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Center for Human Rights and International Justice



Carolyn Forche addresses the audience at a CHRIJ event

A Poet's Journey from El Salvador to 2014: Witness in the Light of Conscience

On Wednesday, November 19, the Center for Human Rights and International Justice hosted this event with Professor Carolyn Forché of Georgetown University.

Watch a A Poet's Journey from El Salvador to 2014 »



Conversation with Ricardo Falla, S.J.

Center Visiting Fellow Ricardo Falla, S.J. discusses his life and work, and a new book project about them entitled "Al Atardecer de la Vida" (In the Twilight of Life), in these short interviews (in Spanish).

Watch a Conversation with Ricardo Falla, S.J. »



Humanitarian Intervention: Moral Criteria and Human Consequences

Center Director David Hollenbach, SJ delivers comments on “Humanitarian Intervention: Moral Criteria and Human Consequences” in a panel sponsored by the Berkley Center for Peace, Religion and World Affairs and by the Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University on March 19, 2014. Watch the panel »


Truth and Justice for El Salvador Tour

On March 31, the Center welcomed Wilfredo Medrano, with Tutela Legal María Julia Hernández, and Bethany Loberg, of SHARE El Salvador to raise awareness of the ongoing impact of human rights violations during the war, especially forced disappearance, murder and massacres of civilians, and the still urgent need for truth, justice and reparations.

Watch "Truth and Justice for El Salvador" video »


Catholicism and the Challenge of Liberty

Center Director David Hollenbach speaks on a panel entitled “Catholicism and the Challenge of Liberty,” produced by the Catholic News Service.

Watch the "Catholicism and the Challenge of Liberty" video »



Pacem in Terris at 50: Catholics and Human Rights in the 21st Century

On November 14, 2013, Center Director David Hollenbach, SJ delivered the 20th Annual Markoe-DePorres Social Justice Lecture at Creighton University on “Pacem in Terris at 50: Catholics and Human Rights in the 21st Century."

Watch the "Pacem in Terris at 50" video »

Listen to an additional interview with Fr. Hollenbach at Creighton on this topic »


Liberation Psychology and Social Change: An Introduction to Ignacio Martín-Baró and Challenges for 21st Century Scholar-Practitioners

Presented by Center Associate Director, Professor M. Brinton Lykes, Boston College, this dialogue will explore some of the key ideas developed by social psychologist and Jesuit priest, Ignacio Martín-Baró, and the challenges that his life and death present for psychologists and activist-scholars in the 21st century.

Watch the "Liberation Psychology and Social Change" video »


The Guatemalan Genocide Trial: A Sign of Hope in a Fog of Neocon Discourse

Efraín Ríos Montt and his head of security in Guatemala are facing charges of genocide in an ongoing trial for their roles in perpetrating massacres during the civil war of the 1980s. As many as 200,000 people died in this confluict, which lasted from 1960 to 1996, many of whom where Mayan peasants opposing the military government or simply caught up in massacres perpetrated by the government, such as the Río Negro Massacres.

Guatemalan activist, Claudia Samayoa illuminates the social and political climate this trial is being held under, and speaks to its importance to many in the Mayan community looking for some semblance of justice from the atrocities commitied during the war.

Watch "The Guatemalan Genocide Trial" video »


STM Vatican II Sesquicentennial Symposium and Panel

On September 12, CHRIJ Director David Hollenbach, S.J. gave a talk titled, Religious Freedom in Global Context Today as part of The legacy of Vatical II Symposium, marking the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 150th anniversary of the founding of Boston College.

Watch the Vatican II Panel. Fr. Hollenbach's talk starts at the 22:38 mark.


Bolivia's Processes of Social Change

The Bolivian activist Felix Muruchi talks about the processes of social change in his home country of Bolivia. His personal history as a miner, construction worker, student and union activist, nonprofit organization worker, political prisoner and later candidate, and most recently indigenous rights lawyer, provides an extraordinary lens to grasp Bolivian struggles for social justice.

Watch the "Bolivia's Processes of Social Change" video »


Gender Equality and Sexual Identity Equality: Journeys Just Begun and a Long Way Still to Go

The Center is proud to present this special conversation with former President of Ireland Mary McAleese and BC Professor of Counseling Psychology Paul Poteat.

