International Human Rights Advocacy

November 2020 - In March 2020 a group of University of Minnesota human rights faculty, students, and partners traveled to the United Nations in Geneva to advance their work on a variety of human rights projects related to issues as diverse as counter-terrorism, LGBTQ+ rights, new technologies, rights of rural communities, and gun violence. 

In one line of work supporting advocates in Kenya, students with the Human Rights Litigation and International Advocacy Clinic joined with partners to advocate for greater protection of LGBTQ+ rights before the UN Human Rights Committee and Human Rights Council.

This week of in-person advocacy is part of an ongoing research and outreach partnership with the Advocates for Human Rights, the Eagles for Life, and others.

Reflecting the group’s main advocacy points, the UN Human Rights Committee requested that the Kenyan government report specifically on its efforts to decriminalize homosexuality and protect LGBTQ+ individuals against harassment, discrimination, and violence perpetrated by both the State and private actors, especially as related to housing, education, health care, arbitrary arrest, and impunity for violence.

This important step is aimed at assisting Kenyan organizations to raise their claims before their government on the international stage.  

Professor Jennie Green and Kenyan Human Rights Advocate, Brian Okollan.
Professor Jennie Green is the founding director of the Human Rights Litigation and International Advocacy Clinic at the University of Minnesota Law School. The Human Rights Center and the Clinic work together closely on a range of projects.

The Human Rights Litigation and International Advocacy Clinic is an academic program at the Law School that allows students to get hands-on training in the skills, strategies, and ethics of human rights lawyering while offering tangible support to partners and clients. 

The Human Rights Center has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, which allows our faculty, students, and partners privileged access to key policy debates. For nearly 40 years, University of Minnesota faculty and law students have been actively engaging at the United Nations to advance human rights at home and abroad. This feature comes as a part of the Human Rights Center’s United Nations Anniversary Series. From now until the end of the year, we’re celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations with stories that highlight the esteemed history and lasting engagement between the Human Rights Center and the United Nations.