John Marshall International Human Rights Clinic Hosts United Nations Association for Conference on Human Rights and the Role of the United Nations

CHICAGO, May 16, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The John Marshall Law School in Chicago hosted the Chicago chapter of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) for a day-long conference on human rights and the role of the United Nations on May 5. John Marshall's International Human Rights Clinic was a co-organizer of the conference.

The event, Universal Periodic Review Town Hall Meeting, covered a brief overview of the Universal Periodic Review, which is a United Nations process whereby countries are evaluated on their human rights practices. Professor Michael Seng, co-director of John Marshall's Restorative Justice Project and director of the John Marshall Fair Housing Legal Support Center, spoke as part of the sustainable development panel. His presentation focused on the importance of restorative justice, particularly when applied to discrimination, torture and violence.

"What we often do not recognize is the role of the community," Seng said. "Holding the community responsible and making the community a part of the process is one of the reasons restorative justice can be so effective."  

Representatives from the U.S. Human Rights Network, the EPA, UNICEF, Windy City Times, the U.S. Department of Justice and more were on-hand at the day-long event. Their presentations discussed issues such as what can be done about the growing number of prison inmates who suffer from mental illness; how Chicago can fix its issues regarding police brutality and torture; what it will take to ensure all citizens have access to clean water in the U.S.; and what can be done to stop human trafficking.

"We were thrilled to partner with UNA-USA Chicago, which plays a key role in promoting continued U.S. engagement with the UN," said Sarah Davila-Ruhaak, co-founder and director of the International Human Rights Clinic at John Marshall. "We hope that this conference served as a platform for local activists to share thoughts and experiences on various issues in human rights."

John Marshall's International Human Rights Clinic promotes human rights domestically and around the world by providing direct legal representation to clients and organizations in international and domestic forums; documenting human rights violations in the United States and abroad; collaborating with other human rights organizations on cases and projects; and publishing and presenting reports, papers and other materials related to human rights. The clinic offers law students a background in human rights advocacy through the practical experience of working on international human rights cases and projects.

In January 2016, the International Human Rights Clinic launched its Human Rights for Syrians Initiative (HRSI). The HRSI establishes a network of advocates, attorneys and service providers in the United States to support Syrian refugees and asylum seekers. 

About UNA-USA Chicago

The United Nations Association of the United States of America Chicago (UNA-USA Chicago ) is a membership organization dedicated to inform, inspire and mobilize the greater Chicago community to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. A grassroots organization, UNA-USA Chicago is devoted to work with foreign policy makers, political decision makers, schools, colleges, universities, non-profit and other organizations to strengthen the U.S. — UN relationship through youth engagement, advocacy efforts, education programs and public events. UNA-USA is a program of the United Nations Foundation. UNA-USA and its sister organization the Better World Campaign represent the single largest network of advocates and supporters of the United Nations in the world.

About The John Marshall Law School

The John Marshall Law School, founded in 1899, is an independent law school located in the heart of Chicago's legal, financial and commercial districts. The 2017 U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Graduate Schools ranks John Marshall's Lawyering Skills Program 5th, its Trial Advocacy Program 19th and its Intellectual Property Law Program 21st in the nation. Since its inception, John Marshall has been a pioneer in legal education and has been guided by a tradition of diversity, innovation, access and opportunity.


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