Students Staff

Past projects


  • Digital Verification Corps: Open Source Intelligence & Suspected Human Rights Violations

    Partner: Amnesty International

    Clinic members will form part of the Essex Digital Verification Corps and learn how to establish the veracity of events depicted in digital media. They will carry out the digital verification of images or videos of suspected human rights violations for Amnesty International and contribute to an Open Source Knowledge Base by writing blog posts that explain their methodology in given cases or that address particular challenges that they overcame.

  • Human Rights and Privatisation in the Health Sector

    Partners: Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ISER & Oxfam

    Clinic members will examine the human rights implications involved in the privatisation of healthcare services, with a particular focus on Uganda. This research will help establish a clearer understanding of what international human rights law requires of States, including donor States, and identify any existing gaps in the human rights framework applicable to private actors working in the field of healthcare.

  • Gender Norms, Religious Intolerance and Migrant Women

    Partner: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

    Clinic members will research the effect of bans on religious symbols and clothing on women’s rights. While bans are generally formulated in gender-neutral and religion-neutral terms, in practice Muslim women bear the brunt of these restrictions. The team will first examine the content of bans on religious attire across Europe and analyse the different justifications for these bans. They will then go on to examine how these bans affect the ability of women subject to them to exercise other human rights, for example the rights to education and healthcare and the right to be protected from violence.

  • Enforcement of Human Rights Decisions

    Partner: Redress

    Clinic members will produce country specific reports aimed at informing enforcement strategies for Redress. The team will look at states where Redress has achieved positive rulings in cases from international human rights monitoring bodies regarding torture, but where no enforcement of the ruling has been achieved. They will identify obstacles to enforcement in each state and develop strategies to overcome these obstacles. The work will focus on Sudan Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe and possibly Nepal and Egypt.

  • National Security and Freedom of Religion or Belief

    Partner: United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion or Belief.

    Clinic members will conduct research that will inform a thematic report by the Special Rapporteur on the relationship between freedom of religion or belief and state security, including state responses to threats emanating from violent extremism and radicalisation that lead to terrorism (VERLT). This research will include international law and expert opinions as well as universal and regional case law on the topic.

  • Drug Crop Cultivation, Development and Human Rights: Understanding the Cultural rights Dimensions of Rural Cannabis Production in the Upper Rif (Morocco)

    Partners: The International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy and the Transnational Institute.

    Clinic members will research the relationship between cultural rights, as protected by international law, and the cultivation of plants, including psychoactive plants. The final report will provide a historical and legal framework with which to understand the human rights struggles of traditional cannabis farmers in Morocco. This report will be of use to states where these crops are cultivated, to NGOs working in the field, and to farmers themselves, who have been organising to defend their cultural practices and their livelihoods.


  • Digital Verification of Human Rights Violations

  • Engendering Human Rights Due Diligence

  • Increasing WHO-UPR Engagement on the Right To Health - Year 2

  • Indicators to Measure Compliance with ESC Rights in Colombia

  • National Commissions of Enquiry

  • War On Drugs and Crimes Against Humanity in the Phillipines

  • 2015-16

    • Clarifying the concept of corporate due diligence in conflict-affected areas and the impact of international humanitarian law and international human rights law on protection against exploitative stakeholders.



    • Establishing the case for ‘draft international guidelines on human rights while countering the world drug problem’: Rural Supply Reduction & Development

    • Strengthening UN CRC Committee oversight and monitoring of the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

    • Supporting Sri Lankan human rights activists through UN processes

    • The right of everyone to the highest attainable standard of mental health: Developing the normative framework for a population-approach to mental well-being

    • Increasing WHO-UPR Engagement on the Right to Health


    • UK Counter-Radicalisation Programmes

    • 2014-15

      • The Promotion and Protection of Human Rights while Responding to the Illicit Drug Trade



        Team Members

        • Kieran Watson
        • Henriette Nilsen
        • Ashleigh Redmond
        • Marie-Luc Lemay

      • Securing the Human Right to Health in the UK


        Team Members

        • Bethany Harrison
        • Bethany Coggan
        • Lisa O’Boyle
        • Lauren Palmer

      • Promoting Child Victims’ right to redress and access to justice for sexual exploitation


