Real Cases. Real Experience.
The Human Rights Clinic brings together an interdisciplinary group of law and graduate students in a course that incorporates both classroom study and hands-on participation in human rights projects and cases. Working from the advocate’s perspective, students collaborate with human rights organizations worldwide to support human rights claims in domestic and international fora, to investigate and document human rights violations, to develop and participate in advocacy initiatives before the United Nations and regional and national human rights bodies, and to engage with global and local human rights campaigns. By taking on primary responsibility for their cases and projects and working under the guidance and mentoring of Clinic Director Ariel Dulitzky, students develop both theoretical and practical skills. The range of cases and projects handled by the Human Rights Clinic illustrates the breadth of human rights practice, including fact-finding, reporting and using the press, and other public advocacy. Through this work, students learn substantive human rights law, develop important professional techniques, and explore different models for ethical, responsible, and effective promotion and protection of human rights.
Lysias Fleury, a former Haitian human rights defender, was illegally and arbitrarily arrested and detained, tortured, and forced into hiding for almost five years, and he is now an asylee in the United States. His case has been sent to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and will be only the second case where Haiti has been brought before this court. The International Human Rights Clinic at American University’s Washington College of Law is representing Mr. Fleury and requested the submission of an amicus brief. The brief, which was written in English and translated into French, concerns the collective duty of States members of the Organization of American States (OAS) to support Haiti in fulfilling its international human rights obligations. The brief was submitted at the conclusion of the Spring 2011 term.
The Human Rights Clinic at The University of Texas School of Law has documented the effects of gold mining on Ghanaians living in the Tarkwa area in the Western Region of Ghana. The Clinic went to Ghana in October of 2009, partnering with Center for Public Interest Law at UT and the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) in Ghana to survey the area and conduct interviews. The resulting report, The Cost of Gold: Communities Affected by Mining in the Tarkwa Region of Ghana, became public in the Fall of 2010.
Students from the Human Rights Clinic traveled to Costa Rica in the spring of 2010 to investigate the proposed creation of the largest hydroelectric project of its kind in Central America and its impact on the indigenous Teribe people. In violation of international human rights law, the Costa Rican government is proceeding without the consultation with and the free, prior and informed consent of the Teribe people who live on the proposed site. The Human Rights Clinic published the following report in English and in Spanish: