Clinics & SPOs
International Human Rights Clinic
Lessons from a post-9/11 world: Law School instructor advocates for torture survivors
April 15, 2016
Clinical Instructor Deborah Popowski '08 has led the effort to hold psychologists accountable for their involvement in torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
Thirteen Harvard Law School students were selected as the 2016 Cravath International Fellows. The fellows traveled to 12 countries for winter term clinical placements or independent research with an international, transnational, or comparative law focus. Below, four of those students are highlighted.
At HLS symposium, military and academic leaders explain legal and cultural issues in counterterror operations
March 11, 2016
Harvard Law School hosted the first-ever Legal, Cultural and Strategic Issues in Counterterror Operations Symposium bringing together military officers from the 3rd Legal Operations Detachment and academic scholars whose work focuses on areas of Islamic and human rights law as well as on cultural and international security issues.
Clinic files cert petition in final attempt to hold corporations accountable for supporting Apartheid
February 12, 2016
Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic and its partners have filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court in the In re South African Apartheid Litigation suit, asking the Court to clarify the circumstances under which defendants may be held accountable in U.S. courts for human rights violations.
Company’s remedies for rape in Papua New Guinea deeply flawed
December 4, 2015
A controversial process created by one of the world’s largest gold mining companies to compensate women for rapes and gang rapes in Papua New Guinea was deeply flawed, said human rights investigators and legal experts at Columbia and Harvard Law Schools in a study released in November.
Torture through a viewfinder: Photo exhibit at HLS shines light on Syrian government
October 26, 2015
As the humanitarian crisis in Syria deepens, a panel at Harvard Law School explores the role of photography in documenting and raising international awareness about torture, mass killings, and other atrocities committed by the Assad regime.
Myanmar: New report finds police used excessive force during crackdown on protesters in Letpadan
October 14, 2015
Myanmar police officers used excessive force during a crackdown on protesters and arrested more than 100 individuals in Letpadan, Bago Region in March, according to a new report released today by Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic and Fortify Rights.
Undermining Injustice, One Prison Visit at a Time
September 22, 2015
Fernando Delgado ’08 and his students in the International Human Rights Clinic put prisoners’ voices in Brazil at the heart of a human rights case.
Susan Farbstein appointed Clinical Professor
May 20, 2015
Susan Farbstein '04 has been appointed Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where she has been an assistant clinical professor at HLS since 2012.
What’s So Bad About a 10-Mile Walk to School? Two views of educational challenges in South Africa
April 20, 2015
In recent blog posts, two students from the Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic shared their experiences working on education and transport-related issues in rural South Africa.
The International Human Rights Clinic and Human Rights Watch recently released 'Mind the Gap: The Lack of Accountability for Killer Robots,' a 38-page report that details significant hurdles to assigning personal accountability for the actions of fully autonomous weapons under both criminal and civil law.
Harvard Law champions entrepreneurship and innovation
April 15, 2015
For law students interested in entrepreneurism and startups—as entrepreneurs themselves, as lawyers representing startups, or both—there is a wealth of growing and intersecting opportunities at Harvard Law School and across the university.
Clinic investigation: Senior Myanmar officials implicated in war crimes and crimes against humanity
November 10, 2014
On Nov. 7, the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School released a legal memorandum, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in Eastern Myanmar, which examines the conduct of the Myanmar military during an offensive that cleared and forcibly relocated civilian populations from conflict zones in eastern Myanmar.
Five Harvard Law School professors presented a sampling of their innovative ideas in late May at the 2014 Harvard Law School Thinks Big lecture, an annual event that challenges faculty to explain those big ideas in short talks.
Clinical Professor Tyler Giannini was selected to receive the prestigious Albert M. Sacks-Paul A. Freund Award for Teaching Excellence. He was selected by the Class of 2014 in recognition of his teaching ability and general contributions to student life at the law school.
In Honor of Nelson Mandela: When, if ever, is violence justifiable in struggles for political or social change? (video)
March 28, 2014
A panel of scholars gathered at Harvard Law School March 14 to examine the legacy of Nelson Mandela with a discussion about the use of violence for political or social change.
Human Rights Clinic: ‘Myanmar Military Must Reform Policies’
March 27, 2014
In a memorandum released on March, 24, Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic stated that the Myanmar military must reform policies and practices that threaten civilian populations in the country.
HLS Focus on Asia: Faculty and clinical highlights
January 1, 2014
Some recent faculty and clinical highlights—from research on anti-corruption efforts to conferences on financial regulation.
