By Humera Jabir
I am almost two months into my internship at Human Rights Watch and am entering the last third. I have grown very comfortable here and met such interesting colleagues. My fellow interns are fascinating individuals with a great deal of experience to share and learn from. I have enjoyed meeting many of the associates and researchers in my own department as well as in others, particularly those who work on the ground collecting information, as it offsets and adds perspective to the work I do sitting at my desk all day.
In the last two months I have worked on some fairly large research projects to do with civil-criminal law, recent cases before the ICC, and the chemical weapons convention. The work has been challenging and stimulating overall and I enjoy the diversity as I get to do both legal research and a bit of media work as well. I have also been able to learn by attending events. A few weeks ago, I went to see the ICC Prosecutor, Ms. Bensouda, brief the United Nations on the situation in Sudan. I really enjoy going to the United Nations. Despite the diplomatic speech and wrangling, attending meetings of the ICC working group in NYC has been inspiring even in light of the cynicism so many rightfully feel. What has been most intriguing to see is how many less recognized states work to ensure the continued work of the ICC and compliance with its orders against impunity.
The work we are doing here at HRW can sometimes feel abstract. I had the chance to attend a commemoration event for victims of the genocide in Bosnia and that really did bring home for me what the fight against impunity means to victims of mass crimes. Sitting in NYC so far from the victims HRW seeks to help, it can be easy to lose sight of what international justice means to those who have suffered.
Finally, I will say that being in NYC has been a true privilege. I have been learning every day that I walk through these streets and strike up conversations with people from every country and walk of life. HRW facilitated my attendance of arraignment court so I’ve had a chance to learn more about “local justice” and criminal law in the city. I have attended a multitude of talks and events on black history, feminism, social movements from around the world, art and poetry, and the list goes on and on …. Most important to me in the last month has been finding a vibrant and youthful Muslim community with whom I shared Ramadan. Life has been full and I am trying to make the most of each day while also not letting the countdown to the end of my time here stress me out!
Wishing you all safety and happiness on your own adventures.