Harvard Law School Professor Gerald Neuman ’80 has been elected to the Human Rights Committee, the premier treaty body in the UN human rights system. The committee monitors compliance by 166 states parties with their obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is part of the “International Bill of Rights.”
The Human Rights Committee is composed of 18 independent members from 18 different countries with recognized expertise in the field of human rights. Members are elected to four-year terms by states parties.
“After years of study of the global and regional human rights regimes, I am grateful for the opportunity to help increase the persuasiveness and effectiveness of the Human Rights Committee’s work,” said Neuman.
Said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow: “Gerry Neuman has not only deep expertise in international human rights law but also superb judgment, an impeccable sense of fairness and remarkable powers of analysis. He will bring these qualities to the critically important responsibility of implementing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights–protecting the rights of individuals and also advancing into practice the vision of human rights that member nations endorsed on paper. This is a terrific appointment for the Human Rights Committee-and a very proud moment for Harvard Law School.”
Neuman, the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School, is an expert on international human rights law, comparative constitutional law, and immigration and nationality law. He is the author of the book “Strangers to the Constitution: Immigrants, Borders and Fundamental Law,” an analysis of the role of location and status in defining constitutional rights, and co-author of the casebook “Human Rights.” He is also a frequent author of amicus briefs in U.S. human rights litigation, including Boumediene v. Bush (S. Ct. 2008) and Rasul v. Bush (S. Ct. 2004) (both regarding rights of Guantanamo detainees).
In addition to Neuman, the newly elected committee members who will begin their terms on January 1, 2011, are Cornelis Flinterman (Netherlands) and Margo Waterval (Suriname). The re-elected members are: Abdelfattah Amor (Tunisia), Christine Chanet (France), Yuji Iwasawa (Japan), Helen Keller (Switzerland), Zonke Zanele Majodina (South Africa), and Iulia Antoanella Motoc (Romania).
The committee meets three times per year, in New York and Geneva. In carrying out its monitoring and supervisory functions, the committee engages in three principal activities: receiving and examining reports from the states on how they are implementing the obligations they have assumed by ratifying the Covenant; receiving and considering complaints made by individuals who claim violations of their Covenant rights by a state party; and issuing general comments analyzing the obligations of states under the Covenant.
In April of this year, Neuman was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.