seigenthaler said, "Sikkink...has provided readers with compelling evidence that the cause of human rights finally is taking hold in the international community. She documents a trend clearly demonstrating that tyrannical dictators who, in the past, murdered, brutalized, and imprisoned citizen-dissidents and political opponents with impunity, now more frequently face criminal prosecutions and punishment. The result: Justice, once routinely vagrant and still often delayed now finds both traction and viability."
Professor Sikkink is slated to receive the award from Ethel Kennedy at a ceremony on Thursday, May 24, at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC.
We celebrate with Kathryn as she joins the ranks of previous award winners and distinguished authors, Vice President Al Gore, Congressman John Lewis, Taylor Branch, Toni Morrison, Jonathon Kozol, and Michael Lewis.
John Seigenthaler, chair of the selection panel, said "Kathryn Sikkink, in The Justice Cascade, has provided readers with compelling evidence that the cause of human rights finally is taking hold in the international community. She documents a trend clearly demonstrating that tyrannical dictators who, in the past, murdered, brutalized, and imprisoned citizen-dissidents and political opponents with impunity, now more frequently face criminal prosecutions and punishment. The result: Justice, once routinely vagrant and still often delayed now finds both traction and viability."
Previous winners of the award include Vice President Al Gore, Congressman John Lewis, Taylor Branch, Toni Morrison, Jonathon Kozol, and Michael Lewis.
On Thursday, May 24, Ethel Kennedy will present the award at a ceremony at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC.
Congratulations, Professor Sikkink!
sikkink_justice_cascade.jpg

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bhabha: Protecting Migrant Children's Rights

Bhabha high res.jpg Rounding out the Human Rights for the 21st Century spring speaker series, Jacqueline Bhabha described the complexity of child migration and the key challenges to the realization of migrant child rights in her May 2nd presentation at McNamara Alumni Center.










Bhabha, who has dual appointments in the Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School, explained that historically, dialogue about migration has focused on adults and families to the exclusion of discussion about what it means to migrate as a child. Until the 1989, with the advent of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), children's rights were derivative. The CRC gave children, including migrant children, legal recognition as rights-bearers.
Bhabha explained the linguistic evolution within child migration narratives, highlighting the shift from "unaccompanied children" to terminology like "children on the move" and "unprotected children." Such a shift allows for the understanding that child migrants do have agency, that they are too often fleeing exploitation, and that state protection need not be paternalistic.
The global social imagining of mixed migration in the 21st century necessitates more sophisticated policies that recognize the roles and best interests of child migrants. International law has thus far fallen short in adequately protection children, in part because of the difficult of addressing children in flux, those without legal status. Another key dilemma in child migration comes about due to the dually envisioned purpose of the state with regard to children: that is, simultaneously protecting children's rights and protecting society from delinquent children.
Bhabha urged that we must conceptually understand young people as valuable rather than dangerous, and that given such an understanding, we should promote policies that protect vulnerable children and offer them full access to citizenship. A crosscutting solution involving education, law, advocacy, and careful policy development will be the basis of just foundations for the future.