In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words is a regular feature profiling HRI staff and volunteers who describe, in their own words, their experiences working in the field of human rights.

Christine Mansour, Legal Director

Describe what you do at HRI.
I am the Legal Director.  I supervise our Legal Team and I’m responsible for making sure that all of our clients get the best legal representation possible.  Sometimes I am very involved in cases, especially those that are in court, but often I am simply a resource for our excellent Asylum and Women and Children’s Program attorneys.  I am also in charge of the few appeals that HRI handles every year, and I’m responsible for our Advocacy Program, which tries to research  and educate others on issues that affect not just our clients, but our client base (immigrants who have been abused or persecuted).   On a broader level, I work to improve all aspects of the services HRI provides to clients and to help the agency plan for the future.

When did you join HRI?
April 2008

How did you first become interested in human rights issues?
I have been interested in women’s issues for as long as I can remember.  As I grew up, I became more interested in the world outside my town, and in the terrible things I was hearing about on the news.  I went to law school because I wanted to find a way to use my intellectual skills to help people, with a focus on women, children, and international human rights.  After many years in private practice, I got my dream job working for HRI — an organization that focuses on the very things I’ve cared about for so long.

What do you think is the most pressing human rights issue facing the world today?
There are so many – from how the United States should engage countries it knows don’t respect human rights to the best way to help other countries fix their own problems and guarantee basic rights it their citizens.  However, for me the most pressing human rights issue is the abominable way that women are still treated worldwide – including here in the United States, where rape and domestic violence are still way too prevalent, and where many women and girls are hit and abused by those who supposedly love them.  If a country is abusing human rights, you can bet that women are bearing the brunt of the problem.  So many of our clients have been victims of sexual abuse that they are almost numb to the problem.  At another level, women still do not receive equal education, opportunity or pay.  The world will be a much better place to live when women are allowed to be free from abuse, and free to pursue their dreams.

What’s the story behind the picture you chose of yourself?
This is a picture of my family, the loves of my life.  My husband John and I want them to grow up in a better world than the one we have now, and that’s why I do this job.

What do you think? Have your say in the comments!

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