Project ‘Human and Cultural Rights’ (2011)
Partnership with the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall Law School in NJ, USA
In October 2008 students from LCRI and the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at Seton Hall University in Newark, NJ, teamed up in a collaborative project to work together on petitions before the European Court of Human Rights in Bulgarian immigration cases. In May 2009 the LCRI coordinator, Valeria Ilareva, visited the Center for Social Justice in New Jersey and made a joint presentation together with its director, Prof. Lori Nessel, at the Annual Conference of Legal Clinics in USA.
PREVIOUS INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS:
In November and December 2002 LCRI exchanged fruitful study visits with the Jagiellonian University Human Rights Centre in Krakow, Poland. The project is financed by LARC. This twinning exchange plays an important role for the further development of LCRI. Thanks to the know-how from its colleagues and friends from Krakow, especially to the active support of Ms. Courtney Schusheim, LCRI is encouraged to strengthen its independent in-house university model and creates its own Mission Statement, a funding strategy and organization building.
Highlights of the agenda in Poland include meetings and working groups between organizational staff of both Clinics, participation in the seminar and pre-seminar classes on International Human Rights Law at the Krakow Clinic, meeting with the Polish Ombudsman’s representative in Krakow, visit to the asylum seekers’ centre in Lublin (5 hours away from Krakow) and observing of the work of Krakow students with clients, visiting the Caritas office in Lublin.
In Bulgaria the Krakow Clinic team visited the Supreme Administrative Court where the Bulgarian jurisprudence in refugee cases was presented by Judge Alexander Elenkov; there was a seminar with the UNHCR Representative in Sofia, a visit to the Integration Center at the asylum seekers’ camp in Sofia where the refugee issues were discussed with officials from the State Agency for Refugees; a meeting with Peace Corps representatives and a study visit to the Law Faculty of Sofia University.
During the winter semester of the academic year 2003/2004, LCRI successfully realized the project “Sofia – Bucurest: best practices in refugee protection“, funded by the “Allavida” Foundation. During the preparatory period, LCRI students made a study visit to the asylum-seekers’ reception center in Banya village (near the city of Nova Zagora), which was the only such center outside Sofia. At the end of October 2003 a LCRI delegation visited the Romanian National Council for Refugees in Bucurest. At the meetings with Romanian lawyers, experts and students, LCRI members became acquainted with the system of refugee protection in Romania. The Bulgarian delegation visited the asylum seekers’ center in Bucurest. In December 2003 the partners from both countries met in Bulgaria, where they continued their comparative research. To that end, the Bulgarian students had made a study of the jurisprudence of the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria in refugee cases. The agenda in Sofia included visits to the Council of Refugee Women in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Red Cross, the State Agency for Refugees and the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. At seminars in the LCRI office the partners from the Romanian and the Bulgarian clinics elaborated a written report on the results from the joint research.
Since 2005 LCRI works on a joint project with the British organization STAR (Student Action for Refugees). Within the framework of the project in 2006 a LCRI team makes a study visit to refugee camps and detention centers in the United Kingdom and participates in the annual national conference of STAR. The study visit is sponsored by the Youth Programme of the European Commission and the State Agency for Youth and Sports, UNHCR and the attorneys’ law firm “Georgiev, Todorov & Cо”. The aim of the project is to to help empower young people to organize creative and public-engaging youth actions on refugee issues. Participants exchange practical ideas on the role of youth in monitoring asylum and the potential impact youth monitoring can have in combating xenophobia and racism targeted at asylum seekers and refugees.