Friday, December 26, 2014

Human rights advocate speaks Sunday in Davis

From page A1 | October 26, 2012 |

The United Nations charter outlines a faith in fundamental human rights, and protecting each person in this regard is a constant struggle worldwide.

Ryan Kaminski, a 27-year-old Leo Nevas Human Rights Fellow for the United Nations Association of the United States, is traveling to Davis on Sunday to remind people of that. His appearance this weekend coincides with Wednesday’s 67th celebration of United Nations Day.

The discussion will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. at International House, Davis, 10 College Park. This event is free to the public, but donations will be accepted.

Besides the national and local chapters of the United Nations Association, Kaminski’s visit is sponsored by the Davis League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women.

Kaminski outlined an agenda of topics that will span several diverse international human rights issues:

“There are three areas I really want to cover during the talk: what’s happening in Syria right now, the issue of LGBT rights and LGBT people taking asylum, as well as the issue of refugees in Burma and Thailand,” he said.

Kaminski’s passion for human rights has a long history. He was at one time a Fulbright English teaching fellow at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, and was involved in Papua New Guinea’s mission to the United Nations.

He mentioned one experience in particular that awakened his interest — something that he is hoping to convey to Davis residents.

“It was a trip to Burma I took in the summer of 2006,” Kaminski said. “I got to visit refugees and see human rights on the ground level. I was able to interact with them. It was a life-changing experience.”

The local presentation, titled “Solutions For A More Welcoming World: Defending the Rights of Refugees Through the United Nations,” may not have the same transformative impact, but the human rights fellow is at least expecting attendees to come away more informed.

“I’m hoping to give people a better understanding of the role of the United Nations, and the multifaceted things it does for human rights,” Kaminski said. “Also, I want to highlight challenges that remain and things that we have to do to work together and ensure the rights of refugees.”

The recent events in Syria are especially important to the United Nations’ human rights mission at the moment, he added, as are the other relevant items that he plans to cover.

“These are issues that are very timely,” Kaminski said. “It’s in the news, and we’ve heard about these issues in the presidential debates. … This is happening now, and it’s important that people be aware of these critical issues as well as potential solutions to the problems.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @reporterbrett



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