Law intern working in India has book published about human rights violations he observedFebruary 19, 2013
Wayne State University Law School student Eric Shovein is now a published book author, and proceeds from his publication will help an international human rights and torture law organization.
“More than anything, I’m just happy to have helped the anti-torture movement in India, and I am extremely honored that along with others, a former judge from the high court came to the book release, as well as staff from the National Human Rights Commission,” said Shovein, who expects to graduate in 2014..
He worked in India from May to August 2012, through a Wayne Law International Public Interest Law Fellowship, with MASUM, a human rights and torture law organization. As a MASUM legal intern, Shovein spent two months last summer in a border area of West Bengal, India, and Bangladesh, observing the actions of India’s Border Security Force and interviewing victims of human rights violations by BSF personnel.
He wrote a report about his findings, which MASUM officials have published as a book titled “Killing Field.” The book was released Feb. 9 at the International Kolkata Book Fair, during which victims of trafficking and torture spoke. The program was telecast by national media in India, and attended by various officials, including Malay Sengupta, a former chief justice of the Sikkim High Court.
The International Public Interest Law Fellowships are sponsored by Wayne’s Program for International Legal Studies. Each year, it funds sending a group of law students to intern for legal advocacy organizations around the world. In addition to India, where Shovein and two other students worked last summer, the program has partnerships with organizations in Lebanon, Qatar, Kyrgystan, the Bahamas, Mexico, Thailand and elsewhere.
Human rights work is nothing new to Shovein, who was drawn to Wayne Law in the first place because of its Program for International Legal Studies, its emphasis on public service and the availability of the very fellowship he won, as did three other laws students last year.
“I don’t think students realize how valuable of an opportunity the IPILF is,” Shovein said. “I came to Wayne hoping to receive one, and hoping to do the Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic, and these two experiences have easily been the most valuable in my law school experience. “
“Eric’s amazing experience at MASUM is typical of the kind of work Wayne Law interns are given at our partner organizations,” said Professor Gregory Fox, director of the Program for International Legal Studies. “These are groups confronting profound problems such as human rights abuses, corruption and entrenched discrimination. The interns are given full responsibility in the groups’ struggles for law reform and equal access to justice.”
Shovein has been involved in public service since he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 2009. He spent a year with an AmeriCorps program in Lansing promoting the use of vacant lots owned by the Ingham County Land Bank as free community gardens, and helped find materials for the gardeners, with whom he worked throughout the year. After that, he taught English in an elementary school on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
He also has studied in France, and trained with the Peace Corps for two months in Cambodia. In April 2011, he returned to Michigan and started work with another AmeriCorps program called BrightStars in Detroit, where he helped young children prepare socially and academically to start school. He worked with both parents and children through BrightStars, and also worked with two friends with a Detroit urban farming project called Food Field.
His goal is to continue his public service after graduation, either working in immigration law or some other type of international human rights law, said Shovein, who grew up in Grosse Pointe Woods.
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