With the support of the Abe Osheroff and Gunnel Clark Award I was able to continue my work with the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Washington School of Law throughout the of summer 2017. The Clinic represents a grassroots organization of undocumented and formally detained immigrants in Washington. I assisted in drafting a public hearing request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that highlighted conditions at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA and specifically the role that corporations play in violating the human rights of immigrants detained in immigrant detention centers.
Shortly after the summer started, the project began to respond to the needs of our client during ongoing hunger strikes. So far in 2017, there have been five documented hunger strikes from those detained at the NWDC, with several of the hunger strikes occurring this summer. As a Clinic student I interviewed those who were on hunger strike inside the detention center and documented the demands, conditions, and retaliatory tactics used by ICE and GEO.
In August, I represented the Clinic for a tour of the NWDC in a group of eight legal aid and human rights focused organizations. I also assisted in drafting an urgent appeal to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in relation to the hunger strikes. Urgent appeals are available for cases where there are allegations that a person may be detained arbitrarily and that the alleged violation may be time-sensitive and involve the loss of life or other ongoing damage of grave nature to victims during the continued detention.
I thank the UW Center for Human Rights and the Abe Osherof and Gunnel Clark Fund for providing me the opportunity to continue this vital work.