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Connie de la Vega

Professor and Academic Director of International Programs and Dean's Circle Scholar

Professor Connie de la Vega writes extensively on international human rights law and participates in United Nations human rights meetings. She has submitted amicus briefs detailing international law standards to U.S. courts for juvenile death penalty and affirmative action cases, including Roper v. Simmons and Graham and Sullivan v. Florida, and has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court. De la Vega is co-author of The American Legal System for Foreign Lawyers (Wolters Kluwer, 2011) and International Human Rights Law: An Introduction (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), and serves on the advisory group for the Human Rights Institute at Columbia University. She established the Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic at USF and is a founding member of Human Rights Advocates.

Education
  • BA, Scripps College
  • JD, UC Berkeley
Prior Experience
  • Managing Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Alameda County
  • Staff Attorney, East Palo Alto Community Law Project
Awards
  • Sarlo Prize, University of San Francisco (2011)
  • Dean's Circle Scholar, USF School of Law (2010)
TitleOutletsDate
"U.N. takes stand against 'sit-lie' laws"San Francisco Chronicle05/04/14
"US marijuana laws: Will records be wiped clean?"BBC News Magazine01/29/14
"Don't just legalize marijuana, free prior offenders"Los Angeles Times01/16/14
"International Context for Affirmative Action Argument"IntLawGrrls10/09/12
"Justices Bar Mandatory Life Terms for Juveniles"New York Times06/26/12
"Supreme Court Rules Juvenile Life Sentences are Unconstitutional"The Guardian06/25/12
"Why are Prison Terms Getting Longer and are They Worth the Cost?"AllGov06/08/12
"Good and Mad Reading for the Weekend"SentenceSpeak (Family Against Mandatory Minimums blog)06/01/12
"Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights"ACLU Blog of Rights05/25/12
"Charge: U.S. Sentencing Out of Step With World Practices"The Crime Report05/25/12
"Cruel and Unusual: U.S. Sentencing Practices Vs. Everybody Else"Witness LA05/25/12
"Cruel and Unusual: U.S. Sentencing Practices in a Global Context"Sentencing Law and Policy05/24/12
Broadcast on juvenile sentencing in the U.S.NTN24 Nuestra Telenoticias05/22/12
"Summary Judgments for May 22: Comparative Sentencing"Thomson Reuters News & Insight05/22/12
"Insight: Sacramento's Human Rights Violations"Insight Capital Public Radio02/08/12
Interview to provide info for radio broadcast "American Soldiers Pose with Dead Afghani Civilans"The Wire (Australia)03/22/11
Broadcast on Virginia federal court decision on health care planUnivision12/13/10
"CERD General Recommendation 32 on Special Measures"IntLawGrrls10/17/10
"USF Professor Applauds Supreme Court Decision Barring Life Sentences for Teens"
Bay City News
05/17/10
"USF Professor Applauds Supreme Court Decision Barring Life Sentences for Teens" SF Appeal05/17/10
"How Ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child Would Affect Children in the United States"IntLawGrrls12/15/09
"Life Without Parole: A Juvenile's Case Comes Before the Supreme Court"The Oregonian11/14/09
"18 and a Life to Go"Newsweek11/04/09
"Birmingham City University Students Work on American Law Case"Birmingham Mail (UK)07/13/09
Discussion about juvenile life sentencesFlashpoints (KPFA, 94.1)04/13/09
"Professor de la Vega discusses juvenile life sentences"Flashpoints (KPFA, 94.1)04/13/09
"Give Lifers Sentenced as Kids Second Chance"Des Moines Register02/25/09
"Anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights"Your Call (KALW, 91.7)12/09/08
"Moving Forward to a New Day"A Voice for Juvenile Prison Reform11/18/08
"Time for U.S. to reaffirm commitment to principles enshrined 60 years ago in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights"IntLawGrrls11/06/08
Books
  • Dictionary of International Human Rights Law (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013). Read More
  • The American Legal System for Foreign Lawyers (Wolters Kluwer, 2011). (Co-authored with Professor Emeritus Eldon Reiley.)
