Student Staff Update from Olivia Graef

Olivia Graef, '17
At the Center for Global Justice, I have learned that “fighting for human rights” often looks different than the glorious pictures we conjure up in our imaginations. The students at the Center do not make raids out in the field or physically go out and rescue those who are enslaved. But we are hard at work nonetheless. We provide research so that countries can implement better legal systems, which will better serve justice and protect people. We write briefs to defend laws to hold criminals accountable. We compose manuals so that municipalities know how to preserve a safer environment for people. We conduct legal research for cases to ensure violent criminals are convicted.

How you “fight for human rights” will probably look different from our work. But I have realized that a fight so broad requires every effort whether that is donating, volunteering, writing letters to legislatures, or making a meal for a victim of injustice. It even includes sharing stories and ways to contribute on social media or setting up an Amazon Smile account so that a percentage of your purchase price goes to an organization fighting for to protect people from injustice. Please join us regardless of what it looks like.

Olivia Graef, '17

Student Staff Project Update: So Heon Park

So Heon Park, Class of 2017
I joined the Center for Global Justice (Center) student staff in August 2015. The Center provides free legal work to NGOs that defend the poor, the oppressed, and the abused in the world. My experience with the Center helped me develop legal skills such as researching and writing legal memoranda by working on projects in different countries. Moreover, it is such a privilege to be a part of the Center with men and women who recognize the importance of human rights and have compassion toward people who are in need.

This semester I am working on a project for Handong International Law School (HILS). HILS is located in Pohang, South Korea, and HILS shares a similar mission to that of Regent University School of Law. The project involves a religious liberty issue in Mongolia. In Mongolia, the government bans proselytization in religious institutions and requires them to register with local authorities. However, the registration procedure is not clear, and local authorities have great discretion in the registration process. There are only approximately 2% of Christians in Mongolia, and Mongolians view Christianity as “foreign” religion. Christians face difficulties to share their faith even in Christian schools.

To support religious liberty in Mongolia, I have been researching the Mongolian Constitution, international laws, and international human rights cases, which protect the human right to manifest one’s faith. Although the Mongolian Constitution and international human rights laws, which Mongolia is bound by, protect the freedom to manifest one’ religion and share one’s faith, in reality, such freedom is taken away by local authorities. I pray that our work could influence, and hopefully change, the current Mongolian system so that Christians in Mongolia can freely share and practice their faith without any restrictions. 

So Heon Park, Class of 2017

April 2016 Quarterly Update

Our April 2016 quarterly update is here!

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Administrative Director's Greeting

Greetings from the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law! I trust all of you had a great Easter, marveling anew at the death and resurrection of Christ. As I reflected on Passion Week, I was reminded of how unjustly Jesus was treated and of His amazing response. As 1 Peter tells us, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." (1 Peter 2:23.) Indeed, what greater injustice could have been committed than the murder of the Son of God? But the beauty is that because Jesus experienced the ultimate injustice, suffering as the only truly innocent one, He can bring meaning and hope to those who are now suffering great injustice. We at the Center for Global Justice seek to be this extension of Christ's ministry.

Internship Program: Seventeen Students Set to Travel the World to Fight Injustice

As the semester draws to a close, we are preparing to send out seventeen interns across the globe through our internship program. Placements this summer include International Justice Mission, Uganda; Department of Public Prosecutions, Uganda; Advocates International, South Africa & Bulgaria; the Jerusalem Institute for Justice, Israel; the National Center On Sexual Exploitation, Washington, D.C.; Youth With A Mission (YWAM), General Counsel's Office; and many others. We still need funding to cover the costs of these internships. Through your giving, students receive great legal experience and provide valuable support to organizations fighting for the oppressed, all without having to take out additional debt. Please give

To learn more about the program and hear from students how the internships change their lives, please watch our intern video »

Project Highlight: Young Ugandan Girl Rescued from Kidnapping, Torture, and Child Sacrifice

This semester we are working with Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, a Ugandan non-profit organization that combats child sacrifice, on a case involving a nine-year-old girl named Hope who was kidnapped and tortured for sacrificial purposes. Thanks to the great advocacy work of Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM) and legal support from the Center for Global Justice, the perpetrator was charged with “Kidnapping or Abducting in order to subject a person to grievous Harm, Slavery,” a crime that carries a significantly greater penalty than the crime for which the perpetrator was originally charged.

In 2008, Hope was kidnapped. The perpetrator tied Hope with ropes, kept her on his shrine for over one year, repeatedly drained her blood, cut her tongue, removed her teeth, and fed her virtually nothing. Hope was found alive but utterly disabled. The perpetrator was a fugitive for the past eight years, but thanks to an undercover sting operation by KCM and the Ugandan Police, he was recently apprehended. To make sure this case received sufficient attention, we drafted a detailed letter to the prosecutor that discussed the seriousness of the case and recommended various charges. Thankfully, the prosecutor amended the charges to include “Kidnapping or Abducting in order to subject a person to grievous Harm, Slavery,” a charge that carries a sentence up to fifteen years in prison under the Uganda Penal Code. Please pray that justice will be done in this case.

Center Events
Women's Rights Symposium
The Center has been quite busy this semester putting on a number of special events. On March 4th, we, in partnership with the Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy, hosted our fifth annual symposium entitled, Women’s Rights: 50 Years After Griswold v. Connecticut. The symposium concluded with a banquet dinner called Justice for the Unborn. Abby Johnson, Former Planned Parenthood Director turned pro-life advocate, spoke at the dinner. Abby shared her incredible story and challenged us to believe that God can redeem.

