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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 20, 2006

Training Jan. 27 For Center For Human Rights Immigration Detention Project

An informational and training session on the legal rights of detained immigrants and asylum seekers is the first event planned in a new initiative of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights. The two-part seminar will be Friday, Jan. 27, in Room 275 of Boyd Law Building on the UI campus.

The first session, "Immigration Detention and Community Responses," will be 1 to 2:30 p.m., and is open to all interested community members. It will provide an overview of the immigration detention system and discuss ways to respond to issues facing detainees. The session will detail who detained immigrants and asylum seekers are, why and where they are being held, and how concerned citizens can get involved in helping individual detainees and working with jails to ensure minimum standards and rights.

The second session, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 27, is geared toward law students, pro bono attorneys, paralegals and accredited representatives. Participants will be trained on how to conduct legal orientation (or "Know Your Rights") presentations and legal screening for detained immigrants and asylum seekers in civil detention in Iowa.

For more information or special accommodations to attend any of these events, contact the UICHR at 319-335-3900 or

The new UICHR initiative, "Protecting the Rights of Detained Immigrants and Asylum Seekers," will educate students and community members about the status of detained immigrants in Iowa, detention standards and issues; facilitate advocacy and research on immigration and detention policy and undertake data collection; provide resources for networking and coalition-building; and assist legal-service providers in informing detainees about their legal rights and remedies. The UICHR is partnering with Justice For Our Neighbors and the Midwest Immigrant Human Rights Center, a program of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, in the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights.

"This initiative carries out the educational mission of the University of Iowa and facilitates the university's service in the community," said Amy Weismann, UICHR deputy director.

Sarah Rose Weinman, policy and program liaison for the Midwest Immigrant & Human Rights Center, said the UICHR and partnering organizations will "work with community members, students, attorneys, and government officials across the Midwest to ensure that detainees' human and legal rights are protected." Weinman explained that the training will be an opportunity for concerned Iowans to identify and discuss "a variety of ways to help detained immigrants and refugees in their communities -- from facilitating access to healthcare and legal information in detention to ensuring safe detention conditions to simply being a visitor and a friend to a detained asylum seeker who would otherwise be invisible to the outside world."

Founded in 1999, the UICHR is a direct outgrowth of Global Focus: Human Rights '98, the yearlong UI commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of Dec. 10, 1948. Initiated by a multidisciplinary group of faculty, the center's mission is to support the promotion and protection of human rights at home and abroad by providing leadership in human rights research, education and public service to the UI, its surrounding community, the state of Iowa, and beyond.

The UICHR is affiliated with UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for international programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Amy Weismann, UICHR, 319-335-3900,; Writer: Julia LaBua