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Release: Oct. 29, 2001

UICHR appoints deputy director to head child labor research project

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) has appointed a deputy director, Chivy W. Sok, who will principally serve as the Project Director of a $900,000 UICHR Child Labor Research Initiative (CLRI) recently funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. UICHR Director Burns Weston, an emeritus professor of law, said Sok will bring experience working with human rights advocates from developing countries, especially those from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and an abundant energy and passion for social justice.

"Knowledgeable about human rights generally and especially interested in economic, social, and cultural rights in particular, Ms. Sok will bring to the UICHR and our wider university and civic communities a measure of intellect, contact, energy, passion, and grace that is, quite simply, stunning," Weston said.

Sok was the international programs coordinator, and later the program director of the Columbia University Center for the Study of Human Rights, the oldest university-based human rights program in the United States. While passionate about human rights and social justice in general, Sok has a particular interest in the intersection between business and human rights, especially in the areas of labor rights and the development of codes of conduct as they affect child labor initiatives.

"I look forward to working with Professor Weston, members of the Executive Council, and friends and NGO colleagues around the world to successfully accomplish our tasks on child labor research," Sok said. "I am certain that this project will contribute significantly to the global effort of finding viable solutions to the most abusive forms of child labor."

Sok has spent the last year with the Cambodian Association of Illinois in Chicago where she was in charge of raising national awareness of the effort to establish the Killing Fields Memorial and Cambodian American Heritage Museum. She and her immediate family members are survivors of the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields, which claimed almost two million lives between 1975-1979 under the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Because she survived a child labor camp, this project is particularly meaningful to her.

Sok holds a master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara.