Litigation Areas

Human Rights

Whether it's terrorism on a national or international scale, wrongful imprisonment or childhood sexual abuse, violations of our basic human rights should not be tolerated. Our human rights attorneys work for victims and fight to help bring an end to human rights violations across the globe.

Upholding Human Rights

Human rights are considered our most fundamental rights and are agreed upon on an international level. They prohibit violations such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and terrorism financing.

Certain claims of human rights violations can be tried in the United States civil justice system, and the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) allows foreign citizens, in some instances, to bring these same claims to our courts abusers are found in, or with ties to, the United States.

Our human rights attorneys have fought for, and continue to fight for victims of:

•    Human enslavement/Human trafficking
•    Wrongful imprisonment
•    Torture
•    Wrongful death

Helping to Bring About International Reform

Motley Rice human rights attorneys filed a federal civil complaint in 2005 against several leaders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for their alleged involvement in kidnapping, human trafficking and child enslavement of young boys for use as camel jockeys. These children were often reportedly starved to make them lighter, and were abused both physically and sexually while being subjected to harsh living and working conditions.

The UAE reportedly banned the use of children as camel jockeys in 2005 and began a two-part program with UNICEF to return these children to their home countries and to compensate them for their injuries. Today, camel races are conducted with lightweight robots controlled by trainers riding in vehicles alongside the track.

Wrongful Imprisonment

Often through no fault of their own, prisoners and detainees are denied their basic human rights, including the rights to fair treatment, health care and due process under the law.

In December 2012, Motley Rice human rights attorneys settled a suit against a Rhode Island detention facility for the wrongful death of a detainee who was allegedly subjected to extreme mental and physical abuse. It is our firm’s hope that the multi-million dollar settlement reached reasserts the message that all people have the right to fair, humane treatment.

*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Childhood Sexual Abuse and Human Trafficking

We recognize the remarkable amount of courage it takes for childhood sexual abuse survivors to come forward. While we can’t change what happened, speaking up about those who have abused you or others can allow justice to be served and can help prevent others from experiencing similar abuse.

Sadly, human trafficking is another shameful practice that occurs. This type of modern slavery is not limited to foreign countries, either, as human trafficking continues to be reported in the United States today, with almost 10,000 potential cases reported between 2008 and 2012. Our human rights team fights to end this appalling practice by advocating for victims.

Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Dodd-Frank Act

The brutal conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues in part because the armed groups in the region receive funding through the sale of gold, tin, tungsten and tantalum, known as conflict minerals, mined from the region. The trade in these natural resources creates a “resources curse” in that the warring parties are able to purchase weaponry as well as recruit for, train and equip their armies through the conflict minerals trade. These minerals are found in our everyday consumer products.

In 2014, human rights attorney Jodi Westbrook Flowers worked with Global Witness to author a substantive amicus brief in support of the SEC’s Conflict Mineral Rule (section 1502) of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires publicly traded companies to report on the use of conflict minerals. This brief helped to raise awareness and consideration for the Conflict Minerals Rule to stay in place and be reinforced.