AHRC Internship - a report

A Report on a month long Internship training at AHRC, Hong Kong
9 September to 7 October 2011

Internship at Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong was a great experience along with the people from different Asian Countries.  This one month long internship from 9th September to 7th October 2011 at AHRC made me to understand the AHRC’s approach to urgent appeal and share information by using modern communication devices.    

The first two days of my stay at AHRC was to understand the functions of AHRC.  Mr. Basil Fernando, Director, Policy and Programme Development has briefed about the Organisation and its objectives and also advised me to prioritize the issues that Vigil India could deal with and to create awareness through the modern communication devices, particularly through the Vigil India web site. 

Mr. Bijo Francis, Programme Officer, South Asia Desk explained about the functions and approaches of AHRC towards the issues concerns and also elaborated how the AHRC is processing and forwarding urgent action appeal on torture, violence, discrimination and starvation etc.    Mr. Basil Fernando and Mr. Bijo Francis have given enough time to observe and learn from the AHRC staff. 

The first two weeks, I was working with Mr. Nilantha Illangamuwa, Communication Officer to develop and to update the website for Vigil India.  Mr. Nilantha has taught me to create and to update website with minimum expenditure under the user friendly Google platform.   He also explained that the blogs designed by the Google group is more users friendly and it provides the consumer to use more free space.  Organizations like us are generally using blogs to create their own website.

With the guidance of Mr. Nilantha, a new website www.vigilindia.info was created.   Mr. Basil Fernando contributed US $ 10.oo for the domain name registration, when he was with us in our office during his last visit in July 2011.  From the second year onwards, we need to renew the domain name and we can use maximum space.  There is no additional fee for web space and web hosting for our new web site. 

The next two weeks, I have enough chance to interact with the other staff at AHRC to observe and learn the AHRC approach to urgent action appeals.   At the same time I was given an opportunity to participate along with the other interns in a three day Asia level training programme on Torture organized by AHRC.  Delegates from Asian countries India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor, Cambodia, Afghanistan and Russia participated in the programme and they have presented their country reports on torture and violence and also shared their experience to promote human rights culture among the people by using all the available communication methods.  After this training, I realized that sharing of information is one of the significant ways to break the mindset of people to empower themselves to strive for their rights.

Initially, I was given 15 days internship at AHRC.  Mr. Basil Fernando with the consent of Dr. Mathews George Chunakara graciously extended for another 15 days, which has given me enough time to interact with AHRC staff and also a chance to participate in the training programme.  While concluding the internship, Mr. Basil Fernando advised me to make use of the AHRC experience at Vigil India and to utilize the resources available to promote human rights.   

I am very thankful to Mr. Basil Fernando, Mr. Bijo Francis, Mr. Nilantha and the other AHRC staff for their guidance and support during my stay at AHRC, Hong Kong, especially I am very grateful to Mrs. Basil Fernando for her warm and kind hospitality at her residence. 

Finally, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Board of Trustees of VIM for providing me this memorable opportunity at AHRC.   

I do hope that I could make use of the AHRC experience both professionally and personally.

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