The Inter-American Court of Human Rights Awards Resounding Victory to GW Law Clinic Clients
In October of 2012, The Inter-American Court of Human Rights handed down its judgment in Vélez Restrepo and Family v. Colombia — a case of serious human rights violations suffered by journalist Richard Vélez, his wife, Sara Román, and their two children, Mateo and Juliana. In its decision, the Inter-American Court found Colombia directly responsible for all the abuses alleged, including the persecution and threats that culminated in the attempt to kidnap Mr. Vélez. It found serious violations of Mr. Vélez' rights to humane treatment, freedom of expression, freedom of movement and residence, family, and due process and ordered a reparations package of over $300,000, a resounding victory for the clients.
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GW’s International Human Rights Clinic Advocates for LGBT Human Rights at United Nations
On March 19, 2012, a team from George Washington University Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic advocated for the human rights of Guatemalan LGBT community at the United Nations. Current clinic students Casey Arellano and Jacqueline Powers and former clinic students Timothy Merlo, Supraja Murali, accompanied by Friedman Fellow Shana Tabak, in partnership with a Guatemalan NGO, traveled to New York to highlight human rights abuses against the LGBTI community in Guatemala before the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations. The committee monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and political rights (ICCPR), to which Guatemala is a State Party. As part of its advocacy, the Clinic submitted to the Committee a shadow report documenting human rights violations against LGBT people in Guatemala, and contributed to NGO advocacy efforts at the Committee’s hearings in NY. The Guatemala report is the second of three shadow reports produced by the clinic advocating for LGBT human rights in Jamaica, Guatemala, and Armenia. The Committee released its Concluding Observations regarding Guatemala’s compliance with its treaty obligations under the ICCPR, available in Spanish, which express its concern for the status if LBGTI human rights in Guatemala, and urges the state to ensure the prosecution and punishment of any act of discrimination or violence motivated by sexual orientation. Read the Concluding Remarks.
International Human Rights Clinic Litigates Freedom of Expression Case Before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica
Vélez v. Colombia denounces grave human rights abuses committed by the Colombian security forces against a journalist and his family in the late 1990s. Read the full story and watch video coverage of the hearing.
Global Internet Freedom and Human Rights Distinguished Speaker Series
Established in fall 2011, GW Law's Global Internet Freedom and Human Rights Distinguished Speaker Series is presented through the generous support of Microsoft. The series, organized and coordinated by Professors Dawn Nunziato and Arturo Carrillo, presents a range of timely topics addressing global internet free speech and human rights issues. View events.
IHRC Urges Obama Administration to Support Colombian Human Rights Activists
Clinic Joins Human Rights Groups in Lobbying Secretary Clinton, International Human Rights Commission
In October 2011, GW Law’s International Human Rights Clinic joined eight human rights organizations in urging Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and the Obama administration to increase protections for human rights activists in Colombia. In a letter to Secretary Clinton, the groups asserted that the United States should deploy its influence to help prevent human rights violations in that country. Read news story.
Doe v. Chiquita Banana International
On July 19, 2007, Colombian families represented inter alia by Earthrights International (ERI), an international NGO based in Washington DC and IHRC partner, filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (CBI), the multi-national produce company formerly known as the United Fruit Company. Chiquita is accused of funding and arming known terrorist organizations in Colombia starting in the mid-1990s in order to maintain its profitable control of Colombia’s banana growing regions. Full press release.
Chiquita MTD order
Magnifico, et al.
In a clinic case involving human trafficking and unpaid wages, clinic students Mollie Hailey and Sylvia Miller, under the supervision of Professor Annie Smith, successfully opposed defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' Alien Tort Statute ("ATS") claims, arguing that there is no extraterritoriality requirement under the ATS and that the ATS was not preempted by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Read the published decision, issued on April 20, 2011. Co-counsel World Organization for Human Rights USA's press release can be read here.
GW Law International Human Rights Clinic Brings Its First Case Before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
April 11, 2011 - The George Washington University Law School's International Human Rights Clinic will litigate its first case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights later this year in a case that aims to bring justice to a reporter who was found to have been abused and forced into exile by the government of Colombia in 1996. More
GW Law's International Human Rights Clinic Submits Amicus Brief to the Peruvian Supreme Court in the Case Against Former President of Peru Fujimori for Serious Human Rights Abuses
June 27, 2008, LIMA, PERU - a representative of the GW Law School International Human Rights Clinic met with the Chief Justice of the Peruvian Supreme Court's Special Criminal Chamber, Dr. César San Martín, to submit its amicus brief on behalf of 14 US law professors in the ongoing case against Alberto Fujimori for serious human rights abuses committed during his tenure as President of Peru (1990-2000). The GW amicus brief outlines the principles of international criminal law applicable to the case and argues that these norms are legally relevant to the justices' analysis under Peruvian criminal law. The brief was prepared under the direction of IHRC Director and Professor Arturo Carrillo with the colaboration of Peruvian attorney Carlos Zelada. Read the report in Spanish [pdf].
GW International Human Rights Law Clinic and Jamaicans for Justice Submit Landmark Report to the Inter-American Commission on Extrajudicial Killings Committed by Jamaican Police
March 7, 2008 - Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ), a non-profit, non-partisan organization and the GW Law International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) presented the report "Killing Impunity: Fatal Police Shootings and Extrajudicial Executions in Jamaica 2005-2007" before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Executive Director of JFJ, Dr. Carolyn Gomes; Member of the JFJ Board of Directors, Mr. Devon Yetman; and the father of one of the victims, Mr. Russell Parkinson, spoke at the hearing, which was also attended by Erin Culbertson and Inyoung Hwang in representation of the IHRC. Read the report. Listen to hearings.