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UIC Law International Human Rights Clinic Hosts American Civil Liberties Union Human Rights Program Director Jamil Dakwar


UIC Law’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) and Human Rights Program hosted Jamil Dakwar, Director of the Human Rights Program for the American Civil liberties Union (ACLU), to facillitate conversation surrounding the impact of their work for the ACLU and United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. During his time on campus, he and Sarah Dávila A., Director of the International Human Rights Clinic and professor of law, co-facilitated a class with IHRC clinic members where they discussed their recent collaborations. The IHRC also hosted an evening event titled, “A Conversation with Mr. Dakwar,” that focused on providing a historical context for the development of advocacy work in the international human rights space.

Mr. Dakwar’s work is dedicated to holding the United States government accountable to its international human rights obligations and commitments and he serves as the ACLU’s main representative to the United Nations. Having worked with the ACLU for the last two decades, he leads a team of lawyers and advocates that utilize a human rights framework to complement pre-existing ACLU legislative and legal advocacy. Since the U.S. has only ratified three of the nine Human Rights Treaties, it is increasingly difficult to make sure government operations align with what is listed in all of the treaties. That is where Mr. Dakwar comes in.

Jamil Dakwar is one of the most important advocates in human rights advocacy and in holding the United States accountable for its international obligations. I first started working with him through the U.S. Human Rights Network ICCPR Taskforce around 2014. I have seen his leadership in our civil society efforts in the United States and dedication in pushing for more human rights protections.

Professor Sarah Dávila A.

Last year, IHRC students and faculty engaged in international advocacy along with other civil society members and impacted persons at the 139th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Committee review of the United States in relation to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Leading up to the review, Mr. Dakwar requested the help of UIC Law’s IHRC in condensing 78 submissions from civil society that equated to over 1,000 pages down to a report of less than 100 pages to be presented before the United Nations and its various advocates.

Within less than a week, students read and summarized all the materials and coordinated with various submitters to ensure their stories were told correctly and effectively.

The five-member team divided the reports into themes ranging from non-discrimination and indigenous rights to voting rights and surveillance. Each team member was then tasked with covering the reports under a certain theme and continue to work collaboratively with other members to ensure the final summary was written cohesively. They were able to do this successfully, and the report was used to brief committee members and advocates for the official review.

Since returning from Geneva, Switzerland, the IHRC has worked to compile a Summary of Record of that review. The Summary of Record is an example of how the International Human Rights Clinic continues its domestication of international human rights by bridging the gap between international human rights advocacy and pressing human rights issues in the United States. The Summary of Record is available below.

Most countries have ratified at least six of the nine Human Rights Treaties, the United States has only ratified three. We have, by design, made it very difficult to hold the U.S. accountable to International Human Rights Law.

Jamil Dakwar, Director of ACLU Human Rights Program

About the IHRC

The UIC International Human Rights Clinic offers law students a background in human rights advocacy through practical experience by working on international human rights cases and projects. Outside of their continued working relationship with Jamil Dakwar, the ACLU and the United Nations, the clinic is currently working to bring forth opportunities for different professions to come together and utilize their various areas of expertise to drive the work of International Human Rights forward.

Read the Summary of Review