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Human Rights Advocacy Project

The Human Rights Advocacy Project focuses on the training of lawyers who can contribute to the global struggle for justice and human dignity. Working directly with local, national and international non-governmental organizations, second and third year students will conduct fact-finding and legal research, write legal memoranda in support of ongoing and potential litigation, draft reports, and develop critical lawyering and advocacy skills.

In the academic component students will learn the fundamental principles and norms of the international human rights canon, including the treaties that comprise the International Bill of Rights; basic principles of international law; the sources of international law; the Law of Treaties and the Law of State Responsibility; US law regarding treaty-making, interpretation, and compliance; and judicial decisions, statutes and other materials relevant to all of the projects worked on by the class.

March 2, 2021

Today the Human Rights Advocacy Project learned that its efforts, in conjunction with other advocacy groups, has garnered attention from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which issued a statement condemning the environmental racism endemic in Louisiana’s petrochemical industry and facilities along the lower Mississippi River. 

As the High Commissioner’s statement (you can read it here) says:

"This form of environmental racism poses serious and disproportionate threats to the enjoyment of several human rights of its largely African American residents, including the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to life, the right to health, right to an adequate standard of living and cultural rights."

During the Fall 2020 Semester, Human Rights Advocacy Project students, working with Prof. Jeanne Woods, wrote a detailed, nine-page letter to the United Nations’s Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, which outlined the impact of the petrochemical industry upon minority residents in Louisiana. (The text of the students’ letter is available here.)

Advocacy like this by the College of Law’s students and faculty is the true embodiment of its core values of service to others in the pursuit of social justice.

For more information about the Human Rights Advocacy Project, please contact:
Jeanne M. Woods
Ted and Louana Frois Distinguished Professor in International Law Studies
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law