This spring, Professor Jonathan Todres taught students from the College of Law and the School of Public Health in the Global Perspectives on Children and the Law course on a weeklong study abroad trip to Costa Rica. The program, offered in partnership with the United Nations-mandated University for Peace and its Centre for Executive Education, focused on the interrelated and interdependent nature of children’s rights.
The week included a mixture of class time and site visits. Leaders from international organizations, government agencies and local NGOs presented on the status of children’s rights and well-being in Costa Rica and challenged students to consider issues of conservation, education and human rights from the perspectives of indigenous people.
Students visited an informal settlement of migrant families in San Jose and an indigenous territory in rural Costa Rica, seeing how law interacts with and affects the lived experience of diverse communities. The visits provided important insight into how health and human rights interventions can be adapted to be culturally respectful.
“Seeing firsthand some of the innovative ways in which Costa Rica has sought to ensure the rights and wellbeing of migrant and indigenous children prompts us to rethink what’s possible in the U.S.,” said Todres.
The students also visited the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, to learn about the children’s rights case law of the court.
“Whether it’s an international tribunal or a local community initiative, ultimately the law is about people,” said Todres. “This program offered students an opportunity to see how the law affects people, in both positive and negative ways, and how they can use children’s rights to help secure better outcomes for young people.”