Podcasts – International Affairs Committees

Conflict Minerals and Human Rights: The Dodd-Frank Act’s Reforms and Reporting Requirements – 6/16/15

“Conflict minerals” in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) fuel conflict and finance armed groups committing horrendous human rights abuses. To halt this situation, Congress passed Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act requiring the SEC to adopt rules requiring publicly traded companies to disclose whether conflict minerals used in their products come from the DRC or an adjoining country.

If such minerals originate in the covered countries, companies must submit to the SEC an annual report describing the source and chain of custody of their conflict minerals (defined in the Act as columbite-tantalite (coltan), cassiterite, gold, wolframite, or their derivatives (tin, tungsten, and tantalum)). The second annual reporting date is on June 1, 2015.

The panelists will discuss the effectiveness of the legislation, the reporting required by it, and the Court of Appeals’ decision on First Amendment grounds in the litigation that upheld most of the SEC’s conflict minerals rule.

Moderator: Elizabeth Barad, International Law and Gender Consultant

Speakers: Holly Dranginis, Policy Analyst for the Enough Project, focused on the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Michael Littenberg, Schulte Roth & Zabel, where he advises on the Conflict Minerals Rule and oversees SRZ’s Conflict Minerals Resource Center; Zorka Milin, Senior Legal Adviser, Global Witness.

Sponsored by: Committee on African Affairs, Elizabeth Barad, Chair; Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, Committee on Securities Regulation, Sandra Flow, Chair; Committee on Financial Reporting, Michael Young, Chair; Committee on International Human Rights, Elisabeth Wickeri, Chair

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ISIS, Islam and the International Law of Asymmetric War – 12/04/14

The self-proclaimed “Islamic State,” ISIS or ISIL, has framed its legitimacy on its interpretation of 1400 year old principles of Islam that originally supported the unprecedented swift conquest of lands reaching from what is now southern France to Pakistan within 100 years of the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Our panel of distinguished experts will discuss both the validity of these theological arguments and the modern legal issues applicable to a militarily successful theocratic entity that disregards virtually universally accepted international norms of humanitarian behavior and yet claims to be entitled to the rights and recognition of sovereignty.

Moderator: Robert E. Michael, Chair, Committee on Middle Eastern and North African Affairs

Speakers: Jeremiah S. Pam, Visiting Scholar at the Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University – Is ISIS a State?; Prof. Mohammad Fadel, Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair for the Law and Economics of Islamic Law at the University of Toronto – The Caliphate in Islamic History and Theology; Abed Awad, Awad & Khoury LLP; Adjunct Professor, Rutgers & Pace Law Schools – Jihad and Apostasy in Islamic Law; Prof. Bernard K. Freamon, Professor of Law and Director, Program for the Study of Law in the Middle East, Seton Hall Law School – Slavery and the Treatment of Captives and Prisoners in Islamic Law; Miles P. Fischer, Senior Attorney, Wohabe Law Offices LLP – The US and International Law that Applies to Asymmetric Warfare

Sponsored by: Committee on Middle Eastern and North African Affairs, Robert E. Michael, Chair; Council on International Affairs, Bettina B. Plevan, Chair; International Law Committee, Caline Mouawad, Chair; Military Affairs & Justice Committee, Michael P. Richter, Chair

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China’s Repatriation of North Korean Refugees – 10/28/14

North Korea is engaged in ongoing, widespread and systematic violations of the human rights of its own citizens. Hundreds of thousands have attempted to flee across the border into China; many are turned back. This panel will examine the status of North Korean refugees in China, relevant international and domestic laws, and China’s domestic considerations in formulating and implementing its refugee policies.

Moderator: Thomas T. Papain, Ahmuty, Demers & McManus.

Speakers: David Hawk, Adjunct Professor, Hunter College, City University of New York; Author, North Korean human rights report “The Hidden Gulag”; Elisabeth Wickeri, Executive Director, Leitner Center for International Law and Justice; Adjunct Professor of Law, Fordham Law School; Executive Director, Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers; Angus Fei Ni, Debevoise & Plimpton. Has worked with U.S. missionaries in South Korea and China, planning routes and transporting North Korean border crossers from Northern China to Laos.

Sponsored by: Committee on Asian Affairs Committee; Committee on International Human Rights

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Conversation on Climate Change with Pacific Island Leaders – 09/22/14

On the eve of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, joined by the Committee on International Environmental Law of the New York City Bar Association, and Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, co-hosted a public conversation on climate change with Pacific Island leaders.

Featured Speakers: President Christopher J. Loeak, Republic of the Marshall Islands; President Manny Mori, Federated States of Micronesia; President Tommy Remengesau, Republic of Palau; President Baron Waqa, Republic of Nauru; Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Independent State of Samoa; Foreign Minister Taukelina Finikaso, Tuvalu; Prime Minister Siale’ataongo Tu’ivakanō, Kingdom of Tongo; Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Marshallese poet; Michael B. Gerrard, Professor at Columbia Law School, Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

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Post Rio + 20: Where Do We Stand 21 Months Later? – 4/3/14

The term “Sustainable Development” first appeared in the 1987 report “Our Common Future,” prepared by the Brundtland Commission. Sustainable Development was endorsed as the basis of a new model of development at the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, known as the Earth Summit, which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Twenty years later, the Rio + 20 Conference produced an Outcome Document called the “Future We Want,” which articulates essential commitments necessary for Sustainable Development.

