The Promise Institute supports two practice-based human rights clinics and 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.
International Human Rights Clinic
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
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: J-term Field Experience
The Human Rights in Action: J-term Field Experience taught by Joseph Berra provides students with a critical understanding of human rights as a dynamic and contested field of law and social action, both locally and internationally. This experiential course prioritizes work with Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities in Honduras, building on sustained relationships with the Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH), the Organización Fraternal Negra de Honduras (OFRANEH), the Movimiento Amplio de Dignidad y Justicia (MADJ) and the human rights division of the Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación (ERIC), through a J-Term International Human Rights Field Experience in Honduras.