ECCHR mourns the loss of Simon Rau. Our colleague Simon had just recently turned thirty: far too young to die, and yet that is what happened. A few weeks ago, on a Tuesday morning in June. He was laid to rest on 5 July 2019 in Marburg, where he grew up. On 1 July 2019, friends and colleagues joined Simon's family in his adopted hometown of Berlin to mourn his death. Struggling to come to terms with what had happened, we were all at a loss.
Simon had so much he wanted to do, he always took on so much. He didn't like to have the brakes put on. He was eager to take on responsibility and then never shied from the task, even when, occasionally, it burdened him. Again and again he embraced new adventures: Turkey, Colombia, working on human rights violations against migrants on the Greek islands, the use of pesticides in Latin America or cases of murder by the Argentine military dictatorship. None of these were easy situations to deal with, but even when he found it difficult, he didn't avoid them, he wished to confront them.
With kindness, openness and empathy – that was how Simon met those he worked with, and the people he met on his travels.
May his all-too-premature death be a reminder to us to follow his example, to treat each other and all those we meet with same kindness, openness and empathy that Simon showed.
Our thoughts are in particular with Simon's mother, his family, and his close friends.
Simon Rau studied international relations in Dresden and Managua (Nicaragua). After obtaining an LL.M. in human rights law from the University of Nottingham (UK), he supported ECCHR as Legal Trainee and Personal Assistant to the General Secretary. As a Mercator Fellow, he then worked at Human Rights Watch on the right to education of refugee children in Turkey, Greece, Lebanon and Jordan, and for Judge Nußberger at the European Court of Human Rights. He was a Bertha Justice Fellow at ECCHR since the fall of 2017.