        Team Members

        • Raabia Shams
        • Giulia Giannuzzi
        • Heekyung Nam
        • Maria Tenggren
        • Carmen Sinclair
        • Pelin Kahveci

      • Supporting Sri Lankan human rights activists through UN processes



        Team Members

        • Elena Dietenberger
        • Sayamon Srisompetch
        • Sarina Kidd
        • Susan Mentel

      • Reporting to UN Special Procedures on Health and Water Issues in occupied Palestine



        Team Members

        • Vivian Ng
        • Evren Elvredi
        • Phoebe Wright
        • Agnes Bodens

      • Enhancing Freedom from Torture’s use of clinical data on torture and its consequences for survivors to engage UN human rights mechanisms for accountability, protection and rehabilitation purposes



        Team Members

        • Jacob Akuo
        • Enalini Elumalai
        • Francisco Alfonzo Carvallo
        • Annie Chalmers

      • ‘Drug Mules’: Developing International Human Rights Law arguments to challenge the over-incarceration of women



        Team Members

        • Yasmine Shash
        • Oyindamola Bamgbose
        • Emeline Dupuis
        • Karinna Fernandez

      • Conflicting Concerns: Addressing possible human rights trade-offs arising in the context of corporate activity



        Team Members

        • Emek Ayanoglu
        • Giulia Virdis
        • Nancy Garcia Fregoso
        • Leila Mooeni


      • Litigation, advocacy and monitoring compliance in the inter-American system

        Academic Supervisor Dr Clara Sandoval

        This project will provide students with a the opportunity to engage directly with work before the Inter-American System, be it the Commission or the Court, on pending cases including a case against Jamaica, in cooperation with Freshfields and the Human Dignity Trust; and two cases in cooperation with the NGO, REDRESS, Luis Alberto Rojas v. Peru, and Garcia Lucero v. Chile.

        Students will undertake research and analysis for litigation support, targeted advocacy, or engage in monitoring compliance with judgments in cases involving violations of different rights.

        Student volunteers

        • Maria Delia Sanchez del Angel
        • Ebba Lekvall
        • Natalie Cass
        • Nata Kobakihdze
        • Rukamanee Maharjan
      • Autonomous weapon systems and international humanitarian law

        Academic Supervisor Professor Noam Lubell

        Lethal Autonomous Robotics (LAR's), commonly referred to as 'autonomous weapons', are weapon systems that, once activated, can select and engage targets without further human intervention. Their potential development and deployment raises far-reaching concerns about the protection of the right to life during armed conflict and other situations of violence.

        This project will support the mandate of United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Professor Christof Heyns, and examine the various legal implications of autonomous weapons under International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Potential issues to be examined include:

        • existing legal restrictions on the development and deployment of autonomous weapons under IHL
        • ability of autonomous weapons to meet the requirements within IHL and IHRL required for the protection of life
        • accountability and command responsibility
        • gaps in existing legal frameworks

        Student volunteers

        • Vivian Ng
        • Ralph Gutmann
        • Hanna Szabo
        • Flavia Colonnese

      • EU guidelines on settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory

        Academic Supervisor Nathan Derejko

        The new EU guidelines on Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory set out the conditions under which the Commission will implement key requirements for the award of EU support to Israeli entities or to their activities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967. Their aim is to ensure the respect of EU positions and commitments in conformity with international law on the non-recognition by the EU of Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.

        In cooperation with the NGO Al-Haq, this project will undertake a detailed analysis of the guidelines in view of producing a human rights-based commentary to be used in advocacy work around the EU's involvement in Israeli settlements.

        Student volunteers

        • Sabrina Boudra
        • Katharine Thane
        • Samantha Castles
        • Paola Botta
        • Emily Misola Richard

      • Sri Lanka campaign for peace and justice

        Academic Supervisor Scott Sheeran
        NGO Supervisor Fred Carver (Executive Director)

        This project will involve working with the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice. The campaign is a small multi-ethnic and non-partisan NGO, based in London, working for lasting peace in Sri Lanka based upon human rights and the rule of law. It advocates across the world to draw attention to the problems in Sri Lanka, to spread information about the situation, and to help Sri Lankans and the international community to bring pressure to bear on the Government of Sri Lanka.

