un2.jpgOn October 22, the Twin Cities community and the University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff spent the afternoon listening to Fran Quigley, a clinical professor of law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, and a specialist in human rights advocacy. Using his book, How Human Rights Can Build Haiti: The Lawyers, the Activists, and the Grassroots Movement, as a framework for discussion, Quigley educated and engaged his audience on the Haitian cholera epidemic and its implications with respect to human rights.

Human Rights Program welcomes a new Student Advisory Board

sablunch.png The Human Rights Program is excited to welcome a new Student Advisory Board. As a diverse cohort committed to human rights practice and scholarship, it will coordinate a number of human-rights activities and events on campus. In addition to providing direction to the staff, the members will also assist in disseminating human rights scholarship in the graduate and undergraduate student community thereby enhancing the educational experience for all. Here's a snapshot of the Student Advisory Board member profiles.

amyc.jpgThe Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies are thrilled to announce Amy Cosimini as the recipient of the 2014 Sullivan Ballou Award for her outstanding work in promoting and protecting human rights. Amy is a PhD candidate in the department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota where she researches the relationship between human rights and memory production discourses in Southern Cone literature and popular culture.

The Act of Killing: Reflections on the documentary

act of killing.jpgOn October 16, students, faculty, and the greater University of Minnesota community attended a screening of the critically acclaimed documentary The Act of Killing. The powerful film documents former Indonesian death squad leader Anwar Congo and other gangsters as they re-enact the torture and mass killings they committed in North Sumatra in the 1960s and attempt to come to terms with the atrocities. The film-screening was followed by an enlightened discussion led by expert panelists Catherine Solheim, Rosa Garcia-Peltoniemi, and Simon Robins.

atwood.pngProfessor Brian Atwood, the chair for Global policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, led the US delegation to the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held in Warsaw, Poland, from September 22-October 3. Other key members of the delegation included Ambassador Daniel Baer, U.S. Permanent Representative to the OSC; Ira Forman, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism; Thomas Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; Ambassador David Killion, Chief of Staff, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Lynne A. Davidson, Senior Advisor to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State.

ALBIE PHOTO.pngOn October 2, 2014, the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change hosted honored guest, former South Africa Constitutional Justice Albie Sachs, who delivered a lecture concerning the "Challenges and Successes in Post-Apartheid South Africa." Dr. Albie Sachs is a highly distinguished human rights defender and opponent of the South African apartheid regime. The writer, lawyer and former South Africa Constitutional Court Justice's passion for human rights work began at the age of 17, when he participated in the Congress of the people at Kliptown, and eventually went on to serve the South African Constitutional Committee and the National Executive of the African National Congress (ANC) during South Africa's transition to democracy. In 1994, President Mandela appointed Dr. Sachs to serve on the new Constitutional Court.

BarbF.jpgAs part of the first workshop in a series initiated by the Holocaust, Genocide, and Mass Violence Studies (HGMV) Interdisciplinary Graduate Group, held on October 2, Barbara Frey, Director of the Human Rights Program, led a talk and discussion on her investigations on the role of human rights advocacy in México.

Her chapter, accepted for final edit to Palgrave McMillan's The Social Practice of Human Rights, provided great insight into the "uneven" nature of human rights advocacy.

sarah.jpgSarah Hoffman, a current graduate minor student in Human Rights and a doctoral student in Nursing, completed a six-weeks' fellowship at the Grupo de Acciones Públicas de Icesi (GAPI), Human Rights Law Clinic, Universidad Icesi, Cali, Colombia in July 2014. Under the guidance of Diana Quintero, Director of the Human Rights Legal Clinic, Sarah worked on promoting the right to health of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Colombia and Cali. Specifically, her work focused on supporting the development of a strategy to access information regarding the rights of IDP children, promoting dialogue across disciplines and identifying new avenues for protecting and promoting their health.

tamms2.jpgAs the United States enters a year of increased scrutiny with regard to the protection of human rights by several U.N. monitoring bodies, Program staff is playing an important role in addressing the government's responsibilities under the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). Claire Leslie Johnson is serving on the US Human Rights Network's CAT Task Force and is collaborating with regional partners on the drafting of a shadow report to the Committee Against Torture to be submitted on behalf of the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR).

Human Rights Program Welcomes Visiting Colombian Scholars

colombia.pngHuman Rights Program faculty, staff, and students welcomed four visiting scholars from Medellín, Colombia in early September. These visits were made possible through the Minnesota-Antioquia Human Rights Externship Program - a key component of the Minnesota-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership (or Alianza). The Program provides an opportunity for the Colombian scholars to complete four to six-week externships in Minnesota each semester with the goal of enhancing skills and knowledge in international human rights law and advocacy.