Center for International Human Rights Granted Special UN Consultative Status

September 27, 2012

In late August 2012, Northwestern Law’s Center for Human and International Rights (CIHR), which is headed by its Director, Professor David Scheffer, was granted special consultative status with the Economic and Security Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN).  

This prestigious status offers  CIHR faculty and student representatives the opportunity  to participate in events, conferences, and activities of the UN, including the Secretariat, programs, funds and agencies, ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, the General Assembly, Human Rights Council, and other UN intergovernmental decision-making bodies.  The Northwestern Law participation can take the form of attendance at UN organization meetings and (subject to UN requirements), oral presentations and written statements. 

Stephen Sawyer, clinical associate professor of law and director of curricular projects for the CIHR, who, in close coordination with Professor Scheffer and Tom Geraghty, Director of the Bluhm Clinic, spearheaded the application process, said   “Access to the inner workings of the United Nations is particularly significant for the CIHR and the Northwestern University School of Law as a whole because of the opportunity  that it affords our law professors and students to contribute to the vital work of the United Nations.” Sawyer added that “We believe the status will open up doors for our students to expand their knowledge and experience in the field of public international law through a direct exposure to the work of the multitude of organizations in the UN.” 

The Center for International Human Rights is part of the Northwestern University School of Law’s Bluhm Legal Clinic. The Center provides a comprehensive range of classroom courses on the norms and mechanisms of international human rights law, international criminal law, and international humanitarian law, provides valuable clinical experiences for students interested in the protection of human rights on a global scale, and engages in research and other projects regarding emerging human right norms and related issues.