Boston – February 21, 2019 – Last week, New England Law | Boston Professor Dina Haynes filed two official communiques in response to alleged harassment of lawyers, human rights workers, and journalists engaging in lawful work with refugees, asylum seekers, and unaccompanied children.
This included an official communique to Fionnuala Ni Aolain, UN Special Rapporteur for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism, filed on behalf of nearly 30 organizations and individuals, herself included, who have been stopped during travel, allegedly in retaliation for their immigrant rights work.
Professor Haynes also filed a communique to the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders. She signed on to a formal request for precautionary measures before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights as well on behalf of Al Otro Lado, a legal services nonprofit serving indigent deportees, migrants, and refugees.
Professor Haynes specializes in immigration, human rights law, and constitutional law. In addition to her course work, she serves as the director of the Immigration Law certificate program at New England Law. Before teaching, she was an international human rights lawyer, serving as Director General of the Human Rights Department for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Bosnia-Herzegovina and as Human Rights Adviser to the OSCE in Serbia and Montenegro. She also held field posts for both the UN High Commissioners for Refugees and Human Rights, respectively, in Afghanistan, Rwanda, and Croatia.
Several other journalists, filmmakers, and other rights defenders have also been stopped and detained by border officials after having been “flagged” by the U.S. government. Professor Haynes wrote and submitted the communiques on behalf of all parties to summarize some of those instances. Her goal was to bring external attention to the alleged abuse of authority and to share their collective concerns to the appropriate offices within the United States government and countries honoring these “flags.” The hope is that human rights defenders will be permitted to continue with their work without the interference of border officials.