Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Center for Global Justice Internship Grant

Since its founding in 2010, the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law® has sought to fulfill its mission of equipping Christian advocates and serving those working in the field through its internship grant program. Through this program, select law students receive a grant to cover the costs of their internship. Grants are primarily given to interns working with legal organizations that focus on combating human trafficking, advancing the rule of law, protecting children, securing religious freedom, and related human rights issues. Many of our interns work with international organizations, which provides them with not only quality legal experience, but also the experience of practicing law in another country and working on the front lines.

To date, 60 interns have served in countries including Cambodia, France, Greece, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nepal, Russia, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, Malawi, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, in the Middle East, and throughout the United States.

Every year, the Center aspires to provide grants to at least 20 passionate law students. Sponsoring one intern generally costs $5,000. This funding is absolutely crucial. Without the grant, most, if not all, of the students would not be able to complete the internships. Because of our internship grant program, the oppressed are receiving justice, students are gaining valuable legal experience, and the organizations working in the field receive a quality legal intern free of charge. Please support this program. If you are interested in sponsoring an intern or donating to the internship program, please let us know by emailing globaljustice@regent.edu.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Press Release - North Korea Human Rights Summit

Center for Global Justice Hosts Summit 

By Brett Wilson | November 14, 2013

Photo courtesy of the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.
Unfurling in the regime of North Korea are shocking events meeting at the intersection of a present-day Holocaust and Underground Railroad. Though the traumas evolving within the country are mostly unheard of by the rest of the world, the religious and political persecution taking place in North Korea affects nearly 200,000 people trapped in concentration camps.
Regent University School of Law's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law explored these human rights abuses during the North Korea Human Rights Summit early in November. Students obtained an inside glance into the tumultuous violations such as torture, starvation, forced abortions, beatings and assaults that take place in the nation every day.

"This is arguably the greatest human rights abuse that's taking place today," said Ernie Walton, administrative director for the Center for Global Justice. "The people are starving; they don't have rights—and the extent of the human rights abuse that is taking place there is absolutely astonishing."

The summit featured a showing of the Korean film, The Crossing, which delves into the hardships many North Koreans are facing as they struggle to flee the country, seeking refuge in South Korea by escaping through China.

The summit also featured expert panelists dedicated to informing the public about the outrageous abuses taking place today. Jae-Chun Won, professor from Handong International Law School in South Korea; Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director for the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK); and Myunghee Um, a North Korean refugee and pastor, shared their personal experiences with students.

Along with the panelists, the issues struck a chord for Regent students. Sarah Drury, School of Law 3L student and head student coordinator of the summit, explained that these human rights challenges spurred her decision to attend law school, so that she may someday advocate for the rights of those who are oppressed.

"I believe that God may enable some of us in the Regent community to actually advocate for North Korean human rights," said Drury. "While this is a very complicated situation that doesn't have an easy answer, the first step to finding a solution is being made aware of the problem's existence."

In addition to bringing awareness to the horrors unraveling in North Korea, the heart of the summit was, according to Walton, to encourage the Christian community to begin intervening, if only by prayer, for their brothers and sisters suffering overseas.

"I pray that they gain hope that God is still moving, and that there are Christians, and others, non-believers, who are fighting for these people," said Walton. "I hope that they were moved, at a minimum, to intercede for the nation of North Korea, for the people there and for our fellow brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith."

Learn more about the School of Law and the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.


PR/NEWS CONTACT:
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888
E-mail: mhughes@regent.edu

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A.L.A.R.M. Luncheon and South Sudan




Center for Global Justice Hosts ALARM Attorney Leah Boyd and South Sudanese Pastor James Baak in Preparation for Christian Lawyers Conference in Juba, South Sudan

On October 22, 2013, the Center for Global Justice hosted African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (“ALARM”) staff Leah Boyd and James Baak. Leah is an American attorney who serves as ALARM’s Director of Justice Initiatives. James, an ordained minister and South Sudanese native, serves as ALARM’s Pastoral Director for South Sudan.

Speaking to approximately 65 students, Leah shared how ALARM is training lawyers in East Africa to help them understand their role in servant leadership and advocacy and how they can be a voice for the oppressed in their communities. Particularly impactful was a story Leah shared about how ALARM’s mediation training led to a peaceful resolution between two brothers who were literally ready to kill each other over their father’s estate. As part of its Christian lawyer training, ALARM is hosting a Christian lawyers conference in South Sudan in November, ALARM’s first in the world’s youngest nation. In March 2014, the Center for Global Justice, as part of its rule of law initiative in South Sudan, intends to partner with ALARM in hosting a four-day Christian lawyers conference in Juba, South Sudan. Center for Global Justice Executive Director and Regent law professor Craig Stern will lead a team that will train 30-50 South Sudanese attorneys in the Christian foundations of the common law and the concept of lawyering as a ministry, among other topics.