  • International Human Rights Law: An Introduction (Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007; published in paperback in 2010). (Co-authored with David S. Weissbrodt.)
Law Review and Journal Articles
  • "The Promotion of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Vulnerable groups in Africa Pursuant to Treaty Obligations: CRC, CEDAW, CERD, & CRPD," St. Louis Global Studies Law Review (forthcoming).
  • "The Special Measures Mandate of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Race Discrimination: Lessons from the United States and South Africa," 16 ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law 627 (2010). SSRN
  • "Sentencing Our Children to Die in Prison: Global Law and Practice," The University of La Verne Law Review's Selective Bibliographic Index of Juvenile Law Publications (2007/2008). (Co-authored with Michelle Leighton.)
  • "International Legal Accountability Over Non-State Actors: An Analysis of the Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary General," 3(2)  Zeitschrift für Menschenrechte Journal for Human Rights 26 (2009). (Co-authored with Amol Mehra '09 and Alexandra Wong '10.)
  • "Back from the Council," 102 American Society of International Law Proceedings 335  (2008).
  • "Sentencing Our Children to Die in Prison: Global Law and Practice," 42 University of San Francisco Law Review 983 (2008). (Co-authored with Michelle Leighton. A version of "Sentencing Our Children to Die in Prison" is available from the University of San Francisco School of Law Center for Law and Global Justice.) Read More
  • "Women in Peacekeeping and Peacemaking: Devising Solutions to the Demand Side of Trafficking," 12 William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law 437 (2006). (Co-authored with Chelsea E. Haley Nelson.) SSRN
  • "Human Rights And Trade: Inconsistent Application of Treaty Law in the United States," 9 UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs 1 (2004). SSRN
  • "Amici Curiae Urge the U.S. Supreme Court to Consider International Human Rights Law in Juvenile Death Penalty Case," 42 Santa Clara Law Review 1041 (2002). SSRN
  • "The Death Penalty," 13 Peace Review 493-565 (2002). (Co-editor with Professor Steven F. Shatz.)
  • "The Supreme Court of the United States Has Been Called Upon to Determine the Legality of the Juvenile Death Penalty in Michael Domingues v. State of Nevada," 21 Whittier Law Review 215 (1999). (Co-authored with Jennifer Fiore.) SSRN
  • "Can a United States Treaty Reservation Provide a Sanctuary for the Juvenile Death Penalty?" 32 University of San Francisco Law Review  735 (1998). (Co-authored with Jennifer Brown.)
  • "Civil Rights During the 1990's: New Treaty Law Could Help Immensely," 65 University of Cincinnati Law Review 423 (1997).
  • "Protecting Economic, Social and Cultural Rights," 15 Whittier Law Review 471 (1994).
  • "The Right to Equal Education: Merely a Guiding Principle or Customary International Legal Right?" 11 Harvard Blackletter Law Journal 37 (1994).
  • "Using International Human Rights Law in Legal Services Cases," 22 Clearinghouse Review 1242 (1989). SSRN
  • "The Symposium on International Human Rights Law in State and Federal Courts: Comments," 18 International Lawyer 69 (1984). SSRN
  • "Application of International Human Rights Law in State and Federal Courts," 18 Texas International Law Journal 291 (1983). (Co-authored with Kathryn Burke, Sandra Coliver, and Stephen Rosenbaum.)
  • "Thirty-Fifth Session of the Sub-Commission of Protection of Minorities," 8 Human Rights Internet Reporter (1982). SSRN
Book Contributions
  • "Entry on international law in gender and sexuality," in Encyclopedia on Gender and Sexuality  (2014).
  • "The Responsibility of States to Ensure that Companies Comply with Human Rights Mandates," in International Human Rights Forum Lucerne Series: Human Rights and Migration edited by Peter G. Kirchschläger and Thomas Kirchschläger (IHRF Volume Eight Stämpfli Verlag Bern, 2011).
