Skip to content

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.

Students are at the heart of the International Human Rights Clinic. Under the close supervision of 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.

Clinical Human Rights Practice

The International Human Rights Clinic’s practice spans a wide range of issues, including arms and armed conflict; business and human rights; women’s rights; accountability litigation, including through the Torture Victim Protection Act and the Alien Tort Statute; right to privacy; human rights and the environment; transitional justice; 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 Burma/Myanmar and South Africa. 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.

How to Register

The International Human Rights Clinic is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters. You can learn about the required clinical course component, clinical credits and the clinical registration process by reading the course catalog description and exploring the links in this section.

The clinic also offers a 3L-only clinic option in the fall (International Human Rights Clinic – 3L Leadership Training with Advanced Seminar).  This option is for students who have already completed a semester of the International Human Rights Clinic.

Application Deadline for International Human Rights Clinic – 3L Leadership Training with Advanced Seminar: April 15, 2022

Meet the Instructors

headshot of Susan Farbstein

Susan Farbstein

Director; Clinical Professor of Law

Susan Farbstein is the Director of the International Human Rights Clinic and a Clinical Professor at Harvard Law School, where she has taught since 2008.

Her current work focuses on human rights in South Africa; socio-economic rights and racial justice in the United States; the role of civil proceedings in writing history and shaping memory, truth, and collective understandings of past abuse; and gender equity and women’s leadership in human rights organizations and institutions. She is an expert on South Africa, having worked on a variety of human rights and transitional justice issues in that country for nearly twenty years. Her writing has been published in scholarly journals including the Harvard Law Review and the Harvard International Law Journal, as well as popular media outlets including The New York Times and SCOTUSBlog. Before joining the Harvard Law School faculty, Farbstein worked at the Cape Town office of the International Center for Transitional Justice. Prior to that, she clerked for the Honorable Morris E. Lasker of the Southern District of New York. She holds a B.A. from Princeton University, an M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Bonnie Docherty headshot

Bonnie Docherty

Associate Director; Lecturer on Law

Bonnie Docherty is Associate Director of Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection and a Lecturer on Law at the International Human Rights Clinic. She founded and directs the Clinic’s Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative. She is also a Senior Researcher in the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. Docherty specializes in disarmament and international humanitarian law, particularly as they relate to civilian protection during armed conflict. Docherty has worked in the field of humanitarian disarmament since 2001 as lawyer, field researcher, and scholar. She played a key role in the negotiations of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, successfully advocating for specific provisions and providing legal advice to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the civil society coalition that received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. Docherty received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her A.B. from Harvard University. Docherty worked full-time at Human Rights Watch before joining the Clinic in 2005. Prior to law school, she spent three years as a journalist.

Anna Crowe headshot

Anna Crowe

Associate Director; Lecturer on Law

Anna Crowe is Associate Director and Lecturer on Law in the International Human Rights Clinic. Her work focuses on the right to a legal identity, particularly in the refugee context, and the right to privacy. She also works in the field of humanitarian disarmament. Anna supervises students on research, fact-finding, and advocacy projects in these areas. In the Clinic, she has developed and implemented projects with the Norwegian Refugee Council, Control Arms, Privacy International, and Article 36, among others. Anna is a graduate of Harvard Law School and an alumna of the International Human Rights Clinic. Prior to Harvard, Anna was a constitutional lawyer for the New Zealand government in the Crown Law Office and served at the New Zealand Supreme Court as a clerk to the Chief Justice for two years. She has also previously worked as a Teaching Fellow at Victoria, University of Wellington Law School and clerked at a top New Zealand law firm. In addition to an LLM from Harvard Law School, she holds conjoint law and arts degrees from the University of Auckland.

headshot of Salma Waheedi

Salma Waheedi

Clinical Instructor; Lecturer on Law

Salma Waheedi is Associate Director of the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World and a Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic. She is an international human rights lawyer, development economist, and law reform expert with extensive experience in the Middle East and North Africa. Salma practices law in the areas of gender justice, labor rights, minority rights, and civil and political rights, with a primary interest in the Arab and Muslim World. At the International Human Rights Clinic, she designs and supervises legal advocacy projects in which students engage with local, regional, and global movements to advance social justice and accountability.  She has advised and advocated on many issues, including family law reform, gender-based violence, child marriage, gender discrimination in social welfare policies, criminal law reform, and justice sector reform. Before joining Harvard Law School, Salma practiced in the areas of corporate compliance, corporate accountability litigation, and immigration and refugee law, including at Baker McKenzie, Chicago’s United African Organization, and the Transnational Development Clinic at Yale Law School. Salma holds a JD from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, an MA in International Law and Government from Georgetown University, an MA in International Affairs from American University, and a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Beatrice Lindstrom headshot

Beatrice Lindstrom

Clinical Instructor; Lecturer on Law

Beatrice Lindstrom is a Clinical Instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic and the Supervising Attorney of Advocates for Human Rights.  Her work focuses on accountability of transnational actors, obligations of international organizations, and access to remedies.

Prior to joining Harvard Law School, Lindstrom was the Legal Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, an organization that works in partnership with Haitian lawyers to bring grassroots struggles for human rights to the international stage.

Lindstrom has extensive experience advocating in the UN human rights system, lobbying governments, and speaking in the media. She has appeared regularly in the New York Times, BBC, and Al Jazeera English. Lindstrom was previously an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, and a Haiti country expert for Freedom House. She holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern public interest scholar, and a B.A. from Emory University.

Aminta Ossom headshot

Aminta Ossom

Clinical Instructor; Lecturer on Law

Aminta Ossom is a Clinical Instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic. She focuses on equality, inclusion, and economic and social rights. She also has research interests in human rights diplomacy, the role of identity in advocacy, and symbioses between civil and human rights movements.

Prior to joining the Human Rights Program in Fall 2019, Aminta was a human rights officer at the United Nations, where she supported the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and the Special Rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council in fact-finding, advocacy and training in Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Europe. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 2009, Aminta focused on transitional justice, including as a Satter Human Rights Fellow with Amnesty International in West Africa.  She also holds a Masters in African Politics from SOAS, University of London, and a BA from the University of Oklahoma.

Staff Members

Kelsey RyanProgram Managerkeryan@law.harvard.edu
Marie SintimProgram Assistantmsintim@law.harvard.edu

In the News