Collaboration with the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic (2009-2010)
The Issue in Brief
The O’Neill Institute and Georgetown Law’s International Women’s Human Rights Clinic (IWHRC) have an ongoing collaboration to advance the health of marginalized women through a human rights-based approach. This collaboration enhances the O’Neill Institute with different partners at Georgetown Law.
In Spring 2010, the IWHRC will draft a human rights report and propose model legislation to address the ways in which certain customary and traditional laws in Namibia, namely those that permit polygyny and widow disinheritance, may: (1) discriminate against women; (2) leave women particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS; and (3) be incompatible with Namibia’s international and national civil law obligations. O’Neill personnel will advise clinical students on international human rights law as it pertains to HIV prevention and treatment and on the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in Namibia.
Additionally, O’Neill Institute law fellow, Rebecca Haffajee accompanied clinical staff and students in March 2010 as they conducted human rights investigations in Namibia. The investigations aimed to assess mechanisms by which disempowerment leaves women vulnerable to HIV, and government obligations to intervene. The O’Neill fellow supervised interviews with local, state, and national government officials, women living with HIV and at high risk of infection, traditional authorities, and care providers, among other stakeholders. Upon returning from the fact-finding mission, Ms. Haffajee will advise clinical students on the health components of their human rights reports.