International Human Rights Clinic
Our International Human Rights Work
The International Human Rights Clinic provides direct legal representation to clients and organizations in international and domestic forums, documents human rights violations, collaborates with other human rights organizations on cases and projects, publishes papers and reports, and presents on human rights topics.
Strengthening Human Rights at Home
We seek to incorporate international human rights standards in human rights issues of concern in the United States. Integrating international standards allows us to find greater sources of protection and diverse avenues for change. This innovative approach to domestic human rights expands what has been traditionally viewed as exclusively domestic to fit within a universal movement of human rights.
Strengthening Human Rights in the Americas
We collaborate with other non-profits on a project-by-project basis with the objective of strengthening human rights work in the Americas. Specifically, we prepare and submit research memos and any other supporting litigation or advocacy materials supporting existing litigation or projects lead by other organizations.
Strengthening Human Rights in Africa
We work with partners in South Africa on a project-by-project basis to support and defend human rights in South Africa and around the continent. We also raise resources for South African NGOs that provide direct human services to needy communities in South Africa. As part of our efforts, we also raise broader awareness here in the United States of issues related to race, gender, poverty, and development in South Africa.
Projects are selected with the view of promoting in students peer learning, advocacy skills, and the integration of theory and practice. These projects currently include:
Solitary Confinement in Immigration Detention
Since 2001 approximately 3 million immigrants have been held in detention facilities across the United States. It has been estimated that two thirds of immigrant detainees have been held in solitary confinement (in cells for 22-24 hours a day for certain periods of time). Their placement in solitary confinement calls into question the nature of the immigration civil detention system since solitary confinement has become a form of punishment, harassment and degrading treatment of detainees. It also jeopardizes the detainees’ physical and mental health by causing psychiatric and other severe mental harm.
The IHRC has conducted factual and legal investigations on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention and solitary confinement (segregation) practices. The IHRC submitted a Shadow Report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the United States’ obligations vis-à-vis the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in relation to solitary confinement practices in immigration detention. The IHRC continues to investigates the issue and produce advocacy materials.
Cholera in Haiti
In the aftermath of the most disastrous earthquake in 200 years, Haiti was left with a humanitarian crisis of more than one million homeless individuals. Later that year, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti contaminated Haiti’s principal river with cholera-infected human waste. The cholera spread and killed over 8,300 and sickened more than 650,000 persons, with approximately 1,000 persons continuing to die per year.
The IHRC supports the work of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti in its case representing cholera victims seeking compensation from the United Nations.