  • "Peer Review in the Mix: How the UPR Transforms Human Rights Discourse," in New Challenges for the Human Rights Machinery edited by Cherif Bassiouni and William Shabas (Cambridge: Intersentia, 2012). (Co-authored with Tamara Lewis.)
  • "Customary International Law," in Encyclopedia of Human Rights edited by David P. Forsythe (Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • "Jus Cogens," in Encyclopedia of Human Rights  edited by David P. Forsythe (Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • "Advocates Should Use Applicable International Standards to Address Violations of Undocumented Migrant Workers in the United States," in Human Rights and Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrant Workers: Essays in Memory of Joan Fitzpatrick and Arthur Helton edited by Anne Bayefsky (Leiden, 2005). (The section was reprinted in 3 Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal 35. Co-authored with Conchita Lozano-Batista.)
  • "International Human Rights Mechanisms: The Effects of the UPR on Human Rights Practices in the United States," in Human Rights and the Universal Periodic Review:Rituals and Ritualism  (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).
Opinion Pieces and Blog Posts
Other Publications
  • Challenging Juvenile Life Without Parole: How Has Human Rights Made A Difference?. (Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School)
  • Report, "Issue Submission for the Review of the United States of America” to the U.N. Human Rights Committee on behalf of Human Rights Advocates and the Human Rights Sentencing Project, USF Center for Law and Global Justice (December 2012). (Co-authored with Dana Isaac.)
  • Report, “Cruel and Unusual: U.S. Sentencing Practices in a Global Context,” published by the USF School of Law Center for Law and Global Justice (May 2012). (Co-authored with Amanda Solter, Soo-Ryun Kwon, and Dana Marie Isaac.)
  • Report, "Holding Businesses Accountable for Human Rights Violations: Recent Developments and Next Steps" (Dialogue on Globalization/Friedrich, Ebert, Siftung, July 2011). (Co-authored with Amol Mehra and Alexandra Wong. This report was one of two policy papers distributed at the July 2011 session of the Friedrich, Ebert, Siftung on steps toward business and human rights reforms at the U.N.)
Briefs
  • Illinois Supreme Court, Davis v. Illinois, Brief in regards to juvenile life without parole. (2014) (No. 09-8354).
  • Supreme Court of the United States, Hill v. U.S.A, Amicus brief for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the international standards regarding juvenile life without parole. (2014) (No. 12.866).
  • Supreme Court of California, People v. Moffett, Amicus brief on behalf of Amnesty International, the Disability Rights Legal Center, Human Rights Advocates, Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law and Policy and the USF Center for Law and Global Justice (2013) (No. E050406).
  • Connecticut Supreme Court, State of Connecticut v. Santiago, amicus brief filed on behalf of 11 amici including the Human Rights Advocated and the USF Center for Law and Global Justice (2013). (The briefs refer to international treaty standards and practice of other countries in urging the court to rule that the legislation should be applied retroactively.)
  • Connecticut Supreme Court, Webb. v. Commissioner of Correction, S.C. 18857, amicus brief filed on behalf of 11 amici including the Human Rights Advocated and the USF Center for Law and Global Justice (2013). (The briefs refer to international treaty standards and practice of other countries in urging the court to rule that the legislation should be applied retroactively.)
  • U.S. Supreme Court, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, amicus brief filed on behalf of five amici curiae, Human Rights Advocates, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, The Advocates for Human Rights, University of Minnesota Human Rights Center, and the USF Center for Law and Global Justice. (2012) (No. 345). (Co-authored with Neil A.F. Popovic and Risa E. Kaufman.) Read More
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Bostic v. Bowersox, amicus brief filed on behalf of the Center for Law and Global Justice, Human Rights Advocates, and the Juvenile Law Center that argues Bostic's 241-year sentence received as a minor for a non-homicide crime is the equivalent of life without parole and unconstitutional (2012) (No. 4:11CV2193 FRB). (Co-authored with Dana Isaac.) Read More
  • U.S. Supreme Court, Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs, amicus brief filed on behalf of 19 international bar associations and seven international NGO and human rights centers on international law, practice, and treaties that address juvenile life without parole sentences. (2012). (Co-authored with Dana Isaac, Neil Popovic, and Courtney Barklem.)
