Sports, cake and human rights

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Brussels, 27 June 2013 – The Flemish Law students Societies (VRGs) of the universities of Ghent and Brussels have recently taken action in favour of Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF). Inspired by last year’s fundraising activities of their colleagues of the Catholic University of Leuven, the law students in Ghent and Brussels decided to support  ASF projects as well.

On the 24th of April 2013 the student societies of Ghent organised the traditional annual “12-hour marathon” at the Sint-Pieter Square in Ghent. This year, the VRG seized this opportunity to sell food and drinks in favour of ASF. A cake sale at the Law Faculty was organised as well.

“The VRG of Ghent had never organised something for a good cause. But when the idea of ASF was proposed, everyone was immediately enthusiastic”, says Alexander Vantyghem, in charge of Sports at the VRG. This became clear during the activities, especially the 12-hour marathon. “The law students are not known for their sportsmanship”, Alexander tells, “but this year there was a lot more goodwill than other years”. In the end, VRG ended as the sixth of the fourteen student associations, the highest score the association achieved in years.

Action to support ASF was also undertaken in Brussels.  The VRG Brussels donated the profits of its smoothie and cake sale entirely to ASF. “Many students hadn’t heard about ASF yet. But after they got some information, all reactions were positive”, says Justine De Plancke, active VRG member. In Ghent, Anke Ingels, in charge of Culture at the VRG, also noticed that many law students became acquainted with ASF during the activities: “Next year we should definitely pursue such actions, so that students get to know more about the problems that ASF treats”.

Both VRGs emphasized the importance of ASF. “Although the topic of human rights is present in the world news, there is very little attention to the practical enforceability in specific cases”, says Stijn Conickx, member of VRG Brussels. “Individual violations are still an underexposed theme. That’s why it’s important that ASF draws attention to these violations and fights against them. And of course, we want to contribute to this”.

The VRG actions have raised close to 1,000 euros. “We are very grateful because every euro counts”, says Gilles Van Moortel, in charge of fundraising at ASF. “Obviously, we are looking forward to new actions, and we are hoping that the French-speaking students will also be inspired to take such initiatives”.

Featured image: Jan Vanderstraeten, PR manager of VRG Ghent, runs at the 12-hour marathon. © H. Hongenaert