AREAS OF WORK
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OUR WORK

To advance the IJP's mission, we engage in four key areas of work: Casework, Advocacy, Emergency Response Network, and Health
and Reparations Project(HARP).
We train and educate lawyers, intermediaries, advocates, activists, and other interested parties on human rights and international criminal law around the world.

ADVOCACY

 

The IJP seeks to create a norm where conflict is resolved not through violence but through the rule 
of law. We work to ensure that the voices of survivors of genocide, crimes against humanity, and 
war crimes are heard at all levels, especially at the International Criminal Court (ICC). To achieve 
this, we focus our advocacy on promoting victims’ rights at the ICC and other international 
tribunals; advancing the rights of the Darfuri Diaspora in the United States and abroad; and 
fighting to end impunity and hold perpetrators of international crimes accountable.

Modern Day
Slavery

The IJP applies our extensive knowledge of and experience with criminal and humanitarian law for the benefit of human trafficking victims. Projects in our Modern Day Slavery Initiative include:

  • Working as a key member of the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking to educate hotel management about warning signs ahead of the 2014 Super Bowl

  • Filing amicus briefs in federal court on the devastating impact of human trafficking on victims.

  • Exploring the connection between armed conflict and human trafficking.

  • Educating businesses on how to protect their supply chains.

  • Educating the public on the international human rights law dimensions of human trafficking, though university presentations and other workshops.

Links

Human rights law dimensions of human trafficking

National Human Trafficking Resource Center

Chasing Bashir and 
Bashir Watch

BashirWatch is a multifaceted advocacy campaign that aims to end the decade-long impunity enjoyed by Bashir and three other Sudanese officials—Ahmad Muhammad Harun, Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, and Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein—wanted by the ICC for genocide, war crimes, and/or crimes against humanity committed in Darfur. To achieve this goal, the campaign seeks to galvanize worldwide action from global citizens to press their governments and the entire international community, especially in Africa and the Middle East, to strongly call for members of the ICC and member states of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) who referred the case to the Hague to follow through with their legal obligation and enforce the arrest warrants for Bashir and others.

Follow the campaign at www.bashirwatch.org! It features in-depth analysis of the issues, a collection of endorsements from various organizations, an international rapid response mechanism to protest and stop Bashir’s travels, and much more!

Links

Anti-human Trafficking 
Initiative

Through legal advocacy and raising awareness, IJP has taken on the issue of anti-trafficking to help protect victims. Recently we have partnered with NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking and our very own, Wanda Akin, has been asked to become a member of their Legislative Committee.


Awareness Effort

IJP’s Co-Founder Wanda Akin Brown presents at “I am Jane Doe” film screening and panel discussion on human trafficking. Thanks to our wonderful partners at YWCA Bergen County and the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking. Ms. Akin was joined by NJ Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Dwanee C. from the Dream Catcher Program. We must continue to educate and fight against Backpage and human slavery.

Links

NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking

EMERGENCY RESPONSE NETWORK

 
INTRODUCTION

In Darfur, violence against civilians has resulted in the deaths of around 300,000 
civilians and the displacement of 2.7 million people since 2003. The atrocities 
committed in Darfur are so gruesome that the President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir, 
has been charged with perpetrating genocide on his own people by the Prosecutor 
of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

To date, an estimated 1500-2500 refugees from this conflict have fled to the U.S. 
Although now safe from the violence, it is apparent that these Darfurians continue 
to suffer from different kinds of trauma: The medical or psychological trauma 
directly related to the atrocities they have suffered, the challenges resulting from 
displacement from their homes, and the difficulties from resettling and adjusting to 
a new country and society. Many of these refugees have lost family members, 
possessions, connection to the lands, their way of life, and their community.

SERVICE

Mental Health Care

We work with professional therapists who can offer initial mental health assessments to the women we encounter and determine whether a further referral might be in order.

Translator

Our Network relies on the assistance of reliable translators and interpreters who work with the Marilyn S. Broad Fellow to assist the Darfurian refugees.

WOMEN OF DARFUR

Darfurian women are particularly vulnerable members of an insular community that often lacks access to decent health, social or legal services. These women are at risk of being disenfranchised because of mental or medical health problems, discrimination in the community because of past sexual violence or because of poverty due to a lack of income generating skills. Some even face homelessness. Many Darfurian women are in critical need of assistance, both for their own sake and for the sake of their children and their communities. This need is made even more pressing by the fact that the next calendar year is likely to see an additional influx of Darfurians to the United States.

It is clear that access to the right kind of legal, medical, or social support at the right moment can make a radical difference in the lives of these women. The IJP is already very active in this area, and in the past, it has provided individual emergency aid on a case-by-case basis. Now, we are expanding to provide aid on a case-by-case basis as part of a larger emergency response mechanism to reach more women and families.

