Blog of Rights

Chandra
Bhatnagar

Chandra Bhatnagar (@csbhatnagar) is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Human Rights Program. His practice centers on the intersection of racial justice and immigration, with specific focus on the rights of low-wage immigrant workers, undocumented workers, and guestworkers. He is also involved in litigation and advocacy regarding the use of international and foreign law in U.S. courts and the domestic implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). Bhatnagar serves as counsel in David, et al. v. Signal International, LLC, et al., and EEOC v. Signal International, LLC, lawsuits on behalf of over 500 Indian men trafficked into the U.S. as guestworkers and subjected to abuse, involuntary servitude, and racial discrimination; Awad v. Ziriax, et al. a legal challenge to Oklahoma’s proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting Oklahoma judges from considering “international law” or “Sharia law”; and a petition filed in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on behalf of undocumented workers whose rights were violated in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB. He successfully litigated Lama v. Rana, a quantum meruit lawsuit brought on behalf of a Nepali domestic worker against her abusive employer, and filed a Request for Precautionary Measures to the IACHR on behalf of residents of Villas del Sol, Puerto Rico, who were subjected to police brutality, denial of access to basic water and electrical services, and forced eviction. Bhatnagar is the principal author of The Persistence of Racial and Ethnic Profiling in the United States (2009), a report submitted to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

 

Prior to joining the ACLU, Bhatnagar was a Staff Attorney and Skadden Fellow with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, where he directed the South Asian Workers' Project for Human Rights, a community-based project providing legal services to low-wage workers from South Asia. Previously, he was the Assistant Director of Columbia University's "Bringing Human Rights Home Project," where he worked to improve conditions affecting post 9-11 detainees and efforts to organize a coalition of human rights defenders in the U.S. Bhatnagar has also worked internationally, partnering with a leading NGO in India in applying human rights standards to their anti-child labor/bonded labor campaigns, and domestically with the Center for Constitutional Rights, where he did immigrants' rights and anti-police brutality organizing, and served as the interim director of the Ella Baker Summer Intern Program. He received a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and an LL.M. with a focus in international human rights from Columbia Law School.

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America's Broken Guestworker Program Violates Human Rights

America's Broken Guestworker Program Violates Human Rights

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 9:53am
Twenty-three years ago today, the United Nations adopted the landmark International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Subsequently, the General Assembly named December 18 "International Migrants Day," an occasion to affirm and acknowledge the human rights of migrants all over the world.
Oklahoma Can't "Save" Itself from the U.S. Constitution

Oklahoma Can't "Save" Itself from the U.S. Constitution

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program & Daniel Mach at 11:53am

No state should deny its residents the essential right to exercise their religion. No state should target or disfavor any faith. No state should engage in actions that contravene the requirements of the U.S. Constitution, and no state should seek to…

U.S. Government Must Heed Call of Human Rights Experts Worldwide to Respect Snowden's Right to Seek Asylum

U.S. Government Must Heed Call of Human Rights Experts Worldwide to Respect Snowden's Right to Seek Asylum

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program & Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 10:21am

For those following the saga of Edward Snowden, it has been a remarkable week...

U.S. Actions in Snowden Case Threaten Right to Seek Asylum

U.S. Actions in Snowden Case Threaten Right to Seek Asylum

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program & Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 4:16pm

Revelations about the NSA's secret surveillance activities continue to make headlines both at home and abroad. In the last week alone, Brazil expressed concern about recent reports of NSA spying on millions of Brazilian citizens, the European Parliament…

State Dept. Report Spotlights Urgent Need to Fight Modern-Day Slavery

State Dept. Report Spotlights Urgent Need to Fight Modern-Day Slavery

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 10:32am

The State Department this week released its 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report), documenting the worldwide problem of human trafficking and other forms of modern-day slavery. This year's report highlighted the difficulty of identifying…

How to Fight Labor Trafficking in America

How to Fight Labor Trafficking in America

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program & Daniel Werner, Senior Supervising Attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center at 10:23am

The company wanted its workers to get the message that they would not have "free rein when they decide that they want to run...

New Push, at Home and Abroad, to Combat Modern-Day Slavery

New Push, at Home and Abroad, to Combat Modern-Day Slavery

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 7:07pm

A White House task force set up to combat human trafficking held its annual meeting today, chaired by Secretary of State John Kerry. The cabinet-level group, called the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons…

A Roadmap for Fighting Racism

A Roadmap for Fighting Racism

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 10:34am

On this day in 1960, white police officers in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire on a peaceful anti-apartheid demonstration killing 69 black South African protestors...

Racial Profiling Redux

Racial Profiling Redux

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 5:43pm

In the 1993 film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray's character finds himself repeating the same miserable day over and over again. For Indian film star Shahrukh Khan, last week was Groundhog Day for racial and religious profiling. In 2009, Khan —…

How the Obama Administration Can Turn its Human Rights Promises into Concrete Action Against Racism

How the Obama Administration Can Turn its Human Rights Promises into Concrete Action Against Racism

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 3:53pm

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, an occasion when all nations of the world resolve to increase their efforts to combat racial and ethnic discrimination and promote human rights.

Here in the U.S.,…

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