Through the International Human Rights Clinic, students merge theory with practice and learn core skills necessary to become effective and thoughtful human rights advocates. Students work on 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 advancing the interests of clients and affected communities. For example, students interview survivors and document abuse; undertake legal, factual, and strategic analysis; and interact with media to build campaigns and message on human rights--all under the close supervision of the Clinics expert human rights practitioners. Students work in small teams on a variety of human rights projects and cases. When appropriate, students travel to investigate abuses or pursue advocacy outside Cambridge, participate in sessions before intergovernmental bodies and arguments before courts, and formulate policy to promote respect for human rights principles and the rule of law. 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; the role of health professionals in torture; Alien Tort Statute litigation; 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, Eastern and Central Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and 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 credits) OR Human Rights and the Environment (2 fall credits). While each course is focused on a particular subject matter, both teach the key skills of human rights practitioners and include simulations and role plays related to fact-finding and field investigations, media work, and/or negotiation and legislative work.