Oct 18 - Sep 18, 2013
1:00pm - 2:00pm    |    WILF Hall 5th Floor conference room, 139 MacDougal Street, New York, New York

About the Event:

CHRGJ and LSHR are pleased to welcome Rachel Wahl as a speaker in its “Human Rights Defenders Lunch Series”. Wahl—who recently completed her dissertation based on research she did on state violence in India—will be reflecting on strategies human rights activists can employ to prevent torture by police and security forces.

Activists typically aim to change state actors’ attitudes toward human rights as well as alter their behavior. Interviews with police and military officers in India, however, indicate that a tension exists between these goals. While police and military officers may restrain their behavior to avoid repercussions from the human rights community, their attitudes do not necessarily change and such repercussions stoke their resentment of activists and their messages. This talk examines police and military officers’ beliefs about torture, the meaning of these beliefs for how they respond to activism, and how activists can address the challenges of working with state actors.

Key Questions:

How do police and military officers respond to human rights activism regarding torture?

What beliefs inform their responses?

What are the key challenges for activists in their efforts to influence the police and military?

Based on knowledge of how police and military officers view torture and respond to activism, what strategies can activists employ to address these challenges? 

About the Speaker:

Rachel Wahl is a Research Scientist at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University and a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. In September 2013, she defended her dissertation on the ways in which law enforcement officers in India respond to human rights advocacy and education related to state violence (Program in International Education, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, New York University). This research was based on her twelve months of fieldwork in India, for which she was awarded the David L. Boren National Security Education Program Fellowship. Rachel has presented her research at conferences in political science, international education, and human rights, and published her work in journals such as the Oxford Journal of Human Rights Practice. She has also served as a consultant to USAID and the Norwegian Organization for International Development (NORAD) under the supervision of Professor Dana Burde. Prior to beginning her Ph.D., she designed education programs for NGOs in New York, China and Peru.

RSVP required. Please email Audrey Watne at watnea@exchange.law.nyu.edu Lunch will be served.

Download the event flyer [PDF].


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