2005–2009 Human Rights Fellows

Go to year: 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005

From 2005 to 2009, the Human Rights Center sponsored 72 graduate, undergraduate, and professional students to work with nongovernmental organizations and human rights agencies in the U.S. and abroad. In total, 169 fellows have been funded from 1994 to 2009. In 2008, the Human Rights Center began funding students  other University of California campuses.

 

2009 Human Rights Fellows


Andrea Ballestero

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Anthropology, UC Irvine
Centro de Derecho Ambiental y Recursos Naturales (Costa Rica)

Andrea will promote discussion about the human right to water in Central America, in collaboration with the Center for Environmental and Natural Resources Law (Centro de Derecho Ambiental y Recursos Naturales), an advocacy organization in Costa Rica. She will conduct a series of interviews and workshops with indigenous groups, local communities, national experts and economic groups.

 

Karl Baumann

M.F.A. student, Digital Arts and New Media program, UC Santa Cruz
WITNESS (New York)

Karl will develop a documentary exploring the use of documentary film and video for advocacy and research. Working with WITNESS in New York, Karl will examine footage of the Rodney King riots and media coverage of Desert Storm to draw conclusions about the effect of imagery on human rights campaigns, political agency and personal memory Watch a preview of Karl’s documentary. Read about Karl’s project on WITNESS’s blog.

 

Thomas Blair

M.S./M.D. student, Joint Medical Program, UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco
Community Ambassadors Program for Seniors (Fremont, CA)

Tom will work with South Asian immigrant elders in Fremont, California for the Community Ambassadors Program for Seniors. His research will document the impact of community outreach on access to essential services, including dialysis, transportation, and social security, through extensive interviews with Hindu, Muslim and Sikh program volunteers.

 

Daniel Cooney

M.P.P. student, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley 
Stockholm Environment Institute (Maldives)

Global climate change will force migration of thousands of people in the coming years and challenge human rights activists working to address problems stemming from lack of access to land, water and other essential resources. Daniel will work with journalists to develop a multi-media global hub called Face the Change, to advance discussion of climate change. The first project will document the effects of climate change on people living in the low-lying islands of the Maldives, in cooperation with the Stockholm Environment Institute.

 

 

C. Chambers-Ju (HRC Fellow 2009)Chris Chambers-Ju

Ph.D. student, Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley
Centro de Investigacion y Educacion Popular (CINEP) (Colombia)

Chris will work with Centro de Investigacion y Educacion Popular (CINEP) in Colombia to study violence against public school teachers. According to the Colombian teachers union, 337 teachers were murdered from 1999–2006. Teachers are accused by various armed factions of collaborating with their opposition. It is unclear why and how the violence has continued after the 1991 demobilization of leading armed groups. Chris’s research will collect data about the incidence of violence in specific regions.

 

C. Fuentes (HRC Fellow 2009)Carolina Fuentes

M.A. student, Social Documentation program, UC Santa Cruz
(El Salvador)

Carolina will help produce a documentary, Our Right to Sing, that will trace the movement of musicians in El Salvador to address political upheaval of civil war. Protest music is a common yet profound vehicle for social change shared throughout the world. Carolina was part of a Christian musical group in El Salvador at 16, and her church was burned by a military group in 1976.

 

Lauren Groth

J.D. student (1L), School of Law, UC Berkeley
Tahirih Justice Center (Washington, DC)

Lauren will help file gender-based asylum claims to protect women fleeing human rights abuses for the Tahirih Justice Center. Women worldwide face rape, forced marriage, domestic violence and sex trafficking, despite many legal conventions prohibiting these crimes. Women can seek protection in the United States under the Victims of Violence and Trafficking Protection Act and some attain visas with the help of Tahirih Justice Center.

 

Judith Joffe-Block

Master’s student, Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley
Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social (CENCOS) (Mexico City, Mexico)

Jude will work on a multimedia project documenting threats to press freedom in Mexico, where escalating violence has seriously undermined full, free news reporting. She will work with CENCOS, the Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social in Mexico City, on their Permanent Campaign to Protect Journalists.

