Blog of Rights

Steven M.
Watt
Steven Watt is a Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU’s Human Rights Program. Watt specializes in civil and human rights litigation before domestic courts and international tribunals. Watt is counsel in a host of state and federal court cases involving U.S. rendition, detention, and interrogation programs, trafficking and forced labor, juvenile justice, women’s and immigrants’ rights, and prison conditions.
 
In addition, Watt is counsel in a number of petitions before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, including those addressing domestic violence, arbitrary detention and torture, juvenile life without parole, immigrants’ rights, and voting rights.
 
Prior to joining the ACLU, Watt was a Human Rights Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where he focused on post-9/11 civil and human rights litigation, including Rasul v. Bush, Arar v. Ashcroft, and Turkmen v. Ashcroft.
 
Before taking up residence in the United States, Watt worked for three years as a public defender and legal policy consultant for the Solomon Islands government, managed refugee camps in Tanzania, worked for a community-based development HIV/AIDS program in Uganda, and ran emergency programs for the internally displaced in Liberia.
 
Originally from Scotland, Watt holds a law degree from the University of Aberdeen, a Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Edinburgh, and an LL.M. in International Human Rights from the University of Notre Dame.
 
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Now Can Torture Survivor Khaled El-Masri Have His Apology?

Now Can Torture Survivor Khaled El-Masri Have His Apology?

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 2:33pm

The CIA's unlawful detention and torture of Khaled El-Masri has left him "a broken man," according to a McClatchy article published yesterday.

The story of El-Masri, an ACLU client, is especially poignant following the release of the Senate…

The U.N. Acts to Protect the Human Right to Privacy

The U.N. Acts to Protect the Human Right to Privacy

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 1:18pm

The U.S. Senate failed last week to act to protect the privacy rights of Americans when the USA Freedom Act was rejected, but today, the United Nations took another step towards recognizing privacy rights for everyone.

This afternoon, a committee…

Juwan Wickware being interrogated

Only in America: 16-Year-Old Locked Up for the Rest of His Life

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program & Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 4:37pm

Juwan Wickware wasn't the shooter. But he and more than 2,500 others nationwide will enter prison as teenagers, grow into adults, and die – all behind bars.

This is not right. The sentence must fit the crime, and we cannot throw…

Privacy Rights are Human Rights

Privacy Rights are Human Rights

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 10:45am

Today and tomorrow the United Nations Human Rights Committee will review the United States’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. To assist in the review of U.S. compliance with the covenant’s privacy protections,…

Should Diplomats Always Get Immunity?

Should Diplomats Always Get Immunity?

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 4:18pm

A diplomatic furor has erupted between New Delhi and Washington over the recent arrest of an Indian consular official by U.S. authorities for alleged visa fraud and underpayment of a housekeeper who she had brought from India.

In the wake of…

International Rights Body to Press U.S. on Surveillance, Snowden

International Rights Body to Press U.S. on Surveillance, Snowden

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 2:02pm

History has taught us that pervasive government surveillance has a profoundly adverse effect on the exercise of free speech – a universal right enshrined both in the Constitution and in international human rights law. This Monday, the Inter-American…

Court Rejects Military Contractor's Attempt to Avoid Trial for Human Trafficking

Court Rejects Military Contractor's Attempt to Avoid Trial for Human Trafficking

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 4:21pm

A federal court in Texas struck a blow last week to contractor KBR's attempt to thwart efforts...

All Kids Sentenced to Die in Michigan Prisons Get Second Chance

All Kids Sentenced to Die in Michigan Prisons Get Second Chance

By Brandon Buskey, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 4:38pm

363 men and women in Michigan are currently slated to die in prison because of tragic mistakes they made as kids.  In each of these cases, Michigan law gave the judge no choice but to automatically sentence them to life without even the possibility…

U.S. Must Work to End Human Trafficking, Modern-Day Slavery on Government Contracts

U.S. Must Work to End Human Trafficking, Modern-Day Slavery on Government Contracts

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program & Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 11:06am

In 2004, Buddhi Prasad Gurung, a young man wishing to provide a better life for his family, left his village in Nepal for Jordan...

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