Since its inception nearly 17 years ago, the Faculty's International Human Rights Program has sent more than 170 students around the world on summer internships to do international human rights and development work.

Below are reports from five students working during the summer of 2004 in Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Uganda - transitional societies that endure serious human rights problems but also boast recognized legal systems through which human rights organizations, and University of Toronto law students, are making a difference.

IHRP Intern Dylan Budd in meeting with Cabinet official Ching-Huei Hsieh
IHRP Intern Dylan Budd (right) in meeting with Cabinet official Ching-Huei Hsieh to discuss Yuan Peng's request for political asylum

Dylan Budd

Taiwan Association for Human Rights (Taiwan)

"I am currently assisting on two cases of political refugees from Mainland China who are being detained here in Taiwan after fleeing the Mainland. They are both seeking political asylum in the United States. The Taiwanese process of requesting refugee status and government assistance in arranging third-country asylum is largely informal. Working with Taiwan Association for Human RIGHTS (TAHR), we met with a Cabinet member, Ching-Huei Hsieh, to lobby for the government to make an asylum request to the U.S. government."

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Caitlin Sainsbury

Asia-Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

"So far, I've had an amazing internship experience ... At the Unit for Social and Environmental Research (USER), I have primarily been working as a research assistant on assorted research projects relating to regional governance in the Mekong ... At the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) I have been involved in a mix of advocacy work and research in support of the organization's Women and the Environment campaign on Food Sovereignty."

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IHRP Intern Caitlin Sainsbury at the Asia-Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development
IHRP Intern Caitlin Sainsbury at the Asia-Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development

Faik Umut Ozsu

Human Rights Association of Turkey (Ankara, Turkey)

"Turkey is currently in the process of absorbing and internalizing a variety of broad-based legal reforms. ... Spending a summer with the Human Rights Association of Turkey, the most well- established organization of its kind on the domestic scene, has provided me with a unique opportunity to observe and document these developments.

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Stephanie Pearce

HURINET (Uganda)

"During my first month at HURINET I have been involved in several different projects, with a focus on the preparation of project proposals and securing funding for these projects. I have quickly become familiar with the relationships between donors and recipients, both foreign and domestic. ... My work on the creation of a Publication Index of member groups' publications has allowed me to make site visits to member groups and interact with their staff."

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Saba Zarghami

Associates for Change/Human Rights Commission (Kampala, Uganda)

"My work at the Uganda Human Rights Commission has consisted primarily of doing research on international law in the areas of torture, property, and liberty. ... Most of the cases brought forward are of persons detained by the Uganda Police Defence Force (UPDF) or the Violent Crimes Crack Down Units (VCCU) and tortured in what are referred to as 'safe houses' (they are so called because no one has a right to access individuals detained in these houses)."

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