 

Cathleen Kozen

Ph.D. student, Department of Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego
Campaign for Justice: Redress Now for Japanese Latin Americans! (El Cerrito, CA)

Some 2,300 Japanese Latin Americans were “kidnapped” in 13 Latin American countries during WWII and brought to the U.S. Some were forced into camps and others were used in a hostage-exchange program with Japan. Cathleen will work with Campaign for Justice: Redress Now for Japanese Latin Americans! (CFJ), founded in 1996 to address the human rights violations of Japanese Latin Americans. The group is working toward Congressional hearings in 2009 on redress legislation.

 

Daniel Lavelle

Ph.D. student, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley
Global Exchange (Venezuela)

The indigenous Zulia people in western Venezuela face increasing coercion and violence from private landowners and state-owned coal companies. In cooperation with Global Exchange, Daniel’s project will use GPS and GIS techniques to map land-use claims and help establish borders of indigenous territories.

 

Evelyn Levine

J.D. student (2L), UC Hastings College of the Law
Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (San Francisco, CA)

Evelyn will work with the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies in San Francisco to help protect women and girls from gender violence through asylum cases. She will work specifically on Guatemalan cases where women face rampant threats of sexual violence and murder.

 

N. List (HRC Fellow 2009)Nicole List

Ph.D. student, Department of Geography, UC Berkeley
Environnement et Developpement dans le Tiers Monde (Dakar, Senegal)

Nicole will help urban farmers in Dakar retain access to water and land rights, against the pressure of real estate developers. With the Dakar-based Environnement et Developpement dans le Tiers Monde she will compile enthographic accounts detailing how urban farmers function in the Pkine area, about 15 miles from downtown Dakar.

 

Viviana MacManus

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Literature, UC San Diego
Asociación de Ex-detenidos Desaparecidos (AEDD) (Chile)

Association of the Ex-Detained Disappeared (AEDD) compiles testimony of former prisoners of the dictatorship in Argentina. Viviana’s project on the “recuperation of historical memory as a human rights issue” will aid the search for truth and justice for those held in 340 Argentinean concentration camps and address their fervent desire to speak out.

 

Rekia Mohammed-Jibrin

Ph.D. student, Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley
Copwatch Policy Accountability Project (Oakland, CA)

Rekia will work with Oakland Copwatch’s Police Accountability Project to archive and analyze video footage of police misconduct in Oakland, California. She will also analyze the economic costs of police officers’ human rights violations in an effort to curtail abuses. Watch a video about Rekia’s project.

 

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Camille Pannu

J.D. student (1L), School of Law, UC Berkeley
Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) (Richmond, CA)

At Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) Camille will help develop strategies for community-driven advocacy and litigation to address the health impacts of environmental degradation on low-income people in Richmond, California. Camille will submit testimony of behalf of CBE regarding the city’s decision to allow expansion of a Chevron oil refinery.

 

Brian Parker

J.D. student (1L), UC Hastings College of the Law
Selva Viva (Quito, Ecuador)

Brian will work with lead attorney Pablo Fajardo to seek justice for over 30,000 indigenous Ecuadorians in a landmark lawsuit against ChevronTexaco for the environmental atrocities committed by the company during its oil operations in the Amazon. A court appointed expert estimated the damages at around $27 billion for the environmental remediation and adverse health effects to the local people, including increased rates of cancer, skin disease, and miscarriages.

 

Aghaghia Rahimzadeh

Ph.D. student, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley
(India)

Aghaghia will work in India with “forest-dwelling” indigenous Van Gujjars whose traditional migratory life is now threatened by what became Rajaji National Park in 1983. Developing policies that balance national conservation goals without marginalizing local populations will help bridge gaps between human needs and environmental sustainability.

 

Stephen Smith

Ph.D. candidate/J.D. student, Department of Sociology and School of Law, UC Berkeley
Human Rights Watch—Program for Terrorism and Counterterrorism (Washington, DC)

Stephen will work with the Human Rights Watch Program for Terrorism and Counterterrorism to investigate the resettlement of Yemeni detainees, the largest group of Guantanamo detainees held in U.S. custody after the attacks of September 11th. The study will help inform development of policies related to the closure of Guantanamo and treatment of future detainees. Stephen will contribute to drafting practical guidelines for resettlement programs that protect individual dignity and the collective security interests of the United States.
Stephen went on to become program director of the Atrocity Response Program at the Human Rights Center.

