Venezuela’s government and opposition double down on positions about arrest of human rights attorney

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s government and opposition on Wednesday doubled down on their respective defense and condemnation of the detention of a prominent human rights attorney, evidencing once more their vastly different interpretations of an agreement to work on conditions for a free and fair presidential election this year.

The deal, signed in October with the blessing of the United States government, binds both sides to promote a political and social climate favorable to a peaceful election. But while Attorney General Tarek William Saab showed the nation maps, laptops, cellphones and other items he said link attorney Rocio San Miguel to an alleged plot to destabilize the country, the representatives of a faction of the opposition pointed to the arrest as the latest example of escalating repression.

Their assertions came as the Norwegian diplomats guiding the negotiations between the government of President Nicolás Maduro and a U.S.-backed opposition group met with both sides in the capital, Caracas, an unusual step in a years-long process where official meetings have always taken place in neutral territory.

Signed in Barbados, the October deal called on the opposing factions to work toward several conditions ahead of the election, but subsequent government decisions stalled any meaningful progress.

Gerardo Blyde, chief negotiator for the opposition group known as the Unitary Platform, told reporters his faction presented his negotiating counterpart, National Assembly leader Jorge Rodriguez, and Norwegian diplomats two document listing multiple violations of the agreement and acts of repression.

“They must de-escalate, we repeat, they must de-escalate persecution,” Blyde said. “The procedures that each party followed to choose their candidate must be respected. Conditions that allow a transparent electoral process must be established.”

Blyde said he and his faction cannot make determinations about evidence in the cases against San Miguel and her family because they “are

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Legal Empowerment | NYU School of Law

Photo of women's profiles looking forward

In 2019, 5.1 billion people worldwide were found to live outside the protection of the law. Global pandemics, climate emergencies, threats to democracy, racism, and income inequality continue to exacerbate this justice crisis. This is a crisis of injustice, and it calls for a deep change in approach to alter the basic conditions of those who experience persistent injustice. Legal empowerment—a global movement led by grassroots, with lawyers and other professionals in supporting, rather than leading, roles—is a crucial part of the justice transformation that is needed. It is a rights-based methodology that democratizes laws and centers people in their own fight for justice by creating opportunities for people to “know, use, and shape” the laws that impact their lives. Legal empowerment takes many forms, from community paralegal programs, to community driven campaigns, popular education efforts, and community-driven litigation, among others.

The Bernstein Institute is the only U.S. legal academic center dedicated to advancing research, education, and advocacy on legal empowerment in the United States and globally. We teach law students to act as allies instead of “experts,” and partner with grassroots activists, lawyers, and scholars to think collectively about how to use the law to address structural injustice. A central tenet of the work is the redistribution of legal power – with communities in the lead in defining the justice they seek.

Programs

Through our legal empowerment programs we support and learn from our community partners as they build power, dignity, and knowledge to actively challenge inequities impacting their communities. We organize trainings on legal empowerment, co-create legal education and empowerment resources, co-produce participatory action research on the power of community justice, and hold convenings to highlight the success and promise of legal empowerment.

Education: Global Learning Initiatives and Conferences

  • Organize the Legal Empowerment Learning Lab, a groundbreaking workshop
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Legal Ambitions Summer School

Legal Ambitions is an innovative outreach programme offered by the Law Society of Ireland.

Law Society Summer School

Since its launch in July 2020, over 2,000 TY students from across Ireland have graduated from the Law Society’s Legal Ambitions Summer School. Due to the high demand for places on the Summer School the Law Society have redesigned this offering and in 2022 will launch a new online Legal Ambitions Transition Year Programme.

Legal Ambitions is open to schools around the country and encourages TY students to consider a career in law by providing an insight into the role of a solicitor in practice.

This programme is free of charge to schools. 

The 2022 Programme

Legal Ambitions will be delivered entirely online over four weeks and cover themes such as social justice, human rights and climate change. The programme looks at how the law can be relevant to the daily lives of participants and promotes awareness of the legal processes, constitutional principles, and values which underpin the rule of law in Ireland

Each week a new module of short video interviews and presentations (in a play-on-demand basis) will be shared with teachers and students. The module will be supported with interactive content, such as online quizzes and additional educational resources, to help deepen the learning experience. Teachers will receive approx. 1.5 hours of content each Monday over four weeks in November 2022.

Programme structure

  • Free programme delivered online over four weeks

  • Open to schools nationwide

  • Presentations from Law Society staff, leading lawyers and industry experts

  • Short, easy-to-consume video interviews and presentations

  • Quizzes and online resources

  • Dynamic themes such as social justice, human rights and climate change.

2022 programme

Applications for this year’s programme have now closed. 

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China purging ‘Western erroneous views’ from legal education

BEIJING (AP) — China has ordered closer adherence to the dictates of the ruling Communist Party and leader Xi Jinping in legal education, demanding that schools “oppose and resist Western erroneous views” such as constitutional government, separation of powers, and judicial independence.

The order was dated Sunday, a week before China’s ceremonial parliament begins its annual session and reinforces the leading role on ideology assumed by Xi, who is named no less than 25 times in the document. Already China’s most powerful leader in decades, Xi was granted a third five-year term as party leader last year and has removed term limits on the presidency, effectively allowing him to rule for life.

Similar directives have been issued in past, with students encouraged to report on professors who speak positively about Western concepts of governance.

