William’s transformative human rights experience in Thailand

William's transformative human rights experience in Thailand

In 2010 a Bishop’s University graduate, with a strong belief in our University and a desire to help our most promising students achieve their full potential, made a gift commitment to establish the B.E.S.T. Project Fundthe premiere experiential learning opportunity at Bishop’s. This unique fund is intended to assist students to determine their career paths and realize their ambitions. The funds are awarded to students whom the Selection Committee believes have the potential for significant achievement and impact once they graduate from Bishop’s. B.E.S.T. 2017 recipient William Bryson took a keen interest in human rights when he participated in the Mae Sot Education Project during his time at Champlain College Lennoxville and at Bishop’s University. This volunteer project provides assistance to Burmese refugees and migrant children on the Thai-Burmese border. The Knowlton, Quebec native is set to graduate with a double major in International Business and International Studies in Winter 2018. We decided to catch up with the #Ubishops student as he is now four months into his internship as the research and documentation intern at the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP Burma) in Mae Sot, Thailand. 

“I am currently four months into the internship and have already learned a great deal about human rights in the context of Burma, and about the country’s political situation.Burma, also known as Myanmar, was ruled for more than five decades by successive military regimes until 2015 when a civilian government was elected. Despite recent political changes and the country’s supposed democratic transition, human rights abuses continue to committed around the country and many individuals are still being persecuted for political activities through the use of repressive legislation.

Many of my colleagues are former Burmese political prisoners themselves who spent years behind bars as activists, some experiencing imaginable horrors in the face tyranny. They are extremely driven, resilient and are truly inspiring as individuals. I admire their commitment to ensuring that no political prisoners remain behind bars in Burma very much.

Most of my time at work is spent preparing AAPP’s Monthly Chronology, a compilation of events and developments related to political prisoners, such as arrests, trials etc., as well as AAPP’s Month in Review, an analysis of the events in the month that occurred involving political prisoners.

My other regular tasks include using Twitter on a daily basis to share information about political prisoner and human rights issues, editing documents for external release, updating AAPP’s political prisoner database and creating advocacy content.

I have also been doing research and have written a report intended to persuade the Government of Burma to sign two core international human rights treaties, the United Nations Convention Against Torture UNCAT and the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR). As a result, I have been learning lots about international treaties, international law and their limitations as well as their potential.

As I had hoped, the internship is giving me valuable insight into what it is like to work for a human rights organization and what career opportunities are available to are those interested in human rights. It has strengthened by desire to pursue a career in human rights and international development and has helped me determine what to study next at the Master’s level.”

To learn more about AAPP or about the situation of human rights in Burma, check out aappb.org .
To learn more about the B.E.S.T. Project Fund, visit our website: http://www.ubishops.ca/future-current-students/money-matters/scholarships-awards-bursaries/b-e-s-t-project-fund/


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