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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.
  • Joint clinic report finds company's remedies for rape in Papua New Guinea deeply flawed… More >

  • "Registering Rights": Clinic report on challenge of civil documentation for Syrian refugees in Jordan… More >

  • Kiri Toki, LLM '16, on advocacy of Ecuadorian indigenous and mestiza women before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights… More >

  • The Clinic and Fortify Rights call for Myanmar police to free wrongfully imprisoned protesters after crackdown at Letpadan… … More >

  • Undermining injustice, one prison visit at a time… More >

  • Susan Farbstein named to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly's "Top Women of Law" list for 2015… More >

  • The APA's watershed move to ban psychologists from national security interrogations… 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 arms and armed conflictbusiness and human rights; counterterrorism and human rightssexual and reproductive rights; Alien Tort Statute litigationcriminal justice and human rights; human rights and the environment; protest and assembly 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