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'Pilgrims' celebrate human rights

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A newly formed coalition of Indiana University School of Law alumni of the Indianapolis and Bloomington law schools will launch the IU Alumni for International Human Rights Law organization Thursday - Thanksgiving - as "human rights pilgrims" for "active nonviolence."

The group is a "diverse, cohesive, volunteer, independent, nonpartisan, and educational group of IU alumni committed to fortify the rule of international human rights law," according to an e-mailed release from Perfecto "Boyet" Caparas, the organization's co-founder and coordinator, and program manager of the IU School of Law - Indianapolis Program in International Human Rights Law.

Human rights will be examined in various capacities, whether it's at IU, or on a local, national, regional, or international level. The group also will "initiate and support any and all efforts to develop, protect, and assist IU international human rights lawyers, scholars, and defenders," Caparas said.

For instance, two founding members, Robert Masbaum and Kevin Muñoz, signed an agreement Nov. 20 to help start a pro bono international human rights law education program for Indianapolis public school students on behalf of Human Rights Works, an Indianapolis-based non-governmental organization that is featured in the edition of Indiana Lawyer that publishes today in a story titled: "Human rights are group's passion."

The IU Alumni for International Human Rights Law organization is inspired by the curriculum of PIHRL, founded and directed by professor George Edwards; the participation of students and alumni of IU School of Law - Indianapolis on shadow reporting projects for the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in recent years; and the work of students and graduates who have done internships and/or worked for non-governmental organizations or for the U.N.

The group will further its goal of human rights for all by engaging "in any and all forms of ahimsa (nonviolence) to ensure the respect for, protection, and fulfillment of the universal, inalienable, interdependent, and indivisible economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights of all persons," Caparas said.

Membership will include faculty, staff, and students of the law schools.

Founding members include IU School of Law - Indianapolis alumni Fran Quigley, former ACLU of Indiana executive director and current director of operations for the Indiana-Kenya Partnership; Tuinese Edward Amuzu, who works as executive director of the Legal Resources Centre in Accra, Ghana; Sean Monkhouse, who works as a court officer of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague, The Netherlands; Indiana pro bono attorney David Rothenberg, who is currently helping law students with U.N. shadow reporting projects on Australia and Chad; and Heidi Reed, J.D. candidate and IU-Bloomington alumna, who is pursuing her human rights studies at the University of Hong Kong and is an intern with Amnesty International in Hong Kong.

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