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Human Rights

Michigan Law has rich opportunities for the study and practice of international human rights law. Course offerings include both the foundational courses in human rights law as well as more specialized ones. Those specialized courses enable students to explore, in depth, a broad range of human rights topics—from slavery, to the rights of women or refugees, to terrorism and the law of armed conflict, to the use of law for development and the reduction of global poverty. Moreover, the course offerings on international human rights complement and, in many cases, intersect with an extensive curriculum and other programs on human rights law within the United States.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second from right) meets with the members he appointed to the Panel on Sri Lanka (from left): Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson Marzuki Darusman and Steven Ratner, the Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law. Prof. Ratner's teaching and research focuses on public international law, including accountability for human rights violations.

In addition, Michigan offers students unique opportunities to practice human rights law while still in law school. Michigan's Human Trafficking Clinical Program is the only one of its kind, focusing on both the domestic and international dimensions of human trafficking. The Geneva Externship Program enables students to spend a semester in Geneva working directly for an intergovernmental or nongovernmental organization devoted to human rights. Programs in South Africa as well as Namibia and Cambodia offer students opportunities to practice human rights law in those countries. And every year, Michigan helps place and fund students for summer internships at the AIRE Centre in London, one of Europe's preeminent human rights organizations.

Michigan approaches human rights law as part of a broader commitment to international law. Human rights practitioners and scholars regularly speak at Michigan as part of the International Law Workshop, or for other panel presentations, conferences, or student-run events.

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