International Human Rights Courses & Clinics

The following courses are offered in the area of International Human Rights. Not all courses on this list are offered on a regular basis.

Children’s Advocacy Clinic

(6 credits in fall/spring; 3 credits in summer)
S/U only; fulfills Skills Training requirement

The Children’s Advocacy Clinic (CAC) provides free legal services to children across Florida on a variety of issues such as healthcare, disability, education, dependency (foster care), delinquency, and adoption. Through direct representation of children, students develop and hone litigation, negotiation, and interviewing skills, as well as learning substantive legal topics regarding the legal representation of children. CAC Students are responsible for every aspect of their cases and have the opportunity to practice their skills in circuit court, administrative proceedings, and other forums. Please fill out an application. Contact Professor Paolo Annino with any questions.

Farmworker & Immigration Rights Clinic (FIRC)

(6 credits in fall/spring; 3 credits in summer)
S/U only; fulfills Skills Training requirement

In this clinic, students gain experience in client representation, community outreach, and law reform advocacy. First, students represent clients in the filing of immigrant petitions such as Asylum, U Visa, T Visa, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ). Students represent clients in removal proceedings including appearances in Immigration Court. Students may also represent farmworkers in labor disputes. Second, students engage in community outreach in the rural counties of the Second Judicial Circuit focusing on educating immigrants and farmworkers about their rights. Finally, students advocate for the implementation of laws and rules favorable to the immigrant/farmworker community by engaging in various law reform activities such as administrative rule changes; researching, drafting and promoting supportive legislation; monitoring changes in the law; preparing and filing amicus briefs; litigating impact cases that affect large groups of people; attending legislative events, committees or meetings; meeting with lawmakers; or otherwise engaging in the legislative and policy-making process on a local, state, or national level. Please fill out an application. Contact Professor Ashley Hamill with any questions.

Foreign Relations Law

Students in this course will study American constitutional law pertaining to the conduct of foreign relations. Topics include: the war powers of Congress and the president, the constitutional status of treaties and customary international law, the effect of international judgments in domestic law, federal pre-emption of state law in international affairs, international human rights litigation in American courts, the law of foreign immunity and the act of state doctrine. These topics will be examined not only from a doctrinal perspective, but in their historical, political and philosophical contexts.

Global Justice Seminar

This interdisciplinary seminar will focus on global justice: What do we owe the global poor? What are the causes of poverty and oppression? What are the most desirable rules for controlling borders? What makes states legitimate in international law? When is war justified? What are the optimal rules for international trade?

Human Rights and National Security

This course surveys tensions between human rights interests and national security imperatives as well as the extent to which such might be reconciled placing emphasis on but not limited to the period since the September 11, 2001. A two-credit course that will explore aspects of U.S. law, international law, and other human rights and national security considerations relevant to what has been characterized as the U.S.-led “Global War On Terror” but also will include issues that transcend, like climate change, refugee protection and global health by surveying treaty frameworks and exploring what have been characterized as derogable v. non-derogable rights. The mantra for this course will be challenge all givens, in an effort to promote critical thinking and awareness of implications while attempting to disabuse various popular and sometimes unfounded narratives. Toward these ends, we’ll also explore military commissions and Guantanamo Bay, and corresponding US Supreme Court precedent regarding these and a range of issues framed within the ambit of national security that have human rights implications. 

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking represents a troubling side effect of globalization, encompassing forced labor, sex trafficking and the illicit trade in people within and across borders. This course will review and critically assess a diverse literature on the traffic of migrant labor into the United States and the exploitation of U.S. and foreign-born individuals within U.S. borders, with an emphasis on the sociological and legal issues raised by human trafficking. We will consider the blurred lines between immigrant labor exploitation and trafficking, as well as the issues raised involving prostitution and sex trafficking, with due regard for the role of advocacy and the essential lawyering skills of anti-trafficking attorneys. We will draw from a variety of sources, including academic scholarship (articles, books, etc.), domestic and international laws, governmental and non-governmental reports, transcripts from recent federal and state cases, media articles and videos. 

