International & Comparative Law Program

Contemporary Challenges in Human Rights Conference

April 17, 2017 | UCLA School of Law

Conference Program

Full conference video

Welcome Address

National Security and Civil Liberties


Since September 11 the world has been subject to monitoring and surveillance like never before, while also witnessing the flourishing of new forms of cyber-attacks against private individuals and national infrastructure. State surveillance practices are often justified in the name of security, but frequently infringe on individual civil liberties. Non-state cyber-attacks represent a new form of national security threat that may result in further infringements of civil rights by those engaging in these attacks and states seeking to counter them. With this panel we will explore some of the ways in which citizens of a variety of countries have been impacted by these developments that have shifted the boundaries between privacy and security in ways that may be inimical to human rights.


  • Kristen Eichensehr, Assistant Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  • David Kaye, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Clinical Professor of Law, UC Irvine School of Law
  • Jennifer Robinson, Doughty Street Chambers
  • John Villasenor, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Public Policy, and Management at UCLA


  • Stephen Gardbaum, MacArthur Foundation Professor of International Justice and Human Rights, UCLA School of Law

Health and Human Rights in Conflict and Humanitarian Settings


Challenges at the intersection of health and human rights manifest in myriad ways, particularly during conflict and in humanitarian settings. During periods of disruption - whether caused by armed conflict, its aftermath or by natural disasters - we see the emergence of vulnerable groups who have unique health challenges. These include refugees, displaced persons, children and prisoners. Meeting the health needs of these groups is vital for protecting their human rights during periods of upheaval. With this panel we will identify some of the most pressing challenges and to address ways to confront them in often unstable environments.

  • Tendayi Achiume, Assistant Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  • Jody Heymann, M.D., Ph.D, Dean, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health; Founding Director, WORLD Policy Analysis Center
  • Paul H. Wise, M.D., M.P.H., Richard E. Behrman Professor of Child Health and Society and Professor of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine; Senior Fellow, Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University


  • Lara Stemple, Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and International Student Programs; Director, Health and Human Rights Law Project, UCLA School of Law

Accountability for Genocide and Other Mass Atrocities


Ensuring accountability for the perpetrators of genocide and other mass atrocities is extremely important to help ensure a smooth transition to peace following periods of conflict. Unfortunately, achieving accountability is extremely challenging. Despite the proliferation of international courts and tribunals whose aim is to hold alleged perpetrators accountable, many of those alleged responsible are not brought to justice. Through this panel, we will examine some of the challenges faced by addressing these issues through traditional criminal justice, and to investigate some of the other transitional justice mechanisms that have been implemented by States and civil society to uphold accountability.



  • Máximo Langer, Professor of Law; Director of the Transnational Program on Criminal Justice, UCLA School of Law

Armenia: Genocide, Denial, Accountability


  • Keynote Speaker: Geoffrey Robertson, Q.C., Founder and Joint Head of Doughty Street Chambers


  • Aslı Bâli, Professor of Law; Director, UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, UCLA