Susan M. Akram

Clinical Professor of Law

BA with honors, University of Michigan Ann Arbor
JD, Georgetown University
Diplome in International Human Rights,
Institut International des Droits de l’Homme, Strasbourg (France)

Areas of Interest
Immigration Law & Policy, International & Comparative Law
Contact
Biography

Professor Susan Akram directs BU Law’s International Human Rights Clinic, in which she supervises students engaged in international advocacy in domestic, international, regional, and UN fora. Her research and publications focus on immigration, asylum, refugee, forced migration, and human and civil rights issues, with an interest in the Middle East, the Arab, and Muslim world.

Akram’s distinguished research was recognized with a Fulbright Senior Scholar Teaching and Research Award for the 1999–2000 academic year. She has lectured on Palestinian refugees to general audiences around the world as well as to committees of the United Nations (including the High Commission for Refugees and the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees), the European Union, and representatives of European and Canadian government ministries and parliaments. Since September 11, 2001, she has presented widely on the USA Patriot Act and immigration-related laws and policies as well as on her work challenging standard interpretations of women’s asylum claims from the Arab/Muslim world.

With her clinic students as well as in collaboration with other legal organizations, Akram has worked on resettlement and refugee claims of Guantanamo detainees, and has been co-counsel on a number of high profile cases, including the 20+-year litigation of a case of first impression on the interpretation of one of the exclusion bars to asylum, In Re A-H-. She has taught at the American University in Cairo, Egypt and at Al-Quds and Birzeit Universities in Palestine. She regularly teaches in the summer institute on forced migration at the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University, and in various venues in the Middle East on refugee law.

