Sherizaan Minwalla

Practitioner-in-Residence,
International Human Rights Law Clinic

Office: Room Y239
Phone: 202-274-4484
Email: vCard


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.

In Chicago, Professor Minwalla ran a statewide program at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago to represent survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. In addition to representing several hundred survivors before the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration Court, she trained first responders on domestic violence and immigration relief available to survivors. She was the Legal Director with the Tahirih Justice Center, a DC-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women and girls fleeing gender-based violence.

As a co-teacher in the WCL International Human Rights Law Clinic, Professor Minwalla works with student attorneys on individual cases including asylum and representing clients before international bodies, as well as on projects focused on protecting and advancing international human rights. Professor Minwalla has appeared regularly on WBEZ’s Worldview. Her areas of writing and research include immigration relief for survivors of gender-based violence in the US and globally, refugee issues, as well as human rights and access to justice in Iraq. Professor Minwalla’s areas of research include improving legal protection to individuals facing gender-based violence and persecution globally, particularly those unable to cross international borders to access existing refugee and resettlement protection, as well on ethical media reporting on Yezidi survivors of sexual violence in conflict.





Degrees & Universities

  • J.D., Chicago-Kent College of Law Illinois Institute of Technology 2002
  • M.A., Loyola University Chicago 1999 (Applied Sociology)
  • B.A., University of Cincinnati 1992 (International Relations)