International Human Rights Advocacy Workshop

Commissioners at an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) panel. Image credit: IACHR.

Professor of Practice Seanna Howard leads the International Human Rights Advocacy Workshop, where students participate in cases and advocacy projects focusing on petitions and initiatives with substantial international human rights dimensions involving Indigenous peoples. Professor Howard has been with the college’s Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program for more than 10 years, working on precedent-setting cases representing Indigenous communities before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations, and domestic courts in Canada and Belize.

Projects also involve the use of international human rights standards in advocacy at the domestic level, including domestic litigation, and in monitoring the activities of business matters that bear upon human rights. Past projects have included students in drafting legal briefs, human rights reports, amicus briefs, press statements, educational materials, and witness affidavits for cases in Belize, Canada, Congo, Brazil, Mexico, Suriname, Nicaragua, and the United States.

Each semester students have the opportunity to work on a wide range of advocacy projects. Current examples of workshop projects include:

  • United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The University of Arizona Law is hosting the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples José Francisco "Pancho" Calí Tzay for the duration of his three year term as Special Rapporteur. Students at University of Arizona Law have the unparalleled opportunity to work on Indigenous human rights issues under the supervision of UN Special Rapporteur Calí Tzay. Seanna Howard, Director of the International Human Rights Advocacy Workshop, and her clinic students, provide assistance to Calí Tzay, working on a wide range of research and advocacy projects to support his UN mandate.
  • Collaboration with Water Protectors Legal Collective: the International Human Rights Workshop is working with the Water Protectors Legal Collective to develop an international human rights response to the legal and human rights concerns facing “water protectors” demonstrating against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in Standing Rock, North Dakota.
  • Self-determination Initiatives with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs: IPLP faculty and clinic students have partnered with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) on a series of comprehensive research and advocacy projects to help inform the OHA’s initiatives to advance the self-determination of Native Hawaiian peoples
  • San Francisco Peaks Petition: Representing the Navajo Nation, IPLP faculty, staff, and students have submitted a petition before the Organization of American States, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to protect the San Francisco Peaks and the religious practices and spiritual beliefs of the Navajo people

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