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Human Rights Program

Human Rights Program.

Human Rights Program


  • Local Action in Response to Migration: Sept 21-23

    Next week, the Human Rights Program welcomes to campus Jill Anderson, co-author of Los Otros Dreamers, a community-published anthology of stories and photos about the experience of twenty-six youth returning or being deported to Mexico after having grown up int he United States. Jill will make a public keynote presentation about the anthology and broader project on Wednesday, September 21, 7 pm at the McNamara Alumni Center (A.I. Johnson Great Room) on the East Bank of campus. A reception open to all will precede the keynote, beginning at 5:30 pm.
    Anderson's keynote address kicks off a two-day conference exploring the new debates being generated from the migratory panorama of the Central American-Mexican-United States-Canada corridors. The "Third International Conference of the Local Action in Response to Migration Network" will be held on Thursday and Friday, September 22-23 in 101 Walter Library. Many of the presentations will be made in Spanish and will be noted as such on the full schedule. Abbreviated schedule below.

    Thursday, September 22
    Location: 101 Walter Library (East Bank), 117 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

    10:00 AM - Actores Solidarios / Actors in Solidarity, Local Actions
    11:30 AM

    11:45 AM - Movimientos Migratorios: Luchas y Desafios / Migratory
    1:00 PM      Movements: Struggles and Challenges

    2:15 PM -   Lo Audible y Lo Visible / That Which is Head and That
    3:30 PM     Which is Seen

    3:45 PM -  Acciones Locales en Minnesota / Minnesota
    5:00 PM     Responses to Migration

    7:00 PM -   Film Screening: Comprometidos / We Are In It
    9:00 PM

    Friday, September 23
    Location: 101 Walter Library (East Bank), 117 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

    9:00 AM -  Vulnerabilidades, Crisis y Desarrollo / Vulnerabilities,
    10:30 AM   Crisis and Development

    10:45 AM - Migrantes, Derechos Humanos y Salud / Migrants,
    12:00 PM    Human Rights and Health

    1:30 PM -   Arte, Memoria y Trauma / Art, Memory and Trauma
    3:15 PM

    3:15 PM     Concluding Remarks

    The keynote and conference are free and open to the public.

    Conference is hosted by the Human Rights Program, Hispanic Issues Online, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, and Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas.

    Co-sponsors include: The Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair, Institute for Global Studies, Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies, Department of Chicano & Latino Studies, Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies, Immigration History Research Center, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change
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  • Human Rights Initiative Faculty Research Funds Available

    We are pleased to announce a call for proposals for faculty research projects that are designed to advance the study and protection of human rights. The Human Rights Initiative (HRI), a joint initiative of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and College of Liberal Arts, has received recurring funds from the Provost's office to support up to $140,000 each year in faculty-led interdisciplinary human rights research. The HRI seeks to support research that significantly impacts the grand challenges in human rights today.

    The HRI calls on faculty from the University of Minnesota to submit, by October 31, 2016, one-year funding proposals for grants between $10,000 and $50,000 that promote the scholarly and artistic activities of the faculty and their graduate students and that foster academic excellence in the field of human rights at the global and local levels. As a general rule, the Human Rights Initiative is seeking proposals from researchers willing to write, produce or perform the results of their research in human rights terms. Thus, applicants must explain how their proposed research connects with recognized human rights debates, issues, treaties, processes or activities.

    The HRI encourages proposals that use an interdisciplinary research approach and that engage with external partners. Successful proposals will also include a plan to extend the research results to non-specialist audiences, including communities and the broader public; human rights activists and practitioners; and policy makers.

    For complete details including criteria, eligibility, and application guidelines, please see HRI Research Fund Call for Proposals.

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  • Paula Cuellar, Human Rights Minor, recognized, supported in her dissertation research

    Paula Cuellar Cuellar, Ph.D candidate in history and Human Rights Minor, has recently been awarded three prestigious awards for her human rights scholarship, from the Hawkinson Foundation Scholarship, the Shoah Foundation at the University of Southern California, and the American Association of University Women International.

    Paula's dissertation focuses on the scorched earth campaigns used during the civil wars in Guatemala and El Salvador. With particular attention on the effects on women and girls, she aims to understand the situation as that of a genocide. This is bold, because contemporary international law normally defines such campaigns on the grounds of race, ethnicity, and religion.

