Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Justice Rising

The following blog post was written by Center intern, student staff member, and graduate assistant Chelsea Mack:
This past Monday evening, I was introduced to the organization, Justice Rising, at an event on campus.  I learned about this event through the Center for Global Justice’s postings in the office.  Justice Rising was founded by Cassandra Lee who strongly felt that God called her to work in war-affected communities.  The organization goes into these physically, emotionally, and spiritually-destroyed places to love on the people.  Their love is expressed primarily through building schools that provide a holistic support system for children to break free from the cycles of violence that plague their communities.  During their experiences thus far, the team continues to witness the awesome power of God move mightily and win broken and tormented souls back to Him.

At the conclusion of the event, I was able to meet some of the leadership team and discuss the current status of legal work and opportunities with Justice Rising.  Only God knows if this may open up doors in the future for the Center which could turn into a fantastic partnership.  The one thing that I do know and was reminded of during the presentation is that God can breathe upon the smallest efforts and labors of love for His Kingdom and allow them to become some of the greatest accomplishments known to man.  Groups such as the Center for Global Justice and Justice Rising are just two examples.

For more information about Justice Rising, visit www.justicerising.org.

Slaying Giants: If It Were Easy, Everyone Would Do It

The following post was written by 2L Student Staff member Natasha Delille.
Every day we face challenges that seem nearly impossible to overcome. On October 12th, Admiral Vern Clark, former Chief of Naval Operations, addressed the Center for Global Justice staff and spoke to us about managing our expectations. He advised us to never run away defeated simply because something seems impossible. To stay focused, Admiral Clark urged every organization to continually ask the following questions: (1) Who are we as an organization? (2) What do we believe in? (3) What are we doing? (4) Where are we going?

We have been called to invest in people; we have been called to pour our lives into others. Many of the projects that we work on at the Center for Global Justice are challenging in ways that might cause some to lose hope. Admiral Clark urged us not to lose hope but to be thankful for the challenges that will come our way. With each challenge we will learn an important lesson for our journey. God is preparing us the same way He prepared David for his battle against Goliath (1 Samuel 17).

There are injustices waiting to be rectified. And although this work may become stressful, “stress is simply being used to light a fire in us.” As Admiral Clark spoke, I was reminded that God equips those whom He has called, and that with God, nothing is impossible. I was also reminded that God is using the Center staff in preparation for major battles. At the moment, we are not lawyers or Congressmen, but the work we are doing at the Center is work that will change the world. Saul thought that David was too young to fight Goliath, but little did he know, God had prepared David to slay the giant. The solutions that we are seeking may seem impossible to many, but as long as we continue to be disciplined and obedient, God will help us slay the giants of injustice.

Admiral Clark ended our discussion by reciting the following stanza of Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

“Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.” 

Photo by 2L Student Staff member Chelsea Mack

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Center for Global Justice Hosts Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga of Kyampisi Childcare Ministries

One of the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law's four areas of focus is the protection of children. Beyond efforts to combat human trafficking in children, protect the unborn, and promote adoption, we also work on combating child sacrifice in Uganda.

Center Admin Director Ernie Walton & Pastor Sewakiryanga
In the summer of 2013, the Center sent rising 3L Heather Pate as the first legal intern to work with Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM), a Christian NGO dedicated to protecting Ugandan children. Since then, our student staff has continued to support KCM through student staff projects.

On October 8, 2015, Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga, Founder and Executive Director of Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, came to visit the Center and speak at Regent Law chapel.  Center intern, student staff member, and graduate assistant Pamela Dodge writes how she was personally impacted by Pastor Sewakiryanga's visit.

I am constantly amazed at the faithfulness of God in raising up individuals all around the world to fight for justice.  Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga is one such individual. 
Yesterday, law students had the privilege of hearing from Pastor Peter as he challenged and encouraged us in law chapel.  Peter shared stories about his ministry with children and families, especially with the children who are victims of child sacrifice in Uganda. His stories were heart-wrenching and eye-opening, as they shed light on a problem that is not often discussed. 
He challenged us to remember that all individuals are made in the image of God. When we take the time to pause our busy activities and really look into a person's face, then we can see what's happening in that person's heart.
Only then can we love well-by seeing and meeting the needs of the heart.
He encouraged students with Scripture that reminds us of the heart of God in bringing about justice.  As Amos 5:24 says, "But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."
I was challenged by Pastor Peter's life and unwavering courage, and my heart was encouraged by his testimony to the faithfulness the Lord. 
The Student Staff prayed over Pastor Peter following Law Chapel

Click here to learn more about Kyampisi Childcare Ministries >

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Center for Global Justice Featured in Impact Newsletter

This month's Impact features the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law's (CGJ) internship grant program.

CGJ offers one of the university’s most-high profile summer programs. Their interns don’t just observe. Each was fully engaged and fully prepared for legal (and spiritual) battles to combat human trafficking, advance the rule of law, protect children, secure religious freedom, and tackle other related human-rights issues.

