AHRC Internship Program Promotes Human
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF) continued
its sponsorship of the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC) 2008
summer and semestral break internships. This year more law schools,
particularly from Mindanao, joined the AHRC program. In fact 22
new interns completed the semestral break program, making their
group one of the biggest internship batches.
This year the interns immersed themselves with the indigenous
communities in Luzon. They gave talks on the Indigenous Peoples
Rights Act and conducted paralegal trainings. Both batches however
had very different experiences. The summer batch stayed with the
Kankanauis of Bakun, Benguet; the first indigenous cultural
community to receive a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT).
The CADT gives them full property rights over their ancestral
lands. On the other hand, semestral break interns were
with the Buhid Mangyans in Bulalacao-Banti, Oriental Mindoro.
The Buhid Mangyans are still fighting for their property rights.
The summer interns noted that since the Kankanauis now hold
titles to their land
, commerce has flourished
During the paralegal sessions, the members of the community preferred
to discuss laws about business
and family relations. However,
the semestral break interns realized that for communities
without CADTs, physical safety and land issues continue to be a
. This is an indicator that the CADT instrument
has great potential and should be implemented more widely.
The AHRC Internship Program is designed to expose law
students and graduates to the plight of vulnerable sectors of
society and to provide training
on human rights advocacy or alternative lawyering. It
is undertaken to strengthen access to justice
of vulnerable groups through the formation of alternative lawyers.
“The formation of alternative lawyers is jumpstarted by
the internship program and sustained by projects such
as the legal aid, paralegal trainings and research that
they get to do throughout the school year,” said Attorney
Lovely-Ann Carlos, AHRC internship director.