Consul General of Mexico in New York Jorge Islas López Discusses Human Rights During 2023 Blaine Sloan Lecture on International Law

February 9, 2023
2023 Blaine Sloan Lecture

Jorge Islas López, Consul General of Mexico in New York, delivered the 2023 Blaine Sloan Lecture on International Law on Wednesday, February 1, speaking on "The Consular Duty and the Protection of Human Rights in New York.” The Blaine Sloan Lecture on International Law honors F. Blaine Sloan for developing the international law studies program at Pace. Consul General Islas López is also Giovanni Sartori Constitutional Law Professor, National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Following welcome remarks from Elisabeth Haub School of Law Dean Horace E. Anderson Jr., Pace University President Marvin Krislov had the pleasure of introducing Consul General Jorge Islas López. President Krislov noted that the Consul General is recognized for his expertise in constitutional law and as a staunch defender of human rights. Both Dean Anderson and President Krislov noted that the Consul General has been integral in Pace establishing and developing its international relationships with higher education institutions in Mexico.

During his insightful lecture, Consul General Islas López spoke about the history of consular law, which originated in Egypt, and he discussed the evolution and transformation of the consular institution. He noted that the consular institution has transformed over time according to new international customs and law to encompass its current main goal of protecting citizens abroad. He went on to note the importance of the relationship between Mexico and the United States and the resulting significance of the role of the Consul General of Mexico in New York. He noted the great diversity of New York and the welcoming atmosphere, “New York welcomes the world with open arms. I can assure you that because as Consul General I have been witnessing the great support of the different authorities at the state and municipal level granting help to all the migrants.”

Consul General Islas López discussed his office’s role in protecting human rights for Mexican nationals in New York. He noted that everyone in the consulate has an obligation to protect human rights. For example, every individual has a right to an identity and a nationality, the right to have a name, to have a citizenship, and more. He continued to explain that while the consulate office may not have the responsibility or authority to act on certain immigration rights, they can support migrants in other ways with labor laws and employment-related rights.

“We can work with the New Yorkers who welcome us with academic committees like Pace University to raise awareness and advocate for the fundamental rights of migrants,” said Consul General Islas López. He continued his lecture acknowledging the other protected rights that the consular office must protect, including legal rights, such as “the right to access to justice.” Consul General Islas López noted that the protection of this right can present an especially significant challenge in the United States, where access to legal services can be very expensive. Throughout his lecture, Consul General Islas López explained how the consular office protects human rights through the exercise of consular powers according to law – both international and local.

Jorge Islas López was appointed Consul General of Mexico in New York by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the unanimous ratification of the Senate of the Mexican Republic in 2019. As an active promotor of human rights, one of his main priorities as Consul General is to defend immigrant rights, regardless of their status. Mr. Islas is recognized nationwide in the private and public sector for his expertise in Constitutional Law and as a human rights defender. Mr. Islas wrote the first federal legislation in Mexico regarding class actions (2008-2009) and transparency and access to public information (2002) (Freedom of Information Act). He has also authored constitutional reforms of the states of Oaxaca and Michoacán, and he served as advisor for Mexico City's first constitution. Additionally, Consul Islas López was appointed by Rector Juan Ramón de la Fuente to serve as Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México´s (UNAM´s) General Counsel from 2004 to February 2008. He is also a distinguished constitutional law Professor at two leading universities in Mexico: UNAM and ITAM (Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México). He established the first course on the right to information in Mexico and Latin America and currently holds the Giovanni Sartori Chair at UNAM Law School. Additionally, Mr. Islas is an editorialist for El Universal, the largest newspaper in Mexico. He holds a Law Degree from UNAM and a Master of Laws from Columbia University in New York. 

Following the lecture, law students, faculty and guests had an opportunity to ask questions during a Q&A session led by Haub Law Professor Tom McDonnell, an expert in international law, and to meet the Consul General during a reception.

The Blaine Sloan Lecture on International Law honors F. Blaine Sloan for developing the international law studies program at Pace. A member of the United Nations Legal Office for three decades and Director of the General Legal Division, Professor Sloan has contributed significantly to the development of private and public international law. He represented the Secretary General at the 1978 UN Conference on the Carriage of Goods by Sea; at the sessions from 1969–1978 of the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL); and at the 1966–1978 sessions of the Legal Sub-Committee on the Peaceful uses of Outer Space. His UN service involved him in that organization’s work on Vietnam, relief for Palestinian refugees, peacekeeping in the Middle East, the UN Commission on Korea, and as Legal Advisor to Security Council sessions in Africa and Latin America. Past Sloan lectures were delivered by various distinguished experts and academics in the field of International Law, including Benjamin B. Ferencz, Shoshana Netanyahu, Dr. Boris Kozolchyk, Professor Sarah Cleveland, and others.


About Elisabeth Haub School of Law

Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University offers JD and Masters of Law (LLM) degrees in both Environmental and International Law, as well as a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Environmental Law. The School, housed on the University’s campus in White Plains, NY, opened its doors in 1976 and has more than 9,000 alumni around the world. The School maintains a unique philosophy and approach to legal education that strikes an important balance between practice and theory. Haub Law launched its Environmental Law Program in 1978, and it has long been ranked among the world’s leading university programs, with a current #1 ranking by U.S. News & World Report. For more information about Haub Law, visit

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