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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

U.S. Department of Justice Encourages Reporting of Human Rights Violations

Representatives from the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section of the U.S. Department of Justice traveled to Miami for a roundtable meeting with community stakeholders to combat and encourage reporting of, human rights violations.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo A. Ferrer, Deputy Chief Kathleen O’Connor, Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, and Special Agent in Charge Xanthi C. Mangum, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our federal law enforcement partners have taken an aggressive stance against perpetrators of human rights violations,” stated U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer “Although we have successfully brought to justice a number of human rights violators, there is still much more work to be done to protect our nation’s residents, refugees and asylum seekers.  We implore the community to report human rights violators who are living among us in the South Florida community.”

On November 3, 2016, as part of an effort to foster dialogue between those who investigate and enforce human rights laws in the United States and members of the community, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, and U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations hosted a roundtable meeting with community groups in the South Florida region that provide services to immigrants.  This forum, titled No Safe Haven: Keeping Immigrants Safe from Human Rights Violators, brought together stakeholders, including immigrant and refugee service providers, immigration attorneys, non-governmental organizations, local and state law enforcement, medical service providers, educators, and representatives from other federal agencies.

The Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section of the U.S. Department of Justice works with other federal government agencies and community stakeholders to identify and prosecute human rights violators and other international criminals.  Offenses such as murder, rape, physical or mental torture, and the recruitment or use of children as soldiers, are considered human rights violations and are a priority for the Department of Justice.  Our united mission is to ensure that the United States is not a haven to those who commit such atrocities.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida seeks to bring the perpetrators to justice, while striving to protect and improve lives.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office has a specialized section that focuses on the protection of some of the most vulnerable segments of our communities, that have fallen victim to human rights atrocities.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office has utilized immigration fraud statutes and other legal provisions to hold those accountable who carry out international rights violations.  In, U.S. v. Eriberto Mederos, the defendant hid the fact that he had tortured political prisoners on behalf of Cuba’s communist government and was convicted of making false statements to obtain U.S. citizenship.  In U.S. v. Charles “Chuckie” Taylor, the Southern District of Florida obtained the nation’s first conviction for overseas torture and the defendant was sentenced to 97 years in prison.

Members of the public who have information about former human rights violators in the United States are urged to contact U.S. law enforcement through the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section at hrsptips@usdoj.gov or toll-free at 1-800-813-5863, or through the HSI tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or to complete their online tip form at www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp.

Updated November 23, 2016