Nuria Ferré testimony, Law student and Human Rights researcher

I studied Law and Business Management at ICADE, graduating in 2014. Afterwards I studied a Master on Acceding the Legal Profession, which I was able to coordinate with a Master in Migration, both at the Pontificia Comillas University.

I could divide my university years into two different moments. On the one hand, all that associated with the degree, what I learnt during the classes, work, exams, etc. and on the other hand, the activities that I did in my free time and that complemented my academic training.

I would like to start with the latter. They are activities that entailed the involvement in projects which brought me closer to the realities of social exclusion. I started in a Project whereby I accompanied the homeless, where we tried to establish a link with them by means of conversation, using the excuse of giving them a sandwich and a coffee. They are projects that change you somewhat, you starting seeing reality in a different way, those people in which you never bothered with before start becoming visible. Probably, summer experiences in developing countries like India and Cameroon also marked me: a shock with the reality of poverty in the third world. Undoubtedly these experiences of direct contact with different people, make you see the reality with different eyes, and made me ask myself how I could contribute with something more.

They often say that to accompany situations of people’s suffering, pain and injustice it is sufficient to listen and be there, but in my case, and with my studies and the skills that I acquired during my years of studying, I realised that I could do a lot more using the professional choices that I would be making. I could contribute something different from Law with the object of trying to relieve all those unfair situations. That is how I decided to link Migrations and Law and later I had the opportunity to carry out work on human rights in Melilla.

At the border, I learnt that some things which seemed to me to be insignificant could be a great help for others that have difficulties gaining access to their rights. To mention an example: a Syrian family, who had fallen into the hands of the mafias, was forced to let their seven year old daughter cross the border alone (with all the dangers that it implies). As the daughter came to Spain alone, the family was obliged to live in Spanish territory separately (the girl in a reception centre for minors, the parents in a temporary stay centre) in spite of proving they were her parents. By simply giving legal aid at the relevant authorities, you can achieve that the family can be reunited again. Or explain the rights and options that a Sub-Saharan immigrant has to appeal, enables him to exercise his right to ask for asylum and not be deported, therefore being able to continue with his project. They are small things but of great importance to all those people in a situation of social exclusion and to those who we very often do not even look at on the street.

The question I asked myself was what could I contribute, from my specific circumstance and profession, that is different and that could help an excluded person to be treated more fairly and with more dignity? From that point to see how, little by little, everyone contributes to a social justice, because each one from where we are, whether it be a large firm, company, or public body, can contribute something different to ensure the compliance of human rights.

Nuria Ferré, September 2016.