International Human Rights Clinic

The heart of the GW Human Rights Clinical Program is the International Human Rights Clinic. The IHRC is the newest addition to the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics of GW Law School. Founded in 2004 by Professor Arturo Carrillo, the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) at GW Law is the only human rights clinic in the country dedicated primarily to litigating human rights cases before U.S. and international tribunals.

In the clinic, students are introduced to the professional and ethical practice of law in the unique cross-cultural context of international human rights advocacy. Working under close faculty supervision, they partner with experienced attorneys at organizations engaged in domestic and international litigation to provide pro bono legal services to victims of human rights abuses in the United States and abroad. Students thus bridge theory and practice by working on live cases that address a wide range of contemporary issues in the human rights field.

Moreover, the IHRC combines classroom instruction with clinical simulations drawn from the human rights context to instill in students the basic skills and values of good legal practice. In addition to legal research and writing, students work on developing other key lawyering skills in the transnational setting of human rights advocacy. These include interviewing and counseling clients; fact development and investigation; and professional responsibility.

The clinic’s docket consists largely of human rights cases either in U.S. courts under the Alien Tort Claims Act and other federal statutes, or before international tribunals, such as those in the Inter-American Human Rights System. By adopting this focus, the clinic seeks to promote the progressive integration of international human rights standards into U.S. domestic legal practice, as well as to train a new generation of lawyers capable of using human rights to achieve increased levels of social justice in the United States and abroad.

The George Washington University Law School
International Human Rights Clinic
2000 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20052


The Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics were founded in 1971, and were dedicated in 1991 to acknowledge the generous support of Jacob Burns (LL.B. '24, LL.D. '70). Burns was renowned for his philanthropy, through which he "contributed significantly to the expanding boundaries of knowledge," and left an enduring legacy that improves the lives of many today.




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