Protecting Fundamental Freedoms


IHRC undertakes a broad range of work to protect fundamental freedoms, particularly civil and political rights reflected in international human rights law, such as freedom from arbitrary detention and freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (“other ill-treatment”). Our projects in this area often involve advocacy before UN bodies. Among other legal work, students have drafted submissions to the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances on disappearances in Mexico, promoted the right to privacy in country submissions to the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, and developed a guide for civil society organizations on litigating national identity systems’ human rights implications. 

Meet the Clinicians who work in this area:


Representative Projects

Advocating for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories 

IHRC has focused on advocacy for the protection of Palestinians’ civil and political rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In 2021, student teams prepared legal briefs analyzing Israeli military practices of administrative detention, military court trials, and violations of prisoners’ rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The briefs, which were submitted to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967, and the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, support ongoing international advocacy efforts on behalf of Palestinians living under the occupation, with the objective of promoting equality and adherence to international legal standards. 

 Preventing Torture though Trade Regulation 

IHRC is helping to lead efforts to create a new global treaty through the UN General Assembly to delegitimize and ultimately end international trade in law enforcement equipment, devices, and weapons used for torture or other ill-treatment. Although international law provides a right to be free from torture and other ill-treatment, international trade in law enforcement equipment is largely unregulated. Working in partnership with Amnesty International, the Center for Victims of Torture, and the Omega Research Foundation, IHRC is supporting an emerging global network of civil society organizations calling for a treaty. To support ongoing advocacy, IHRC and its partners have published guidance on the essential elements of a Torture-Free Trade Treaty and seen our views reflected in authoritative UN reports. 


News & Publications

Publication

Essential Elements of a Torture-Free Trade Treaty

News

Clinic and Partners Release Position Paper on Essential Elements of a Torture-Free Trade Treaty

News

Addameer and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School Send Joint Submission to the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel

Publication

Lockdown and Shutdown: Exposing the Impacts of Recent Network Disruptions in Myanmar and Bangladesh,

News

Supreme Court Hears Case on Child Slavery in Cocoa Industry

News

Myanmar Must Tackle Hate Speech

Publication

Preventing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Detention Settings

News

Launch of Report on Hate Speech Leading Up to 2020 Myanmar Elections

News

Launch of the Principles on the Prevention of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Detention Settings

News

Litigating Identity Systems Guide