  • California Supreme Court, People v. Caballero (2011) (No. S190647). (Co-authored brief on behalf of numerous human rights organizations. The brief argues that the 110-year to life sentence given to a juvenile offender for a non-homicide crime violates the Constitution, international law, and U.S. treaty obligations. Read brief here.)
  • Missouri Supreme Court, State v. Andrews (2010) (No. SC91006). (De la Vega and Director of Human Rights Programs Michelle Leighton's article "Sentencing Our Children to Die in Prison: Global Law and Practice" was cited in the dissenting opinion. To read case, click here.)
  • U.S. Supreme Court, amicus brief in support of petitioners in Graham v. Florida and Sullivan v. Florida. (July 2009). (Co-authored with Director of Human Rights Programs Michelle Leighton and Neil Popovic. Read brief here.)
  • Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Human Rights Advocates and fos*ters on behalf of ___ v. United States (2009) (No. P-120-07). (Petitioners' response alleging violations of his human rights by the United States and California. Read brief here.)
Court Citation of Research
    Presentations
    • Presenter, "Protecting Women’s Rights: Training in Human Rights Law and Advocacy," UC Hastings College of the Law, "United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms," San Francisco, Calif. (June 2014).
    • Panelist, "United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms & Women’s Rights," UC Hastings "Protecting Women’s Rights: International Law & Advocacy A Human Rights Training for Lawyers and Advocates," San Francisco, Calif. (June 2014).
    • Presenter, "An Analysis and Celebration of 30 Years of HRA Advocacy at the UN and the 20th Anniversary of the Vienna Declaration," Human Rights Advocate and The University of San Francisco School of Law Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Clinic "Evolution of Human Rights Advocacy at the United Nations," San Francisco, Calif. (November 2013).
    • Presenter, "Bringing Human Rights Home (BHRH) Lawyers' Network Fall 2013 Meeting," Columbia Law School, New York, N.Y. (November 2013).
    • Presenter, "Bringing Human Rights Home (BHRH) Lawyers' Network Spring 2013 Meeting," Columbia Law School, New York, N.Y. (June 2013). (de la Vega spoke as a member of UN Human Rights Council including the State court Juvenile Life Without Parole cases.)
    • Panelist, "Universal Rights, East and West? The Local, Regional and Global Work of Human Rights Clinics in Kyrgyzstan and the United States," University of Puerto Rico Law School and the Association of American Law Schools, "Conference on Clinical Education, The Value of Variety: Opportunities, Implications, and Challenges of Diversification in Clinical Programs," San Juan, Puerto Rico (May 2013).
    • Presenter, "Panel on Careers as a Human Rights Defender," University of San Francisco School of Law International Law Society, (April 2013).
    • Presenter, "Developments of N.I. Sequoyah's Legal Case," Friends of N.I. Sequoyah and Team Research Switzerland, "fosžž·žžžžžters Annual General Meeting 2013," Baden, Switzerland (March 2013). (Co-presented with Philip Sapsford.)
    • Panelist, ACLU, Human Rights Advocates, Penal Reform, and the Swiss Confederation, "The Human Rights Implications of Solitary Confinement, Extreme Sentencing, and the Death Penalty," Geneva, Switzerland (March 2013).
    • Panelist, "International Law in Domestic Courts," University of California, Irvine School of Law, "Opposing the Criminalization of Homelessness: Building a Human Rights Framework," Irvine, Calif. (March 2013).
    • Panelist, "Affirmative Action: Beyond the Classroom," University of San Francisco Law Review Symposium, "The Future of Affirmative Action After Fisher," (February 2013).
