The UW Center for Human Rights uses the Freedom of Information Act and state public records laws to investigate local and international human rights issues, in partnership with human rights organizations working for justice and accountability. Through targeted research and strategic litigation, we’re fighting for access to information as a human right.
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This is a companion report to Hidden in Plain Sight: ICE Air and the Machinery of Mass Deportation, a research report by the University of Washington Center for Human Rights examining Immigration and Customs Enforcement Air Operations nationwide. For further background on ICE Air, our research methods, or the Alien Repatriation Tracking System database discussed here, please
Each year, “ICE Air” removes tens of thousands of people from the US via a network of private charter flights. The UW Center for Human Rights is making public an ICE database regarding these flights and documenting the corporations and municipalities participating in ICE’s deportation flights.
On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, the University of Washington Center for Human Rights celebrated the success of a hearing in federal district court regarding its ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the US Department of Defense and Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). At the hearing SOUTHCOM agreed to release relevant portions of two previously unseen collections
UW Ph.D. student Emily Willard represented the University of Washington Center for Human Rights during an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights hearing regarding the “Situation of Human Rights Defenders of Migrants in the United States.”
Newly declassified U.S. Government documents show American Embassy’s support for the El Mozote massacre trial and other cases of wartime abuses, and provide new insight into wartime dynamics and atrocities such as the assassination of Archbishop Óscar Romero, UN involvement in El Salvador, and the alleged corruption and crimes against humanity committed by U.S.-trained Salvadoran Armed Forces and former Defense Minister García.
Report on barriers to access to information regarding immigration enforcement, presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, D.C. on December 5, 2018 during the Commission’s session on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders of Migrants in the United States.
The University of Washington Center for Human Rights has received the first major cache of newly-declassified documents from our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the US Department of Defense, filed in December 2017. The documents, which are publicly accessible via UW Libraries, reveal key operational details about military operations, deeply relevant to many families’ ongoing search for basic information about the context in which loved ones were victimized or abducted. Sadly, they also reveal frustrating limitations to agencies’ compliance with FOIA, underscoring the need for greater transparency across the board.
On September 21, 2018, the University of Washington Center for Human Rights filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its two sub-agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The lawsuit aims to hold ICE and CBP accountable for failing to respond lawfully to twelve requests for public information filed by Center researchers since 2017.
Documents released to the UW Center for Human Rights by Customs and Border Protection suggest that asylum seekers are being arbitrarily denied the right to make credible fear claims on the northern U.S. border, predating Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “zero tolerance” policies.
UW Center for Human Rights research intern Grace Sorenson reflects on a trip to El Salvador, where she observed workshops in which survivors of the El Mozote massacre presented their interpretations of declassified U.S. government documents about the U.S.-backed counterinsurgency in their country.