The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) is one of the key United Nations mechanisms designed to prevent of torture and other forms of ill-treatment. The OPCAT provides the U.N. Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) with the right to visit prisons (military and civilian), courts, police stations and other sites within those States that have ratified the treaty. Several teams of Student Research Fellows have prepared detailed briefing books and memos as well as an archive of key documents to assist the SPT in planning for several site visits.
To review Center Student Research Fellows’ work, please follow these links
Student Research Fellows assisted Center faculty and Human Rights First, one of the leading human rights organizations in the country, in filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to obtain information about military and security contractors operating in Afghanistan and Iraq. The requests were made to the Defense Department, the Department of State and several other agencies to gather information about military and security contractor abuses and mechanisms of accountability and oversight that the agencies have adopted.
Center Student Research Fellows work with the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) on providing legal assistance in the form of amicus briefs and thematic research for a number of cases before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the highest judicial body of the regional human rights system in the Americas. The Court provides one of the few available opportunities for individuals within the Americas to make formal, international claims against states on a wide variety of issues, including torture, massacres, violations of due process protections, violations of freedom of expression and other basic rights.
Student Research Fellows engaged in background research on the issue of human rights indicators regarding human rights and rule of law issues with a special focus on the World Justice Project and the ABA Rule of Law project. These initiatives are part of global movement that understands the protection of fundamental rights, law and legal institutions as essential elements of a more coherent and protective global order. These efforts support the Center’s interdisciplinary efforts to improve an understanding of the importance of creating indicators for human rights and rule of law issues and also for developing concrete and accepted methodologies for gathering and analyzing data.
Student Research Fellows assist with research and text editing for a book, Drones and the Promise of Law: How Advances in Military Technology are Transforming Conflict and Challenging Policy and Practice, edited by Peter Bergen and Daniel Rothenberg to be published Cambridge University Press in 2013. The book is based on a conference run by the Center, the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, the American Society of International Law and the New America Foundation.
Student Research Fellows conduct research on human trafficking policies and prevention strategies. Their work addresses human trafficking with a focus on four key areas: defining the crime of trafficking; measuring its prevalence and impact; prosecuting perpetrators while protecting victims; and preventing trafficking on a local, national and global scale. Some of this research was used to support a major international conference on the subject as well as a related policy workshop.