2008 Human Rights Fellows

Fellowship Conference, November 6, 2008, 10AM to 5PM
Alumni House, UC Berkeley
Conference Agenda (pdf)

UC Berkeley students join with others from UC Irvine, UC San Diego, Hastings Law School and UC Santa Cruz to tackle human rights issues at home and abroad. The 2008 fellows are:

Gautam Bhan, City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley
Gautam will work with Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in India examining how the rapid development of urban centers has resulted in the displacement of the poor. Growing characterization of urban poor as criminals by public officials has allowed forcible removal of whole neighborhoods in the interest of "urban renewal." Gautam will interview lawyers, judges and legal scholars to understand the changing logics of the court and build support for the rights of urban poor in India.

Scott Boehm, Literature/Cultural Studies, UC San Diego
Scott will work with the Association for the Recuperation of Historical Memory in Spain to exhume mass graves of the disappeared and retain the historical memories of repression that mark the Francoist regime. Organizations investigating fascist violence in Spain receive no state funding and rely on volunteers to exhume graves and document critical testimony. Many survivors have never before spoken about their experiences.

Blaine Bookey, Hastings College of the Law
Blaine will work with EarthRights International in Washington, D.C. on corporate accountability litigation related to human rights violations and the environment. Corporations are able to act with impunity largely because the modern human rights framework is designed to restrain abuses only by states and state agents. The intersection between environmental and human rights violations is a growing area of law in this era of globalization and privatization.

Jack Bouboushian, School of Law - Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley
Jack will work with the War Crimes Studies Center monitoring the ongoing war crimes trials of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Court has the daunting task of prosecuting members of at least four armed groups and a foreign sovereign, Charles Taylor, ex-President of Liberia. Reports from the trials will inform future transitional justice efforts.

Caricia E.C. Catalani, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
Caricia will work with The New Orleans Video Voice Project to produce participatory videos that tell the story of human rights and health in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans, one of the poorer neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Katrina. While Katrina is off the national radar screen, many residents continue to struggle. Mental health problems have doubled and suicide rates tripled since the storm. The participatory research project is designed to engage community residents and spread compelling stories via the internet.

Kathryn L. Day, Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley
Kathryn will work with the Family Literacy Project in South Africa, studying how youth and adults in rural KwaZulu Natal understand the right to literacy. In 11 remote villages the project aims to promote reading as a shared pleasure and valuable skill. Literacy supports gender equity and helps indigenous people protect personal and land rights.

Philip Anthony Grant, Anthropology, UC Irvine
Philip will work with the One Million Signatures Campaign in California to end gender-discrimination laws in Iran and to promote equal rights for women. Working inside and outside of Iran the Signatures Campaign builds civil society to address the legal rights of Iranian women including divorce, child custody, and inheritance.

Cortelyou Kenney, School of Law - Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley
Cortelyou will work with the Brennan Center for Justice in New York City on its Liberty and National Security Project to confront federal policies and programs that curtail the most fundamental civil liberties, including questionable interrogation techniques on detainees, secret trials, and warrantless wiretapping and data-mining. Aggressive investigations of terrorism have eroded constitutional protections in the post 9/11 era. Most recently, private sector surveillance companies used to track citizens have been insulated from liability.

Tanya Kerssen, Latin American Studies, UC Berkeley
Tanya will work with Unidad Academica Campesina de Carmen Pampa in Bolvia to examine the evolution of the new concept of Food Sovereignty, which includes not only access of food, but access to land and control over productive resources necessary for sustained food security. Bolivia's poverty rate is the highest in South America at 63%, a national figure than masks an even higher rural poverty rate of 82%. The goal is to promote self-sufficiency and stability of food production and consumption.

Mike Levien, Sociology, UC Berkeley
Mike will work with the National Alliance of Peoples Movements in India to document the impact of the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) on displacement of local communities. SEZs are free trade/manufacturing zones in which domestic taxes, tariffs and labor laws do not apply. They are at the center of land dispossession struggles in India and are used by the country's often admired IT sector.

Nobuko Mizoguchi, Demography, UC Berkeley
Nobuko will work with the Global Health Access Project to survey human rights abuses and health conditions among residents of conflict-ridden eastern Burma, on the Thai-Burma border. Many refugees have high rates if infectious diseases. The World Health Organization indicates that Burma has the highest proportion of deaths from malaria in Southeast Asia. About 40% of the population is believed to be infected with tuberculosis.

Elissa Moon, Social Documentation Program, UC Santa Cruz
Elissa is producing a documentary video about San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital, the largest nursing home in the United States. Out of the City's commitment to providing a public safety net, San Francisco is rebuilding the institution. Since 1998, however, the U.S. Department of Justice has been censuring the City of San Francisco for violating the integration mandate of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. With Protection and Advocacy as lead counsel, Laguna Honda residents have initiated a class-action lawsuit against San Francisco for failing to provide sufficient home- and community-based options. At the same time, supporters of the project believe the state-of-the-art facility will break new ground in public health care.

Krista Osmundson, School of Law - Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley
Krista will work with the World Health Organization (WHO, Southeast Asia Regional Office) in India to address how states can provide access to essential medicines for its poorest citizens while abiding by international intellectual property rights. In the world's richest countries access to effective medicines means that only one in ten people die of an infectious disease. Among the poorest countries six in 10 die from infectious diseases. Trade agreements tied to intellectual property rights shape how medicine can be distributed worldwide and since 2001 include the stated goal "to promote access to medicines for all."

Miranda Ritterman, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
Miranda will work with Christian Children's Fund in Angola to address access to reproductive health services and education as part of an effort to assist war affected youth, particularly girls, former child soldiers, orphans and street children. Currently 70% of Angola's population is under the age of 24. Many displaced children relegated to the street as sex workers escalate the spread of HIV/AIDS throughout Angola. In addition, Angola has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

Carmen Rojas, Department of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley
Carmen will work with El Programa Venezolano de Educaci�n-Acci�n en Derechos Humanos (PROVEA) in Venezuela to examine the apparent conflict between President Chavez's "people power" policy and his political supporters' policy of evicting street vendors from the streets of Caracas. The right to work is guaranteed by the Venezuelan constitution but sweeps to "rescue public space" have been conducted by metropolitan police forces and the national guard.

Layda Negrete Sansores and Roberto Hernandez
, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley
Layda and Roberto will produce a documentary and initiate a petition against the government of Mexico with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights protesting unfair trials and lack of due process for criminal suspects in Mexico City's criminal courts. Field research indicates that some 80% of defendants never see a judge in a courtroom-hearings are presided by court stenographers or prosecutors.

Ruly Tafzil, Hastings College of the Law
Ruly will interview Indonesian human rights victims for the Community Legal Aid Institute in Jakarta and provide legal research to seek reparations for serious violations. While Indonesia ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture in 1998 there is still no legislation prohibiting torture there and very limited access to legal counsel for victims of human rights violations.

Jason Wallach, Social Documentation Program, UC Santa Cruz
Jason will work with the National Ecological Unit in San Salvador, El Salvador on a video about equitable access to clean water for all Salvadorans. In 2002 the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights declared water access a basic human right and a "precondition for the realization of all human rights." Since 1998, water regulation reform has faced a stalemate in El Salvador's National Assembly, thus debilitating attempts to renovate a decaying infrastructure and stalling efforts to expand potable water coverage to underserved communities.