ISBA Human Rights Section Council Gertz awarded to Cindy Galway Buys
The ISBA Standing Committee on Women and the Law is excited to announce a member of our committee has been awarded the ISBA Human Rights Section Council Gertz Award. Cindy Galway Buys is a Professor of Law and Director of the International Law Program at Southern Illinois University School of Law. Professor Buys is a tireless advocate for and defender of the rights of non-citizens in the United States and of those seeking asylum because of persecution in their own countries. She created and directs the pro bono Immigration Detention Project (IDP) through which she assists both immigrant detainees at the Pulaski County Detention Center in Ullin, Illinois. She also provides pro bono representation to persons seeking asylum in the United States. She also engages in advocacy work on behalf of noncitizens present in the United States. For example, she has written and published numerous articles on the right of consular notification for foreign defendants. Her proposed legislation to better implement consular notification was signed into law in 2015 and took effect on January 1, 2016.
This past year, Professor Buys provided pro bono legal assistance to a German-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) called Sea-Watch, to assist migrants and refugees who were crossing the Mediterranean Sea in search of a safer life in Europe. Professor Buys recruited law students to assist in performing legal research for Sea-Watch. She and her students spent several months researching and writing a 25-page legal memorandum addressing issues such as the scope of the duty to rescue persons in distress at sea, the application of the principle of non-refoulement to private NGOs, and the possible liability of an NGO for rescuing persons at sea and bringing them to safely on land.
Through her tireless representation, research and advocacy, Professor Buys has sought to give dignity and freedom to those seeking a better life in the United States. Professor Buys has assisted hundreds of non-citizen immigrant detainees to navigate the often-confusing detention process. She is also teaching the next generation of lawyers about the basic human rights of immigrants and refugees. Furthermore, she assists this vulnerable, and oftentimes neglected, population achieve fairness in the detention process. We are pleased the Council has recognized her significant contributions to the cause of human rights in Illinois.