2010 Human Rights Fellows

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

The 2010 fellows are:


Sandra Alvarez, Santa Cruz
Intercultural Human Rights Dialogues and Documentation
Asociación de Autoridades Tradicionales y Cabildos U'wa - Colombia

Since the nineties, the U’wa people of Colombia have developed regional, national and international solidarity in their struggle to defend their land from colonization and resource exploitation. This summer I will collaborate with ASOUWA and U'wa women, the U'wa Defense Project at Amazon Watch and the family members of Ingrid Washinawatok and Lahe'ena'a Gay to produce three short audio-visual research projects. My goal is to promote a space for dialogue between these different and closely related groups by creating pieces that express their perspectives and experiences working for indigenous rights with particular attention to the role of women.



Madeleine Bair, Berkeley
From Victim to Victor: The Women Speak
Jamaicans for Justice - Jamaica

More than 2,000 Jamaicans have died in the past decade at the hands of the police. Madeleine is using multimedia storytelling to document the stories of women who have struggled for years in pursuit of justice for their family members killed in extrajudicial violence. "Victims' Voices," a documentary she co-produced with the non-profit group Jamaicans for Justice, debuted this December in Kingston. The film chronicles the struggles of three women who have fought painstakingly to get justice for their sons who were killed under suspicious circumstances by members of the security forces.



Teo Ballvé, Berkeley
Narco, Inc.: The Drug Economy’s Violent Spaces of Fortune
Verdad Abierta - Colombia

In partnership with Verdad Abierta (Open Truth), a local media organization, Teo will document how the illicit drug economy of Colombia’s armed conflict fuels a particularly ravenous metabolic cycle between violent dispossession, drug money, and plantation agribusiness. He will also trace how campesino organizations have devised non-violent political strategies that could be called a “radical humanitarianism” to fight against this violent ensemble of forces.

Read Teo's op-ed.



Lara Cushing, Berkeley
Protecting Vulnerable Communities in a Warming World
Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense - Mexico

Lara will work with the Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente, headquartered in Mexico City, to make the human rights case for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Her research will make clear the disproportionate impact of global warming on vulnerable communities in Latin America and states’ obligations to take action on climate change under existing human rights covenants. The project seeks to both assess ways in which human rights principles can sharpen climate change policy-making and identify guiding principles for preventing human rights abuse in the execution of mitigation and adaptation strategies going forward.


Cheryl Deutsch, Irvine
Planning for Livelihoods: Street Vendors and Sustainable Transport in India
National Hawkers’ Federation - India

Cheryl will work with the National Hawkers' Federation, a national federation of street vendors' unions in India, to explore the potential of urban planning to secure the right to livelihood of illegal street vendors. Specifically, she will carry out ethnographic studies of two newly constructed sustainable transport projects (one a Bus Rapid Transit corridor) and their efficacy in securing space for street vendors in New Delhi and Nanded, Maharashtra.



Katie Dingeman, Irvine
Coerced Transnationality: Deportation and the Forced Separation of
Salvadoran Families
Central American Resource Center - Los Angeles, CA
I will work with the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles as an intern assisting legal advocates with preparation of "U-visas" for undocumented migrant victims crime, especially domestic violence. I will also conduct semi-structured interviews with clients of the organization to study the effects of deportation on Salvadoran families left behind in the United States. Particular attention will be paid to psychosocial and economic effects on children, the transnational strategies families use to cope with the loss of a parent or spouse, and the ways in which gender is reconfigured in the wake of a deportation.

Michelle Dizon, Berkeley
Perpetual Peace
Focus on the Global South - Philippines

Perpetual Peace is a feature-length video that deals with the contemporary political situation in the Philippines. It will consider the legacy of US colonialism, the current US re-militarization of the region, multinational corporations as they exploit the country’s resources, and the extrajudicial killings of activists in the country. It will ask how empire lives on in the era of globalization. It will ask what, if anything, is left of democracy.



