Friday, October 11, 2013

URSP Student Mia Fasano Examines Current Human Rights Trials in Latin America

I became interested in the Students as Scholars program as a way to further my studies of human rights and transitional justice within Latin America. This past summer, I worked as an intern at the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), a human rights organization in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While I was working at CELS, I was able to observe human rights trials as well as develop a deeper understanding of the structure of human rights trials, as well as the justice process. Through this experience, I found myself even more enthralled with the process of human rights trials, and with an even larger and varying set of questions and topics to pursue. After my trip, I was interested in broadening my study of Argentine human rights trials to other landmark human rights cases within Latin America.

I have been especially interested in the experience of individual political prisoners within detention centers, and the uncovering of human rights abuses. I am comparing detention centers in Argentina with the Los Cabitos detention center in Peru. In order to collect the information needed, I am using both testimonies and ongoing research from my mentor, Jo-Marie Burt, as well as her colleagues in both Argentina and Peru.

Throughout this project, I have also been working with Professor Burt as the program assistant for the Latin American Studies program. The research, combined with the program assistant position, has allowed me to become more invested in both the discussion and advocacy of human rights. I am still constantly surprised by the importance of publicly denouncing human rights abuses, and the passion for justice that I have been able to witness in Professor Burt, as well as others who similarly act as human rights advocates. Through meeting many of these individuals, and witnessing their work, I have been able to have a clearer vision of the role of research and discussion in creating policy changes in post-conflict environments.