The article highlights interns Daniel Tirle, Christy and Palmer Hurst, Courtney Marasigan, Joseph Kohm III, and Natasha Delille,

Read this month's Impact:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Student Staff Update: Michael Aiello

Michael is a legal graduate assistant and student staff member for the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law. 
A sexually oriented business, e.g. an adult movie theater, porn shop, etc., opens in your town. Yourself and other citizens are concerned about the undesirable secondary effects it will have on your community such as increasing crime rates, reduction in the town’s retail trail, lowering property values, and reducing the quality of neighborhoods and urban life. This leads you to ask, “what can be done?”

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a manual explaining how a local community can legally regulate a sexually oriented business? You’re in luck, there is! The Community Defense Counsel and Alliance Defending Freedom originally created the manual titled, Protecting Communities from Sexually Oriented Businesses.

Currently, the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law is working with The National Center on SexualExploitation (NCOSE) to update this manual. NCOSE’s mission is to oppose sexual exploitation and defending human dignity. Their areas of focus include combating sex trafficking, abating the harmful effects of pornography, and regulating sexually oriented businesses.

The manual outlines multiple approaches on how to regulate a sexually oriented business. My team specifically is researching time, place, manner restrictions, a sub-category of Free Speech rights. All of which can be used by a local government and people to protect their community.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Student Staff Update: Carter Budwell

My name is Carter Budwell. I am a third year student at Regent University School of Law. I came to Regent because I wanted to learn more about how I could help victims of injustice.

As a member of our student staff, I am helping with a research project that we are doing on behalf of Shared Hope International, an organization dedicated to ending the practice of human trafficking. Specifically, the team I am a part of is researching case law with respect to how various jurisdictions have dealt with “bottom girls.”

The term “bottom girl” is one I admit that I was unfamiliar with before taking on this project. Indeed, Shared Hope itself has stated on its website that it is a term you would not typically come across if you are unfamiliar with the culture of human sex trafficking. A bottom girl is a pimp’s senior prostitute, whom the pimp places over any other prostitutes under his control. She performs various tasks on behalf on the pimp, such as placing advertisements for the girls online, arranging prostitution meetings for the girls, making sure that the girls know and obey the pimp’s rules, and enforcing discipline. Although she exercises authority over the girls, she herself is still under the pimp and is subject to much of the abuse and victimization that is common in the sex trafficking industry.  When arrested, they often face human trafficking charges along with the pimp.

Through working on this issue, I find myself thinking about the balance of justice and mercy, and how it is vital in this matter to discover that balance. One the one hand, the things they are doing to other girls under a pimp’s control are often truly terrible, and merit punishment. I have read stories of them physically and sexually abusing other girls. On the other, they too are victims of a terrible crime, and often subject to terrible abuse themselves, sometimes even more so than the other girls, and this must be taken into account when determining what punishment is appropriate. Failing to do so is to deal out further injustice to those who have already endured so much of it.

Please join me in praying that the law would fairly treat those who have already been treated so unfairly.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Are Positive Human Rights Really a Good Idea?

Human rights are generally divided into two categories: positive rights and negative rights. Negative rights are rights which can be fulfilled without any government action. Indeed, as long as the civil government does not act, a person’s negative rights will be realized. Common examples of negative rights are the right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and conscience, freedom from degrading treatment or punishment, and freedom from arbitrary detention. As may be apparent, the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution is virtually exclusively filled with negative rights. The international equivalent of the Bill of Rights is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, international law’s primary human rights treaty. This Covenant, while containing some positive rights, primarily includes the classic negative rights.

Positive rights, on the other hand, are rights which only can be fulfilled with governmental assistance. Indeed, positive rights by their very nature imply a right to command that the government do something. Without positive government action, positive rights cannot exist. Examples of positive rights include the right to housing, the right to health, the right to a clean environment, the right to education, the right to food, the right to social security, and the right to employment. Many of today’s newer Constitutions, like South Africa’s, contain both positive and negative rights. And beyond domestic constitutions, the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is filled with positive rights.

Today, the legal and academic community has become obsessed with positive rights. And why shouldn’t they? Positive rights sound wonderful. Who wouldn’t want everybody to have a house, food, a clean environment, and a “living wage”? Peeling back the cover, however, quickly reveals a huge problem with positive rights: they undermine the rule of law. And without the rule of law, no human right, whether positive or negative, can be fulfilled.

Center for Global Justice Executive Director Craig Stern discussed this issue at length in his article, Human Rights or the Rule of Law -- The Choice for East Africa?, _ Mich. St. Int'l L. Rev. _ (forthcoming 2015).

Professor Stern will lecture on this topic in more detail on Tuesday, October 13th, at 12:00 pm in Robertson Hall 106. Lunch will be provided.

by Ernie Walton, Administrative Director for the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law