Ugo Felicia Edu, Berkeley
Perspectives on Reproductive Choice: Women's Stories of Tubal Ligation and Other Contraceptives
A Cor da Bahia - Brazil

Ugo will conduct collaborative archival and anthropological research with the research group, A Cor da Bahia, in Brazil to explore the diverse ways that women define, understand and engage with reproductive rights. She is also interested in exploring the contexts that construct "choice" in reproductive health decision-making and the ways that reproductive "choice" or the seeming exercise of reproductive rights may serve as negotiations of the violation of other human rights.



Patience Fielding, Berkeley
Rights to Literacy: An Examination of Child Workers in a Developing Country
International Federation of Women Lawyers - Cameroon

My project seeks to examine how children and adolescents view and understand their rights and access to education and literacy in a developing country. The project will focus on select child laborers in Marché Centrale, a market center in Douala, which is also the biggest city in Cameroon, West Africa. At this main market center, children are involved in various trading capacities such as hawkers, street vendors, and shop assistants. Children involved in such activities have to drop out of school and spend entire days as workers. My fieldwork will give me opportunities to explore some of issues that continue to rob women and children in developing countries of access to literacy and education.



Lexa Grayner, Hastings
Empowering Migrant Communities in Thailand through Justice Education
Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia - Thailand

Lexa will work with Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEA CLE) to empower refugee and Burmese migrant communities in Thailand through legal education. BABSEA CLE builds capacity among local lawyers and law students to use interactive teaching methods when educating vulnerable communities. Lexa will assist in this process by creating lesson plans to be used by Thai law students when educating refugee and migrant communities about their legal rights.



Candler Hallman, San Diego
Granting the Victims Voice: A Case Study on the Effects of the Hillsborough Castle Agreement on Victims' Rights Discourses
Families Acting for Innocent Relatives - Northern Ireland

This project studies how recent political agreements in Northern Ireland affect the discourses of marginalized victims' rights organizations in Northern Ireland. I ask the following questions: How do post-conflict societies attempt to incorporate victims’ of human rights abuses that feel marginalized by the prevailing discourses of peace and reconciliation? Will efforts to incorporate these groups marginalize other rights organizations? These are critical issues because they show whether post-conflict treaties and legislation can foster democratic dialogue, and possibly consensus, on how to commemorate the dead and prosecute the living, thereby taking steps to alleviate the deep personal wounds of civil conflict.



Kony Kim, Berkeley
Holistic Defense Advocacy: Restorative Justice in an Urban Community
Bronx Defenders - New York, NY

As an intern with The Bronx Defenders, I will be trained in holistic advocacy: a restorative approach to criminal defense that seeks to break the poverty-prison cycle. I will also study how principles of restorative justice shape the organization’s advocacy and outreach methods, particularly as diverse experts collaborate to secure health, safety, civil rights and civil liberties in the South Bronx.



Andrew Lim, Berkeley
Health Programs in Eastern Burma
Global Health Access Program - Thailand

Andrew will work in conjunction with the Global Health Access Program (GHAP) to design evaluation tools and improve implementation of health programs providing aid to victims of human rights abuses in eastern Burma. These health programs are highly adaptive to the unpredictable security situations in the rural villages and remote jungle areas that they serve.



Daniel Marsh, Davis
Equal Access: Providing Free Justice Services to Individuals in Sierra Leone
Timap for Justice - Sierra Leone

Daniel will work in a rural paralegal office in Sierra Leone to promote access to justice services by serving individual clients and addressing community-level problems. The formal justice system in Sierra Leone is effectively inaccessible to large portions of the population, especially to those in the rural communities. As a result, most individuals in rural areas rely on customary law, comprised of ethnic customary norms, for dispute resolution. Daniel will assist the development of rule of law, promoting internalization of legal concepts within customary law, through training paralegals in formal concepts of the law, and overseeing mediation between disputing parties.



