Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 26

FEATURE
Today, Flaherty, co-director of Fordham University School of Law's Leitner
Center for International Law and Justice, works on human rights advocacies
in other parts of the world, especially in China, employing a similar strategy:
matching legal undertakings with other actions such as publicizing the
cases and pressuring governments to acknowledge wrongdoing.
"Outside extra-judicial advocacy is almost always going to be a strategy,"
Flaherty says.
Other human rights lawyers agree that while litigation is a resonant
recourse for varied human rights situations, other means are necessary.
Susan Farbstein, professor at Harvard Law School and co-director of its
International Human Rights Clinic, says "litigation can be valuable in shining
a spotlight on issues, but it is not the only way of getting things done."
"In my mind, being a good human rights advocate and a good human
rights practitioner is about understanding people and being able to work
with humility and in a way that is sensitive," says Farbstein, who has
worked on South African human rights and transitional justice matters
since the early 2000s. "It is about playing a supportive role and listening
to the community that has been most affected by human rights abuses."
It is a common point that both Farbstein and Flaherty make - international human rights lawyers are most effective when they bring a range
of resources to a community or to an individual whose rights have been
violated.

REPRESSION IN CHINA
In recent years, the plight of Chinese human rights lawyers, the object of
governmental crackdowns, incarceration, disbarment, torture, and other
forms of abuse that have intensified under the current leadership of Xi
Jinping, has captured the world's attention.

''

Teng Biao, one of the most vocal of these lawyers, was arrested and
detained twice by the Chinese government for his advocacy. In 2003 Teng
and fellow lawyer activist Xu Zhiyong were prominent in cofounding the
Open Constitution Initiative, which focused on general human rights

Egan Jimenez

The innate feeling
that all human
beings have for
being treated
fairly is the first
reason these
rights are
universal.
MARTIN FLAHERTY
Fordham University
School of Law

26 WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

MAY 2020

cases and provided legal aid for victims of forced demolition, religious
persecution, China's one-child policy, and wrongful convictions. (Xu
remains in China, and on February 15, 2020, he was re-arrested for his
human rights activity after being on the run for two months.)
The Open Constitution Initiative dovetailed with the broader weiquan
(rights defense movement), which Teng also helped to establish in 2003.
The idea behind the movement, Teng explains, is to "take the constitution
and fundamental laws seriously." He adds, "We used these laws and the
constitution in the trials of individual cases to defend people's rights."
The Open Constitution Initiative was shut down by the Chinese government in 2009, but in 2012 Teng and his colleagues initiated the New
Citizens Movement, which was succeeded by the Citizens Movement
following a crackdown. The repression of human rights lawyers became
more forceful and worrisome in 2015 with the "709" crackdown - the
detention of nearly 300 Chinese human rights activists on July 9 that year,
many of whom were tortured.
Teng fled to the United States in 2014 and currently teaches a course on
human rights in China at New York City's Hunter College, where he is the
Grove Human Rights Scholar. He continues to be an outspoken advocate
of his many friends back in China facing government persecution by
working with human rights organizations, publishing commentary, and
testifying before Congress and the UN human rights offices in Geneva.
"The weiquan is not an organization; we don't have a leader or an office
but informal connections and obligations among human right lawyers
and defenders," Teng says. "If there is one continuing the human rights
work, then the weiquan movement is there."
Teng underscores the important role of U.S. law schools and other organizations in keeping the plight of Chinese human rights lawyers in the
public's consciousness. "Some human rights lawyers get invitations from
western countries to attend conferences [or] seminars, to give presentations, and sometimes . . . to go to a university to be a visiting scholar. And
this is helpful," Teng says.
Flaherty says law schools in particular are critical for giving Chinese human
rights lawyers a safe place. "Generally, what we and other law schools have
done is try to give people like Teng a home in the United States," Flaherty
says. "In part because they can't stay in China, and in part because they
need affiliation to a workplace or an academic institution to get a visa."
Fordham Law School, through its LLM program in international human
rights and a scholarship, has invited and hosted several Chinese human
rights activists for nearly a decade. Fordham also houses the Committee
to Support Chinese Lawyers, which Flaherty founded with support of
members of the New York City Bar and with the co-leadership of New
York University School of Law professor Jerome Cohen, a leading expert
in Chinese law and government.

A BREAKTHROUGH CASE IN CHILE
Human rights law is expanding into new areas, reflecting societies'
enlarged sense of how marginalized people are hurt, and galvanizing
lawyers and others into action.
In 2004 American University Washington College of Law professor
Macarena Sáez, a founding member of Asociación Gremial Libertades
Públicas, became one of the lead counsel in the case Atala Riffo and
continued on page 28



Washington Lawyer - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - May 2020

LETTER TO MEMBERS ON COVID-19 CRISIS
FROM OUR PRESIDENT
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
ABA DELEGATE’S CORNER
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
REVOLUTIONIZING THE BUSINESS OF LAW
DIGITAL JUSTICE
ADVANCING THE HUMAN RIGHTS C AUSE ACROSS BORDERS
TAKING THE STAND
ON FURTHER REVIEW
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
WORTH READING
ATTORNEY BRIEFS
SPEAKING OF ETHICS
DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
THE PRO BONO EFFECT
SPECIAL SECTION: THE REVOLUTIONARY C RYSTAL EASTMAN
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 4
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - LETTER TO MEMBERS ON COVID-19 CRISIS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 8
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ABA DELEGATE’S CORNER
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - REVOLUTIONIZING THE BUSINESS OF LAW
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - DIGITAL JUSTICE
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ADVANCING THE HUMAN RIGHTS C AUSE ACROSS BORDERS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - TAKING THE STAND
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ON FURTHER REVIEW
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - WORTH READING
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - ATTORNEY BRIEFS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - SPEAKING OF ETHICS
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 43
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - THE PRO BONO EFFECT
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - SPECIAL SECTION: THE REVOLUTIONARY C RYSTAL EASTMAN
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 50
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - May 2020 - 52
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