Since Brooklyn Law School initiated the International Human Rights Fellowship three years ago, a select group of students who have demonstrated particular promise in their study of international and human rights law are honored each year as International Human Rights Fellows. The Fellows take their talent abroad for a summer spent solving real-world legal challenges in a variety of settings. In the past, Fellows have explored areas including free expression and speech, international criminal law, and legal issues of art theft and antiques. This year’s Fellows, Roy Anderson '11, Gillian Cassell-Stiga '11, Laura Gretz '12 and Brigitte Hamadey '12, will receive stipends to support the UN’s international legal work, fight corporations’ international human rights violations, prosecute war crimes, and combat human trafficking while based in Kenya, Ecuador, Tanzania, and Thailand.
Anderson will work as a legal intern with the Office of Staff Legal Assistance (OSLA) in the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Kenya (UNON, http://www.unon.org/), under the direct supervision of the Nairobi OSLA Legal Officer. The OSLA became operational in July of 2009 as part of a larger effort to make the existing UN system of administration of justice independent, transparent, and decentralized. Since then, the OSLA has provided legal advice and representation to staff in the UN Secretariat before the first instance UN Dispute Tribunal and second instance UN Appeals Tribunal, as well as agencies, funds, and programs subject to the jurisdiction of the Tribunals.
Cassell-Stiga will travel to Quito, Ecuador to work with International Rights Advocates (IRAdvocates, http://www.iradvocates.org/). Originally the litigation arm of the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), IRAdvocates formed a strategic partnership with the international firm Conrad & Scherer, LLP to more effectively pursue litigation. IRAdvocates works to hold corporations and governments accountable for global human rights violations through litigation, and has filed cases in connection with corporate human rights violations in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and other regions. Cassell-Stiga will “provide litigation support to the Quito attorneys and conduct site visit interviews with victims of corporate human rights abuse” to assist in cases against Occidental Petroleum, Chevron, and others.
Gretz will intern with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UNICTR, http://www.ictr.org/) in the Office of the Prosecutor in Arusha, Tanzania. The tribunal prosecutes those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II during 1994 in Rwanda and neighboring states. Gretz will be involved in all aspects of the prosecution, including assisting in the preparation of examinations in chief and cross-examinations of witnesses; drafting of motions and pre-trial, closing, and appeals briefs; assisting in the classification and preparation of evidence for trial; and undertaking legal research.
Hamadey will join the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP, http://www.no-trafficking.org/) at UNIAP headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand. Hamadey will provide legal analysis and advice and conduct research to facilitate prevention and prosecution of human trafficking crimes in the Greater Mekong Subregion, in particular by analyzing national and regional laws on labor and migration and investigating national criminal justice systems to identify areas for improvement. She will conduct international field missions to interview victims and evaluate national legal practices, as well as assess whether national legislatures have effectively implemented the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. “I am extremely excited for [this] opportunity,” Hamadey said.
Each fall, the International Human Rights Fellows present their experiences before students and faculty, reporting on their legal work abroad and how it enriched their understanding of international law and human rights.
International Human Rights Fellowships are part of a range of international opportunities available to students at the Law School.