International Human Rights Clinic
Rooted in the Law School’s values and tradition of social justice, academic freedom, personal integrity and professional ethics, the overarching mission of the International Human Rights Clinic at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles (“IHRC” or “clinic”) is to contribute to the attainment of the fullest exercise of human rights by all human beings throughout the world. In carrying out this mission, the IHRC aims to maximize the use of global and regional legal and political institutions through litigation, advocacy and capacity-building.
As an educational institution, the clinic transforms its mission and goals into a unique practical experience for its students, providing opportunities to gain vital knowledge and skills for effective and successful legal advocacy on behalf of victims of human rights abuses. At the same time, through the strategic use of international and regional mechanisms for the protection of human rights, the clinic provides exceptional pro bono legal assistance and empowers victims of human rights violations, and the organizations representing them, to utilize international and regional mechanisms.
While students work on all stages of an individual case or engage in advocacy efforts on particular thematic issues, they learn how to conceptualize and strategize diverse approaches and grapple with practical, ethical, methodological and theoretical challenges involved. Through the clinic, Loyola’s students have the opportunity to expand their perspectives and reach the world from Los Angeles.
The clinic is directed by Professor Cesare Romano and Mary Hansel. From 2012 to 2016, Veronica Aragón served as deputy director of the Clinic.
The clinic is active year-round, over three terms. Students sign up for two consecutive terms (up to three units (pass/fail) per term, for a total of maximum 6 units). Students working at the Clinic during the summer have the option of being compensated through the work-study program instead of earning units. Clinic units also count toward the completion of the pro bono graduation requirement.
Clinic students meet once a week for two hours. The first hour is devoted to class discussion regarding international human rights topics and attorney skill development. The second hour is reserved for project work, as the project teams meet with supervising faculty to strategize and discuss any questions or issues confronted in their work.
Introduction to International Law is a pre-requisite for the clinic. It can be satisfied either prior to enrolling or concurrently during work at the Clinic.
The International Human Rights Clinic’s work involves litigation of human rights violations before a wide array of international bodies, and advocacy and international policy-making on pressing human rights issues.
Images courtesy of the United Nations
Extrajudicial Executions and Police Brutality
Arbitrary Arrest, Torture and Forced Disappearances
- IA Comm HR: Marvyn Perez et al. v. Guatemala
Rights of Refugees
- Gender Discrimination & Recognition of Domestic Violence as Grounds for Refugee Status: CEDAW, M.C. v. Ecuador
- Unlawful Detentions for Failure to Recognize Refugee Protections: UNHRC, Fofana v. Ecuador
- Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Refugees: CESCR, Peña v. Ecuador
Right to Information and Due Process Rights
Right to Participate in the Conduct of Public Affairs
ADVOCACY AND POLICY-MAKING
Extrajudicial Executions and Police Brutality
- UN: Universal Periodic Review: Jamaica, Shadow Report on Extrajudicial Executions
- UN: Human Rights Committee, ICCPR Periodic Report: Jamaica, Shadow Report on Extrajudicial Executions
Detention of Irregular Migrants
Right to Benefit from Scientific Research
- CESCR: Submission for the compilation of the List of Issues to be considered during Costa Rica’s 5th periodic report.
Law and Genocide
- Submitted before International and Regional Bodies
- Submitted before Domestic Courts
United Nations, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW): M.C. v. Ecuador
In January 2015, the clinic, in concert with Asylum Access Ecuador (AAE), submitted an initial communication (complaint) before the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on behalf of a female Colombian refugee who fled to Ecuador after suffering years of severe domestic violence at the hands of her ex-husband. Ecuador denied her refugee claim on the basis that the reasons she left her country were not envisaged in the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugee and its 1967 Protocol as requiring international protection.
The communication to the CEDAW committee alleges that Ecuador has failed to uphold its obligations under the CEDAW Convention to protect against gender discrimination. It also alleges that Ecuador has failed to eradicate such discrimination and traditional forms of gender bias from the public sphere. It seeks to have Ecuador establish gender-sensitive procedures or to train Ecuadorian officials on the nature of domestic violence as a form of gender-based violence that may rise to the level of gender-based persecution.