The students who participate in HRSP, called Cowan Fellows, journey abroad to study human rights issues in foreign countries. Now in its eighth year, HRSP has sent past members to Cuba, China, Sierra Leone, Syria and Lebanon, India, Uganda and Cambodia. The final results of their work are compiled into research papers that may be submitted for publication. This year’s team traveled to Egypt for three weeks in late December and January, where they studied issues ranging from the right to water to corruption. With a population of 80 million people, Egypt is the largest Arab nation. In some ways, the fellows said, Egypt serves as a model for other Arab countries, which makes examining how they handle human rights all the more important.
The report, posted in May 2010, covered the various human rights issues examined during the group's visit to Egypt last spring. The report also comments on Daniel Perell's work, who was then a third year law student, and who was one of the project's participants that examined the status of the Baha'is of Egypt. It writes:
Third-year law student Daniel Perell examined the rights of Bahai residents of Egypt. People of the Bahai faith prospered in Egypt until 1960, when the government dissolved the religion’s institutions in the nation.
Bahais were not allowed to carry national identification cards, which give citizens access to health care, the right to marriage and even bank accounts. Only three religions were allowed to be listed on the card — Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
In 2006, the Bahais took the matter to the courts, which ruled in 2009 that citizens could have a dash on the card where the religious affiliation was listed.
“This ruling in favor of the Bahais will not only permit them to start their lives, but it will also contribute to the betterment of Egypt as a whole,” Perell said.
Consequent to his work in Egypt, Daniel Perell submitted an elaborate 58 page scholarly article titled, "The Baha'is in Egypt Fighting for their Identity."
This article will be the subject of next post....