News from the Center's Local Human Rights Lawyering Project

Joint Legal Aid Communication on Denial of Access to Justice for Migrant Workers Submitted to UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty

Five legal aid organizations, including Maryland Legal Aid and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Local Human Rights Lawyering Project Partners, joined together to submit a letter to Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty regarding the practice of denying legal advocates and other community service providers meaningful access to migrant farmworker labor camps. This is the first time in history that legal aid organizations have ever joined together to make a communication to a U.N. Special Procedure.

The Rapporteur on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty announced earlier this summer that she was seeking submissions regarding access to justice issues for persons living in extreme poverty for a report she will submit in October 2012. Maryland Legal Aid decided to submit a communication to the Special Rapporteur and focus on the important issue of migrant camp access. Reena Shah, Human Rights Project Director, and Nathanial Norton, Farmworker Staff Attorney, both at Maryland Legal Aid, put a call out to other legal aid organizations across the U.S. to see if they would like to collaborate on the communication to the Special Rapporteur. Seven other legal aid organizations submitted information to include in the communication and four other legal aid organizations, including Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, signed on to the letter that was finally submitted to the Rapporteur on August 21, 2012. Technical assistance on the communication was provided by the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law through its Local Human Rights Lawyering Project.