This guest blog post comes from Lara Fuchs, an MDiv student at Meadville Lombard Theological School working towards becoming a UU minister. She is also President of the UU's of Basel (Switzerland), Secretary of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists' Executive Committee, and current intern with International Bridges to Justice.
Ending Torture as an Investigative ToolMy first year of seminary Community Studies field placement is an internship at the offices of International Bridges to Justices (IBJ), in Geneva. Karen Tse founded IBJ and was also the speaker for the Service of Living Tradition at the UUA's 2012 Justice General Assembly in Atlanta. She received her MDiv from Harvard University along with a legal degree and founded this organization as a human rights lawyer to fight against investigative torture and extensive pre-trial detention happening in disadvantaged places around the world. IBJ has instituted many programs directed at training lawyers and police in human rights law and lawful, effective investigative techniques, as well as raising awareness in communities so citizens know more about what their legal rights for due process are, and how to report incidents of torture. [youtube vEli4dfAXrM] Additionally, IBJ has a number of programs focused on women and youth, as well as interfaith coalitions; it has had incredible success in reducing violence in the areas it operates and also in decreasing the length of time people are held for pre-trial detainment. During my internship, I’ve been working on grant proposals for ongoing programs in India, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, China, Burundi, and Singapore; it's been a deeply meaningful learning experience, affording me the opportunity to witness the global impact of this powerful work.
IBJ Needs Your SupportLast night I attended an International event in Basel, Switzerland, on torture. Panelists were from Amnesty International, OSZE, a torture survivor from Uzbekistan, and Karen Tse. There are 140 countries in the world who have agreed to not torture, and about 90 of them still do! IBJ's mission is to give them ways to stop, and the programs it implements have been proven to work. Help IBJ make a difference, and make the world a safer place for everyone. There is currently a Crowdrise campaign to raise money in support of IBJ's programs, as part of the Skoll Foundation's annual Social Entrepreneurs Challenge (#SEChallenge). This Challenge helps some of the world's leading social entrepreneurs raise funds to support their work and it ends on December 5 at 1:59pm EST. I'm writing to raise awareness in the U/U global community around IBJ's participation and to ask for your generous support as I raise funds, alongside my IBJ colleagues, for this life-changing work! The ten teams that raise the most during this Challenge period can earn additional bonus prizes; so far, IBJ has received over $10,000 in bonuses from weekly bonus #SEChallenges with the support of passionate donors committed to protecting the basic legal rights of ordinary citizens in the developing world. Please visit my Crowdrise campaign page and make a gift with a global impact.
Ways Your Gift Will Make a Difference
- $100 will deliver rights-awareness information to juvenile defendants in pretrial detention
- $1,000 will connect police officers with training in lawful and effective methods of investigation
- $10,000 supports a defense lawyer working full-time to deliver access to justice to the neediest accused
- $25 distributes 100 rights-awareness posters, potentially reaching thousands of ordinary people with essential rights education
- $250 can bring together a roundtable meeting of judges, lawyers and police, fostering better institutional respect for people’s rights
- $500 can provide the criminal justice community with practical skills to protect individuals’ rights