Thursday, October 20, 2011

Human Rights Complaint At the Border

Again, violence directed at the undocumented will only drive victims of trafficking further underground. See below...

PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release:Tuesday, October 18, 2011
International Human Rights Commission Hears Case on Anti-immigrant Border Vigilante Activities

Jennifer Allen, Executive Director, Border Action Network 520-820-0360,
Nancy Stanley 520-979-014

WASHINGTON, DC. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS) has announced that it will hear a human rights complaint brought by a Tucson immigrant rights organization. The Border Action Network has accused the United States of failing to provide protection and legal remedies for victims of violence and intimidation by anti-immigrant vigilante groups operating along the US-Mexico border in southern Arizona. The complaint, filed in 2005, alleges that the United States is in violation of the rights to life, liberty and personal security, the right to equality before the law and the right to judicial protection as recognized under the OAS' principal human rights instrument, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

The Commission ruled the complaint to be admissible in August 2009 and published a report of its findings at <>. The case is now at the merits stage of the proceedings which means the Commission will determine whether the United States has a duty to prevent, investigate and sanction these armed vigilante groups. The case focuses on 21 incidents occurring in Cochise County, Arizona during the period of 1999-2005 in which private individuals or organized vigilante groups, such as the Minutemen, detained and assaulted people they suspected of being undocumented, some of whom were Mexican-American children.

According to, Jennifer Allen, Executive Director of the Border Action Network, ?We have worked for years to get law enforcement and elected officials to step up and prosecute these groups. We?ve filed lawsuits, sent thousands of postcards, letters from children and petitions to their offices. In spite of this outpouring of local community opposition and legal groundwork, U.S. officials have shirked their responsibilities and enabled these groups to continue.?

Attorneys from the International Human Rights Advocacy Workshop at the University of Arizona College of Law are providing legal representation on this case. The Workshop provides law students the opportunity to get directly involved in high-profile human and civil rights cases. According to the attorneys, ?the case triggers a range of legal issues beyond the controversies detailed in the media. A merits hearing will bring us closer to defining the obligations of the United States to prevent and punish this type of violence under international human rights law. We?re satisfied that we have a strong legal case.?

The hearing will occur at the Commission's headquarters in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, October 25, 2011, from 9-10 am. Journalists are welcome to attend and do not require credentials to cover this public hearing. Audio recording is allowed but a permit is needed for videotaping. Media questions can be addressed to the Commission's Press Director, Maria Isabel Rivero: (202) 458-3867

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