Students Staff

About the Human Rights Centre Clinic

The Human Rights Centre Clinic is part of one of the oldest academic human rights centres in the world and continues to conduct key research to protect human rights globally. Founded in 2009, the Clinic brings together postgraduate human rights students in a module that combines both hands-on practical experience in human rights and classroom study. Students work in teams, with the guidance of a supervisor, to investigate and document human rights violations and/or strengthen human rights initiatives. This is achieved in collaboration with the many partners the Clinic works with including governments, NGOs and supranational organisations.

What sort of projects does the Clinic undertake?

Clinic projects address various types of human rights-related issues. They generally involve research that partners need in order to further human rights advocacy and/or implementation of human rights norms. Partners choose to work with the Clinic because at Essex we have gifted human rights students as well as specialised faculty support with the expertise that partners need. Projects that Clinic students carried out include:

  • Digital Verification of Human Rights Violations

    The Amnesty International Digital Verification Corps was established to assist Amnesty International researchers in using content sourced from social media platforms that may depict human rights violations. The project involved the creation of a guide to social media for human rights investigation that can be used as a basis for training future Digital Verification Corps members. This guide covers all aspects of verification that the participants have learned, including an evaluation of the successes and failures of the Digital Verification Corps with the goal of understanding the lessons learned in order to make recommendations for the future development of the Corps and of highlighting any other issues which participants believe future members should be aware of (e.g. the impact of viewing traumatic imagery etc.)

  • Indicators to Measure Compliance with economic, social and cultural rights in Colombia

    The HRC Clinic produced a report on the conceptual and methodological framework that the State of Colombia should use to measure the satisfaction of economic, social and cultural rights.

  • Increasing WHO-UPR Engagement on the Right To Health (over 2 years)

    WHO’s collaborative agreement with the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre Clinic produced research that provided a basis for improving the way health-related human rights issues are identified and prioritized by relevant stakeholders, including the reporting state. The research also strengthened the capacity of member states participating in UPR reviews to formulate clear, actionable and measurable recommendations on these issues.

Please note that the Human Rights Centre Clinic is only available to postgraduate human rights students during their time at the University of Essex.

  • Who is eligible to participate as a student in the Clinic?

    The Clinic is an optional module for Postgraduate students on the Human Rights programme (LLM/MA). In order to take part in the course, you must be enrolled on the Rights Skills for Human Rights Practitioners module (Course Code: HU902).

  • How to apply?

    Who is eligible to participate as a student in the Clinic?

    The Clinic is an optional module for Postgraduate students on the Human Rights Master’s programme (LLM/MA). If you are selected to become a Clinic member then you will be automatically enrolled on the Human Rights Clinic module (Course Code: HU902).

    How to apply?

    There are a limited number of places available on the HRC Clinic. Accordingly, all students who wish to participate go through a selection process. First, all applicants should use Enrol to register for HU902, after which they will be automatically waitlisted until the selection process is over.

    Selection decisions are made on the basis of an applicant's cover letter and interview. The cover letter should be no more than 2 pages and should address:

    • Why you want to participate in the Clinic;
    • A ranked list of your three project preferences (a list of this year’s projects is available here);
    • The subjects that you intend to take this year;
    • The degree programme that you are registered on;
    • Your language skills;
    • Any relevant experience, or further information, as appropriate.

    This selection process is necessary to ensure (a) that students are placed on projects matching their interest to the greatest extent possible; and (b) that the Clinic is composed of a representative mix of students, covering different backgrounds, levels of experience, and so on.

    After consideration of the cover letters a shortlist of applicants will be invited to a short interview with the Clinic Director. All applicants will be notified of the outcome of the selection process shortly thereafter. This application process is linked to the overall learning objectives of the Clinic. Selection is made on the basis of the Clinic’s learning objectives, and takes a number of different factors into account. Participation in the Clinic is not determined on the basis of existing professional experience.

    Your application letter should be emailed to:

    Dr. Patricia Palacios Zuloaga, Human Rights Centre Clinic Director:

    The subject matter of the email should read: ‘HRC Application - *name of applicant*’.

    Applications for Clinic Positions will open during Welcome Week 2017.

  • Why be a member of the Clinic?

    Being part of the Clinic gives you a fantastic opportunity to work on real world issues and for organisations working in the field of human rights. This experience gives you an insight into the world of human rights both from a practical and academic perspective. Through the Clinic, you will learn substantive human rights law, develop professional techniques and explore different models/theories for effective promotion of human rights.

  • Hear what our students think

    "We learned how to compile reports on the material we've analysed and learned how to use numerous online tools and software programs to conduct verify human rights abuses. These are all useful skills to have in the field and I can definitely use all of it on my CV."
    Jenna Dolecek, LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law 17’
    "A invaluable experience in discovering what it means to be in a truly diverse team with the conflicts and opportunity for learning that it can bring. I believe I came out of it a more rounded human rights advocate"
    Elizabeth Mangenje, LLM in International Human Rights Law: Economic Relations 17’
    "Due to the clinic, I was able to gain new experiences that I never would have had otherwise. This definitely contributes to my development as a human rights defender."
    Mark Groenendijk, LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law 17’
    "Alongside learning technical and practical skills in research and analysis, you truly learn how to drive a project forward as a team and how to put great ideas into practice. I was given the chance to take ownership of my work and it was really amazing to see the end result of our team effort"
    Dora Raluca Trofor, LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law 16’