Conference on Disasters, Displacement, & Human Rights

“Bridging the Collaborative Gap”
September 25-27, 2015
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Call for Presentations

Earthquakes and tsunamis. Development-induced displacement. Armed conflict, terrorism, and human trafficking. Fifty-one million recognized refugees worldwide. Securitization, deportation, and criminalization regimes. Climate change and environmental chaos. Humanitarianism, human rights, and international criminal prosecutions. The quest for peace and justice. The age of the anthropocene. The world has no shortage of problems and possibilities associated with disasters, displacement and human rights. And they are not just academic.

The University of Tennessee is holding its second conference on Disasters, Displacement, and Human Rights (DDHR). The 2015 conference theme is “Bridging the Collaborative Gap.” Collaborations within anthropology and across disciplines are increasingly vital for understanding the complexity of disasters, displacement, and human rights issues today. In both local settings and across the globe, from the distant past to anticipations of the future, communities of diverse experiences and aspirations directly confront the problems that preoccupy academic researchers. The 2015 DDHR conference aims to problematize and foster the practice of collaboration among academic disciplines and with DDHR-affected communities.

The organizers encourage the participation of researchers, practitioners, and students who address the broad themes of disasters, displacement and human rights from a range of perspectives, time periods, and contexts. We especially seek contributions from international researchers and practitioners who exemplify collaboration and/or cross-training within and/or outside of anthropology.

Preiskel/Silverman Lecture at YLS

Stephen P. Berzon, founding partner of Altshuler Berzon LLP, will deliver the 2014–2015 Robert H. Preiskel and Leon Silverman Program on the Practicing Lawyer and the Public Interest on March 30, 2015, at 4:30 pm in the Faculty Lounge. Berzon’s lecture is titled “Fixing Wealth Inequality: How Lawyers Can Be Part of the Solution.”

The Robert H. Preiskel and Leon Silverman Program on the Practicing Lawyer and the Public Interest was established by the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in honor of Robert H. Preiskel ’48 and Leon Silverman ’48 to sponsor lectures and other events celebrating private lawyers’ contributions to the public interest.


Public Lecture: Shari’a and the rule of law

The T.M.C Asser Instituut has the pleasure to invite you to attend a public lecture by Laila Al-Zwaini, Dutch-Iraqi arabist and jurist, on Shari’a and the rule of law. The lecture takes place within the framework of the MATRA South Administration of Justice training programme. This training programme, developed and delivered by the Asser Institute, is sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and aims at strengthening the institutional capacity of the judiciary in these countries and assisting in enhancing the rule of law and its constitutional safeguards.

The lecture is open to the public and will address the nexus between Shari’a and the rule of law in the legal systems and practices of Arab countries. Ms Al-Zwaini will look at the tensions between incorporating international standards within the Shari’a-based constitutions and legal practices of these countries. She will also explore avenues towards developing a locally and globally shared rule of law culture. The lecture is followed by a discussion, moderated by Dr Tamara Takacs, Senior researcher at the T.M.C Asser Instituut.


Time: 18.30 hrs
Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut, R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22, The Hague

Lecture: Palestine and the International Criminal Court

Tuesday 17 March 2015, 7pm at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut


Raji Sourani – Director, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Shawan Jabarin – Director, Al-Haq

Civil society discusses prospects for justice following Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute and the ICC prosecutor’s ongoing preliminary examination into alleged grave crimes.

SCL Lectures are public and free of charge. Registration is not necessary, seats are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

The views and opinions expressed in or during the Supranational Criminal Law lectures are not necessarily those of the host and/or participating organisations, namely the T.M.C. Asser Instituut, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) and the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University.

Leadership Changes In A World In Turmoil

ANNUAL SERGIO VIEIRA DE MELLO DEBATE, THURSDAY 12 MARCH 2015 | 18:30 Leading international journalist Christiane Amanpour talks with the UN’s top human rights and refugee chiefs. This event will be broadcast on CNN.

Sergio Vieira de Mello’s long and distinguished UN career saw him dealing with refugee and human rights issues from Bangladesh, Cyprus and Mozambique in the 1970s, through to Peru, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Timor Leste in the 1990s.

He became UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2002, as well as the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Iraq in 2003.

More than a decade on from Sergio’s tragic death in a Baghdad terrorist attack, the world sadly continues to be plagued by conflict and crisis.

Leading international journalist Christiane Amanpour, herself a veteran reporter from conflicts all over the globe, talks with the UN’s human rights and refugee chiefs about leadership challenges in a world in turmoil.

Entrance is free, but you must register to access the Palais des Nations. See below for important information on security, access and CNN filming.




guterres.jpg António Guterres
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
zeid-al-hussein.jpg Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


amanpour_3.jpg Christiane Amanpour
Chief International Correspondent, CNN

Security and access

All attendees who do not hold a UN badge are kindly requested to register before midnight 10 March 2015.

