Friday in Focus-Ignacio de Casas
I started my human rights career in my native Mendoza, the land of sun and good wine, in western Argentina. I worked there as a partner at Southern Lights Group, a litigation and advisory firm that provides legal strategies and solutions on business and human rights issues to clients throughout Latin America, Canada and US. I gained extensive experience on international litigation on human rights, both at the Inter-American Human Rights System (OAS) and within the protective mechanisms of the United Nations. I also co-founded the Latin American Centre for Human Rights (Centro Latinoamericano de Derechos Humanos, CLADH), a non-governmental organization now in special consultative status with the ECOSOC, that promotes human rights through strategic litigation, research and legal training.
In those years, I was awarded the ‘Outstanding Young Mendocinian’ prize in the category “Leadership, Commitment and Achievements in contributing to human rights, childhood, and humanitarian service”, granted by the Mendocinian Business Council. And I also received a prize for human rights defenders, granted by FASTA University (Mar del Plata, Argentina).
In 2014 I was admitted to Oxford’s Master of Studies programme in International Human Rights Law. I was so excited to get started, that I got involved with the Oxford Human Rights Hub blog even before my Masters began. First, I wrote a couple of posts, and then I was offered the opportunity of becoming a Regional Correspondent, for no less than Latin America! Which is a big region, and also one not so looked at from Oxford, as I learned later during my studies.
My job has been to look for potential contributors in Latin America, encouraging them to write blog posts for the Hub, reviewing incoming contributions on topics from my region to ensure that they are accurate and comply with the scope of our blog, and sometimes also checking and editing translations. I have enjoyed every bit of it. In so doing, I have witnessed the prestige of the OxHRH, for there is no one I have reached out (including Rapporteurs, legislators, etc.) that has said no to the possibility to publish in our blog.
I graduated from the Oxford MSt in 2016. I had a great time during my masters, were I met a bunch of people that I truly consider to be friends, and I hope to keep contact with as much of them as possible, although living in a faraway corner of the world. I also had the great privilege of writing a dissertation (on the corporate responsibility to respect consultation rights in the Americas) under the supervision of Chip Pitts.
During my studies at Oxford, I finished and published a book on the human rights of legal entities at the Inter-American Human Rights System (Los derechos humanos de las personas jurídicas. Titularidad de derechos y legitimación en el Sistema Interamericano, Porrúa, Mexico, 2015). Now I’m willing to publish an updated version in English.
Since then, my career has moved from human rights litigation more on to the academia. I have been teaching Public International Law and Inter-American Human Rights Law at Austral University, in Buenos Aires (Argentina), and also as a Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa (Canada). And I have become Editor-in-Chief of the Revista Internacional de Derechos Humanos (Human Rights International Law Review), which publishes articles in Spanish and in English: all are welcome to send your drafts!
This year 2018, I began my PhD at Austral University, due to a generous scholarship from the University. My dissertation analyses the concept of human rights standards and their bindingness, from the point of view of the sources of international law. So, I am definitely turning myself into more of a scholar than a practitioner, although I am not planning to quit the activism that I have been doing for the last twelve years at the CLADH.