Although a number of initiatives spearheaded by international organizations like the UN and UNESCO to promote gender equality in education have seen some success, the overall state of gender equality and education rights in the world remains deplorable. With women constituting nearly two-thirds of the world's illiterate population, a world with equal access to education for women remains a distant dream. The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Malala Yousafzai, an impassioned teenager from the Swat Valley in Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi, a child rights advocate from the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, therefore, has immense potential to shape the future of gender and education rights in the coming years.
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Today, freely available multi-drug therapy has ensured that leprosy does not pose a serious public health concern. However, the stigmatization of millions of people affected by the disease remains largely unaddressed. This work was taken up by the United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the early 2000s. Their work led to the adoption of Resolution A/RES/65/215 by the UN General Assembly in 2010 which outlined the "Principles and Guidelines for the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy and Their Family Members". It was followed by the Nippon Foundation's initiative in 2011 to disseminate the Principles and Guidelines throughout the world.
On 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.
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.
The 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.
On 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.
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.
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.