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November 5, 2007

UT Law Welcomes Ariel Dulitzky

Ariel Dulitzky
Ariel Dulitzky, Visiting Professor in Law and Latin American Studies and Associate Director of the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

After fifteen years at the forefront of human rights advocacy, Ariel Dulitzky has joined the University of Texas as Visiting Professor in Law and Latin American Studies and Associate Director of the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

“I am very excited about the wealth of experience and energy that Ariel brings to the Rapoport Center, and am enormously grateful to the Law School and the Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies for collaborating to bring him here,” said Karen Engle, the Cecil D. Redford Professor in Law and director of the Rapoport Center. “As one of the top lawyers in his field, Ariel’s addition to the Center is certain to expand both our depth and breadth, and help us accomplish our goal of becoming the premier institution in the world for the study of human rights and Latin America.”

In his most recent position, Dulitzky was assistant executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which is an autonomous arm of the Organization of American States. There, he led the preparation of reports concerning human rights and the rule of law within the thirty-five OAS member countries, drafted special reports on particular rights topics, and acted as technical advisor to the OAS Working Group that is discussing the adoption of a new inter-American convention against racial discrimination. He supervised a team of about twenty-five attorneys that dealt with a docket of more than a thousand claims of human rights abuses brought to the Commission, and directed the litigation of more than seventy cases in front of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.

Dulitzky grew up in Argentina during the period of military dictatorship known as the “dirty war,” a conflict characterized by widespread human rights abuses and the deaths of an estimated 30,000 persons who were perceived as opponents of the ruling junta. Two of his mother’s cousins were among the desaparecidos of Argentina—those who were kidnapped and never heard from again. He entered the University of Buenos Aires School of Law, where he became editor of the law review as democracy was returning to the country.

“It was a time when we thought deeply about what human rights really meant and how to promote and protect them through legal and political action,” Dulitzky recalled. “I was fortunate as a law student to have some great professors who helped me and many classmates to become human rights advocates and practitioners. Now, I hope to help train the new generation of human rights advocates in the United States.”

To do that, he intends not only to provide strong classroom instruction but also to create expanded opportunities for practical experience for students, and for research, scholarship, and collaboration among faculty members. For example, he sees openings for student and faculty involvement in at least two of the projects he’s working on—the drafting of the new OAS convention against racial discrimination, and a large multi-university project to train judges, prosecutors, and public defenders throughout Latin America in human rights law.

Earlier this year Harvard Law School, from which Dulitzky earned an LLM in 1999, honored him with its Gary Bellow Public Service Award, for “inspirational commitment to public interest work and an innovative approach to lawyering in the interest of promoting justice.” After attending Harvard he directed Latin American programs at the International Human Rights Law Group (now known as Global Rights), which assists local activists in challenging injustice, and he served as co-executive director of the Center for Justice and International Law, the largest nongovernmental organization dedicated to the implementation of human rights norms in Latin America.

He is teaching a fall course, Human Rights in Latin America, and a spring one, Advanced Human Rights Advocacy, both cross-listed with the Law School and Latin American Studies. “I am very impressed with the students from what I have seen so far, and very pleased with the faculty’s interest in collaboration with human rights initiatives. I hope that through the Rapoport Center’s different projects we will make a real difference in the world, and transform the University of Texas into one of the best places to learn the practice of human rights law.”

He is married to Denise Gilman, a clinical professor at the Law School who teaches in the Immigration Clinic.

Related links:

Professor Ariel Dulitzky

The Audre and Bernard Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Contact: Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications, 512.471.7330, or