Redress (London, England)

My experience at Redress has been engaging, eye-opening and extremely rewarding. My primary task has been to work as a background researcher and writer for two major research projects. One of these projects entailed investigating and cataloguing the obligations of states under the international prohibition of torture, with a view to promoting the domestic implementation of international standards. This research has been included in an upcoming publication that Redress will disseminate to a world-wide network of non-governmental organizations, focused on human rights protection and the prevention and prohibition of torture in particular. Doing this work not only provided me with a rigorous understanding of the organization's mandate, but it also crucially helped me to understand international human rights standards from the perspective of victims of human rights abuses. I have learned to investigate these standards with a concern for their effectiveness and enforcement.

In addition to this work, I have also participated in various interesting events organized by Redress throughout the summer.  At the beginning of June, Redress, in collaboration with the firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer, organized a conference on the enforcement of decisions by regional and international human rights adjudication bodies such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee and the Committee Against Torture. The focus of this conference was to ask how states can be compelled to give effect to these judgments in order for victims to obtain  various forms of reparation ranging from monetary compensation, to rehabilitation programs, to public apologies. I was fortunate to be able to contribute to the background paper for the conference, and to observe the interesting debate amongst the various invited speakers, that included representatives of international bodies and advocates from local NGOs in Russia, the Philippines and the United States amongst others.

Another remarkable event was a photography exhibition organized by Redress at an art gallery on the banks of the river Thames. The exhibition featured photographs and stories of torture survivors, some of whom are refugees in the United Kingdom, others who are citizens. The exhibition, opened with a poignant speech by Redress' founder, was extremely powerful in bringing to the fore the human stories behind Redress' work. Staffing the gallery on several occasions allowed me to interact with visitors, many of whom had strong emotions about what they saw, and expressed their support.

Although Redress' work is by no means easy, requiring unrelenting dedication from its staff, I have had an extremely positive experience and have been deeply impressed not only by their skills and knowledge but also by their generosity, compassion and commitment to this cause. Redress' supportive interaction with their clients, their ongoing lobbying efforts and their close interaction with other human rights defenders worldwide have all been very impressive. As I finish my work here, I am looking back on a great learning experience, and am happy to have been able to make a contribution in my limited time here.