One of the key components of the LLM is the two-week placement period towards the end of the first semester. Students have the opportunity to conduct a research project in partnership with an organisation engaged in human rights work.
Students have the choice to complete the placement period in York or Malaysia. I decided to remain in York and, with three colleagues from both the MA and LLM courses, undertook a project working with the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN). Our group’s task was to research good practices in the enablement of refugee leadership and participation across the Asia Pacific region. This research was designed to feed into APRRN’s ongoing submissions to current dialogues surrounding the Global Compact on Refugees. As a team, we worked primarily over Skype. We interviewed people involved with refugee projects in India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand. This was an invaluable opportunity to learn and practice some of the technical skills and competencies required for professional work in the human rights field with the supervision of the Centre’s academic staff.
The placement period is challenging, there is no doubt about that. However, the Centre for Applied Human Rights offers a strong support network to the students throughout placement process; opportunities to foster strong relationships with teammates, guidance from the project supervisors, and the preparatory Defending Human Rights module.
I cannot overstate the value of the placement; my experiences were immensely rewarding and incredibly interesting. Throughout the process, I have continued to expand my understanding of human rights practice in a wide variety of contexts. I thoroughly enjoyed the Defending Human Rights module and would recommend the course as a whole to anyone looking to study human rights in practical and applied manner.