 

A. Zia (HRC Fellow 2009)Ather Zia

Ph.D. student, Department of Anthropology, UC Irvine
(Kashmir)

Ather Zia will investigate women’s agency manifested in the civil society processes against human rights abuses especially enforced/custodial disappearances in the Indian administered Kashmir. This study will enable findings about various aspects of their mobilization and participation as well as issues concerning law, order and discursive construction of the phenomenon. Watch a video about Ather’s project.

 

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Anonymous

Department of Environmental, Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley

(Burma)

 

 

 

2008 Human Rights Fellows


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Gautam Bhan

Ph.D. student, College of Environmental Design Department of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (India)

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

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Literature, UC San Diego
Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (Spain)

Scott will work with the Association for the Recovery 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

J.D. student (2L), UC Hastings College of the Law
EarthRights International (Washington, DC)

Blaine will work with EarthRights International in Washington, DC, 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

J.D. student (1L), School of Law, UC Berkeley
War Crimes Studies Center, UC Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)

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

Dr.P.H. candidate, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
New Orleans Video Voice Project (New Orleans, LA)

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

Ph.D. candidate, Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley
Family Literacy Project (South Africa)

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 

Ph.D. student, Department of Anthropology, UC Irvine
One Million Signatures Campaign (California)

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

J.D. student (2L), School of Law, UC Berkeley
Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law—Liberty and National Security Project (New York)

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

Master’s student, Latin American Studies program, UC Berkeley
Unidad Academica Campesina de Carmen Pampa (Bolivia)

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.

 

Michael Levien

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley
National Alliance of Peoples Movements (India)

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

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Demography, UC Berkeley
Global Health Access Project (Burma)

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

M.A. student, Social Documentation program, UC Santa Cruz
(San Francisco, CA)

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

J.D. student, School of Law, UC Berkeley
World Health Organization—Southeast Asia Regional Office (India)

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

Ph.D. candidate, Epidemiology program, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
Christian Children’s Fund (Angola)

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

Ph.D. candidate, College of Environmental Design Department of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley
El Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos (PROVEA) (Venezuela)

Carmen will work with 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 + Roberto Hernandez Ruiz

Ph.D. students, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley
(Mexico)

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

J.D. student, UC Hastings College of the Law
Community Legal Aid Institute (Jakarta, Indonesia)

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

M.A. student, Social Documentation program, UC Santa Cruz 
National Ecological Unit (San Salvador, El Salvador)

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.

 

 

2007 Human Rights Fellows


Dipti Bhatnagar

M.A. student, Energy and Resources Group
National Alliance of Peoples Movement (West Bengal, India)

A recently passed Indian law allows the government to designate certain parcels of land as Special Economic Zones for the production of export goods by Indian or multinational corporations. The creation of Special Economic Zones has adversely affected local communities—some have been forcibly displaced and others have experienced environmental degradation. Protesters opposing the zones have been detained and beaten by police. Dipti will examine the effects of the Special Economic Zones on rural communities in West Bengal.

 

Hiba Bou Akar

Ph.D. student, College of Environmental Design Department of City and Regional Planning
MADA Communities & Environment (Lebanon)

The July 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah left thousands of Lebanese families without shelter or access to basic services while the reconstruction process has been mired in post-war local and regional political crises. Hiba will examine the practices, policies and debates shaping the reconstruction process in the southern suburbs of Beirut one year after the end of the war.

 

Michele Friedner

Ph.D. candidate, UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Program in Medical Anthropology
Association of People with Disabilities (India)

Michele will partner with the Association of People with Disabilities in India to examine the development of identity among deaf Indian women in relation to their families and to emerging NGOs and state programs geared for deaf individuals. Deaf youth tend to orient themselves around a culture and language that is not shared by their families and may create conflict within existing kinship networks, especially in India, where the family is the essential sociocultural unit.

