Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute Welcomes Yemeni Activist Osamah Al-Fakih as Practitioner-in-Residence
New York, January 14, 2019 – The Human Rights Institute (HRI) is pleased to welcome Osamah Al-Fakih, Director of Media, Communications, and Advocacy at Mwatana Organization for Human Rights (Mwatana), to Columbia Law School as HRI’s Practitioner-in-Residence and recipient of its Global Advocate Award. Al-Fakih’s research and advocacy have focused on defending human rights against mounting violations by all sides to the current conflict in Yemen.
“This is a unique opportunity to gain another perspective on my work, expand on the academic side of my research, and get more exposure to international advocacy,” Al-Fakih said. “New York is a city where many key international actors are located or represented, and it’s very important to learn how to push for human rights in Yemen on the international level,” he added.
Before assuming his current role at Mwatana, an independent Yemeni organization aimed at protecting human rights, Al-Fakih directed its research unit, leading field investigations into human rights abuses in Yemen. He will continue his research work at HRI, writing about the Yemeni crisis, briefing officials and diplomats about the situation in Yemen, meeting key partners to support his advocacy work, and teaching and working with students at the Law School’s Human Rights Clinic.
“It is a huge honor to welcome Osamah to the Human Rights Institute,” says Alex Moorehead, Director of the Program on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict and Human Rights at HRI. “While Osamah is here we will work with him to deepen and strengthen connections between Yemeni and U.S. human rights organizations and increase understanding of the situation in Yemen through a series of events, briefings,
Prior to Al-Fakih’s work with Mwatana, he collaborated with different local and international organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. He was a fellow at Dejusticia, and co-founded #SupportYemen Media Collective during the 2011 uprising. Graduating with a BA in English Literature from Sanaa University, Al-Fakih’s dedication to defending human rights was inspired by early experiences during the 2004-2010 Sa’ada Wars in Yemen. Al-Fakih’s native country of Yemen has been ravaged by civil and proxy wars for years and is currently one of the poorest in the Arab World. His residency at HRI will continue through the end of January 2019.
The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute Practitioner-in-Residence Program is designed for human rights practitioners from non-governmental organizations, government, the United Nations, and other inter-governmental and international bodies who seek an environment in which they can engage in research, writing, and scholarly discussion connected to their human rights practice. The program is intended to promote human rights scholarship grounded in practice, as well as practice informed by scholarship and critique. The “Global Advocate Award” funds practitioners from the Global South to participate in the program.
While in residence at the Human Rights Institute, Practitioners-in-Residence have the opportunity to work on their own scholarly or policy-oriented papers or books for publication, develop workshops and new research agendas, or prepare for conferences or new human rights projects. Mentoring about academic scholarship is available, as are opportunities for presenting and obtaining feedback on draft work. Practitioners also have the opportunity to participate in the broader intellectual life of the law school, and may deliver guest lectures in the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and other human rights course offerings, participate in the mentoring of Columbia Law School students, advise on ongoing projects of the Human Rights Institute and Clinic, and design workshops or other events with experts from the field. field. The Human Rights Practitioners-in-Residence Program is administered by the Human Rights Institute.
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The Human Rights Institute advances international human rights through education, advocacy, fact-finding, research, scholarship, and critical reflection. It works in partnership with advocates, communities, and organizations pushing for social change to develop and strengthen the human rights legal framework and mechanisms, promote justice and accountability for human rights violations, and build and amplify collective power.
Founded in 1998 by the late Professor Louis Henkin as the anchor for human rights within Columbia Law School, the Human Rights Institute promotes engagement and knowledge of human rights within the law school, throughout the University, and around world. Across the many substantive areas of its work, the Institute builds bridges between scholarship and activism, develops capacity within the legal community, engages governments, and models new strategies for progress.
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