The Americas Accountability Project
Joseph Abdallah, Kathryn Hamilton, Natalie Socorro
- Staff members working on this project have carried out extensive research on Judge Baltasar Garzon’s initiation of a criminal investigation into the role of six United Sates officials in the torture of detainees in both Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib Prison.
- Information compiled by staff members will be placed on the IACHR website for use as both an educational resource and as a means to raise awareness about the “Bush Six” and the torture carried out in the War on Terror.
- A Symposium is in the planning, tentatively scheduled for October 2009.
Women’s Rights & Sexual Ethics in North Africa
- The women’s rights and sexual ethics in North Africa project is a comprehensive look at legal issues surrounding women’s status in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania.
- Looking at the impact of important events in each country’s history, such as the Islamization of the Maghreb region and the colonial powers’ infiltration and subsequent withdraw from the region. The project then investigates how such events altered women’s legal status.
Working for Legal Aid of Broward
- Joseph Keenan is currently volunteering at Broward Legal Aid's Immigration Unit. The immigration unit focuses primarily on visas for victims of domestic (VAWA Visas) and witnesses to criminal investigations (U-Visas).
- Mr. Keenan assists the immigration unit by providing legal research, conducting intake and follow up interviews with clients, and drafting immigration legal documents.
Darfur Calling: Conflict, Challenges & Solutions
Cristen Mercer, Stacy Roberts, Lauren Speno
- A week-long symposium on Darfur hosted by the Inter-American Center for Human Rights and Nova Southeastern University’s Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution
- Scheduled for September 8, 9, 10 & 12, 2009 this symposium included both informational panels and films designed to raise awareness about the reasons for the existence and continuation of the atrocities occurring in Darfur.
The Asylum Research Center
The Center houses the Asylum Research Center (ARC), which serves the legal community by providing documentation on human rights conditions to non-profit organizations, attorneys and asylum applicants. The Center and ARC are staffed by dedicated students and faculty members, with the assistance of local asylum attorneys and immigrant organizations. ARC is a research branch of the Center dedicated to providing comprehensive human rights documentation on country conditions to assist individuals seeking asylum and withholding of deportation.
The Human Rights Litigation Program
Consistent with its goal of involving students directly in human rights advocacy, the Human Rights Litigation Program involves students in preparing human rights cases in both international fora and domestic courts. Participation is not limited to law students, but includes students from all disciplines and from undergraduate as well as graduate schools.
The Program addresses human rights violations of all kinds. Current programs include litigation regarding indigenous peoples and sexual minorities. Plans for the near and longer term include litigation regarding labor rights violations under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the existence and racially discriminatory application of the juvenile death penalty, the rights of the child and discriminatory violation of environmental law in the United States and throughout the Americas.
The Americans Accountability Project
The Center’s Americas Accountability Project has been involved in numerous activities to hold state actors accountable for human rights violations throughout the Americas. The Center has been working with the Center for Justice and Accountability in San Francisco (the “CJA”) on cases against violators of human rights abuses found in South Florida based on the Alien Tort Claim Act and the Torture Victim Prevention Act. The Center has assistant the CJA on over five cases, several of which have resulted in judgments against the defendants on behalf of victims of human rights violations. Our cooperation has consisted in assisting with trial preparation and field work in South Florida.
Moreover, as the United States increasingly relies upon human rights in the furtherance of its foreign policy goals, at least rhetorically, it is critical that the United States and its government officials be held accountable to those same standards. Unlike those countries that have forthrightly confronted their past human rights abuses, the United States has never held any government officials accountable for past human rights violations. The Center’s is working on several projects to use established human rights law, as recognized in United States courts, to address this failure of accountability.
The Venezuela Project
In January, 2004, the Center, in conjunction with the Venezuelan Society for Human Rights (VSHR), filed two petitions with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission on behalf of the largest trade union in Venezuela, the Federation of Businesses, and two victims of human rights violations by the Venezuelan police.
In January, 2004, the Center hosted a press conference in Washington DC, in the House Office Building to announce the filing of the petitions with the Inter-American Center in Washington. The Center also discussed the issues facing Venezuela with various congressional leaders and organizations, including the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Bob Graham, Senator George Allen, Congressman Peter Deutsch, Congressman Cass Ballenger, Congressman Bob Mendez, Congressman Kendrick Meek, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Heritage Foundation.
This press conference followed one at Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad Law Center in November 2003, in which local community organizations and two of the plaintiffs participated in educating the community regarding human rights conditions in Venezuela.