This past week CEELI hosted a group of Ukranian human rights lawyers for a weeklong seminar on international human rights standards. While most of the training was done in Ukranian, I was able to sit in on the talk with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an independent organization within the Organization of American States. The speaker spoke about the challenges that human rights defenders face throughout the Americas, as well as the best strategies and programs IACHR has implemented in the region. It was incredibly interesting to see the similarities between the human rights offenses in former-communist Central and Eastern European countries and the post-authoritarian countries of Latin and South America. Most relevant to me was the information about judicial independence, or lack thereof, throughout the Americas that causes serious roadblocks in implementing human rights reform through legislation or law enforcement. This mirrors the problems faced by the countries who have gone through judicial lustration, my main research focus of the summer.
Beyond the Ukranian human rights programming, I've continued working on my research and have helped edit and proofread some documents for my Czech-speaking coworkers. I've also compiled a database of emergency grants and programs for Russian lawyers, activists, and journalists who are at-risk of persecution for their human rights advocacy and work. It has been great to experience a wide variety of rule of law and human rights issues and the different kinds of work that remedy these problems.
In the office, my boss Chris, the Executive Director of CEELI, just returned from a short trip to DC. While he was there, he met with several offices and individuals to discuss CEELI's work and show the progress it has made throughout the world. He also met with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has expressed interest in CEELI's work and international law issues, which (needless to say) I thought was incredibly cool!
Outside of work, I discovered Petřín Hill, a park in the center of Prague. At the top of the hill there are beautiful sights, including an observation tower that is shaped like a mini-Eiffel Tower, a mirror maze, and a beautiful rose garden. To reach the top, you can take the furnicular or walk the trails. I chose to walk (which I severely regretted halfway up - worth it in the end, though) and saw some gorgeous views of the Prague cityscape. Below are some pictures I took of the rose garden.
This week I visited Mamacoffee, one of the largest independent roasters and cafe chains in Prague. I chose the main store in Old Town, but there are smaller Mamacoffees all over the city, including in my home district of Vinohrady! The coffee was wonderful - I was incredibly excited to find a great iced coffee, something I miss terribly while abroad. Mamacoffee also has a good lunch menu and a pretty view of the city center.