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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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 victims of this egregious practice. According to the report, "46,000 victims of trafficking were brought to light worldwide, compared to the 27 million that we know are enslaved."
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 —…

Arizona Violating Treaty Ratified by U.S.

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 12:24pm

(Originally posted on CNN.com)

On the heels of the passage of Arizona's racial profiling law, tens of thousands of people from all over the country have marched in support of human rights and against the legislation.

That law,…

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.,…

International Migrants Day - "Best Kept Secret" in the USA

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 11:58am

I am spending much of today, December 18th, otherwise known as International Migrants Day, flying from New Orleans back to New York and reflecting on the intensity of the past two days taking a deposition in a lawsuit involving over 500 men from India…

The Long Path Ahead: People of African Descent and the Realization of Human Rights

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 3:59pm

Last Monday, our country commemorated the life and work of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who fought tirelessly for racial and economic justice.

Last Wednesday, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) — part of…

From Sharpeville to Selma: Ongoing Struggles for Equality

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 1:41pm

(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)

Fifty years ago yesterday, in the township of Sharpeville in South Africa, thousands of black South Africans peacefully demonstrated against racist laws requiring black people to carry passes that…

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…

Desperately Seeking Sunlight

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 7:02pm

Hurricane Katrina was a catastrophe and a natural disaster, but the U.S. government's response to the storm has been even more catastrophic and disastrous. The severity of the storm, combined with governmental inaction, incompetence, callousness, and…

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