Students in this yearlong clinic gain first-hand experience in human rights advocacy, working in partnership with nongovernmental organizations, human rights practitioners and law firms in the United States and abroad.

Not all projects have direct client representation, but some do. Clinic projects are selected to build the knowledge and skills necessary to be an effective human rights advocate, while exploring the opportunities and limitations of human rights institutions and the diversity of practice.

Students work in teams on one or more projects throughout the year, and all students have direct contact with their clients or with supervising attorneys in client NGOs. Some travel to Washington, D.C., is required, but is scheduled on a flexible basis to accommodate student schedules. Students are required to check in with their clients or their supervising attorneys on a weekly basis.

Class discussions focus on human rights law concepts, ethical and professional dilemmas that may arise in human rights lawyering, critical examinations of human rights movements and campaigns, and the design of integrated advocacy strategies. The clinic provides substantial opportunities throughout the year to network with human rights practitioners and to develop practical skills, including international human rights research and writing; litigating human rights claims in international forums; advocating before the U.S. government and international organizations; and documenting and publicizing human rights violations. The clinic is available to new students in both fall and spring. 

To be considered for this clinic, students must both rank the clinic in the clinic lottery and submit application materials within the timeline set by the Student Records Office. Students selected for the clinic through the clinic application/lottery process will be automatically enrolled prior to the regular course lottery.

The positions that the clinic takes on behalf of its clients are independent of the views of the University of Virginia or the School of Law.

Nelson Camilo Sánchez León
Associate Professor of Law, General Faculty
Director, Immigration, Migration and Human Rights Program
Director, International Human Rights Law Clinic
Remote video URL
Skills Taught
International human rights research and writing, litigating human rights claims in international forums, advocating before international organizations, and documenting and publicizing human rights violations
S/U (fall), H/P/F (spring)
Course Credits
6 (3 fall, 3 spring)
In the News

4.30.24 Clinic Students Travel to Argentina, Geneva To Observe Evolution of Justice

11.21.23 Students Report on Transformative UN Trip

2.17.23 One Year After Russian Invasion, UVA Human Rights Lawyer Is Suing on Behalf of Ukrainians

11.29.22 Digital Authoritarianism in Indian-Administered Jammu and Kashmir (IAJK): Legal Analysis on the Culpability of Social Media Platforms and Guide to Accountability

11.17.22 Postcard From Peru: Clinic Students Witness Tense Dialogue at OAS General Assembly

2.25.22 Clinic Notches Win as Honduran Court Tosses Activists’ Convictions

2.16.22 Clinic Co-Signs International Standards on Judicial Guarantees and Right of Defense

5.11.21 Clinic Authors “Gender Discrimination in Football: Building a Toolbox Toward Gender Equity in the Beautiful Game” 

1.25.20 Clinic and NGOS File Amicus Brief Over Illegal Detention of Environmental Defenders in Honduras

12.8.20 Clinic Report Backs Human Rights of Gay Men in Nigeria

5.6.20 Clinic Students Help Shape UN Guidance in Science, Human Rights

11.20.19 Students Help Organize Conference Looking at Future of Human Rights Reform

4.16.19 Clinic Students’ Research on Migrants Aids UN Meeting in Geneva

4.4.19 Clinic Students on Colombia Trip Study Legal Remedies for Air Pollution

11.19.18 Clinic Opposes Pardon for Human Rights Criminal

6.4.18 Camilo Sánchez Joins Faculty as International Human Rights Clinic Director

10.11.12 Students Team Up with Alum to Educate Guatemalan Women About Their Rights

10.14.11 Law Students Support UN Official's Investigation of Violence Against Women in the United States

3.16.11 International Human Rights Clinic Students Research Women's Rights in Iraq

6.3.10 Supreme Court Rules in Case that Included Work by International Human Rights Clinic Students

5.18.10 Haiti’s Women at High Risk for Rape Following Earthquake, Professor Finds

3.3.10 International Human Rights Clinic Contributes to Supreme Court Brief in Torture Case

2.24.10 UN Special Rapporteur Visits Law School

6.19.09 Clinic Students Help Iraqi Lawmakers Through Work for NGO

3.19.08 Human Rights Program Conference to Explore Chinese Legal Reform

3.17.08 Human Rights Clinic Participates in Inter-American Commission Hearing

7.31.07 Human Rights Clinic Passes Reality Test in Suriname