 

Rita Hamad

M.S./M.D. student, UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program
Proyectos de Informática, Salud, Medicina, Agricultura (PRISMA) (Peru)

PRISMA offers a microcredit program to rural and urban poor. Although microcredit has become an increasingly popular tool for alleviating poverty, its ability to improve the health and financial circumstances of women and their children, frequently identified as intended beneficiaries, has not been widely measured. Rita will evaluate PRISMA’s microcredit program and health education services to assess their effectiveness. Read Rita’s resulting articles, “Microcredit Participation and Nutrition Outcomes among Women in Peru” ( Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 66, 2012), and “Health Education for Microcredit Clients in Peru” (BMC Public Health 11, 2011).

 

Bauni Hamid

Ph.D. candidate, College of Environmental Design Department of Architecture
Indonesian Institute of Architects–North Sumatra Chapter (Indonesia)

Bauni will study the post-tsunami reconstruction process. Although housing units are being built, some of these developments do not meet the needs of local communities because they have been planned and built without local input. Bauni plans to explore the importance of collaboration between local residents, state agencies, builders, and architects in executing successful reconstruction projects. He intends to develop a model of collaboration among all stakeholders for post-disaster reconstruction building.

 

Lindsay Harris

J.D. student, School of Law
Forced Migration Studies Programme, University of Witwatersrand, and Lawyers for Human Rights (South Africa)

South Africa’s transition to a democracy has changed migration patterns within the country as it has shifted from primarily a refugee-producing country to a refugee-receiving country. As a result, the asylum system faces increasing difficulties. In particular, women’s gender-based asylum claims are often misunderstood and poorly adjudicated. Lindsay will study how these claims are treated in order to develop appropriate advocacy and policy responses.

 

Ariel Meyerstein 

J.D. student, School of Law
Reprieve (London, England)

Ariel will spend the summer in London with Reprieve, a UK organization that advocates on behalf of people facing the death penalty and other human rights violations. The United States government is currently detaining over 395 individuals labeled “unlawful enemy combatants” at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Ariel will assist Reprieve with its representation of 36 current and former Guantánamo detainees, all of whom have close ties to the United Kingdom. He will conduct a combination of legal research, field investigation, and political advocacy.

 

Jason Morris-Jung

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
International Centre for Environmental Management (Vietnam)

The Biodiversity Conservation Corridor Initiative is a $36 million project, sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, to conserve nine transnational biodiversity corridors in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, and southern China. However, millions of indigenous people live within the Corridor and depend on the land and its natural resources for their livelihoods. Jason will examine how local and indigenous communities can be included in meaningful decision-making regarding land and natural resources inside conservation corridors.

 

Nicholas Simon Morfit

Ph.D. student, Department of Sociology
Malawi Human Rights Youth Network (Malawi)

Since the onset of the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, regional development efforts have been reconfigured to prioritize HIV/AIDS funding over support for other social welfare concerns. Yet, in addition to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, sub-Saharan Africa faces a multitude of pressing needs. Simon plans to investigate how the prioritization of HIV/AIDS has affected the daily lives of individuals in Malawi and whether such prioritization has inadvertently introduced inequalities and constraints to improving social well-being more broadly. Read Simon’s resulting article, “‘AIDS is Money’: How Donor Preferences Reconfigure Local Realities” (World Development 39, 2010).

 

Romesh Silva

Ph.D. student, Department of Demography
Ensaaf (U.S. and India)

From 1984 to 1994, approximately 10,000 – 20,000 people were forcibly disappeared in Punjab by Indian security forces attempting to quell a Sikh insurgency. However, these estimates are anecdotal and not based on demographic analysis and statistical estimation. Romesh will assist in preparing a quantitative report that will be filed with key legal arguments before the Indian Supreme Court. His report will provide statistical evidence regarding the magnitude, pattern, and levels of responsibility for these forced disappearances in order to hold Indian security forces accountable and eliminate the impunity they currently enjoy.

 

Oyundary (Daria) Tsagaan 

Master’s student, Graduate School of Journalism 
Amnesty International and the National Center for Domestic Violence (Mongolia)

Daria will spend the summer with Amnesty International Mongolia and the National Center for Domestic Violence. In 2004, the Mongolian parliament passed a law criminalizing domestic violence, a practice that persists and has even increased despite the law. Daria plans to return to her home country and create a multi-media report to expose domestic violence, its effect on families, and the shortcomings of the recently passed law. She will also focus on emerging solutions to domestic violence pioneered by civil society and local and international NGOs.

