BPP Human Rights Unit 2015-2016 launched with a bang two weeks ago as a large crowd of students turned out to listen to a thought-provoking and moving presentation from Remembering Srebrenica as well as to discover how they could get involved with human rights events and pro bono projects over the course of the year.
Pete, Sian and Adam, the Student Directors of the Unit for 2015-2016, explained the many ways in which BPP students could engage with human rights through the unit. These included:
- Research opportunities with a range of NGOs, including Global Witness
- Taking part in the Trafficking Legal Research Internship
- Attending talks relating to a whole host of human rights projects.
- Participating in human rights debates
- Writing for the BPP Human Rights Journal
Afterwards, attendees were treated to a powerful talk from delegates from Remembering Srebrenica, a charity that honours victims of the Srebrenica genocide not only by promoting Srebrenica Memorial Day and public awareness campaigns, but also by listening to and learning from survivors and educating people about the sometimes fatal consequences of intolerance.
Anousheh Haghdadi, South-West Regional Chair for Remembering Srebrenica, started off by outlining the work of the charity and also the events that led up to the genocide, in which over 8,000 Bosniak Muslims were murdered. Following this, delegates Remembering Srebrenica had sent to Bosnia and Herzegovina to learn first-hand from survivors each explained what they had learned from the experience and how it had changed them. Particularly chilling was the common perception that the former Yugoslavia was deeply integrated, meaning that no country can ensure it is safe from the risk of genocide and enforcing the need to stand up to hatred. Disturbing photographs of the atrocity and videos of emotional interviews with survivors brought home the point even harder.
Anousheh then explained the ten stages of genocide and how and whether the law should get involved at which stage, such as by banning hate speech. Everyone in the room was reminded that we owe not only a duty as future lawyers to use the law to protect vulnerable and victimised people, but also a duty as human beings to use our voices for the same end.
Finally, attendees were left with a practical tip: build a little bit of time into your day to help out with human rights, as it really can make a difference. Advice that resonated around the room.
To find out more about Remembering Srebrenica, including how to apply to join a delegation to Bosnia & Herzegovia, you can find more here: http://www.srebrenica.org.uk/
If you have any questions about getting involved with the BPP Human Rights Unit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org