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

Chiquita Liable for Financing Colombian Paramilitary Death Squads

In a win for international human rights advocacy, a Florida jury has found a U.S. corporation liable for human rights violations committed in a foreign country. This first of three “bellwether” trials involved nine cases. Hundreds remain to be tried in this multidistrict litigation. The jury’s verdict is the latest development in a civil case…

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Residents of Gaza Sue President Biden

Israeli tank protecting a settlement in the Jordan Valley, West Bank

The Ninth Circuit is considering a case designed to force the Biden administration to “take all measures within their power to exert influence over Israel to end its bombing of the Palestinian people of Gaza.” Oral argument is scheduled for June 9, 2024. Allegations The plaintiffs are several NGOs, individual Palestinian residents of Gaza, and…

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Transnational Corporate Accountability Through American Corporate Law

To those who view the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) as a beacon of American justice for foreign victims of corporate misconduct, the landscape looks bleak. In the latest ATS case decided in 2021, the Supreme Court held in Nestlé USA, Inc. v. Doe that plaintiffs, who were allegedly trafficked as children to engage in slave…

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