Alumni Short

Human Rights Advocacy Week Raises Awareness and Funds to Aid Global Efforts

For many years, the Cornell Advocates for Human Rights (CAHR), a Law School student organization, has sponsored Human Rights Advocacy week. Sara Myers '12, the group's president, explains how they choose topics: "We consider human rights issues that are on the forefront of everyone's mind or are especially large problems."

In events that ran from Monday April 11 to Monday April 18, CAHR presented speakers, films, research and fundraising events that exposed students and faculty to global human rights issues.

The films were Not Yet Rain, about unsafe abortion in Ethiopia, and Justice on the Grass, about the Rwandan genocide.

Fundraising events began with Japan Earthquake Relief. Later in the week, CAHR collaborated with Ithaca City of Asylum, which supports writers exiled from their home countries, raising funds through a sale of Indian food for student meals.

"I lived in India, so I understand a little about the food," says Myers. She spent the summer working with Dr. Smarajit Jana and the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a collective that, Myers says, "fights for human rights for sex workers in India--because prostitution can't realistically be eradicated there."

Dr. Jana spoke at Advocacy Week about the sex workers' collective, and its efforts to influence India's laws. His talk was co-sponsored by Cornell Law Students for Reproductive Rights and the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice.

Associate Clinical Professor of Law Sital Kalantry, director of the International Human Rights Clinic and the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice, praises CAHR. "They volunteered to review six or more years of India's Supreme Court cases and create summaries of women's rights cases," she says. "It was quite a feat to undertake on a volunteer basis." Professor Kalantry also spoke as part of Advocacy Week, on "Combating Acid Violence Against Women in Bangladesh, India, and Cambodia."

Of CAHR, Kalantry said, "They are an energetic group doing good work."