William (“Bill”) Walsh has developed an international human rights law practice, including advising on human rights issues and preparing pleadings regarding international human rights law issues in trials and proceedings in Italy, Spain, France, Russia, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and Ireland. He is regularly engaged in assisting and advising counsel in national cases in European countries on international human rights issues. He has prepared numerous applications and submissions in cases before the European Court of Human Rights and before the United Nations, including filing petitions under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and filing submissions on human rights abuses with the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, the UN Rapporteur for Religious Freedom, the UN Rapporteur for Independence of the Judiciary, the UN Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (“UNESCO”). He also represents clients and prepares submissions on religious freedom issues to the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and represents an OSCE NGO as counsel on OSCE religious dimension seminars focusing on minority religious rights.
Mr. Walsh also has extensive experience supervising or litigating Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuits against various agencies of the United States government and has obtained over a million pages of previously withheld records for clients using the FOIA.
Mr. Walsh has represented clients on human rights issues before administrative ministries on religious recognition matters in numerous countries in Europe. He also has prepared numerous expert opinions on human rights issues and submissions on the human rights dimension of proposed legislation effecting minority rights in a number of countries. He also has litigated First Amendment religious freedom cases in the United States and regularly represents clients before the Department of State regarding violations of human rights in other countries, including Americans who are targets of discrimination abroad due to their association or beliefs.
Mr. Walsh is a member of the U.S. State Department Advisory Working Group on Religious Freedom. He is also Vice Chair, Policy, on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Religion and Public Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, inter-religious organization that seeks to encourage open dialogue and shape public participation in policy of the global community of faith. The Institute works globally with government policymakers, religious leaders, community leaders, academics and NGOs in order to protect and promote fundamental rights, especially religious freedom. Mr. Walsh is also Chairperson of the Institute’s Expert Panel on Legislation and its Implementation in matters relating to Freedom of Religion or Belief. The Expert Panel is composed of individuals with an expertise in the areas of legislation and religious freedom. It regularly reviews and analyzes proposed legislation in the field of religion from countries around the world and publishes critiques and guidance to ensure that the legislation complies with international human rights standards.