Getting Ireland to Come Clean
January 1, 2014
just 24 years old, Maeve O’Rourke LL.M. ’10 went to the United Nations with a bold and unprecedented case against the Irish government. Appearing in Geneva before the Committee Against Torture in 2011, O’Rourke argued that Ireland had allowed the enslavement and forced labor of thousands of women throughout most of the 20th century. What she wanted, she told the committee, was for the government to acknowledge its complicity, to apologize and to pay reparations to the victims.
IHRC: Nepali war victims need long-term, expanded assistance
September 30, 2013
According to a new report by Harvard Law School's International Human Right's Clinic, civilian victims are still struggling in the absence of effective help from the government seven years after the end of Nepal's armed conflict.
IHRC: Chile fails to protect rights of its indigenous people
September 18, 2013
In a new book released last week, Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic has charged the Chilean government with failure to guarantee its indigenous people the right to free, prior, and informed consultation. Former IHRC student Daniel Saver '12, who began working on the project during his 2L year, is one of the principal authors of the book.
A Question of Accountability
July 4, 2013
Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic argues that the Alien Tort Statute applies to corporations From left: Assistant Clinical Professor Susan Farbstein ’04,…
Read more about what compelled Jonathan Nomamiukor ’13 to take a break from law school, his work with Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic on the issue of fully autonomous weapons, and the mentorship he received from Clinical Instructor Bonnie Docherty.
On June 24, 2013, family members of those killed in government-planned massacres in Bolivia in 2003 filed an amended complaint, with extensive new allegations that the defendants, former President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and former Defense Minister Carlos Sánchez Berzaín, had devised a plan to kill thousands of civilians months in advance of the violence. The family members are being represented by a team of lawyers, including Tyler Giannini and Susan Farbstein of Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic,
Clinic and Human Rights Watch: Obama should urge Jordan to stop sending asylum seekers back to Syria
March 25, 2013
While Jordan has accommodated more than 350,000 refugees since the start of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, it is routinely and unlawfully rejecting Palestinian refugees, single men, and undocumented people seeking asylum at its border with Syria, according to Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic and Human Rights Watch.
Six from Harvard Law School awarded Skadden Fellowships
January 9, 2013
Six from Harvard Law School recently were chosen by the Skadden Foundation to receive two-year fellowships to support their work in public service. This year’s recipients include current students Haben Girma ’13, Hunter Landerholm ’13, Adam Meyers ’13 and Mara Sacks ’13, and recent graduates Robert Hodgson ’12 and Daniel Saver ’12.
IHRC report outlines concerns about ‘killer robots’
November 21, 2012
Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic and the independent human rights organization Human Rights Watch have authored a report titled “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots.” The report, released Nov. 19, argues that governments should pre-emptively ban fully autonomous weapons because of the danger they pose to civilians in armed conflict.
A Question of Accountability
October 1, 2012
In a Supreme Court case, the International Human Rights Clinic argues that the Alien Tort Statute applies to corporations.
Tyler Giannini, Clinical Professor of Law, and Gerald L. Neuman ’80, J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign and Comparative Law, have been appointed co-directors of the Human Rights Program (HRP) at Harvard Law School.
IHRC report finds Qaddafi’s weapons pose threat to civilians
August 6, 2012
Abandoned weapons that were once part of Muammar Qaddafi’s vast arsenal threaten civilian lives in Libya, according to a report released Aug 2 by Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC), in partnership with CIVIC and the Center for American Progress.
Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic has co-released a report documenting the Namibian health care system’s maltreatment of women living with HIV. A joint product of the clinic, the Namibian Women’s Health Network and Northeastern Law School, the 49-page report, entitled “At the Hospital There Are No Human Rights,” was released on July 26 during the International AIDS Conference, in Washington, D.C.
Protest and Assembly Rights Project releases report on human rights violations during Occupy Wall Street
July 26, 2012
Under the leadership of Harvard Law School Clinical Instructor Deborah Popowski, HLS’s International Human Rights Clinic is participating in the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, formed in January 2012. On July 25, the first report in the Protest and Assembly Rights Project series was released, calling on New York City authorities to stop the pattern of abusive policing of Occupy Wall Street protests.
There she stood, in northern Libya, a spread of explosive weapons before her: mortars and rockets and surface-to-air missiles almost 20 feet long. For all her work in post-conflict zones, senior clinical instructor Bonnie Docherty ’01 had never seen anything like it. The weapons stretched on for miles. It was March, five months after the revolution had ended, and Docherty was supervising a team from the International Human Rights Clinic on a trip to assess the humanitarian risks of abandoned weapons. As the team traveled from city to city, the scale of the problem was startling.
