In Memory of 1990 Advocate Felipe Michelini

Monday, April 20, 2020

“La dignidad de las personas, independientemente de toda condición accesoria a la condición de persona humana, es una premisa que debe sustentar ética, política y jurídicamente a toda sociedad democrática.”  -- Felipe Michelini

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Felipe Michelini, 1990 Advocate from Uruguay, who passed away on April 19, 2020 after suffering from a domestic accident. He was a lawyer specialized in Human Rights and International Justice. Doctor of Law and Social Sciences from the ‘Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de la República’ (UDELAR) of Uruguay and Master's (LL.M) from Columbia Law School in New York. 
A towering figure in Human Rights, Felipe carried out his many roles, activities and initiatives in life through a main guiding principle: the pursuit of peace, justice and full observance of human rights. 
He had a vast political career, holding various roles through the years: representative between 1995 and 2005, Undersecretary and acting Minister of the Ministry of Education and Culture from 2005 to 2009 and, during the last administration of the ‘Frente Amplio’ (2015-2019), he chaired the Truth and Justice Working Group (‘Grupo de Trabajo por Verdad y Justicia’). The aim of the group was to contribute to the investigation of the crimes against humanity, as well as others that affected the dignity of the victims, which occurred during the civil-military dictatorship in Uruguay, in order to contribute to the historical truth and the promotion of justice under the Rule of Law. 
A tireless fighter, Felipe passionately embraced the search for the ‘desaparecidos’ and the commitment to ‘nunca mas’, while keeping his serene and humble way. 
His commitment expanded beyond the Uruguayan national borders, at the time of his passing he was honorary Chair of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund of the International Criminal Court for the Benefit of Victims. Felipe was also a member of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) and its Executive Committee. Between 1992 and 1993, he took part in the United Nations technical team for the Truth Commission in El Salvador.
Felipe was a Professor in Human Rights at the UDELAR Law School and the Coordinator of the UNESCO Chair of Human Rights from 2016 to 2019. He lectured at various Latin American, American, Pacific and European universities and has been published by academic journals as well as by national and international mass diffusion media.
Felipe was a gentleman, dedicated and hard-working, an inescapable reference on Human Rights issues. He was a thoughtful person, who spoke politely but with authority. He defended his ideas honestly and was a sincere worker for the cause of Human Rights. Today we mourn the loss of a fighter on the front line for human rights, sensitive and genuine, with a deep sense of justice,  who left us too soon.
In the words of Gerardo Bleier (son of Eduardo Bleier, ‘desaparecido’ until his remains were found in October 2019): “He experienced the world transforming it... soberly, as real revolutionaries do. He inherited a righteous spirit. He observed the fragility of beings with a sense of humor and transformed the dramas into a democratizing impulse. Until the next battle, Felipe.”
Felipe is survived by his wife Matilde, his son Ignacio and his nine brothers and sisters. Our thoughts are with them and other members of his family and friends in this difficult time.
Johanna Asaravicius Goldflus
2017 HRAP