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Human Rights Institute

Human Rights On Campus

Georgetown Law offers many ways for students to learn about and get involved with human rights issues on campus.

Institute Work: HRI engages the human rights movement through its projects and research, which also provide opportunities for Georgetown Law students interested in pursuing a career as a human rights lawyer to gain knowledge, skills and experience. More information is available here.

Human Rights Associates Program: HRI, in collaboration with the student group Human Rights Action/Amnesty International, runs a program designed to introduce students to the practice of human rights law and deepen students' understanding of a range of practice areas. The program is built around a weekly speaker series, which meets on Wednesdays. More information is available here

International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) Initiative: HRI works closely with the International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) Initiative, which is based at the Law Center, to support the work of its Georgetown Law IMBR Student Chapter.

Guantanamo Observers Program: In 2014-2015, HRI and the Center for National Security and the Law launched a program to allow Georgetown students, faculty and staff to observe military commissions proceedings at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay. Applications for the 2016-2017 Observer Pool are available here.

Events: Each year, HRI and others on campus hosts a variety of events on human rights topics. These events serve to foster discussion, debate, and collaboration among leading human rights experts, while also providing opportunities for our students, faculty and staff to learn about and engage current issues in the field. Almost all events at the Law Center are open to the public. 

Human Rights Faculty: Georgetown Law's full-time, adjunct and visiting faculty includes some of the leading experts in the human rights field. Professors Jane Aiken, Rosa Brooks, David J. Luban, Jane Stromseth and Carlos Vazquez also serve on HRI's Faculty Advisory Committee. Each year, one exceptional human rights practitioner is brought to campus to serve as our our Robert F. Drinan Chair.

Pruckmayr Award: Each year, the Human Rights Institute awards the The Bettina Pruckmayr Award for Human Rights to a graduating J.D. student who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to human rights while at Georgetown Law.  Nominations for this award are solicited in the spring.

HRI Human Rights Student Scholarship Scholarship Award: To recognize excellence in student scholarship in the area of human rights, in 2015 HRI will be offering a new award – the HRI human rights student scholarship award to a current Georgetown Law student. The recipient of the 2015 award will receive a modest cash prize, conditional on the student presenting his or her paper in the 2015 International Human Rights Law Colloquium during the spring semester. By offering this award in conjunction with the opportunity to present in the Colloquium, HRI hopes to help support students interested in developing as human rights scholars and contributing to our campus human rights community. 

Human Rights Curriculum: Georgetown Law is among the best places in the world to study human rights law and to develop as a human rights practitioner. HRI helps ensure Georgetown's place as a center of teaching and training. For a complete list of human rights offerings, click here and type "human rights" into the search bar.

  • Experiential Education: Georgetown Law is at the cutting edge of experiential legal education. Each year, many J.D. and LL.M. students gain human rights experience through the Law Center's Practicums and many J.D. students gain experience through the Law Center's Clinics.

Centers, Institutes and Clinics: HRI is works closely with many of the Centers, Institutes and Clinics on campus, which provide incredible opportunities to learn about and engage in human rights work.

  • Clinics: J.D. students interested in human rights practice develop expertise in skills across the Law Center's clinical program. For example, the Center for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) gives students the chance to learn about international human rights law protecting refugees. Students in CALS assume primary responsibility for the representation of refugees seeking political asylum in the U.S. because of threatened persecution in their home countries. Similarly, the International Women's Human Rights Clinic gives students the opportunity to work with partners abroad on human rights reports, fact-finding, proposed legislation, and test-case litigation to help women gain their fundamental rights to freedom from violence and equal treatment. They tackle subjects as varied as female genital mutilation, human trafficking, child marriage, domestic work, reproductive rights, and discriminatory laws that deny women the right to own and inherit property. During the 2016-17 academic year, the Harrison Institute for Public Law will have a clinical team focused on human rights - specifically working on protecting workers and the environment in the U.S. Government's own supply chain. Also, the Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic (FLAC) works with non-profit clients each year, and for the past two years one of those clients has been the Women's Refugee Commission. Although there is no guarantee that FLAC will work with the Commission next year (this decision is revisited each summer), it is likely that FLAC will work with at least one client that focuses on human rights during the 2016-17 academic year.  

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