Students in the IHR Clinic are introduced to the professional practice of law in the cross-cultural context of international human rights advocacy. They bridge theory and practice by working on live case projects that address a range of contemporary issues in the human rights field. Many clinic students engage in research and advocacy on leading international human rights issues. Other student-attorneys partner with experienced lawyers engaged in human rights-based litigation or advocacy to provide pro bono legal services to victims of such abuses in the United States and abroad. In a few cases, students may represent clients directly in litigation or related advocacy matters.
IHR Clinic Students are immersed in the practice of international human rights law and advocacy. They are responsible for carrying out a wide range of professional activities under close faculty supervision. Most student-attorneys engage in research and advocacy projects designed to promote human rights through innovative engagement with cutting-edge issues in international law. One area of primary focus is the intersection of information and communication technology (ICT) and international human rights law. On the one hand, students explore the human rights implications of the operations of Internet companies like Facebook, Google, and Mozilla. On the other, they participate in a new clinical project addressing violence against women online, which involves devising legal and non-legal strategies to counter cyber-stalking and harassment. Another area of intense research revolves around the UN International Law Commission’s drafting of a new crimes against humanity (CAH) convention. Through guided legal research and writing, students actively support the work of Professor Sean Murphy, ILC Rapporteur for CAH, who is spearheading this initiative. Finally, students in the IHR Clinic participate in a semester-long client simulation designed to develop client interviewing and counseling skills.
The George Washington University Law School
International Human Rights Clinic
2000 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20052
The International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) at GW Law is dedicated primarily to litigating human rights cases before U.S. and international tribunals. Students are immersed in the actual practice of international human rights law. They are responsible for carrying out a wide range of professional activities under close faculty supervision. Whether in federal court or before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, students participate in building legal cases from the ground up and representing their individual or organizational clients throughout the entire litigation process. They engage in researching and drafting pleadings, interviewing and counseling clients, identifying witnesses and gathering evidence, developing case strategy, writing press releases, preparing for or participating in hearings, and other activity related to their cases. In addition to litigation of human rights cases, students also engage in advocacy projects designed to promote human rights. In close collaboration with partner organizations, students draft reports for submission to international treaty monitoring bodies, conduct research and fact-finding, and engage in other advocacy efforts.
Arturo Carrillo is Professor of Law and Director of the International Human Rights Clinic at The George Washington University Law School. Before joining the faculty, Professor Carrillo served as the director of the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, where he was also Lecturer in Law and the Henkin Senior Fellow with Columbia’s Human Rights Institute. Prior to entering the academy in 2000, he worked as a legal advisor in the Human Rights Division of the United Nations Observer Mission to El Salvador (ONUSAL), as well as for non-governmental organizations in his native Colombia, where he also taught international law and human rights. From 2005 to 2010, Professor Carrillo was a senior advisor on human rights to the U.S. Agency on International Development (USAID) in Colombia.
Professor Carrillo’s expertise is in public international law, transitional justice, human rights and humanitarian law, and comparative clinical legal education. He is the author of a number of publications in English and Spanish on these topics. His recent article, “Transnational Mass Claims Processes (TMCPs) in International Law and Practice,” was published by the Berkeley Journal of International Law (Spring 2010). As part of his clinical practice, Professor Carrillo litigates extensively in U.S. courts and before regional human rights tribunals. Professor Carrillo received a B.A. from Princeton University, a J.D. from The George Washington University, and an LL.M. from Columbia University.
Professor Carrillo can be contacted by e-mail or phone 202.994.5794.
Students will be selected based on a variety of factors, including their potential to provide high quality legal services to our clients and partners. Faculty will consider a student’s interest in, and commitment to, human rights and social justice work, but such experience is not required. Faculty try to select a diverse class that has different backgrounds, experiences and interests, but a common desire to promote human rights and work collaboratively to gain invaluable experience.
Every year the Clinics hold an Open House where each Clinic’s faculty is available to answer questions about their respective clinic.
- Preference is given to 3L students but 2L students are encouraged to apply, especially for the spring semester.
- Students must take the clinic for 6 credits and be able to devote a minimum of 24 hours per week to clinic work.
- Students must have completed International Law. Recommended courses include International Law of Human Rights, GW-Oxford International Human Rights Law Program, and Regional International Human Rights Systems.
For more information and to apply to the clinic, please login to the Portal. A complete set of application instructions is posted approximately one month prior to the registration period for the following semester.
1. FCC Comment on net neutrality and the potential of international human rights and trade obligation violations. Submitted by Professors Arturo J. Carillo and Dawn Nunziato in December 2014.
2. Comparative Law Study and Analysis of National Legislation Relating to Crimes Against Humanity and Extraterritorial Jurisdiction, Professor Arturo J. Carillo and former clinic staff attorney Annalise K. Nelson.
3. The Shadow Report Human Rights Violations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People in Guatemala. This report was submitted for consideration at the 104th Session of the Human Rights Committee, March 2012, New York, lead-authored by IHRC students.
4. The Shadow Report Human Rights Violations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People in Jamaica. This report was submitted for consideration at the 103rd Session of the Human Rights Committee October 2011, Geneva, lead-authored by IHRC students.
5. "Re-Imagining the International Human Rights Law Clinic," Professor Carillo with Nicholas Espejo.
8. Jamaicans for Justice Project documents:
9. Article by IHRC Director Arturo Carrillo published in 2004 by the Columbia Human Rights Law Review: "Bringing International Law Home: The Innovative Role of Human Rights Clinics in the Transnational Legal Process."
This report was submitted for consideration at the 104th Session of the Human Rights Committee, March 2012, New York, lead-authored by IHRC students.
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