Student Advocacy Projects

Over our twenty year history the Human Rights Program has engaged our students and community in many important and impactful advocacy projects. These projects often grow out of work that students engage in as part of their courses. Two such projects are the Hmong Grave Desecration Project and Child Protection International 

Child Protection International

Child Protection International (CPI) began in response to one incident in a remote town of Southern Sudan. In October 2007, University of Minnesota graduate student Gabriel Kou Solomon learned that his two nieces were violently abducted by armed men during a cattle raid on their village. Students affiliated with the Human Rights Program joined together to advocate for the rescue of the two girls by launching the Save Yar Campaign. The campaign grew into CPI. 

CPI worked to end systematic child abduction and address its root causes. 

To learn more about the work of CPI visit our Child Protection International project page

Hmong Grave Desecration 

For over twenty years a Buddhist temple in Thailand, Wat Tham Krabok, hosted a makeshift refugee camp for Hmong people who had fled Laos and feared forced repatriation.  In the early 2000s the majority of these refugees were resettled in the United States

It is estimated that there were approximately 2,000 Hmong refugees buried on the grounds of Wat Tham Krabok and other private land adjacent to the monastery. In mid-October 2005, a number of organizations began exhuming the graves; a violation of the religious rights of the Hmong people. 

Program Director Frey, along with her undergraduate students, worked with the Hmong community to develop a plan for addressing this violation of religious rights. Students worked with the community to collect testimony from over 170 affected individuals and used this information to develop a campaign which included a variety of activities and actions which culminated in a site visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people. THe Special Rapporteur, Professor James Anaya, visited Minnesota on December 10, 2008, to hear testimony concerning the desecration of Hmong graves at Wat Tham Krabok in Saraburi, Thailand.

Visit our Hmong Grave Desecration page to learn more about this project and access the document archive.