Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy

Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy

The Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) at Northeastern University School of Law was founded in 2005. Our mission is threefold:

- To promote human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, within the Northeastern community;

- To support cutting-edge scholarship on human rights with a particular focus on economic, social, and cultural rights;

- To work to implement human rights norms and sound economic development approaches worldwide.

Featured Publications

Disconnected: How Household Water Shutoffs in the United States During the COVID Pandemic Violate the Human Right to Water

DisconnectedTo mark Human Rights Day on Wednesday, December 10, 2020, the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy released a new publication, “Disconnected: How Household Water Shutoffs in the United States During the COVID Pandemic Violate the Human Right to Water.” Linnea Brandt ’22 is the lead author of the report. Additional comments and feedback were provided by Martha F. Davis, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Northeastern University; Sharon L. Harlan, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Sciences; Laura Senier, Associate Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences; and Roger Colton, J.D., of Fisher, Sheehan, and Colton.

This is PHRGE’s fifth publication in a series on the human right to water. The other publications are: (1) The Human Right to Water: A Research Guide and Annotated Bibliography; (2) The Human Right to Water: Using Freedom of Information Laws to Understand Rising Water Rates; (3) The Human Right to Water: A Primer for Lawyers and Community Leaders; and (4) A Drop in the Bucket: Water Affordability Policies in Twelve Massachusetts Communities.

Roshni PatelChampioning Water Rights as Human Rights

In conjunction with her participation in Professor Martha Davis’ Human Rights in the United States seminar, Roshni Patel ’20 is the lead author of a new chapter on the water and human rights, supplementing the 2014 edition of Human Rights in the US: A Handbook for Legal Aid Attorneys. The chapter reflects an ongoing collaboration between the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE), co-directed by Davis, and Maryland Legal Aid (MLA). Frank Vitale ’14, senior attorney for human rights at MLA, worked closely with Patel as she developed the chapter and expects to put it to use in MLA’s practice.

A Drop in the Bucket: Water Affordability Policies in Twelve Massachusetts Communities
As part of a research team at Northeastern University that is studying water unaffordability and its impacts in 12 Massachusetts communities including Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, Springfield, Somerville, Quincy and Worcester, Professor Martha Davis was lead author on PHRGE's fourth publication in a series on the human right to water.
(Released July 2019) 

Recent Highlights

  • August 28, 2020: Alfred Brownell, PHRGE Distinguished Scholar in Residence and Goldman Environmental Prize winner, joined the Living On Earth podcast to talk about the importance of protecting the remaining Liberian tropical rainforest. (more)
  • August 6, 2020: Professor Martha Davis has teamed up with Rajat Khosla, human rights advisor for the Department of Reproductive Health Research at the World Health Organization, to author a new article that explores evolving human rights norms and standards relating to infertility. (more)
  • June 22, 2020: Elizabeth Ennen ’08, director of Northeastern Law’s Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE), is one of the leaders of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission's COVID-19 Task Force Pro Bono Committee. The Committee has just launched a new online tool connecting attorneys and law students to pandemic-related pro bono opportunities that serve low-income residents of the Commonwealth. (more)
  • July 24, 2019: Professor Martha Davis writes about the impact of rising water prices on the state’s low-income residents in an article for WBUR's Cognoscenti.
  • April 17, 2019: Alfred Brownell, a Distinguished Scholar in Residence in Northeastern University School of Law’s Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE), delivered the 25th Annual Valerie Gordon Human Rights Lecture.
  • March 8, 2019: Professor Margaret Woo, PHRGE Faculty Co-Director, was interviewed by China Global Television Network about the gender discrimination faced by Chinese women in the workplace.
  • January 23, 2019: Alfred Lahai Brownell, PHRGE Distinguished Scholar, delivered a masterclass at the School of Law. The lecture focused on Brownell’s recent victory against Golden Veroleum, an oil palm developer, in which the Appeal Panel of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil denied the company’s appeal against complaints that Brownell and his colleagues filed in 2012 on behalf of communities and indigenous peoples in Liberia.

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OPPORTUNITIES

The Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy provides many opportunities for faculty, law graduates, and current students to work on promoting and implementing human rights, particularly economic, social, and cultural rights. It is also the center of human rights research and scholarship at Northeastern University School of Law.

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