  • Each registration is valid for one person.
  • You must enter the UN via the Pregny Gate on Avenue de la paix.
  • Please bring a photo identification with you.
  • There is no parking available for non-accredited vehicles; the closest bus stop is “Appia”

CNN Filming

This event will be filmed for the television show “Amanpour”, CNN International’s flagship global affairs interview program. The event will be broadcast on CNN International at 20:00 the same evening.


Please be seated before 18:25. The doors to the Assembly Hall will be closed from 18:30 to enable filming to begin on time. You will not be able to enter the main part of the Assembly Hall after this time.

Seating is available on a first-come first-served basis.


This event will be conducted in English; simultaneous translation English/French will be available.

SCL Lecture “What is an International Crime?”

Kevin Jon Heller, Professor of Criminal Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London (SOAS)

SCL Lectures are public and free of charge. Registration is not necessary, seats are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

The views and opinions expressed in or during the Supranational Criminal Law lectures are not necessarily those of the host and/or participating organisations, namely the T.M.C. Asser Instituut, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) and the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University.

Criminal Justice and Racial Inequality

In 2014, the deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice, among others, reignited America’s dialogue on race and sparked a national response. That response included community organized street protests, highway blockages, social media activism, and multi-city marches with participants shouting #DontShoot, #BlackLivesMatter, and #ICantBreathe as unified expressions of public discontent.

The question is: What do we do now? How can we transition beyond the moments of Ferguson and New York into a robust movement at the local and federal level? One first step could be reforming our criminal justice system – but what does that entail? Join New America, in collaboration with Howard University, for the launch of, “From Moment to Movement” a conversation and essay series on race and policy in America.

Why Human Rights Treaties Matter: A Comparison of Judicial Responses to the Detention of Asylum-Seekers in the U.S. and the U.K.

February 10, 2015 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Location: Room 3-09, Fordham Law School, 150 W. 62nd St. New York, NY 10023
Contact: Zach Hudson |

Speaker: Stephen Meili, Vaughan G. Papke Clinical Professor in Law, University of Minnesota Law School

Human rights activists and scholars have long debated the efficacy of international human rights treaties: do they change state behavior in ways that advance human rights  or are they mere window dressing that states routinely ignore? This talk will look at a concrete example of where such treaties may, indeed, make a difference: the detention of those who seek asylum in a host country after fleeing persecution in their country of origin. The U.S. and the U.K. have drastically increased the detention of asylum-seekers, as well as other immigrants, over the past fifteen years, which has sparked legal challenges in both countries. U.S. courts rarely engage with human rights norms in the decisions flowing from these challenges, whereas courts in the U.K. have done so because such norms have been incorporated into U.K. domestic law. The different results in these cases thus illustrate both the potential and the limitation of human rights treaties as a means of affecting public policy.

Stephen Meili is on the faculty of the University of Minnesota Law School. His research focuses on the rights of non-citizens, particularly asylum-seekers and detainees. His most recent publications include “The Right Not to Hold a Political Opinion as the Basis for Asylum in the U.S. and the U.K.”, forthcoming in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, and ‘Do Human Rights Treaties Help Asylum-Seekers?: Lessons from the U.K.”, forthcoming in the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. His findings on the impact of human rights treaties in Canada were published last year by the Osgoode Hall Law Journal. His research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Robina Foundation. Professor Meili also supervises the University of Minnesota Law School’s Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, where students represent asylum-seekers and detainees in various immigration proceedings. He teaches courses on immigration law and human rights, as well as civil procedure, consumer law and legal practice.

Kosher pizza will be served.

LCIL Friday Lecture ‘Science and international environmental law: a meeting of minds, or two disciplines worlds apart?’ by Jolyon Thomson

Lecture summary:   Looking at international processes for the use of science in international environmental law, Jolyon Thomson will consider the significance of scientific data in treaty development and will ask which of the two disciplines is playing catch up.

Jolyon Thomson is a Deputy Director and Head of the International and EU legal team in Defra Legal Advisers in the UK Government. He has worked in the team since 2002 and has negotiated for the UK and EU at meetings held under numerous multilateral environmental agreements and at UN conferences, including at the Rio+20 summit in 2012. He was also part of the UK’s legal team in the Ireland v UK MOX Plant arbitrations on the marine environment.

He was a member of the Nobel Prize winning IPCC team for his work on the legal aspects of carbon capture and storage, and was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to environmental law. He has published on the subject of the EU and international environmental law.

Speaker:  Jolyon Thomson, Deputy Director, Defra Legal Advisers, London

The 25th Anniversary of the Massacre of Six Jesuit Priests in El Salvador: Why Does the Search for Justice Still Matter?

The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Program in Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies presents a lecture entitled “The 25th Anniversary of the Massacre of 6 Jesuits Priests in El Salvador: Why does the search for justice still matter?” with Carolyn Patty Blum, Visiting Clinical Professor of Law and Senior Legal Adviser for the Center for Justice and Accountability. The lecture will take place on Nov 17th at 12noon in Room 1008.