McAleese, who was Irish President from 1997 to 2011, has been a key voice in concern for the rights of gay people and for gender equality in Ireland.  She served as the first legal advisor for the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform from 1975 to 1979, which sought to decriminalize homosexuality in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Prof. Paul Poteat is Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at BC’s Lynch School of Education.  He has written extensively about psychological effects of bullying and homophobia on adolescents and how to prevent bullying and homophobic attitudes in adolescents. He also received the American Psychological Association’s Best Science in the Society of Counseling Psychology Award in 2012.

Co-sponsored by the Lynch School of Education Dept. of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology

Watch the "Gender Equality and Sexual Identity Equality" video »


The Price of Truth: Honduran Human Rights Since the Coup

On Tuesday, October 8, 2013, the Center welcomed Ismael Moreno Coto, SJ, popularly known as "Padre Melo”, one of Honduras’ strongest human rights defenders. Padre Melo spoke of the human rights abuses occurring throughout Honduran society, and especially within his own journalistic world, and within campesino and indigenous communities. He will offer in-depth analysis into the systemic reasons for the continuing violence, impunity, and injustices, and illuminate the various impacts of The Drug War.

Watch the "The Price of Truth" video »

Justice for Some: Reflections on (Every) Americans' Right to Legal Representation

On Wednesday, September 25, 2013, Dawn Porter (Producer/director of Gideon's Army [2013 Sundance Film Festival, U.S. Documentary Competition, Official Selection]) explores Race, class, legal representation, and the American Criminal Justice System, An especially timely discussion given the recent verdict of the George Zimmerman trial.

CO-SPONSORS: Institute for the Liberal Arts (ILA); A&S Dean’s Office; Law School Dean’s Office; Center for Human Rights and International Justice (CHRIJ); History Department; American Studies Program; Faith, Peace, and Justice Program;
Black Faculty, Staff, and Administrators Association (BFSAA)

Watch the "Justice for Some" video »

Migration: Past, Present and Future symposium, March 21-22, 2013


Keynote address: "The Border is Not a Straight Line"

On Thursday, March 21, 2013, Richard Rodriguez, gave the keynote address for the “Migration: Past, Present and Future” symposium celebrating Boston College’s sesquicentennial anniversary. Sponsored by the CHRIJ.

A condensed text version of Mr. Rodriguez' remarks appeared in the Spring 2013 edition of Boston College Magazine, viewable online here.

Watch the video of Richard Rodriguez' remarks »

Panel 1: Refugees and Forced Migrants

Panelists Mark Raper, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific; Karen Musalo, director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law; and Vincent D. Rougeau, dean of Boston College Law School; discuss the background of the refugee phenomenon and how social service agencies work with refugees to attempt to ease their plight and advocate on their behalf.

The paper that was the basis for Fr. Raper's talk may be viewed here.

Panel 1 video: Refugees and Forced Migrants

Panel 2: Race and Class in U.S. Immigration

Panelists Mae Ngai, the Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor of History at Columbia University; Michael A. Olivas, the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Houston Law Center; Stephan Thernstrom, the Winthrop Research Professor of History at Harvard University; and M. Brinton Lykes, associate director of the Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice; discuss if, and how, race and class considerations are important in understanding the current immigration situation in this country.

Panel 2 video: Race and Class in U.S. immigration

Lunchtime Lecture: "Boston College and the Immigrant Experience: The First 150 Years"

James M. O'Toole, the Clough Millennium Chair in History at Boston College, recounts the University's history of serving immigrant populations, starting with Irish immigrants and then changing demographics of immigrant groups throughout the last 150 years. The lecture was delivered as part of the academic symposium, “Migration: Past, Present, and Future.”

Lunchtime lecture video

Roundtable on the Future of Immigration Policy in the U.S.

Panelists Peter H. Schuck, the Simeon E. Baldwin Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School; David A. Martin, the Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law at the University of Virginia School of Law; Donald M. Kerwin, Jr., executive director of the Center for Migration Studies; and Ray Suarez, author and senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour; offer their thoughts on the current immigration situation in the U.S. today and their ideas for policy recommendations to address it.  Peter Skerry, professor of Political Science at Boston College introduces.

Roundtable video

Naturalization Ceremony

As a prelude to the symposium, the BC Graduate School of Social Work hosted a naturalization ceremony in Robsham Theter for 94 new U.S. citizens.  A brief 90-second video overview of the ceremony may be viewed here, or the entire ceremony with remarks from President Leahy and others may be viewed here.


