2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the passing away of its President Emeritus Michael Ratner (1943-2016), who had made CCR his political home for 40 years.
In 2007, together with Michael Ratner, Lotte Leicht and others Wolfgang Kaleck co-founded the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin, of which Michael became Chairman, continuously inspiring and helping shape ECCHR’s vision. Considered among the most visionary and influential human rights lawyers of our time, Michael’s legacy is living on through organizations like CCR and ECCHR.
With the Nov. 3 2016 colloquium in Berlin “Challenging the powerful with legal means” and surrounded by leading CCR figures and friends of Michael, ECCHR honored his and CCR’s fascinating heritage, and reflected on our current struggles for human rights and social justice in today’s globalized and capitalist-driven societies.
Every session of the colloquium therefore addressed two aspects: first, a look into a selection of issues, movements and cases that have marked CCR’s and Michael’s work, and second, the human rights lawyering practical lessons that can be drawn from that.