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American Bar Association

ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities

2006 Midyear Meeting


The American Bar Association
Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities

Presents the 2006




For his sustained commitment to the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities and its mission of providing leadership to the legal profession in protecting and advancing human rights, civil liberties, and social justice.

Jerry’s service to advancing human rights worldwide has been lifelong, diverse, and effective. As a founding Council member (1966-1972) and early Chair of the Section (1969-1970), Jerry helped establish the Section and develop and implement Section-led policy initiatives advocating equality before the law; fair housing; equal rights for women and increased opportunities for women in the legal profession; and U.S. ratification of the Genocide Convention. His ABA service also includes membership on the Board of Governors; in the House of Delegates; on the Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law, and as Chair of the Center for Human Rights. In other arenas, he was a founder of the Legal Services Corporation; U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights under President Jimmy Carter; a member of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe; and, under the first President Bush, a Commissioner of the United States Presidential-Congressional Commission to improve the effectiveness of the United Nations. He has chaired the International Bar Association's Standing Committee on Human Rights; was the founder and first chair of the Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights; and was a founder of the Helskini Watch Committee, which led to the creation of Human Rights Watch. He also has served as general counsel to Amnesty International in the U.S.; on the Executive Committee of the American Society of International Law; on the Executive Committee of the International Commission of Jurists; and helped develop the Statute of Rome, which established the International Criminal Court. He has been described aptly as “a champion of human rights both within the ABA and around the world. A true public citizen: a teacher, lawyer, bar leader, diplomat, and human rights activist. We are very lucky to have someone with Jerry’s remarkable energy and ability on our side.”

In recognition of his distinguished service to the Section, the profession, the nation, and the world in advancing civil and human rights for all, it is with deep affection and respect that the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities presents the Robert F. Drinan Distinguished Service Award this 10th day of February 2006 to Jerome J. Shestack.


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