 

Sarah Rose Weinman

J.D. student, School of Law
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights (New York and Iraqi Kurdistan)

Sarah will work in New York City and Iraqi Kurdistan to develop a program intended to eliminate discriminatory law enforcement and abuse of detainees in Kurdish prisons, with an emphasis on those detained due to their ethnic or religious identity. The goals of the program are three-fold: 1) provide legal screening, services, and jail monitoring for detainees in Kirkuk and Erbil prisons; 2) document instances of arbitrary detention; and 3) train local attorneys and NGO staff on the application of international human rights law in the Kurdish detention system

 

 

2006 Human Rights Fellows


Heidi Boas

J.D. student (2L), School of Law
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (Panama City, Panama)

The internal armed conflict in Colombia has produced a significant refugee crisis in Central America and in the northern region of South America. Heidi will advocate for increased legal protections for refugees in Panama, especially those fleeing the armed conflict in Colombia. She will also educate refugee communities about their legal rights.

 

Ju Hui Judy Han

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Geography
Korea Women’s Studies Institute (South Korea)

Judy will work in South Korea to address the migration of North Korean women. Many North Korean women are forced to leave their country in search of food and work to support their families. Many enter China illegally where they face highly exploitative working conditions and/or are forced into marriages. Christian and evangelical missionaries assist some of these women to migrate to South Korea. Judy will examine the plight of these women and the religious motivations behind advocacy for North Korean migrants.

 

Benjamin Lessing

Ph.D. student, Department of Political Science
Viva Rio Program on Public Security (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

As a Fulbright scholar, Benjamin conducted research on armed violence and the drug trade in Brasil. He plans to expand on that research to investigate the rise in extra-judicial killings by the police. In 2003, extra-judicial killings accounted for one-third of the total homicides in Rio de Janeiro. These killings disproportionately affect the poor who lack resources to protest and protect themselves. Benjamin will research police behavior and the structure of police institutions to better understand how police reform occurs and evaluate the effectiveness of human rights training and education efforts.

 

Stacey Murphy 

Ph.D. candidate, College of Environmental Design Department City and Regional Planning
Coalition on Homelessness (San Francisco, CA)

Stacey will evaluate the effects of a new set of human rights policies for the homeless. An estimated 15,000 men, women, and youth are considered homeless in San Francisco, which has one of the most severe homeless problems in the United States. In response, Mayor Gavin Newsom has unveiled a series of new homeless policies. Stacey plans to study how the lives of homeless people have been affected by these new policies and how these policies compare to the policies of prior administrations.

 

Edwin Okong’o

Master’s student, Graduate School of Journalism
Dick Tiger ’72 Olympian Hero International (Kenya)

Edwin will work with the nongovernmental organization Dick Tiger ’72 Olympian Hero International (named after a Kenyan Olympic boxing medalist), which advocates for the rights of people with disabilities in Kenya. Although Kenya enacted the Persons with Disability Act in 2003, the lives of people with disabilities reportedly have seen little improvement. Edwin, who is Kenyan, plans to write a series of articles exposing the treatment of Kenyans with disabilities and the conditions in which they live. He seeks to encourage the Kenyan press to address the state’s failure to uphold the new law and guarantee the rights of the disabled.

 

Juan Thomas Ordóñez

Ph.D. student, UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Program in Medical Anthropology
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (Berkeley, CA)

Juan will work with the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant in Berkeley, an organization that provides advocacy and legal services to immigrants and those seeking asylum. He will examine the social factors involved in deciding to seek asylum, what happens during the asylum application process, and how the outcome of the application may affect individuals and their relationships with family members. Above all, he will explore the lived experience of violence as it is projected socially and redefined legally through the asylum application process.

 

Noer Fauzi Rachman

Ph.D. student, Department of Environmental Science Policy, and Management
(Indonesia)

Noer will spend his summer in Indonesia where he will investigate how the struggle for land rights and agrarian reform has been shaped by civil society actors, including grassroots peasant groups. He will explore how the national government’s move toward decentralization has affected agrarian land reform in a variety of settings, including forestry and plantation, and what role state and non-state agencies, NGOs, and peasant groups have played in encouraging land acquisition, natural resource management, and legal reform.

