Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ)

"As part of a premier law school — and situated at the crossroads of academia and the broader human rights NGO community — CHRGJ is uniquely positioned to initiate new and critical debate on human rights theory and practice, bringing together scholars and practitioners to deepen and reinvigorate the field."

Philip Alston,
CHRGJ Faculty Director and Co-chair


New York University School of Law has long been at the forefront of scholarly work on civil liberties and human rights. In 2002, CHRGJ was established to bring together and expand the rich array of teaching, research, clinical, internship, and publishing activities undertaken within the Law School on issues of international human rights law.

Today, CHRGJ is the hub of human rights study at NYU School of Law, the top-ranked program for international law in the country and one of the premier law schools in the world. CHRGJ’s location in New York – home of the United Nations and of many human rights NGOs – puts us in a unique position to be at the physical and conceptual intersection of human rights scholarship and practice.

Having built a reputation for our academic and clinical work in an array of human rights subjects – including counter-terrorism; corporate abuses; caste discrimination; gender-based violence; economic, social, and cultural rights; and extrajudicial executions – CHRGJ is redefining its position at the crossroads of advocacy and scholarship.

Despite the normalization of human rights as part of international discourse and legal education, many parts of the field remains relatively under-analyzed.  CHRGJ has the opportunity now to step back, take a vital inventory of how and under what assumptions and practices we operate as a field, engage in detailed introspection, and foster engaged academic scholarship.  Capitalizing on our unique setting to interrogate the human rights field from a critical perspective, CHRGJ will bring together scholars and practitioners to strengthen both the practice and theory of the field.

CHRGJ carries out this mandate under the interdisciplinary direction of four leading faculty members from both inside and outside the law school. We house a robust fellowship program and host in-house scholarship by established academics and NYU students, as well as placing students in summer internships with human rights organizations.

From 2015-2017, the Center’s scholarship will be focused on the theme of “Inequality, the Global Economy, and Human Rights” and its core activities, including workshops, seminars, a major conference, and scholarly publications, will coalesce around this and related topics, while also encouraging new areas of scholarly pursuit. For more information, please click here.

General Aims and Activities

The Center aims to:

  • Generate substantive, cutting-edge and sophisticated contributions to human rights research and legal scholarship on the part of faculty, staff, students, fellows and visitors; and
  • Actively engage in public affairs and make original and constructive contributions to on-going policy debates relating to human rights.

It achieves these aims through:

  • Undertaking rigorous legal analysis and disseminating studies in several key research areas. Currently, our research is grounded by a common, biennial theme representing an under-explored aspect of human rights theory and practice. The 2015-2017 theme is “Inequality, the Global Economy, and Human Rights.”
  • Developing a new generation of human rights scholars and advocates: The Center uses its location at one of the world’s leading law schools to equip students with the knowledge and experience needed to play principal roles in governments, international organizations, academia, and civil society in the years to come. Through key program elements such as its Global Justice Clinic and International Human Rights Clinic; a robust visiting fellows and scholars program; academic human rights courses taught by leading Faculty; a Fellowship Program that places student interns in a wide variety of key institutions; an annual Emerging Human Rights Scholarship Conference where students present original papers; and support of student organizations working on human rights issues, the Center is at the apex of one of the leading human rights programs in the world.
  • Performing a convening and collaborative function in discussions among human rights leaders concerning the doctrinal and policy dimensions of key current issues. The Center capitalizes on its uniquely neutral position at a leading law school located in the same city as the principal international organization involved in human rights – the United Nations. The Center also collaborates with many major civil society groups based in New York to catalyze and coordinate networking among human rights organizations, litigators, regional groups, parliamentary bodies, and human rights training programs.

To read more about CHRGJ’s events, scholarship opportunities, research and news, please visit CHRGJ’s home page.