Does the Right to Life Mean the Right to Death?

My name is Priscilla Knerr Jaen and I am a 2L serving as a student staff member with the Center for Global Justice.

For the past month, I and several others have been working to complete a research outline for Christian Legal Fellowship (CLF), based in Canada. They requested a compilation of cases, treaties, law review articles, and other related materials regarding the topic of euthanasia for their upcoming court appearances.

Since Canada legalized euthanasia in very limited circumstances in 2016, there have been several legal challenges to the restrictions from parties claiming that the restrictions are violating certain human and constitutional rights.

Considering whether the right to life also means having the right to death based on one's choosing is one of the foundational and contested questions. It is a question that involves not only case precedent, but also a consideration of morality, religion, and philosophy.

In addition, Canada has ratified several U.N. treaties. One portion of the preamble to the U.N. Charter says, “We the peoples of the United Nations determined...to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small....” How this language is interpreted by the courts may affect future legislation in these types of cases.

Working on this project, I learned:

- There are many synonyms for euthanasia, such as mercy killing, assisted suicide/death, physician-assisted suicide/aid in dying, death with dignity and merciful release.

- Euthanasia is growing in acceptance around the world. Some countries are even beginning to discuss euthanasia for children and disabled people.

I was not a philosophy major, but the philosophical side of the euthanasia debate caught my attention. Generally, reasonable people agree that death is inevitable. Although having the power to control the time, way, and place of our death may sound appealing in certain circumstances, I think of Psalm 139:13-16, where David wrote,

“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well...
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”

Trusting that the God who formed each human, promised to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28), and has already numbered our days should cause those of us who believe in Him to rest in that. For those who have not yet entered that resting trust in God, it is a harder discussion.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.


A Place to Call Home

My name is Priscilla Knerr Jaen and I am a 2L serving as a student staff member with the Center for Global Justice.

For the first month of the semester, I worked on a project for Justice Ventures International (JVI) researching land rights in West Bengal and creating a compilation of land-related laws for the Bengali lawyers to refer to as they assist human trafficking victims with housing needs.

Prior to beginning my research, I did not even know where West Bengal was in India. As I researched their law, I had the opportunity to learn more about the country itself as well as the legal terms used to describe property-related issues.

For example, a mutation in West Bengal is similar to what Americans understand to occur when title changes (mutates) from one owner to another upon sale or transfer of property. A raiyat has a right to own land to cultivate it, while a bargadar (sharecropper) has no land rights but cultivates the land for the owner. A common scheme is what Americans know as a government initiative, and I found at least one such initiative working to ensure that Bengalis have housing called Nijoshree.

Currently, West Bengal is making progress in digitizing housing records and titles to ensure that property owners are secure in their ownership rights. The government is even beginning to plan for blockchain utilization to streamline and secure registration and sharing of documents, such as deeds.

The reality is that acquiring property can be a complex and confusing process, no matter where one lives or whether a person is trying to locate an apartment or completing the purchase of a home. I was honored to be able to support the amazing lawyers in West Bengal as they pave the way for the rescued to once again, or maybe for the first time, have a place to call home.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.


Abortion Laws in Asia

My name is Jazmin Mullen and I am a 2L serving as a student staff member for the Center for Global Justice. I am currently working on a project for ADF International, an alliance-building human rights organization that advocates the right of people to freely exercise their faith.

Jazmin Mullin

My group has had the pleasure to research various abortion laws and key cases in over 30 Asian countries. We’re compiling our research on a Google spreadsheet with the goal of drafting a legal memo of our findings. Some of the sources of our research are Google Scholar, law review articles, human rights reports, and United Nations documents and reports.

The purpose of the memo is to target countries that are likely to alter their abortion laws consistent with the mission of ADF International. In our findings so far, we have found that most Asian countries permit abortion under one or more of the following circumstances: (1) to save a woman’s life, (2) to preserve a woman’s physical health, or (3) to preserve a woman’s mental health. Further, in many countries, a woman is more likely to be permitted to get an abortion up to 20 weeks of gestation. Still there are some countries, like North Korea and Jordan, that do not permit abortions at all.

In drafting our legal memo, we plan to identify the countries that might alter their abortion laws to better protect life. This categorization will help ADF better target the countries they may be able to work with in changing their laws.

Since we are the first group in the Center for Global Justice to do a project for ADF International (Asia), our findings will be extremely beneficial for ADF and hopefully give them guidance as to what steps to take from here.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.


Caregiver Barriers

My name is Amanda Lopez and I am a 2L serving as a Law Clerk with the Center for Global Justice. I am currently leading a project for Shared Hope International that involves conducting research relating to human trafficking laws in the 50 states. I am excited to work on this project as I previously worked on a Shared Hope project last year as a Center student staff member and clerked during the summer with Shared Hope’s Center for Justice & Advocacy in Arlington, VA.

2L Amanda Lopez

My team is working on a lengthy project conducting statutory research on all fifty states and D.C. to identify any “caregiver barriers” throughout the child welfare process concerning child sex trafficking victims. “Caregiver barrier” is a term Shared Hope coined to identify the unfortunate situation where child welfare agencies are restricted from providing services to these victims due to jurisdictional statutory limitations to situations where the abuse or neglect of a child comes directly from a “caregiver.” Such barriers can leave child welfare agencies powerless to provide necessary services to these victims.

As part of Shared Hope’s mission to provide each state and D.C. an annual Report Card with Analysis & Recommendations, this research will assist Shared Hope in analyzing its fifth framework issue: Protective Provisions for the Child Victims. Its legal component 5.6 specifically focuses on “caregiver” barriers to child sex trafficking victims accessing child welfare services. Shared Hope will be able to utilize our research when conducting future annual reviews.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School or the Center for Global Justice.


