Symposium Archive

2021 Symposium – International Human Rights and Corporate Accountability: Current and Future Challenges

JILFA virtually hosted our 2021 Symposium on International Human Rights and Corporate Accountability: Current and Future Challenges on February 26-27, 2021. Friday’s panels included discussions of human trafficking and international food supply chains, aiding, abetting, and terrorist financing, and corporate capture. Saturday’s panels included discussion of the privatization of space, sanctions and human rights enforcement, and AI, surveillance, and digital privacy. The Symposium was in collaboration with Corporate Accountability Lab, UCLA’s Promise Institute for Human Rights, and UCLA’s International and Comparative Law Program.

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2020 Symposium – Human Rights and the Climate Crisis

New lawsuits and recent rulings are connecting human rights to the climate crisis in increasingly urgent ways. The Urgenda ruling in the Netherlands, the complaint filed by Greta Thunberg and others under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights’ finding against fossil-fuel companies exemplify recent cases that have captured the attention of the public, advocates, and legal scholars.

On February 28, 2020, UCLA’s Promise Institute for Human Rights, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs hosted a symposium at UCLA School of Law on Human Rights and the Climate Crisis. At the daylong event, leading lawyers, scholars, and activists examined the potential of rights-based arguments to halt and seek remedy for environmental harms, with a focus on climate change.

Kumi Naidoo, former head of Greenpeace and Amnesty International, and Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres, General Coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, delivered keynote speeches.

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2019 Symposium – Critical Perspectives on Race and Human Rights: Transnational Re-imaginings

Contemporary global and national political crises, many of which threaten the human rights of millions and even the international human rights system itself, bring into sharp relief enduring legacies of racial injustice and racial inequality all over the world. Yet substantive racial justice and equality seem marginal within contemporary global human rights legal scholarship, discourse, institutions, and even among the advocacy organizations that wield the greatest international influence on issues of human rights concern. Novel, radical ways of re-imagining the role of law and legal institutions in achieving racial justice and equality are urgent, and this conference convened an interdisciplinary group of scholars to consider the place of human rights in this larger context. It explored critical perspectives on race and human rights from the joint perspectives of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL).

This conference was jointly convened on March, 8, 2019 by UCLA’s Critical Race Studies Program, Promise Institute for Human Rights, International and Comparative Law Program and Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs, and fostered a transnational, interdisciplinary academic inquiry among human rights, TWAIL and CRT scholars on some of the most pressing issues of our time.

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2018 Symposium: Migration’s Effect on Labor and Human Rights

JILFA hosted its 2018 symposium on February 23, 2018. Our first panel included Adriana Kugler (@McCourtSchool@Georgetown), Adam Sobel (@workerscup), @KevinKolben (@RutgersU) and Katherine Stone (@UCLA_Law) discussing Temporary Migration Workers

2017 Symposium: U.S. Trade Policy in the New Administration

The 2017 JILFA Symposium explored the shift in U.S. trade policy currently underway in the Trump Administration. Examining the issue from both a domestic and global perspective, panelists considered the political and legal implications of these actions, as well as the potential responses of stakeholders and foreign governments in the new trade landscape. We were honored to be joined by Mickey Kantor, former U.S. Trade Representative and Secretary of Commerce, along with other leading academics, practitioners, and policymakers from the field of international trade law and policy. This event would not have been possible without the support of our co-sponsors: the International & Comparative Law Program, UCLA Burkle Center, UCLA Graduate Students Association, and the Campus Programs Committee.

2016 Symposium – The Worldwide Migration Crises

The worldwide migration crises currently represented an unprecedented challenge to people and countries across the globe. The 2016 JILFA Symposium explored the topic as well as the policy and legal implications of steps taken by governments and organizations in response to the influx of migrants.

The United Nations recently estimated that worldwide displacement of refugees has reached its highest point since World War II. An estimated 14 million people were newly displaced by conflict or persecution and nearly 60 million people were living in situations of forced displacement worldwide. These numbers have been increasing. The ongoing conflict in Syria alone has led to 9.5 million internally displaced persons and 4 million refugees. The international migration crises spans the entire globe – from the Americas, to Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania – with each region facing both unique and similar motivators and responses. 

The Symposium hoped to shed light on the issue of migration not only as a regional crisis to be dealt with in a bubble, but as a worldwide crisis where lessons can be drawn from differing legal and political responses. The day examined differing law and policy approaches to shifting understandings of migration, refugees, and crises.

This event would not have been possible without the support of our co-sponsors: the Law School Dean’s Discretionary Fund, the International and Comparative Law Program, UCLA Burkle Center, the Campus Programs Committee, and the Graduate Student Association. We are also thankful to JILFA’s faculty advisors Professor Asli Bâli and Jessica Peake, as well as all the JILFA staff volunteers who helped organize and put on this symposium.