Despite the intertwining of the Chinese and global economies, Xi has sought to purge liberal Western concepts from the education system, ordered that foreign religions be “sinicized” in order to operate in China. He has also attempted, with limited success, to reorganize popular culture along more conservative lines, going so far as to ban “effeminate” men from the state broadcaster.

The legal profession has been a particular target, and in the early hours of July 9, 2015, three years into Xi’s first term as party general secretary, a series of raids nationwide resulted in the detention of some 300 human rights lawyers and associated activists. Under such relentless pressure, activist lawyers have been intimidated into silence, effectively preventing the emergence of dissenting voices and public intellectuals independent of the party.

Such approaches are in line with Xi’s more muscular foreign policy that seeks to challenge and possibly supplant the American-led international order that advocates for multiparty democracy, civil society and human rights.

The directive from the

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China purging ‘Western erroneous views’ from legal education

BEIJING (AP) — China has ordered closer adherence to the dictates of the ruling Communist Party and leader Xi Jinping in legal education, demanding that schools “oppose and resist Western erroneous views” such as constitutional government, separation of powers, and judicial independence.

The order was dated Sunday, a week before China’s ceremonial parliament begins its annual session and reinforces the leading role on ideology assumed by Xi, who is named no less than 25 times in the document. Already China’s most powerful leader in decades, Xi was granted a third five-year term as party leader last year and has removed term limits on the presidency, effectively allowing him to rule for life.

Similar directives have been issued in past, with students encouraged to report on professors who speak positively about Western concepts of governance.

Despite the intertwining of the Chinese and global economies, Xi has sought to purge liberal Western concepts from the education system, ordered that foreign religions be “sinicized” in order to operate in China. He has also attempted, with limited success, to reorganize popular culture along more conservative lines, going so far as to ban “effeminate” men from the state broadcaster.

The legal profession has been a particular target, and in the early hours of July 9, 2015, three years into Xi’s first term as party general secretary, a series of raids nationwide resulted in the detention of some 300 human rights lawyers and associated activists. Under such relentless pressure, activist lawyers have been intimidated into silence, effectively preventing the emergence of dissenting voices and public intellectuals independent of the party.

Such approaches are in line with Xi’s more muscular foreign policy that seeks to challenge and possibly supplant the American-led international order that advocates for multiparty democracy, civil

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“I’m safe now.” Afghan lawyer, who defended women, reunited with family in Texas

As a human rights lawyer, Latifa Sharifi helped countless women and children in Afghanistan. But when the U.S. military withdrew from the country, she was no longer safe.

She and her three children spent more than a year hiding, first in Afghanistan and then in a safe house in Europe. Behind the scenes, lawyers, human rights advocates and others spent months helping to keep her safe and get her to the U.S. — they succeeded.

On Tuesday, Sharifi and her three sons walked out of the international terminal at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Smiling and crying, she hugged her sister and her sister’s family, who were waiting for her. The family was able to enter the U.S. after securing humanitarian parole visas.

“I feel I’m safe now and I’m free now, and I want this freedom and this safety for all of the Afghan woman, that they also be like me, safe in our country,” Sharifi told reporters inside the terminal.

DFW Airport - Latifa Sharifi Speaks to Reporters
Latifa Sharifi (right) speaks with reporters after she arrives at the DFW Airport. Atefa Sharifi (left) carried flowers that her family brought to greet her sister.

The 45-year-old said one of the first things she looked forward to doing was eat dinner with her sister and brother-in-law and their children.

Sharifi and her children tried leaving Afghanistan in August of last year when U.S. troops began pulling out of the country. But she was turned away at the airport, and her youngest son was nearly trampled as people rushed to try get on a plane.

Younger sister, Atefa, who’s 37, cried as she described overwhelming feelings of relief and joy.

“I think my tears explain everything,” 37-year-old Atefa Sharifi said. “It means [the] world to me that she’s here. I’m feeling so happy and so blessed that I’m

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Why Weil is spending $1 million a year for students to delay law school

(Reuters) – When Leah Hebron, who is about start her first year at Georgetown University Law Center, looks ahead, she said she figures “I have my whole life to work as a lawyer.”

So when she saw the chance to defer law school for a year, get paid $50,000 to work at Human Rights Watch and score a $10,000 scholarship to boot — all courtesy of Weil, Gotshal & Manges — she jumped at the chance.

The experience, she said, deepened her commitment to pursuing international, human rights and national security law after spending the past year at the non-profit.

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Hebron is part of the Weil Legal Innovators Programan unusual fellowship that targets students before they enter law school.

Since the program launched in 2019, the firm has paid for an average of 10 “Zero L” students a year to delay law school in order to work at select public service organizations – not as lawyers of course, but to take on substantive projects Though .

I admit, my first reaction was “Huh?”

To be sure, similar fellowships are not uncommon for new law school graduates. The Skadden Fellowship Foundation, for example, has been going strong for 34 years, with more than 900 alums. There’s also the Fried Frank Civil Rights Fellowship, the Hunton Andrews Kurth Pro Bono Fellowship, the Winston & Strawn Fellowship Program, and the Cohen Milstein Fellowship, to name a few.

The details vary, but the programs, unlike Weil’s, all involve firms paying for newly minted lawyers to work for a year or two at a nonprofit or in-house on pro bono matters. In some cases, the firms anticipate the lawyers will join as associates when the fellowships end, while others have no such expectations. At

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