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Center for Human Rights and International Justice

Upcoming Events

velasquez gomez

CICIG and the Fight Against Impunity in Guatemala

Wednesday, October 19
Stokes N428

With Iván Velásquez Gómez, Commissioner, United Nations Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG, in Spanish).

Oct. 19 RSVP required below.

About CICIG:

The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Spanish: Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala, CICIG) is an international body charged with investigating and prosecuting serious crime in Guatemala. It was created on December 12, 2006, when the United Nations and Guatemala signed a treaty-level agreement setting up CICIG as an independent body to support the Public Prosecutor's Office (Procuraduría General de la Nación), the National Civilian Police (Policía Nacional Civil) and other state institutions in the investigation of sensitive and difficult cases. The ultimate goal of CICIG's work, is to strengthen national judicial institutions, to allow them to continue to confront illegal groups and organized crime in the future.

Notable CICG cases include its investigation the death of Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano in 2009, which almost brought down the government of Álvaro Colom, as well as its playing a major role in the La Linea corruption case investigation, which led to the resignations and arrests of Guatemala's President Otto Pérez Molina and Vice-President Roxana Baldetti.

About Iván Velásquez Gómez:

In September 2013 Mr. Velásquez was named Commisioner of CICIG for the period 2013 to 2015. The Guatemalan government requested to the UN that CICIG be continued for an additional two years, from 2015 to 2017.

In 2011 the International Bar Association (IBA) awarded him the World Prize in Human Rights, and in 2012 the German Association of Judges gave him an award in recognition of his commitment in the struggle against impunity and in the defense of fundamental human rights.

Mr. Velásquez previously had a distinguished legal career as a former auxiliary magistrate of Colombia’s Supreme Court, where he coordinated high-profile investigations into links between paramilitary groups and public officials. Mr. Velásquez also has extensive prosecutorial and investigative experience in Colombia’s Attorney General’s Office and as Regional Director of the Public Prosecutor’s office covering the Department of Antioquia.

A light lunch will be served.  RSVP required below.

medea benjamin

Book discussion: Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection

Thursday, October 20
Gasson 305

With Medea Benjamin, author and co-founder of the organization Code Pink.

RSVP for Oct. 20 below.

About the book:

In seven succinct chapters followed by a meditation on prospects for change, Benjamin—cited by the L.A. Times as “one of the high-profile members of the peace movement”—shines a light on one of the most perplexing elements of American foreign policy. What is the origin of this strange alliance between two countries that seemingly have very little in common? Why does it persist, and what are its consequences? Why, over a period of decades and across various presidential administrations, has the United States consistently supported a regime shown time and again to be one of the most powerful forces working against American interests? Saudi Arabia is perhaps the single most important source of funds for terrorists worldwide, promoting an extreme interpretation of Islam along with anti-Western sentiment, while brutally repressing non-violent dissidents at home.

With extremism spreading across the globe, a reduced U.S. need for Saudi oil, and a thawing of U.S. relations with Iran, the time is right for a re-evaluation of our close ties with the Saudi regime.

About Medea Benjamin:

Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of the women-led peace group CODEPINK and the co-founder of the human rights group Global Exchange. She has been an advocate for social justice for more than 40 years. Described as "one of America's most committed -- and most effective -- fighters for human rights" by New York Newsday, and "one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement" by the Los Angeles Times, she was one of 1,000 exemplary women from 140 countries nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the millions of women who do the essential work of peace worldwide.

She is the author of nine books, including Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control and the forthcoming Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection, and her articles appear regularly in outlets such as The Huffington Post, CommonDreams, Alternet, The Other Words, and TeleSUR.

Event co-sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine, the Islamic Civilization & Societies program, the History Department and the Sociology Department.

RSVP for the Benjamin event here:


Robin E. Eichen
Robin E. Eichen

Immigrant Exploitation

Friday, October 28
BC Law School, East Wing, Room 120

Download the Immigrant Exploitation event flyer »

Come join us in discussions related to the exploitation of immigrants, types of potential fraud, scams, and financial threats of immigrants, and resources for lawyers and social workers. Featuring:  

  • Robin E. Eichen, Senior General Attorney at the Federal Trade Commission in New York, New York.
  • Westy Egmont, Associate Professor of Macro Practice,Global Practice and Directorof the Immigrant Integration Lab, School of Social Work
  • Mary Holper, Associate Clinical Professor and Director of the Immigration Clinic at Boston College Law School
  • Daniel Kanstroom, Professor of Law, Director of the International Human Rights Program, and Co-Director of the Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice

RSVP to Vicky QunWang at Light refreshments will be provided.

Sponsored by: BC Law School Immigration Clinic, School of Social Work Immigrant Integration Lab, and the MA Attorney General's office.


Two young women attend an immigration rally. Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr.

WORKSHOP: Immigrant Lives & Realities: A Look at Greater Boston and Beyond 

Tuesday, November 1
Devlin 010

The Center is offering a workshop aimed at BC students and others interested in knowing more about immigration issues in Greater Boston and beyond. In the workshop, participants will learn the following about the populations they may be working with:

  • The basics of immigration and deportation policies
  • Real immigrant stories and dilemmas
  • The make-up of the immigrant population in the US and the Greater Boston area
  • The challenges and successes of the immigrant rights movement nationally and locally

The training is co-sponsored by the BC programs PULSE and 4Boston. See the Nov. 1 event flyer here. To attend, RSVP using the form below. 


Roberto Gonzales

After Obama: What is the future of our 'Nation of Immigrants'? Conversation series

Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America

Thursday, November 3
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Campion Hall, Room 139

With Roberto Gonzales, Assistant Professor of Education at Harvard University, and authour of "Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America."

This event is Part 3 of the “After Obama: What is the future of our 'Nation of Immigrants'?” conversation series this fall.

RSVP required below:  


Mary Waters

After Obama: What is the future of our 'Nation of Immigrants'? Conversation series

The War on Crime and the War on Immigrants: Racial and Legal Exclusion in the 21st Century United States

Thursday, November 17
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Barat House, BC Newton campus

With Mary Waters, M.E. Zukerman Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. This event is Part 4 of the “After Obama: What is the future of our 'Nation of Immigrants'?” conversation series this fall.

RSVP required below: