International Women's Human Rights Clinic
In March 2004, as International Women's Human Rights Clinic students and faculty sat in the courtroom, the justices of the Constitutional Court of Uganda read their decisions from the bench. The next day's Kampala Monitor newspaper sensationalized the holding—"Wives can divorce cheating husbands" (see picture, above), ran the banner headline—but what the court had done was spectacular: for the first time, the Constitutional Court of Uganda had used the gender equity provisions in the Ugandan Constitution to invalidate a discriminatory law.
With this decision, the court extended to wives the right to divorce based on their husbands' adultery that the old law gave only to him—a right of great importance in the era of rampant HIV/AIDS. The attorneys of Law and Advocacy for Women-Uganda had won an amazing victory. But it was a victory for Georgetown's International Women's Human Rights Clinic as well. The case had begun as a joint project between IWHRC and LAW-U, and Clinic students initially drafted the Constitutional Court petition and brief, working in tandem with the lawyers who later filed the case in Uganda.
The IWHRC was established at Georgetown University Law Center in August 1998. The IWHRC advances women's human rights globally through partnerships with local women's rights NGOs, as well as through research and scholarship. Many of our partners are African lawyers who have completed their graduate law degrees (LLMs) as part of Georgetown University's Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA) Program.
The Georgetown Law Alumni Magazine has featured the work of the IWHRC in several article:
In the Fall/Winter 2007 Issue, the Magazine profiled the Clinic's collaboration and recent successes with graduates of the LAWA program.
In the Fall/Winter 2006 Issue, the Magazine described Clinic work in Swaziland as an integral part of the Law Center's dedication to International Human Rights work.