New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network

Putting Human Rights Education to Work – Sharon Fawcett, BA’12 at Child Labor Coalition

By: Kathleen McCann, BA’13 STU

Sharon Fawcett, BA’12, is writing, blogging, and researching to raise awareness about child labor issues as an intern for the Child Labor Coalition.

Fawcett wanted an internship opportunity that would combine her human rights major from STU and her current graduate studies in international development. The Child Labor Coalition was the perfect fit.

“I was excited about the opportunity this internship would give me to contribute to awareness-raising about the issue of child labor, and to the advocacy efforts that the CLC undertakes.”

The Child Labor Coalition (CLC) consists of over 20 groups committed to ending manipulative child labor and child trafficking. Some of the groups involved include Free the Slaves, Human Rights Watch, International Labor Rights Forum, World Vision, and UNICEF/USA.

Fawcett’s primary role at the CLC is to increase awareness surrounding child labor through blog posts, articles, and other web content based on her research.

But that’s not all.

“I also contribute to the CLC’s social media presence and have access to a number of events taking part in the field, for example the Organization of American States’ recent roundtable on domestic servitude, which I may be asked to report on,” she said.

For Fawcett, the best part of the internship is the opportunity to continue learning and her ability to share what she’s learned.

“The CLC internship gives me the opportunity to learn new things daily about the important issue of child labor, and to share this information with others,” she said.

“As a published author I also have a background in writing, and the internship allows me to use that skill to contribute to the promotion of children’s rights.”

A Human Rights Foundation at STU

Fawcett believes her education at St. Thomas allowed her to build a solid foundation in human rights, while developing her research and writing skills.

“The two years I spent working as project assistant and research assistant at STU’s Atlantic Human Rights Centre (AHRC) introduced me to the unseen day-to-day administrative work involved in operating an organization, like the CLC, that promotes human rights, as well as the process—and importance—of building relationships with stakeholders in the field.”

According to Fawcett, the Human Rights Programme at STU was pivotal in guiding her to where she is today. She said the programme taught her not only what human rights are, but why they are so unevenly respected, and inspired her to try and change that.

“The Human Rights Programme provided a solid grounding on the philosophy of human rights and the legal instruments and institutions that function to protect these rights,” she said.

“I was also given numerous opportunities to apply what I was learning to the human rights issues that most interested me.”

One of STU’s greatest attributes is its small class sizes, which allows professors to get to know their students. Fawcett said discussing issues with professors outside of the classroom was a valuable learning experience.

“Some of my best learning came through these informal conversations,” she said. “Because my professors knew me as a student and not a number, they have also provided me with other valuable opportunities such as publication in an academic journal, working as a research assistant, and working as an assistant with STU’s Harvard National Model United Nations team.”

In the future Fawcett plans to chase her goal of promoting human rights through whatever means necessary.

“Whether I am able to promote human rights through a career in research, writing, or advocacy; or by working for a governmental, non-governmental, or intergovernmental organization, in the field of international development or human rights, I am open to all of the possibilities, and excited to see what doors open for me in the future.”

To read Sharon’s latest blog, see “The Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (CARE Act) would help protect child farmworkers” at

For more information, see

Copyright 2013
A Ginger Design