Publications
  1. Susan Akram, "Operation Protective Edge and Why Getting the Law Right Matters," in Symposium Abandoned Yet Central: Gaza and the Resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Journal of Palestine Studies (forthcoming).
    Publisher
  2. Susan Akram et al., " Protecting Syrian Refugees: Laws, Policies, and Global Responsibility Sharing," 7 Middle East Law and Governance 287 (2015).
  3. Susan Akram, "Self-Determination, Statehood, and the Refugee Question under International Law in Namibia, Palestine, Western Sahara, and Tibet," in Still Waiting for Tomorrow: The Law and Politics of Unresolved Refugee Crises 75, Susan Akram & Tom Syring, eds., Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2014). Publisher
  4. Still Waiting for Tomorrow: The Law and Politics of Unresolved Refugee Crises, Susan Akram & Tom Syring, eds., Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2014).
    Publisher
  5. Susan Akram, "UNRWA and Palestinian Refugees," in The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies 227, Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Gil Loescher, Katy Long & Nando Sigona, eds., Oxford University Press (2014).
  6. Susan Akram, "Millennium Development Goals and the Protection of Displaced and Refugee Women and Girls," in Symposium Migration and Human Rights, 2013 Laws 283 (2013).
    SSRN | Publisher
  7. Susan Akram, "Arab-Israeli Conflict," in Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Rudiger Wolfrum, ed., Oxford University Press, 499 (2012).
    Publisher
  8. Susan Akram, "Do Constitutions Make a Difference in the Protection of Fundamental Human Rights? Comparing the United States and Israel," in The Dynamics of Constitutionalism in the Age of Globalisation 89, Morly Frishman & Sam Muller, eds., Hague Academic Press (2010). SSRN
  9. International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Rights-Based Approach to Middle East Peace, Susan Akram, Michael Lynk, Iain Scobbie & Michael Dumper, eds., Routledge Publishers (2010).
    Publisher
  10. Susan Akram, "Refugees and the Right of Return," in Encyclopedia of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Cheryl Rubenberg, ed., Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1233 (2010).
  11. Susan Akram, "Myths and Realities of the Palestinian Refugee Problem: Reframing the Right of Return," in Symposium Commemorating the Naksa, Evoking the Nakba, 8 MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies 183 (2008).
    SSRN
  12. Susan Akram, "The Arab Charter on Human Rights 2004," 24 Boston University International Law Journal 147 (2007). [English] [revised by Susan M. Akram; translated by Dr. Mohammed Amin Al-Midani & Mathilde Cabinettes]
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  13. Susan Akram, "Are They Human Children or Just Border Rats?" 15 Boston University Public Interest Law Journal 187 (2006).
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  14. Susan Akram, review of John Quigley, The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective, Duke University Press (2005), 26 Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 154 (2006).
  15. Susan Akram & Michael Lynk, "The Wall and the Law: A Tale of Two Judgements," 24 Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 61 (2006).
    SSRN | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  16. Susan Akram & Maritza Karmely, "Immigration and Constitutional Consequences of Post-9/11 Policies Involving Arabs and Muslims in the United States: Is Alienage a Distinction without a Difference?" 38 U.C. Davis Law Review 609 (2005).
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  17. Susan Akram & Kevin R. Johnson, "Race and Civil Rights Pre-September 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims," in Civil Rights in Peril: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims 9, Elaine C. Hagopian, ed., Pluto Press (2004).
  18. Susan Akram & John Quigley, "A Reading of the International Court of Justice Opinion on the Legality of Israel's Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories," The Palestine Center: A Briefing Paper (July, 2004).
  19. Susan Akram & Terry Rempel, "Temporary Protection as an Instrument for Implementing the Right of Return for Palestinian Refugees," 22 Boston University International Law Journal 1 (2004).
    Westlaw | SSRN | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  20. Susan Akram & Kevin R. Johnson, "U.S. Measures Against Terrorism: The Civil Rights Impacts," in Anti-Terrorist Measures and Human Rights 137, Wolfgang Benedek & Alice Yotopoulos-Marangopoulos, eds., Martinus Nijhoff Publishers (2004).
  21. Susan Akram, "The Aftermath of September 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims in America," 24 (Special Issue) Arab Studies Quarterly 61 (2002).
  22. Susan Akram, "Orientalism Revisited in Asylum and Refugee Claims," in Human Rights and Moral Imperialism: A Critical Anthology 61, Berta Hernandez-Truyol, ed., New York University Press (2002).
  23. Susan Akram, "Palestinian Refugees and Their Legal Status: Rights, Politics and Implications for a Just Solution," 31 Journal of Palestine Studies 36 (Spring 2002).
  24. Susan Akram & Kevin R. Johnson, "Race, Civil Rights, and Immigration Law After September 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims," 58 New York University Annual Survey of American Law 295 (2002). Reprinted in 24 Immigration and Nationality Law Review 3 (2003).
    Westlaw | SSRN | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  25. Susan Akram & Guy Goodwin-Gill, "Brief Amicus Curiae on the Status of Palestinian Refugees under International Law," 11 Palestine Yearbook of International Law (2000-01).
  26. Susan Akram & Terry Rempel, "Durable Solutions for Palestinian Refugees: A Challenge to the Oslo Process," 11 Palestine Yearbook of International Law (2000-01).
  27. Susan Akram, "Reinterpreting Palestinian Refugee Rights under International Law," in Palestinian Refugees and the Right of Return 165, Naseer Aruri, ed., Pluto Press (2001).
  28. Susan Akram, "Fora Available for Palestinian Refugee Restitution, Compensation and Related Claims," BADIL - Information & Discussion Brief (2000). [English and Arabic]
  29. Susan Akram, "Orientalism Revisited in Asylum and Refugee Claims," 12 International Journal of Refugee Law 7 (2000).
    SSRN | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  30. Susan Akram, "Palestinian Refugee Rights: Parts 1, 2 and 3," in Information Briefs , The Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine (July & August 2000). [News & Analysis section]Publisher
  31. Susan Akram, "Reinterpreting Palestinian Refugee Rights Under International Law, and a Framework for Durable Solutions," Conference Briefing Papers (2000). Conference: The Right of Return: Palestinian Refugees and Prospects for a Durable Peace
  32. Susan Akram, "Temporary Protected Status and its Applicability to the Palestinian Refugee Case," BADIL - Information & Discussion Brief (2000). [In English and Arabic]
  33. Susan Akram, "Immigration and National Identity: Membership, Difference and (Trans)National Imagination," 93 American Society of International Law Proceedings 212 (1999).
    HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  34. Susan Akram, "Scheherezade Meets Kafka: Two Dozen Sordid Tales of Ideological Exclusion," 14 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 51 (1999).
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  35. Susan Akram, "The World Refugee Regime in Crisis: A Failure to Fulfill the Burdensharing and Humanitarian Requirements of the 1951 Refugee Convention," 93 American Society of International Law Proceedings 213 (1999).
    Westlaw | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  36. Susan Akram, Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook, v.2, Advanced Topics, Susan Akram, ed., American Immigration Lawyers' Association (1995).
  37. Susan Akram, "Traps for the Unwary, or Major Issues on Judicial Review of Deportation Decisions under INA Section 106," in The Immigration & Nationality Law Handbook , American Immigration Lawyers' Association (1995).
  38. Susan Akram et al., Medical Testimony on Victims of Torture: A Physician's Guide to Political Asylum Cases, Physicians for Human Rights (1991).
  39. Susan Akram, "Historic Court Decision Protects First Amendment Rights of Dissident Aliens," 18 Immigration Newsletter (Spring 1989).
  40. Susan Akram, Asylum - A Guide to Establishing Pro Bono Programs, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Palo Alto (1987).
Courses

3 credits

Students must apply and be accepted to the International Human Rights Clinic before they register for this course. This course will build on the first-semester clinic instruction (International Human Rights and clinic group rounds), focusing on 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.

