IHP Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy
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Significant Human Rights Conditions in the Countries to be Visited
Significant domestic human rights issues revolve around justice and imprisonment, immigration, workers, and women. The starkest judicial issue is the continued use of the death penalty. The US imprisons more people than any other country, with striking disparities based on race. Prisons are overcrowded, with many inmates kept in solitary confinement and denied proper medical care and services. The sentencing system is especially unfair to juveniles and people who have committed minor drug offenses. Residents who are not citizens face police scrutiny and other intrusions in several localities and can be detained and deported with minimal due process and regard for their rights. Labor unions, especially in the public sector, are being weakened by new state laws and campaigns, while farm workers, domestic employees, and other service workers lack sufficient legal protections. Women face economic inequalities in the workplace, continuing social discrimination, and restrictions on their reproductive rights.
Although credible elections were held in 2008 and human rights groups operate without restrictions, Nepal suffers from the abuses linked to the armed Maoist insurgency of 1996–2006. Security forces practice extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, and detention, and illegal groups engage in violence. Prison conditions are poor, and prisoners are abused. The commission designed to examine human rights violations during the conflict has not been formed nor accountability established. Corruption, intimidation, and political favoritism are reportedly widespread. Women face discrimination and domestic violence and are often burdened with poor health, economic insecurity, and traditional limits on social mobility and political gains. Violence against women and children is significant, as is their commercial and sexual exploitation. Denial of worker rights persists, especially in agriculture and domestic service, with forced and bonded labor a problem.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan offers a unique perspective on human rights challenges in the Middle East. Its progressive, moderate government has made enormous strides in education, social services, and democratic and economic reform in the past generation. More recently, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the impact of mass immigration of refugees from neighboring states has challenged the relative stability of Jordanian society, with these groups comprising half of the total population. As a result, the labor market has been flooded with workers from the region, straining the legal mechanisms and social tolerance for rights protections. Domestic violence and women’s rights have also emerged as a major advocacy focus, as traditional culture competes with more progressive policies and initiatives. Students will meet with policymakers, human rights advocacy groups, social agencies, legal scholars, and other local experts to complement their coursework on the program.
Serious human rights abuses—disappearances, torture, and unlawful detention—that occurred during the 1973–90 military rule continue reverberating in Chile’s multi-party democracy. The work of the commissions appointed to look into these abuses is not finished, while the number of violations under judicial scrutiny has risen. Only 66 of the 245 who received final sentences are in prison. Recently, the police have been charged with using excessive force against students opposing the government’s educational and environmental policies. Prisons are overcrowded and antiquated, and inmates do not receive proper health care and food. There is controversy over the rights of indigenous people, who comprise five percent of the population, to land, to the ability to control development, and to access to the courts. A large hydroelectric project in Patagonia aroused widespread opposition. Violence against women and the abuse and commercial exploitation of children persist, and abortion is a criminal offense.
Duration: Fall or Spring, 17 weeks
New York, NY, USA; Kathmandu, Nepal; Amman, Jordan; Santiago, Chile Read more...
Prerequisites: Coursework in social sciences (anthropology, history, economics, sociology, and/or political science). Learn More...
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