Human Rights Litigation

Victims of human rights violations sometimes bring claims in U.S. courts, including claims based on violations outside the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized a limited cause of action for human rights claims under the Alien Tort Statute. Congress has also enacted statutory causes of action such as the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) and the Trafficking Victim Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). Human rights claims against individuals often raise questions of foreign official immunity.

A Primer on Human Rights Litigation

Modern human rights law developed in response to the events of the World War II, although it has earlier precursors. In 1948, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a non-binding declaration. More than seventy human rights treaties followed, including the Genocide Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,…

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Recent Posts

Section 230 and the Presumption Against Extraterritoriality

The Ninth Circuit opinion in Gonzalez v. Google (2021) raises important questions about how the presumption against extraterritoriality applies to immunity defenses invoked by social media companies under 47 U.S.C. § 230.Section 230 shields internet companies from civil liability for user-generated content hosted on their platforms. Gonzalezholds, effectively, that there is no conceivable application of…

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The ATS Clarification Act Can Protect Human Rights and Level the Playing Field for U.S. Businesses

As previously reported on TLB, Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Brown (D-OH) recently introduced the Alien Tort Statute Clarification Act (ATSCA), which, if passed, will clarify the extraterritorial reach of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and expand the statute’s jurisdiction to cover all defendants “present in” the United States. The ATS is one of our nation’s…

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Kashef v. BNP Paribas SA Overcomes the Forum Non Conveniens Hurdle

In Kashef v. BNP Paribas SA, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in the Southern District of New York recently denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss for forum non conveniens. The order allows plaintiffs to continue to pursue their claims against BNP Paribas S.A. and its U.S.-based subsidiary and New York branch (“BNPP”) for their role in…

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