The Center engages with leading scholars and practitioners to foster cutting-edge research on today’s most pressing human rights challenges.

Academic Conferences


The Human Rights Center directs and supports applied research projects to advance human rights law, policy, and practice.

  • The Minnesota Human Rights Lab is a joint endeavor of faculty across several colleges and degree programs, designed as part of the University’s Grand Challenges strategic initiative. The aim of the Lab is to investigate and model ways that cutting-edge research can be used more effectively with NGOs, communities, institutions and policymakers to reduce inequalities in the enjoyment of human rights. Faculty members and graduate students from different disciplines partner with actors on the frontlines of working for a more just and equitable society. For the first two years (2016–2018), a total of 12 human rights research projects will be run through the Lab.
  • The International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) was organized in 1985 at the Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya, to promote recognition of women’s human rights under the United Nation’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). IWRAW carries out international advocacy and produces timely reports, training manuals, and scholarship, including The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women – A Commentary (eds. Marsha Freeman, Christine Chinkin, Beate Rudolf) Oxford University, 2012.
  • The online University of Minnesota Human Rights Library is one of the world’s largest collections of core human rights materials. Housing more than 60,000 documents, the Human Rights Library provides unprecedented access to these resources for human rights advocates throughout the world. In addition to its main English collection, the Library features eight language alcoves to provide greater accessibility in Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Select Past Projects

The Guantanamo Defense Project

The Guantanamo Defense Project provided legal assistance to military lawyers defending detainees held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay. With a large amount of law student research support, the project generated a wealth of research, motions, memoranda, and briefs to support the under-staffed and under-financed military defense.

The project made important contributions to the Khadr case, the Hamdan case and the defense of five other “high-value” detainees. The Project created a set of case materials for Defense Counsel, collecting international jurisprudence to develop an extensive brief bank on the subjects of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; child soldiers; equal protection and equality; international fair trial rights; right to presence at trial; and suppression of evidence adduced through torture or other ill-treatment.

Human Rights Library Special Collections

Complementing the Guantanamo Defense Project, the Human Rights Library Special Collections include a library of government documents pertaining to the roles of Armed Forces Medical Personnel who worked in U.S. Armed Forces prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo Bay from 2001-06.

This collection is entitled United States Military Medicine in War on Terror Prisons, Eds. Steven Miles, Leah Marks, and is available free of charge through the University of Minnesota Human Rights Library.

Minnesota-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership

The Minnesota-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership was a collaborative effort to strengthen the capacity of universities in Antioquia, Colombia, to teach, research, and provide clinical legal representation toward the promotion of international human rights and the rule of law.

The project focused on strengthening the institutional capacity of the Colombian partners, serving vulnerable populations, and developing human rights leaders. The Human Rights Program (CLA) and the Human Rights Center (Law School) were the University of Minnesota partnering entities and the Colombian partner institutions were Universidad de Antioquia, Universidad Católica de Oriente, Universidad de Medellín, and Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana.

Human Rights Education Topic Book Series

Training Manual on Human Rights Monitoring

The HRC produced the Training Manual on Human Rights Monitoring for the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, detailing the methodology and best practices of monitoring a country’s human rights conditions.

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-5000

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