Protecting human rights is the foundation of law. The Human Rights Program at the University of Virginia allows students to explore the range of opportunities available in the human rights field, at home and abroad, through hands-on experiences. The program is the hub for human rights activities at the Law School, and cooperates with student groups, faculty members, the Public Service Center and Career Services, and human rights organizations to coordinate speakers, events, summer and postgraduate employment, and pro bono opportunities.
Through our HUMAN RIGHTS LISTSERV, we provide information about human rights–related jobs and fellowship opportunities. To join, contact Cindy Derrick.
International Human Rights ClinicClinic Projects, 2003-13
The International Human Rights Law Clinic is the core of the program. The clinic offers students practical experience in human rights advocacy in collaboration with human rights lawyers and nongovernmental organizations in the United States and abroad. Clinic students have worked in the following areas:
- National security in the war on terror
- Freedom of information and expression
- Gender-based violence, women’s and LGBTI rights
- Rights of indigenous people
- Legal literacy and empowerment
- Right to education
- Right to an effective remedy
- Rights respecting legislative reform
- Right to life and prohibition against torture
- Human rights in the Middle East
- International criminal justice and universal jurisdiction
- Corporate liability for human rights violations
- Land law and housing rights
- Transitional justice/responsibility to protect and to fulfill human rights
- Rights related to health and medical treatment
- Rights of refugees
Clinic students have worked on the following projects:
U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN Organized a roundtable with U.S. gender and rights advocates; drafted briefing paper on the due diligence standard; coordinated and edited five civil society briefing papers for the special rapporteur’s official U.S. visit; contributed to the special rapporteur’s 2013 thematic report on the development of due diligence standards and consistency between international and regional treaties
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH Researched Israel’s legal obligations with regard to land and housing rights of its indigenous population for a published report: “Off the Map: Land and Housing Rights Violations in Israel’s Unrecognized Bedouin Villages”
WOMEN’S JUSTICE INITIATIVE (Guatemala, founded by Kate Flatley ’08) Designed training modules on international human rights law, gender-based violence, and inheritance and property rights for indigenous Guatemalan women
CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS (New York) Researched for plaintiffs’ legal team in the case of Al Shimari v. CACI, a federal lawsuit brought by four Iraqi torture victims against private U.S.-based contractor CACI International Inc. and CACI Premier Technology Inc.
CENTER FOR JUSTICE IN INTERNATIONAL LAW (Washington, D.C.) Wrote amicus brief for the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in support of petitioners in the case of Benito Tide Méndez et al. v. Dominican Republic
CENTRO PARA LA ACCIÓN LEGAL EN DERECHOS HUMANOS, PROGRAM ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLEs (guatemala) Prepared comparative analyses of draft legislation and policy initiatives concerning indigenous peoples in the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala.
CENTER FOR JUSTICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY (san francisco) Consulted with U.S. Senate staffers on a U.S. Supreme Court amicus curiae brief in Samantar v. Yousef regarding congressional intent as to whether the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act should be a bar to remedies under the Torture Victim Protection Act, and drafted the brief for the proceeding in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
FOREST PEOPLES PROGRAM (U.K./Netherlands) and ASSOCIATION OF INDIGENOUS VILLAGE LEADERS IN SURINAME Developed a manual and workshops for indigenous leaders in Suriname on the right to education
American Civil Liberties Union National Security Project Drafted a complaint regarding the release of information on Guantanamo Bay deaths and detainees’ suicide and homicide attempts
For More InformationProfessor Mila Versteeg