Scholarship Essay Human Rights

The Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law is proud to request the submission of papers for the Human Rights Essay Award. Recipients will be chosen according to the following regulations:

1. Candidates for the Award must hold a law degree and have a demonstrated experience or interest in international human rights law.

2. Past Winners cannot submit essays in future competitions.

3. To apply for the Human Rights Essay Award, candidates must choose a subject pertaining to the topic chosen by the Academy for the year. Participants will have the flexibility to choose any subject related to the substantive law relevant to the field. International human rights law can be understood to include international humanitarian law and international criminal law. The paper must be within the scope of the topic or it will be disqualified.

4. A Candidate for the Award must submit an unpublished legal article/paper in English or Spanish written solely by that candidate.

5. Only one submission will be accepted per applicant in either language. If more than one article is received, it will be left up to the applicant to decide which article to officially submit. Should the applicant not indicate a preference, the first article received by the Academy will be the one considered for the competition.

6. The papers must not exceed 35 pages in length, including footnotes. Essays must use Times New Roman font, 12-point double-spaced for the body of the essay and 10-point single-spaced for footnotes.Character spacing must be set to normal. All essays must be on letter size paper (8.5 x 11 inches/21.59 x 27.94 cm) with 1 inch (2.54 cm) margins all around. Any essay that does not follow the guidelines will be reformatted and 5 points will be taken off. If the essay is longer than 35 pages, it will be automatically disqualified. The essay has to be a legal article; therefore, it will include foot pages and citations. The absence of those will cause that the essay will be disqualified.

7. The acceptable format to cite sources is in single-spaced footnotes. If you have questions on the proper usage of footnotes, please consult the “The Uniform System of Citation: The Bluebook.”

8. Authors should not put their name or any identifying information in their essays.

9. Essays will only be accepted in Word Format

10. In addition, each participant must also include a curriculum vitae of no more than three pages in length explaining the experience or interest of the author in human rights issues. Please submit the CV as a separate file from your paper.

11. Any appended materials other than a CV will not be accepted. Do not include a bibliography, a list of websites, or any other extra materials. These will be immediately discarded and not considered.

12. Essays must be submitted using the online submission form. No emailed entries will be accepted.

13. The Academy will confirm via e-mail the receipt of all articles submitted. If you do not receive a confirmation within 48 business hours of sending a submission, please contact us to ensure that we received it.

14. Articles must be received by the Academy by February 1, 2018 at 11:59 PM EST. Articles received after the deadline will not be accepted.

15. The Jury that will select the winner of the Award is comprised of professionals with a recognized expertise in international human rights law.  The names of the Honor Jury will be announced on our website.

16. There will be a pre-selection committee that will review all of the accepted articles and select the final three that will be considered by the Honor Jury.

17. The Honor Jury decision will be announced on April 1st, 2018 through the Academy’s web site. The winners will also be notified immediately in order to make the necessary arrangements to travel to Washington D.C. The decision of the Honor Jury will be final and will admit no recourse.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Human Rights Essay Award 2018

The Idea of Humanity: Human Rights and Immigrants' Rights

David Cole, Georgetown University Law Center

Abstract

This essay asks whether international human rights arguments are likely to be effective in advancing immigrants' rights in the United States. There are certainly reasons to be pessimistic. Despite its history as a nation of immigrants and the ever-increasing diversity of its populace, the United States remains a deeply parochial and nationalist culture. International human rights arguments are often seen as the advocates' last refuge. In the absence of an international forum that can hold the United States accountable, and in the face of Congressional directives that the international human rights treaties it has ratified are not self-executing, international human rights often seem only aspirational. International human rights arguments are rarely advanced in domestic U.S. courts, where they are broached, they are as often as not ignored or dismissed.

Yet there are also reasons to be hopeful about the potential for advancing immigrants' rights through international human rights. Human rights are just that - human rights - and therefore generally do not acknowledge distinctions in fundamental rights between citizens and noncitizens. Human rights offers a common language and standard for global pressure. And international law has always been an integral part of immigration law. Accordingly, human rights discourse offers tremendous normative power and potential for advancing social justice on behalf of foreign nationals in the United States.

Analogizing to the New Deal revolution in the role of the federal government vis-à-vis the economy and rights protection, this essay argues that we may be living in a similar global revolution marked by the simultaneous rise of a global economy and an international human rights regime. I propose a three-pronged strategy: advancing modest claims of statutory construction and constitutional interpretation in the courts; advocating more expansive conceptions of international human rights in the political and popular realms; and pushing for the creation of institutions and processes to bring international human rights considerations into domestic policymaking at the outset, before disputes arise

This paper has been withdrawn.

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