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Research Programs

Human Rights Program

  • US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers with detainee

    Supreme Court preview: Garland v. Gonzalez

    January 4, 2022

    Two Harvard Law School scholars explain why the Garland v. Gonzalez case could have broader implications for immigrants and advocates.

  • Victor Madrigal-Borloz

    An academic home for a global mandate

    March 26, 2021

    At Harvard Law School, where UN Independent Expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz has spent the past two years as a visiting researcher with the Human Rights Program, he has undertaken another role: mentor.

  • Nicolette Waldman ’13

    Trusted to listen

    December 28, 2020

    After her first interview in Afghanistan, Nicolette Waldman ’13 realized she had found the career she was meant to pursue.

  • Bags used to collect and ship cocoa beans laying on the ground. Printed on the bags:

    Pursuing U.S. accountability for child slavery abroad

    December 9, 2020

    In October, the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of legal historians in the consolidated cases against two U.S.-based chocolate companies alleged to have aided and abetted child slavery in West Africa.

  • ICJ Judge Yuji Iwasawa

    Yuji Iwasawa LL.M. ’78 re-elected to the International Court of Justice

    November 19, 2020

    On Nov. 12, Japan’s Yuji Iwasawa LL.M. ’78  was re-elected to the International Court of Justice, the U.N.’s principal judicial body, with overwhelming support from the U.N. member states. He will serve a 9-year term.

  • Waheedi and a team of students working

    Training the next generation of international women’s rights advocates

    November 16, 2020

    Since joining Harvard Law School, Salma Waheedi, a clinical instructor and lecturer on law in the International Human Rights Clinic, has devoted a major part of her teaching and clinical legal practice to training students to become effective international women’s rights advocates.

  • A woman looks at fire and smoke from oil wells set ablaze

    Confronting conflict pollution

    September 30, 2020

    A new report from the HLS International Human Rights Clinic and the Conflict and Environment Observatory establishes a new framework for addressing human harm resulting from the environmental consequences of conflict.

  • Aminta Ossom

    Event series explores racial justice and human rights

    September 23, 2020

    The Human Rights Program launches a series of talks exploring issues of racial justice and human rights. The inaugural event, “Advocating While Black,” takes place on Sept. 24 .

  • Chiquita bananas on display in grocery store

    Human Rights Clinic team submits amicus brief in Chiquita Brands lawsuit

    August 25, 2020

    After months of delays, the International Human Rights Clinic filed an amicus brief in June in Doe. et al. v. Chiquita Brands International, a suit that seeks accountability for Chiquita's actions during the Colombian armed conflict from 1997 to 2004.

  • Mamani 2019 appeal group photo

    U.S. appeals court rules against former Bolivian president and defense minister over 2003 massacre

    August 5, 2020

    On August 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit vacated a trial court judgment that had been entered in favor of Bolivia’s former president, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, and former defense minister, José Carlos Sánchez Berzaín, for the massacre of unarmed Indigenous people in 2003.

  • Human Rights in a Time of Populism cover image

    Human Rights in a Time of Populism and COVID-19

    June 30, 2020

    Harvard Law School's Human Rights Program recently spoke with Professor Gerald Neuman about how he sees the landscape changing for countries with populist leaders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Beatrice Lindstrom talking to press

    Seeking overdue reparations for U.N.-caused devastation in Haiti

    June 24, 2020

    Beatrice Lindstrom, clinical instructor and supervising attorney in the International Human Rights Clinic, has been working for nearly a decade to secure accountability from the U.N. for a devastating cholera outbreak caused by UN peacekeepers in Haiti in 2010.

  • six clinical students recognized for outstanding work.

    Office of Clinical and Pro Bono programs recognizes six students for outstanding work

    June 3, 2020

    This year, the Harvard Law School Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs has recognized six students from the Class of 2020 for their outstanding clinical and pro bono work.

  • Niku Jafarnia sitting outside on the steps of Pound Hall as Harvard Law

    At Harvard, Niku Jafarnia J.D. / M.P.P. ’20 found a wealth of ways to advocate for refugees

    May 24, 2020

    With the aim of advocating for refugees, Niku Jafarnia J.D. / M.P.P.’20 focused on the intersection of refugee rights, armed conflict, and counterterrorism as joint law and public policy student at Harvard.

  • Woman wearing a niqab

    How do you protect against indirect discrimination?

    May 13, 2020

    A recent Harvard Law School Human Rights Program (HRP) workshop convened a group of experts for a discussion on indirect discrimination on the basis of religion.

  • Refugee camp in Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh

    Advocating for human rights in Myanmar during COVID-19

    May 6, 2020

    In a Q&A, Yee Htun, clinical instructor in the International Human Rights Clinic, talks about systemic discrimination and violence against ethnic Rohingya in Myanmar and how Rohingya refugees are coping in the midst of a global pandemic.

  • Sabrina Singh at the UN headquarters in Geneva

    Sabrina Singh ’20 draws attention to the looming COVID-19 crisis in Nepal

    April 17, 2020

    Born and raised in Nepal, Sabrina Singh ’20 has been speaking out about how the COVID-19 pandemic could exacerbate conditions in her home country.

  • Screen shot of an online meeting with professor and a male and female student

    HLS clinics and students fight for the most vulnerable amid COVID-19

    April 11, 2020

    For the Clinical Program at Harvard Law School, the past weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic have been a time to mobilize. As the clinics have moved to working remotely, their work has continued with new urgency.

  • Victor Madrigal-Borloz addressing table of meeting attendees

    Human Rights Program hosts UN-expert consultation on so-called ‘conversion therapy’ practices

    March 13, 2020

    The Harvard Law School Human Rights Program welcomed government officials, medical experts, legal scholars, and human rights activists from around the world to Cambridge on Feb. 28 for a global consultation on practices of so-called “conversion therapy” to which lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse persons are subjected around the world.

  • Susan Farbstein sitting at a table talking to a group of students

    Human rights seminar tackles barriers to women’s leadership

    December 3, 2019

    This fall, Harvard Law School Clinical Professor Susan Farbstein ’04 is teaching "Human Rights Careers: Strategic Leadership Workshop," a seminar focused on advocacy and leadership for students interested in careers in human rights or social justice.

  • Portrait of Victor Madrigal-Borloz

    A global look at LGBT violence and bias

    October 23, 2019

    The Harvard Gazette recently spoke with Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the U.N. independent expert who is now a visiting researcher in residence at Harvard Law School, in advance of the presentation of his report on the adverse effects of laws and cultural norms on LGBTQ individuals to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday.

  • Bonnie Docherty

    In Q&A, Bonnie Docherty discusses humanitarian disarmament

    October 9, 2019

    Bonnie Docherty ’01, associate director the Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative (ACCPI) at Harvard Law School, discusses humanitarian disarmament, and a recent discussion with Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow.

  • Gallery: From the atomic bomb to the Nobel Peace Prize

    October 4, 2019

    Photo exhibit traces the history of nuclear weapons from the devastation of early use and testing to the current global effort to eliminate them.

  • Paras Shah headshot

    Paras Shah ’19, fostering inclusion and creativity in human rights

    August 29, 2019

    In his work with Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic and beyond, Paras Shah '19 has always centered his approach to human rights on inclusion.

  • Anna Khalfaoui head shot

    As Satter Fellow, Anna Khalfaoui LL.M. ’17 assisted in trial of Congolese militia leaders

    August 23, 2019

    The British-trained French attorney who chose Harvard Law School for its human rights training plans to continue working on international human rights and international humanitarian law litigation.

  • Jenny Domino speaking about her Satter Fellowship

    Defending and promoting freedom of expression in Myanmar

    August 21, 2019

    As a Satter Human Rights Fellow, Jenny Domino LL.M. ’18 spent her fellowship year focused on how social media policy limits one's right to speak in the midst of democratic transition.

  • Victor Madrigal-Borloz

    United Nations Independent Expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz to pursue LGBT research from Human Rights Program

    June 17, 2019

    Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the United Nations Independent Expert for the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, will join HLS' Human Rights Program as a senior visiting researcher in July.

  • Dalia Deak ’19, winner of the David Grossman Clinical Exemplary Student Award (Individual).

    Dalia Deak receives the David Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award

    May 21, 2019

    Dalia Deak ’19 is this year’s winner of the individual David Grossman Exemplary Clinical Award, given each year to the student who embodies the pro bono spirit of the late professor and exemplifies putting theory into practice through clinical work.

  • David Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Team Award winners: Lisandra Novo ’19, Lindsay Bailey ’19, Elisa Quiroz ’19

    Three students win the David Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Team Award

    May 20, 2019

    Lindsay Bailey’19, Lisandra Novo’19 and Elisa Quiroz ’19 are the winners of the team 2019 David Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award.

  • Back to Myanmar with fresh insights

    Back to Myanmar with fresh insights

    November 27, 2018

    When Myanmar’s military junta tightened its grip in the late ’80s to quash a nationwide democracy movement, Yee Htun fled the brutal crackdown on dissent along with her mother, a doctor turned human rights activist, and three siblings. After five years in a refugee camp in Thailand, they immigrated to Canada as government-sponsored refugees, unsure of when they might return home.

  • Reflections from the border

    Reflections from the border

    November 2, 2018

    Students and faculty from the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program spent a week in Texas volunteering at the Karnes Detention Center, where they met with fathers and sons who had been forcibly separated from each other under President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy. They offer their thoughts on this powerful and eye-opening experience.

  • Crimmigration Clinic issues resources for advocates defending the rights of immigrants

    Crimmigration Clinic issues resources for advocates defending the rights of immigrants

    October 2, 2018

    The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program’s Crimmigration Clinic and the Immigrant Defense Project issued two new resources for advocates and attorneys defending the rights of immigrants fighting removal to countries where they will be persecuted.

  • A deep commitment to helping immigrants

    A deep commitment to helping immigrants

    August 16, 2018

    Many HLS alumni and students are engaged in legal and advocacy work related to immigration, including the situations of refugees and asylum seekers. For some of these lawyers, this interest predates their time at HLS, but has dovetailed with their coursework and hands-on learning during their time as law students.

  • HIRC director Deborah Anker receives NGO Lawyer of the Year award

    HIRC director Deborah Anker receives NGO Lawyer of the Year award

    August 8, 2018

    The founder and director of Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic Deborah Anker LL.M. ’84 received the Federal Bar Association’s NGO Lawyer of the Year Joint Award on May 18. She was honored alongside Karen Musalo, director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at Hastings College of the Law.

  • Amy Volz ’18

    Volz, Jung win David Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award

    May 22, 2018

    In recognition of their demonstrated excellence in representing clients and undertaking advocacy or policy reform projects, Amy Volz ’18 and Ha Ryong Jung (Michael) ’18 were named the 2018 recipients of the David A. Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award, named in honor of the late Clinical Professor David Grossman ’88.

  • Human Rights in a Time of Populism (video)

    Human Rights in a Time of Populism (video)

    May 9, 2018

    The global impact of populist movements was the topic of “Human Rights in a Time of Populism,” a two-day symposium held at Harvard Law School, where participants examined the challenges that current developments characterized as populist pose to the goals of the international human rights system.

  • An advocate for children, Ha Ryong (Michael) Jung ’18 has also taken a wider view

    An advocate for children, Michael Jung ’18 has taken a wide view

    May 7, 2018

    In his time at Harvard Law School, Ha Ryong (Michael) Jung ’18 has completed extensive coursework and clinical training in children’s rights, human rights and child protection, criminal justice, international and foreign law, and human rights advocacy and negotiation to shape a future career in child advocacy.

  • Exterior of the WCC

    HIRC files amicus brief challenging U.S. Attorney General’s efforts to restrict gender asylum

    May 1, 2018

    The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program joined the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Human Rights First and Kids in Need of Defense in filing a brief of amicus curiae in the case Matter of A-B-, a case that originated in immigration court but that is now before review of the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

  • Landmark litigation in Bolivia:

    “After a decade of tireless fighting, a measure of justice”

    April 13, 2018

    When the verdict came down, most of the litigation team was in the second row of the courtroom, leaning forward, tense with the waiting, trembling at times. But Thomas Becker '08 was in the front row, arm around the shoulders of Felicidad Rosa Huanca Quispe, whose father was shot dead in the street all those years ago.

  • Jury Finds Former Bolivian President and Defense Minister Responsible for Extrajudicial Killings of Indigenous People in 2003 1

    Jury finds former Bolivian president responsible for extrajudicial killings of indigenous people; awards $10M in damages

    April 4, 2018

    In a landmark decision today, a federal jury found the former president of Bolivia and his minister of defense responsible for extrajudicial killings carried out by the Bolivian military. The landmark litigation began with a collaboration between Bolivian partners and the Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic

  • Gerald L. Neuman on “Human Rights in a Time of Populism”

    Gerald L. Neuman on “Human Rights in a Time of Populism”

    March 22, 2018

    In March, Gerald L. Neuman, co-director of the Human Rights Program and the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School, sat down to discuss HRP’s upcoming conference, “Human Rights in a Time of Populism,” with Natalie McCauley ’19.

  • Humanitarian Disarmament: The Way Ahead 1

    Humanitarian Disarmament: The Way Ahead

    March 21, 2018

    Earlier this month, about two dozen international experts gathered for “Humanitarian Disarmament: The Way Ahead,” the inaugural conference of the Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection Initiative (ACCPI) at Harvard Law School.

  • A celebration of immigration 2

    A celebration of immigration

    March 7, 2018

    At a workshop on immigrants’ rights held Monday morning at the Memorial Church, attorneys Jason Corral and Cindy Zapata of the Harvard Immigration & Refugee Clinical Program shared legal advice on how to deal with the more aggressive enforcement of immigration laws under the Trump administration.

  • Concern over a DACA deadline

    Concern over a DACA deadline

    February 28, 2018

    Three Harvard professors and a Ph.D. student in African and African American studies have launched the DACA Seminar, a series of events on campus aimed at sparking conversations about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and immigration policy and reform, while working to understand options available to Harvard's undocumented students.

  • Basking in that Oslo glow 1

    Basking in that Oslo glow

    January 17, 2018

    2017 was a year of notable accomplishments for Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC), and for Bonnie Docherty '01, associate director of Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection and lecturer on law at HLS.

  • Jane Mallei: Women refugees and why law matters

    Women refugees and why law matters

    October 20, 2017

    In many ways, Jane's life in Kenya was idyllic: She was an educated, confident professional woman with a flourishing career, raising a daughter whom she loved dearly. There was only one problem in her life: her husband, who had become increasingly violent and abusive in the privacy of their own home.

  • IHRC's partner in negotiations of Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty wins Nobel Peace Prize 2

    IHRC’s partner in negotiations of Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty wins Nobel Peace Prize

    October 6, 2017

    The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), with which Harvard's International Human Rights Clinic collaborated during the negotiations of a nuclear weapon ban treaty, received the Nobel Peace Prize today. IHRC joined ICAN and UK-based disarmament organization Article 36 in the efforts for the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.