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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

CPI In Full Swing Over the Summer

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This summer the HRP office is full of interns continuing the work of Child Protection International (CPI) and preparing for their meeting with Dr. Sima Samar, UN Special Rapporteur for Sudan, on Sunday June 21st. The students will present their research on child abductions in Southern Sudan, and will ask Dr. Samar to support CPI's efforts to ensure birth registrations for all Sudanese children so that they have clear identification in the event of an abduction.

Recent intertribal violence in South Sudan has spurred an increase in abductions which has resulted in over 300 children being forcibly taken from their parents since the beginning of March 2009. Many reports indicate that the violence occurring in South Sudan is worse than that of the conflict in Darfur.



Difficulties with disarmament and the integration of small militias into the Sudan's People Liberation Army (SPLA), South Sudan's military, has created great tensions that could reignite into a civil war. In addition to intertribal conflict, South Sudan continues to be attacked by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), another key perpetrator of child abductions in South Sudan.
CPI interns had an opportunity to gather for a celebration in early June when Dan Bernard, a founding member of the Save Yar Campaign, returned to Minnesota on vacation from Cairo, Egypt where he is now working for USAID .
The student-run organization has more than a dozen active volunteers. Another CPI, Kou Solomon, testified June 10 at a Washington, D.C., roundtable discussion hosted by US Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, to recognize the World Day against Child Labor. Kou talked about the need for international action to prevent abductions, like those suffered by his family in 2007, when his two nieces were forcibly abducted by members of a different ethnic group.
Many of the founding members have continued to stay involved in CPI's work as they pursue human rights issues around the world. Each person brings a unique perspective to the table and strengthens the campaign as it moves forward to combat child abductions in South Sudan.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

CPI to Meet UN Special Rapporteur on Sudan

On Sunday June 21st, Child Protection International (CPI) has arranged a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on Sudan, Sima Samar, to discuss the issue of child abductions in South Sudan.

Sima Samar will be visiting Minnesota to receive the Don and Arvonne Fraser Human Rights Award at the Advocates for Human Rights Awards Dinner the following Tuesday, June 23rd. In addition to acting as the UN Special Rapporteur on Sudan, Dr. Samar is the Chairwoman of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Dr. Samar has done important work in drawing attention to the numerous human rights abuses committed against the people of Afghanistan, especially against girls and women.

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(Amelia Shindelar and Nora Radtke Prepare for the June 21st meeting)

Four CPI interns in collaboration with the Human Rights Program at the University of Minnesota are busy preparing for their meeting with Dr. Samar. CPI plans on using this opportunity to discuss the issue of child abductions in South Sudan and gather information on how this issue has been affected by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005. The interns are working hard to become experts on all aspects of Sudan, including ethnic conflicts and how they play into the continuation of internal violence, disarmament and the issue of security for specific groups and the history of cattle raids as they are used as a method for child abductions.
CPI hopes to use this information to enforce their campaign for birth registration in South Sudan and in their ultimate goal of eradicating child abductions from South Sudan.

Mike Brehm, MCHR Intern, Works to Ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Midwest Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) is proud to have Mike Brehm as their summer Upper Midwest Fellow. Mike just finished his first year at the University of Minnesota Law School and hopes to pursue a career in international law.

Mike became interested in the field of human rights after taking one of Professor Weissbrodt's courses in the fall of 2008 and was able to attend the Asylum Law Project's (ALP) trip to Arizona in January of 2009. ALP provides for first year law students to volunteer over their winter or spring breaks to work with non profit organizations to represent immigrant and asylum seekers.

Mike will be attending the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Symposium in Washington D.C. from June 1st -2nd, to begin his work in advocating for the ratification of the CRC. Through research and networking, Mike will be working to involve MCHR in the national movement for the ratification of the CRC.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

HRP Moves Offices June 15th

The Human Rights Program will be moving office on June 15th. We are expanding to make room for all of our interns! We will still be located on the 2nd floor of the Social Sciences Building in rooms 232A, 232 and 235.