Human Rights Clinic: Projects & Cases

 

 

Members of the Human Rights Clinic at the United Nations Closed Consultation on the Right to Food and Nutrition at the Commission for the Status of WomenThe projects of the Human Rights Clinic cover the full range of human rights advocacy. Projects have focused on: 

Gender Justice

Economic Justice

Migrant / Immigrant Rights

Juvenile Justice

 

 

Gender Justice

 COURAGE (Community Oriented and United Responses to Address Gender Violence and Equality)

The Human Rights Clinic works to strengthen responses to gender-based violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, locally in Miami, nationally and globally, through the Human Rights Program’s COURAGE Initiative.

 Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States of America

The Human Rights Clinic represents Jessica Lenahan, the petitioner in Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States—a groundbreaking decision from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) finding the U.S. in violation of its human rights obligations in the context of domestic violence.

 Indigenous Women's Rights

http://media.law.miami.edu/clinics/img/2015/thumb-human-maw.jpg

The Human Rights Clinic has a number of projects focused on Indigenous women's rights. 

  • In March 2021, the Human Rights Clinic produced an advocacy brief and U.N. submission on behalf of Indigenous women leaders on the interpretation of the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) with respect to Indigenous women and girls. The submission was drafted on behalf of MADRE and FIMI and seeks to inform the CEDAW Committee’s development of a new General Recommendation on the rights of Indigenous women and girls.
  • The Human Rights Clinic produced a report on the impacts of COVID-19 on Indigenous Peoples and women, in particular. 
  • The Human Rights Clinic produced a report on the “Rights of Nature and Indigenous Communities.” For more information on the Clinic’s work on the rights of Nature, please also see the Clinic’s report on the rights of rural and Indigenous women in Ecuador and advocacy brief and CEDAW submission on the rights of Indigenous women and girls.
  • Another project addresses the intersection of gender-based violence against Indigenous Peoples and environmental justice.
  • Additionally, the Human Rights Clinic advocates on behalf of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada, along with Canadian partner organizations. In February 2019, the Human Rights Clinic contributed to a written and oral submission before the Canadian National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, focused on the right to truth. Read the web story and partners' press release. From March 26-28, 2012, a Human Rights Clinic team presented at a thematic hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in British Columbia, Canada.

 Discrimination, Violence, and Drug Policy

The Human Rights Clinic works to address discrimination and violence against women as a result of drug policy as part of the Human Rights Program’s Health Rights Initiative.

 Gender-Based Violence and Workers' Rights

The Human Rights Clinic works to address discrimination and gender-based violence affecting low-paid workers, in particular low-paid immigrant women farmworkers, domestic workers, and nursery workers. The Human Rights Clinic, WeCount!, Miami Workers Center, and Community Justice Project are the joint recipients of a grant to support low-paid immigrant women workers in South Florida who have experienced workplace sexual misconduct or related retaliation. The community coalition has used the grant to collectively initiate a new project, Voces Unidas/VWA Ini: Building a Local Movement to End Workplace Sexual Harassment and Violence against Low-Wage Immigrant Women Workers in South Florida. The coalition’s work has entailed the creation of surveys and focus group discussion guides to assess the prevalence of workplace gender-based violence in South Florida as well as tools for organizers and workers to recognize and respond to gender-based violence in the workplace. Additionally, the Human Rights Clinic engaged in  U.N. advocacy on the topic through the submission of a civil society report to the Universal Periodic Review of the U.S. entitled Violations of the Human Right to Equality and Non-Discrimination in the United States: Low-Paid Migrant Workers’ Experiences with Workplace Gender-Based Violence and developed two related factsheets focused on domestic workers and agricultural workers.

 Domestic Violence and Gun Laws

  • Participating in a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

In March 2014, the Human Rights Clinic participated in a thematic hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to look at the impact of Stand Your Ground laws on minority groups throughout the United States. Clinic partners included the Dream Defenders, Community Justice Project of Florida Legal Services, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Free Marissa Now Campaign. Additionally, Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, and Ronald Davis, the father of Jordan Davis, both spoke as part of our delegation before the Commission.

The video of the hearing can be found here.

A copy of the Petitioners’ testimonies can be found hereProfessor Bettinger-Lopez appeared on Jamaica Radio's Behind the Headlines on March 25, 2014 to discuss the hearing.

Click here and here for blog posts by Professor Deena Hurwitz (UVA) about the hearing.

  • Submitting a shadow report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

In September 2013, the Human Rights Clinic drafted and submitted a "shadow report" on Domestice Violence, Gun Violence, and "Stand Your Ground" Laws to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in anticipation of the review of the United States' compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in Geneva in March 2014.

  • Participating in an ABA (American Bar Association) Task Force Hearing.

The Human Rights Clinic participated in the ABA National Task Force’s Hearing on Stand Your Ground Law – Miami Law 3L Charlotte Cassel discussed the application of the Stand Your Ground law to victims of domestic violence belonging to ethnic and racial minorities and framed the issue in terms of international human rights.

 Domestic Violence Resolutions & Resources

The Human Rights Clinic has worked with law clinics and advocates across the country to develop Resolutions Recognizing Freedom from Domestic Violence as a Fundamental Human Right.