        The campaign is a key NGO working on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, which is well connected and influential. The team will work directly with the campaign to provide assistance to the NGO's day-to-day activities, including research and drafting of submissions and advocacy documents.

        Student volunteers

        • Bhumika Modh
        • Cynthia Nakanjako
        • Sylwia Potepa
        • Asmita Manadhar

      • Truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence

        Academic Supervisor Dr Clara Sandoval

        In cooperation with the Essex Transitional Justice Network (ETJN) this project seeks to support the mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-recurrence, Dr Pablo de Greiff, in his efforts to ensure accountability, serve justice, provide remedies to victims, and promote healing and reconciliation, following situations in which there have been gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law.

        Students will undertake targeted research and analysis to produce briefing papers and/or reports for use by the Special Rapporteur in the various areas of his mandate.

        Student volunteers

        • Maria Delia Sanchez ddel Angel
        • Ebba Lekvall
        • Natalie Cass
        • Nata Kobakihdze
        • Rukamanee Maharjan

      • Improving language analysis reports in asylum cases

        Academic Supervisor Professor Peter Patrick

        Language Analysis for Determination of Origin (LADO) is a recent, inter-disciplinary area of work involving linguists, lawyers, refugee and human rights scholars/activists, and academics from a range of areas concerned with asylum. Asylum seekers who are applying for refugee status but lack documents are interviewed by government agencies seeking to ascertain whether they speak the language of a group they say they belong to, as part of testing their claim to come from a certain nation, region or group. Government employees, commercial firms, or independent linguists or language specialists may test asylum seekers language, and the resulting LADO report may influence their asylum claim.

        In cooperation with the Language and Asylum Research Group, this project seeks to undertake a comparative analysis of a selection of high-profile LADO reports in order to identify both positive and negative practice, gaps in existing policy and law, and forward strategies. In some cases, complementary files on asylum seekers' background and characteristics may also require analysis, and thus, confidentiality would need to be guaranteed.

        This project aims to produce a brief and/or report designed to inform policymakers and/or legal actors, and serve as the basis of an expert meeting and/or conference at the end of the year.

      • National security surveillance and international human rights law

        Academic Supervisor Nathan Derejko

        In the name of national security and combating terrorism, states are conducting clandestine surveillance operations on their nationals and foreigners. These operations, which may include the collection of telephone calls, internet activities, and 'meta-data', are in tension with the right to privacy, respect for dignity and family life, and other rights. These surveillance operations may also have a considerable chilling effect on the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

        In collaboration with the National Security and Counterterrorism Programme of the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) this project will undertake research and analysis to produce a briefing paper and/or report on the existing law, policy and practice relating to surveillance in selected European states, and its implications on human rights.

        Student volunteers

        • Anastasija Ovcinkova
        • Alexandra Frumosu
        • Murbraeck Singe
        • Barbara Blok
        • Valeria Bizzarri

      • Compensation and reparation for victims of trafficking in human beings

        Academic Supervisor Lorna McGregor

        This project will provide students with the opportunity to directly feed into one of the most topical and underdeveloped legal frameworks in human rights: trafficking in human beings. Students will carry out research on how victims of trafficking in human beings might receive compensation and reparation for what has happened to them.

        Student volunteers

        • Marina Tondo
        • Anahit Simonyan
        • Viktoria Skivankova
        • Sebastian Herwig

      • Administrative detention

        Academic Supervisor Lorna McGregor

        This project will provide students with the opportunity to prepare a submission to the Human Rights Committee on its draft General Comment on Article 9 of the ICCPR. The submission will focus specifically on administrative detention (e.g. administrative internment, detention of asylum seekers and detention on mental health grounds).

        Student volunteers

        • Marina Tondo
        • Anahit Simonyan
        • Viktoria Skivankova
        • Sebastian Herwig

      • Extractive industries, indigenous peoples and human rights

        Academic Supervisor Julian Burger


        To prepare a briefing paper for the European Parliament on extractive industries, indigenous peoples and human rights of approximately 30 pages including recommendations for possible future action.

