IU Law-Indianapolis Defenders Prove Chadian Women's Rights Violations to UN Experts
During Spring Break (March 16-20, 2009), shadow reporting students gave an oral intervention and a one-hour private briefing to the UN Human Rights Committee in New York about child marriages, female genital mutilation, violence against women, and women’s political marginalization occurring in Chad.
The J.D. and LL.M. students presented their key findings and recommendations contained in their 40-page shadow report to the Committee’s Chad Task Force members, who include Ms. Zonke Zanele Majodina (South Africa), Ms. Ruth Wedgwood (USA), and Mr. Abdelfattah Amor (Tunisia), along with staff members of the Committee secretariat and other Committee members. Titled Chad’s Breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Failure to Protect the Rights of Women and Girls, the students’ report includes two affidavits, including one made by Chadian Valery Nadjibe, a rights violations victim.
Now a Fulbright scholar, Mr. Nadjibe spoke to the Committee for about 30 minutes and gave his personal accounts of child marriages, female genital mutilation, domestic violence, dowry system, and women’s lack of access to political office. The Committee members asked Mr. Nadjibe numerous questions about various women’s human rights violations happening in Chad.
The students belonging to the law school’s International Human Rights Law Society also discussed their factual findings and recommendations stated in their report to the Committee for an additional 30 minutes. During their briefing, Wedgwood, a staunch women’s human rights advocate, requested the students to provide her and the Chad Task Force with factual information about Chadian refugees. The briefing was held at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Days earlier, on March 16, J.D. students Zoe Meier and Kristen Hunsberger orally intervened during the closed-door session of all members of the 18-member Committee held at the UN New York Headquarters. Accompanied by their fellow students, the duo briefly explained to the Committee how the Chadian government violated women’s rights guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Other nongovernmental organization representatives similarly intervened during the session for other countries that were up for review by the Committee, such as Australia. Rwanda, and Sweden.
The students who attended the Committee sessions include: Megan Alvarez, J.D., shadow report coordinator, International Human Rights Law Society, Matthew Trick, J.D., Bobby Lam, J.D., Zoe Meier, J.D., Kristen Nicole Hunsberger, J.D., Uchenna Christiana Mgboh, LL.M., Wele Elangwe, LL.M. Human Rights track, Kavinvadee Suppapongtevasakul, LL.M. Human Rights track, and Jhon Sanchez (LL.M., ’07, J.D., ’08).
The Committee monitors the Covenant’s implementation by states parties.