In the upcoming months, the human rights record of the United States will come under scrutiny by several U.N. monitoring bodies, including the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Committee against Torture, and the Human Rights Council. These mechanisms provide a consolidated period of opportunity for advocacy on a range of human rights issues occurring in the U.S. or being carried out by U.S. officials abroad.
Recently in Announcements Category
In June the Human Rights Program and our many partners at the University of Minnesota and in Antioquia that comprise our Minnesota-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership (or "Alianza") bid farewell to our esteemed Clinical Coordinator, Diana Patricia Quintero. Diana was deeply engaged with the development of the Alianza starting in October of 2012 and has been a key contributor ever since. Her efforts on the project focused mainly on enhancing the capacity for human rights legal clinical work at the four Antioquia schools engaged in the Partnership. In particular, she focused on providing the schools with resources and support to advance methodology and pedagogy in the areas of strategic litigation on behalf of vulnerable communities, individual case acceptance and advocacy, and community outreach and education on behalf of vulnerable populations.
The Human Rights Program is thrilled to announce Jason Zencka--an MFA candidate in fiction writing at the University of Minnesota-- as a 2014 Scribe for Human Rights. The goal of the Scribe for Human Rights Fellowship is to use creative narrative to reflect the different faces of victims of human rights abuses and to provide a broader array of professional experience to graduate student writers. It tries to create a platform for human rights advocacy through creative art.
The Human Rights Program continues to stay updated with the events occurring in South Sudan, a conflicted region where the HRP has carried out human rights work in the past. Read about HRP's past work with Child Protection International and its Save Yar Campaign. Six months into the civil war in South Sudan, the crisis continues to intensify despite peace overtures made far away from the front lines in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. A fragile peace agreement signed last month between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President turned rebel leader, Dr. Riek Machar, has not yet been fully implemented. A report published by the Enough Project presents a guide to the fundamental issues that must be addressed to end South Sudan's new civil war and establish peace and security. The report draws on a wealth of research and analysis from policy and advocacy groups, South Sudanese intellectuals and civil society, and Enough Project conversations over the past six months. Read the report.
Over the course of this past year, the Minnesota-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership has working to develop access to Spanish-language materials through the Online Human Rights Library. The online library is a great way for the partnership to share information pertinent to Colombia, human rights issues, vulnerable groups, human rights institutions, among humanitarian law, and among other important topics, in a very user-friendly way.
On April 16, 17 & 19, the U of M held a series of events to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda that took the lives of an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The commemoration began with the public conference, Genocide and its Aftermath: Lessons from Rwanda, featuring an opening address by Taylor Krauss, founder of Voices of Rwanda, an organization dedicated to filming testimonies of Rwandans to inspire a global sense of responsibility to prevent atrocities.
Gabriel Gómez is a professor at the University of Antioquia (U de A) whose invaluable insight and leadership has been an important contribution to the University of Minnesota - Antioquia Human Rights Law Partnership. Learn more about the partnership. In the dynamic international collaboration to develop human rights curriculum, Gabriel's input has enriched the conversation and the project as a whole through his focus on network-building, sustainability, and the enhancement of interdisciplinary human rights study.
On May 8th, 2014, the U of M hosted honored guest Francisco Ferrandiz of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) as part of the in-public, one-credit course "Reframing Mass Violence: Human Rights and Social Memory in Latin America and Southern Europe." Ferrandiz's lecture Exhumations, Memory, and the Return of Civil War Ghosts in Spain investigated the connections between the anthropology of the body, violence and social memory in the context of the current exhumations of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). In his talk, Ferrandiz unearthed the complexity and dynamism of the process of grave exhumations--a process that has largely focused on the abandoned graves of civilians killed during the Francoist rearguard by paramilitary groups. Since 2000, the exhumation of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War and the Post-War years has become a central element in highly charged social and political debates in the country surrounding the nature of the armed conflict and the dictatorial regime following it.
On April 23rd, a public forum took place to celebrate the opening of the art exhibition The Enduring of Labor. Student curator Anna Meteyer organized the exhibition under the supervision of Howard Oransky, Director of the Nash Gallery, in hopes to spark conversation concerning topics of labor and social justice. The exhibition, open April 22nd - May 3rd, spoke to injustices rampant in labor industries and services, and celebrated the struggle against systemic forces of oppression. The artists that were included drew upon their own personal experiences, worked with marginalized communities, and/or incorporated their academic research in their artistic practice and advocacy. The forum, also organized by Anna Meteyer, was intended to provide a space for individuals from across the community to gather in conversation surrounding the issues raised in the exhibition, and about the use of art as a vessel for social change.
Technological advances have made communicating across borders incredibly easily--as simple as logging on through email and clicking that strange little green button resembling a video recorder. With such tools at our fingertips, we have unprecedented potential for strengthening human rights networks that transcend spacial and political obstacles. Human rights students at the University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia, and at the University of Minnesota have initiated a collaborative project that looks to take advantage of the new possibilities presented through innovations in communication technology. These young individuals seek to spark international dialogue among university students surrounding human rights issues and philosophy, which will supplement their human rights classes and add rich dimension to their studies. Such conversation provides an opportunity to gain genuine multicultural understanding of social justice issues, and to create a fortified and united global student body, a body well-suited for addressing the extremely powerful global forces shaping injustice, poverty, and violence across the world today.