In reflecting on his participation in HRAP, Bakary Tandia writes, “Receiving the HRAP certificate from the Institute for the Study of Human Rights is a constant reminder that one must take more responsibility for human rights protection and demonstrate effective leadership in human rights promotion.”
Tandia co-founded The Abolition Institute, a human rights advocacy organization that focuses on slavery and human trafficking. Since its inception, the organization has developed strong working relationships and partnerships with organizations such as Rainbow Push Coalition and Anti-Slavery International, the oldest abolitionist organization in the world. With the support of U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin, Tandia reports that The Abolition Institute has successfully advocated for $3 million in new funding to create and expand anti-slavery programs in Mauritania and neighboring countries.
Since leaving HRAP, Tandia has continued working as both the Case Manager and Policy Advocate at the African Services Committee, an NGO dedicated to improving the health and self-sufficiency of the African community in New York City and beyond. As Case Manager, he provides assistance to African immigrants in accessing health and legal services. As a Policy Advocate, he works to raise awareness of public health and human rights issues in the African community through participating in advocacy and lobbying activities at city, state, and federal levels. He also represents the African Services Committee at the United Nations. He was among the 13 immigrant’s rights advocates arrested in an act of civil disobedience during a rally in September 2017 organized by the New York Immigration Coalition in protest against the current U.S. administration’s efforts to end the DACA immigrant amnesty program.
In summarizing the impact of HRAP on his current work at the African Services Committee, Tandia writes, “HRAP has assisted my work in human rights in many ways. It significantly increased my level of confidence when drafting press releases, media advisory, and petitions. In addition, the program broadened and strengthened my network.”
In 2012, he was awarded a fellowship that allowed him to attend the International Human Rights Colloquium organized by Conectas Human Rights in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This conference provided him with the opportunity to meet with human rights scholars and advocates from the Global South. He shared his valuable experience at HRAP with the conference participants and strongly encouraged them to apply for the program.
In collaboration with the Justice Initiative Program at Open Society Institute, he attended a conference on transitional justice in 2011. The conference attendees had a productive meeting in Nouakchott, Mauritania, with the representative of United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights. Besides these conferences, he has attended numerous meetings with various national human rights organizations to learn more about their perspectives on the human rights conditions in their home countries. In 2011, he was featured on The White House Blog for his work in advocating for immigrant’s rights.
Tandia is a graduate of the Global Master’s Program at The Fletcher School at Tufts University. He holds bachelor degrees in International Criminal Justice and Criminology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the City University of New York, and the University of Abidjan ( Côte d'Ivoire).
—Article composed by Allison Tamer, Program Assistant, April 2013
—Updated by Claire Kozik, Program Assistant, Summer 2018