2015 Symposium – The Right to Food

On March 6, the Resnick Program co-sponsored the UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs 2015 Symposium, which featured Dr. Hilal Elver, the recently-appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, as the keynote speaker. The symposium focused on three issues Dr. Elver identified as priorities for her mandate to promote awareness of right to food issues: the impact of global trade of agricultural products on the right to food, the threat of climate change and environmental degradation on the right to food, and mechanisms and tools to enhance implementation, enforcement and accountability of the right to food.Bringing together leading academics and practitioners in the fields of international food and agricultural policy, international trade, environmental law, and right to food, the symposium was a day-long discussion that included a call for justiciable socioeconomic rights, and sharing of effective strategies for advocates. Smita Narula, legal advisor to Dr. Elver’s predecessor Olivier De Schutter, captured the nature of the discussion in her introductory remarks, stating:

“A conversation about the right to food is at its heart, a conversation about power; it is a conversation about discrimination and deprivation. In turn, the demand for the right to food is a demand for dignity and for agency over resources and decision-making. It is a demand for social and economic justice, for climate consciousness, and for a fundamental paradigm shift and reimagining of our current food systems to fit a more equitable and sustainable frame. That’s a tall order. But it is a task that is supported immensely by grassroots movements, civil society members, academics, and UN experts alike, including by those present in the symposium.”

2014 Symposium – Beyond Kiobel: The Future of International Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts

In March 2014, the Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs hosted its 19th annual symposium, “Beyond Kiobel: The Future of International Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts.” The event brought together notable attorneys, human rights practitioners and academics for a discussion of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, a case decided by the U.S Supreme Court in April 2013 involving the scope of the Alien Tort Statute. The Court’s unanimous decision has limited the ability of foreign victims of human rights abuses to use American courts to seek accountability and damages. Panelists examined the future of Alien Tort Statute litigation, the possibility of pursuing claims in state court and alternative avenues for human rights litigation. Judge Pierre Leval of the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Second Circuit delivered the keynote address, sharing his firsthand perspective on the case—he dissented from the 2010 Second Circuit decision—and discussing the issues raised by the Supreme Court’s decision.

Article can be found at 19 UCLA J. Int’l L. Foreign Aff. 1 (2015). See our publications archive.

2009 Symposium – Trends and Tensions in International Criminal Procedure

In February 2009, a group of international criminal procedure scholars gathered at UCLA School of Law to discuss ongoing trends and tensions in the field. The goal of this symposium has been to bring together scholars based in North American law schools who have been doing some of the most interesting and exciting work in this area. Each article of this symposium makes substantial and original contributions to the international criminal procedure literature. For many decades following Nuremberg, Tokyo, and other post-World-War-ll trials, there were no international criminal bodies to enforce international crimes. International criminal procedure was thus a very small field mainly
reserved to historical analyses of old cases and trials or to the few scholars and practitioners committed to drafting politically utopian international criminal law regimes. This situation radically changed with the end of the Cold War and the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 1993 and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 1994; the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998/2002; and several hybrid criminal tribunals such as the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) and the Special Panels in the Dili Court in East Timor (Special Panels). These international criminal bodies not only present statutes, rules of procedure and evidence, and other regulations, but they have also issued thousands of procedural decisions and thus provided a very rich array of actual investigations, prosecutions, and trials. As a consequence, in the last fifteen years, international criminal procedure has flourished as a discipline. The articles that follow are the written result of this project. The articles reflect not only the high intellectual and scholarly capabilities of their authors, but also analyze some of the most important issues that the most influential international criminal jurisdictions of the last fifteen years-the ICC, the ICTY, the ICTR, and the SCSL-currently face.

Articles can be found at 14 UCLA J. Int’l L. Foreign Aff. 1 (2009). Please see our publications archive.

2007 Symposium – Protecting the Nation at the Expense of Individuals? Defining the Scope of the United States Executive Power at Home and Abroad in Times of Crisis

In February 2007, UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs hosted its 11th Annual Symposium, “Protecting the National at the Expense of Individuals? Defining the Scope of United States Executive Power at Home and Abroad in Times of Crisis.” Scholars examined the role of the American executive power as it relates to a balance of power, the detainment of enemy combatants, and electronic surveillance of the American public. This symposium brought together attorneys who thoroughly discussed the rules of international law as it pertains to crimes against humanity, preemptive strikes against nuclear facilities, and how countries fail to prosecute ongoing and explicit genocide.

Articles can be found at 11 UCLA J. Int’l L. Foreign Aff. 1 (2009). Please see our publications archive.

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