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2020 International Human Rights Fellow

Rahul Kak
BA Economics; BA Sociology ‘21
Perseus Strategies, LLC

“As a law firm, Perseus Strategies, LCC engages with the field of international human rights in various ways. Its casework varies from dealing with international parental child abduction cases, international tort claims cases, or advocating for the freedom of prisoners of conscience. With the pandemic, much of the firm’s work shifted to general human rights advocacy, drafting reports that analyzed how other countries’ administrations have upheld (or as is more often the case, not upheld) their commitments to human rights. While conducting research for these reports, what struck me as most shocking was the ways in which the pandemic had only given repressive governments more power to conduct human rights violations. Being a part of holding these countries accountable for their actions though this work at Perseus allowed me to understand both the power of law at the international level and the types of legal channels available for advocates to continue this work. Outside of my daily projects, I was also able to meet important international figures, such as Peter Ajak﹘a critic of the South Sudanese government.

Much of this internship was a hands-on crash course in international law and politics for me, which made this experience such a unique learning experience that no traditional college course is able to offer. My time with Perseus helped me not only gain a better understanding of the complex political world that the firm operates within and the importance of building a strong network within this field, but also showed me how surprisingly diverse a career in human rights advocacy can be, with so many opportunities available that do not necessarily need a law degree.

It has been truly inspiring to see over eight weeks how the team at Perseus is able to enact positive, meaningful change in the lives of people who have suffered some of the most serious human rights abuses. I am thankful for not only Perseus Strategies, but also the Program in International and Comparative Studies and the Donia Human Rights Center for providing me with such an incredible opportunity that has clarified what I would like to do after graduation and will stand out as one of the most exciting undergraduate experiences that I have had during my time at Michigan. Working at Perseus has only strengthened my passion for human rights work, and I hope to take all the valuable skills, lessons, and connections I have gained from this experience and transfer them to my future endeavors in advocacy.”