News and Events
In Memoriam: Dr. Cristián Orrego Benavente
With great sadness, we announce that Dr. Cristián Orrego Benavente, the founding director of the Human Rights Center’s Forensic Program, died on December 12 at his home in San Salvador. We celebrate Cristián’s life and his many contributions to the Human Rights Center and to the Asociación ProBúsqueda de las Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos. Cristián was a tireless leader in the search for children taken during the war in El Salvador and in the use of DNA to reunite families. He was a true colleague and friend, and we will never forget him or his important work.
“Human rights are for everyone. Human rights are everybody’s responsibility.” —A brief video message from our visiting scholar Wai Wai Nu, Burmese human rights advocate
Please make your year-end, tax-deductible gift of any amount to UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Center: https://tinyurl.com/GivetoHRC
Rohingya: On the Edge of Existence is open at Berkeley Law
Rohingya: On the Edge of Existence—a photo show by Chris Beale which chronicles the survival of the Rohingya in the face of genocide over seven years—is open for viewing on the second floor of Berkeley Law through January. Questions? 510.642.0965.
Read about the exhibit in the SF Chronicle.
Read about the exhibit in California Magazine.
Facebook and hate speech: Human Rights Investigations Lab students contribute to Reuters report
Hate speech continues to dehumanize Rohingya and other Muslims in Myanmar through Facebook, according to this investigative report—Why Facebook is Losing the War on Hate Speech—by Reuters’ Steve Stecklow with contributions from our Human Rights Investigations Lab. Congratulations to our Tech & Human Rights Director Félim McMahon and students Anshu Gupta, John Ortilla, Aditi Pradhan, Jasmine Hahm, and many other Burma team members from past semesters for your work on this critical issue. Interested in joining our lab? Come to an info session on Thursday, August 23, 3:30 pm in Boalt Hall, Room 100. Undergraduates apply through URAP and grad students sign up for Law 294A&B.
New HRC study: Toward an End to Child Marriage
UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Center, in partnership with Save the Children, released in London this week Toward an End to Child Marriage—a study that spotlights insights from 21 countries regarding how to prevent child marriage, which affects an estimated 12 million girls each year
This practitioner-focused study is the first comprehensive review of child marriage interventions that focuses on development and humanitarian contexts. Researchers examined data from more than 375 reports and interviewed key practitioners globally.
Statement on US Withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council
The recent announcement that the United States will withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council signals our nation’s abdication of responsibilities to uphold international human rights and justice. This decision sends the message that the United States is willing to turn a blind eye to human rights offenders and thus bolster impunity. Read our statement.
Lifelines: Supporting Human Trafficking Survivors in the SF Bay Area
Bay Area counties must provide more services to victims of human trafficking—especially housing—and better adapt to recent legislation that prohibits arresting Commercially Sexually Exploited Children, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Human Rights Center and International Human Rights Law Clinic, UC Berkeley School of Law.
Researchers at the Human Rights Center and International Human Rights Law Clinic, both at Berkeley Law, interviewed some 50 law enforcement officers and service providers for Lifelines: Supporting Human Trafficking Survivors in the San Francisco Bay Area in what is the first comprehensive look at anti-trafficking efforts across five Bay Area counties in recent years. The study is a companion to Building Trust: Perspectives on a Victim-Centered approach to Human Trafficking investigations in Los Angeles County.
Announcing our 2018 Human Rights Center Fellows!
Congratulations to our 2018 Human Rights Center Fellows (alphabetically): Heba Alnajada, Safa Ansari-Bayegan, Pieter Baker, Karin Bashir, Tania Docarmo, Derrika Hunt, Jennifer Jones, Seigi Karasaki, Bernadette Lim, Sammy Mehtar, Sophie Perl, Reed Rafei, Olivia Rempel, Aleksandra Simonova, Mavis Siu, Yasemin Taskin-Alp, and Levi Vonk. Spanning disciplines that include law, architecture, medicine, and journalism, the 17 Fellows come from five University of California campuses and will contribute to human rights work in 13 countries. They will work with Palestinian women in informal refugee settlements, recently deported U.S. immigrants in Tijuana, and Americans seeking clean water in rural California. They will address education policies for girls, human trafficking, mass incarceration, racial injustice, and LGBTQ rights. They will examine the border conflicts between Russia and the Ukraine and wastewater policies in Kenya’s poorest communities. And more! Learn about all of their projects here.
Excessive use of force in Morocco protests verified by Lab
A student on Berkeley’s Digital Verification Corps team—Sang Min-Kim—conducted verification work that contributed to Amnesty International’s research about excessive force used against protesters in Jerada, Morocco, in March 2018. The Amnesty researchers sent this note of thanks for the student contributions:
“This little note to really thank you for your essential contribution to our research work on Morocco. Without you, we could not have felt confident enough to build on the central piece of evidence we had about the repression of the demonstrators in Jerada. The impact of our press release has been significant enough to prompt the Moroccan government spokesman to react and that’s partly thanks to you so again, merci and choukrane!!
—The Morocco/Western Sahara team
Our Annual Report is here!
Thank you to the many donors, friends, and foundations that make our work possible. Take a look at what we’ve done in 2017 and our plans for the year ahead to investigate war crimes, improve human rights research, support survivors, and train the next generation. Read the report.
The Future of Work: Conference on Business, Tech, and Human Rights
UC Berkeley’s Center for Responsible Business, Human Rights Center, and the Microsoft Technology and Human Rights Center hosted their second Annual Conference on Business, Technology, and Human Rights on March 22. HRC co-sponsored the event and Executive Director Alexa Koenig moderated the first panel.
Severe physical and mental health effects of widespread use of tear gas in refugee camps
Dr. Rohini Haar from the University of California, Berkeley’s Human Rights Center and Dr. Jess Ghannam from the University of California, San Francisco report on the negative physical and mental health effects of chemical crowd control weapons on daily life among Palestine refugees. No Safe Space: Health Consequences of Tear Gas Exposure Among Palestine Refugees study is the first to analyze the effects of the use of tear gas in Aida and Dheisheh camps.