Helping Law Students Become Human Rights Advocates
|An activist in action: teaching the people
and preparing law students to become human rights advocates is
the main objective of the Summer Internship Program
by the Ateneo Human Rights Center
and co-sponsored by the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation.
Every summer, law students from various law schools are
exposed to the plight of vulnerable sectors and assigned to work
with human rights groups in various parts of the country. “After
participating in our program, the intern can help set-up human
rights and legal aid centers in law
schools and effectively help grassroots communities”, says Clarinda
P. Hipolito, Internship Director
at the Ateneo
Human Rights Center
assigned to different human rights groups and non-governmental
organizations usually engage in the following activities:
paralegal training seminar
on the specific concerns of their host agencies, the interns deal
with various groups and issues pertinent to workers, peasants,
fisherfolk, the urban poor, indigenous
communities etc .
travelling to the provinces, the law students undergo a four-day
basic orientation seminar, where they receive information on the
current human rights situation and the plight of marginalized
sectors in the Philippines, as well as hands-on legal skills training.
The interns, then, proceed to a six-day immersion which gives
them an opportunity to gain first-hand experience in dealing with
people’s issues and understanding their specific situation. After
the immersion, the interns are assigned to work for four to six
weeks in various human rights organizations and NGOs.
is an excellent program, as it motivates the students at an early
stage of their professional careers to pro-actively defend
the rights of the underprivileged groups in society”, says
Dr. Ronald Meinardus, Resident Representative
of the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation.
Promoting human rights is a central objective of the liberal
Foundation. For several years, the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation
has sponsored activities of the Ateneo Human Rights Center in
the Philippines. The Foundation also supports the Working
Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, which is based
at the Ateneo Human Rights Center in Manila.