The need for a sustainable future has remained a constant for the past quarter century and has propelled a deeper understanding of the principles and practices that will enable such a future. Indeed, understanding and implementing sustainable practices is even more crucial today in the face of global climate change.

This diverse panel will discuss the changes that are emerging, guided by the Rio + 20 Outcome Document, “The Future We Want.” The panelists will describe recent institutional changes at the UN, including the establishment of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the designation of the UN Environment Assembly as the governing body of UNEP, the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, and the Expert Committee on Sustainable Development financing. The panelists will also discuss the role of stakeholders, problems with the Means of Implementation and financing strategies for sustainable development, and climate adaptation. The panelists will explore the challenges of building a positive, enabling environment for rule-based business and investment, as well as for the expression of the civil society perspective.

Panelists: Americo Beviglia Zampetti, Head, Economic, Trade and Sustainable Development Section, European Union Delegation to the UN; Felix Dodds, Independent Consultant on stakeholder engagement in the sustainable development process and Writer; former Executive Director of Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future; Louise Kantrow, Permanent Representative to the United Nations for the International Chamber of Commerce and Coordinator, Global Business Alliance for Post 2015; David O’Connor, Head, Policy and Analysis Branch, United Nations Division for Sustainable Development

Moderator: Nicholas A. Robinson, University Professor for the Environment and and Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Pace Law School

Sponsored by: Committee on International Environmental Law, Mary L. Lyndon, Chair; Asian Affairs Committee, Mark R. Shulman, Chair

Co-Sponsored by: Environmental Law Committee, Jeffrey Gracer, Chair; European Affairs Committee, Catherine Tinker, Chair; Task Force on Climate Adaptation, Stephen L. Kass, Chair; United Nations Committee, Ulysses Smith, Chair

Download event materials here: Slides from Felix Dodds (pptx), Slides from Louise Kantrow (ppt).

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Innovations in Climate Adaptation: Through the Lens of Cities – 10/7/13

Climate change is placing increasing strain on the infrastructure and resources of cities around the world. Rising sea levels, increases in heat waves, and more frequent and intense weather events demand broad adaptation initiatives and new attention to long-term resilience. As home to more than half of the world’s population, cities are becoming the first responders to climate change and are taking a leadership role in addressing its impacts. This panel will discuss adaptation initiatives being implemented in cities around the world, and New York’s role within this global movement.

Download materials from the event here.

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Forging A New Consensus On Immigration Reform – 6/20/13

The public is fiercely debating the most far-reaching U.S. immigration legislation in decades. What will be its dimensions? Where do Republicans and Democrats agree? How will it impact our nation’s immigrants, undocumented and documented? What are the social, political, and economic implications of immigration reform? And what’s at stake for America if we cannot fix our broken immigration system?

Speakers: Jacki Esposito, Director of Immigration Advocacy, New York Immigration Coalition; Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute; Angie Kim, KORE Member, MinKwon Center for Community Action

Moderator: Grace Meng, U.S. Researcher, Human Rights Watch

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Protecting the Rights of People with Mental Disabilities in Africa – 2/06/13

Read a summary of the event here.

From the Event Description:

People with mental disabilities in Africa face enormous obstacles to the exercise of their human rights, including societal stigma and exclusion, lack of community services, and lack of legal protections. The coming into force of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which many African countries have ratified, has given renewed impetus to protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, including those with mental health and intellectual disabilities. The panel discussion will bring together advocates and experts from the fields of international human rights and disability law, mental health law, and international development to examine a range of strategies to enhance protections of the rights of people with mental disabilities in Africa.

Moderator: Arlene S. Kanter, Bond, Schoeneck & King Distinguished Professor of Law; Director, Disability Law and Policy Program; Co-Director, Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies, Syracuse University School of Law

Speakers: Shuaib Chalken, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability; Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Coordinator, Office for Disability and Inclusive Development, USAID; Med Ssengooba, Finberg Fellow/Researcher, Human Rights Watch; Steven Datlof, Hogan Lovells; Lycette Nelson, Litigation Director, Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC)

Sponsored by: Committee on African Affairs, Christina Holder, Chair; Committee on Mental Health, Karen Gomes Andreasian, Chair; Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

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Doing Business in Developing Countries: The Importance of the Rule of Law – 2/05/13

For lawyers who represent clients in cross-border transactions and international investment disputes involving developing countries, the rule of law plays an indispensable role. At both the national and international levels, the rule of law is required to provide fair, stable, and predictable frameworks for corporations doing business in developing countries. The U.N. General Assembly has recognized the importance of the rule of law to international commerce and development, declaring it “essential for sustained and inclusive economic growth, sustainable development, the eradication of poverty and hunger and the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development.” Our panel will present several perspectives on the rule of law and doing business in developing countries, and will include presentations on international transactions, international investment disputes, and the United Nations’ Rule of Law Initiative.