After Leah finished speaking, James shared his own personal story—a story of God’s grace and a great reminder of the Biblical truth that God’s ways and thoughts are much higher and better than our own (Isaiah 55:8-11). At the age of 13, James made the arduous four-month journey from his village in South Sudan to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Researchers estimate that of the 50,000 boys who began the journey, 25,000 died due to starvation, disease, bombings from Khartoum, lion attacks, and other reasons. It was from surviving this journey that James and the other survivors earned the famous title, the “Lost Boys of Sudan.”

Each year at the refugee camp, the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army (“SPLA”) recruited teenage boys from the refugee camp to fight in the war. Year after year, however, the SPLA choose not to take James, citing his small stature. Feeling hurt and rejected, James continued to ponder the meaning of life. It was then, in the Ethiopian refugee camp, that James entered a church and first heard John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Upon hearing these life-giving words, James began to weep. Despite the chaos and conflict that surrounded him, James knew the God of the Universe loved him enough to sacrifice His own son that James might live.

After becoming a Christian, James was determined to receive an education. At the age of 17, still in the Ethiopian refugee camp, James began to learn to read and write. With a tree as his chalkboard and the sand as his notepad, James progressed quickly. From Ethiopia, James was transferred to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. After spending several years in Kenya, James was forced to decide either to move to the United States, which he was repeatedly told was “like Heaven”, or return to his village in South Sudan, a literal Hell on earth. Although a difficult decision, James knew that God was calling him to return to his village and preach the gospel. Accordingly, James obeyed God’s call and returned to South Sudan. Having been told his parents were dead, James was overjoyed to find his parents and some of his siblings alive.

James quickly told his family and the village elders how he became a Christian and asked them to follow Christ. The elders decided that they would accept Christianity. Therefore, James organized a village-wide idol-burning bonfire. Surrounding villages saw the smoke. Wondering the cause, many traveled to James’s village. Upon learning that the flames were from burnt idols, the neighboring villages swore that James’s village would be cursed and die. Day after day, however, the neighboring villages were shocked to learn that no one from James’s village had died. In fact, word began to spread amongst the surrounding villages that when James and other Christians in his village prayed for the sick, they were healed! Slowly, more and more people came to Christ, and James planted churches in surrounding villages. James joined ALARM in 2004, where he has served since.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Center for Global Justice Intern - Danielle Gallaher




A few months ago, I had the opportunity to see the author of Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller, speak at my church. During his presentation, he discussed how God puts desires in our hearts and gives us the freedom to write our own story. Domestic minor sex trafficking imposes a story of trauma, fear, worthlessness, darkness, hopelessness and pain on the youth of our country. For someone who values the potential beauty a story has as a Child of God, I want to give these individuals a different story.


As a part of my story, I am preparing to be a prosecutor who prosecutes human trafficking cases. This summer, I had the opportunity to intern in Washington D.C. with both Shared Hope International and the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA). Both of these internships were focused on the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking and helped prepare me to be an effective advocate for this issue. At Shared Hope International, I worked on the Protected Innocence Challenge. This project annually evaluates and grades states’ legislation on its effectiveness in addressing the issue. The evaluations and grades are then used to hold states accountable to improve their legislation. This experience allowed me to learn about current human trafficking legislation and further refine some of my policy views on the human trafficking issue. At NDAA, I worked with the National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse as their human trafficking intern. They are a national organization that trains, assists and provides resources for state prosecutors. At NDAA, I was able to explore the issue from a prosecutor’s perspective through the various projects I received and a training conference they held on technology-facilitated crimes against children.


Living in Washington, D.C. provided other opportunities to attend events and network with professionals in the anti-trafficking field. These events included attending the release of the Trafficking in Persons Report and the Fifth Annual Intern Roundtable on the Trafficking in Persons held by the Office to Monitor and Combat the Trafficking in Persons at the State Department. At the Intern Roundtable event, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca said that the interns were colleagues working together for the cause. It was incredibly encouraging to hear these words and to be reminded of the value of the work I was doing. Thanks to the support I received from the Center for Global Justice, I was able to take part in these and other experiences that encouraged me and exposed me to some of the strongest efforts for advocating against human trafficking.

A question Donald Miller presented to the audience at that service was, “What if God wanted to bond with you in the very thing that makes your heart light up?” He was encouraging us that it is God’s desire and a part of our relationship with Him that we create good stories with our lives.  These are stories filled with unbridled joy, love, awe and value; stories not tainted by oppression, selfishness or hate. As Proverbs 15:13 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."

