Ms. Parker is a San Francisco based attorney who
practices human rights and humanitarian law full
time. She is responsible, in part, for the evolution
of international law in such areas as economic
sanctions, weaponry, environment as a human right,
and the rights of the disabled. he also consults and
serves as an expert witness in legal disputes
involving the application of armed conflict law. In
1982, she founded the Association of Humanitarian
Lawyers (originally incorporated as International
Disability Law), and has served as its president for
over ten years. She has also represented or served
as a consulting attorney for Disabled Peoples
International, Human Rights Advocates, and the
Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund.
Today, she testifies regularly at the U.N.
Commission on Human Rights in Geneva and its
Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of
Human Rights. She is a recognized expert on the
application of humanitarian law with regard to
Depleted Uranium (DU), and more recently has brought
a lawsuit against the United States on behalf of
victims of Iraqi medical facilities bombed by U.S.
forces. The Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights has accepted this case.
Her legal arguments on a variety of issues and
conflicts are regularly cited by U.N. officials in
their reports and included in the final drafts of
resolutions adopted by the Commission on Human
Rights. In 2000, she worked closely with the U.N.
Special Rapporteur on Sanctions in developing a
six-prong test to determine if a trade embargo and
other economic sanctions violate human rights and
humanitarian law, and on the report as a whole. She
has also worked closely with U.N. officials
appointed to report to the commission on disability,
the environment, terrorism, toxic dumping and
weaponry, and the human rights situation in specific
In this particular speech, Ms Karen Parker talks
about international law and the Tamil
self-determination struggle. She distinguishes
terrorism from a national liberation struggle.