International Human Rights Clinic Projects 2013-2014

Using International Tribunals to Vindicate International Human Rights Abuses in the United States: Filings Before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

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After rigorous client interviews and legal research, students of the International Human Rights Clinic filed a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and another before the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention, on behalf of four brothers. Within weeks of the September 11, 2001 attacks, United States agents arrested Mostafa Mirmehdi, Mohsen Mirmehdi, Mojtaba Mirmehdi and Mohammed Mirmehdi. These agents knowingly used fabricated evidence to detain the brothers for over 40 months. The Mirmehdis, who were never charged with any crimes, unsuccessfully sought justice in domestic courts for more than a decade for their arbitrary and abusive detention. On behalf of the Mirmehdis, students of the International Human Rights Clinic pursued vindication of these human rights violations at the international level. In addition to filing two international petitions, students also hosted a successful advocacy event that was widely covered by media sources in Los Angeles, to raise public awareness of the Mirmehdis’ case and the broader issue of arbitrary detention in the United States.

Addressing Human Rights Violations Against L.A. County Jail Inmates: A Proposal for Civilian Oversight of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department

At the request of the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in L.A. (the Coalition) students of the International Human Rights Clinic produced a detailed analysis of possible models of civilian oversight to combat human rights violations in L.A. county jails. Patterns of misconduct have persisted within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) for decades.  Most recently the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence extensively documented serious problems of excessive force, lax oversight and a general culture of aggression. As reform efforts gather pace, the Coalition, which has worked tirelessly to bring attention to the problem of jail violence, has urged the immediate creation of a Civilian Review Board (CRB) to oversee the LASD as a crucial part of the solution. Students participated in meetings with survivors of human rights violations in custody, community activists, civil rights lawyers and L.A. county officials, which deeply informed their research and analysis. Students also gained valuable experience working on behalf of a grassroots community organization to address human rights violations right here in Los Angeles.

International Human Rights Protections for Migrant Workers: Improving Benefit Portability for Mozambican Mineworkers in South African Mines

Mozambican mineworkers working in South African mines have great difficulties accessing work benefits to which they are entitled upon their return to Mozambique. In partnership with Lawyers for Human

Rights in South Africa, students of the International Human Rights Clinic contributed to a larger project to address this pressing issue. As advocates in South Africa and Mozambique weigh strategy options, students provided them with a comprehensive research memorandum on (1) South Africa’s human rights obligations to protect Mozambican mineworkers, and (2) strategies that Mexican migrant workers in the United States have used to secure benefit portability upon their return to Mexico.