Skip to main content

Treaty Ratification: Important or Obsolete?

June Zeitlin

Director of the CEDAW Education Project
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

June Zeitlin has been a leader on women’s issues for more than thirty years with extensive international and US public policy experience.  June currently serves as the Director of the CEDAW Education Project at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.   

Previously, June served as Executive Director of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) where she worked with women’s groups around the world and helped lead a successful global campaign for a new, stronger UN women’s agency (UN Women) as well as gain international recognition of the gender dimensions of climate change. Before joining WEDO, June worked for more than a decade at the Ford Foundation, where she directed programs in women’s rights, social justice and democracy and governance, making grants in the United States and worldwide. 

Ms. Zeitlin’s past positions also include working for the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, where she served as the director of the newly created Office on Domestic Violence, as well as positions in intergovernmental relations with the City of New York.  She has a JD from New York University Law School and a BA from the University of Rochester.

Jamil Dakwar

Human Rights Program
American Civil Liberties Union

Jamil Dakwar is Director of the ACLU's Human Rights Program (HRP), which  is dedicated to holding the U.S. government accountable to its  international human rights obligations and commitments. HRP uses a human  rights framework to complement existing ACLU legal and legislative  advocacy, and to advance social justice in the areas of national  security, immigrants' rights, women's rights, racial justice, death  penalty and children’s rights. HRP conducts human rights public   education and engages in advocacy and litigation before U.S. courts and  international bodies, including the United Nations and regional human  rights mechanisms such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Prior to joining the ACLU, he worked at Human Rights Watch, where he   conducted research and published reports on issues of torture and  detention in Egypt, Morocco, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian  Territories. Before coming to the United States, Dakwar was a senior  attorney with Adalah, a leading human rights group in Israel. At Adalah,   he filed and argued human rights cases before the Israeli Supreme Court  and advocated before international forums. He received several human  rights and public interest fellowships including: the Furman  International Human Rights Fellowship, New York University Law School’s   Public Service Law Fellowship, and the Washington College of Law - NIF   Law Fellowship.

Dakwar is co-chair of the American Constitution Society's Working Group  on International Law and the Constitution, which focuses on the   relationship between international law and the Constitution, and the  implications of this relationship for human rights. He is also a  founding and steering committee member of the Human Rights at Home  Campaign.

Steven Groves

Bernard and Barbara Lomas Fellow
Heritage Foundation

Steven Groves is a Fellow in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, where he works on issues regarding American sovereignty, international political and religious freedom, and human rights.  

Mr. Groves has testified before the House and Senate on issues related to international law, human rights, the United Nations and U.N. peacekeeping operations.  

Before joining Heritage in 2007, he was senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, where he played a lead role in an investigation of the U.N. “oil-for-food” scandal.  

He previously practiced law at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, where he specialized in commercial litigation. Before that he served as assistant attorney general for the State of Florida, where he litigated civil rights cases, constitutional law issues and criminal appeals, among other matters, in state and federal courts.  

Groves received his law degree from Ohio Northern University’s College of Law in 1995 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Florida State University in 1992.

Janet Lord

Senior Partner
BlueLaw International LLP

Janet E. Lord is a senior partner at BlueLaw International, LLP, a service-disabled, veteran-owned international law and development firm where she directs the human rights and disability inclusive development practice.  Internationally recognized for her work on international disability rights, she participated in all of the negotiating sessions during the drafting of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, serving as legal advisor to Disabled Peoples’ International, Mexico, Costa Rica and Ecuador and as technical expert to the United Nations. A research associate at the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, she has published widely in the area of human rights, international disability law and inclusive development and is actively engaged in US ratification efforts. She has designed, managed, and implemented projects addressing disability law and policy in more than 30 countries worldwide, including most recently in Canada, Iraq, Russia, Hungary, Sierra Leone, Morocco, Zambia, South Korea, and Yemen and has worked with a variety of international organizations to implement disability rights and inclusive development projects, including the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Disability Programme, UNDP, USAID, the EU, GTZ, the World Bank, CARE Austria, Chemonics International, Disabled Peoples’ International, Handicap International France, International Disability & Development Consortium, Landmine Survivors Network, and the International Foundation for Election Systems. She is adjunct professor of law at the University of Maryland School of Law, American University in the School of International Service and on the faculty of the University of Galway (Ireland) summer institute on disability discrimination.  

Janet has published on US ratification of the CRPD in Foreign Policy in Focus, a forthcoming Cambridge University press edited volume and a forthcoming publication for the United States Institute of Peace.  Other recent publications on international disability rights appear in Human Rights Quarterly, the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, the Washington Law Review, among others. She has worked on ratification of the CRPD in 20 countries worldwide.

Melissa Waters

Department Chair
Mathematics and Statistics
American University College of Arts and Sciences

Professor Waters' research and teaching interests include foreign relations law, international law, international human rights law and international criminal law, comparative law, conflicts of law, civil procedure, and complex civil litigation.  Her scholarly work focuses on the incorporation of international law into domestic legal regimes, and in particular on the role of transnational judicial dialogue in developing international legal norms and in transforming U.S. and other domestic courts into key mediators between domestic and international law.  She has written extensively on the debate in Congress and in the media over the use of foreign and international law in interpreting the U.S. Constitution.  Her articles have been published in the Columbia, Georgetown, and North Carolina law reviews, in the Yale Journal of International Law, and in numerous edited volumes and symposium collections.  In 2006, her work was one of three U.S. entries selected by the American Society of International Law (through a peer reviewed process) for presentation at the inaugural Four Societies Symposium (a joint symposium of the American, Australia/New Zealand, Canadian, and Japanese Societies of International Law).  Her scholarship on transnational judicial dialogue has been cited by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Julie Mertus


American University School of International Service

Professor Julie Mertus is the co-director of Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs. She has written widely on human rights and gender, conflict, the Balkans, U.S. foreign policy and U.N. institutions. She is the author or editor of ten books, including Bait and Switch: Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy, named "human rights book of the year" by the American Political Science Association) and, most recently Human Rights Matters: Local Politics and National Human Rights Institutions and The United Nations and Human Rights. Before entering academia, she worked as a researcher, writer and lawyer for several human rights and humanitarian organizations.