Our goal is to coordinate an organized network of health care, social services, legal professionals, and others to assist Darfurian women and their families in the United States. And, ultimately, our hope is that this Network will be sustainable and function on a peer-to-peer basis, being led by Darfurian women themselves and making the IJP’s response actions unnecessary.

WHY THE IJP

In the spring of 2005, the Prosecutor of the ICC opened an investigation into the crimes committed in Darfur after the United Nations Security Council referred the matter to the Court. To date, the ICC has issued arrest warrants against four members of the Sudanese government, including President al-Bashir, for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Shortly after the arrest warrants were issues, the IJP founders, Wanda M. Akin and Raymond M. Brown, began working with members of the Darfurian Diaspora in the United States who wanted to know more about the legal proceedings at the ICC. Akin and Brown soon took on the task of gathering the stories of the genocide victims and submitting their applications to participate in the trial against President al-Bashir. Today, Akin, Brown, and the IJP team have interviewed close to 100 Darfuris in the United States and other countries around the world.

For many Darfurian women, the IJP is often the first and only place where they share their stories. It may be their first opportunity to break their silence and discuss the horror of witnessing family members die, sexual violence, and/or domestic violence. Recognizing that the IJP might be the only organization the women ever talk to, we feel obligated to expand our activity from listening and recording these experiences to addressing the most pressing needs of the women, such as healthcare, mental health care, temporary lodging, legal advice, and more.

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CASEWORK

 

The IJP’s founders, Raymond M. Brown, Esq. and Wanda M. Akin, Esq., currently represent the first Darfurian victims recognized by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to participate in the proceedings related to the Darfur Situation. They also represent four Darfurian victims participating in the case against Sudanese President al-Bashir.

REQUEST FOR LEGAL SUPPORT

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HEALTH AND REPARATIONS PROJECT

 

IJP, their Darfurian allies, and the Institute for the Liberal Arts at Boston College launched the Health 
and Reparations Project (HARP) on October 23, 2012 at Boston College. IJP Co-Founders Wanda 
Akin and Raymond Brown presented on the forgotten genocide in Darfur and the need for 
transitional justice for the Darfurian people, launching HARP to more than 100 people, including 
Boston College students and faculty, IJP partner organizations, NGOs, human rights activists from 
the region, friends and family. Click the links below to learn more about HARP.

What is HARP and what does the project entail?


To add a new question go to app settings and press "Manage Questions" button.HARP is a health and welfare audit of the Darfurian Diaspora living in the U.S. which will assess the conditions, needs, and desires of this population. The goal is to give voice to Darfurians, including the Diaspora, in the transitional justice process and inform the discussions on reparations both in the context of the ICC and as part of potential diplomatic solutions for the Darfur conflict. We partnered with the Institute for the Liberal Arts at Boston College, various NGO’s and other academic institutions to develop and conduct the assessment and analysis across the country. Under the leadership of our Marilyn S. Broad Fellow, we will determine how these health and other needs relate to reparations and impact the proceedings at the ICC.




What are the key objectives of HARP?


  1. To organize a health & welfare audit among selected North American Darfurian Diaspora communities to better understand their needs and the causes of the community-wide malaise, depression, and detachment;
  2. To galvanize public and private resources to provide immediate care to and address the needs of these individuals in the U.S. and eventually elsewhere in the Diaspora;
  3. To serve as a catalyst for the development of a strategy to address reparations at the ICC proceedings with the expectation that this process and success can help develop a multifaceted approach to restorative justice, including examinations of restitution, compensation and rehabilitation in legal and diplomatic contexts; and
  4. To establish interdisciplinary partnerships. Research on collective violence has typically been studied from two perspectives in the social sciences—the cultural (i.e., how orchestrated violence is culturally traumatic to a society) and the individual (i.e., how individuals cope with such violence). Utilizing interdisciplinary and social justice approaches, this project aims to bridge this divide, thereby translating, from the language of psychology and sociology to the language of law and politics, the harm caused to a traumatized community and that community’s vision for how the harm should be addressed.




How does the concept of reparations fit into the project?


We have been struck by the extent to which the interviewees ignored the fact that they may be entitled to receive reparations for the suffering they endured. The answer to our questioning why Darfurians wanted to participate as victims in the ICC proceedings was that they “wanted justice.” Not one person ever suggested to us that they were motivated by a desire to get something tangible in return. At the same time, these victims, potential victims, and the intermediaries who introduced them to us often spoke of lost crops, animals, land, and sense of community. We know that the prevailing norms for reparations involve restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition. As lawyers with an understanding of human rights and humanitarian law, this work has prompted us to think about the fact that reparations are considered vital to traditional durable solutions for refugees, i.e., voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement. We are not convinced that present legal or political thought on reparations takes into account the type of loss of community and culture with which the Darfurian Diaspora is dealing. As the shape of reparations at the ICC is in the early stages, this project can function as a catalyst for developing a deeper approach to these issues.




