Chayes Fellow Katie Braun ’18 on working at Migrants’ Rights Clinic/Community Advocacy Clinic in Israel

Katie Braun '17 at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem.

Katie Braun ’18 at the Supreme Court of Israel in Jerusalem. All photos courtesy of Katie Braun.

I’m finishing up the report about different international models of social assistance schemes, together with the other legal intern for the Community Advocacy Clinic. For the Migrants’ Rights Clinic, I’m working on a project about possible legal responses to a “mass influx” of asylum seekers, and different states’ and courts’ opinions on this.

interviews at Holot

Katie at Holot.

I also went to Holot, the detention/residence facility for asylum seekers, and conducted interviews about the food they are provided (in connection with ongoing litigation about the quality of the food) and about facility officials fining residents in a seemingly arbitrary manner.

Following up on that, I also prepared a memo with some comparative legal standards on disciplinary measures against detainees and associated due process protections. It’s all been very interesting!

Katie and fellow intern at an international migration conference

Katie and fellow intern at an international migration conference.

The supervisors have also been very good at facilitating outside trips and meetings for us. Over the past several weeks I’ve visited the government’s Refugee Status Determination office and talked to officials there, visited Physicians for Human Rights’ branch office in Tel Aviv, met with a prominent scholar at the National Insurance Institute (who did work on a study about minimum resources required to actualize the right to life with dignity), toured the Israeli Supreme Court, and attended an international migration conference.

Katie Braun '17 w Aharon Barak

Katie with Justice Barak and fellow intern.

We also had the incredibly opportunity to meet Aharon Barak, a former president of the Israeli Supreme Court. Justice Barak is probably the single most influential person in a national legal system I’ve ever met. He spearheaded the notion of an Israeli constitution arising from human rights basic laws passed in 1992. Israel’s constitutional system is completely new to me in that way: there is genuine ongoing debate about whether the country even has a constitution and whether the courts have the power to review primary legislation, as opposed to just administrative actions. I’m finding it totally fascinating.

Chayes Fellow Amy Volz ’18 on working at the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Poland

Old town, Warsaw. Photo courtesy of Amy Volz.

Old town, Warsaw. All photos courtesy of Amy Volz.

I have just two weeks left at the Helsinki Foundation — it’s hard to believe how time has flown!

I’ve been busy with plenty of interesting research for the Strategic Litigation department’s cases which are currently pending before the Polish Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights. So far I have researched issues related to procedural rights, conditions of detention, and freedom of expression in the U.S. and other European countries.

I’m especially enjoying it because my first degree was in modern languages and I very rarely get to put my language skills to use in an actual workplace context. The research topics are also just generally interesting and allow me to get a sense of how differently certain issues are adjudicated in the U.S. and Europe. I’m especially enjoying research related to the European Court of Human Rights.

Supreme Court of Poland, Polish Constitutional Grand Chamber, Helskinki Foundation offices

Supreme Court of Poland, Polish Constitutional Grand Chamber, Helskinki Foundation offices

Aside from my research tasks, the Foundation has been great about letting me go on various outings around Warsaw — I observed a sentence at the Constitutional Court and a full hearing at the Supreme Court, and most recently I spent a morning touring a jail in the south of Warsaw with the Polish summer interns. Those trips were really interesting, especially the hearing at the Supreme Court.

Warsaw "off the beaten path" tour

Warsaw “off the beaten path” tour

Outside of work, my time in Warsaw has been wonderful. I take Polish lessons twice a week in the mornings in an attempt to understand Polish legal language — it’s going a bit slowly but my teacher is excellent! And I’ve tried to make the most of the weekends by exploring different neighborhoods of Warsaw and taking advantage of the quick and easy flights to nearby countries. I visited Lara Townzen in Kiev in early June and she came to Warsaw for a weekend as well. I also spent a weekend in Budapest with the other intern from my office, who just finished 1L at the University of Chicago. Overall Warsaw is an amazing place and I will definitely miss living here! However, I’m also excited to get back to campus and hear what everyone has been up to this summer.

In Kiev with Chayes fellow Lara Townzen '18

In Kiev with Chayes Fellow Lara Townzen ’18

Chayes Fellow Kelsey Jost-Creegan on working at Dejusticia in Colombia

Kelsey Jost-Creegan '17 in La Candelaria, Bogota.

Kelsey Jost-Creegan ’17 in La Candelaria, Bogota.

My fellowship at Dejusticia has been an excellent experience thus far. I am working in the area of transitional justice, and I have already learned so much from my work, as well as from my colleagues and the experience of living in Colombia.

I have had a variety of different assignments. First, I co-wrote a memo on the inclusion of economic, social, and cultural rights (ESCR) in transitional justice processes. We were asked to compare different theories of whether ESCR should be included in transitional justice processes, and, if so, how they should be included.

I then helped with preparations for a conference in which experts from around the world come to exchange and debate ideas on transitional justice. I also helped to translate the article, written by two members of Dejusticia, which will serve as a launching point for the discussion. The article explores how much room countries have to design their own peace processes within international law standards, particularly with regards to the permissibility of partial amnesties and alternative forms of punishment. Translating the article—which was 55 pages in Spanish—gave me a chance to learn about international standards in transitional justice, improve my technical vocabulary in the area in both languages, and practice legal translation (as well as my Bluebooking skills). I also helped with some logistical conference preparations such as writing bilingual biographies of the conference participants.

I was also asked to prepare a short report on controversial detentions that recently took place in Bogotá. Earlier this summer, 15 individuals were arrested on allegations that they had connections with the National Liberation Army (the ELN, a left-wing guerilla group in Colombia), and may have been involved in a series of terrorist acts that occurred in the capital over the last year. However, the arrests generated significant uproar from civil society, both because of due process concerns in the way that the detentions were executed, and because many of the detainees were well-known and vocal human rights advocates and civil society leaders (some have suggested that the detentions may be a form of persecution for their advocacy).

I’ve just started my next assignment, which is to complete a memo on the current state of the debate on the incorporation of land reform and/or land restitution in transitional justice processes.

Bogota, photo courtesy of Kelsey Jost-Creegan.

Bogota, photo courtesy of Kelsey Jost-Creegan.


Chayes Fellow Lauren Blodgett on working at End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes in Thailand

Elephants in Chiang Mai; Lauren Blodgett '16 at work; Erawan Falls. Photos courtesy of Lauren Blodgett.

Elephants in Chiang Mai; Lauren Blodgett ’16 at work; Erawan Falls. Photos courtesy of Lauren Blodgett.

I am really enjoying my experience in Thailand. For my internship at ECPAT, I am working on a project called Access to Justice for Child Victims of Sexual Exploitation. We are doing a multi-country comparative study to identify the barriers that child victims face regarding access to justice.

In particular, I am focusing on victims’ access to compensation, and I am researching the criminal, civil, and administrative avenues for compensation. I am writing about the theory behind compensation, and pulling best practices and lessons learned from the comparative study. From this research, we hope to provide our network members and other NGOs with a toolkit to help child victims in the aftermath of sexual exploitation. We also hope to use this study to inform international discussions on children’s rights and shape our advocacy efforts before the United Nations.