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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.

  • Cravath fellows travel globally to experience international and comparative law

    April 15, 2016

    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.

  • Don't Look Away: Images of Systematic Torture in the Syrian Regime panelists

    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.

  • Farbstein_Susan

    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.

  • Human Rights Clinic releases report on accountability for killer robots

    April 15, 2015

    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 4

    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.

  • Harvard Law Thinks Big! A series of short talks on big ideas (video)

    June 19, 2014

    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.

  • Giannini Receives 2014 Sacks-Freund Teaching Award (video)

    May 27, 2014

    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.

  • William P. Alford, Alonzo Emery, Robert C. Bordone, Michael Stein, Matthew Bugher, Tyler Giannini, Noah Feldman, Vicki Jackson, Howell E. Jackson, David Kennedy, J. Mark Ramseyer, Hal Scott, Matthew C. Stephenson, Jeannie Suk, David Wilkins, and Mark Wu

    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.

  • Maeve O’Rourke

    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.

  • Farbstein, Kornblith, Giannini and Alexander

    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,…

  • Docherty, Nomamiukor and Pyetranker at an NGO forum

    Clinical Voices: Jonathan Nomamiukor ’13 reflects on his experience

    July 3, 2013

    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.

  • IHRC’s Giannini, Farbstein represent families of 2003 Bolivian massacre victims

    June 26, 2013

    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.

  • Illustration

    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.

  • Giannini and Neuman appointed co-directors of HLS’s Human Rights Program

    August 17, 2012

    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.

  • Explosive Situation: Qaddafi’s Abandoned Weapons and the Threat to Libya’s Civilians

    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.

  • Namibian women living with HIV report violations of sexual and reproductive rights

    July 30, 2012

    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 flyer

    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.

  • Libya

    Fact-finding in Libya: Documenting the risks from a revolution

    May 17, 2012

    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.

  • Documentary on citrus workers

    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 appointed assistant clinical professor of law

    April 18, 2012

    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.

  • The Supreme Court

    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.

  • HLS clinic assists in effort to prevent the weakening of cluster munitions ban

    December 20, 2011

    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.

  • A Disarming Leader: Docherty recognized for contributions to human rights 1

    Docherty in Australia’s National Times: Cluster bombs bill is a law of loopholes

    August 17, 2011

    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. 

  • Sara Zampierin '11 and Virginia Corrigan '11

    HLS report informs U.N. review of Panama juvenile detention system

    July 1, 2011

    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.

  • Human Rights Program

    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.

  • Fernando Delgado

    Report documents role of state violence and corruption in organized crime in São Paulo

    May 11, 2011

    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.

  • Weapons

    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.

  • Philip Alston

    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.

  • Professor Tyler Giannini

    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.

  • Human Rights Program

    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.

  • Dougherty, Pappone, Knoxmain

    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.