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International leaders in the field of human rights will converge at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, on Saturday, November 19, for a symposium titled “Torture and Human Rights: The Challenge of Redress and Rehabilitation.” Members of the public are invited to attend any or all of the events free of charge.
The one-day symposium, sponsored by Colby’s Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights, will include three panel discussions, a lunch including a keynote address by Zimbabwean human rights attorney Beatrice Mtetwa, and an afternoon workshop to provide practical skills for combating human rights abuses. The panel discussions and workshop will be held in room 1 of the Olin Science Center.
Dr. Frances Lovemore, Colby’s 2005 Oak Fellow and a medical doctor who treats victims and documents torture in Zimbabwe, will be joined by scholars, practitioners, lawyers, and torture survivors to discuss the needs of victims and how to obtain redress against perpetrators. For the past five years Lovemore has researched methods of empowering survivors to seek reparations and worked to develop a database of human rights abuses, which will be used to help establish a truth and justice commission.
The first panel discussion, “Torture Rehabilitation: Medical and Psychological Perspectives,” will begin at 9:30 a.m. and include Lovemore; Douglas Johnson of the Center for the Victims of Torture in St. Paul, Minn.; Bent Sorensen of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) in Copenhagen; and Allen Keller, M.D., of the Bellevue/NYU Program for the Survivors of Torture.
At 11 a.m., Colby Associate Professor of Government Ariel Armony, Salvadoran torture survivor Carlos Mauricio, and the principal attorney in Mauricio’s case against former Salvadoran generals, Shawn Roberts, will address “Civil Suits as a Form of Redress: Suing the Salvadoran Generals.”
At the 12:30 luncheon, which is free of charge, Mtetwa will give a keynote address titled “Human Rights and the Crisis in Zimbabwe.” The luncheon will be held on the second floor of Roberts Union.
A third panel, “Transitional Justice: Prosecution of Perpetrators, Reparations for Victims,” will feature Oak Institute Director Kenneth Rodman; Carla Ferstman, director of Redress in London; and Nieves Molina Clemente and Inge Genefke, M.D., both of the IRCT.
At 4:15 p.m., attendees will participate in a workshop, directed by Douglas Johnson, titled “New Tactics in Human Rights.” The New Tactics in Human Rights Project celebrates innovations in tactics developed around the world that can be used to resolve endemic human rights problems. The workshop will lay out the intellectual and research framework of the project and the kinds of skills that students and community members can learn.
The Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights at Colby was established in 1998 by a generous grant from the Oak Foundation. Each year it hosts an Oak Human Rights Fellow to teach and conduct research while in residence at the college and organizes lectures and other events centered around the fellow’s area of expertise. The fellowship offers an opportunity for prominent practitioners in international human rights to take a sabbatical leave from their work and spend a period of up to a semester as a scholar-in-residence. The Oak Institute is operated in conjunction with the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement.