The Human Rights Institute sits at the heart of human rights teaching, practice and scholarship at Columbia Law School. Founded in 1998 by the late Professor Louis Henkin, the Institute draws on the law school’s deep human rights tradition to support and influence human rights practice in the United States and throughout the world. Over the past several years, the Institute and the Human Rights Clinic have become increasingly integrated, enabling it to multiply their impact on the field and engage students more fully in their work.
HRI Currently focuses its work in three main substantive areas: Human Rights in the United States; Counterterrorism & Human Rights; and Human Rights & the Global Economy. HRI has developed distinct approaches to work in each area, building bridges between scholarship and activism, developing capacity within the legal community, engaging governments, and modeling new strategies for progress.
Through its Human Rights in the U.S. Project, HRI seeks to build human rights into the way government operates at the federal state and local levels. HRI leads the Human Rights at Home Campaign’s State and Local Government Subcommittee and spearheads efforts to raise awareness of human rights among state and local government officials and build their capacity to use human rights.
On Human Rights Day, December 10th, 2012 the Human Rights Institute will release a new report entitled Bringing Human Rights Home: The Role of State and Local Governments. This report presents ways that governments can use human rights to enhance decision-making and respond to community needs at the state, city and local level. It offers an overview of human rights principles and concrete strategies for advancing local policy. Based on interviews and outreach with government agencies and officials, as well as with advocates, the report highlights the ways that a number of state, city and local governments are already incorporating human rights and shows how human rights offer appropriate and innovative tools for local governance. The report concludes with key recommendations to bolster local human rights implementation, including developing government community partnerships and improving collaboration between federal, state and local governments.
Bringing Human Rights Home: The Role of State and Local Governmentsis a valuable resource for state and local governments as well as advocates interested in integrating human rights into local policy and practice.