Did you know that the Muslim community experienced a 67% rise in hate crimes from 2014 to 2015? That there have been incidents of mass violence against the Sikh, Muslim, Black, and LGBT communities since 2014? Do you sense a trend of more hate, racism, and bias in your life? Did you know that an emerging area of research demonstrates that exposure to racially disparaging media (e.g. coverage of racial violence) and vicarious discrimination can have significant physiological and psychological consequences that may impact health over time? One of ICAAD’s Board Members, Courtney Cogburn, Associate Professor at Columbia has been engaging in research like this for a number of years, and has shown increased blood pressure and cortisol levels in minorities because of racially disparaging media.
ICAAD is currently engaged in a data analysis initiative encompassing 20 years of data to reveal trends and gaps; working with Dr. Cogburn and other academics to reveal the health impacts of bias and discrimination (including bullying and hate speech); and working to collect and understand the narratives driving hate, to better craft counter-narratives.
Pursuing Damages for Police Torture in IndiaYou may be aware that ICAAD filed an appeal at the Ninth Circuit, partnering with international law firm Crowell & Moring LLP, to seek damages for torture by Punjab police on behalf of a Sikh political activist who was extradited from the United States. To persuade the U.S. to extradite Mr. Kulvir Singh Barapind, India assured the United States through written diplomatic assurances that he would not be tortured specifically under the Convention Against Torture. Unfortunately, the Ninth Circuit decided against Mr. Barapind on January 12, 2017, stating that India had not expressly given up its sovereign immunity in making the diplomatic assurances. Due to changes in his personal circumstances, Mr. Barapind decided not to appeal the Ninth Circuit’s decision. While the case was not ultimately successful, we believe it was an important one to display that India still tortures, is willing to violate international law, and that assurances when sought in extradition cases need to be more explicit regarding jurisdiction.
TrackJustice: Developing a Judicial Handbook and Regional GBV Case Law Database for the PacificBecause of your support, ICAAD is traveling to the Pacific in March to work on development of TrackJustice, a regional gender-based violence (GBV) sentencing database that we are launching in partnership with the University of the South Pacific School of Law (USP) in Port Vila, Vanuatu and HURIDOCS in Geneva.
The database will empower local CSOs to strengthen their campaigns for legislative reform and encourage attitudinal shifts in the justice system and the broader public. It will also provide lawyers and judges with tools to be more consistent and accountable, and will help reduce gender-based violence over time. Information and analysis on GBV cases will be freely and publicly accessible for the first time ever in the Pacific.
Many people in governments in the region have expressed a desire for better data so that they can better resource solutions for pressing issues like gender-based violence. The caselaw database will require the manual analysis of 5,000 GBV cases, and we are also developing a sentencing benchbook for judges. ICAAD has partnered with six premiere law firms to handle this major initiative — Colin Biggers Paisley, Clifford Chance, White & Case, DLA Piper, Manatt, and Linklaters.
On behalf of the entire ICAAD team, we thank you for your support!
Sean, Courtney, Jessica, Laura, Jaspreet & Hansdeep
ICAAD Board of Directors