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Fall 2020 Clinic

International Human Rights Clinic

Enrollment in this clinic will fulfill the HLS JD pro bono requirement.

Required Class Component: Students in the fall clinic must enroll in either Human Rights Advocacy (2 fall classroom credits) or Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection (2 fall classroom credits). Students who enroll in the fall clinic will be enrolled in one of the required courses by the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs. Students are guaranteed a seat in one of these two required courses, but are not guaranteed their first choice. Students may enroll in only one of the two available courses.

Additional Co-/Pre-Requisites: None.

By Permission: No.

Add/Drop Deadline: August 14, 2020.

LLM Students: LLM students may apply to this clinic by submitting an application.

Placement Site: HLS.

Through the International Human Rights Clinic, students link theory with practice and learn core skills necessary to become effective and thoughtful human rights advocates. Students work in small teams on a variety of pressing and timely human rights problems around the world in collaboration with leading international and local human rights organizations. Those in the Clinic have the opportunity to explore a range of approaches to advance the interests of clients and affected communities. For example, students may interview survivors and document abuses; undertake legal, factual, and strategic analysis; formulate policy to promote respect for human rights principles and the rule of law; and/or interact with media and build campaigns to advocate for human rights – all under the close supervision of the Clinic’s human rights practitioners. When appropriate, students travel to investigate abuses or pursue advocacy outside Cambridge, including participating in sessions before intergovernmental bodies or supporting arguments before courts.

In any given term, the Clinic delves into a wide range of issues, including extrajudicial executions, torture, and criminal justice; the unlawful use of cluster munitions and other weapons; civilian protection in armed conflict; sexual and reproductive rights; human rights and the environment; business and human rights; accountability litigation, including under the Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act; transitional justice; civil and political rights; economic, social, and cultural rights; and many more. Our clinicians have expertise in numerous regions and countries, including in Latin America, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, and North America, including the United States. This wide range of skills, as well as thematic and geographic knowledge, exposes students to a variety of strategies and innovative techniques for promoting and protecting human rights.

Fall clinic students must take either Human Rights Advocacy (2 fall classroom credits) or Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection (2 fall classroom credits). While each course is focused on a particular subject matter, both teach the key skills of human rights practitioners and include simulations related to fact-finding and field investigations, media work, and/or negotiation and legislative work. Clinical seminar selection and enrollment occurs once a student has enrolled in the fall clinic and is orchestrated by the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs.