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Law school program set to earn special status with United Nations

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The United Nations has recommended a program at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis for "Special Consultative Status" to the U.N., which would allow its students and faculty to engage in treaty negotiation sessions. The Program in International Human Rights Law learned of the honor on May 18.

George E. Edwards, professor at I.U. School of Law - Indianapolis and the founding director of PIHRL, said, "The PIHRL gained this U.N. status in part because of the long relationship we have had with the U.N., including sending our J.D. and Master of Laws (LL.M.) students to work as U.N. interns. We sent our first intern to the U.N. in 1997."

Over the past five years, government representatives of more than 50 countries have had the opportunity to review PIHRL membership information, financial records, projects, staff and student credentials, goals and mission, structure and organization, and information about the law school, the campus, and Indiana University.

"This is the equivalent of the U.N. telling the PIHRL, 'We have vetted your organization extensively and have determined that you and your members possess special expertise,'" Edwards said.

Under the new status, which is scheduled to be formally ratified July 25, faculty and students working with the PIHRL will have more open access to U.N. facilities, as well as the right to participate as a non-governmental organization in treaty negotiation sessions, Human Rights Council sessions, and other U.N. activities. Edwards and PIHRL Program Manager Perfecto "Boyet" Caparas will possess permanent NGO badges, which will permit them entry to U.N. facilities around the world, ensuring easy access to the diplomats and staff as they advocate for human rights.

About 2,000 organizations representing 200 countries have been accredited with special consultative status by the U.N. The PIHRL, in its accreditation dossier, included reports detailing human rights concerns worldwide, among them, discrimination against women in Chad and Australia, indigenous rights in Panama, and sexual-orientation discrimination in the United States and Chile.

More information about the PIHRL is available on the law school's website: http://indylaw.indiana.edu/humanrights/.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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