To watch Abby’s presentation, go here »

Professor Jim Gash

On February 15, the Center hosted Jim Gash, Professor of Law and Director of Pepperdine’s Global Justice Program, who spoke about his new book, Divine Collision: An African Boy, An American Lawyer, and their Remarkable Battle for Freedom, which details his incredible work of helping imprisoned juveniles in Uganda. 

Read more »

Guardian ad Litem CLE

On March 24, the Center hosted a 7-credit CLE course required for all attorneys seeking to receive their certification as Guardians ad Litem in Virginia. This year, eight students and thirteen attorneys attended.

FBI Special Agent Talk

On March 28, FBI Special Agent Michael McMahon joined us for lunch and discussed Department of Justice investigations of civil rights violations. Special Agent McMahon discussed investigations relating to “Color of Law” (i.e., investigations of police officers who abuse their authority), human trafficking, and hate crimes.

Find all our events at »


As always, please pray for us. In John 15:5, Jesus reminds us that “apart from Him we can do nothing.” And what better way is there to “abide” in Jesus than to be in constant communion with Him through prayer? Please pray for our staff, our students who are graduating, and the upcoming internships.

In Christ,
S. Ernie Walton, Esq.
Administrative Director

P.S. For anyone interested, CNSNews recently picked up one of my blog posts regarding the dangers of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

For additional updates on all the work the Center is doing, please visit our social networks and website

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© 2016  Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law ®

Dr. Christopher Whelan, Oxford University: United Nations - Mission Impossible?"

Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy in association with the International Law Society was very pleased to sponsor recently an excellent presentation by esteemed professor Dr. Christopher Whelan, Oxford University, entitled "United Nations - Mission Impossible?"

Serving Without Loving

Carter Budwell, Class of 2016
If you have ever watch the film Lincoln, you may recall a scene in which Thaddeus Stevens (played by Tommy Lee Jones) says, “This is the face of someone who has fought long and hard for the good of the people without caring much for any of 'em.” Is it possible for us to fight on behalf of victims of poverty and injustice without really loving them? Unfortunately, experience has taught me that the sad answer is yes.

Paul addresses this issue in 1 Corinthians 13:3: “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Paul recognized that it is very possible for us to endure great hardship on behalf of others, and yet not love them. The Lord Jesus Christ himself addresses this in speaking to the Church at Ephesus: “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” If we can work and suffer for the sake of Christ without loving him, we can certainly work and suffer on behalf of victims of injustice without loving them.

I have done much work on behalf of victims of poverty and injustice, both in the United States and internationally. Yet in all that I have done, I must confess that I have very often been guilty of not really loving them. Isn’t it amazing, that we can do so much for others while our hearts are still very much centered around ourselves? Yet it is possible. It is something that we must prayerfully battle against, because, as Paul warns us, if we are enduring all of these things and don’t have love, then we really gain nothing. So, may the Lord deliver all of (especially myself) from loveless service. May God give us such a love for Him and for others that any hardships that we are called to endure seem like nothing in the face of our love.

Carter Budwell, '16

The Complexities of the Israel-Palestine Conflict

This semester I am working on a project that involves the Palestinian refugee camps for the Jerusalem Institute for Justice.

“Palestinian refugees are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.[1]

Here are a few questions we should ask before labeling ourselves as “Anti-Israel” or “Anti-Palestine”:

1. What are the issues?
            a. Is this conflict simply about land?
            b. Does religion play a role?
2. How many Palestinians fled Israel in 1948?
3. How many Palestinian refugees are there today?
4. Do these refugees have a “right to return”?
            a. If not, why?
            b. If so, why?
5. Has there been injustice done by both sides?
6. Have any steps been taken to remedy this conflict?
            a. Were those steps successful? If not, why?
7. What are some possible solutions?
a. What will be the short-term and long-term effects of the proposed solutions?

Growing up in New York City, I’ve always heard lots of Anti-Israel sentiment–including from the Jewish community, and lots of Anti-Palestine sentiments. The one thing both groups had in common is they consistently yelled out the atrocities being committed by the other party. All of the shouting left me confused about my stance. In order to form my own opinion, I needed to witness more than the mere pointing of fingers. Starting with the questions above, this project has challenged me to form an informed opinion for myself. When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict we want “a quick fix or at least a defined solution to the prejudice and pain we saw all around us.”[2] However, this conflict is not simple, nor are its solutions. I challenge you all to pray for the people living in the Palestinian refugee camps.

Student Staff Project Update: Shannon Fields

Shannon Fields, Class of 2018
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16

The Center for Global Justice embodies this verse in every sense. I chose to be a part of what the Center was doing because I saw a group of people who were willing to sacrifice their time and energy for someone else. The staff members at CGJ are not only willing but honored to provide legal assistance to those in need of protection.

With briefs to write, oral arguments to prepare, and countless hours of reading, law school can get overwhelming. It’s easy to find yourself so absorbed in your work that you neglect what is going on around you. The Center pulls me away from myself for a moment and pushes me towards someone who needs my help. Everyone has something that they can offer to help another. The staff at CGJ offers their legal skills to help men, women, and children who are incapable of fighting for themselves. There are people everywhere in need of legal assistance, but there aren’t many people capable of providing it. From victims of human trafficking and land grabbing to issues of abortion and human sacrifice, the Center for Global Justice allows me and the rest of the student staff to use the skills that we are learning in the classroom to bring justice and peace to those that have none.

It’s a privilege to work alongside people who use what they have for good. As the verse says, God is pleased.

Learn more about the CGJ Student Staff >

Shannon Fields, '18