Halloween and children, revisited

It’s Halloween, a day when costumes conjure playfulness among children and adults alike. To celebrate, I’m reprinting below my post from October 31, 2010, available in the IntLawGrrls archives here. The donation link at bottom still works, so consider a contribution on behalf of the world’s children.

Often completing this ‘Grrl’s Halloween costume was the tote at left.
Many a year we Midwestern children would knock on doors to “Trick or Treat for UNICEF,” seeking donations to help the United Nations help children in need. For many of us, it was an early raising of awareness — an early invitation to consider how we might respond in our own small ways to the plight of others throughout the world.
Of great interest, therefore, was the news that the woman who founded the campaign has died at age 93, just a few days short of the 60th anniversary of her achievement.
As detailed in The New York Times‘ obituary, the idea came to Mary Emma Allison, a schoolteacher long concerned about social justice, while shopping in 1949 in Philadelphia. (credit for photo of Allison and her costume-clad children) Soon she and her husband had created a global movement, called “Pennies for UNICEF” in those days of less deflated economy. Enlisted in the effort have been cultural icons ranging from Casper, the Friendly Ghost (below), to Superman, the Man of Steel. Since its founding the campaign has raised more than $160 million.
No need for a collection box to contribute in Allison’s honor; anyone can click here to donate to UNICEF this Halloween.

Google Translate is an amazing thing; or, how to teach a Dutch refugee law judgment without knowing Dutch

What materials to give my Refugee & Asylum Law students in preparation for visits from experts in connection with our “Children & International Criminal Justice” conference this week? How to link the work of the International Criminal Court to our current study of how nation-states comply (or fail to comply) with obligations they assumed by ratifying the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and/or its 1967 Protocol?

raadI might have focused on the refugee as a stakeholder in the work of the Court, an important topic given that many of the world’s 50-plus million forced migrants have fled armed violence or its consequences.

Instead, I turned to a specific legal problem: the cases of 3 Congolese nationals permitted to enter the Netherlands solely to testify for the defense in the Katanga and Ngudjolo trial. When that role came to an end, they sought asylum rather than return to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Earlier this year, they were returned following a judgment against one of them issued by the Raad van State, the Netherlands’ Council of State.

One problem: I could only find that judgment in Dutch (above).

Problem solved: I ran it through Google Translate and came up with an English version of The Alien and the Secretary of State that, with a bit of tweaking worked well as an English-language version, the basis for a great discussion. In case it’s of use others, that  version, along with a couple contemporary news releases, is available here.

Georgia Law convenes D.C. workshop on “International Law as Behavior”

Kudos to my Georgia Law colleague Harlan G. Cohen for organizing what promises to be a superb conference on “International Law as Behavior,” a daylong presentation of papers that will lead to a same-named essay volume. Convened by the University of Georgia School of Law and the International Legal Theory Interest Group of the American Society of International Law, this book workshop will be held November 13, 2014, at Tillar House, the ASIL headquarters at 2223 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C.

PrintHere’s the description:

[T]he workshop will bring together scholars working at the cutting edge in a variety of different fields, including constructivist international relations theory, anthropology, behavioral law and economics, organizations theory, social psychology, and sociology to discuss how these approaches can best be applied to the study of international law, how these approaches can complement both each other and positivist and rationalist accounts, the opportunities and challenges of working across these fields, and the development of a common language and tools to study how international actors actually behave, how their rationality is bounded by psychology, how they operate as members of groups and recipients of culture, and how they write and follow organizational scripts.

The conference has a stellar lineup. Set to take part, in addition to Harlan and another Georgia Law colleague, Timothy L. Meyer, are: Elena Baylis, University of Pittsburgh; Tomer Broude, Hebrew University; Adam Chilton, University of Chicago; Sungjoon Cho, Chicago-Kent; Martha Finnemore, George Washington University; Jean Galbraith, University of Pennsylvania; Derek Jinks, University of Texas; Ron Levi, University of Toronto; Galit Sarfaty, University of British Columbia; and Kathryn Sikkink, Harvard University.cd3fd-asil_logo

Details here.

2014 Tale of the treaties tape

un_members_flagsAs it does each year while the U.N. General Assembly’s meeting, the United Nations hosted a 5-day “Treaty Event” aimed at encouraging states to consent to be bound to a range of international conventions. (Previous posts here and here; photo credit) The big news was the boost this gave to the 2013 Arms Trade Treaty; as posted, it’s now set to enter into force on Christmas Eve. Also worth mentioning are joinders to other treaties related to peace, accountability, security, to children, and more generally to human rights. Selected joinders below; the complete record of Treaty Event activities is available here.

Peace, security, accountability

► 2010 Amendments on the crime of aggression to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: Latvia, Poland, and Spain ratified, bringing the total number of adherents to 18. Neither the United States nor any of the 5 permanent members of the U.N. Security Council is among them. As detailed in posts here and here, these amendments cannot take effect any earlier than 2017, and then only if 30 states have accepted and a further vote has been taken. This year and last, tweets from the Crime of Aggression project have named numerous other countries said to be working toward ratification: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Romania, and Switzerland. If all join, the amendments would be 1 shy of the minimum required.

► 2010 Amendment to Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: Latvia, Poland, and Spain likewise ratified this treaty, which would enumerate as crimes in non-international armed conflict certain acts now prohibited only with respect to international armed conflict. The total number of adherent now stands at 21. The treaty entered into force as to some states as early as 2012. Neither the United States nor any of the 5 permanent members of the U.N. Security Council has approved these amendments.

► 1984 Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment: Eritrea acceded, bringing to 156 the total number of parties – among them, the United States and, indeed, all 5 permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

► 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance: Angola signed this treaty, which entered into force in 2010. It now has 94 signatories and 43 parties. Of the Security Council’s 5 permanent members, France is a state party, and the only state either to have signed nor ratified.

Treaties relating specifically to children

unicef_children► 2000 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict: Guinea-Bissau ratified this treaty, which entered into force in 2002. That brings to 157 the total number of parties; among them, both nonmember states of the United Nations, the Holy See and the State of Palestine. The United States and, indeed, all 5 permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are states parties to this treaty.

► 2011 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure: Andorra, Ireland, and Monaco joined this treaty, which allows children to file complaints with the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child. That brings the total number of states parties to 14. The treaty entered into force in April of this year. Neither the United States nor any of the 5 permanent members of the U.N. Security Council has either signed or ratified this treaty.

► 2000 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: Eritrea acceded to this treaty, which entered into force in 2003. The treaty has 163 parties, including the United States and, indeed, all 5 permanent members of the Security Council.

Human Rights

dis► 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Guinea-Bissau ratified and Samoa signed this treaty, which entered into force in 2008. It now has 151 parties and 159 signatories. Four of the Security Council’s permanent members are states parties; the 5th, the United States has signed but not ratified. The U.S. Senate refused to give the requisite 2/3 approval in 2012, and just a few weeks ago, Republicans blocked a new effort to win the Senate’s advice and consent. (Prior posts)

► 2006 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Denmark acceded to this treaty, which allows individuals to file complaints with the U.N. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. That brings the total number of states parties to 85. The treaty entered into force in 2008. Of the Security Council’s 5 permanent members, France and Britain are states parties; the other 3 have neither signed nor ratified.