 

Rohan Radhakrishna

M.S./M.D. student, UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program
Concerned Parents Association (CPA) (Kitgum, northern Uganda)

Rohan will work this summer with the Concerned Parents Association (CPA) in the town of Kitgum in northern Uganda. He will assist the CPA staff to conduct a needs assessment to better understand the health needs of war-affected youth and children. Many of the youth are former members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group that abducts children to fill its ranks.

 

Elana Shever

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Anthropology
(Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Elana will work with a grass-roots political movement in the shantytowns that surround the oil refineries outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Shewill investigate how local residents pursue their right to health care through both protests against and collaborations with state, municipal, civic and oil corporation actors.

 

Megan Ybarra

Ph.D. student, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
Coordinación de ONGs & Cooperativas (CONGCOOP) (Guatemala)

CONGCOOP assists people displaced by war and political violence in Guatemala regain title to their land. Megan will investigate whether market-based land reform, a policy advocated by the World Bank, protects individual property rights, particularly the rights of indigenous people and women in the face of conflicting land claims and interests.

 

 

2005 Human Rights Fellows


Elizabeth Barnert

M.S./M.D. student, UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program
Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos (El Salvador)

Liz will spend the summer in El Salvador helping to harness the power of forensic science to benefit human rights on behalf of young adults seeking to discover their family identities and families seeking to discover the fate of their missing children. As a fellow with Asociación Pro- Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos (The Organization in Search of the Missing Children) a Salvadoran NGO, she will work on a project to identify children (now young adults) who during the Salvadoran “civil” war (1980 -1992) were separated from their parents or abducted by the military during military sweeps of villages, handed over to the Salvadoran Red Cross and later placed in orphanages or adopted. Liz will assist to implement an ambitious plan to interview and collect DNA samples from family members who are searching for children who had gone missing during this time of conflict.

 

Shelley Cavalieri

J.D. student (2L), School of Law
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (Washington, DC)

Shelley will work with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom to evaluate the U.S.’s protection of refugee rights under the Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. In her previous work with the Commission, Shelley helped to examine whether the law’s process of expedited removal, which allows for the summary removal of non-citizens who arrive at U.S. borders without proper travel documentation, is undermining the rights of asylum seekers by preventing a proper screening of their claims of persecution. This summer, she will face the challenging task of helping to reconcile the Commission’s recommendations with the Department of Homeland Security’s implementation concerns while maintaining a focus on the protection of refugee rights.

 

Tanya Clark Jones

Ph.D student, Department of Sociology
Treatment Action Campaign (South Africa)

Tanya has worked extensively in Senegal, Togo and Ghana. She plans to return to Africa to examine how the human rights of HIV-infected South Africans are addressed through the development of a broad-based social movement, of which Treatment Action Campaign, her sponsoring NGO, is a part. Tanya plans to assist Treatment Action Campaign with strategic planning, communications and the delivery of treatment literacy workshops while carrying out ethnographic research on the staff’s and members’ perceptions of the government’s management of the roll-out of antiretroviral treatment, their view as to their role in advancing the goal of universal access to antiretroviral drugs and their assessment of participation in Treatment Action Campaign.

 

 

Sapana Doshi

Ph.D. student, Department of Geography
Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action & Research (PUKAR) (Mumbai, India)

Sapana will work with PUKAR (Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action & Research) in Mumbai India to study how water is accessed by urban poor women and girls. At a critical juncture, the City of Mumbai is being pressured to privatize the management of the water supply system in an effort to improve efficiency, cost recovery and distribution. Sapana proposes to study the struggle for water in the daily lives of Mumbai’s residents to formulate appropriate water sector and wider urban development policies to guarantee the right to water access. In particular, she is interested in examining the role of water provision in the lives of low-income women and girls and whether inequitable water distribution has an effect on their rights to education, health and freedom from violence.

 

Catalina Garzón

Ph.D. student, Department of Environmental Science, Management, and Policy
U’wa Defense Project (Colombia)

As a fellow, Catalina will work with the U’wa Defense Project, an NGO that supports U’wa (indigenous peoples in Colombia) led community-building and development work. Due to escalating violence, often over land rights, the U’wa and other indigenous people in Colombia find it imperative to develop mechanisms to articulate a vision for their lands. Catalina will research the development of one innovative mechanism, Planes de Vida (Life Plans) currently being used by other native nations in Colombia. Planes de Vida are used to advance ambitious indigenous human rights agendas, addressing education, health, ceremonial practices, the security of indigenous leaders as well as the protection of sacred sites, harvest calendars and other indigenous land uses often excluded from national planning priorities.

