2022 Symposium

We cohosted our annual symposium with UCLA Law’s Journal of International and Foreign Affairs, Center for Immigration Law and Policy, and the Williams Institute on February 26, 2022.

The symposium examined how different identities mediated access to rights in the context of the pandemic, and the creation or reinforcement of borders, through the lenses of race, (dis-) ability status and sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The symposium was bookended with keynotes from E. Tendayi Achiume, UCLA Law Professor and UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, and Soledad García Muñoz, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights.

2022 Symposium Keynote Speech I Race and Ethnicity Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Student Paper Presentation Disability Keynote Speech II

Keynote Speech I

Soledad García Muñoz, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights.

Watch Keynote I
Panel 1

Race and Ethnicity

This panel looked at borders, the pandemic and human rights through the lens of race and ethnicity. Using multiple perspectives, including Critical Race Theory and Third World Approaches to International Law, the panelists explored how various racial identity markers themselves become borders mediating access to rights, in the context of migrations and global pandemics. 

Watch Panel
panel 2

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

While SOGI discrimination may cause migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers to flee their country of origin, socially derived SOGI borders continue to exist inside territorial boundaries and impact immigration practices. This panel addressed how international and domestic law contributes to the reinforcement of SOGI borders and SOGI-based denial of human rights, particularly in the context of the COVID pandemic. 

Watch Panel

Student Paper Presentation

International law is currently establishing a framework for protecting Indigenous traditional knowledge, however a thorough analysis of customary international law demonstrates sufficient global consensus to support an understanding that Indigenous communities already have a customary right to traditional knowledge protections. 

UCLA Law student Bharath Gururagavendran, LLM spoke to his research on the implied rules derived from customary norms and their implications for human rights protections of Indigenous people’s traditional knowledge. UCLA Law Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl provided commentary. 

Watch Student Paper Presentation
panel 3


This panel sought to address how the social conception of disability status drives and impacts migration, and serves as a barrier to those attempting to access and utilize domestic power structures and institutions. It also considered how the challenges faced by persons with physical and mental disabilities are exacerbated in the context of global pandemics. 

Watch Panel

Keynote Speech II

E. Tendayi Achiume, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Alicia Miñana Chair in Law, UCLA Law Professor

Watch Keynote II