About Us

The Human Rights Program seeks to inspire critical engagement with the human rights project and to inform developments in the field through impartial, innovative, and rigorous research. Founded by Professor Emeritus Henry Steiner in 1984, the Program helps students, advocates, and scholars deepen and disseminate their knowledge of human rights.

Gerald Neuman sitting on panel and speaking at conference about populism
HRP Director Gerald Neuman speaking at conference “Human Rights in a Time of Populism” in 2018.

In advancing discussions and critical reflection on human rights, the Human Rights Program helps build a community of scholars and practitioners at Harvard Law School and beyond. The Program fosters student participation in human rights activities through summer and post-graduate fellowships, and support for experiential learning. We partner with student organizations, such as the Harvard Human Rights Journal and HLS Advocates for Human Rights, to examine timely human rights issues and doctrinal debates. Our staff also advises students wishing to conduct research projects with human rights organizations and provides counseling on careers in the field.

As a center for scholarship, the Human Rights Program plans events, directs international conferences and roundtables on human rights issues and publishes working papers, conference proceedings and books. Our Visiting Fellows Program draws advocates and scholars from around the world to conduct primary research.

We also work closely with the human rights community at Harvard Law School and University, as well as human rights organizations in the United States and abroad, to bridge theory with practice and reflect on the current state of human rights.