This past summer School of Law 2L Eden Fere investigated and exposed human rights violations around the globe as an international justice intern.
Fere worked for The Advocates for Human Rights, a Minneapolis-based non-profit that works locally and throughout the world to change systems and conditions that cause human rights abuses. The organization represents refugees and immigrants seeking asylum, trains and assists groups that protect human rights, engages the public and policy-makers for legal reform, and aids those who have been victims of human rights violations.
“I worked hard,” Fere said. “But I enjoyed every second because I got the chance to work with an amazing organization. I was able to not only help people within my community, but also work on projects with a global impact.”
As an international justice intern, one of Fere’s tasks was to compile reports on human rights issues in several countries, which could be sent to United Nations (UN) committees to impact change.
One report Fere worked on was for the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child. She collected information on children who had endured the trauma of having a parent imprisoned and sentenced to death in South Korea or Afghanistan. Through her research, Fere showed the children’s rights to health, information and protection from discrimination had been violated.
Some of the projects Fere worked on during her internship involved individuals living in Minnesota, such as collecting the stories of local refugees and asylum seekers from the African country of Burundi for a UN Special Commission of Inquiry. She also worked as a court monitor to identify procedural and systemic improvements that could be made to the local judicial system to make it more responsive and effective, specifically for women, children and immigrants.
While she gained valuable career experience working for The Advocates for Human Rights, Fere’s work as an advocate for underserved populations has a personal connection: Her parents immigrated to the United States in 1990 from the country of Eritrea in Africa.
“As a child of refugees and with family abroad currently dealing with human rights violations, this work is a personal passion for me,” Fere said. “After now gaining a deeper grasp of this work, I hope to continue to work in a public interest role after graduation, particularly in the human rights field.”
Fere completed her internship with The Advocates for Human Rights thanks to a fellowship award from the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association (MNAPABA). She said the financial support from MNAPABA was fundamental in allowing her to accept the un-paid internship opportunity.
“This internship was humbling,” Fere said. “It taught me a wealth of knowledge and exposed me to a multitude of new experiences. It was rewarding to see the direct impact my work was having on these underserved communities.”