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Training and Presentation Descriptions











“Introduction to Human Rights Law”

This session produces a broad overview of human rights law, including and providing valuable background and context. The history of human rights from antiquity to the present, the role of the United Nations and other human rights bodies, and the application of local, state and federal laws are just a few of the topics covered.  This session is a great opportunity for anyone looking to expand their knowledge of law and human rights on an international scale.

Suggested Audience:  Particularly useful for lawyers without a background in human rights, professional groups, English as a Second Language/English Language Learners teachers.  Adaptable for general audience.

“Introduction to Human Rights Concepts”

This short workshop gives a brief overview of human rights, largely through sharing the work of Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. Contained in the program is an outline of Minnesota Advocates’ activities, including Women's Rights, Refugee and Immigrant Rights, the Death Penalty, and current special projects.  Participants will receive a handout containing immigrant case studies and descriptions of various human rights movements in the United States.

Suggested Audience:  General audience.  Adaptable to focus on specific areas of Minnesota Advocates’ work.



“Elimination of Bias in the Legal System: Working with Refugees & Immigrants”

This 2-hour session provides attorneys and other legal professionals with an opportunity to understand the experience and background of Minnesota’s newcomers; and to consider how these experiences might impact their access to justice; and to identify and eliminate from the legal profession biases against newcomers that may interfere with access to justice.  The session examines the refugee experience, Minnesota’s changing demographics, the impact of September 11 on Minnesota’s refugee and immigrant communities, and best practices for working with refugees and immigrants navigating the legal system. 

Suggested Audience:  Attorneys and other legal professionals.  This session satisfies Minnesota’s Elimination of Bias CLE requirement.

“Immigration Law 101”

Who can come?  Who can stay?  Who  must leave?  This short session provides participants with an overview of United States’ immigration law.  Participants will be introduced to basic concepts of immigration law, including refugee and asylum processes, family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, and deportation.  The policies behind United States immigration law and the impact of the law will be explored.

Suggested Audience:  General audience.  May be adapted for specific audiences, including professionals who encounter non-citizens; community presentations; or school-age children.

“Know Your Rights and Responsibilities”

Immigration attorneys cover information about immigration laws, what to do if you are arrested by immigration and where to go for help. Presenters also provide basic information about other laws impacting refugees and immigrants such as the Minnesota Driver’s license law, the immigration/separation ordinances, what to do if you are stopped or arrested by the police, and eligibility for certain services. The content of presentations can be tailored for different audiences.

Suggested Audience: Immigrants, Refugees and Advocates. May be adapted for other audiences. The length may vary to fit individual needs. Offered in English and Spanish.

“Introduction to Asylum Law”

This session introduces participants to the basics of asylum law and ways in which the United States offers protection to victims of human rights abuses.  Participants will learn about the international treaties and policies underlying the asylum system.  The session will focus on the specific elements of an asylum claim, including a step-by-step discussion of eligibility for asylum in the United States.

Suggested Audience:  General audience.  An extended version of this session is offered to attorneys interested in representing asylum seekers.



“Refugees and Immigrants: Enriching the Cultural Fabric of our Communities”

Refugees and immigrants have unique needs when it comes to weaving together various cultures within a community. The multitude of languages and cultures in our neighborhoods today present both challenges and opportunities for every community.  Come to this session to learn how to create a welcoming environment for refugee and immigrant neighbors, co-workers, and students, as well as share successful models and resources to create safe, more informed, and more inclusive Minnesota communities. You will learn about immigration in Minnesota, including recent trends, as well as international human rights documents that protect and encourage the sharing of language and culture.

Suggested Audience:  K-12 educators, school administrators, and staff as well as community groups, religious organizations, and government employees.

“Using Human Rights Education to Connect with a Diverse Classroom”

How does human rights education really take place in day-to-day teaching?  Over the past three years, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights has partnered with eight schools that vary from each other in location, size, age of students, mission and focus. This session will share stories and experiences of the classroom work, curriculum and special activities related to human rights education at these schools and explore how participants can place their classroom work within a human rights context.  The session also offers practical tips on teaching refugee/immigrant students.

Suggested Audience:  K-12 educators, school administrators, and staff

“Immigration Law 101: What Educators Need to Know in Working with Immigrant & Refugee Students”

Green cards, political asylum, permanent residency – what do these terms mean?  And what are the implications of the new changes in immigration law for my students?

Many of our students and their families live with uncertainty about their immigration status.  This interactive session – particularly timely in light of recent changes in the law since September 11, 2001 – will highlight the basics of immigration law, including definitions of legal terms related to immigration, an overview of visa categories, and other factual information useful to educators working with immigrant students.  Participants will share perspectives on how to create a welcoming environment for immigrant and refugee students, and they will receive a resource packet with practical strategies related to teaching immigrants and refugees.  We will also highlight several case studies of immigrants and refugees who have migrated to this area.  Participants in this interactive session will learn about the changing populations of the Upper Midwest and the push and pull factors that brought these populations to our communities.

Suggested Audience:  K-12 educators, school administrators, and staff

“Service Learning and Human Rights Education”

Service learning enriches education with the premise that through reflection, cooperation and action, students have a real potential to contribute to both their communities and their own development in profound ways. The same philosophy lies at the heart of human rights education. This workshop explores the potential of combining these two movements to initiate and sustain progressive educational action in your school or classroom.

Suggested Audience:  K-12 educators, school administrators, and staff.