Immigration Law

A course addressing the legal and policy implications of U.S. immigration law including removal proceedings, family reunification and employment-based, which also incorporates a survey of international refugee and domestic asylum law issues. There are no prerequisites, and no prior immigration law study is presumed.

International Human Rights Advocacy Clinic (IHRAC)

(6 credits in fall/spring; 3 credits in summer)
S/U only; fulfills Skills Training requirement

The International Human Rights Advocacy Clinic (IHRAC) offers students hands-on experience representing individual human rights survivors and international non-governmental organizations engaged in human rights advocacy. Participating students gain experience in areas including fact-finding, evidence collection, research, reports, advisory memos, viability assessments, litigation, amicus briefs, UN standard setting, and norm development. They also develop a variety of skills including interviewing, persuasive writing, media, collaboration, leadership, professional identity, trauma-informed advocacy, and methods to cope with vicarious trauma. In addition, students discuss current events in human rights and the role lawyers play in the human rights movement (values, obligations, opportunities, and constraints).

International Human Rights Law

This problem-oriented course is designed for students seeking a general understanding of the subject as well as for students wishing to acquire specific skills for personal involvement in the promotion of International Human Rights, whether in government service or private practice. The course includes consideration of substantive international human rights norms, especially civil and political rights; the role of such norms in international and domestic law; fora-international, regional, and domestic-available for adjudicating or promoting the observance of human rights standards; the procedural rules that govern such fora; the methods by which decisions are made and increasingly enforced; and problems of including human rights concern as an integral part of the country's foreign policy.

Students will take part in one or two role playing exercises - for example, a U.N. debate, an appellate court argument, a congressional hearing, an ABA debate, or a Department of State decision-making meeting. This participation, as well as class discussion based upon regular attendance and a thorough reading of the assigned materials, forms a significant part of the course and will be taken into account in determining the student's grade.

International Organizations

This course provides an introduction to the field of international organization. We will study rule-making, trusteeship, human rights, dispute settlement, and enforcement, as well as the privileges and immunities of international organizations and relations between the United States and the United Nations.

Introduction to International Criminal Law: War Crimes, Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity

This course provides an introduction to International Criminal Law (“ICL”). Essential topics include the nature, scope, and purpose of ICL, and the broader goal of ending impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Students will learn how the definition of each crime came about and has evolved to facilitate investigation and prosecution in times of crisis and conflict. The course will also familiarize students with ICL history, beginning with its origins in the attempt to prosecute the German Kaiser after WWI and continuing through the Nuremberg Trials, the UN War Crimes Commission, establishment of UN ad hoc Tribunals in the 1990s, and finally the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Public International Law

An introduction to a wide range of legal and policy issues centered around the relationships among nations and the role of law in world order. Problems studied include the nature and sources of international law, the existence and activities of states, the status of individuals and associations within the international legal system, and issues of war, development, and environmental protection. 

Transitional Justice: From Impunity to Accountability

This course is designed to introduce students to the field of transitional justice, which encompasses approaches when a society emerges from periods of conflict and repressive governance while confronting questions of how to navigate legacies of grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Although a relatively new area, transitional justice refers to a wide range of mechanisms societies may undertake to address these legacies as they transition from periods of violent conflict, repression and strife towards peace, democratic institutions, rule of law and respect for individual and collective rights. Students will become familiar with theoretical and practical objectives of transitional justice mechanisms widely utilized including criminal prosecutions, truth seeking mechanisms, reparations, institutional reforms and lustration.

Universal Human Rights Systems

This course provides students with an understanding of the history and procedure of the United Nations charter and treaty-based system, as well as exposure to the relevant criticisms surrounding the political nature and the institutional framework of the United Nations that shapes the promotion and protection of human rights within the system. The course will also discuss how the universal human rights system reflects normative human rights within the individual complaints heard by the Human Rights Council and related treaty-bodies.