Presented by: The Council on International Affairs of the New York City Bar Association, Bettina B. Plevan, Chair, and The American Bar Association Representatives and Observers to the United Nations

Panelists: Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations, one of two Co-Facilitators appointed by the President of the U.N. General Assembly tasked with working with Member States to develop the Declaration on the Rule of Law adopted by the U.N. General Assembly; Laura Chenoweth, Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Emerging Markets Business Unit, Pfizer Inc.; Lawrence B. Friedman, International Litigation and Arbitration, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP; Bruce Rashkow, Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School, formerly with the Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State, and head for ten years of the General Legal Division, U.N. Office of Legal Affairs, before retiring from the Management and Reform Section, U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

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Religious and Ethnic Minorities in the Middle East – 11/08/11

The plight of religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East today will be examined through speakers representing various religious and/or ethnic groups. These groups face pressure to assimilate or to leave. What is the current situation of religious minorities and ethnic groups? What challenges do they face? How can the situation be monitored and documented? What can be done to preserve these communities within the fabric of the Middle East?

Moderator: Carole Basri, Senior Vice President, Balint, Brown & Basri LLC; Adjunct Professor, Fordham University School of Law

Speakers: Hon. Irwin Cotler, Member of Parliament; Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Canada; Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, Founder and President, Human Rights Organization “Voice of the Copts,” Anthony Vance, Director, External Affairs at Baha’i National Center

Commentators: Malvina Halberstam, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law; Elizabeth Defeis, Seton Hall University Law School

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Federal Courts, Military Commissions, and Indefinite Detention: The Prosecution of Terrorist Suspects and Treatment of Those “Too Dangerous to Release, But Too Difficult to Prosecute” – 4/07/10

Featured Speakers:Scott Horton, Contributing Editor of Harper’s Magazine and Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School; James J. Benjamin, Jr., Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Co-Author of Human Rights First Report, “In Pursuit of Justice: Prosecuting Terrorist Cases in the Federal Courts; Eric Bruce, Kobre & Kim LLC, former Counselor to U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey; and Gregory Katsas, Jones Day, former Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice

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An Open Invitation to Discuss the City Bar’s Climate Change Initiatives – 3/2/2010

The City Bar is developing a variety of legal and policy initiatives to mitigate and adapt to Climate Change. At this meeting, committee chairs will present this work and explore opportunities to make even more valuable contributions: conducting research and writing reports, convening lectures and public programs, and participating in the planning necessary to enable our community to survive and thrive in a changed climate. Members are invited to learn about and discuss the Association’s efforts and to explore ways to participate.

Speakers: Adeeb Fadil, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Chair of the Committee on International Environmental Law; Fred Fucci, Arnold & Porter LLP, Chair of the Energy Law Committee; Jaipat S. Jain, Lazare Potter & Giacovas LLP, Asian Affairs Committee; Stephen L. Kass, Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, Chair of the Committee on International Human Rights; Kathy Robb, Hunton & Williams LLP, Chair of the Environmental Law Committee; Mark R. Shulman, Pace Law School, Chair of the Council on International Affairs; Katlyn Thomas, Chair of the United Nations Affairs Committee

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Assessing Human Rights in Iran – 9/29/09

Human rights in Iran have been a critical international issue in the wake of the nation’s June 12th presidential election. Since the election, there have been reports of government abuses, including speech and assembly repression, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and execution. The panel seeks to present diverse perspectives from scholars, human rights lawyers, and journalists on this pressing issue.

Featured Speakers: Mehrangiz Kar, Human Rights Attorney, Author, Activist; Roozbeh Mirebrahimi, Journalist and Blogger; Renee Redman, Executive Director, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center; Gary Sick, Senior Research Scholar, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University

Moderator: Mark R. Shulman, Pace Law School; Chair, City Bar Council on International Affairs

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Eminent Jurists Report on Counter-Terrorism Investigation – 5/04/09

Prominent members of The Eminent Jurists Panel of the International Commission of Jurists present the results of one of the most comprehensive investigations ever undertaken into the impact of counter-terror measures on human rights.

Featured Speakers: Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, President of the ICJ and member of the Eminent Jurists
Panel Robert Goldman, Professor of Law at American University College of Law, former President of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights
and UN Special Representative on Terrorism and Human Rights, member of the Eminent Jurists Panel

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Prosecuting Terrorists: The Prosecutors’ Perspectives – A Panel Discussion – 9/08/08

Co-sponsored by Human Rights First

Ever since the first detainees began arriving at Guantanamo Bay in 2002, there has been debate about the proper forum in which to prosecute suspected terrorists. Now, with the conclusion of the first military commission trial at Guantanamo, the debate is more important than ever.

With James J. Benjamin, Jr., Former AUSA; Andrew McCarthy, Former AUSA; Mary Jo White, Former US Attorney; Richard B. Zabel, Former AUSA; Moderated by Hon. Benjamin Civiletti, Former U.S. Attorney General; Chaired by Mark R. Shulman

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part1, part2, part3