Ninth Annual Henkin Lecture on Human Rights: "Human Rights and Democracy in a New Era"


Henkin Lecture artwork

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 25, 2021) – The former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Juan E. Méndez, will present the lecture, "Human Rights and Democracy in a New Era," at the Ninth Annual Henkin Lecture on Human Rights on Thursday, February 11, 2021, 12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. EST.

The lecture will explore how the inauguration of a new administration – but more significantly the dramatic events that preceded it – gives rise to new opportunities to promote and protect human rights and democracy as a central element of United States foreign policy.

"Miami Law is a rich and vibrant hub of human rights theory and praxis," said Professor Caroline Bettinger-López, director of the human rights clinic. "Our faculty have long been at the vanguard of cutting-edge research, scholarship, teaching, and networks that use a critical lens to connect the local, national, and global. And our students have engaged in the study and practice of human rights on campus and around the world, through academic pursuits, clinical work, internships, and post-graduate employment in the private and public sectors.

"The annual Louis Henkin Human Rights Lecture reflects our law school's commitment to honoring the legacy of a human rights giant who, both directly and indirectly, influenced many members of our law school community, and whose ideas are just as relevant today as when he first shared them over a half-century ago," she said.

Méndez is a professor of Human Rights Law in Residence at the American University – Washington College of Law, where he is faculty director of the Anti-Torture Initiative, a project to WCL's Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. He is the co-author of "Taking A Stand: The Evolution of Human Rights."

The former commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists, Geneva, Switzerland, Méndez is a former member of the Selection Committee to appoint magistrates of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and the Truth Commission set up as part of the Colombian Peace Accords. He has held positions on crime prevention at the International Criminal Court and the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association. He was also president of the International Center for Transitional Justice. Concurrent with his duties at ICTJ, the Honorable Kofi Annan named Méndez his special advisor on the Prevention of Genocide.

The annual lecture is named for the prominent law professor at Columbia University School of Law, one of the founders of the academic study of human rights who inspired a generation of human rights lawyers, scholars, and activists, including some of Miami Law's professors. In 2011, Miami Law created the lecture series in Louis Henkin's memory.

The virtual event is free and open to the public with registration. For more information, contact Annette Hugues, director of events at