Thursday, January 29, 2015

Access to Food in Developing Nations

The Disparate Impact of Human Rights Laws, Free Trade and 'TRIPS'
By Nicole Romano
Nicole Romano is a graduate of Albany Law School, class of 2014. She received her undergraduate degree from Stony Brook University in Political Science with an emphasis in law government. While in law school, Nicole earned a concentration in Estate Planning. Her extra-circular activities included working as Senior Editor for International Law Studies, Pro-Bono work with the Elder Law and Tax Law Societies, and a semester in the Litigation Clinic.
She is currently working for a boutique law firm in the Greater NYC area specializing in wills and estates, asset protection and business succession planning. She is also an active member of the New York State Bar Association and currently holds a position on the Executive Committee for the Young Lawyers Section.
This paper was prepared for Prof. Halewood’s International Trade Law class.

There is undoubtedly a clear disparity between the increase in free trade, which is supposed to promote general welfare, and its actual effect of increasing poverty and hunger.  Not only is there a disparity within free trade theory itself, it can be argued that international trade law was also created to incorporate human rights law to prevent this exact epidemic from occurring.

This disparity of trade liberalization and human rights, specifically with increasing famine, can be attributed to the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) and its role in patent rights on agriculture. Private industries in the US were concerned about foreign protection of patents and the weak IP policies costing them billions of dollars per year. It was the private industry leaders of developed countries being directed to devise a plan to protect IP rights against developing nations. This resulted in developing nations working under a set of rules geared to promoting the needs of the former.

Private industry has been a major player in creating the resulting disparity between human rights law and trade law. Developing countries have been at the mercy of transnational corporations (TNC) that control food access in these areas. While these corporations control the majority of global trade, they have no obligations under international law to ensure the well being of citizens because international laws are typically only binding on State actors. This means that despite TNC’s heavy social and economic impact on developing nations, private corporations are not obligated to ensure that citizens are provided with an adequate standard of living or access to food.
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To read the paper, open HERE.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Education of the Girl Child in India

The Social, Cultural, and Economic Factors

‪By Aliza Keen
Aliza Keen, a third-year student at Albany Law School, did her undergraduate work at DePauw University where she majored in both English Writing and Conflict Studies. She is a Senior Editor for International Law Studies and a member of the Women’s Law Caucus.
She has worked as a law clerk at Carter Conboy and the Civil Service Employees, as well as a legal intern at Gyandoh Asmah & Co., a law firm in Accra, Ghana. She is currently a law clerk at Hiscock & Barclay, LLP.
This paper was prepared for Professor Farley’s International Children’s Rights class.


Education is both an idea and commodity that we as a society, country, and world should invest in. Education has the power to break boundaries, encourage development, a sense of self worth, and inspire progress. On a larger scale, a successful educational system has the ability to bolster a country, stimulate an economy, and inspire personal progress. Unfortunately, many times the opportunity to gain an education in India is not as accessible and available to female children as they are to male children.

India has the second largest school system in the world, with roughly 800,000 primary and upper primary schools, 1.9 million teachers, and 111 million students in the ‘recognized’ schools. However, India reports that roughly twenty-five percent of their girl population is not enrolled in schools, compared to that of ten percent for boys. There are a number of factors that affect the education of the girl child in India. For the purposes of this paper, the three factors that will be discussed are the social, cultural and economic factors.
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To read the paper, open HERE.

Energy Subsidies under the WTO

Hopes of a Level Playing Field for Fossil Fuels and Renewable Energy

By Francis T. Dwyer
Francis Dwyer is a 2014 graduate of Albany Law School where he was an associate editor on Albany Law Review and a member of the Environmental Law Society. He received his undergraduate degree from the University at Albany where he studied Sociology and Criminal Justice.
He is currently an Excelsior Service Fellow at New York State Department of Public Service, in the Office of General Counsel.
This paper was prepared for Professor Halewood’s International Trade Law seminar.


Government subsidies in the energy sector affect both international trade and the environment. Currently, there is a trend that promotes subsidizing fossil fuels and stifles subsidies on renewable energy sources. From an environmentalist’s point of view, this is the opposite of what subsidy regulation should be. The World Trade Organization (WTO) should regulate subsidies in a way that discourages the consumption of fossil fuel and encourages the development of renewable energy sources.

This paper first lays out subsidy regulation under the WTO generally and takes a look at how disputes are settled. It then discusses the issues surrounding subsidies on fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, respectively. Finally, it addresses what can be done to solve these problems regarding energy subsidies in order to promote WTO rules that address environmental concerns.

This paper argues that through the use of a multilateral agreement, the WTO can and should administer rules that have ultimate authority to regulate energy as it relates to international trade. Such an “Agreement on Energy” could address energy and international trade in a similar fashion as the Agreement on Agriculture addresses trade issues surrounding agriculture.

The WTO has noted the importance of environmental issues, now it needs to do something. An agreement on energy subsidies is a great place to start. Clear rules could still protect the policy interests surrounding fossil fuel subsidies while promoting renewable energy subsidies. The goal is to create an equal playing field to subsidize both energy sources.
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To read the paper, open HERE.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Abortion and Gender Selection Issues under China’s One Child Policy

 Implications under the Convention on the Rights of the Child

By Yan Rong Yang
Yan Rong Yang is a third year student at Albany Law School. She is a graduate of State University of New York at Albany, magna cum laude, where she majored in political science and history. She is currently interning at the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs. When she was a child, her family immigrated to the United States from China in the mid-1990s. 
Yan Rong prepared this paper for Professor Anthony Farley’s course, International Child Rights.


Modernization has not only allowed for the development of technology, but also human rights. The future of each country lies in the hands of our children. Yet, even in the 21st century, we have countries like China placing a governmental limitation on our rights to reproduce. The “One-Child Policy” has been a center of many political debates, seen as an injustice to Chinese couples who wants the freedom to create more than one life. Here, rather than evaluating that injustice from the views of an adult, the One-Child policy is considered thoroughly from the rights of the child.

China has adopted the articles issued under Children’s Rights Convention (CRC), yet they have failed to obey these articles time and time again. The One-Child policy has caused difficulty for the lives of the “illegal” children. They are abandoned, ripped out of their mother’s wombs, murdered, trafficked, and discriminated against by their own government and government fearing parents.

The age and definition of a child will not change; however, what can be changed is how the policies are implemented. In order to lessen the harm that is done, or has already been done, such as the sex ratio of male to females, China needs to reconsider their responsibilities under CRC. That way, a new generation that can live without facing the effects of the harsh one-child policy.
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To read the paper, open HERE.