        Research areas

        1. identification of types of human rights violations affecting indigenous communities arising from the activities of extractive companies
        2. mapping of principal conflicts, protests or litigation relating to extractive companies on indigenous peoples' lands
        3. review of measures taken and on-going discussions by European institutions on corporate social responsibility (Ruggie principles, OECD guidelines on MNCs), extractive industries and indigenous peoples
        4. review of international and regional human rights frameworks on indigenous peoples' rights including recommendations and guidelines of human rights mechanisms (UPR, Treaty Bodies, Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)
        5. examples of cooperation and consultation processes between indigenous peoples and extractive industries as possible best practices
        6. consideration of recommendations to make to the European Parliament in the light of research and consultation with experts


      • The right to adequate housing

        Partner organisation

        Project overview

        The ERRC works extensively to prevent evictions of Roma communities but they are also interested in the situation for these communities after a forced eviction has occurred. The failure of States to provide adequate housing after eviction has negative consequences in terms of health, employment and education. The ERRC are looking to litigate cases to clarify what constitutes adequate housing for Roma following forced evictions.

        Project output

        A briefing paper was prepared, addressing: law/regulations relating to adequate housing; positive examples of frameworks/policies to support adequate housing requirement; and, legal arguments against 'social contract' evictions.

        Project outline

        • International standards, addressing:
          • international legal framework
          • European legal framework
        • Problems faced by Roma in accessing adequate housing, addressing:
          • denial of access to housing and utilities
          • illegal settlements and impending evictions
          • poor living standards affecting other rights
          • housing planning issues
          • disproportionate impact on women, children, ill and elderly
        • Positive examples, addressing:
          • reasons and means for ensuring better housing conditions for Roma communities
          • examples of good practice

      • Corporate accountability

        Piercing the Corporate Veil

        The Clinic's work on corporate accountability started as a research initiative focused on identifying and analysing the extent to which the separate legal personality of multinational companies' subsidiaries hinders the ability of victims of human rights abuses to obtain adequate redress. This issue regularly arises in litigation and has a significant impact on victims of human rights abuses.

        Clinic activities

        In 2010 the Human Rights Centre Clinic prepared extensive research on the social impact and legal issues involved in corporate human rights abuses and corporate-led disasters in specific countries such as Canada, Italy, Japan and Spain. It particularly examined the legal arguments to pierce the corporate veil in the context of Amnesty International’s Niger Delta Project.

        During the academic year of 2011-12, the Clinic supported the Essex Business and Human Rights Programme (EBHRP) by producing a comprehensive report focused on the oil industry in Uganda and the potential human rights implications of unregulated and negligent exploitation of the country's natural resources. The report was devised to support the EBHRP's initiative to conduct a specialized training programme for Uganda's Parliamentarians on business and human rights.

        The Clinic later became involved in a case before the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the alleged complicity of the company Anvil Mining Ltd in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Anvil Mining has headquarters in Canada and has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for over ten years. It allegedly provided logistical support to the troops that conducted the 'Kilwa Massacre' in 2004. The Human Rights Centre Clinic prepared thorough background research and strategic-litigation-planning to inform an amicus curiae brief in the case.

        The team

        • Sheldon Leader, Academic Supervisor
        • Karen Moir, Project Coordinator
        • Douglas Kerr, Research Volunteer
        • Iain Clarkson, Research Volunteer
        • Shannon Gough, Research Volunteer
        • Lilia Petrosyan, Research Volunteer
        • Simon Kimondolo, Research Volunteer
        • Risa Tokunaga, Research Volunteer
        • Khrystyna Fedunyshyn, Research Volunteer
        • Helen Nolan, Research Volunteer
        • Sarah Parle, Research Volunteer
        • Serena Ricci, Research Volunteer
        • Ylenia Rosso, Research Volunteer
        • Lucy Graham, Research Volunteer
        • Ulisses Terto Neto, Project Coordinator
        • Rebecca Fan, Research Volunteer
        • Sarah French, Research Volunteer
        • Antonio Gerardi, Research Volunteer
        • Wessen Jazrawi, Research Volunteer
        • Naomi Kodaira, Research Volunteer
        • Annalisa Pauciullo, Research Volunteer
        • Genevieve Sauberli, Research Volunteer
        • Giovanni Stanghellini, Research Volunteer
        • Yu Suzuki, Research Volunteer
        • Andres Zaragoza, Research Volunteer

      • Discrimination in education in Germany

        With the support of German law firms and social scientists, the Open Society Justice (OSJI) Initiative is preparing to litigate a case concerning ethnic discrimination in the German educational system. The case commenced in November/December 2010, with the aim of taking it to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) once domestic remedies have been exhausted.

