29 May 2006
Chantal Beaubien has been a valued and important member of the Institute team. Starting out as a volunteer and intern, she quickly proved her abilities in social activism and advocacy. Her background as a McGill Law graduate; legal aid staffer and experience with the Centre for Rights and Democracy stood her in good stead. Though she finished her studies at the Barreau du Québec this year, she has decided to postpone the practice of law and has been accepted as a children’s rights advocate in one of the most dangerous places on earth. Cambodia. Chantal will be stationed in Phnom Penh and working for the international NGO LICADHO (the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights www.licadho.org)
Since 1992, LICADHO has been at the forefront of efforts to protect human rights in Cambodia and to promote respect for civil and political rights by the Cambodian government and institutions. Building on its past achievements, LICADHO continues to be an advocate for the people and a monitor of the government through wide-ranging human rights programs from its main office in Phnom Penh and 12 provincial offices. The program in which Chantal will be working is a joint project with the University of Victoria’s Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives.
LICADHO is funded by a wide range of donors, including Operation a Day's Work (Finland), Danchurch Aid, Diakonia, ICCO, Danida, German Agro Action, USAID/EWMI, the Embassies of Finland, Australia, Order of Malta and the Netherlands. However this funding is by no means sufficient and, as with most NGO’s, LICADHO suffers for it. Advocates like Chantal are given only small subventions for rent, food and basic transportation. That’s it.
In a part of the world as dangerous as Cambodia – truly a frontline for human rights advocacy – some personal emergency always arises and we are trying to help Chantal by raising$8,000 so that she can do her critical work unburdened by financial concerns. Her project is eight months long. That’s $1,000 a month for her to be able to protect and progress the lives of thousands of children at risk in that sad country.
I hope you will be as generous as possible, but at least consider support at the level of $500. All contributions should be by cheque and made out to the Institute. She’s leaving in a month to a place most of us would never dare to tread. She deserves our backing.