Human Rights Research, Advocacy, and Education

In honor of Robert and Helen Bernstein’s deep commitment to human rights, the Bernstein Institute for Human Rights at NYU School of Law promotes cutting-edge research, education, and advocacy on human rights issues around the world, with a focus on defending dissent and advancing legal empowerment. The Institute embraces a holistic approach to human rights, deepening engagement with key stakeholders in the pursuit of justice: law students, human rights defenders, scholars, judges, interdisciplinary allies, and affected communities.

Human rights has long been a core focus of the Law School, and with this major initiative NYU Law is further demonstrating its dedication to training the next generation of human rights leaders. The Institute, with Professor of Clinical Law Margaret Satterthwaite ’99 as faculty director, also supports other human rights initiatives at the Law School and University and acts as the coordinating hub for existing human rights work at NYU, including the Center for Human Rights & Global Justice, the US-Asia Law Institute, and NYU Stern's Center for Business and Human Rights.

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Our Focus Areas


Institute Updates

Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellowships

We are now accepting applications for 2020-2021 Masiyiwa-Bernstein fellowships with Human Rights First and the Community Justice Project.  Open to graduating NYU Law 3Ls,  Click here to learn more and get application instructions



Defending Dissent

At "Human Rights in Hong Kong," organized and hosted by the Bernstein Institute, human rights activists and lawyers at the epicenter of the unfolding crisis in Hong Kong shared reflections and strategies on the role international advocacy can play in supporting a pro-democracy movement.

Legal Empowerment

The Immigration Justice Empowerment Project is a joint effort of the Bernstein Institute, UNHCR and the Global Justice Clinic at NYU Law to document legal empowerment strategies used by various immigration organizations. This video on the "accompaniment" strategy features the organization Grassroots Leadership.

Featured Fellows

Tyler Walton

Our inaugural Tuttleman Legal Empowerment Fellow, Tyler Walton '18 will work on researching and co-developing strategies with affected community members to access and exercise their rights.



Deirdre Dlujlleski

Meet our 2019-2020 Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellows, including Deirdre Dlugoleski '19, who will be spending her year working with Human Rights First.