Katie Redford is a co-founder of Earth Rights International (ERI). She worked as co-counsel on Doe v. Unocal, a lawsuit through which environmentalists challenged the construction of a pipeline in the country of Myanmar (also known as Burma). 1
Early Career and Personal Life
Ms. Redford is a human-rights lawyer and a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. She is also a recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Human Rights and Public Service. She is an adjunct professor at both the University of Virginia and Washington College of Law at American University. 2
As a law school student in 1990, Ms. Redford spent three months alongside the Thai-Burmese border as an English teacher in a refugee camp for the Karen people, a minority population in Burma. When she graduated from law school, Redford created Earth Rights International, a non-governmental organization along with her husband Ka Hsaw Wa. 3
In 2019, Redford endorsed legislation introduced by Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), the Targeting Environmental and Climate Recklessness Act. The legislation would empower the government to target “specific foreign individuals and companies involved in, or providing financial support to, the most destructive of climate actions.” 4
In November 2019, Roberts was arrested by U.S. Capitol Police as part of a protest in the the Hart Senate Office Building. Redford’s husband, fellow environmentalist activist Ka Hsaw Wa, thought she was “nuts and kind of silly” for being arrested. 5
Doe v. Unocal:
In 2006, the Open Society Foundations provided funding for the documentary titled Total Denial. The film is about Redford’s husband, Ka Hsaw Wa, and his knowledge of alleged abuses by the Burmese military in the 1980s. The film recounted Redford’s attempt to sue a U.S. company doing business in another country on criminal allegations of human rights abuses related to the Yadana pipeline. 6
In 2004, Unocal corporation agreed to settle a lawsuit brought against it by Earth Rights International. Katie Redford, an attorney representing 15 Burmese individuals allegedly impacted by Unocal’s activities in Burma related to human rights abuses, worked as counsel in the case of Doe v. Unocal. 7
- “Faculty.” American University Washington College of Law. Accessed March 17, 2020. https://www.wcl.american.edu/community/faculty/profile/redford/bio.
- Novak, John. “COLGATE’S EARTHRIGHTS CRUSADER.” Colgate’s EarthRights crusader. Accessed March 17, 2020. http://www4.colgate.edu/scene/nov1996/redford.html.
- “Senator Markey Introduces First of Its Kind Foreign Legislation to Deter Worst Cases of Reckless Climate Harm.” Senator Ed Markey, November 25, 2019. https://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senator-markey-introduces-first-of-its-kind-foreign-legislation-to-deter-worst-cases-of-reckless-climate-harm.
- “ECONEWS BASE.” EcoNews BASE – in a troubled world we still plant trees, protect. Accessed March 17, 2020. https://ecoterra.info/index.php/de/allcategories-de-de/12-category-en-gb/1188-climate-crisis-and-civil-disobedience.
- “OSI-Funded Film Wins Human Rights Prize at Film Festival.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed March 17, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/newsroom/osi-funded-film-wins-human-rights-prize-film-festival.
- Girion, Lisa. “MYANMAR: Unocal to Settle Rights Claims.” corpwatch, December 14, 2004. https://corpwatch.org/article/myanmar-unocal-settle-rights-claims.