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Law professor elected to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

The Organization of American States elected University of Dayton School of Law Professor Carlos Bernal to its Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

As part of the seven-member body, Bernal, a native of Colombia, will help members of the Organization of American States promote the protection of human rights, investigate alleged human rights violations by nations in the Americas, and present cases to the Inter-American Court. The commission also publishes reports on issues and meets with government representatives, academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations and others to promote an understanding of the inter-American human rights system.

"I appreciate the Colombian government's nomination and the vote of confidence by the Organization of American States," Bernal said. "As a commissioner of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, I will work with determination and total commitment for the satisfaction of human rights in the Americas."

Bernal's appointment comes with high praise from Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez.

"Not only is he one of the most outstanding jurists of his generation, but he also has an academic career in the main universities of the world. We are happy that a Colombian arrives at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and arrives on behalf of our country," Duque said, as reported by Colombian news outlet El País.

Bernal, who stepped down as a sitting justice on the Colombian Constitutional Court to join the University of Dayton School of Law in August of 2020, has held visiting professorships in Colombia, Australia, France, Denmark, Israel, Spain and Germany. His area of research is the interpretation of constitutional rights and comparative constitutional change, and he teaches courses in Constitutional law and torts. 

"In electing him to the commission, the Organization of American States has recognized Carlos' deep experience as a judge and as a scholar," said UD School of Law Dean Andrew Strauss. "In his new role as a commissioner, it is clear to me that Carlos will make a major contribution to international human rights law."

In addition to being a highly accomplished legal scholar, he's highly decorated in Colombia. Bernal has been awarded Colombia's Order of Boyaca and the Medal Jose Maria Cordova. The Order of Boyaca is Colombia's highest honorary distinction for eminent citizens and for nationals of friendly countries of Colombia; Queen Elizabeth II of England and U.S. President Joe Biden are recipients. The Medal Jose Maria Cordova goes to ​​members of the Colombian army who have excelled in discipline and military virtue, provided eminent services and fellowship, or for acts of courage.

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News and Communications Staff