The International Human Rights Law Clinic testified on refugee rights in the Americas before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights during its 149th period of sessions, held in Washington, DC, from October 24 – November 7, 2013. Clinic students Christina Fetterhoff and Jennifer Ponard prepared information on refugees’ access to information for the purposes of preparing a defense when asylum claims are denied. Co-petitioners for the hearing were Asylum Access Ecuador, the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Sin Fronteras IAP, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Consultancy on Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Representatives from these organizations similarly presented statistics on refugees and information on detention issues and requested that the Commission develop a regional standard for refugee status determination.
This hearing was the first in a series of three requested hearings to highlight refugee rights issues in the Americas, leading up to the thirtieth anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees next year. Future hearings, if granted by the Commission, will focus on issues including unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable populations.