The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

Congrats to our 2024 Graduates!

The 2023-2024 Managing Committee is grateful for our whole STANDfam and want to wish all of our graduates well as they move onto new journeys.  We want to say a proper farewell to our two graduating MC members, Anne-Sophie and Jerry!

Anne-Sophie Hellman (co-US Action Committee Lead, Genocide Education Lead), Buffalo State University

Anne-Sophie, it has been so wonderful to have you on the team this year!  You are such a kind, thoughtful, and intelligent person, and that is clear in everything you do — I know I can always count on you to give honest feedback when we have a discussion and the Zoom call would go silent otherwise.  I have learned so much from you and love getting to hear about all the interesting things you are doing at Buffalo State.  I’m going to miss you next year but am so excited to see what comes next for you.  Congratulations!! – Mira

Anne-Sophie, I’m so incredibly grateful to have had you as my co-lead for the USAC this year! Working with you has been such a pleasure, and I wouldn’t have rather done it with anyone else. From the beginning, I have always taken notice of how organized you are. You have always been on top of everything, continuing to be one step ahead when it comes to prioritizing any task. Any person who gets to work with you is automatically so lucky, as they will be able to experience how kind, funny, experienced, and hardworking you are right off the bat. I’m going to miss having planning meetings with you and coordinating tasks together, but I’m excited to see where the future takes you. Many many congratulations to you!! Wishing you the best :)) – Anika

Anne-Sophie, it has been incredible getting to work alongside you this year. I admire your compassion, intelligence, and dedication to making the world a better place. You are so knowledgeable about a wide range of topics, and all of the insight you provided on our MC calls opened the door for many important conversations. I feel beyond lucky that we got to work together on the Genocide Education Campaign, and I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate. My favorite memory was our lobbying call together (I still think it’s a STAND record for shortest one!!!), and getting the chance to chat for over an hour after the call ended. I’m so glad that I met you through STAND, and I know that this is just the beginning of your amazing journey. Congratulations on EVERYTHING, and know that I am so proud of you! – Claire


Anne-Sophie, thank you so much for all your dedication to STAND this year as our US AC Co-Lead and our State-Level Genocide Education Co-Lead! I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you and work with you. I am so proud of all your accomplishments, from STAND and our Genocide Education Campaign, to being a history major at Buffalo State University, to your work with the Anne Frank Project. I sincerely appreciate how on top of it you are with campaign planning and making sure the tasks for your roles are completed to the best of your abilities, as it made our lives so much easier! I have learned so much from you, and I could not have asked for a better partner. I know that you are going to go on to do some amazing things, and I will certainly be here to cheer you on. I am so proud of you, and I truly wish you the best with your future endeavors. Congratulations on your graduation! I will miss you, but I know that we will have the opportunity to work together again in the future! – Allison

Jerry Harris (co-Education Lead), George Mason University

Jerry, thank you so much for everything you have dedicated to STAND over the years! We literally would not have been able to do it without you. I especially appreciate you taking the initiative on conflict updates. I know it is always really hard to find writers, so I appreciate you and Grace working to make sure they get written on time. I have loved working with you and getting to know you for the past two years. Based on your checkins, I know that you have been doing some amazing things at George Mason, and I have no doubt that you will continue to do great things in the future. Congratulations on graduating, and I will miss you! – Allison

Jerry, you are one of the most genuine and sweetest people I have ever met. You are dedicated to STAND and you are always there for the MC members. There have been many times where you were the only one to show up at my meetings, and I am genuinely so thankful for that. You will continue to do amazing things, and I am so proud of you. Congratulations!! Celebrate yourself to the fullest ❤️ – Alishba

Grace: Jerry, you have been the best education co-lead I could have asked for! Every month without fail you’re writing great pieces, making vital edits, and keeping our little team running. Genuinely, I could not have done it without you! Also, your work at George Mason is always so interesting to hear about and I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next. Okayyy grad school slay! I just know you’re going out into the world to do great things. Your positive outlook and total dedication has always inspired me over the years I’ve known you! You always have a kind word to say and a fun story to share! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you over these last few years and I’m glad to call you my co-lead and friend :) – Grace

I could have not asked for a better lobbying partner and overall teammate! You have been so amazing throughout my time here. Your passion for education and atrocity prevention is so apparent and I am so blessed to have worked with you. It’s been a difficult year and you and Grace and have worked so incredibly hard and I’m so thankful for your leadership. You’ve been incredibly reliable and you’re one of the reasons why you made it all worth it. I’m so glad that we were teammates on the MC at the same time and I’m looking forward to all the amazing work you do in the future! Congratulations, good luck, and thank you for it all! – Seng Hkawn

Home Demolitions in Ethiopia Spark Outrage

Thousands of Ethiopians gathered in the Oromia region to protest a dramatic housing crisis at the end of February, when the government began to demolish thousands of “illegal” homes in Oromia, which surrounds the capital Addis Ababa. The government intended to tear down approximately 12,000 houses that were built on government land because they allegedly did not have building permits. The demolitions have already displaced about 1,000 people.