The International Justice Mission Liberate Conference - An Reminder for our Reason

It’s hard to believe that it is already my 3L year, but it’s been really special to be in my second year of being on student staff with the Center for Global Justice.

CGJ Student Staff Members Anna Colby (author of this post), along with
Lorri Ann Drazan and Destinee Easley

This past month, three of us 3L student staff members were blessed to be sponsored by the Center for Global Justice to attend the International Justice Mission (IJM) Liberate conference in Frisco, Texas. The conference brought IJM staff and attorneys from all over the globe as well as others interested in the fight for justice, including students like us seeking to understand how we can utilize our degrees to help those without a voice.

Being at the conference was very encouraging. There were nearly 5,000 people present, and although the conference was very quick, it was a strong reminder of why I first came to law school. Survivors that IJM had advocated for shared amazing stories of redemption and victory, including one man who IJM rescued who has become a lawyer and is now advocating for others!

As I go into job searching season, I am encouraged and reinvigorated in my purpose for law--to be a voice for the voiceless and a defender of the powerless.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School or the Center for Global Justice.


CGJ Student Staff Projects Fall 2018

To provide Regent Law students with practical experience in the legal protection of human rights, students volunteer with the Center each semester for a minimum of 5 hours/week.

This semester, the Center for Global Justice Student Staff will be assisting nine different human rights organizations with nine projects. Here is a brief summary of our work this semester:

  1. Shared Hope
    Shared Hope International’s Protected Innocence Challenge provides graded report cards with analysis and recommendations for each state and D.C. based on it's compliance with federal legislation concerning child sex trafficking victims. We have the opportunity to review component 5.6 for each state and D.C. concerning whether a ‘caregiver’ barrier restricts child welfare from providing services to these victims. ‘Caregiver’ barrier is a term that was coined by Shared Hope to describe when child services is not legally permitted to provide services to child sex trafficking victims because jurisdiction of child services is statutorily limited to situations where abuse/neglect comes directly from a ‘caregiver.'

  2. IJM Uganda
    We are researching the legal and psychological aspects of different issues stemming from gender-based violence (GBV). Our goal is to identify (1) whether there is an intersection between sexual violence against children and intimate partner violence (does experiencing violence as a child lead to perpetrating or experiencing violence as an adult?); (2) best practices for suspect identification and child testimony in court; (3) how geographic location may impact the issue of GBV crimes; as well as (4) how the Ugandan Domestic Violence Act is being operated today.

  3. IJM
    We are researching the status of enforced disappearances both under domestic law and treaties in a certain nation (which must remain confidential). Enforced disappearances, or ED, occur when there is an arrest/abduction by the State where the State conceals the fate/whereabouts of the missing person, thereby putting them outside the protection of the law. We hope to use precedent from other countries in order to find potential grounds for an independent, criminal cause of action for enforced disappearances against certain governments.

  4. The Market Project
    We are researching the laws of India and Myanmar regarding business registration, human resources, employee protections, privacy issues, etc.

  5. Justice Ventures International
    We are drafting a legal memo regarding securing property rights in the Indian state of West Bengal. The memo will be used to create a legal toolkit to assist attorneys that provide legal support to human trafficking victims

  6. ADF International
    ADF Asia:
    This semester our team is working to draft a legal memo regarding the abortion laws in various Asian countries. Our goal is to identify countries with abortion laws that may be favorable for ADF to target in their efforts to limit abortion worldwide.
    ADF Europe: For the last few semesters the Center has worked closely with ADF to monitor cases before the European Court of Human Rights. Our goal is to identify cases that ADF may have an interest in intervening on.

  1. Christian Legal Fellowship
    We are drafting a legal memo on relevant international law treaties that pertain to the sanctity of life, particularly the legalization of euthanasia for patients who are neither dying nor near end of life nor terminally ill. This memo will assist CLF in preparation of ongoing litigation surrounding the expansion of euthanasia in Canada.

  2. Advocates International Bulgaria
    We are drafting a legal memo regarding lobbying in Europe. The memo will be used to create model legislation on lobbying to help stop corruption and promote the rule of law in Eastern Europe.

  3. Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Uganda
    We are working with the Uganda DPP to combat human trafficking. Currently, Uganda is a “tier 2” nation under the U.S. Dept. of State’s Annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Uganda desires to become a “tier 1” nation, which is the highest ranking given. We are reviewing the Ugandan report and making recommendation on how Uganda can better combat human trafficking. 


Seeking Justice: Presented by Shared Hope

On September 25, 2018, the Center for Global Justice welcomed Sarah Breyer and Christine Raino from one of our partner organizations, Shared Hope International. Sarah and Christine came to Regent to share their organization’s mission and legislative goals.

Shared Hope International works to prevent human trafficking through training, awareness, and collaboration and restore those who are victims of human trafficking by sharing stories of hope.

Sarah and Christine shared about the Protected Innocence Challenge, what Christine called their “core state policy project.” Christine discussed the variety of approaches the states undertake in addressing human trafficking victims and why this is such an issue. In many states and under federal law, children that are bought and sold for sex acts are classified as “victims” but still face criminal charges for prostitution. As someone sitting in the audience, it was shocking to hear that the most vulnerable among us who are truly victims of others heinous acts are now being charged for the crimes arising of their trafficking.

Sarah shared that many states charge minors for sex crimes as a means to get the minors out of their trafficker's hand. While this may be good in theory, Sarah pointed out a key flaw in this logic: if the first contact a minor has with the criminal justice system is being processed and charged for a crime committed against them it often leads to distrust of the system. Further, there are much better options, like safe homes, that the states can utilize to get victims out of their abusers’ hands without having to cause more trauma to the victim. These options empower victims to seek restoration and redefine their future.

Find out more about Shared Hope International here.