HEDG project

Human rights, Economic Development and Globalization

The HEDG program is taught and co-coordinated by Manon Aubry.

Projects 2017-2018

Project 1: Violations of Human Rights by Investors in Private Education: State and Business Responsibilities

  • Partner: Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI – ESCR)
  • Tutor: Roman Zinigrad, J.S.D. Candidate, Yale Law School; Visiting Researcher at Sciences Po Law School.

How to hold a state accountable for human rights violations committed by companies it invests in?

For several years, the Clinic, through the HEDG program, has been strengthening its partnership with GI-ESCR to focus on the effects of the privatization of education in fragile domestic contexts.

This year, the project questions the responsibility of states and non-governmental bodies that invest in companies accountable for human rights violations, in particular regarding the right to education. In certain contexts, the privatization of primary education participates in preventing children from having access to a free and quality education, and consolidates strong inequalities in education.

The report examines the tools offered by international investment law and international human rights law to activate states and non-governmental bodies’ responsibilities.

Project 2: Addressing the Impact of Large-Scale Land Acquisition in Liberia: The Case of Socfin

  • Partner: Program on Human Rights in the Global Economy (PHRGE), Northeastern University School of Law
  • Tutor: Marie Poirot, former clinical student and Trainee Attorney

The project focuses on the documentation of human rights and environmental law violations committed in the context of the exploitation of rubber plantations owned by Socfin’s subsidiaries in Liberia. The students draw upon the analysis of existing reports, e.g. those drafted by Green Advocates, a partner organization in this project, in order to precisely determine the impact of these activities on local communities and analyze them from a legal perspective.

Once this first work is done, the students will contribute to the elaboration of (i) the advocacy strategy aiming at communicating about the human rights violations observed and (ii) the potential legal strategy with regards to the qualification of the facts observed.

Project 3: Project Defense of the rights of indigenous communities in Cambodia.

  • Partner: Attorney-at-law, Paris bar
  • Tutor: Jeanne Sulzer, attorney

The members of the Bunong community, an indigenous community in Centre-Eastern Cambodia, have been the victims of economic, social, environmental and religious damages that have deprived them of their resources and livelihoods. These damages are the result of the cultivation of rubber plantations, which have destroyed their way of living and their places of worship.

The project consists in associating students to a research on the advocacy strategy accompanying the claims of the Bunong communities, especially vis-à-vis a French industrial group involved in rubber cultivation. The objective of the project is therefore to support, through legal research, the advocacy initiated by the Bunong communities in order to assert their rights in the aftermath of the violations they have suffered.

Project 4: What content for a due diligence plan and how to analyze it?

  • Partner: Amnesty International
  • Tutors: Aurélien Bouayad, Ph. D. candidate at Sciences Po Law School and Benjamin Michel, former student of the Clinic

The project is conducted within the frame of the recent adoption, in France, of the law on the “duty of vigilance” for mother companies and contracting companies which entered into force in March 2017. This law comes after several years of public and legislative debates, to which civil society, including the Clinic in former projects, has largely contributed. As of 2018, the largest French multinationals will therefore have to publish their “plan de vigilance” (i.e. due diligence plan).

The objective of the project is to (i) bring a referential frame to help define the criteria for an adequate due diligence plan (ii) allow Amnesty International to assess the quality and comprehensiveness of these plans and help judges in their assessment of these plans, thereby contributing to their training on this new and untested legislative framework. The project will entail the publication of a report.

Project 5: AZICATCH Project

  • Partner: Asociación Zonal de Cabildos y Autoridades Tradicionales de La Chorrera – AZICATCH
  • Tutor: Emmanuelle Tourme-Jouannet, Professor at Sciences Po Law School & Filipe Antunes Madeira da Silva, Ph. D. Candidate, Sciences Po Law School

The project focuses on historical damages suffered by the members of indigenous communities of La Chorrera (Uitoto m+n+ka, Bora, Okaina y Muinane), represented by AZICATCH, a local civil society group. These damages have originated in the exploitation of rubber by the Peruvian Amazon Company during the first decade of the 20th century.

The project seeks to identify the judicial mechanisms and bodies that may be appropriate to submit a claim in compensation for their historical damages within the frame of international law. The students will therefore have to qualify the human rights violations committed and prepare a strategy towards the compensation of historical damages through both legal and non-legal mechanisms, including an advocacy strategy.

Project 6: Congo Power

  • Partner: Resource Matters
  • Tutor: Sarah Volosov, Trainee Attorney

This project is hosted by the Clinic for the third year in a row. It consists in documenting the “paradox of plenty” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: the country has huge energy resources, especially in the hydropower sector with the Congo River and keeps capping at a 10% rate of electrification.

This year, students focus on the analysis of legal, economic and financial aspects of specific hydropower projects. Besides, students assist and support local Congolese researchers in their study of the local hydropower sector through written comments and regular exchanges.

Project 7: Citizen monitoring of public budget towards the right to water and sanitation in Burkina Faso

  • Partner: Human Dignity
  • Tutor: Pierre Farcot, former clinic student and Project coordinator with the general administrator of Electricité de Guinée

Lack of budget transparency has been consistently identified as a hurdle to citizens’ contribution to decision-making, particularly in terms of access to and clarity of information. This clinical project focuses on the importance of transparency as a necessary element of the effective implementation of economic, social and cultural rights, with a focus on the right to water and sanitation.

The project aims at exposing the difficulties of the local partner organization, CIFOEB, to gain access to budget data from the municipality, despite the current state of the law in Burkina Faso which is in favor of such transparency. The project will consist in the drafting of (i) a report that illustrates the issues linked to the lack of transparency and governance in Burkina Faso; and (ii) a booklet on the right to water and sanitation, directed at users of the water and sanitation service, aimed at raising public awareness on those rights, the state’s obligations and existing domestic legal remedies.

Former projects 

HEDH projects 2016-2017 (PDF, 119 Ko)