International Women's Human Rights Clinic
The International Women’s Human Rights Clinic (IWHR Clinic) was established at Georgetown University Law Center in 1998. The IWHR Clinic advances women’s human rights globally through partnerships with local women’s human rights non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”), as well as through research and scholarship.
Under the guidance of Founder and Director Professor Susan Deller Ross and a Teaching Fellow, IWHR Clinic students spend a semester developing human rights advocacy skills while working on an international women’s human rights project with partner NGOs or advocates. Students work closely with local lawyers to develop policy, strategy, and proposed legislation, court papers, or human rights reports to address an important gap in women’s rights.
The IWHR Clinic does not have a prescribed set of topic areas on which students and fellows work. Rather, local lawyers and IWHR Clinic faculty collaboratively choose projects that are responsive to partner NGOs’ priorities and offer Clinic students and fellows the best opportunity to be directly involved in the research, development, and advocacy of women’s human rights.
Although projects and host countries vary from semester to semester, all emphasize the application of international, regional, and national women’s human rights standards in the domestic context and all require extensive comparative analysis with such standards in other countries. The IWHR Clinic provides students with intensive training in writing, researching international and comparative law, interviewing, advocacy, and oral presentation skills.
In the Fall semester, students work on constitutional and human rights test-case litigation in a national court or submissions to international human rights monitoring bodies, such as the UN Human Rights Committee or the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. In the Spring semester, students participate in a fact-finding trip, and draft human rights reports and legislation. The IWHR Clinic also works with regional and international bodies on country- or theme-specific submissions.