International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic

The International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic engages students in innovative and interdisciplinary advocacy to advance human rights and foster just and lasting peace globally. Students engage in both intensive clinical seminar/training sessions and clinical advocacy projects. The projects are designed and implemented in partnership with impacted communities and civil society, and community agency and power will be values that underlie all the work of the Clinic. Through the seminar and projects, students develop the skills to be creative, reflective, and critical advocates, and to prevent and redress rights violations. These skills include project selection, design, and strategy; choice and sequence of advocacy tactics; fact-finding methodologies and evidence assessment; interdisciplinary research methods; interviewing; digital and physical security; writing advocacy documents; using judicial and quasi-judicial processes; advocating to the UN, government, and media; navigating ethical dilemmas; facilitating workshops; undertaking conflict analysis; designing and facilitating dialogues; fundraising; and engaging in project evaluation.

The Clinic is also a space for students to examine key critiques of the human rights and conflict resolution fields, reflect on how to mitigate these critiques, and brainstorm how to engage in transformative work. Additionally, students reflect on their own identity as advocates and its implications for their work, how to engage in trauma-informed work, how to exercise leadership and work in teams and with project partners, and how to foster well-being and build sustainable and joyful careers.

Since 2011, the Clinic has worked on a broad range of human rights challenges, including torture, summary executions, indigenous rights, civil conflict, access to water and land rights, military justice, refugee and asylum rights, labor rights, the inter-American system and transitional justice in nearly two dozen countries in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia, including Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Peru, and the United States (Americas); European Union, Greece, and the UK (Europe); occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, Syria (Middle East); South Africa, Tanzania (Africa); Australia, Cambodia, India, and Pakistan (Asia). Following the Clinic’s relaunch in Spring 2023, the Clinic has taken on projects involving arbitrary arrests in El Salvador; climate displacement and access to justice in the Americas; racial, sexual orientation and gender identity rights globally; and advancing human rights and peacebuilding efforts in Myanmar and Kashmir.

International Human Rights Clinic 17

“I came to SLS in large part because of the full-time clinic model. The value of getting to throw yourself into your projects full-time without any competing class commitments cannot be overstated. This is especially true in the international human rights context, as we are able to travel as needed for fact-finding, client meetings, and advocacy. I view this clinical experience as getting to try out my dream job before even graduating from law school, while also building strong relationships with incredible people and organizations in the human rights field.”

– Katelyn Masket, 2021

Clinic Faculty and Staff

“The IHR&CRC not only provides students the opportunity to improve upon a range of skills necessary for traditional litigation and trial preparation, but also emphasizes witness interviewing, non-traditional open source research, outreach to media and affected communities, and partnership with organizational clients. Our work has exemplified how international law and its principles applied domestically allow victims and communities to seek truth and achieve justice in some of the most painful and challenging settings.”

Bryan Thomson, 2020

Alumni Spotlight: Human Rights Advocates

The International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic (IHR&CRC) is just one of the many SLS programs that offer students insights into the global practice of law. IHR&CR clinical students are immersed in public international law, international human rights, and transitional justice. They have the opportunity to work in various regions, with diverse partners, and across jurisdictions. They also develop a range of human rights skills, including litigation, advocacy, story-telling, and media work. Many MLC and SLS alumni now work within fields of international law and human rights. Although they have SLS in common, their experiences and their career trajectories are unique. This “Alumni Spotlight: Human Rights Advocates” is an opportunity to hear about their dynamic experiences from the alumni themselves.

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“Lawyers have an obligation to make abstract notions of justice concrete, especially for the world’s most vulnerable. That is the core of what the IHR&CRC does. We partner with organizations around the world to help empower the downtrodden and hold the powerful to account.”

Robert LaCroix, IHR&CRC Alumnus