2013 Human Rights Fellows

Imron Bhatti, UC Davis, Law

Accountability Counsel, India

Imron will work with San Francisco-based non-profit Accountability Counsel, supporting their case work and policy advocacy in India. This project will focus on assisting Indian communities suffering human rights and environmental abuses stemming from internationally financed agribusiness, infrastructure, and resource extraction projects. Imron will build community capacity to effectively access accountability tools while supporting policy advocacy to ensure that these means of pursuing justice are accessible, transparent, and fair.



Susan Fang, UC Berkeley/UCSF, Joint Medical Program

Chinese Progressive Association, San Francisco

Access to high quality, affordable health care is a basic human right. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, this nation is one step closer to making this idea a reality. However, health care inequities still persist, particularly those facing working class, communities of color, which is precisely why community organizing at the grassroots level is critical to pushing for health and social justice. This is particularly salient in San Francisco, which has a sizable population of low-income immigrants who still experience immense challenges accessing health care. As such, Susan will be working with the Chinese Progressive Association, an organization that mobilizes low-income Chinese immigrants, as a Community Health Policy Research Fellow to assist in developing a community organizing campaign in light of the implementation of ACA to ensure more equitable access to health care in San Francisco.

Steve Fisher, UC Berkeley, Journalism

ACLU, Arizona

Steve will investigate Operation Streamline, a program that requires migrants detained along the southern border to be processed as criminals. Individuals are then sentenced to anywhere from 30 to 70 days in a privately owned migrant detention center before being deported. The epicenter of Streamline is in Tucson, Arizona, where every weekday up to 70 migrants go from innocent to guilty in the space of an hour. The program is partially responsible for Latinos making up half of all people sentenced to federal prisons for felonies.


Tara Gonzalez, UC Berkeley/UCSF, Joint Medical Program

Child and Adolescent Gender Center, San Francisco

Tara will work with the Child and Adolescent Gender Center. This center is a collaboration between UCSF and community organizations, offering comprehensive medical and psychological care, as well as advocacy and legal support, to gender non-conforming/transgender youth and adolescents. Her qualitative research will explore how parents and families are negotiating medical and social decisions surrounding their children’s gender.



Karina Hermawan, UC Irvine, Economics

California Bikes Uganda, Uganda

Karina will work with California Bikes Uganda (CAB), a non-profit organization in Fort Portal, Uganda, that locally manufactures and gives bicycles to orphans and HIV positive youths. Those who receive bicycles often live 8 to 20 kilometers from schools and health centers. The organization also builds and customizes hand-powered tricycles for disabled adults and children living in the community. Karina will be responsible for designing a survey to measure the impacts of the program, carrying out data collection via visits and conversation with program participants or recipients, and evaluating means to better serve them.


Leah Jacobs, UC Berkeley, Social Welfare

Citywide Forensic Case Management, San Francisco

Leah will be conducting a community-based research project, "From Cell Blocks to City Blocks: Experiences of Correctional Involvement Among Individuals with Mental Illness." The study is being developed in collaboration with Citywide Forensic Case Management, the largest provider of services to system-involved individuals with mental illness in San Francisco. The aim of the qualitative study is to forefront the voices of this dually stigmatized population by capturing their experiences of the correctional system and community re-entry services, in addition to their perceptions of the barriers and facilitators to successful community re-entry.

Elizabeth Jimenez, UC Berkeley, Law

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, Germany

Elizabeth will work with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a non-profit legal and educational organization based in Berlin. At ECCHR, Elizabeth will contribute to the Business and Human Rights Program, conducting legal research, analysis, and case work on projects involving human rights violations committed by transnational corporations.

Eli Marienthal, UC Berkeley, Sociology

Défenseurs des Opprimés/Defenders of the Oppressed, Haiti

In partnership with two local human rights organizations, Eli will examine the dynamics driving development of Haiti’s most rapidly expanding post-earthquake urban formation. Located 10 miles outside of Port-au-Prince, the suburb of Canaan is often invoked as the next Cité Soleil, a reference to the city’s most notorious slum, and a metonym for unmanageable urban poverty and violence. Eli's collaborative work with DOP (Défenseurs des Opprimés/Defenders of the Oppressed) and FRAKKA (Fos Refleksyon ak Aksyon Sou Koze Kay/Force for Reflection and Action on Housing) will examine how this new city, has come into being not outside of official relief efforts, but in relation to them, despite its formal exclusion from the project of reconstruction. The surveys, reports, and maps generated this summer and next fall will become resources for these partner organizations as they struggle to defend people from violent eviction and organize to make claims for basic service provisions to Canaan.

