Students’ Human Rights Work Influences U.N. Committee
Over the past three years, the ongoing partnership between the University of Minnesota and four law schools in Colombia’s Department of Antioquia—known as “La Alianza,” or “The Alliance”—has improved awareness of and support for human rights in the region. In its most recent success, La Alianza’s critical findings and recommendations regarding the status of children in Antioquia have been endorsed by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
La Alianza’s recommendations touch on the rights of children whose lives have been affected by environmental pollution, work in illegal mines, internal displacement, homelessness, sexual exploitation and other violence, and child marriage. The partnership also calls for major reform in the family welfare, health care, and adoption systems. The CRC incorporated these recommendations in official “Concluding Observations” following its recent examination of the situation in Colombia.
Established in 2012, La Alianza connects both the University of Minnesota Human Rights Program and the Law School’s Human Rights Litigation and International Legal Advocacy Clinic with four partner law schools in Antioquia: La Universidad de Antioquia, La Universidad de Medellin, La Universidad Catolica del Oriente, and the Universidad Pontifica Bolivariana. The group was formed to strengthen the capacity of the four law schools to teach, research, and provide clinical legal representation toward the promotion of international human rights and the rule of law.
At the University of Minnesota, the Alliance is led by Barb Frey, director of the Human Rights Program, and includes current and former law students Suzan Boulad (’16), Katie Hyemi Choi (’15), Maxwell Mensinger (’16), Brittany Mitchell (’15), Kelly Molloy (’15), Gloria Munoz (’16), Thea Reilkoff (’14), Ethan Scrivner (’15), and Max Zimmerman (’16), as well as Professor Jennifer Green of the Law School.