Events & News

Fall 2016 Application Update– Among a very competitive pool of applicants, UN CAT Project has accepted its fall 2016 student participants. We extend our gratitude to all applicants for their interest in the Project and commitment to strengthening human rights.

The UN CAT Project Panel Presentation - on February 10, 2016, Project students and faculty will hold a panel discussion about their experiences and work in the Project, as well as the Project's approaching spring application process and deadline. MORE

UN CAT Project faculty and alumni are participating in the Project's 2nd Reunion (2004-2015) on February 13, 2016, where they will discuss strengthening efforts to eradicate torture. Over 60 Project alumni gathered for the 1st Reunion. MORE

Conference Proceedings

International Conference on the Prevention of Torture and Other Ill-Treatment
(February 23, 2009)

(cosponsored with the Association for the Prevention of Torture)

United Nations Committee against Torture Project

Founded in 2004, WCL's United Nations Committee against Torture (or UN CAT) Project is a one-of-a-kind experiential learning opportunity for upper-level students to deepen their knowledge of international human rights law and experience firsthand the UN CAT proceedings in Geneva, Switzerland. The Project expanded in 2009 from six to ten students with the generous support of the Kovler Foundation.

The Project's application/selection process takes place during the spring semester and is widely advertised. During the fall semester, participating students help prepare for the official UN CAT session in November. The students take a specialized seminar on the prohibition of torture and the universal system, taught by the Dean/UN CAT Chair (2008-16; member 2003-16) Claudio Grossman and/or UN CAT Project Coordinator Jennifer de Laurentiis ('92). Students research and synthesize vast materials concerning torture and human rights in pertinent countries, and draft extensive papers identifying potential compliance issues involving the operative treaty (the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment). The 4-credit seminar includes an additional 2-credit option for interested students.

In November, the group travels to Geneva for the UN CAT session, witnessing firsthand the "dialogue" between the Committee and State Party delegations, identifying germane developments and issues, and meeting regularly to strategize and conduct follow-up research. The Project also includes an annual WCL alumni dinner, site visits, and meetings with NGOs while in Geneva. Read feature stories on the 2010, 2011, and 2013 UN CAT Projects online.

Following the group's return to WCL, students build upon this unique human rights experience by authoring articles, giving presentations, and participating in other campus and community initiatives to raise awareness and ultimately help eradicate torture around the world.

Inquiries about the UN CAT Project should be directed to Jennifer de Laurentiis at jdelaurentiis@wcl.american.edu.




The Palais des Nations of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland

2015 UN CAT Project participants: 56th session
of the United Nations Committee against Torture

2011 UN CAT Project participants: 47th session
of the United Nations Committee against Torture