“Human Rights Fact Finding, Monitoring and Reporting”

What is human rights monitoring, why is it done and how do we do it?  This session offers an in-depth look at the who, what, when, where, why and how of human rights monitoring, investigating and reporting.  This session will provide training on the international human rights and humanitarian law that provides a framework for human rights monitoring, as well as the specific international standards that apply to fair trials, detention, elections, and free assembly and expression. It also includes practical how-to advice for people and organizations interested in keeping an eye on human rights around the world and explains the roles of government and non-governmental organizations in the monitoring process.

Suggested Audience:  General audience

“Emerging Issues in Human Rights Law: A Case Study of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Process”

Created in 2001, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Peru is charged with investigating human rights abuses committed between 1980 and 2000.  The Commission’s mandate also includes making recommendations for reparations for victims, as well as for institutional, legal, and other reforms.  The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission process serves as an example of how international human rights standards can be used to reinforce the rule of law.  Panelists will discuss the work of the TRC, the issue of innocent persons convicted without due process under the anti-terrorism laws, reparations for victims, and recommendations for legal reforms.

Suggested Audience:  General audience

“Monitoring Transitional Justice in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone”

In May 2004, a delegation of Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights staff and volunteers traveled to Sierra Leone to monitor the transitional justice process in that West African country, which is emerging from more than ten years of a devastating civil war.  The conflict received international attention for widespread human rights abuses, including amputations, sexual violence, and the forcible recruitment of child soldiers.  Two mechanisms have been established to help Sierra Leone’s transition to peace:  the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is charged with creating an historical record of the conflict and making recommendations to address the needs of the victims, while the Special Court for Sierra Leone is prosecuting those who bear the greatest responsibility for the commission of violations of international humanitarian law.  This session will include information about Minnesota Advocates work in Sierra Leone as well as broad discussion on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Suggested Audience:  General audience



“Introduction to Women’s Human Rights”

This session highlights the difficult struggles that women around the world face in working to have their most basic rights recognized.  Focusing on discussions about abuse, equal rights in the workplace, and the slavery/trafficking of women, this program will help illustrate the unique problems facing women here in the United States and other countries.  Presenters will also give a history and overview of international law that protects the rights of women.  

Suggested Audience:  General audience

“Trafficking in Women and Girls: A Human Rights Violation”

Trafficking in women and girls is an increasing problem that involves both sexual exploitation and labor exploitation of its victims. Trafficking affects all regions and the majority of countries in the world. Both men and women may be victims of trafficking, but the primary victims worldwide are women and girls, the majority of whom are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Traffickers primarily target women because they are disproportionately affected by poverty and discrimination, factors that impede their access to employment, educational opportunities and other resources. In this session we will present information about the growing problem of trafficking in women and girls and the international movement to combat this problem.

Suggested Audience:  General audience

“Killing of Women and Girls in the Name of Honor”  

Discussion of ongoing practice of murdering girls or women who violate rules or norms regarding appropriate sexual behavior.  Recent reports document this practice in countries of the Middle East including Jordan and Pakistan, where male family members, claiming defense of the family honor, murder or attempt to murder women and girls.  Criminal codes in these countries permit reduced sentences for such crimes of `honor'.

Suggested Audience:  General audience

“Women's Human Rights in Afghanistan and Iraq”

Discussion of the situation and status of women in these two countries where there has been extensive conflict and violence.  Discussion will include information about advocacy work to ensure women's equality in the new constitutions.

Suggested Audience:  General audience

“Domestic Violence as a Human Rights Violation: Ten Years of Advocacy and Legal Reform in Central and Eastern Europe”

Women's advocates in Central and Eastern Europe have transformed their countries' response to violence against women.  This session discusses the evolution of the movement to end violence against women in the region - the successes and failures and the road ahead.

Suggested Audience:  General audience



“Before Their Time:  The Global Problem of Child Labor”

All over the world, the rights of children are being neglected in sweatshops, the slave trade and prostitution rings.  Focusing largely on the global problem of child labor, this presentation shares photos and facts about child laborers around the world.  The session also examines current strategies of combating child labor, highlighting the Sankhu-Palubari Community School in Nepal.  The Sankhu School, a tuition-free school established by Minnesota Advocates, provides education to 174 students as a safe alternative to child labor in the Kathmandu Valley.  Group discussion at the conclusion of the session will incorporate international standards as outlined in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Suggested Audience:  General audience.



“Human Rights and the Death Penalty” 

This seminar gives an overview of the history and jurisprudence surrounding the administration of the death penalty in the United States, as well as current issues related to capital punishment. The session will also include practical information on representing a client on death row during the appellate process.  Participants will also receive a course packet containing information on significant Supreme Court decisions as well as on military commissions and mental retardation as issues that have influenced legislation relating to the death penalty.

 Suggested Audience:  Attorneys, law student groups, and others in the legal profession.



“Human Rights Post 9/11”

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 created a philosophical struggle in the United States between the need for national security and the need to protect constitutional and human rights. While security is itself a fundamental human right, public opinion and fear have created a climate in which the infringement of civil and human rights has become acceptable in the name of security. Since September 11, the United States federal and state governments have passed legislation and regulations that infringe upon the rights of non-citizens, and misinformation or lack of information about these regulations have negatively impacted our community.  This session will explore the impact these events have had on civil and human rights in America, and encourage discussion on this ongoing struggle to balance our security with our rights.

Suggested Audience:  Attorneys and others in the legal profession; General audience.