Professor 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.
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On 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.
As 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 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.
As 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 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.
Here's some exciting news for human rights studies enthusiasts. Course offerings in the area of human rights continues to grow at the University. Professor Frey's International Human Rights Advocacy course (GLOS 5403/LAW 6058), is moving to the Spring semester. One of the three core courses for the graduate minor (but open to all graduate students), it examines the theoretical basis of the human rights movement, the nature of organizations in the human rights field, their strategies, tactics and programs. In addition, a new three-credit graduate level course on human rights research methods will be offered by Shannon Golden, PhD. This course will be offered by the Human Rights Program with a Global Studies course listing.
A Series of Events to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda
Sponsorship made possible in part by the Ohanessian Endowment Fund for Justice and Peace Studies of The Minneapolis Foundation.
How can human rights advocates work to prevent gun violence? This was the motivating question for a strategy session hosted by the Human Rights Program recently, with the support of the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights, the Advocates for Human Rights, and the U.S. Human Rights Network.
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.