Posted: March 3rd, 2017 | By: Natalie Wilson
Audrey Koncsol (JD ’18), a summer and academic year research assistant to Professor John Knox, is traveling with him to Geneva, Switzerland, to attend the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council at the Palais de Nations, headquarters of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“I’m going because this is exactly what I want to do with my life,” Koncsol said in an interview before leaving for the trip over spring break. “I’m going to be there to see the product of what I’ve been helping Professor Knox with, as auxiliary support in case he needs anything, and to see how these meetings work. I’m really excited about it.”
During the summer, Koncsol looked at all constitutions that have been updated to include citizens’ rights to a healthy environment and researched cases where citizens successfully sued their governments to establish these rights. Her research will be a part of Professor Knox’s presentation in Geneva.
Professor Knox, United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, also has taught a practicum extension course that allows students to aid his work under the United Nations Mandate. Knox was appointed as the first Independent Expert on human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in August 2012. His mandate was further extended in March 2015 for another three years as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment.
After graduating, Koncsol said that she hopes to continue to pursue her interest in the intersection of environmental concerns and human rights and that she has been looking into working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“For the most part, I really just want to help as many people as possible and I feel like international human rights is the best way to do that,” she added.