- Donia Human Rights Fellows Program
- Korea-Michigan Human Rights Research Fellowship
- International Human Rights Fellowship
- Human Rights First Fellowship
- Human Trafficking or Social Justice Law Clinic Fellowship
- Fair Labor Association Fellowship
- Belgrade Centre for Human Rights Fellowship
- Social Change Initiative Fellowship
- Student-Initiated Summer Internship Fellowship
- Student Organizations
- Robert J. Donia Graduate Student Fellowship
BA Political Science; BA Social Theory and Practice; Honors ‘22
Torture Abolition Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC)
“To begin, I’d like to thank and express my sincere gratitude to the Donia Human Rights Center (DHRC). Due to their Student-Initiated Summer Internship Fellowship award, I was able to work remotely for Torture Abolition Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) Interntional for 12 weeks this summer. This DHRC award allowed me to focus all my energy and time into this amazing internship, and because of that I was able to accomplish a great deal over the term and learn in depth about torture abolition advocacy, international human rights law, and qualitative research methods.
First, I contributed to the creation of a Time Stream in coordination with Genocide Watch. This time stream pulled from data in TASSC’s report “Torture in Uganda: The Tragic History, Impact and Current Reality under the Museveni Regime,” that I co-authored during the winter semester. This timestream incorporated specific incidents and human rights abuses from 2015 until now and will be used to determine if there are any sign of “torture predictors” when the timeline is compared to other events (e.g political events, government actions, policy change). Second, myself and another intern created a 3-module trauma-informed interview training for future interns at Torture Abolition Survivors Support Coalition. These modules were customized around TASSC’s survivor-centered framework. I also included multiple audio recordings and reports of my previous interviews with torture survivors, so future interns can become familiar with the interview framework, listen to appropriate responses, and become exposed and process rights violations.
However, the majority of my work focused on a confidential Global Magnitsky case. I led the investigations and creation of this case and collaborated with a law firm on creating sound legal arguments. My team conducted 15 interviews regarding the gross human rights violation and also supported two reporters that conducted interviews on the ground, which were included in our submission. Once finalized, this case will be submitted to the U.S State Department and U.S. Treasury Department.
Following the work that I did this summer, I plan on incorporating the research that I conducted at TASSC into my political science honors thesis. After working on Uganda and TASSC’s report on the use of torture there, I plan on exploring how Ugandan governmental policy and actions that leveraged the COVID-19 pandemic affected the use of torture against the political opposition.
Additionally, the contrast between the male and female torture experience became apparent in the interviews, even though the narrative around “the torture experience” of the political opposition in Uganda often excluded or failed to mention the stories of these women. In the future, I plan on continuing similar research in graduate school with the intention of pursuing a PhD in political science. My aim of a graduate school research project would be to explore the gendered nature of torture in Zimbabwe, specifically uses of sexual torture against women and how that compares to the type of torture inflicted upon their male counterparts. This case study would also explore the adverse impacts of sexual torture and discuss how reconcilliation and healing methods can become more effective when considering the individual survivor’s gender and unique torture experience. I plan on collecting the majority of my data through interviews with survivors, as I did with TASSC.
Overall, this internship was incredibly profound and formative. Not only did it change my honors thesis proposal, it also directed and informed the path I will take following graduation. Thank you DHRC for making this possible and for contributing to a summer full of research, reflection, and exposure to possible research questions and case studies.”