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International Human Rights Day Spotlight: Jonathan Derby (JD '04)

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It beautifully emphasizes each person's inherent dignity, value and worth, regardless their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, political position or status in society. The law and justice systems should protect these rights and promote health and wellbeing for ourselves and within our families and communities.

Pepperdine Caruso Law alumnus Jonathan Derby (JD '04) says that his work in India helped him appreciate why nations must protect individual rights and freedoms. After graduating from Caruso School of Law, he joined International Justice Mission (IJM) in Mumbai, which combats sex trafficking and forced prostitution. Jonathan distinctly recalls a brothel raid that police, with support from the IJM team, conducted in a Mumbai red light district. "The police rescued five young woman who literally had been imprisoned in the brothel for years. The justice system worked to give these young women freedom and a chance to know their inherent dignity and beauty."

After IJM, Jonathan started Counsel to Secure Justice (CSJ) in New Delhi—an organization that provides legal and psychosocial support to children who suffered sexual harm. He notes "that crime is relational—it harms individuals and tears apart families and communities. From this perspective, justice and accountability is more than punishment. It requires a relational response, grounded in the community, that repairs harm and meets victim needs arising from crime." Jonathan is now working in the United States to work in restorative justice and credits the impact of the relationships he made at Pepperdine in his continuing mission.

"Pepperdine's influence is woven throughout my unfolding journey. While my law school education was formative and prepared me to live out my calling, the relationships I made impacted me most. Professor Robert Cochran is a mentor and friend who served as a Founding Director for CSJ. Professor Jeff Baker also served on CSJ's Board and provided wise counsel. CSJ has collaborated with Pepperdine Caruso Law students on remote clinical projects and hosted students as summer interns and during Spring break trips in India."

The Caruso School of Law community celebrates International Human Rights Day and encourages all members to recognize the inherent dignity found in each person, today and every day.