OCEANSIDE — The North County Chapter of Amnesty International will present the 2009 Digna Ochoa Human Rights Defender award to law professor Marjorie Cohn at its 21st Annual Walk for Human Rights at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at the outdoor amphitheater next to the pier.
Other guest speakers will include a former student activist and torture survivor from Guatemala, Marvyn Perez, and the Executive Director of Amnesty International USA Larry Cox, and the Western Regional Director Banafsheh Akhlaghi. The public is invited to attend and “adopt” a person for the night whose human rights have been violated and on whose behalf Amnesty is currently working. Participants can join in a name reading, take a brief “freedom walk” for their “adoptee,” and then take information home to write an appeal for their person.
Cohn is the current president of the National Lawyer Guild and has lectured throughout the world on international human rights and U.S. foreign policy. She is the author of numerous books and articles, and has testified on government torture policy before the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Cohn sits on the Human Rights Committee of the Society of American Law Teachers and the Advisory Board of the U.S. Human Rights Network among several others. She was a legal observer in 1978 in Iran on behalf of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and has participated in delegations to Cuba, China and Yugoslavia. She is the recipient of numerous awards and has taught law at Thomas Jefferson since 1991.
The North County Chapter established the human rights award in 2001 in the memory of the Human Rights attorney, Digna Ochoa y Placido, who was shot in her office Oct. 19 of 2001 following several years of death threats. Ochoa worked for the Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez in Mexico City, where she received numerous international awards for her work defending human rights. She was also known for her defense of two Mexican environmentalists who were released a week after her death. Written threats were discovered by Ochoa’s body stating the same fate would fall on the others if they continued their human rights work. The Mexican government ruled her death a suicide.
For more information, call (858) 735-5708 or (760) 731-0735 or visit www.Amnesty471.org.