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Women's Human Rights Speaker Series - Transforming Laws and Lives: 15 Years of Global Reform
Tuesday, April 08, 2008 12:00 PM


Briggs and Morgan, Professional Association and

The Advocates for Human Rights present


Women’s Human Rights Speaker Series


Transforming Laws and Lives: 15 Years of Global Reform


Mary Ellingen, Rosalyn Park and Cheryl Thomas

Women’s Human Rights Program, The Advocates for Human Rights


Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Briggs and Morgan, Minnesota Room

2200 IDS Center, 80 S. 8th St., Minneapolis

Application will be made for one CLE credit.


In February, 2008, one hundred representatives from 29 countries gathered in Sofia, Bulgaria for the Regional Conference on Domestic Violence Legal Reform, sponsored by The Advocates for Human Rights and the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation.  In all the countries represented, women’s advocates and government officials are working together on legal reform to better protect women from domestic violence and hold perpetrators accountable.  This presentation will explore the remarkable developments in recent years in these countries of the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe, and will outline the successes and challenges of creating, passing and implementing laws that uphold the basic human right of women to live free from violence in the home.


Mary Ellingen is a Staff Attorney with the Women’s Human Rights Program of The Advocates for Human Rights.  She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and was a long-time volunteer with the Women’s Program before joining the staff in 2006.  She has traveled to Poland, Tajikistan, Bulgaria and the Republic of Georgia with The Advocates and assisted in documenting and writing fact-finding reports for each country.  She was also one of the authors of The Government Response to Domestic Violence Against Refugee and Immigrant Women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Area: A Human Right Report, published by The Advocates in 2004.  She is admitted to practice in Minnesota.


Rosalyn Park is a Staff Attorney with the Women's Program and Special Projects at The Advocates for Human Rights. She received her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School and her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining The Advocates, Rosalyn interned with Anti-Slavery International in London as an Upper Midwest International Human Rights Fellow. She is admitted to practice in Minnesota.


Cheryl Thomas is an attorney and Director of the Women's Human Rights Program, a program she founded at The Advocates for Human Rights (formerly Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights) in 1993.  Since 1994, Ms. Thomas has traveled extensively throughout Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Latin America working with local groups and individuals to promote women's human rights.  In 1995, she led a Minnesota Advocates delegation of 20 legal professionals to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing China.  She has published numerous articles and reports on violence against women as a human rights abuse.  Ms. Thomas was honored as a 2005 Changemaker by Minnesota Women’s Press.  After receiving her law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1983, Ms. Thomas practiced law at the Minnesota Attorney General's office and was a partner at the law firm, Briggs and Morgan. She was an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School where she taught Women’s International Human Rights from 1996 – 2002.   From 1999 to 2001 she served as Executive Director of WATCH, a court monitoring organization focused on cases of violence against women and children.


Free and open to the public (REGISTRATION REQUIRED).  Please RSVP to Mary Hunt at mhunt@advrights.org or  612-341-3302, ext. 107 by Friday, April 4th.  Lunch will be provided for those who RSVP. 


This is one in a series of lunchtime speakers dedicated to improving awareness of women’s human rights issues.  Please join us the second Tuesday of alternating months for additional presentations.  For more information, contact Mary Hunt at The Advocates for Human Rights, mhunt@advrights.org or 612-341-3302, ext. 107, or see our website at www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org.