LAW 717

International Human Rights Clinic

Human Rights, International Law, Public Interest Law

The International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) requires students to navigate international human rights legal theory and practice in the service of real clients and partners.  It has two components: clinical projects and a seminar. In groups, students collaborate with leading human rights organizations and advocates on a variety of projects, to advance these partners’ legal, policy and advocacy goals. By doing so, students gain firsthand experience with international human rights lawyering and develop important skills for this practice, and for public interest-oriented lawyering more broadly. In the seminar, students interact with experts and advocates from a wide range of human rights organizations.

In the past, IHRC students have worked on projects including the first thematic hearing on race and migration brought at the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights; support for an expert convening of UN Special Rapporteurs and other Special Procedures, Inter-American Commissioners, and civil society experts on climate justice and reparations; regional human rights litigation and other engagements with the Inter-American system; and provision of legal support for Indigenous peoples’ policy and litigation projects in the United States and Latin America. Past domestic projects have largely focused on advancing human rights compliance and legal and policy reform in Los Angeles, including in partnership with immigrants’ rights advocates, and with formerly and currently incarcerated women and youth. In addition, during Professor E. Tendayi Achiume's mandate as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (2017-2022), IHRC students provided legal support to this mandate, including cutting-edge legal and policy research, drafting, oral advocacy, and travel to the United Nations.The IHRC seminar provides the theoretical counterpart to students’ practical work. Through several modules, this seminar maps the field of international human rights advocacy; introduces students to some of the most contentious debates surrounding the theory and practice of international human rights law; provides students with the tools they will need to identify and address ethical concerns in the practice of international human rights law; and sharpens lawyering skills relevant to their clinic projects. In addition to the seminar, students are required to set aside additional time each week for casework, which may include client meetings and site visits.

A demonstrated background in international human rights is required.


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