Spending a week with René Cassin

Posted on Wednesday, July 13th, 2022

By Jessica Saipe

I have always been intrigued in contributing to help with many of the unfortunate crises currently happening in the world yet have felt that there have not been many opportunities to make a difference. Working with René Cassin has allowed me to make the contribution I have always yearned to. While only partaking in work experience for one week, I have learnt incredible amounts about the state of human rights today and what we can do as individuals to help. I have found my week deeply inspiring and enjoyable to work with others to improve unfortunate situations.

One of René Cassin’s campaigns is the Right to Food campaign. This covers the topic of food poverty across the UK, which many are effected by. I was very saddened by reading the cases and testimonies of many individuals in the UK who are forced to rely on food banks. But, by conveying my own research on various charities and campaigns, it has provided René Cassin to create a campaign of testimonies to create an effect which will help make a change.

Later in the week, I attended a commemorative event in parliament square to mark the anniversary of the 2009 Urumqi Massacre of the Uyghur people. Learning the context of the event beforehand gave me a wider insight to the issue, having had little knowledge before that about the persecution of Uyghurs in China. I found the event very powerful to be a part of. I was glad to have seen people such as Lord Alton of Cornwall and Philip Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro, make very meaningful speeches.

I was also lucky enough attend another event at the House of Lords: ‘Implementing the Duty to Prevent Genocide: Global Approaches’. I felt so privileged to be in the presence of some very noble people such as Baroness Helena Kennedy and hear her talk about such a serious case. I felt so lucky to have been given the opportunity by René Cassin to attend such an important event and learnt so much.

One of the assignments that I partook in was creating a pledge for the headteacher of my school to sign to have a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment towards girls in school, as a part of René Cassin’s women’s rights campaign. I already felt strongly towards women’s rights, as a girl myself, so knowing that this pledge could make a difference to my school is very significant to me.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with working at René Cassin and it was a very memorable experience due to how inspired I am by the amount I have learnt this week, as well as the inspiring people I am so glad to have worked with. My highlight of the week was attending the event of Implementing the Duty to Prevent Genocide, as I have never been as fortunate to attend such an important event and have taken so much back from it.