Human Rights in History: A Roundtable

On February 6, 2013, three distinguished authors on human rights with an emphasis on history come together for this special roundtable discussing human rights in history and the development of the concept. Participants are Samuel Moyn, Columbia University, author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History; Michael Rosen, Harvard University, author of Dignity: Its History and Meaning; David Hollenbach, S.J., Boston College, author of Claims in Conflict: Retrieving and Renewing the Catholic Human Rights Tradition.

Watch the video »


Book Talk: Youth Held at the Border

On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, author Leigh Patel Stevens, Boston College Associate Professor in the Lynch School of Education, discussed her book, titled Youth Held at the Border: Immigration, Education, and the Politics of Inclusion. With discussants Rocío Sánchez Ares and Conrado Santos.

Watch the video »




Continuities and Discontinuities of Violence against Indigenous Women in Guatemala

On October 18, the Center sponsored "Continuities and Discontinuities of Violence against Indigenous Women in Guatemala." Dr. Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj, Executive Director of the Support Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples Oxlajuj Tz´ikin (in Guatemala), discussed the human rights abuses that were rampant during the Guatemalan internal armed conflict, which lasted from 1960-1996.

Click here for the video. A transcript of Dr. Velásquez's remarks can be accessed by clicking here.


Aftermath: Deportation Law and the New American Diaspora

On September 12, BC Prof. of Law and CHRIJ Associate Director Daniel Kanstroom gave commentary on his book, Aftermath: Deportation Law and the New American Diaspora. Harvard U. Professor of Sociology Mary Waters responded, discussing the social effects of U.S. immigration policy on immigrant families and communities.

Click here for the video.


Amnesty and Accountability in the Case of the El Salvador Jesuit Assassinations

On March 22, the Center co-sponsored with the Martín-Baró Fund for Mental Health and Human Rights, "Amnesty and Accountability in the Case of the El Salvador Jesuits Assassinations: the Moral Meets the Pragmatic." Pamela Merchant, executive director of the Center for Justice & Accountability, and José María Tojeira S.J., rector emeritus of the University of Central America, El Salvador, discuss the aftermath of the assassination of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador in 1989.

Click here for the video. A translation of Fr. Tojeira’s remarks, which are in Spanish, can be accessed by clicking here.




Taking Flight: When Jesus was a Refugee

On November 30, 2011, Leo O'Donovan, SJ, President Emeritus of Georgetown University, came to Boston College to give this lecture and slideshow reflecting on images in Western art of the Holy Family fleeing the murderous King Herod's oppression and interspersing images of the refugees of today.

Click here for the video.


Catholic Peacebuilding Initiatives in Sudan in Eastern Africa

On March 16, 2011, Panelists John Katunga, regional technical director for Catholic Relief Services in Eastern Africa, Lisa Cahill, the J. Donald Monan Professor of Theology at Boston College, and Stephen Pope, professor of Theology at Boston College, discussed peace-building in Eastern Africa.

Click here for the video.




Natural Disasters and Human Rights: Comparing Responses to Natural Disasters in Haiti and Pakistan

On November 3, 2010, the Center hosted Elizabeth Ferris, co-director of the Brookings Institute's Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, discusses the international community’s response to humanitarian crises, specifically in Haiti and Pakistan, and probes the phenomenon of the far greater response by the international community in coming to the aid of Haiti than of Pakistan.

Click here for the video.


A Ticking Time Bomb: A Panel Discussion on the Sudan Referendum

On November 1, 2010, Lwal Baguoot, one of the former “Lost Boys of Sudan” who is now administrator for the Sudanese Education Fund; David Hollenbach, S.J., director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College; and Mike Delaney, director of Humanitarian Response for Oxfam America discussed the historic January 2011 referendum in the Sudan. As the referendum approached, most polls showed that voters in South Sudan favored seceding from the North and creating a new nation. But hope surrounding the referendum was tempered by fears of renewed violence. The possibility that the vote or public disruptions in the months leading up to it would spark renewed North-South fighting had Sudan watchers concerned about a return to one of the bloodiest civil wars of all time.

Click here for the video.


Humanitarian Intervention and the "Responsibility to Protect"

David Hollenbach, S.J., Professor of Theology and Director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College; Mahmood Mamdani, the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at Columbia University; and Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, discuss the implications of the “Responsibility to Protect” paradigm for U.S. foreign policy and the international community.  September 16, 2010.

Click here for the video.


Deportation, Migration, and Human Rights: Interdisciplinary Theory and Practice

The Center’s Post-Deportation Human Rights Project hosted an interdisciplinary conference on deportation, migration, and human rights. The video shows the conference’s keynote speakers Mr. Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, and Dr. Dora Schriro, commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction, discuss comprehensive immigration reform. March 18, 2010.

