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Our students on human rights placements in Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur and York

Posted on 14 December 2018

As part of the Human Rights Placement module, students of the MA in Applied Human Rights and the LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice have recently completed their fieldwork in Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur and York.

LLM students participating in the placements in Kuala Lumpur, 2018

In Cape Town, South Africa, MA students collaborated with Rape Crisis to evaluate the organisation's work across a range of activities, including counselling, legal cases and advocacy. Students working with Voices of Africans for Change (VAC) conducted a large number of interviews with refugees to understand the barriers they experienced in accessing basic services. These insights will inform future advocacy by VAC to remove the barriers. Finally, a group worked with ILRIG on the effects of budget cuts at a local government level, and ways of challenging austerity.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, LLM students partnered with the prestigious civil society organisation SUARAM to identify good practice for the recognition and protection of human rights defenders and identify opportunities for policy change in the country. Student groups worked with the North South Initiative and the Bar Council of Malaysia to document legal encounters on innovative ways to protect refugee rights and to develop 'digital stories' about the experiences and challenges faced by refugees during their encounters with the law, legal processes and legal institutions.

In York, MA and LLM students worked in partnership with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders producing popular education materials supporting the Rapporteur's upcoming report on women human rights defenders. Another student group has partnered with the International Committee of the Red Cross, examining the impact on post-war reconstruction and reconciliation of compliance with international humanitarian law by parties to an armed conflict. Finally, our students worked with the York Human Rights City Network and York Women's Forum to identify the priorities for women in York by developing and conducting a survey in the city.  

Applying the knowledge gained in the Practice of Fieldwork module, students designed and conducted interviews and surveys with a wide array of research participants including lawyers, human rights defenders and refugees. Their successful work has even made the local headlines.