I heard Bethany Hoang, from International Justice Mission, once say that understanding God’s character is essential to make our response to injustice be a fruit of who God is. May we respond to injustice by claiming the joy of the Lord as our strength, living the beautiful stories He created us for and sharing this with the world.  


Center for Global Justice Interns, Danielle Gallaher and Elissa Polley.























Monday, August 12, 2013

Uganda Summer Abroad Program



Law School Launches Uganda Summer Program

By Brett Wilson
July 17, 2013

For Regent University School of Law students longing to fulfill the Biblical charge of "seeking justice" and "encouraging the oppressed," changing the world begins in Uganda.

This summer marked the pilot summer program as Regent partnered with Uganda Christian University (UCU), located just outside of the nation's capital city of Kampala. Students participating in this month-long program earned four credit hours toward their law degree as they studied courses in the East Africa Legal Environment and Human Rights in Africa.

Whitewater Rafting
Uganda summer program participants with local children.

Photo courtesy of David Velloney.

"We wanted to develop a summer program for our students who want to work in East Africa," said David Velloney, School of Law adjunct faculty member and developer of the summer program. "We've seen an increase in undergraduates and older students coming to law school who are interested in social and international justice issues. This program will help all of our students be better trained in that."

Velloney credits simple awareness of the many international social justice issues—such as slavery and sex trafficking—as the catalyst for the program. Students, while learning within the East African context, have the opportunity to develop the skills needed to combat these issues that are prevalent in many East African nations.

"God is in the business of reconciling the world to Himself," said Velloney. "These are hurting, oppressed people—and helping them is on the hearts of our students because it's on the heart of God."

During the program, UCU provided administrative and logistical support, offered areas for students to study, and coordinated guest lecturers and visits to the nation's legal institutions.

"We look at Uganda Christian University as a great school to be affiliated with because they're doing things right in terms of their influence within society and their influence in training leaders for the country," said Velloney. "And they're doing it in East Africa."

Progress for the program began in February 2012—the start of the 18-month long process of beginning and accrediting the summer program. Velloney's 20-year tenure in the U.S. Army as a lawyer and his experience as a law school professor, along with his own passion for aiding oppressed peoples, prepared him for the initiation of the program.

And while it is essential for students to have a strong calling to alleviate major social justice issues in the world—whether in the United States or overseas—Velloney explained that true opportunities to make a global impact is to have the patience to learn basic legal skills.

"Develop a heart and vision for the world, but also develop your skillset now and work hard," said Velloney. "It will pay dividends down the road."

Learn more about Regent University School of Law and the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.

Center for Global Justice Post-Grad Intern - Abigail Skeans


An Adventure Like No Other




By Guest Blogger Abigail Skeans

Upon returning home after trips to East Africa, I am often asked about my “African adventures.” Foreign places often seem to be full of a constant barrage of unusual, exhilarating experiences, but not for the reasons one might first expect.

My interest in rule of law development in post-conflict regions led me to law school. Prior to law school, I had worked at a non-governmental organization which provided me with critical experience and prepared me to pursue something more policy focused. While I believed law school would equip me with necessary skills, inwardly, I had already resolved to avoid two areas during my legal career: criminal law and juvenile law.

But God was about to have a big laugh. During my first semester in law school in October 2011, an attorney friend who had spent significant time in Uganda suggested to me that I might do an internship in Kampala with a juvenile justice organization. I smiled and politely brushed off the suggestion, remembering these were the two things I was resolved to avoid.

Over the next couple of months, as I was repeatedly reminded of this conversation and doors of opportunity were opened, it became clear to me that God was calling to spend time working in juvenile justice. So, I took a step of faith, booked a ticket, and committed to a summer in Uganda.

I arrived in Uganda on June 8, 2012 and spent my first day with the children in the remand home in Kampala two days later. To this day, I cannot accurately articulate the evolution that occurred in my heart during my first few hours with the nearly 200 children awaiting trial in such desperate circumstances. After that first experience, I have been adamantly devoted to working on their behalf. A true case of needing to be careful for what one asks for, I was suddenly confronted with a world of opportunities to constructively live out faith that would only be limited by imagination. And I soon learned that meaningful implementation of ideas would only be possible through true reliance on all the fruits and intervention of the Spirit.

Some days of working for the peaceful transformative work that Christ calls us to doesn’t seem appealing. It seems difficult and discouraging in the dim light of very slow incremental progress. But this perception only survives when I’m evaluating my very immediate circumstances- the hardship of the moment.

For the past year, I have had the honor of working alongside individuals and organizations that are doing remarkable things for Ugandan children in conflict with the law.

Working with Children Justice Initiative (Sixty Feet), I have been able to assist with a programme that has provided nearly 100 children, whose cases seem to have been forgotten by the established system, with speedy access to justice utilizing the legal procedure of plea bargaining.

