On December 14th, 2023, the CIHR submitted a letter of allegation on behalf of Kyrgyz journalist Bolot Temirov to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Mary Lawlor, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Expression and Opinion, Irene Khan, and the Special Rapporteur on Peaceful Assembly and Association, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, alerting the Special Rapporteurs to the politically motivated criminalization and unlawful deportation of Mr. Temirov from his home country in retaliation for his investigative reporting on high-level corruption in the Kyrgyz government.

The Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) has submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of independent Kyrgyz journalist Bolot Temirov before the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan. Temirov’s conviction and deportation order should be overturned based on the multiple violations of international human rights law that occurred throughout his trial and appeal, including the denial of fair trial rights; violations of the right to be free from arbitrary detention; violations of the rights to nationality and non-refoulement; and violations of the freedom of expression and the freedom of press. The brief shows that the charges against Temirov are politically motivated and were brought in retaliation for reporting on high-level corruption in the Kyrgyz Republic. In bringing spurious charges, the Kyrgyz government violated Temirov’s right to impart information to the public, and also deprived the people of Kyrgyzstan of their right to information. Finally, Temirov's deportation amounted to the arbitrary deprivation of nationality and violated the principle of non-refoulement given the risk to independent journalists in Russia.

Amicus Brief to the Inter-American Court on the criminalization of obstetric emergencies in El Salvador. The Clooney Foundation for Justice and the CIHR submitted an amicus brief to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of Manuela and Family v. El SalvadorAmicus-brief-to-the-inter-american-court-of-human-rights-on-the-criminalization-of-obstetric-emergencies-in-el-salvador.pdf Manuela, a Salvadoran woman who was unjustly sentenced to 30 years in prison after suffering an obstetric emergency, and who later died from Hodgkin's lymphoma because she was not given medical treatment, was represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights and its local partner in El Salvador, La Colectiva Feminista para el Desarrollo Local de El Salvador. The case was heard by the Court on March 10th and 11th, 2021 and represents a unique opportunity for the IACHR to declare unequivocally that the criminal prosecution of a medical obstetric emergency is a human rights violation. The case will allow the IACHR to create standards to guarantee the right to life and the right to health of women, including those imprisoned. Finally, the case has the potential to bring reparations to Manuela’s family and sanctions to El Salvador for its incapacity to comply with international obligations to guarantee women’s reproductive rights. 

Role of Private Security Companies in Migrant Detention in the U.S.  At the request of the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, CIHR faculty and clinic students conducted extensive research on the role of private security companies (PSCs) in migrant detention in the United States.  In May 2020, they presented the Working Group with their “Report on the Role of Private Security Companies in Migrant Detention in the U.S. and their Impact on the Protection of the Rights of Migrants.”  The report documents the exponential growth in the use of PSCs for migrant detention, particularly under the Trump administration, into what by 2019 was estimated to be a $3 billion a year industry, detaining (by January 2020) more than 80% of all civilly detained migrants.  The report includes detailed profiles of six of the major PSCs involved in migrant detention, and it explores problems of lack of transparency on the part of PSCs and the government, and of PSC activities, such as lobbying, campaign contributions, and revolving door hiring, that can be seen as attempts to influence public policy.  The final section of the report chronicles the wide array of human rights violations suffered by migrants detained in facilities operated and sometimes owned by PSC.

Myanmar: 3rd UPR Cycle, The Right to Worship and the Right to Nationality Since Myanmar’s 2015 UPR. This report is submitted by the Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) of Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law on the occasion of Myanmar’s 2020 Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The submission focuses on concerns related to the right to worship and the right to nationality in Myanmar since its 2015 UPR.

Clooney Foundation for Justice TrialWatch ReportsThe Clooney Foundation for Justice’s TrialWatch initiative monitored criminal proceedings against Evelyn Hernandez and “Diana,” two women charged with murder in El Salvador after being treated for obstetric emergencies after they gave birth in their homes. The two reports, co-authored by Clinical Professor of Law and Trial Watch Expert Juliet Sorensen and Schuette Clinical Fellow in Health and Human Rights Alexandra Tarzikhan, detail the extensive human rights violations against the two women—one of whom was pregnant as a result of a rape—because of El Salvador’s draconian and discriminatory approach to reproductive justice. Though the defendants in these cases were not convicted, their trials are part of a pattern of persecution of similarly situated women. Over the past two decades, El Salvador courts have convicted and imprisoned dozens of women because they had an abortion or simply suffered a miscarriage, the majority being women of limited means. Many of these women were brought to the attention of the police by healthcare professionals who themselves feared prosecution for not reporting abortions or obstetric complications. Read the reports: Evelyn Hernandez and "Diana."

