Paula Avila-Guillen, (J.D. Equivalent), LL.M. is an Associate at the O’Neil Institute. She holds a Master of Laws in International Human Rights Law from American University and a Law degree with a minor in Anthropology from Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, her home country. She has also been admitted to the New York State Bar.
Paula's primary focus and experience has been in the advancement and promotion of International Human Rights Law in Latin America and the protection of Civil Rights of minorities in the United States. Prior to joining the Institute, Paula worked for the Alexandria Office of Human Rights, where she investigated issues relating to discrimination, including access to health services for the Latino population. Additionally, Paula worked for Colombia Diversa, an NGO that advocates for human rights for the LGBT community. There, she conducted significant research which supported multiple human rights initiatives, including the development of the first-ever report on the human rights condition of LGBT individuals in Colombia. Before finishing law school, Paula also interned at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and received second place at the Inter-American Moot Court Competition, in which she has been selected as a Judge in subsequent years.
Paula is interested in how the right to health intersects with discrimination issues; the promotion of human rights through the use of international human rights law in domestic courts; the enforceability of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR); and the role of public policy in the promotion and protection of human rights.