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.

Keep up to date with the Bernstein Institute - join our mailing listSupport the Bernstein Institute.


Our Focus Areas


Institute Updates

Announcing the Launch of

Picture of the Justice Power website

Justice Power is a new website that documents legal empowerment strategies used by organizations in the U.S. to increase access to justice and build power of asylum seekers, immigrants, and refugees. Justice Power is part of the Legal Empowerment and Immigration Project, a network of directly impacted community members, grassroots activists, and lawyers that help immigrant communities know, use and shape the laws that affect their lives. The Project is convened by NYU Law’s Bernstein Institute for Human Rights and Global Justice Clinic.

In a time of increasing hostility towards asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants – with thousands forced to navigate the system alone – the organizations featured on this site engage in creative, community-centered approaches to empower immigrants and advance justice. 

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.