    • Presenter, "The United States and the UPR," Australian National University, "Workshop on Rights, Rituals and Ritualism: The Universal Periodic Review," Canberra, Australia (December 2012).
    • Panelist, "Race and Fisher v. University of Texas Oral Argument," Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Fall 2012 Symposium, "Civil Rights and the Roberts Court," Palo Alto, Calif. (October 2012).
    • Presenter, "Juvenile Life Without Parole: Miller v. Alabama," American University Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and the American Society of International Law Webinar, "Human Rights Implications of SCOTUS Decisions in the 2012 Term," Washington, D.C. (July 2012).
    • Panelist, "Developments at the UN – Presentations by the Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic," University of San Francisco School of Law (April 2012).
    • Panelist, "Global Health and Human Rights," UC Berkeley 13th Annual Harvey Masonek International Career Symposium, Berkeley, Calif. (April 2012).
    • Presenter, "Inhuman Sentencing and the Process Which Enables It: Death Penalty, Life Imprisonment and Corporal Punishment," Human Rights Council Annual Full-Day Meeting on the Rights of the Child, "Children and the Administration of Justice," Geneva, Switzerland (March 2012).
    • Presenter, "The Implications, Impacts, and Constitutionality of Juvenile life Sentences," Shaking the Foundations' "West Coast Conference on Progressive Lawyering," Palo Alto, Calif. (October 2011).
    • Presenter, "The Responsibility of Companies for the Implementation of Human Rights," Centre of Human Rights Forum Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland (May 2011).
    • Presenter, "The Responsibility of States to Push Companies to Get Their Human Rights Performance Right," Centre of Human Rights Forum Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland (May 2011).
    • Presenter, "U.N. Human Rights Council," Columbia Law School "Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers' Network Spring 2011 Meeting, U.N. and IAHRC Advocacy Panel," New York, N.Y. (May 2011).
    • Panelist, "How International Human Rights Law is Being Used in the United States to Protect Human Rights," 13th Annual Trina Grillo Public Interest and Social Justice Retreat, University of San Francisco School of Law, (March 2011).
    • Presenter, "U.N. Accountability Measures," Santa Clara Law Lecture, Santa Clara, Calif. (March 2011).
    • Panelist, "Human Rights in the United States," U.N. Human Rights Council Event, Geneva, Switerzerland (March 2011). (Event was sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union. Students Lisa D’Annunzio 3L, Dana Isaac 3L, Peter Micek 3L, and Justin White 3L also spoke at the event.)
    • Presenter, "Universal Periodic Review," University of San Francisco School of Law Conference, "The United Nations Human Rights Council: The Five Year Review and the Future of Human Rights," (January 2011).
    • Presenter, "Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic work on the right to food," Human Rights Advocates International Human Rights Day Celebration at UC Berkeley School of Law, Berkeley, Calif. (December 2010).
    • Presenter, "The U.N. Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review," University of San Francisco School of Law "The Universal Periodic Review: From Ideas of Freedom to Implementation of Rights--Where is the World in Achieving Human Rights for We the Peoples 65 Years After the Creation of the United Nations," (June 2010).
    • Presenter, University of San Francisco Center for Latino Studies in the Americas Brown Bag Lunch, (April 2010). (De la Vega presented on Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic student projects.)
    • Presenter, "Criminal Justice, Death Penalty, and Prison Conditions," University of San Francisco U.S. Consultation on the Universal Periodic Review, (March 2010).
    • Presenter, "Disability Rights," University of San Francisco U.S. Consultation on the Universal Periodic Review, (March 2010).
    • Presenter, "Human Rights as Essential Conditions for Human Health," UC Hastings International and Comparative Law Review Symposium "Health as a Human Right: The Global Option," San Francisco, Calif. (March 2010). (De la Vega also provided opening comments at the symposium)
    • Panelist, "Juvenile (In)Justice: Human Rights Can Break the School-to-Prison Pipeline," International Human Rights Funders Group Semi-Annual Conference, San Francisco, Calif. (January 2010).
