TELEPHONIC PRESS BRIEFING
See press release below
U.S. Has So Far Failed to Respond to International Tribunal in Killing by Border Agents
Family of Anastasio Hernández-Rojas has yet to be notified of a formal response by the Trump administration
San Diego -- In the first-ever case of an extrajudicial killing by law enforcement against the United States, the Trump administration has so far ignored one of the most respected international human rights organizations, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
IACHR opened the case against the United States in May, and gave the administration until Thursday, August 10 to respond. The case alleges that border agents engaged in the extrajudicial killing and torture of Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas, a resident of San Diego who was beaten to death in San Diego in 2010. The case also alleges that the government also failed to thoroughly investigate and prosecute the agents responsible.
Today, Alliance San Diego hosted a telephonic press briefing to discuss the implications of the case, including what it means for the United States to break a decades-long history of active and robust engagement with the IACHR.
Speakers featured international human rights experts, immigrant advocates and family members of Anastasio Hernández-Rojas, including:
- Roxanna Altholz, Associate Director at UC Berkeley Law School's International Human Rights Law Clinic and co-counsel in this suit
- Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law
- Christian Ramirez, Human Rights Director of Alliance San Diego and Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition
- Maria Puga, widow of Anastasio Hernández-Rojas
Roxanna Altholz, Associate Director at UC Berkeley Law School's International Human Rights Law Clinic and co-counsel in this suit, released the following statement:
"The Trump administration's failure to respond to the Commission undermines our efforts to hold other countries in our hemisphere accountable for violations of human rights. Our government owes Anastasio's family an explanation as to why this case was not properly investigated and why it failed to prosecute the agents who killed Anastasio. If the United States is serious about addressing human rights violations in the rest of the world, it must abide by the same standards at home."
Christian Ramirez, Human Rights Director of Alliance San Diegoand Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, released the following statement:
"If the Trump administration thought failing to respond to this case would make it go away, they are sadly mistaken. We fully expect the U.S. government to fulfill its obligations to the international community and to uphold the basic values of a democratic society. Now is the time for President Trump to reign in Customs and Border Protection and its out of control agents. There is no room in a democracy for impunity and state-sponsored violence. For far too long CBP has operated with impunity and violence, which has led to countless abuses and deaths. The public has a right to know how our government will protect the safety and security of civil society from the agents that systematically abuse their authority."
Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law, released the following statement:
"The case of Mr. Hernandez-Rojas will require the Inter-American Commission to look into alleged excessive use of force by law enforcement and lack of accountability in the U.S. context. The Inter-American Commission will not only examine the alleged human rights abuses suffered by this specific victim but also whether there exists a pattern and practice of abuse and impunity by law enforcement on the border. The failure by the U.S. to respond to the petitioners' very serious allegations undermines its authority in the international system."
Maria Puga, widow of Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas, released the following statement:
"It has been 7 years since border agents stole my family's joy and happiness and no agent has been held accountable. This is the United States' opportunity to explain what happened, and an important step towards making sure that this doesn't happen again. The United States sings about being the home of the brave yet its silence on my husband's case is anything but brave. I've been in a state of shock and confusion since my husband was killed but it will never dull my fight to seek justice for Anastasio."
About Alliance San Diego
Alliance San Diego is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) community empowerment organization working to ensure that all people can achieve their full potential in an environment of harmony, safety, equality, and justice. Our mission is to to provide a means for diverse individuals and organizations to share information, collaborate on issues and mobilize for change in the pursuit of social justice, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. We pursue this mission through targeted civic engagement programs and strategic coalitions that focus on specific issues and policy reforms.
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