Projects

The IHR Clinic works with attorneys, human rights practitioners, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, academics and others on a wide variety of projects directed toward the promotion of social and economic justice globally and in the United States. The IHR Clinic also participates in litigation in a variety of venues, including domestic, foreign and regional jurisdictions.

IHR Clinic Projects involve petitioning international and regional organizations, such as the UN Human Rights Committee and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, working with international experts, including UN Special Rapporteurs, and nongovernmental organizations abroad and in the United Stats to research and draft reports, participating in strategic litigation, and defending clients in domestic courts. Projects are undertaken by teams of law students supervised by IHR Clinic staff. 

Strengthening Human Rights through Constitutional Reform

The IHR Clinic, in collaboration with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), are working to draft a major report that will assess the incorporation of women's human rights into constitutions enacted between 2003-2013. The report will provide a contextual review of constitutional language and analyze implementing legislation and policy to determine whether constitutional policies have, in fact, been adequately domesticated. The report will then identify model countries in which women's human rights principles have been most effectively mainstreamed, and conduct an in-depth review of the conditions and factors that contributed to more effective human rights protections. In March 2016, students will travel to selected countries to conduct detailed field research and present their initial findings at a high-level meeting at U.N. headquarters to an audience of U.N. agencies and other stake-holders.  Read more...

Promoting Domestication of Constitutional Human Rights Principles in Zimbabwe

The IHR Clinic, in collaboration with Zimbabwe Women's Lawyers Association, are providing support to civil society organizations in their advocacy to implement women's constitutional rights rights in Zimbabwe's newly enacted July 2013 constitution. IHRC students are researching priority areas (marital, property, and socio-economic rights), conducting regional comparative reviews of legislation, developing drafts of proposed legislative language, and identifying areas of strategic litigation. IHRC students will present their proposals to the Zimbabwean government, international agencies, domestic NGOs and other stakeholders in Zimbabwe. Read more...

Encouraging Corporate Responsibility to Protect Worker's Rights in Burma

The IHR Clinic conducted an assessment of the U.S. State Department's reporting mechanism for American corporations making new aggregate investments of $500,000 or more in Burma/Myanmar. Students in the project reviewed the reporting mechanism as well as corporate reports to date in order to determine the extent to which the reporting mechanism has been implemented in accordance with its intent and how partners can use the information in the reports to promote human rights in Burma. The IHRC recently submitted comments to the U.S. State Department with its recommendations for the reporting mechanism, and will be traveling to Burma to present its recommendations and conduct trainings for worker's organizations on the reporting mechanism and international labor and workers' rights standards.  Read more...

Preventing the Lethal Use of Force by State Actors in the U.S.

The IHR Clinic, partnered with Amnesty International, U.S.A., are analyzing police department policies of major U.S. cities to determine if they meet international human rights standards regarding the use of force, the use of deadly force in particular. This project contributes to Amnesty International's ongoing U.S.-based advocacy for better state laws and police practices regarding the use of deadly force, in response to the deadly shootings of mostly African-American males at the hands of police in the United States.  Read more...

Developing a Rights-Based Approach to Tuberculosis

The IHR Clinic, in partnership with the All India Institute of Medical Science, launched its “Developing a Rights-Based Approach to Tuberculosis” project at a conference at the University of Chicago Center in Delhi, India in December. IHR Clinic Acting Associate Director Brian Citro worked alongside two University of Chicago Doctors, Evan Lyon and Kiran Raj Pandey, and Health Policy Advisor of Save the Children UK, Mihir Mankad, to organize the two-day conference. The conference initiated a dialogue on how the right to health can be used to combat TB and to protect the rights of people living with and vulnerable to TB. Although TB is largely curable, in 2013 there were 9 million new cases and 1.5 million deaths from TB. TB disproportionately affects low and middle-income countries, as well as specific populations, including the poor, people living with HIV, prisoners, and migrants. Read more . . .

Past Projects

Replacing Myths with Facts: Sex-Selective Abortion Laws in the United States

The IHR Clinic, in partnership with National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health(ANSIRH), researched and drafted a report titled “Replacing Myths with Facts: Sex-Selective Abortion Laws in the United States.” The report examines the recent proliferation of laws banning sex-selection abortion in the United States. It is the work of a multidisciplinary team, including two economists, led by IHR Clinical Professor Sital Kalantry and Miriam Yeung, Executive Director, NAPAWF. As the report explains, laws banning sex-selective abortion have been introduced and enacted based upon a combination of implicit bias, factual inaccuracies and harmful stereotypes about Asian Americans. Rather than to combat gender discrimination, the report shows that sex-selective abortion bans are intended to limit access to abortion generally. Read more . . .

International Housing Rights Project

The IHR Clinic, in partnership with Nazdeek, a legal capacity building organization based in India, are working to promote realization of housing rights globally, with a focus on India. The project involves comparative law and policy research, fact-finding trips, work with international experts, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, and developing of advocacy and litigation materials. Read more . . .

Immigration Project

The IHR Clinic represents clients in United States immigration court who are at risk of being deported to their country origin where they would face persecution or torture. Many of these individuals suffered persecution or torture prior to their arrival in the United States. The IHR Clinic receives many of its cases through the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), a non-profit organization that provides and facilitates legal services for indigent and low-income immigrants. Read more . . .

Shackling of Pregnant Prisoners in the United States

The IHR Clinic, in partnership with the ACLU National Prison Project and Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers, researched and drafted a report on the shackling of pregnant prisoners in the United States submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee prior to the Committee's Fourth Periodic Review of the United State in October 2013. Read more . . .

Right to Education Project

The IHR Clinic, in partnership with the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights, submitted a Letter of Allegation to three UN Special Rapporteurs concerning the human rights implications of the closing of 49 Chicago public schools prior to the 2013-2014 school year. The IHR Clinic also submitted a "shadow" report addressing the issue to the UN Human Rights Committee prior to its Fourth Periodic Review of the United States compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in October 2013. Read more . . . 

Protecting Human Rights Defenders in Colombia

The IHR Clinic, in partnership with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, are working to provide protection for human rights defenders in Colombia through the use of international human rights mechanisms. Human rights defender Martha Giraldo directs an organization that seeks justice for victims of extrajudicial killings in Colombia, the National Victims of Crimes of the State (MOVICE), Cuaca Valley Chapter.  She and her husband have received multiple death threats, some of which have been attributed to para-military groups. Read more . . . 

Women in Prison in Argentina 

IHR Students researched and drafted a report (available here in English and Spanish) on the causes, conditions, and consequences of women’s imprisonment in Argentina. Their research involved an empirical survey of 30% of Argentina’s women prisoners in Federal prisons and visit to prisons in Argentina by prior teams of students.  The report was launched during an expert panel discussion at the University of Chicago Law School moderated by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida ManjooRead more . . . 

Sexual Violence Laws in India

IHR Clinic students, in partnership with Jindal Global Law School, conducted comparative research on sexual violence laws in India. Their research included interviews with sex workers in Kolkata, India, a group likely to be affected by changes in existing laws. The project was undertaken in connection with the Indian Parliament's debate on proposed reforms to India's laws on sexual violence drafted in the aftermath of the 2012 Delhi gang rape case. IHR Clinic students presented their findings at a national conference in New Delhi, India organized by the Delhi-based Human Rights Law Network. Read more . . .