International Human Rights Law Clinic

The International Human Rights Law Clinic (IHRLC) offers student attorneys the opportunity to represent non-U.S. citizens and organizations working to defend the human rights of non-U.S. citizens in a broad range of settings, including regional and international bodies, U.S. federal and state courts, and immigration court.

The IHRLC provides representation in predominantly three broad areas: (1) Refugee and resettlement applications to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on behalf of vulnerable individuals abroad; (2) asylum cases on behalf of individuals in the U.S. seeking protection based on persecution because of political opinion, gender-based violence, and/or sexual orientation; and (3) children and families seeking refuge in the U.S. from Central America.

Additional Links

 

Our Focus

The matters handled by the IHRLC allow students to develop core lawyering skills, such as interviewing, counseling, negotiation, and trial advocacy, while cultivating complementary skills in the areas of policy and legislative advocacy, community organizing, and strategic communication.

Meet our Faculty and Staff

Anita Sinha

Assistant Professor of Law

Director, International Human Rights Law Clinic

Anita Sinha is an Assistant Professor of Law and the Director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic. After more than 10 years of litigation and advocacy experience on behalf of indigent communities, Professor Sinha joined the WCL faculty in 2012 as a Practitioner-in-Residence in the Immigrant Justice Clinic. She began her career as a Skadden Fellow with the Northwest Immigrant Justice Project, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Professor Sinha led civil rights litigation and human rights advocacy on behalf of displaced New Orleans residents. As a clinical teacher, she has supervised students on U.S. immigration cases, as well as transnational and international projects. Professor Sinha has been cited in several major news outlets, including The New York Times and Associated Press, and is a Huffington Post contributor. Her research and scholarship address human rights issues related to forced migration and detention, and the intersection of immigration and constitutional law.

Sherizaan Minwalla

Practitioner-in-Residence

Sherizaan Minwalla is a Practitioner-in-Residence in the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the American University Washington College of Law. Professor Minwalla is an experienced human rights lawyer who advocates for survivors of gender-based violence in the US and overseas in the Middle East. She has spent much of the last decade living in Iraq where she has run human rights, development, and humanitarian programs with Heartland Alliance International (HAI), the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps. For the past two years, Professor Minwalla responded to the needs of women and girls in acute crisis due to armed conflict, including survivors of ISIS captivity, as well as women and girls who were displaced and at greater risk of forced marriage, trafficking and other violence. As the HAI Country Director, she established model legal and social protection programs to represent survivors in in the criminal justice and family court systems. She also oversaw anti-torture and juvenile justice programs.