Spring Break 2012: Where in the world were Harvard Law students?

Harvard Law students traveled around the world to offer their legal services.

During the third week in March, a number of Harvard Law students traveled around the world and to remote areas in the U.S. to offer their legal services.

With funding from the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs, teams of students worked with farmers in the Mississippi Delta, immigrants in Alabama and patients living with HIV/AIDS in New Orleans.

Fifteen students from the International Human Rights Clinic traveled to four countries to participate in fact-finding investigations. Closer to home, students conducted interviews related to the Occupy Boston movement for a multi-clinic examination of freedom of expression and assembly in the U.S.

Several student organizations also went abroad. The Jewish Law Students Association went to Israel, the Black Law Students Association went to Namibia and the Asia Law Society went to Japan.

Here are some snapshots from their trips.



Nathan Latil

Many small farmers’ business growth is constrained by regulations designed for industrial farms but which also apply to them.

Mississippi

Students worked with the HLS Mississippi Delta Project in Clarksdale, Miss., hosting workshops on property rights and drafting a guide on estate planning and how to gain clear title to land for small farmers in the Mississippi Delta. Students learned about the challenges faced by small landowners, many of whom lack the resources to prepare for estate succession.

Rob Barnett ’14 and Kimberly Newberry ’14 traveled to Mississippi during spring break as part of a pro bono trip organized by Harvard Law School. Barnett is a member of Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP), a trained mediator with Harvard Mediation Program, and is interested in American Indian law. Read his post “Eating Well in the Delta.”

Newberry is a member of PLAP and Harvard Defenders, and plans to go into capital appeals. She blogged about “Learning About Land Rights in Mississippi.”



Alabama

Shannon Wells

Carol Wang ’13 [right], Jacqueline Pierluisi ’12 and David Baake ’14 participated in a legal clinic to help empower and organize the Latino population in Northern Alabama. Students delivered a “Know Your Rights” presentation about HB56, a controversial new immigration bill. They also worked with attorneys to help immigrants prepare power of attorney paperwork in case they are detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Paige Austin ’13, Charlotte Alvarez ’12 and Connie Sung ’14 worked with Alabama Appleseed in Montgomery to conduct legal research and to help advocate for the repeal of HB56.

Carol Wang, co-director of Harvard Immigration Project‘s Bond Hearing Project, wrote a blog post on “Collaboration and Community in Alabama.”

Students attended a rally with immigration activists, and civil rights and labor leaders protesting voting rights restrictions and HB56.

Austin produced a video about their work.

WATCH VIDEO



The International Human Rights Clinic students in Brazil, under the supervision of clinical Instructor Fernando Delgado, also presented a briefing paper on the prosecution of dictatorship-era crimes.

Brazil

Clinical student Frances Dales ’13 participated in a human rights fact-finding mission at Aníbal Bruno prison in Recife, Brazil. The International Human Rights Clinic is co-counsel in the ongoing litigation of precautionary measures issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regarding killings, torture and other grave abuses at Aníbal Bruno prison, the largest detention center in Latin America. There are currently more than 5,400 men detained International Human Rights Clinicin the prison complex, which was designed to hold 1,448.



The Democratic Republic of Congo

Students investigated human rights violations related to sexual and reproductive health.

In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a team of students investigated access to sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion, and the effect on women’s lives. [L-R] Immaculée Birhaheka, director of PAIF (Promotion et Appui aux Initiatives Féminines); Michelle Dowst ’13; Ankita Ritwik ’13; and Pélagie Ebeka Mutangi, lawyer and gender justice officer with the DRC Program of the International Center for Transitional Justice



The International Human Rights Clinic has been documenting human rights violations in Burma since 2004.

Thailand

Matthew Bugher ’10 and James Tager ’13 [L-R], along with five other HLS students, investigated human rights violations in Burma. Under the supervision of clinical faculty Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein ’04, they conducted interviews in refugee camps along the Thai/Burmese border, examining human rights violations committed by the Burmese military against villagers.

Read Farbstein’s Blog post “Where in the world is the Human Rights Program?.”