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Intern Update: Jessica Rigsbee

The Atmosphere Surrounding Current Human Rights Issues in Europe

Human rights issues in Europe are complex and constantly changing, which is what drew me to the internship with the European Center for Law & Justice (ECLJ) in the first place. Having visited Europe a couple of times before law school, I always admired the diversity of people and cultures that are unique to the region.

These diversities also present unique challenges for Europe’s governing bodies to address, with many conflicting viewpoints and cultures on top of the wide range of controversial issues presented today. Working with the ECLJ has opened my eyes to the current and complex issues Europe is facing today, particularly those of religious freedom for Christians and dignity of the person in relation to euthanasia, abortion, and surrogacy.

The ECLJ’s Work

The ECLJ currently is working on preventing euthanasia, abortions (including late-term abortions in which the baby is born alive), and surrogacy (in which the baby is sold to foreign couples). It is also advocating for the right to conscientious objection for doctors and medical staff opposed to abortions.

The primary way in which the ECLJ advocates on this issue is by submitting petitions, which are similar to legal briefs, and can be made in both written and oral form, to various European Institutions that are charged with resolving these issues.

The ECLJ is one of very few groups advocating for the dignity of the person as well as religious freedom for Christians, such as those forced to perform abortions, in an increasingly individualistic and humanistic view of human rights in Europe. Therefore, these petitions and the research that the ECLJ does to inform the European Court of Human Rights, Parliamentary Assembly, The Council of Europe, etc. is vital for the prevention of these injustices occurring in Europe today.

It has been a wonderful learning experience for me to see how the ECLJ office operates and practically how Christian lawyers in Europe advocate for human rights issues. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be immersed in and learn about these current issues, which has been an invaluable experience and has confirmed the calling that the Lord has placed on my life to use law as a means to further His kingdom.