    Nevertheless, Paula believes this to have been the case. She claims that the definition misses the mark, for it puts too much emphasis on fitting people into a narrow list of "acceptable" group identities and not enough on the form of violations that the perpetrators carry out. Her work, therefore, aims to better document the situation and its effects to increase our understanding of the situation and build a case around an argument for such a classification. Her dissertation is furthermore unique for its combination of explanatory and normative arguments around human rights within the discipline of history.

    Her research on this important topic would not be possible without the generous support of donors, such as those from the Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation. Founded in 1988, the Hawkinson Foundation "encourages and inspires the next generation of peace and justice leaders." Competitively-based, the scholarship is awarded each year to students across the upper Midwest who demonstrate a commitment to peace and justice as a way to support their studies. As a Hawkinson Foundation Scholar, Paula has been recognized for her impressive scholarship and contributions to the academic community as a whole. 

    Similarly, the Shoah Foundation's Institute for Visual History and Education supports graduate fellows who are conducting advanced research on topics related to genocide. As the 2016-2017 Center for Advanced Genocide Research Fellow, Paula will be one of the first people with access to the Foundation's newest testimonies of Guatemalan Genocide survivors--an honor for her. She will conduct research from August to September 2016 and give a public talk on her work, which will allow her to further strengthen her analysis and receive additional input from scholars and practitioners.

    Moreover, Paula has been awarded an International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to support her research. Aiming at empowering women in academia, AAUW is recognizing her substantial contributions to understanding violence against women and girls and how reparation measures can be better applied to fit their needs. Her awarding is momentous, they recognize, as she is the first Salvadorean to win an AAUW fellowship.

    Her current research is the culmination of many years of schooling. Paula received an LL.B. Degree from the Central American University José Simeón Cañas in San Salvador (El Salvador), a Master's Degree in Human Rights and Education for Peace from the University of El Salvador, and a Master's Degree in Human Rights and Democratization Processes from the University of Chile. She also holds an LL.M. degree in International Human Rights Law from Notre Dame.

    Congratulations Paula!
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Upcoming Events

Human Rights Beat

  • Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden 'black site'

    The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site. The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago's west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights. Continue reading on The Guardian's website.

    March 6th, 2015
  • Amnesty International requests letter signing for Syrian asylum seekers pressured to return

    Reports in the media show that staff at the Manus Island, Papua New Guinea detention centre, run by the Australian Government, are pressuring Syrian asylum seekers to return to Syria where they will be in extreme danger. Read more on the Amnesty International website.

    June 10th, 2014
  • The ICRC releases video on Colombian human rights situation

    It's a crucial time for Colombia with presidential elections slated for this Sunday and ongoing peace talks between the government and FARC guerrillas continuing in Havana, Cuba. In a new Intercross video, the head of the ICRC's delegation in Bogotá, Jordi Raich, says Colombia is at a crossroads -- poised on the verge of economic growth, shrinking poverty, and the potential to put an end to half a century of war. Watch the video on the Intercross website.

    May 28th, 2014
  • US: A Nation Behind Bars

    Far too many US laws violate basic principles of justice by requiring disproportionately severe punishment, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 36-page report, "Nation Behind Bars: A Human Rights Solution," notes that laws requiring penalties that are far longer than necessary to meet the purposes of punishment have given the United States the world's highest reported rate of incarceration. These laws have spawned widespread and well-founded public doubts about the fairness of the US criminal justice system. Continue reading on the Human Rights Watch website.

    May 7th, 2014

External Human Rights Events

  • Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop Public Reading Organized by Human Rights Scribe

    On Saturday, October 24th, the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop (MPWW) will hold a reading at Hamline University. The reading, organized by MFA candidate Mike Alberti as part of the Scribe for Human Rights Fellowship, will feature the work of several writers currently incarcerated in Minnesota state correctional facilities. MPWW instructors will read pieces of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction on behalf of their students, and two formerly incarcerated alumni of MPWW classes will read their own work aloud for the first time. 

    This is a free reading, open to the public, so please come and invite a friend. A short Q&A and informal discussion will follow. Plus, there will be snacks! It’s sure to be a very powerful evening. We hope you can make it!

    Where:  Hamline University,
                  Klas Center, Kay Fredericks Room
                 1537 Taylor Avenue
                 St. Paul, MN 55104

    When:  Saturday, October 24th, 2015, 7:00 PM

    To learn more about MPWW and their work, please visit
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