Gareth Jones Asst. Int’l Editor
Suffolk University is lucky to welcome a new club to the ranks this year, as Theresa Stevens puts the final touches on Suffolk’s very own Human Rights Watch. We sat down with Theresa and got an outline of where she’s coming from, and what the clubs bright future looks like.
SJ: What got you into Human Rights Watch specifically, and why did you decide to bring it to Suffolk?
TS: Hm. I can’t pinpoint exactly when my interest in Human Rights started. I started writing for The Voice and realized the only articles I cared to write about were those having to do with Human Rights and issues going on overseas, for example, missing journalists in Syria.
Also, my final paper for my Freshman Seminar last semester was titled “Becoming a Human Rights Advocate: Short and Long Term Goals.” After writing this paper, I realized how passionate I was about becoming a Human Rights advocate and I decided I wanted to encourage others who had similar desires to have an outlet in which to learn about advocating and Human Rights… and that is why I decided to create SU Human Rights Watch.
Q. What sort of goals do you have for the organization’s first year and what will the meetings focus on once they start up?
A. My E-board and I have so many ideas; including: inviting guest speakers from Human Rights organizations such as Amnesty International to come to Suffolk, partnering with Boston-based NGO’s and advocacy groups for various volunteering and fundraising, creating a monthly newsletter which will promote awareness of specific and current Human Rights violations around the globe, and hosting an “Advocacy Training” where any interested student can come to learn about how they can become a successful Human Rights advocate.
Once we have a solid foundation of members, each meeting the members will be separated into their “regional committee” which could be either: the Middle East Committee, the Africa Committee, Asia, Latin America, North America, Eastern Europe and Western Europe. Each member of a committee will be a “correspondent” of their region. The purpose of the committees is to make sure equal attention is given to promoting awareness of Human Rights violations in each part of the world.
Q. In your own opinion, what areas of the world are most in need of third party rights monitoring right now? Where are you specifically interested in working/monitoring?
A. I believe that all parts of the world should be monitored at all times. When you start only paying attention to one part of the world, you can very easily miss a Human Rights violation in another part of the world.
Personally, I’ve been closely monitoring the current Human Rights issues in the Middle East, particularly the Refugee/Internally Displaced Peoples of Syria and its bordering countries. Also, something I follow very closely is the amount of journalists missing around the world, which is currently 232, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists as of December 2012.
Q. What can Suffolk students expect to get from joining? Any potential trips you’d like to organize, any future events?
A. To any and all interested in joining SU Human Rights Watch know this: We have so many great plans for this club and need passionate people who are willing to learn and get excited about advocating for Human Rights. Some future events/trips we are discussing are: A trip abroad! Possibly to Africa or Latin America, though these plans are in the very beginning stages. We also hope to be able to attend the national Human Rights conference hosted annually by Amnesty International.
We want SU Human Rights Watch to become an able network of advocates that have a presence not only in advocating for Human Rights on campus but in the Boston community as well.