        The Human Rights Clinic supports this initiative by helping to set up a litigation strategy, developing arguments, and bringing those arguments and evidence together. Studies are currently focusing on Hamburg and Berlin (may be extended) and mainly on Turkish communities (may be extended). OSJI has litigated all the major education cases before the ECtHR.

        The two main issues are:

        • overrepresentation/wrongful assignment of children of migrant backgrounds (and children whose mother tongue is not German - "nicht-deutscher Herkunftssprache") to 'special education' on grounds of language and learning 'disabilities'
        • overrepresentation/wrongful assignment of children of migrant backgrounds (and children whose mother tongue is not German - "nicht-deutscher Herkunftssprache") to the lowest tiers of secondary education (Hauptschulen). This is true even for those with the same socioeconomic background. This is allegedly a result of segregated school classes, based on German language capabilities, but also based on separate religious education.

        Partner organisation

        The team

        • Professor Francois Hampson, Academic Supervisor
        • Julia Von Normann, Project Coordinator

      • Inclusive schooling

        Partner organisation

        Project overview

        The ERRC has successfully challenged the segregated schooling of Roma children on the grounds of discrimination in a Czech Republic at the European Court. They are hoping to repeat this litigation in the domestic courts but they are concerned that previously eastern European states have been slow to comply with judgements on this issue. They would like to take a social science approach to argue the necessity of inclusive schooling for all children.

        Project output

        A briefing paper was prepared to support practical implication of successful legal cases such as DH and others v Czech Republic, summarise benefits to inclusive schooling, and provide positive examples of inclusive schooling including practical solutions.

        Project outline

        • Summarise current academic and practitioner arguments in relation to segregated education
        • Country study of UK: legislation and policy towards inclusive schooling for all
        • Specific case studies illustrating move from segregated education (such as Northern Ireland and Roma children integrated into schools in the UK), addressing:
          • What barriers were there against inclusive schooling?
          • How were these addressed?
          • What was the impact of segregated schooling?
        • Impact of early testing on segregating children from minority communities

      • Migrant workers in greater Colchester

        Human Rights of Migrant Workers

        The Migrant Workers in Greater Colchester project was conceived with the purpose of mapping the nature and extent of the phenomena of migrant labour in the greater Colchester area, particularly in the agricultural sector. The project involved both desk and field research components, having the objective of examining labour flows, working conditions, economic and social conditions and the human rights situation of migrant workers in the greater Colchester area.

        These aspects were considered in light of state obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and other relevant international and European human rights legislation.

        Clinic activities

        The Human Rights Centre Clinic prepared considerable background research on the subject and conducted a series of interviews with stakeholders involved in the matter, mainly local organizations and coalitions advocating for migrant workers' (MW) rights.

        The team developed a comprehensive research methodology and conducted studies on several topics related to MWs, including MW as a concept, MWs in international law (and in the European Union), MWs in the UK and in UK law, and MWs in the Colchester area. The Clinic also conducted interviews with NGO staff members, academics, local authorities and with a local labour union.

        The research methodology, background research, and findings from the key informant interviews have been compiled into an internal report. The MW project worked in partnership with the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (IDCR) at the University of Essex.

        The team

        • Lynne Pettinger, Academic Supervisor
        • Robert Donnellan, Project Coordinator
        • Alexandru Zaciue, Research Volunteer
        • Cynthia Dcruz, Research Volunteer
        • Nikolai Myhre, Research Volunteer
        • Aura Freeman, Research Volunteer
        • Jitixa Patel, Research Volunteer
        • Marie Foleide, Research Volunteer
        • Tiernach Collins, Research Volunteer
        • Amy Wordley, Research Volunteer
        • Elena Soto Chico, Research Volunteer
        • Silvia Caterini, Research Volunteer
        • Todd Landman, Academic Supervisor
        • Cornelia Epuras, Project Coordinator
        • Pinar Canga, Research Volunteer
        • Nilda Carkanat, Research Volunteer
        • Yuka Koyano, Research Volunteer
        • Dicle Uca, Research Volunteer

      • National commissions of inquiry

        Partner organisation

        Project overview

        When state agents are suspected of responsibility for serious violations of rights, in particular torture and the right to life, an effective and independent investigation can often only be conducted through a commission of inquiry. While some legal systems have fairly developed procedures for commissions of inquiry, there has been only limited comparative examination of the requirements for, the use and characteristics of such commissions.

