Director, Human Rights Program
Director, International Human Rights Clinic
Tyler Giannini is Co-Director of the Human Rights Program, Co-Director of its International Human Rights Clinic, and a Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School (HLS). Giannini’s work focuses on accountability litigation, business and human rights, human rights and the environment as well as communities and human rights. He has extensive experience with Myanmar and South Africa and a strong interest in social entrepreneurship and clinical pedagogy in the human rights context. Giannini received the Albert M. Sacks-Paul A. Freund Award for Teaching Excellence from the Class of 2014.
Prior to joining HLS, he was a founder and director of EarthRights International, an organization at the forefront of efforts to link human rights and environmental protection. After receiving an Echoing Green fellowship to start EarthRights in 1995, Giannini spent a decade in Thailand with the organization conducting fact-finding investigations and groundbreaking corporate accountability litigation.
He served as co-counsel in the landmark Doe v. Unocal case, a precedent-setting corporate Alien Tort Statute (ATS) suit about the Yadana gas pipeline in Myanmar, which successfully settled in 2005. He also served as co-counsel in In re South African Apartheid Litigation, a major ATS case that sought to hold multinationals liable for their support of human rights violations committed by the apartheid state. Most recently, he was co-counsel in the landmark case Mamani v. Sánchez de Lozada, which found the former Bolivian president and defense minister responsible for extrajudicial killings in a 2003 civilian massacre. In addition, Giannini has authored numerous amicus curiae briefs, including to the U.S. Supreme Court in Jesner v. Arab Bank, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell Co., Samantar v. Yousuf, and Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman.
He has written about and advocated on many issues, including international crimes; harmful effects of large dams; transitional justice; abuses related to the mining industry; multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs); and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. He has undertaken investigations and advocacy efforts in many countries, including Bolivia, Canada, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, and the United States.
Giannini takes a particular interest in mentoring the next generation of advocates for social justice. He serves as a special advisor for the HLS Public Service Venture Fund. At the International Human Rights Clinic, he helped incubate a new business and human rights non-profit, the Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Integrity.
A recipient of a Harvard President’s Innovation Fund for Faculty Grant for his clinical work on Burma, Giannini also concentrates attention on clinical pedagogy in the human rights context. He previously worked on exchanges with practitioners and academics, including in South Africa.
Giannini holds graduate degrees in law and foreign policy from the University of Virginia where he was a member of the law review. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar and speaks Thai.
Human Rights Advocacy
Human Rights Advocacy and Litigation: Clinical Seminar
Advanced Skills Training for Human Rights Advocacy
Litigating Using the Alien Tort Statute: Case Studies and Advocacy: Seminar
Human Rights and the Environment
Business and Human Rights Clinical Seminar: Law and Practice
Articles and Books
Political Legitimacy and Private Governance of Human Rights: Community-Business Social Contracts and Constitutional Moments
in Human Rights, Democracy, and Legitimacy in a World of Disorder (Cambridge UP, October 2018)
“Human Rights and Climate Change Adaptation at the International Level”
Yale Journal of Law, online symposium (2012) Co-author: Bonnie Docherty
“Corporate Accountability in Conflict Zones: How Kiobel Undermines the Nuremberg Legacy and Modern Human Rights”
52 Harv. Int’l L. J. Online 119 (2010) Co-author: Susan Farbstein
Prosecuting Apartheid-Era Crimes: A South African Dialogue on Justice
(Human Rights Program, Distributed by Harvard University Press, 2009) Co-authors: Susan Farbstein, Samantha Bent, and Miles Jackson
“Confronting a Rising Tide: A Proposal for a Convention on Climate Change Refugees”
33 Harv. Env. L. Rev. 349 (2009) Co-author: Bonnie Docherty
Reports and Briefing Papers
“Righting Wrongs?: Barrick Gold’s Remedy Mechanism for Sexual Violence in Papua New Guinea”
(International Human Rights Clinic, Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic, 11/19/15)
“Crackdown at Letpadan: Excessive Force and Violation of the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Expression”
(International Human Rights Clinic, Fortify Rights, October 2015)
“Legal Memorandum: War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in Eastern Myanmar”
(International Human Rights Clinic, November 2014)
“Policy Memorandum: Preventing Indiscriminate Attacks and Wilful Killings of Civilians by the Myanmar Military”
(International Human Rights Clinic, March 2014)
“Crimes in Burma”
(International Human Rights Clinic, 2009) Co-authors: Julianne Stevenson, María Alejandra Cárdenas Ceron, and Anna Lamut
“Down River: The Consequences of Vietnam’s Se San River Dams on Life in Cambodia and Their Meaning in International Law”
(International Human Rights Clinic, 2005) Co-authors: Eric Rutkow and Cori Crider
“Shadow Report (Thailand) to the UN Human Rights Committee”
(International Human Rights Clinic, 2005)
“Total Denial Continues: Earth Rights Abuses along the Yadana and Yetagun Pipelines in Burma”
(EarthRights International, 2002) Co- authors: Katie Redford, Betsy Apple, Jed Greer and Marco Simons
“Linking the Quests for Human Rights and Environmental Protection
(EarthRights International, 1999) Co-author: Jed Greer
“Destructive Engagement: A Decade of Foreign Investment in Burma”
(EarthRights International, 1999)