Brooklyn Law School recently announced the selection of four students as International Human Rights Fellows for the summer of 2011. This news comes on the heels of a feature article in the Spring 2011 issue of BLS LawNotes that highlights the work of last summer’s IHR Fellows as well as other students who received fellowships to work abroad. BLS IHR Fellows are given the opportunity to examine international legal systems and gain important academic insights, practical real-world legal experience, and remarkable networking opportunities, as well as the opportunity to perform what many would consider the legal work of a lifetime.
This year’s International Human Rights fellows will continue the tradition as they work toward improving the lives of others. They are: Eben Saling ’12 David Bright ’13, Erin Covert ’13, and Hanna Morrill ’12.
Eben Saling ’12, who was a Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest (BLSPI) Fellow last summer, will work with the Burma Lawyers' Council (BLC), located in Mae Sot, Thailand. The BLC is a group of exiled Burmese lawyers who research and document the judicial system within Burma, and specifically how the judicial system is used by the military regime as a tool for oppression. Saling will work directly with these lawyers to research and write memos on human rights abuses in that country. He will also teach classes at the BLC Peace Law Academy, a school for politically active Burmese refugees and exiles. Saling hopes to empower students to act as advocates for the rule of law in Burma and at the same time to gain valuable hands-on experience with human rights law. He is especially looking forward to conducting research on the new Burmese constitution. “I am extremely grateful to BLS and the Human Rights Fellowship Program for helping me take advantage of this opportunity,” said Saling.
David Bright ’13 came to Brooklyn Law School to pursue his passion for human rights and civil rights issues after earning an undergraduate degree at Harvard University, an MBA at Trinity College Dublin, and founding two charities in Africa. After witnessing government sanctioned abuses in Zimbabwe, Bosnia, and Burma, he wanted to focus his studies on international law. His fellowship will be with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, working in the Office of the Prosecution, in Arusha, Tanzania. “The International Human Rights Fellowship provided me with much needed funds, without which I would have been unable to accept the position,” he remarked. “It’s also introduced me to a community of fellow students with similar interests. I hope to gain a firm introduction to the field of international human rights, and exposure to international institutions, specifically the United Nations, and to acquire contacts in the field that will help with future employment.”
Erin Covert ‘13 will work for the United Nations Office of Staff Legal Assistance in Nairobi, Kenya. She will assist the supervising attorney with the drafting of motions, speaking with UN staff clients, and attending hearings. “Ultimately I want to learn what it takes to create court systems that function smoothly and that the people will trust to resolve disputes,” said Covert. “My dream job after law school would be to manage rule of law projects in developing countries that would establish effective judiciaries and increase access to local justice. Working at OSLA will be an invaluable experience both in practicing international administrative law and in living in a place where the rule of law is not to be taken for granted,” she added.
Hanna Morrill ’12, a returning IHR Fellow, will work in the Netherlands at the International Criminal Court in the Office of the Prosecutor at The Hague, dealing with cases from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Morrill’s interest in international law began as she worked toward her undergraduate degree at Macalester College, where she pursued a double major in international relations and political science. “I look forward to the opportunity to experience the ‘next step’ in the international justice system when it comes to the prosecution of international humanitarian and war crimes,” Morrill said.