IHRC students Brendan Sweeney’18 (first from the right) and Arwa Al Ali’18 (fifth from the left) with members of the Greek Refugee Council in Athens in March 2017

Advocate for Human Rights around the World.

Work for global and regional human rights while representing non-governmental organizations and group clients from all parts of the world. Learn about treaties, policies, and other legal mechanisms for implementing and enforcing international human rights and humanitarian law.

In the International Human Rights Clinic, students:

  • represent international NGO’s, through research and advocacy, and drafting submissions to the UN Human Rights Council, the treaty bodies, and the regional human rights organs (in the American, African, and European human rights systems);
  • file briefs and amicus briefs on international human rights law issues in US domestic courts;
  • handle appeals in refugee and international human rights cases;
  • participate in universal jurisdiction claims in the US and other courts;
  • partner with the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR), in working on humanitarian cases.

Credits

The International Human Rights Clinic is a two-semester commitment. Students earn 6 graded credits for the clinic fieldwork that spans two semesters. Clinic students also take 2 seminar courses: International Human Rights (fall; 3 graded credits); and Int’l Human Rights Advocacy (spring; 3 graded credits).

Fall Classes

3 credits

THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the International and Human Rights Clinic. Students in the Clinic work on human rights projects such as: working with NGO's in advocacy in the UN human rights system or in regional organs (e.g. Inter-American and European human rights bodies); filing briefs on human rights law issues in US domestic courts; counseling individual clients with human rights claims and without recourse within a domestic jurisdiction. While the nature of the fieldwork varies from year to year, the clinic has previously partnered with domestic and international NGOs on the Guantanamo cases, habeas cases, and Alien Tort Claims Act cases; drafted submissions to UN treaty bodies; and worked on the health and human rights aspects of humanitarian crises. Students conduct legal and factual research, conduct outreach to partners and project strategy development, and may prepare amicus briefs on human rights issues and appeals in human rights cases. The clinic fieldwork may include international travel. In the fall, students attend a weekly course, arranged in accordance with the students' schedules, to gain a structured introduction to human rights practitioners' work. NOTE: The International Human Rights Clinic satisfies the Upper-class Professional Skills requirement and counts towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.

FALL 2017: LAW JD 975 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 6th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Wed 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Susan M. AkramYoana Kuzmova LAW 520
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 975 A1 , Jan 17th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Susan M. AkramYoana Kuzmova

3 credits

This is an introductory course to international human rights. The course will introduce students to the concepts of human rights, and the instruments that have codified and provided content to those concepts in the last sixty years. We will examine such questions as: Is there such a thing as human rights law? What standards, mechanisms, monitoring or enforcement machinery exists to make human rights concepts "legal"? Is there such a thing as universal consensus on human rights, or are the concepts relative from one region to the next? What, if any, constraints does human rights law place on the actions of sovereign states? How does the UN machinery operate in human rights law-making, monitoring and enforcement? What is the role of regional organizations, domestic courts and international entities in developing, promoting and implementing human rights norms? The course will take a contextualized approach using cases and current situations to address these questions primarily from a human rights perspective. LIMITED WRITING REQUIREMENT OPTION: A limited number of students may be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar, or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, will be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

FALL 2017: LAW JD 991 A1 , Sep 7th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Thu 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Susan M. Akram LAW 417

Spring Classes

3 credits

THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the International and Human Rights Clinic. This is the companion spring classroom component for students in the Clinic. The course focuses on further developing skills directly tied to students' ongoing fieldwork. Classes will cover: interviewing and counseling institutional (non-governmental organizations) clients; designing and implementing human rights field research; ethical pitfalls and professional 'best practices' in human rights collaborations with international networks; advocacy within the UN machinery; advocacy within selected regional human rights mechanisms; and in-depth research workshops using comparative and foreign human rights research problems. The classes will be a combination of readings and discussion; simulations; student presentations; short papers and case rounds to discuss project work; and group and individual feedback on project development. NOTE: The International Human Rights Clinic satisfies the Upper-class Professional Skills requirement and counts towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.

SPRG 2018: LAW JD 843 A1 , Jan 17th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Wed 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Susan M. AkramYoana Kuzmova LAW 518

3 credits

THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the International and Human Rights Clinic. Students in the Clinic work on human rights projects such as: working with NGO's in advocacy in the UN human rights system or in regional organs (e.g. Inter-American and European human rights bodies); filing briefs on human rights law issues in US domestic courts; counseling individual clients with human rights claims and without recourse within a domestic jurisdiction. While the nature of the fieldwork varies from year to year, the clinic has previously partnered with domestic and international NGOs on the Guantanamo cases, habeas cases, and Alien Tort Claims Act cases; drafted submissions to UN treaty bodies; and worked on the health and human rights aspects of humanitarian crises. Students conduct legal and factual research, conduct outreach to partners and project strategy development, and may prepare amicus briefs on human rights issues and appeals in human rights cases. The clinic fieldwork may include international travel. In the fall, students attend a weekly course, arranged in accordance with the students' schedules, to gain a structured introduction to human rights practitioners' work. NOTE: The International Human Rights Clinic satisfies the Upper-class Professional Skills requirement and counts towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.

FALL 2017: LAW JD 975 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 6th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Wed 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Susan M. AkramYoana Kuzmova LAW 520
SPRG 2018: LAW JD 975 A1 , Jan 17th to Apr 25th 2018
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD 3 Susan M. AkramYoana Kuzmova

Faculty

The clinic fieldwork is supervised by Professor Susan Akram. Professor Akram also teaches the two required seminar classes.

Clinic Projects

International Human Rights Clinic students have worked with civil society organizations on issues spanning the globe. Watch videos of past Clinic projects in Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.

Support our work!

Supporting the International Human Rights Clinic has an immediate impact on our students and on the vulnerable communities they represent. Even a small gift can make an enormous difference. To support the Program, click here and write “International Human Rights Clinic” in the “Other” field.

For more information about giving, please contact Zachary Dubin, Assistant Dean for Development & Alumni Relations.

Watch the videos: