International Human Rights Clinic
Professor Smita Narula
Professor Jayne Huckerby
Professor Meg Satterthwaite (on leave 2009-10)
Open to 2L, 3L and LL.M. students
Maximum of 14 students
Prerequisite: International Human Rights Law, or International Law with substantive human rights experience
The International Human Rights Clinic explores multifaceted approaches to human rights advocacy in both domestic and international settings. The seminar emphasizes practical skills, including litigating human rights claims in domestic and international forums; investigating, documenting, and publicizing human rights violations; advocating before United Nations, regional, and national human rights bodies; and engaging with global and local human rights campaigns. Students also address questions of ethical, political and professional accountability related to human rights work.
Fieldwork consists of projects undertaken for: 1) individual clients; 2) human rights organizations in the United States and abroad; and 3) intergovernmental human rights experts and bodies (including the United Nations). Fieldwork focuses on a wide range of issues, such as: economic and social rights; human rights and counter-terrorism ; the accountability of non-state actors for human rights abuses; and the human rights of groups marginalized on the basis of caste, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, and sexuality, among other categories. These projects give students an opportunity to assist in formulating policy, research, and legal responses to current human rights problems.
Past and current projects include working with NYU’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice or domestic and international NGOs to:
- • Prepare petitions, complaints, and shadow reports for international and regional human rights bodies, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the African Commission on Human Rights, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Human Rights Committee, and the Committee Against Torture;
- Litigate on behalf of individuals detained by the U.S. in the "war on terror";
- Use open government laws, such as the Freedom of Information Act, to obtain information about rights-violating practices;
- Document human rights violations (in human rights reports and documentary films) against Muslim, Arab, and South Asian individuals and communities stemming from U.S. and EU counter-terrorism policies;
- Enhance the capacity of community-based organizations to incorporate human rights methodology and law into their advocacy efforts on behalf of Haitian and South Asian communities in New York;
- Investigate, report, and analyze caste discrimination in Nepal and India as violations of international human rights law and help inform the drafting of the new Nepalese Constitution;
- Document and report on violations of social and economic rights in Haiti, and seek accountability of international actors for these violations;
- Draft ATCA and TVPA complaints against defendants accused of genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, and crimes against humanity; and
- Help document the impact of corporations and other business enterprises on human rights and help define standards for regulating corporate conduct under international human rights law.
Students interested in applying for the clinic should submit an application, a résumé and a grade transcript via CAMS. Selected student applicants will be contacted by Michelle Williams for an interview.
The International Human Rights Clinic accepts applications for a limited number of spaces for LL.M. students. Students should carefully consider the impact of the clinic on their other academic choices during their LL.M. year. The application deadline for transfer J.D. students and for LL.M.s is August 14. Please contact Michelle Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org for application instructions. Selected LL.M. and transfer J.D. students will be contacted for interviews in August 2009 as part of the selection process.
A course in International Human Rights Law is a prerequisite for the clinic. If students have taken a comparable international human rights law course at another institution, they should include on their application form a description of the course, the grade received, and the institution where the course was taken. The prerequisite can alternatively be satisfied by a course in international law when coupled with demonstrable substantive experience in human rights law. Students should include in their application the nature of their experience and the extent to which it allowed them to engage with human rights law.
Students seeking to satisfy the pre-requisite with a course taken at another institution or with a course in international law plus substantive experience must request a waiver of the prerequisite in advance of being accepted into the clinic. The Course Permission and Waiver Form can be found on the Downloadable Forms portion of the Academic Services Office's web page.
The clinic’s seminar plus fieldwork components are to be taken together for a combined total of 6 credits per semester. Students will be expected to devote two full days (approximately 16 hours) per week to their clinic fieldwork in addition to the time allotted to reading, written, and simulation assignments for the seminar. Students applying to the clinic should ensure that they are able to make such a time commitment. We strongly recommend that students speak to prior clinic students to get a sense of the workload and requirements.
For further application instructions, or if you have any questions or comments, please contact Michelle Williams at email@example.com.
We recommend that students interested in the Clinic speak to students from the Spring 2009 International Human Rights Clinic.
Jeannie Rose Field
* 3 clinical credits and 3 academic seminar credits are awarded each semester for a total of 12 credits.