Enhancing Community Health Education through Technology in Lagos, Nigeria. The Access to Health Project in Nigeria works with the Justice & Empowerment Initiatives (JEI), a civil society organization working in Nigerian urban informal settlements, and the Nigerian Slum / Informal Settlement Federation (Federation). The partnership with JEI has centered on community health education with the aim of developing a curriculum that was responsive to the needs of the informal-urban communities. Community health educators (CHEs) are lay community members who are trained in providing peer-led health information discussions and can serve as health advocates for their community. The topics were chosen based on an initial needs assessment and include basic information on anatomy, water and sanitation, safe pregnancy, family planning, malaria, HIV, STDs, other common infections, and vaccines. To date, the CHE program has impacted 112 communities each made up of 1,000 to 30,000 people. In 2018 a partnership was developed with Slalom, a consulting firm with expertise in informatics and business processes. The Slalom team designed a website and mobile application solution to increase access to health information and transparency to services. The website solved the need to get updated, visual training materials to the CHEs and, because the team used a template that did not require coding skills, the solution was scalable and user-friendly for the JEI data team. Slalom also developed a mobile platform so that CHEs could access the information in the field. In 2019, the Slalom team and ATH fellow and faculty traveled to Lagos to train a new cohort of CHEs and field test the mobile application and pilot the website. Current Schuette Clinical Fellow in Health and Human Rights, Alexandra Tarzikhan, presented on ATH’s work during the virtual poster session that was hosted by the Institute for Global Health's Center for Global Health Education and received an honorable mention for her presentation.

Northwestern Access to Health Project. The Access to Health Project (ATH) is an interdisciplinary health and human rights project in which students and faculty from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Kellogg School of Management, and Feinberg School of Medicine work with a community in the developing world to assess the public health needs of that community, and, together with local NGOs and partners design targeted, sustainable interventions. Founded in 2012, ATH has partnered with communities in Ethiopia, the Dominican Republic, Mali, and Nigeria. ATH commenced a new partnership in Lebanon at the start of 2017.

International Human Rights Advocacy Clinic. Students participating in our IHR Advocacy Clinic, led by Clinical Professor Bridget Arimond, have the opportunity to work on diverse human rights issues around the world. In recent years, clinical work has focused on advocacy efforts before human rights treaty bodies charged with promoting and monitoring compliance with international human right treaties. Working with local NGO partners on behalf of the LGBTI community, CIHR has prepared reports on the countries of Ghana, Kazakhstan, the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka and Jamaica that carefully document human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, Clinic students have travelled to Colombia to interview and report on Colombian campesinos who have been victimized by agovernment coca eradication program that violated their right to life, personal security, and reparations.

Cambodia Tribunal Monitor. In collaboration with the Documentation Center of Cambodia and thanks to the financial support of the Robert Bosch Foundation, CIHR operates the Cambodia Tribunal Monitor website. This site provides daily coverage of and expert commentary about the trial proceedings of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia before which senior Khmer Rouge leaders and others most responsible for the atrocity crimes of the Pol Pot era are being brought to justice.

Advocacy on behalf of prisoners in Malawi. Most years, CIHR students have the opportunity to travel to Malawi and work directly with prosecutors, legal aid lawyers, and prisoners to reduce the severe prison overcrowding in that country. Their efforts have led to successful plea bargains that have reduced sentences, conserved scarce judicial resources, and enabled many prisoners to become free after serving time proportionate to the crimes they had committed. In March 2011, documentary filmmakers Michael O’Connor and Celia Rumann produced a film about the CIHR's clinical work in Malawi.

Technical Assistance to the Uganda Human Rights Commission with respect to proposed anti-torture legislation. At the request of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, CIHR faculty and students prepared a report and recommendations assessing a draft anti-torture law against (1) the requirements of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and (2) best practices gleaned from the experience of other countries around the world.  In April 2012, the Ugandan Parliament passed a revised version of this bill that incorporated a number of the recommendations of our report.

Provision of assistance to international and hybrid criminal tribunals. Under the guidance of CIHR faculty, Center students prepare memoranda for these tribunals on legal issues raised by particular cases pending before the tribunals. These include amicus briefs in contentious cases.

Participating as plaintiffs' counsel and as amicus curiae in federal court cases brought under the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victim Protection Act to hold accountable multinational corporations and government officials for atrocities committed in violation of the law of nations.

Youth Rights Resource Compass (website), created May 2020

Access to Health Project: Dominican Republic (pdf), March 2013

Cambodia 2012: Collaborating in Efforts to Advance Criminal Justice and the Rule of Law (pdf), March 2012

Access to Health Project: Ethiopia (pdf), March 2012

Report: Regulating Death in the Lone Star State (pdf), March 2011

A Toolkit for Local Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (pdf), November 2009