        The purpose of the project is to develop the concept of a commission of inquiry as discussed in the Istanbul Protocol into a more clearly defined mechanism, producing a reasoned and substantiated set of requirements for an independent commission of inquiry and a description of the circumstances when one must be used. This project took place over two years.

        Project output

        This project resulted in a Human Rights Centre publication, National Commissions of Inquiry: Towards a Human Rights-Based Approach.

        Project outline

        There are a number of different aspects to this report, which are broken down as follows:

        Country reports

        Country reports on Israel, Nepal, Bahrain, Malaysia, Chile, India, the United Kingdom, Canada, Sri Lanka, and Cote d'Ivoire. These country reports analyse specific commissions of inquiry in each country, on the basis of criteria determined by OSJI and the HRC Clinic.


        Interviewees will be sought with a number of individuals involved in the national commissions of inquiry addressed in the previous section. It is intended to interview 'insiders' (commissioners, secretariat, and so on) and 'outsiders' (NGOs, legal representatives of the victims, and so on).

        Final report

        Includes country reports, review of current international law understanding of commissions of inquiry, and suggestions with respect to future commissions of inquiry.

      • Pre-trial detention in Nigeria

        The case

        This case, like the Akunov case, is spearheaded by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) with the assistance of the Essex HR Clinic. This team deals with the problem of the 'holding charge' in Nigeria, a practice that contributes towards myriad unlawful detentions and to the overcrowding of prisons in that country.

        The 'holding charge' permits suspects to be brought before magistrates with no jurisdiction to try. The same magistrates claim to have the power to remand suspects in custody but not the power to release them. This practice violates the right of suspects to be promptly brought before a judicial officer. The objective is to challenge precisely this deleterious practice, for bringing about reform in the criminal justice system in Nigeria.

        Clinic activities

        The proposed strategy is to take a high impact case to the ECOWAS Court, in order to create favourable jurisprudence that will ultimately have an impact on all arrests and detentions in the country. The OSJI is in the process of defining potential clients among prisoners in Nigeria.

        The team has produced a draft legal memo with all the arguments that are likely to be used in the petition to the ECOWAS Court. Furthermore, the team has produced draft texts to be used in advocacy papers and background papers about the ECOWAS System and applicable law. Because some of the clients are likely to be foreign nationals, the team is currently working on the issue of the violation of consular rights of foreign prisoners. All the documents will be sent to the appointed Nigerian counsel, who will then re-draft them into the correct format and tone for the ECOWAS Court.

        Partner organisation

        The team

        • Dr Clara Sandoval, Academic Supervisor
        • Andrea Sepulveda B. Carotti, Project Coordinator

      • Privatisation of border security and identity controls

        Partner organisation

        Project overview

        The initial background to the project is concern over private actors being given the responsibility of carrying out tasks that were formerly state functions, such as border security and citizenship determination. How might the outsourcing of state functions impact respect for human rights obligations and available remedies for any possible violations?

        The focus will be on areas such as border security, identity control measures and deportation practices; researching relevant case studies. The Clinic will be providing evidence on whether current models can ensure the privatisation of these duties does not impede the accountability to those most affected.

        Project output

        The Human Rights Centre Clinic will produce a memo addressing: issues that affect accountability/hamper access to remedies when private actors carry out state obligations relating to security, and specific examples of state functions being outsourced to private actors.

        Case studies prepared by the HRC Clinic will be used by the partner, as background for potential litigation.

        Project outline

        Background Paper

        Addresses accountability of private actors performing public duty relating to security. Areas include:

        • theoretical analysis of privatising enforcement of immigration controls
        • responsibility and liability issues
        • legal norms
        • modes of accountability

        Case studies

        Four or five private companies will be investigated. Areas to be addressed include:

        • where they work
        • what roles do they perform
        • what accountability measures are in place

        European State practice regarding privatisation of immigration controls.

