Due to the violent attacks of paramilitary forces in the bordering region of Catatumbo and the lack of protection to civilians by the Colombian State, in June 1999, an exodus of more than 3000 Colombians on the way to Venezuela ⎯coming from La Gabarra, Norte de Santander⎯ began. At least 20000 people were forced to leave the region and were categorized as forcibly displaced. CEJIL along with the SJT and the Vicar of Machiques demanded preventive measures that were able to protect about 500 people. Those were the first measures of its kind.
In December 2002, we represented Wayne Smith from Trinidad and Tobago deported from the United States and separated from his family. Through this case, we determined that a migratory policy must guarantee the right to life, physical, mental and family integrity of the people subject to deportation.
In April 2003, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights granted preventive measures for asylum seekers in the Darien region of Panama to avoid repatriation of afro-descendants of Colombian origin fleeing violence and the separation of their families. The IACHR requested the right of non refoulement and the prohibition of expulsion to be guaranteed without respective process guarantees being respected. Thus, rights such as that of children must be protected during parental expulsion procedures.
In August 2003, human rights defense lawyer Joe Castillo was shot by two assailants while driving his car with his family, which was severely injured. CEJIL saw the need to establish a line of work related to the protection and response to human rights defenders that work with refugees. We began to support organizations like Minga and CODHES and to strengthen protection mechanisms through seminars, together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in which we taught the use of tools from the Inter-American System for Human Rights protection.
In August 2005, CEJIL, the International Clinic of Human Rights of the Berkeley University and the organization of Dominican-Haitian women of Dominican Republic Women’s Movement (MUDHA) of the Dominican Republic, succeeded in getting the IHRC to develop broader standards in the field of prevention and eradication of statelessness with the case of the girls Yean and Bosico against that country.
In November 2010, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights delivered a judgement from the first contentious case on the rights of migrants in the continent. The judgemet found Panama responsible for the violation of rights to personal liberty, judicial guarantees, rule of law and personal integrity of Jesús Tranquilino Vélez Loor.
In August 2014, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights reviewed the arbitrary deprivation of nationality in the Dominican Republic and also went forward in the prohibition of collective expulsions, family separations and prohibition of the expulsion of its citizens in the case of Dominicans and Dominicans of Haitian descent expelled from that country.
Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional · Center for Justice and International Law · Centro pela Justiça e o Direito Internacional · Centre pour la Justice et le Droit International · Pemonton Kowantok Wacüpe Yuwanin Pataset