Professor Alejandra Gonza, a visiting scholar who is spending the fall semester at Notre Dame Law School, will speak to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights this week in Washington, D.C., accompanied by testimony of prominent immigrant defenders from throughout the country.
The IACHR is an independent body of the Organization of American States. The commission’s mandate is to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region.
The commission is holding its 170th Period of Sessions from Monday through Friday this week. It holds several sessions each year to bring together human rights defenders as well as state delegations and academics.
Gonza, together with other human rights leaders, will speak Wednesday, December 5, about the situation of human rights defenders and migrants in the United States. The hearing comes after the United Nations and the IACHR expressed concern about U.S. actions against immigrant leaders and called for the adoption of measures to ensure that human rights defenders can work without the threat of retaliation.
A team of five Notre Dame Law students has been helping Gonza prepare for the hearing and will accompany her to Washington. The students are Alyssa Slaimen and Lara Thiele, both of whom are third-year students in the Law School’s J.D. program, Gastón Frederico Blasi and Iuliia Emtseva of the LL.M. Program in International Human Rights, and exchange student Aisling Carberry.
Slaimen, Thiele, Blasi, Emtseva, and Carberry are students in International Human Rights Advocacy, a course that Gonza teaches.
Gonza is visiting Notre Dame Law School this semester from the University of Washington, where she is the director of the International Human Rights Clinic. Along with well-recognized human rights organizations, experts, and immigrant families, she will present the clinic’s findings on how the infringement of freedom of speech has affected the work of immigrant leaders as well as immigrant families and communities. The organizations will also present the University of Washington Center for Human Rights report Secret Police: Access to information about immigration enforcement in the contemporary United States.
The hearing is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, December 5, in the Padilha Vidal Room B at the General Secretariat Building, 1889 F Street NW in Washington, D.C. A press conference will follow at 5 p.m. at the building’s entrance.
Click here to read a press release about the hearing.