HRLF & Women’s Rights Advocacy

HRLF’s Background


A Strong Background in Women’s Rights Advocacy

Our staff

HRLF attorneys have a strong background in advancing the cause of women’s rights. Executive Director and Attorney Dr. Terri Marsh has been involved in several human rights cases involving allegations of torture, rape, and trafficking. She worked for many years as a Women Studies professor and has published articles on topics relating to gender and sexuality. Attorney Arianne Plasencia was a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major at Harvard University. She was the Managing Editor of the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law and has published a student note on sex workers in modern Cuba. Attorney Philip McCarthy was a member of Outlaw at Georgetown University and the Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives. He participated in several issues relating to gender and sexuality during his membership in Outlaw and the Journal.

Women’s right to be free from torture: Liu Qi

HRLF won a declaratory judgment against former Beijing Mayor Liu Qi in federal district court in the Northern District of California. In Liu Qi, several of the plaintiffs were sexually assaulted. One of the plaintiffs was raped by the security police who were interrogating and detaining her. Another plaintiff was stripped of her clothing and beaten. She also witnessed other inmates who were sexually assaulted during her detention in China. HRLF successfully helped both plaintiffs obtain justice and redress for the gender-based harms inflicted upon them.

Helping mothers protect their daughters from torture

HRLF helped a mother protect her young daughter from torture by helping her gain asylum in the United States. The young girl’s mother sent a letter to HRLF asking HRLF to help her daughter reside in the United States with her aunt because the entire family was at risk of persecution. In the letter, the girl’s mother explained that she was worried that her daughter would be subjected to rape, torture, and sex trafficking based on the family’s religious beliefs. HRLF played a major collaborative role in helping the young girl’s mother gain a safe haven for her daughter. With the assistance of Homeland Security and a major immigration law firm, HRLF was able to stop the girl from being returned to China. HRLF staff maintains a strong relationship with the girl, who is currently flourishing in the United States as a violin player.

Protecting women from illegal detention, torture, and persecution.

HRLF has filed several cases in the United States and in Spain in order to protect women from the crimes of illegal detention, torture, and persecution. A landmark case is underway in Spain on behalf of several women who have been subjected to injuries resulting from violations of international human rights law. HRLF has also assisted with several human rights cases around the world, including a case in Argentina.


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