In June the Human Rights Program and our many partners at the University of Minnesota and in Antioquia that comprise our Minnesota-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership (or "Alianza") bid farewell to our esteemed Clinical Coordinator, Diana Patricia Quintero. Diana was deeply engaged with the development of the Alianza starting in October of 2012 and has been a key contributor ever since. Her efforts on the project focused mainly on enhancing the capacity for human rights legal clinical work at the four Antioquia schools engaged in the Partnership. In particular, she focused on providing the schools with resources and support to advance methodology and pedagogy in the areas of strategic litigation on behalf of vulnerable communities, individual case acceptance and advocacy, and community outreach and education on behalf of vulnerable populations.
Recently in Colombia Category
Over the course of this past year, the Minnesota-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership has working to develop access to Spanish-language materials through the Online Human Rights Library. The online library is a great way for the partnership to share information pertinent to Colombia, human rights issues, vulnerable groups, human rights institutions, among humanitarian law, and among other important topics, in a very user-friendly way.
One of the major accomplishments of the UMN - Antioquia Human Rights Law Partnership thus far has been the work done in regards to the joint clinical cases that both the Colombian universities and the University of Minnesota have been working on, in particular the ongoing case of La Picacha.
Within the country of Colombia, the state of Antioquia, and the city of Medellin, La Picacha is a very large river, which since 2011 has flooded annually, leaving the city residents of Medellin at great risk, particularly in the neighborhoods of Altarista, Belén, and Laureles-Estadio.
The cooperative clinical case undertaken by the partners included in the project aims to raise awareness to the problem occurring in the communities effected by the flooding, as well as object to a mandate court order, which will be explained in further detail later in this piece.
Gabriel Gómez is a professor at the University of Antioquia (U de A) whose invaluable insight and leadership has been an important contribution to the University of Minnesota - Antioquia Human Rights Law Partnership. Learn more about the partnership. In the dynamic international collaboration to develop human rights curriculum, Gabriel's input has enriched the conversation and the project as a whole through his focus on network-building, sustainability, and the enhancement of interdisciplinary human rights study.
Technological advances have made communicating across borders incredibly easily--as simple as logging on through email and clicking that strange little green button resembling a video recorder. With such tools at our fingertips, we have unprecedented potential for strengthening human rights networks that transcend spacial and political obstacles. Human rights students at the University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia, and at the University of Minnesota have initiated a collaborative project that looks to take advantage of the new possibilities presented through innovations in communication technology. These young individuals seek to spark international dialogue among university students surrounding human rights issues and philosophy, which will supplement their human rights classes and add rich dimension to their studies. Such conversation provides an opportunity to gain genuine multicultural understanding of social justice issues, and to create a fortified and united global student body, a body well-suited for addressing the extremely powerful global forces shaping injustice, poverty, and violence across the world today.
During the first year of the Minnesota-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership, the University of Minnesota has worked collaboratively with the Universidad Católica de Oriente (UCO), located in Rionegro, Colombia, to establish a Human Rights Clinic in their Law School. The clinical program officially started in July of 2013, and the first group of participants was comprised of one faculty member, Professor Maribel Ocazionez, and eleven upper-level law students. It has since added six new students and one new faculty member, Professor Carolina Rojas. In preparation for the launch of this new clinic, the Partnership provided UCO's faculty with training in human rights advocacy strategy and engaged faculty in constructive conversation and brainstorming around the academic and administrative challenges and opportunities inherent to creating, maintaining and running a human rights legal clinic.
Visiting Professor Sandra Gómez Santamaría from the University of Antioquia, Colombia spoke with UMN faculty and graduate students regarding ongoing violence in Colombia and presented transitional justice and peace efforts. Professor Gómez is a leading figure in the UMN-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership in the midst of a three-week visit to exchange human rights advocacy techniques and theory with local scholars and activists.
This summer, I traveled to Colombia as a part of the Human Rights Program's Human Rights Law Partnership, an experience made possible by the Upper Midwest Human Rights Fellowship. The Human Rights Fellowship Program provides financial support to residents of the Upper Midwest--including students, teachers, lawyers, health professionals, community leaders and others--interested in gaining practical experience with human rights organizations. Through my fellowship, I worked as student ambassador to the Human Rights Program, in its efforts to develop a comprehensive international human rights law curriculum in four Colombian universities, training law professors in the field of international human rights, fortifying and expanding available human rights resources in each university's library, and involving students in international human rights litigation and official affairs, among other efforts.
Last week the Human Rights Program (HRP) and Human Rights Center (HRC) hosted eight professors, law students, and professionals from the Antioquia region of Colombia for a week-long exchange in human rights education and advocacy. The exchange was an important component of the UMN-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership, which aims to promote and protect human rights in Colombia by enhancing human rights legal education.
The Human Rights Program is thrilled to announce the arrival of visiting faculty and students from Colombia at the University of Minnesota this fall. The visitors come from several Universities in the Antioquia region of Colombia in order to gain a broader understanding of human rights education, clinical practice and advocacy in the U.S.