When Sofía Minieri ’16 LL.M. sued the Argentinian government on behalf of disabled children who were excluded from schools, she discovered her primary obstacle had little to do with the children’s disabilities.
“Attitudes were the biggest barrier,” recalled Minieri, who worked as an attorney at the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles in Buenos Aires. “International law says all disabled students have the right to an education, but the authorities in my country tell families these children cannot learn.”
Minieri has also advocated for adults and enlisted feminist rights organizations to challenge discriminatory practices against disabled women. She said disabled women in Argentina are routinely denied access to sexual and reproductive health care. “The two groups shared common ground. Both women and the disabled are victims of stereotypes.”
Minieri is currently taking classes in subjects she says are not offered in Argentina, such as gender justice and human rights in the field of international development. She is also seizing opportunities for experiential learning. In October, she and other students in the Law School’s Human Rights Clinic traveled to Washington, D.C., where they met with representatives of the World Bank and the U.S. government to address the environmental and human rights risks of a proposed gold mine in Peru. The following week, the group traveled to Lima to continue their advocacy efforts.
“I am learning new strategies to help people advocate for their rights,” Minieri said, “and to deal with public officials and large institutions for the interests of the people. I have always wanted to fight injustice.”