  • HRC students' resolution declaring that "freedom from domestic violence is a fundamental human right" is approved by Miami-Dade County Commission.
  • Miami Herald op-ed co-authored by HRC student Michael Stevenson and Commissioner Sally Heyman about the resolution.
  • Professor Margaret Drew and students from the University of Cincinnati prepared a toolkit on local DV resolutions.

In August 2104, the Miami Human rights Clinic, along with the Colombia Law School Human Rights Institute, and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, published Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault in the United States: A Human Rights Based Approach & Practice Guide

In January 2014, the clinic hosted a webinar on “New Perspectives in Gender Justice in Clinic Teaching.” The webinar focused on the case of Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States of America, the clinic’s work on implementing the Inter-American Commission’s 2011 decision, and how local governments can resolve to recognize freedom from domestic violence as a fundamental human right.

Economic Justice

 Criminalization of Poverty & Marginalization

The Human Rights Clinic works to challenge the criminalization of poverty and marginalization as part of the Human Rights Program’s Housing Rights Initiative.   

 Right to Housing

The Human Rights Clinic works to realize the right to housing as part of the Human Rights Program’s Housing Rights Initiative. 

 Right to Food

The Human Rights Clinic works to realize the right to housing food as part of the Human Rights Program’s Food Rights Initiative.

 Women's Economic Empowerment

The Human Rights Clinic works to advance women’s economic empowerment, including access to land, property, and housing as part of the Human Rights Program’s Housing Rights Initiative.

 Advocacy with the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty & Human Rights

Twenty second- and third-year students from Professor Carrie Bettinger-López’s International Human Rights Law and Advocacy class teamed with the law school’s Human Rights Clinic and South Florida anti-poverty organizations to produce six reports for the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. The rapporteur, Professor Philip Alston, used the reports to supplement his official visits to several U.S. cities in December 2017. Alston presented his findings on the interlinkages between U.S. poverty and the realization of human rights before the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva in early 2018.

Click here for the six consolidated reports submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.

Click on the links below for the individual reports:

Migrant / Immigrant Rights

 Asylum Claims at the U.S. Border

  • The Human Rights Clinic is collaborating with Catholic Legal Services to advocate for asylum in the U.S. for victims of gender-based violence.
  • The Human Rights Clinic filed a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights alleging rights violations by the U.S. against asylum seekers who have been detained in harsh conditions and arbitrarily denied the chance to apply for asylum on the Southern border.
  • The clinic was involved in representing a Haitian immigrant in deportation proceedings, arguing that deporting her would likely result in her being tortured back in Haiti, a violation of the Convention against Torture (CAT).

 Human Rights in Post-Earthquake Haiti

The Human Rights Clinic co-organized an international “Stop Deportations to Haiti” Campaign in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, with advocacy before the United Nations, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and U.S. and Haitian lawmakers.

  • Shadow Reports to U.N. Treaty Bodies

On June 30, 2014 the Human Rights and Immigration Clinics contributed to a shadow report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination regarding Deportation from the United States to Haiti: A Violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

The Human Rights Clinic further contributed to a shadow report to the U.N. Human Rights Committee in anticipation of the review of the United States' compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in Geneva in October 2013 on U.S. Deportations to Haiti. In February 2014, the clinic submitted an update to their original shadow report. View our Congressional briefing flyer (March 2012) with the latest updates on Haitian deportations.

  • Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Advocacy

The Human Rights Clinic, together with the Immigration Clinic and other partners, brought a “precautionary measures” case before the IACHR asking the United States to immediately stop deportations of Haitian nationals from the U.S. to Haiti in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis there. The petition was granted for dozens of Haitian nationals. The Clinic worked on a follow-up “merits petition” to the IACHR.

  • Engagement withthe U.N.'s Independent Expert on human rights in Haiti

The U.N.'s Independent Expert on human rights in Haiti, as well as UM Clinics and South Florida immigration advocates, have renewed their call on the United States, Dominican Republic and others to halt deportations to Haiti.

  • Press Release
  • UN report, Forced returns of Haitians from third states
  • Read the statement presented on July 3, 2012 at the United Nations Human Rights Council by the ACLU, UM's Human Rights and Immigration Clinics, and others concerning Haitian deportations from the U.S. following the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
  • ACLU delivered a statement on behalf of several groups at UNHRC urging US government to refrain from deporting Haitians (July 4, 2012).

 Migrant Rights in the Dominican Republic

This project was initially focused on supporting efforts in the Dominican Republic to implement a regularization program for undocumented individuals. In the wake of a September 2013 decision by the Dominican Constitutional Court—which stripped citizenship from hundreds of thousands of Dominican citizens of Haitian descent—the Clinic quickly switched its focus to addressing the harmful consequences of the Court ruling. As part of these efforts, the Clinic submitted a press release and an amicus curiae brief in the case of Benito Tide Méndez et al., v. Dominican Republic before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, focused on the rights of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent living in the Dominican Republic.