Stephen Meyers, San Diego
Local and Global Meanings of the Right to Inclusive Education
Handicap International - Nicaragua

In 2008, the United Nations ratified the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For the Disability Convention to make a real difference in the lives of persons with disabilities in developing countries, it is essential that grassroots associations engage their governments and raise awareness in their home communities. Stephen will be working at a Nicaraguan field office for Handicap International, a major disability and development NGO, to learn how local organizations are defining the right to inclusive education (article 24 of the Convention) and advocating that it be put into practice based on local history, experience, and identity.



Keramet Reiter, Berkeley
Parole, Snitch or Die: How Former Supermax Prisoners Experience Parole in California
National Council on Crime & Delinquency - Oakland, CA

Supermax prisons, which detain prisoners indefinitely in solitary confinement, in conditions explicitly streamlined to create a sterile form of isolation, represent a novel form of extreme punishment, which pushes the boundaries of national and international dividing lines between decency and cruelty. And yet, the scholarship analyzing this phenomenon is minimal and inconclusive. In an effort to expand on this minimal scholarship, in collaboration with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Keramet hopes to document who is released from supermaxes in the state of California, and what they experience when they are released directly from solitary confinement, as they re-adjust to life outside of prison. Read this story on her research at the UC Berkeley NewsCenter and her commentary in Bioethics.



Henry Steinberg, Hastings
The Right to a Healthy Environment: Marine Biodiversity and Freshwater Protection
Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense - Costa Rica

Henry will work with the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) in Costa Rica to increase access to safe freshwater resources and preserve marine biodiversity. To protect the right to a healthy environment, Henry will research relevant environmental law issues and develop regulatory and policy guidebooks for Latin American communities, NGOs and governments.

Read Henry's op-ed.



Rochelle Terman, Berkeley
Challenging Violence against Women in the Name of Culture, Religion, and Tradition
Women Living Under Muslim Laws – London, UK & Multiple Focal Countries

As part of the Global Campaign to Stop Stoning and Killing Women, Rochelle will examine and document successful strategies by local women's movements in seven focal countries (Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal and Sudan) that challenge and negotiate the use of ‘culture’ to justify discrimination and violence against women and girls. Rochelle will collect the data on success stories from partner organizations in the focal countries and their contacts. She will also have the opportunity to conduct field research during two regional meetings.



Kate E. Trumbull, Santa Cruz
Somali Refugee Women, Poetry and the Border
Center for Bridging Communities - San Diego, CA

Kate will produce a documentary exploring the role of poetry in the lives of Somali refugee women who have resettled to the San Diego/Tijuana border region. The film will examine the profound affects of civil war, forced migration, and gendered violence on these women’s lives and the tradition of political and cultural resistance and representation through poetic recitation. Working with Yasmin Hamud, Somali writer, community activist, and Executive Director of Center For Bridging Communities, an organization dedicated to working with Somali refugee youth, the film will examine how these women have transformed challenges into opportunities and worked to carve out a space for themselves and their families in San Diego in the post-9/11 era.



Elica Vafaie, Davis
International Human Rights & Guantánamo Project
Center for Constitutional Rights - New York, NY

This project will involve work with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on their International Human Rights and Guantánamo docket on various legal issues on active cases. Activities range from efforts to hold corporations accountable for their international wrong-doings domestically, through Alien Torts litigation and work to ban the use of private military contractors, and efforts to close the Guantánamo detention center. The project also entails work with the Education and Outreach Department on their 'Ban the Use of Private Military Contractor' and 'Guantánamo Global Justice' initiative campaigns, assisting in the production of educational and fact based materials.

The Crude Urban Revolution: Oil, Evictions and the Right to the City in Luanda, Angola
SOS Habitat - Angola

The capital of oil-rich Angola is a city of profound and growing contradictions. Undergoing enormous transformations, contemporary Luanda stands between the promise of petro-development and the dire consequences of its materialization. While some benefit greatly from increased oil-backed investments, many see their houses being “pushed down.” The HRC Fellow will work with housing rights organization SOS Habitat in addressing the repercussions and possibilities of this crude urban revolution.