 

Rob Harris + Tovin Lapan

Master’s students, Graduate School of Journalism
United Students Against Sweatshops (Colombia)

The pair plan to investigate the human rights abuses, including murder, torture and disappearances of key union activists in Coca-Cola’s Colombian bottling plants. One question they hope to explore is whether Coca-Cola had any knowledge of or played a role in the planning or perpetration of these abuses. As part of a United Students Against Sweatshops fact-finding delegation, Rob and Tovin will travel to Colombia to visit Coca-Cola’s bottling plants and to interview representatives from Coca-Cola, the union seeking to represent workers, union members who have been threatened and community members who live near the bottling plants. Their goal is to create a multi-media, web-based story that will serve to educate the U.S. public.

 

Sylvia Nam

Master’s student, College of Environmental Design Department of City and Regional Planning
Economic Institute of Cambodia (Cambodia)

Sylvia will work with the Economic Institute of Cambodia to examine the effect of garment trade liberalization on the Cambodian garment industry, its largest manufacturing base, and on the lives of garment workers, 90% of whom are women. January 1, 2005 marked the end of a forty-year quota system for the global textile and apparel industry that had allowed the garment industry to flourish in countries such as Cambodia. Sylvia will research whether these industry -shifting conditions have hastened the collapse of the garment industry and whether an increase in labor abuses has resulted. Given the feminization of the garment industry, Sylvia will explore the effect of the global quota’s end on women and whether women are now at greater risk for not only labor abuses but other types of human rights abuses, including violence in the home and human trafficking.

 

Sunita Puri

M.S./M.D. student, UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program
Narika (Berkeley, CA)

Sunita will partner with Narika, a Berkeley-based South Asian women’s organization that offers services to immigrant women who are survivors of domestic violence. She will examine the reasons why South Asian immigrants in the Bay Area make use of new reproductive technologies to conduct fetal sex selection, a practice that has been well-documented in India but not at all documented in the immigrant population in the U.S. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some South Asian immigrant women are coerced to have male children and/or undergo forced abortion of female fetuses, implicating a women’s right to reproductive health. Women who resist or choose to have a daughter may be harassed or battered in the home by their husbands or other family members. Sunita seeks to examine this phenomenon, its frequency, the risk of human rights abuses, and the role of medical professionals and emerging medical technologies.

 

Malini Ranganthan

Ph.D. student, Energy and Resource Group
Environment et Développment du Tiers Monde (Dakar, Senegal)

Malini will spend the summer in Dakar, Senegal with Environment et Développment du Tiers Monde (Environmental Development Action in the Third World) to examine the physical and economic challenges poor urban dwellers face in accessing electricity. Senegal is an interesting case with which to probe the questions of energy access and social exclusion. In 1999, the state electricity utility was sold to a multinational corporation in response to conditions placed by the World Bank. However, shortly after the sale, the newly elected government was forced to reclaim ownership after the privatized utility failed to meet supply targets causing widespread social upheaval. Senegal continues to contemplate privatization. Malini’s goal is to understand the challenges faced by poor urban dwellers in accessing electricity in Dakar and to determine whether it is feasible to incorporate consultative and participatory approaches into the process of electricity reform.

 

Katherine Schlaefer

M.P.H. student, School of Public Health
Mi Cometa (Ecuador)

Katherine will work with Mi Cometa in Ecuador to continue her work with Ecuadoran street youth. She estimates that roughly 10,000 children live in shelters and institutions throughout Ecuador due to extreme poverty or abuse. Katherine will document the connection between human rights violations and the lives of street youth, particularly with regard to conduct disorder behaviors that often characterize street youth. Katherine will build on last summer’s work when she conducted a qualitative study of street youth throughout Ecuador to investigate their health status, personal histories, substance abuse and sexual behaviors. Katherine’s research on street children will be made available to organizations, researchers and government entities to develop a better understanding of street youth.