OU Law students enrolled in the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) – Kristen Fling, Caitlin Vance, Johanna Roberts Vance, and Sydney Abdallah – undertook a working visit to the Republic of Costa Rica from May 7–18, 2017 to study the new process the Government is carrying out in regards to the right of indigenous peoples to prior consultations. They were accompanied by Professor Lindsay Robertson and Alvaro Baca.
During the visit, they held meetings with the Deputy Minister for Political Affairs and Public Dialogue who handles the indigenous affairs in Costa Rica State, representatives of the Legislative Assembly, the President of the National Commission of Indigenous Affairs (CONAI), legal advisors of Indigenous Communities, the Ombudsman, and key officials of United Nations office in Costa Rica.
The working visit also took the students to the headquarters of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights. As part of the Agreement of Academic Cooperation that has existed since 2012 between the University of Oklahoma College of Law and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Kristen Fling will complete an internship in the spring 2018 in the Inter-American Court.
After this visit, the students have to send a report to the Government of Costa Rica with their observations on the right of indigenous peoples to prior consultations. Since the inception in 2009 to date, the International Human Right Clinic has submitted 26 reports to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights United Nations (OHCHR); The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and proximally to the State of Costa Rica.
The students of the International Human Rights Clinic would like to express gratitude to the Dean Joe Harroz, and the administrative staff of the College of Law for their indispensable support for this working visit to Costa Rica.
The International Human Rights Clinic has Internships programs with: The Inter-American Human Rights Commission based in Washington, D.C.; The UPR Info, a non-profit and non-governmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland; The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination of the United Nations (CERD) based in Geneva, Switzerland; The Supreme Court of Justice of Nicaragua based in Managua, Nicaragua; The Regional Office for Central America of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) based in Panama City; and the Presidential Commission Against Discrimination and Racism Against Indigenous People in Guatemala.
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