Initiatives

The Miller Institute focuses on urgent challenges, including WILD for Human Rights, Rule of Law, Climate and Energy Justice, Human Rights, and Anti-Corruption.

 

WILD for Human Rights

The Miller Institute is home to the WILD for Human Rights initiative, which engages individuals and communities to advance social justice through the adoption and implementation of human rights standards in the United States and globally.  Through education, training, research, and advocacy, WILD mobilizes communities to challenge systems and institutions through the leadership of women, particularly young women of color. Already recognized for its contribution to the domestic human rights movement, the WILD Initiative is expanding its work to the international level.  

For more information about WILD for Human Rights and recent events, please click here.

Rule of Law

In response to challenges such as poverty, economic stagnation and conflict, the Miller Institute is working to promote the rule of law in developing countries. A strong rule of law system supports a free and fair political system, a vibrant civil society, public confidence in the police and the courts, economic development, and the protection of human rights. Our current rule of law portfolio includes two distinct projects discussed below.  

 

Afghanistan
The rights of Afghan citizens continue to be marginalized, and many are uniformed about the legal protections available to them. To raise Afghan citizens’ awareness of their legal rights, the Miller Institute is developing a high-quality dramatic series. As an estimated 72 percent of Afghans are illiterate, the series will be aired on both radio and television. Produced in cooperation with Afghanistan’s largest media company, the series features captivating storylines depicting basic rights and legal challenges and their impact on average Afghan families. The informative and engaging series seeks to fuel interest and debate among Afghans about their laws and rights and to help spark social change.
 
Also in support of the rule of law in Afghanistan, the Miller Institute joined forces with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to enrich UNODC’s training manual, Strengthening Anti-Corruption Measures in Afghanistan. Designed to further educate prosecutors and judges on corruption, the manual will fortify Afghanistan’s fight against corruption. The manual addresses three topic areas. First, it examines corruption both generally and specifically in Afghanistan by explaining: the causes of corruption; the ways corruption is manifested; the connection between corruption and organized crime; and the tendency for corruption to compromise human rights. Second, the manual describes the legal frameworks addressing corruption with an analysis of the applicable international, national, and Islamic laws. Finally, the manual details best practices governing what evidence should be considered at trial, methods for evaluating evidence, and procedures for protecting the human rights of suspects.
These projects are the first components of our long-term strategy to support the rule of law in Afghanistan. As with all of our projects, our approach in Afghanistan seeks to garner the support and trust of the local population through collaboration with local experts, engagement with citizens, and sensitivity to cultural, religious, and ideological differences.

International Program for Judicial Studies
To further champion the rule of law and competent and independent judiciaries around the world, the Miller Institute founded the International Program for Judicial Studies through which we offer training to high-level foreign judges. With world-class faculty and cutting-edge instruction on emerging topics, the program seeks to strengthen the capabilities and professionalism of judiciaries and better equip them to tackle today’s complex legal issues. Rigorous classroom instruction is complemented by a firsthand view of the American legal system, through private meetings with government agency staff, bar associations, courts, law firms, and others. 

 

Climate and Energy Justice

Recent research estimates that climate change related events such as floods, desertification, water wars, and droughts have left millions starving and may displace more than 200 million people worldwide by 2050. The Miller Institute portfolio calls attention to the vital role of human rights and social justice issues in the development of environmental policy.
 
Our initial efforts included hosting two noteworthy events in 2009. First, we convened a meeting with former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson and a broad group of scholars and practitioners to consider the application of a human rights framework and the language of justice to the global climate change conversation. Shortly thereafter, we assembled scholars and U.S. non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved with environmental justice, migrants, displaced persons, and human rights to consider strategies by which to inform the Obama administration’s approach to and understanding of climate change issues.
To bring climate justice to center stage, we formed partnerships with both domestic and international organizations. In late 2009, together with several U.S. based organizations, the Miller Institute sent an open letter to President Obama urging him to renew the U.S. commitment to promoting social justice by ensuring that human rights and humanitarian concerns are formally integrated into all mitigation and adaptation strategies adopted both at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference and subsequently. Additionally, we co-hosted a side event at the Copenhagen Conference, during which Mary Robinson and public, academic and NGO leaders led a discussion on emerging institutions and processes for applying equity and human rights to guide the long-term vision and decision-making on mitigation, adaptation, carbon markers and technology transfer. We have also initiated the development of a human rights audit for climate change policies, a mechanism that will help assess the human, equity and justice impacts of the policies.

 

Human Rights

The Miller Institute is collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) to host two noteworthy events in 2010. First, we will host a working group meeting of the WHO project on the role of law in strengthening the sexual health of populations and individuals through the promotion of human rights. The WHO team is comprised of an international group of legal and public health scholars and advocates in sexual health and rights, and includes the Institute’s Senior Fellow Alice M. Miller. Second, we will collaborate with ICRC to host their Teaching International Humanitarian Law Institute at Berkeley Law.    
 
 

Anti-Corruption


Recognizing that corruption impedes social and economic development, undermines the rule of law, and jeopardizes the global fight against poverty, the Miller Institute launched an anti-corruption project that we will expand significantly in the coming years. Our initial efforts include hosting a conference on the international regulation of corrupt practices in 2008. Participants reviewed the framework of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), debated its application to activity beyond U.S. borders, and discussed international attempts at regulation. A 2010 follow-up conference will examine FCPA enforcement trends and the development of principles to guide future FCPA enforcement actions.
 
Also, as mentioned earlier, in 2009 the Miller Institute collaborated with UNODC to develop the training manual, Strengthening Anti-Corruption Measures in Afghanistan which will be disseminated widely and used to train Afghan law enforcement officials and judges.