To address this displacement, the government has planned to allocate about 51,000 flats to residents to solve the shortage of housing. The apartments are located in the southern outskirt of Addis Ababa, in Koye Feche. This operated using a lottery, where the winners were required to register for housing. The different types of registration included a scheme called 20/80 and 40/60, where residents were asked to save 20% and the government would provide a loan to help with the 80%. This was also applied to those who could save 40%. Those who saved 100%, were allegedly told they were entitled to apartments, leaving many residents upset, especially those who were unable to save 20%. Victims of this lottery are mostly farmers, who are struggling to make ends meet and have a low chance of winning the lottery due to low income. Takele Uma, the mayor of the capital, stated that he sympathized with the pain of “those who have lost [their] farmlands in order to clean for the these housing projects”.

In the beginning of March, about 12,000 of the homes were allocated by the Addis Ababa administration. The Oromo people, the most populous ethnic group in Ethiopia, have claimed that the government is acting out of “jurisdiction” because they are not considering the local Oromia government. Many protesters are carrying banners saying “our land is our bones,” hoping to stop the housing allocations.

This forced displacement has impacted the lives of the Oromian Ethiopians, especially for those who cannot register for housing. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a reformist from the Oromia region, should address the concerns of his own people.  



aishaAisha Saleem is a member of the STAND Communications Task Force. She is a first year at Barnard College in New York and is passionate about human rights and interested in urban studies.

U.S. Interrogations in Yemeni Prisons

Content warning: the following piece contains graphic descriptions of torture

On February 13, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a War Powers Resolution that would require the U.S. to end military support to the Saudi-led war in Yemen. This is a historic step towards ending the crisis in Yemen, but in the short term, it will have little effect on mitigating the suffering of Yemeni prisoners.

Recent articles have reported on an “American presence” in Yemeni prisons, showing evidence of Americans playing an active role in leading interrogations. The Daily Beast describes one detainee, Salvatore, who admits that he was a member of Al-Qaeda 20 years ago. In the prison, Salvatore and other detainees were blindfolded during interrogations.

During the interrogations, Salvatore was questioned by two people, one who he describes as having an American accent and giving commands and the other, presumably an Emirati, who asked the questions. Salvatore recalls that John, the presumed American, would whisper something and the Emirati would then question him. Another detainee interviewed by The Daily Beast gave similar accounts—both describe seeing Americans in military uniforms with American flag insignia.

Both detainees also recall the brutal methods of torture, either following interrogations or on their own. Al-Hasani recalls being electrocuted under his armpits and genitals and intense beatings. Both also recalled that other prisoners were sexually assaulted with an object known as the “Opener.” Salvatore, while not subject to this specific method of torture, was threatened with rape after being stripped naked. In addition, a dog, nicknamed Shakira was also used for intimidation. Shakira was claimed to be the size of a donkey and al-Hasani claims that she had torn off the chest and stomach skin of another prisoner.

The Associated Press has also reported on an American presence at a secret prison at the Riyan airport. A former prisoner said that men in civilian clothes, who the Emirati claimed were Americans, would show up for interrogations. Emirati officials would ask questions and translate the answers to the Americans. Officials in the Yemen military also claimed that Americans were conducting interrogations at sea. The prisoners suffered similar methods of torture as Salvatore and al-Hasani: sexual assault and severe beatings.

The Pentagon released a report stating that military personnel has been in Yemen since May 2016 in order to interrogate members of Al-Qaeda, but deny the use of torture: “[The Department of Defense (DoD)]  has not developed any independent, credible information indicating that U.S. allies or partners have abused detainees in Yemen.” Meanwhile, Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White claims that DoD has “found no credible evidence to substantiate that the U.S. is participating in any abuse […] We would not turn a blind eye, because we are obligated to report any violations of human rights.”

Despite these protestations, the firsthand accounts should be investigated, and anyone found complicit in torture must face consequences. As Salvatore remarked upon his eventual release, “Why would they blindfold us? So that we wouldn’t say anything.”


aishaAisha Saleem is a member of the STAND Communications Task Force. She is a first year at Barnard College in New York and is passionate about human rights and interested in urban studies.