SPRG 2016: LAW JD 843 A1 , Jan 13th to Apr 13th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Wed 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Susan M. Akram LAW
SPRG 2017: LAW JD 843 A1 , Jan 18th to Apr 26th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Wed 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Susan M. Akram

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 2015: LAW JD 991 A1 , Aug 31st to Dec 4th 2015
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Thu 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Susan M. Akram LAW
FALL 2016: LAW JD 991 A1 , Sep 8th to Dec 8th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Thu 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Susan M. Akram LAW

3 credits

The International Human Rights Clinic is part of BU Law's expanded practicum of offerings in international human rights that includes the Semester-in-Practice Program in Geneva and international pro bono project trips. The Clinic develops and expands on human rights projects including: representing international NGO's in advocacy in the UN Human Rights Council, the treaty bodies, the regional human rights organs (in the American, African, and European human rights systems); filing briefs and amicus briefs on international human rights law issues in US domestic courts; participating in universal jurisdiction claims in the US and other courts. The International Human Rights Clinic is a two semester commitment. Students earn 3 credits per semester for completing the clinic fieldwork. Fieldwork includes some combination of the following: amicus briefs on human rights issues; handling appeals in refugee and international human rights cases; working on research, investigation and advocacy on international human rights issues, partnering with domestic and international non-governmental organizations on the Guantanamo cases, habeas cases, Alien Tort Claims Act and other cases; working on research, advocacy and drafting submissions to the various treaty bodies at the UN and the Human Rights Council in Geneva; Working in partnership with the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR), focusing the health and human rights aspect of humanitarian cases. In addition to the fieldwork, students must take 2 seminar courses: International Human Rights (fall; 3 credits); and International Human Rights Advocacy (spring; 3 credits). The clinic fieldwork is supervised by Professor Susan Akram. Professor Akram also teaches the two required seminar classes.

FALL 2015: LAW JD 975 A1 , Aug 31st to Dec 4th 2015
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
ARR TBD TBD 3 Susan M. Akram
SPRG 2016: LAW JD 975 A1 , Jan 11th to Apr 20th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
ARR TBD TBD 3 Susan M. Akram
FALL 2016: LAW JD 975 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 8th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
ARR TBD TBD 3 Susan M. Akram
SPRG 2017: LAW JD 975 A1 , Jan 17th to Apr 26th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
ARR TBD TBD 3 Susan M. Akram

10 credits

The Semester in Practice is a one-semester clinical program. Students are required to apply and be accepted to the program before they may register. Through the Semester-in-Practice Program, a limited number of students may spend a semester working full-time for credit (10 ungraded credits) at an externship placement outside of Boston. The Program is designed for students who want an intensive hands-on experience - at an opportunity not otherwise available in Boston - furthering specific career and academic goals. Acceptance to the Program is competitive. In addition to securing an externship at a placement organization, students must complete a separate BU Law application available through the Clinical Programs Office. Through the Human Rights option, students may spend a semester working in Geneva for a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) committed to the protection of human rights. COREQUISITE: Semester-in-Practice: Human Rights Paper (JD 742).

FALL 2015: LAW JD 741 A1 , Aug 31st to Dec 4th 2015
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
ARR TBD TBD 10
SPRG 2016: LAW JD 741 A1 , Jan 11th to Apr 20th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
ARR TBD TBD 10 Susan M. Akram
SPRG 2017: LAW JD 741 A1 , Jan 17th to Apr 26th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
ARR TBD TBD 10 Susan M. Akram

2 credits

The Semester in Practice is a one-semester clinical program. Students are required to apply and be accepted to the program before they may register. Accepted students will register for 2 graded credits for completing readings, writing a research paper, and for submitting weekly journals. COREQUISITE: Semester-in-Practice: Human Rights Externship - Geneva (JD 741).

FALL 2015: LAW JD 742 A1 , Aug 31st to Dec 4th 2015
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
ARR TBD TBD 2
SPRG 2016: LAW JD 742 A1 , Jan 11th to Apr 20th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
ARR TBD TBD 2 Susan M. Akram
SPRG 2017: LAW JD 742 A1 , Jan 17th to Apr 26th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
ARR TBD TBD 2 Susan M. Akram
In the Media
View all profiles