Click here for the video.


Are All Rights Human Rights?

Susan Shell, professor of political science at Boston College, discussed recent extensions of legal rights to non-human entities. David Hollenbach, SJ, Professor of Theology and University Chair in Human Rights and International Justice, responded.  March 11, 2010.

Click here to see video.


Panel Discussion of the 2007 New Bedford Immigration Raid

Dan Kanstroom  Associate Director of the CHRIJ and Professor of Law, leads panelists Mary Holper, director of the Immigration Law Clinic at Roger Williams University School of Law; Brinton Lykes, CHRIJ Associate Director and Professor of Community and Social Psychology at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College; and Ed Marakovitz, faculty member in the Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College, in a discussion about the 2007 raid on the Michael Bianco, Inc. factory in New Bedford by 300 Immigration and Customs enforcement agents.  February 25, 2010.

Click here for video.


Resilience, Recovery and Rebuilding in Haiti

The Center for Human Rights and International Justice cosponsored an event on Haiti on February 15. Marc Prou, assistant professor of Africana Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Erica Caple James, associate professor of anthropology at MIT, discuss Haiti's current crisis in the context of its history. This event was the first in a series of on-campus conversations about Haiti and the response to its recent earthquake. 

Click here for the video.




Human Rights Legacies of the Martyrs of El Salvador

On November 4, 2009, the Center hosted an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the murder of six Jesuits by soldiers in El Salvador. In the aftermath of that event, the Ignacio Martín-Baró Fund was created in memory of one of the Jesuits to make grants to educate and improve social conditions in communities affected by the “consequences of violence and injustice.” A film about the work of the Fund is screened, followed by three speakers: J. Donald Monan, S.J., chancellor of Boston College; Rodolfo Cardenal, S.J., a research professor and former rector of the University of Central America; and Elizabeth Lira, an author, psychologist, and human rights advocate.

Click here for video.


I Speak English: the Immigrant Experience

Daniel Kanstroom, CHRIJ Associate Director and Associate Professor of the Law School, frames this program on immigration law, the immigrant experience, and issues of deportation by saying that the current debate over immigration in the United States is “a struggle for the soul of this country.” He is followed by Peter Skerry, Professor of Political Science, who discusses public opinion towards immigration and immigrants, and the social dynamics of current controversies.  September 22, 2009.

Click here for video.



Causes of Forced Migration and Systemic Responses:
Human Rights of the Displaced in Ethical, Religious, and Political Perspectives

On November 20, 2008, Susan Martin, the Herzberg Professor of International Migration at the School of Foreign Services, Georgetown University, and Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's permanent observer of the United Nation's offices in Geneva, discussed the plight of the estimated 50 million people around the world who have been forced out of their homes due to conflict or persecution.

Click here for the video.

Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini

On September 16, 2008, CHRIJ hosted a talk with Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini of San Marcos, Guatemala. Bishop Ramazzini is the immediate past president of the Bishops’ Secretariat of Central America. With the aid of an interpreter, he discussed his “preoccupations or worries” regarding the growth of migratory movements from Central America to the United States. Click here for video.


World Trade and Justice for the Poor: Impact of the Global Talks Breakdown

On September 28, 2008 CHRIJ brought together three Boston College professors to present perspectives on the World Trade Organization’s apparent failure to achieve agreement at the last ‘Doha Round’. The presenters were James Anderson, William B. Neenan, SJ, Millenium Chair and Professor of Economics; David Deese, Associate Professor of Political Science; and Frank Garcia, Professor of Law. Click here for video.



Ricardo Falla, SJ

Guatemalan Youth: Migration and Return

Ricardo Falla, SJ, a Guatemalan anthropologist and Center Visiting Scholar, and Ana Gutiérrez Castro, a Guatemalan educator and researcher, speak on immigration, “voluntary deportation,” and the impact on Guatemalan communities when many of their young men migrate to the United States. Falla has devoted his career to documenting the lives and cultures of the Quiché Maya Indians in Guatemala and other indigenous peoples of Central America, emphasizing justice and human rights issues. He describes how migration and return affect the identity of young migrants. With the aid of a translator, Gutiérrez Castro presents images and stories from her hometown, Zacualpa, Guatemala. A question-and-answer session with both presenters follows.  December 4, 2007.

Click here for video.