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

Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2023

The thirty-seventh annual survey on choice of law in the American courts is now available on SSRN. The survey covers significant cases decided in 2023 on choice of law, party autonomy, extraterritoriality, international human rights, foreign sovereign immunity, adjudicative jurisdiction, and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. So, on this leap day, we thought…

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Latest Developments in Ecuadorian Toxic Tort Case

Since at least the early 1990s, Central and South American residents have been litigating in U.S. courts about their exposure to toxic pesticide called dibromochloropropane (“DBCP”). In the latest decision, Marquínez v. Dole Food Company, Judges Andrews in the District of Delaware held that a consolidated action on behalf of 65 Ecuadorian banana plant workers…

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Proposed Legislation to Amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

Representatives Adam Schiff, Betty McCollum, and Gerry Connolly have introduced the  Jamal Khashoggi Protection of Activists and Press Freedom Act of 2023.  The purpose of the legislation is to protect free speech advocates and journalists. The press release announcing the draft legislation notes the murder five years ago of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “at the hands…

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