Rooted in the Law School’s values and tradition of social justice, academic freedom, personal integrity and professional ethics, since 2012 the overarching mission of the International Human Rights Center at LMU Loyola Law School (“IHRC” or “Center”) 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 Center 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 Center provides exceptional pro bono legal expertise to victims of human rights violations and the legal 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 Center, Loyola’s students have the opportunity to expand their perspectives and reach the world from Los Angeles.
The Center is directed by Professor Cesare Romano.
The International Human Rights Center (IHRC) admits only 4 to 6 students per year.
IHRC Students sign up for two consecutive terms (fall and spring) and earn up to three units (pass/fail) per term, for a total of maximum 6 units. Center units also count toward the completion of the pro bono graduation requirement.
Center students meet once a week for one hour (days and hours will be determined once students have enrolled and made their calendars), to discuss international human rights topics, develop attorney skills, and review project work.
Students must take, or have taken, prior to or concurrently with their participation in Center, the International Protection of Human Rights course.
The International Human Rights Center’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
Examples of international human rights cases on which Center’s students have worked over the years include:
- Rights of refugees (before the UN Committee on Human Rights, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women) in Ecuador.
- Right to participate in sport activities (before the UN Committee on Human Rights, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) in Ecuador.
- Extra-judicial executions and excessive use of force by police and armed forces (before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) in Jamaica.
- Death penalty (before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) in the United States.
- Right to participate in the political affairs / direct democracy (before the UN Committee on Human Rights) in Italy.
- Right to health, reproductive rights and right to benefit from progress in science and technology (before the UN Committee on Human Rights, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) in Italy.
- Forced disappearance, arbitrary arrest, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment (before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) in Guatemala.
- Right to information and due process rights (before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) in the United States.
ADVOCACY AND POLICY-MAKING
Examples of international human rights advocacy and policy-making work done by the Center’s students over the years include:
- Extrajudicial executions and police brutality
- Detention of irregular migrants
- Rights of refugees
- Reproductive rights (access to Artificial Reproductive Technology and abortion)
- Rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS
- Human rights in sports
- Right to benefit from scientific research
- The human rights of scientists