We have been able to educate children held in detention, as to their duties and rights as Ugandan citizens in accordance with the Ugandan constitution, and the role of the judicial process in their lives through a creative legal literacy program.

We have created and implemented an electronic database programme which will allow government stakeholders to track a juvenile’s journey through the justice process enabling greater transparency and accountability for the system and more timely justice for the juveniles.

And in July 2013, we held the first-ever training workshop on plea bargaining and the future of a national Juvenile Justice Coordination Programme in Uganda which provides a five year strategy for full institutionalization of juvenile system from the non-governmental community to the Government of Uganda.

All of these incredible outcomes demonstrate the fertile ground for the progress of reform in the juvenile system in Uganda. In almost daily retrospect, it is humbling to see how I have been privileged to participate in contributing in a substantive, enduring manner to bringing justice to some of the most vulnerable in society.

However, implementing such programs is not easy. The adventure is not in describing the outcome but lies in the process of achieving institutional understanding and concurrence. And stories of adventure often results when one must decipher the appropriate means and methods to apply the policy decisions where one lacks intimate familiarity with the culture. It has been made very clear to me that the leavening power of the Spirit through people of faith placed in critical positions throughout society is essential.

For me, the adventure is found in the challenge of numerous meetings that fall through with the one person who can grant approval for your programme contrasted with the five minute head nodding discussion that allows you to move forward at an exhilarating speed.

The adventure is in the heart break of a child’s story of emotional and sexual abuse and spiritual captivity that is redeemed by the gracious decision of a magistrate who allows the child to re-enter society with a clean slate. The adventure is in foregoing the comforts of family, friends, electricity, clean water, health, and safety.

And the adventure means enduring countless derogatory remarks and glances, instances of stolen funds, and dishonesty that hinders the positive progress I’m desperately attempting to make.

This has been my African adventure. I have experienced mountaintops of joy and fulfillment and deep valleys of personal and professional frustration. While not easy, the needs are in plain view and the work is compelling. With the Biblical mandate to “live a life worthy of the calling,” we learn that our lives are not our own and we have a role as agents of renewal to use our talents, experiences, and training to bring about the restoration of His creation through shalom.

When I look at the work that God is doing in Uganda through eyes of faith, it is overwhelmingly encouraging. So much groundwork has been accomplished to prepare for the efforts of the current generation. The amazing stories of what has been done, is being done, and will be done through the diligent efforts of many others are incredible. It is once I realize this that I can say with confidence that my work for justice in Uganda has truly been an adventure like no other I might have imagined.

Click the following link more information about Children Justice Initiative (Sixty Feet).

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Center for Global Justice Intern - Heather Pate



August 5, 2013

The past few days have been full, emotionally and spiritually. My heart seems to have much more intimacy with hurt lately. The people that I am helping are hurting so much, and standing beside them, I feel a minute piece of their hurt. Currently, I am helping organize a symposium regarding child sacrifice that will be held next year. While researching, I typed “child sacrifice” into the Google search bar and the first thing that came up was the very case I am working on. It is the same story I researched before I came to work. All of a sudden, this story of a small boy who fell victim to child sacrifice isn't just a sad story any more, it is the story of a boy that I have come to know and love. It was the face of a boy that I have danced with and hugged, that I have watched cry and that I have come to love more than anyone else in this whole country. I think this issue has become more real and more serious to me, because I have experienced it first hand and have come to know these families personally.

Last week, we discovered that our case was dismissed a year ago in June. We were very surprised to learn this and there is no explanation as to why it was dismissed thus far. We have been trying to follow-up for the past month on this case and have yet to receive any information. We are praying that God will lead us in the right direct to find justice for him. God said in Proverbs that He upholds the cause of the needy in court and we believe that is yet to come! The child’s attackers are still living in the nearby village, but he and his family have moved. We are praying for justice and more information.

I have no idea what I am doing, but God is so amazing. I do not know Ugandan procedure, and I do not have many contacts, but the Lord keeps showing us the way. I am staying humble as I go, and I am learning a lot from the process and my co-workers. My heart is breaking in the meantime with all that I am learning, especially the lack of justice for these amazing children. I love this work and I am going to be so sad to leave it. Fortunately, I am confident that some work can continue while I am home.

Faith is my Ugandan co-worker and a law student at Uganda Christian University.
She is such a blessing!







Hope is 7 years old. She was bound for 2 years in a shrine when she was a baby. She came to Jesus House (KCM) after she was rescued and is now receive physiotherapy and speech therapy. She is the biggest delight. She has the best smile in all of Jesus House.



Kyampisi Childcare Ministrie’s children’s choir singing on Sunday morning. These beautiful children record and perform songs about child sacrifice, since it is their village that is most affected by this evil. 






Heather Pate, 3L