Remembering the Life of Human Rights Activist from the DRC

Friday, February 16, 2024

The Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) and the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law welcomed Bukeni Waruzi (left), the executive director of Free the Slaves, who gave the inaugural Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP) Memorial Lecture. Nearly 50 Columbia faculty, staff, students and members of the human rights community in NYC gathered on Thursday, February 15th, to honor the life and activism of Raoul Kitungano who attended the 2016 HRAP at ISHR. In his opening remarks, ISHR director Joseph Slaughter said: “At ISHR for the past 35 years, we have had the honor to host advocates working at great risk to themselves. One such person is Raoul Kitungano who advocated at Justice for All for the rights of those impacted by mining corporations and other extractive industries in the DRC.” An expert on children affected by armed conflict, modern slavery, human rights and international criminal justice, Bukeni spoke about Raoul’s mastery of the human rights situation in the DRC as well as Raoul’s willingness to work at great risk to himself in order to improve the lives of people throughout the country. Since 1989, ISHR has been building the capacity of frontline human rights advocates through HRAP, an annual program of academic coursework, networking, skill-based workshops and mentoring. More than 350 advocates in nearly 100 countries have attended HRAP.