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Webinar - The "Science Factor" in Human Rights Litigation: Engineering a Legal Solution for a Threatened Historic Mexican Town

At 10:00 AM Eastern Time, the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition’s Scientific Collaborations with Human Rights Organizations project team will present their third webinar of the series about an Environmental Defender law Center (EDLC) case of the Mexican community of Temacapulin, threatened with flooding by the Zapotillo dam and explain how the scientific advice provided by AAAS On-call Scientist Teunis op ten Noort was decisive for community members, their lawyers and, most critically, the judge, to have a clearer understanding of the dam´s impacts under different proposed project design scenarios. The expert´s scientific advice, provided at a pivotal moment, was crucial for halting the dam construction before it was too late to save the town.

Want to watch past webinars in this or a past series? Click here



Claudia Gómez Godoy

Claudia Gómez Godoy is a Mexican attorney specializing in public interest litigation. Over the past decade, she has worked on numerous cases defending the rights of indigenous and campesino communities affected by resource development projects. Claudia has been the lead attorney in the defense of the community of Temacapulín, threatened with displacement by the Zapotillo dam in Jalisco, and is assisting the Nayeeri people, affected by the proposed Las Cruces dam in Nayarit. Claudia also represents communities affected by mining concessions and operations in the states of Colima and Morelos. At the request of the Mexican Supreme Court, Claudia participated in the drafting of two “Protocols,” or guidelines for the lower courts in cases related to indigenous peoples and resource development projects. Claudia has been a visiting professor at FLACSO, UNAM, and CLACSO, and has worked as a consultant for OXFAM Mexico and DPLF.


Teunis H. Op ten Noort

Teunis Op ten Noort is an hydrologist with over 35 years of experience in a wide range of aspects on hydrology and water resources development, including state-of-art technology with computer applications. He has worked at sub-basin, basin and regional levels on many projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America. He participated extensively in mathematical modelling for simulation studies required for planning of water resources development projects at basin level in Indonesia, Thailand, Central Asia and W Africa  involving flood control, dams, urban drainage systems, hydrometric development, etc, including GIS aspects.


Fernanda Venzon

Fernanda Venzon joined Environmental Defender law Center (EDLC) as a full-time staff attorney in 2011, after two years of working with EDLC as an independent consultant. Her role includes helping local lawyers developing legal strategies, drafting amicus curiae briefs, and conducting research on the applicable national and international frameworks in a range of cases in Latin America in which local communities have been affected by natural resource development projects. Ms. Venzon holds advanced degrees from Brazil and the United Kingdom in international law, environmental management, and development management. Prior to joining EDLC, she served as the Executive Director of the Sierra Madre Alliance in Mexico, where she formulated land claims under international human rights frameworks for Tarahumara indigenous communities.


Cathy Furlong

Cathy Furlong is currently employed in the Medicare fraud industry where she works on data mining, sampling/extrapolations, and Administrative Law Hearings with Medicare data. Furlong is the Past Chair of Statistics Without Borders, a volunteer Outreach Group of the American Statistical Association (ASA) that provides pro bono services in statistics and data science. Her areas of interest are human rights and nature. Other areas of volunteer work are as A Fair Fax County Master Gardener, on the Glen Echo Park Waltz Committee, and with the Caucus for Women in Statistics.

This webinar series is a project of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition. The team organizer is Oliver Moles, Ph.D.

To view past webinars in this series, please visit Innovations in Human Rights Program Evaluation. Missed past program evaluation webinar series? View the recorded webinars Online.

Event Contact

Joel Ericsen

Program Associate

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