Several years ago, because of a connection with his son who now lives in Mongolia, Santa Clara Law Professor Philip Jimenez was invited to come to the country to give a talk on legal education. Through his experience on this visit, Jimenez realized that Mongolia had a need for the development of more legal expertise, and he decided to get involved. “Mongolia is a country that is rich in natural resources, and its neighbors–Russia to the north and China to the south–were pressuring the Mongolian government,” Jimenez says. Since then, Jimenez has collaborated on many programs with the Universal Rights and Development (URD) an NGO headed by Jimenez’s son, J. Philip Jimenez, and his son’s wife, Saruul, that works to protect human rights, including environmental rights and the rights of the child, and studies the development of international law. Through this collaboration, Jimenez, now Senior Advisor, has participated in the organization of many events in Mongolia to support legal education, human rights, and environmental justice.
In 2014, Jimenez worked with URD and co-host, the National Legal Institute of Mongolia, to hold a Symposium on Negotiating Free Trade Agreements. They followed this with a 2015 Seminar on Human Rights, co-hosted by the National Legal Institute and the National University of Mongolia to help address the challenges to the natural environment. The right to a clean environment is set forth in the Constitution. In 2016, with co-hosts the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia, the Judicial Council of Mongolia, the Judicial Council of Mongolia, and the Open Society Forum, Jimenez and the URD organized a symposium on Human Rights and the Rule of Law, using the example set by the Korean Constitutional Court. In 2017, with co-host the Graduate University of Mongolia, URD held a Symposium on Interaction Between Courts and Arbitration. In 2018, URD held a Symposium on Universal Declaration of Human Rights:Freedom of Speech, along with co-hosts the Mongolian Bar Association, Human Rights Commission, Graduate University of Mongolia, and the National Judicial Council. In 2019, URD sponsored a Seminar on Immigrants’ Rights co-hosted by the Graduate University of Mongolia. At this event, the Graduate University of Mongolia awarded Phil Jimenez an honorary doctorate degree for contributions to Human Rights and Environmental Justice. Also in 2019, URD held an International Symposium of Water Rights co-hosted with the Human Rights Commission of Mongolia.
Through all of these events over the past 6 years, Jimenez has forged a deep and lasting connection with this country. “The people are wonderful, resourceful and smart, and, influenced by their traditional nomadic culture, have an abiding sense of their place in nature. Many also look to the heyday of the Mongol Empire as giving birth to International Law and providing a model for Globalization,” says Jimenez.
In the latest development, URD received a generous grant from the Swiss Development Corporation to fund a significant environmental project. “With the cooperation of the City of Ulaan Baatar, we will be planting 80,000 trees,” says Jimenez, “beginning with 1,000 trees this month.” “This important and long-term project will help address the pollution problem the city of Ulaan Baatar is facing,” says Jimenez.
In addition, Jimenez continues to work with firms in Mongolia to arrange summer externships for Santa Clara Law students. Over the last two years there have been student externship experiences available from the National Judicial Council and the Mongol Advocates, a prestigious law firm specializing in mining and foreign investment law.
To learn more about the work of URD, visit en.urdinstitute.com/