Student produces documentary on citrus workers (video)
April 25, 2012
Last fall, the Harvard Law Documentary Studio offered Lauren Estévez ’13 and four other students the training, funding and equipment they needed to make a short documentary film. It was a challenge, fitting filmmaking into law school. But after months of research, shooting, and editing, Estévez’s 12-minute film about the lives of citrus workers in Florida screened this month at the Harvard Film Archive, part of the Studio’s first annual DOC Festival.
Spring Break 2012: Where in the world were HLS Students?
April 19, 2012
During the third week in March, a number of Harvard Law students traveled around the world and to remote areas in the U.S. to offer their legal services. With funding from the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs, teams of students worked with farmers in the Mississippi Delta, immigrants in Alabama and patients living with HIV/AIDS in New Orleans.
Susan Farbstein, a leading practitioner in the field of human rights, has been appointed assistant clinical professor of law and co-director of the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School.
Clinic files amicus curiae brief with U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of legal historians and scholars
January 5, 2012
In December, Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic submitted an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of petitioners in a major Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. The brief in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. argues that corporations can be held liable for violations of the law of nations under the ATS.
On Nov. 25, the Fourth Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons concluded that it could find no consensus on proposed treaty language that would allow for some use of cluster munitions. The announcement was a major milestone for Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, a supporter of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.
HLS Clinic Files UN Complaint on Behalf of Filipina-American Tortured in the Philippines
August 26, 2011
With the help of Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic, Filipina-American Melissa Roxas has filed a submission with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture seeking justice for the abduction and torture she suffered in the Philippines in 2009.
In an Aug. 17 opinion piece in Australia’s National Times, Senior Clinical Instructor Bonnie Docherty '01 urged the Australian Senate to push back against proposed implementation legislation that would blunt the impact of the international ban on cluster munitions.
The United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child is currently examining Panama’s record on children’s rights with the help of a report coauthored by Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic.
IHRC files amicus curiae brief with U.S. Supreme Court
June 27, 2011
On June 17, Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic submitted an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a petition for certiorari in a major corporate Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.
In 2006, a series of coordinated uprisings in 74 detention centers and attacks on police stations and public buildings left 43 state officials and hundreds of civilians dead and brought São Paulo—South America’s largest city and financial capital—to a standstill. Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic and the leading Brazilian human rights group Justiça Global have now released a comprehensive study of the attacks.
HLS International Human Rights Clinic lobbies for humanitarian restrictions on weapons
April 18, 2011
Last month, Joseph G. Phillips ’12 and Joanne Box LL.M. ’11, students in the HLS International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC), attended a U.N. disarmament conference, where they met with diplomats to urge adoption of stronger international laws regarding the use of incendiary weapons. The students worked under the supervision of HLS Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor Bonnie Docherty ’01, who is one of the country’s leading legal experts on cluster munitions and has expanded her work to other disarmament issues, including incendiary weapons.
J-term class in Costa Rica immerses students in doctrine and practice of the Inter-American human rights system
March 7, 2011
When HLS Professor Clinical Professor Jim Cavallaro decided there should be "a structured means of studying the broad jurisprudence and practice of the Inter-American system,” he and Stephanie Brewer ’07 created an on-site course in San José, Costa Rica where students can learn the law on the ground from judges, practitioners and stakeholders in the system. This January, the 20 students enrolled in “Doctrine and Practice of the Inter-American Human Rights System” came away with a deeper understanding of that system—plus an immersion in the world of human rights adjudication.
Alston receives honorary doctorate, lectures on global justice at Maastricht University
January 26, 2011
Philip Alston, Harvard Law School’s Sidley Austin Visiting Professor of Law, received an honorary doctorate from Maastricht University in the Netherlands on Jan. 20 as part of the university’s 35th anniversary celebration.
IHRC releases paper on incendiary weapons; Docherty publishes book on cluster munitions
January 5, 2011
A new paper released by Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic and Human Rights Watch calls for stronger controls of incendiary weapons, such as white phosphorus.
Tyler Giannini appointed as Clinical Professor of Law
November 1, 2010
Tyler Giannini has been appointed as a clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School. He was formerly a lecturer on law at HLS.
International Human Rights Clinic files amicus brief in corporate Alien Tort Statute case
October 21, 2010
Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Second Circuit in support of a petition for rehearing en banc in a major corporate Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) case, Kiobel, et al. v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., et al.
HLS human rights clinic investigates the impact of mining in British Columbia (audio/slideshow)
August 26, 2010
Last year, as part of Harvard’s International Human Rights Clinic, Susannah Knox ’10 and Lauren Pappone ’11, traveled to British Columbia with Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor Bonnie Docherty '01 to investigate how mining affects the Takla Lake First Nation people.