In a program focusing on the efforts of the United States to promote human rights, ten visitors from as many countries (Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, and India) came to San Antonio to investigate what grassroots organizations here are doing to promote human dignity around the world.
At Texas Riogrande Legal Aid, visitors enhanced their understanding of providing legal services to low-income and disadvantaged communities. Rule of Law being among the most basic and treasured human rights, Texas Riogrande Legal Aid was able to share what they do to provide that right to all on issues like civil rights, environmental justice, employment, human trafficking, and international child abduction. Similarly, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) shared their experiences in providing legal services for disadvantaged immigrant populations to ensure that they experienced fairness under the law as well. RAICES was also able to explain the complexity of human rights issues at play in their work. Not only are they concerned about the status of DACA regulations, but they are also invested in ensuring the well-being of detainees currently under federal custody.
Later, members of the Freedom Youth Project Foundation and the Alamo Area Coalition Against Trafficking spoke to our visitors about how they work with regional partners to prevent and fight modern slavery. These partnerships across many levels of government and many disciplines are essential for fighting for the human rights of those being trafficked.
These appointments around San Antonio introduced our visitors to the work of U.S. organizations that monitor and advocate on human rights issues. They also discussed how grassroots organizations seek to influence human rights policy. Being able to participate in these discussions helped our visitors meet their State Department goals in learning about "Foreign Policy and Human Rights."