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Human Rights @ Harvard Law


The International Human Rights Clinic works to protect the human rights of clients and communities around the world. Through supervised practice, students learn the responsibilities and skills of human rights lawyering.
  • The Clinic's partners in South Africa secure major win for basic schools infrastructure..… More >

  • Clinic urges pre-emptive ban on killer robots...… More >

  • On Behalf of Bolivian Families, Clinic and Partners File New Allegations in 2003 Massacre… More >

  • Student Perspective: Jonathan Nomiamukur, JD '13, on the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots… More >

  • Clinic Supports Iraqi Civilians and U.S. Veterans in Demanding the Right to Heal… More >

Clinical Student Experience

Students are at the heart of the International Human Rights Clinic. Under the close supervision of six full-time and additional part-time seasoned practitioners, more than 40 Harvard Law School students are involved in some 20 projects each term. Mirroring the approach of practicing advocates, students work in small project teams, developing lawyering and ethical skills and receiving intensive mentoring and feedback from experienced clinicians. Whether writing a legal submission, briefing policymakers, building a coalition, engaging with media, or negotiating a treaty, the Clinic employs a problem-solving approach, introducing students to challenges they will confront in their human rights careers. In-house trainings and simulations supplement project work to hone specific skills, such as interviewing. Clinical seminars round out the experience by providing a space in which to study and reflect on the problems posed in human rights practice and scholarship.

Courses and Teaching
Role Plays and Simulations
Students and Alumni Perspectives

Clinical Human Rights Practice

The International Human Rights Clinic’s practice spans a wide range of issues, including Alien Tort Statute litigation; arms and armed conflict; business and human rights; counterterrorism and human rights; criminal justice and human rights; human rights and the environment; protest and assembly rights; sexual and reproductive rights; transitional justice; U.N. treaty bodies; and many more. Our clinicians have expertise in numerous regions, including the Americas, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Southern Africa. We have particular experience in certain countries, including Brazil, Burma/Myanmar, South Africa, and the United States. Projects are selected through a consultative process and are typically conducted in partnership with other civil society groups. In carrying out our practice, the Clinic employs a variety of lawyering methods that are tailored to the needs of each project. These include:

Documentation and Reporting
Treaty Negotiation