Resource Grabbing & COVID-19: How the Pandemic has Contributed to Weakening Protections for Environmental Rights
The Environmental and Energy Law Society and the University of Minnesota Law School Human Rights Center will be hosting two guest experts to discuss how some actors have used the COVID-19 pandemic as a justification or opportunity to dismantle existing environmental protections and collective rights of indigenous, minority, and other rural communities. Guests Carlos Lozano Acosta and Juliana Nnoko-Mewanu will describe the situation and how civil society organizations are advocating in this context. The event will be moderated by Jessamine De Ocampo of the Environmental and Energy Law Society, and will include a special introduction from Amanda Lyons, Executive Director of the Human Rights Center.
Carlos Lozano Acosta is a Colombian lawyer and our senior attorney for the Freshwater Preservation Program. He works with AIDA out of Bogotá, Colombia. He has an LL.M. in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from the University of Oregon, United States, which he attended as a Fulbright Scholar. He has worked as a researcher and consultant for Colombian and international NGOs as well as cooperation agencies on issues of public law. He also has participated on teams providing technical assistance to Colombia’s Ministry of Environment on environmental licensing and hazardous waste management.
Juliana Nnoko-Mewanu is senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. She researches and advocates on women’s land and property rights across Africa and Asia. Her work examines the impact of government policies such as family, property and land laws and business interests on land and property rights, highlighting disproportionate impacts on women. She previously worked at Iowa State University and the University of Buea, Cameroon. She holds a PhD in Sociology and Sustainable Agriculture from Iowa State University.
Jessamine De Ocampo is a 3L at the University of Minnesota Law School and the International Environmental Liaison for the Environmental and Energy Law Society. She was also an Articles Editor for the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science and Technology. Jessamine has previously worked as a summer associate for the Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Water and General Law, as a Summer Trainee for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the Office of Administrative Litigation, and as a Business and Human Rights Intern with Cargill. She is currently an Extern at Earthjustice in their Coal Program.
Amanda Lyons ’09 is Executive Director of the Human Rights Center at the University of Minnesota Law School. She is a specialist in international human rights law and advocacy, and her work looks at rights-based approaches to economic, environmental, and gender justice. Her research and policy work is in the area of economic and social rights, including the rights of peasants and LGBTQI rights. She is a Lecturer in Law, teaches courses on Poverty & Human Rights and Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Human Rights, and runs the Human Rights Field Placement experiential learning course. In support of her teaching, Amanda received a Schochet Grant (2019) and a UMN Teaching Innovation Grant (2018).