Juvenile Justice

 Youth Incarcerated in Adult Prisons

The Human Rights Clinic has engaged with local, state, and national juvenile justice advocates to develop advocacy and other strategies for rectifying some of the rights problems facing youth in the criminal justice system. Some of the Florida-focused topics the Clinic has focused includes: children being filed into the adult justice system without judicial review; pretrial detention of juveniles in county jails; and conditions of confinement of juveniles, including solitary confinement and other abuse allegations.

The Clinic provided research support for a shadow report on Youth Incarcerated in Adult Prisons in the U.S. to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

 Criminalization of Minority Youth

On June 30, 2014 the Human Rights Clinic along with partner organizations submitted a Shadow Report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination regarding Criminalization of Minority Youth: Youth Criminally Tried and Incarcerated as Adults.

Help Us Make a Difference

The Human Rights Clinic relies on charitable contributions to:

  • Offer high-quality legal support to underserved and disadvantaged communities
  • Give students firsthand experience in cutting-edge human rights litigation and advocacy at the local, national, regional, and international levels
  • Provide students with opportunities to engage in multidimensional legal advocacy, including:
    • Documentation and report-writing
    • Litigation
    • Media engagement
    • Work with legislative and administrative bodies
    • Campaigning
    • Community organizing
    • Global networking
  • Empower students to evaluate and propose reforms for laws and legal institutions
  • Invest in the next generation of skilled, ethical, and reform-minded lawyers
    Support Us   

Support Us


CONTACT INFORMATION

Human Rights Clinic
University of Miami School of Law
1311 Miller Drive, E295A
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Phone: 305-284-1678
Fax: 305-284-6093
Emailhrc@law.miami.edu


FACULTY

Caroline Bettinger-López
Caroline Bettinger-López
Professor of Law | Director, Human Rights Clinic | Faculty Chair, Human Rights Program

Tamar Ezer
Tamar Ezer
Associate Director, Human Rights Clinic | Lecturer in Law | Faculty Director, Human Rights Program

Denisse Montes
R. Denisse Córdova Montes
Practitioner in Residence, Human Rights Clinic | Lecturer in Law

STAFF

Rose Dominguez
Rose Dominguez
Senior Manager
(305) 284-4542
rdominguez@law.miami.edu

 

Dalgys Estrabao
Dalgys Estrabao
Senior Manager
(305) 284-8537
destrabao@law.miami.edu

 

PHOTOS

See more photos of the Human Rights Clinic in action on Flickr


Carrie Bettinger Lopez with Joe Biden
It's On Us
Professor Caroline Bettinger-Lopez (former White House Advisor on Violence Against Women) with former Vice President Biden at the It's On Us Rally at the University of Miami (March 2018).

 

Professor Tamar Ezer and Gabrielle Wynn, J.D. ’20

UN Advocacy
Professor Tamar Ezer and Gabrielle Wynn, J.D. ’20 participate in Estonia’s review before the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Group of students standing in front of CIW building.

Partners
The Human Rights Clinic and the Voces Unidas Coalition visit the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Immokalee, Florida.

 

Panelists in discussion

Petty Offenses Symposium
Professor Tamar Ezer, Conor Arevalo, J.D. ’21 Melanie Ng, J.D. ’21 David Stuzin, J.D. ’21 present at the Petty Offenses Symposium: Challenging Criminalization of Poverty and Marginalization.

Support Us


CONTACT INFORMATION

Human Rights Clinic
University of Miami School of Law
1311 Miller Drive, E295A
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Phone: 305-284-1678
Fax: 305-284-6093
Emailhrc@law.miami.edu


FACULTY

Caroline Bettinger-López
Caroline Bettinger-López
Professor of Law | Director, Human Rights Clinic | Faculty Chair, Human Rights Program

Tamar Ezer
Tamar Ezer
Associate Director, Human Rights Clinic | Lecturer in Law | Faculty Director, Human Rights Program

Denisse Montes
R. Denisse Córdova Montes
Practitioner in Residence, Human Rights Clinic | Lecturer in Law

STAFF

Rose Dominguez
Rose Dominguez
Senior Manager
(305) 284-4542
rdominguez@law.miami.edu

 

Dalgys Estrabao
Dalgys Estrabao
Senior Manager
(305) 284-8537
destrabao@law.miami.edu

 

PHOTOS

See more photos of the Human Rights Clinic in action on Flickr


Carrie Bettinger Lopez with Joe Biden
It's On Us
Professor Caroline Bettinger-Lopez (former White House Advisor on Violence Against Women) with former Vice President Biden at the It's On Us Rally at the University of Miami (March 2018).

 

Professor Tamar Ezer and Gabrielle Wynn, J.D. ’20

UN Advocacy
Professor Tamar Ezer and Gabrielle Wynn, J.D. ’20 participate in Estonia’s review before the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Group of students standing in front of CIW building.

Partners
The Human Rights Clinic and the Voces Unidas Coalition visit the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Immokalee, Florida.

 

Panelists in discussion

Petty Offenses Symposium
Professor Tamar Ezer, Conor Arevalo, J.D. ’21 Melanie Ng, J.D. ’21 David Stuzin, J.D. ’21 present at the Petty Offenses Symposium: Challenging Criminalization of Poverty and Marginalization.