Anita Mukherji, UC Davis, Law

East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Berkeley

As an intern at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC) in Berkeley, Anita will participate in all stages of representation for affirmative asylum applicants, culminating in representing them at the San Francisco Asylum Office. Her caseload will include a diverse range of clients from around the world who are fleeing persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, gender, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. EBSC addresses urgent human rights issues by providing pro-bono representation to low-income and indigent immigrants and refugees so that they are not placed in removal proceedings and are provided a pathway to citizenship.



Genevieve Painter, UC Berkeley, Law, JSP Ph.D. candidate

Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, Canada

Genevieve Painter will study the human rights issues raised by Canada's Indian Residential Schools system and the impact of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. She will explore the application of international human rights laws to the violations committed in Indian Residential Schools and seek to understand how human rights principles influence the TRC’s work.




Rebecca Peters, UC Berkeley, Environmental Science

Fundación Cantaro Azul, Bolivia

International policy discourses on human rights now routinely address gender disparities in both education and health. Yet despite these advances, the conversation often overlooks a significant site of inequity that brings together issues of gender, rights, education and health: the hygienic management of menstruation (MHM). Rebecca’s fellowship work will investigate how MHM can be appropriately incorporated into girl’s educational and physical environments in Cochabamba, Bolivia. By fostering community discussion, education, and participation in MHM activities, she hopes to contribute to structural change on the community's terms, while broadening an understanding of the interplay among water, sanitation, gender equity, and human rights.


Nolan Phillips & Jayson Hunt, UC Irvine, Sociology

Coalition of People's World Cup and Olympic Games Committees, Brazil

Jayson Hunt and Nolan Phillips will be interviewing and collecting information from members of the National Coalition of People's World Cup and Olympic Games Committees in Brazil. Organizations from the 12 cities hosting World Cup games during the summer of 2014 comprise the National Coalition. They will investigate the formation, tactics, and success of the coalition and the relationship to human rights.

Ruyan Rahnama, UC San Francisco, medical program

Libertas Center for Human Rights, New York

The Libertas Center for Human Rights at Elmhurst Hospital in New York provides torture survivors seeking asylum with comprehensive access to healthcare, social services, and medical affidavits. Ruyan will undergo a retrospective review of intake forms and patient charts to identify potential areas of improvement in patient intake and follow-up care. Medical documents carry great weight in asylum cases so an improvement in services can positively impact patients' lives.



Davorn Sisavath, UC San Diego, Ethnic Studies

Legacies of War, Washington, DC/Laos

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the U.S. bombing campaign in Laos (1964-1973); however the country continues to battle with the legacy of the “secret war” where unexploded ordnance (“UXO”) remain hidden and pose a constant threat for many Laotians. In collaboration with the missions and goals of Legacies of War based in Washington DC that has done considerable work in advocating for U.S. support for clearance of UXO in Laos, Davorn will be examining and analyzing the organization’s current and historical documents to inform, update and assist with advocacy campaigns and education to raise awareness, and to conduct interviews with specialists who have done extensive work and/or are knowledgeable about the efficacy of the current UXO programs in Laos.

Ioana Tchoukleva, UC Berkeley, Law

United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Malaysia

Ioana will be working with the office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia. She will be handling cases of unaccompanied and separated refugee children, making decisions on whether they should stay with their current caregivers, be referred to foster homes, or altogether resettled in a third country. She plans to serve as an advocate for refugee children, whose only access to protection and services in Malaysia lies with UNHCR.


Ricardo Velasco Trujillo, UC Santa Cruz, Film


Documentary: “After the Crossfire: Memories of Violence and Displacement in Colombia’s Northern Pacific Coast,” Colombia

Ricardo will be working on the documentary “After the Crossfire: Memories of Violence and Displacement in Colombia’s Northern Pacific Coast,” a film about the effects of war on the civil unarmed population of Juradó, a remote coastal town in an isolated and marginalized jungle region in the Colombian state of Chocó. The film analyzes the emergence and escalation of the armed conflict in the region during the decade of 1990, bringing into public light a series of severe violations against human rights committed by armed groups disputing territorial control of the zone. Relying primarily on testimonies of witnesses, the documentary opens fundamental questions about the realities of the armed conflict, the effects of trauma and forced displacement within different social and ethnic groups living in the area, and the complex ethical and moral demands of the victims when impunity and oblivion prevail over justice and truth.