How was the idea of HARP conceived?


"A particularly gruesome attack was the attack on my aunt. She was pregnant and could not run away. A few attackers grabbed her and cut open her belly. They removed the fetus, stabbed it and then stabbed my aunt, killing both of them. Their dead bodies were inhumanely tossed into a burning house." – Darfurian Victim Applicant “Y.E.” Unfortunately, the above narrative is typical of the stories that we heard when we interviewed hundreds of Darfurians who fled the genocide in Darfur perpetrated by the country’s President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir. We began conducting these interviews in 2005, and afterward, our co-founders, Wanda Akin and Raymond Brown, began acting as Legal Representatives of Victims in the Darfur Situation and in the case against President Bashir at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The interviews took place in Europe, Africa, and largely, in the United States. While working with members of this Diaspora, we noticed a community-wide malaise, detachment, and depression that had developed as a result of the trauma experienced by them in Darfur and the difficulties faced when adapting to a new environment as a refugee, asylee, or immigrant in a foreign country. With Bashir and others subject to arrest warrants by the ICC still at large and with permanent comprehensive peace in Sudan proving difficult to achieve, we decided to look more closely at the Darfurian Diaspora’s situation and whether it would be possible to assist them in addressing the short- and long-term impacts of their condition now. We believe the answer is yes. And, thus, the Health and Reparations Project (HARP) was born.




Our HARP partners from the Institute for the Liberal Arts at Boston College


Rhonda Frederick, Ph.D. Associate Professor of English and Director of the African and African Diaspora Studies Program. She specializes in Caribbean and African American literatures. Her scholarly interests include literatures of the Americas, particularly 20th Century women’s popular fiction, mystery/detective, and futurist fiction/fantasy writing. She is currently interested in the detective and/or futurist fiction of Nalo Hopkinson, Walter Mosley, Barbara Neely, and Colson Whitehead. Her first manuscript, “Colón Man a Come”: Mythographies of Panamá Canal Migration, examines the recurrent figure of the Panama Canal worker in Caribbean literature, song, and memoir. C. Shawn McGuffey, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Sociology and African and African Diaspora Studies at Boson College. His research agenda examines the social psychology of family life and the experience of inter-personal trauma. His work primarily highlights how race, gender, and social class both constrain and create the choices survivors pursue in the aftermath of trauma. His two current projects focus on sexual trauma. One examines how gender, sexuality, and race shape parental responses to child sexual abuse; and the other investigates the social psychology of Black rape survivors in the U.S., Ghana and South Africa. The Ford Foundation and a Research Incentive Grant have supported his research. Eric Marturano Junior in the College of Arts & Sciences at Boston College, double-majoring in Economic and Philosophy, with a minor in African & African Diaspora Studies. Originally from Malvern, Pennsylvania, Eric has experience in service, including mission trips in Montreal and Philadelphia and volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity of West Chester and Big Brother Big Sister of Massachusetts Bay. He is excited to assist IJP and help Darfuri refugees make their voices heard to organizations like the ICC. Jonice Ward Senior at Boston College, majoring in French and International Studies and minoring in African & African Diaspora Studies. She is interested in foreign policy and developing countries, particularly ones in Africa. She began working in this area with her family on a school in Monrovia, Liberia. Her work specifically on Darfur is recent yet invigorating. This summer she began working with the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur and began to see the necessity for further United States’ involvement. She is currently organizing a panel discussion through the Boston College African Students Organization with leaders from the Enough Project and the Massachusetts Coalition to hopefully educate more individuals on the issue. Through this collaborative project with IJP, Jonice hopes to gain further knowledge on the situation in order to better educate her family, peers, and perhaps even political leaders to allow for rapid and effective improvement. Fatima Sattar PhD candidate in sociology at Boston College. Her previous academic degrees include an MA in Middle Eastern and South Asian studies from the University of Chicago. Her research interests are in immigration, forced migration, refugees and resettlement, policy, race/ethnicity and inequality. She conducted ethnographic research at a U.S. refugee resettlement agency in the Northeast documenting the day-to-day challenges for resettlement workers carrying out the U.S. refugee resettlement program. She also worked with Iraqi and Bhutanese refugees providing them with resettlement reception and placement services. Fatima has attended the University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre, International Summer School in Forced Migration and the Northwestern University’s Center for Forced Migration studies “Unsettling Resettlement” programs in 2011 and 2012. Fatima is a human rights and social justice advocate of victims of displacement and she supports developing a methodology that is ethical and in line with social justice goals – and which will also help elicit the intended data is critical to addressing the human rights violations committed against the Darfuri people.





Full HARP 2012 Project Launch Report