    • Panelist, "New Voices in Human Rights," The Association of American Law School's 2010 Annual Meeting, New Orleans, La. (January 2010).
    • Presenter, UC Hastings College of the Law American Society of International Law Annual Workshop for the International Law in Domestic Courts Interest Group, San Francisco, Calif. (December 2009). (De la Vega commented on Julian Ku's paper "The Curious Case of Corporate Liability under the Alient Tort Statue." Ku is a law professor at Hofstra University.)
    • Presenter, "The Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child," Human Rights Day Celebration at Berkeley High School, Berkeley, Calif. (December 2009).
    • Panelist, "The Special Measures Mandate of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination: Lessons from the United States and South Africa," American University Washington College of Law, 14th Annual LatCrit Conference "Outsiders Inside: Critical Outsider Theory and Praxis in the Policymaking of the New American Regime", Washington, D.C. (October 2009).
    • Presenter, "The Special Measures Mandate of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination: Lessons from the United States and South Africa," Northern California International Law Scholars Roundtable, Davis, Calif. (September 2009). (The event was co-sponsored by the UC Davis California International Law Center and ASIL-West and the regional division of The American Society of International Law.)
    • Presenter, "Looking Within: Domestic Advocacy Using International Human Rights Law," UC Berkeley School of Law "The 2009 Stefan A. Riesenfeld Symposium: Beyond the Bush Era: International Human Rights Law Looking Forward," Berkeley, Calif. (April 2009).
    • Presenter, "The Impact of Human Rights Law on Civil Legal Services," 11th Annual Trina Grillo Public Interest and Social Justice Retreat Stanford Law School, Palo Alto, Calif. (February 2009).
    • Presenter, Human Rights Advocates 30th Anniversary Celebration "Dialogue on Racism and International Human Rights Standards — 60 Years After the Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," Berkeley, Calif. (October 2008).
    • Panelist, "The United Nations Human Rights Council: What Would Eleanor Roosevelt Say," American Branch of the International Law Association's International Law Weekend 2008 "The United States and International Law: Legal Traditions and Future Possibilities," New York, N.Y. (October 2008).
    • Presenter, "Just Back from the Human Rights Council," American Society of International Law's 102d Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. (April 2008).
    • Presenter, "The Effects of the Movement and Dumping of Toxic Wastes on the Enjoyment of Human Rights," Seventh Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland (March 2008).
    • Presenter, "Protecting the Human Rights of Migrants in the United States," Seventh Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland (March 2008).
    Testimony and Hearings
      Written Testimony and Commentary
        Advisor or Consultant
          Counsel
            Symposia Organization
              Professional Membership
                Fellowships
                  Other Service
                  • De la Vega was an amici on the case re: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak Al Janko, v. Robert M. Gates, et al. (January 2013).
                  • De la Vega participated at the Stanford Law School & Berkeley Law's "2013 Human Rights Clinicians' Conference" in Palo Alto, Calif. (January 2013).
                  • De la Vega was a guest speaker in a junvenile advocates training in association with the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana.
                  • De la Vega accompanied USF law students to proceedings of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. Students made oral presentations on issues such as counter-terrorism and prison privatization.
                  • Organizer, U.S. Consultation on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), at the University of San Francisco. UPR is a U.N. Human Rights Council process where the human rights records of U.N. Member States are assessed. De la Vega moderated the event and provided an overview of the UPR process in her welcome address.
                  • De la Vega and the Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic filed a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), representing an inmate who has been on death row for 18 years and has not had his first appeal (2007).  (The clinic filed on behalf of Human Rights Advocates and fos*ters. The IAHCR ruled in May 2010 that the petitioner does not have to exhaust domestic remedies to raise the claim that the long delays constitute torture because there are none readily available to him in the United States.)