International Human Rights Clinics

The Promise Institute supports three practice-based human rights clinics, including an international field experience: one supports UN monitoring and reporting on human rights situations around the world, one involves students in litigation, and one focuses on fieldwork and grassroots advocacy.


Human Rights Clinics at the Promise Institute

Hear from faculty and students and learn about the institute's pioneering clinical education.

International Human Rights Clinic

UCLA Law students

The International Human Rights Clinic requires students to navigate international human rights law theory and practice focused on the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, UCLA Law Professor E. Tendayi Achiume. Clinic students collaborate with international human rights organizations abroad and community-based groups in Los Angeles on policy and advocacy projects. Clinic students also participate in an intensive seminar, which provides the theoretical counterpart to their practical work, and through which they develop skills vital to social justice advocacy.

Human Rights Litigation Clinic

UCLA Law clinical students

The Human Rights Litigation Clinic taught by Catherine Sweetser focuses on mechanisms for human rights accountability in domestic courts. The course is designed as a mix of domestic rights work and international projects, with doctrinal teaching on some days, skills training on others, and project rounds (facilitated classroom conversations among clinic students where they discuss their project work, apply and test lawyering theory in the real world, and extract theory and practical ideas from their classmates' experiences).  These three methods will complement each other by giving the students a doctrinal background in human rights law; allowing students to apply that law in the context of clients and to examine how the current law does and does not obscure their clients' lived realities; and giving the students the chance to discuss with their colleagues innovative approaches to law. In Fall 2020, students worked on a Supreme Court case about child slavery (read more here); a federal case in the Central District of California advocating for the rights of unhoused people (read more here); and a state court case advocating for better conditions and depopulation of the Los Angeles County Jails due to COVID-19 (watch a video of testimony collected here).

Human Rights in Action Clinic – Human Rights in the Americas Projects

UCLA Law clinical students with faculty member Joseph Berra

The Human Rights in Action Clinic is a clinic developed by Joseph Berra, Human Rights in the Americas Project Director for the Promise Institute. Currently, the primary expression of the clinic is the J-Term International Field Experience in Honduras, a two-week immersion experience in the human rights movement in Honduras, including field work in support of one of our partner organizations. Past iterations of the Human Rights in Action Clinic have produced sustained relationships with organizational partners in Honduras and Los Angeles. 

Ongoing opportunities exist for advanced clinic work, independent study, and internship experiences through continuing projects with clinic partners and as part of Promise Institute’s Human Rights in the Americas Project.  

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