      • The right to liberty and security

        Partner organisation

        Project overview

        In March 2012, the UN Human Rights Committee (the committee) decided to draft a general comment on article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This general comment will, in light of compounded experiences obtained through the adoption of general comments on related issues and from the concluding observations made following the review of state periodic reports and the views of individual communications, expand upon the committee's 1982 general comment No. 8.

        The ICJ will provide detailed feedback and commentary on the first draft of the committee's general comment on article 9, and will follow subsequent debates and provide any further information requested of it by the committee of the Special Rapporteur.

        This project will require Clinic volunteers to undertake research and drafting in support of the development by the ICJ of its comments and submissions throughout the course of the development of the general comment on article 9 of the ICCPR. Work will focus on discreet topics, as assigned.

        Project output

        The Human Rights Centre Clinic will produce two legal memos addressing issues related to: detention in armed conflict; control and surveillance orders. These memos will focus upon the legal framework relevant to these issues, with particular focus upon the work of the Human Rights Committee, including their concluding observations. The work of other treaty and regional bodies will also be addressed, particularly where these can fill identified gaps with respect to Human Rights Committee jurisprudence.

        Project outline

        This project is centred around two key deliverables, with one preparatory document.

        Deliverable 1: background Paper

        This document addressed:

        • the interplay between IHL and IHRL;
        • the extraterritorial application of IHRL
        • the importance of article 9
        • understanding and outlining the parameters regarding article 9(2)
        • understanding and outlining the parameters regarding article 9(3)
        • administrative detention in armed conflict

        Deliverable 2: administrative Detention for Security Purposes

        This section will develop work related to article 9(2) and 9(4) as well as the preparatory work on administrative detention, also addressing state practice, administrative detention during armed conflict and mischaracterizations of armed conflict by states to justify administrative detention.

        Deliverable 3: control and surveillance orders

        This memo will address the approaches of the UN treaty bodies and regional mechanisms concerning the use of measures falling short of the deprivation of liberty concerning persons deemed to constitute a threat to the security of the nation. Researchers will also look at current state practice in the UK, Australia and other countries with similar mechanisms as well as provide an analysis of other rights which may be engaged by these measures. A consideration of the boundary between liberty and measures falling short of liberty will be undertaken.

      • Racial profiling and domestic immigration enforcement

        Partner organisation

        Project overview

        In a landmark ruling, the UNHRC stated that ethnic profiling is impermissible under the ICCPR in both immigration stops and ordinary crime prevention stops by police. The OSJI would like to lobby European states to ensure police practise complies with this ruling. This project will be providing a draft 'least harm' model for police actions within an immigration setting in terms of limiting ethnic profiling approaches.

        Project output

        The Human Rights Centre Clinic will prepare a briefing paper on this issue. Addressing, the legal and conceptual framework, and state practice in 5/6 European States. An overall 'least harm' model will be presented.

        Project outline

        Background paper


        • international norms
        • EU norms
        • inter-American norms

        Case studies: state practice


        • positive examples: UK, Germany, Netherlands
        • negative examples: Spain, France, Italy

        Preparation of standards that might indicate a ‘least harm’ model.

      • Sri Lanka

        Partner organisation

        Project Overview

        This project intends to provide research and analysis support to the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice. Researchers work on a variety of projects, dependent upon the needs of the NGO. This work is intended to include a long-term project, as well as shorter term projects decided on a necessity basis.

        Project output

        Information on a number of this projects outputs are unavailable, due to confidentiality requirements. Outputs include:

        • advocacy paper ahead of March 2013 Session of Human Rights Council
        • written submission on arbitrary detention for March 2013 Session of Human Rights Council
        • written submission on freedom of expression for March 2013 Session of Human Rights Council
        • written submission on independence of the judiciary for March 2013 Session of Human Rights Council

      • Targeted killings

        Partner organisation

        Project overview

        In his 2010 report to the UN Human Rights Council, the former Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, compared targeted killings with vaguely defined licences to kill, and criticized states especially for failing to provide legal justifications for their policies and information about the killings.

        Since then, targeted killings have been used with ever-increasing frequency, and they are currently being implemented at will, in both conflict and non-conflict areas, sometimes without the consent of the host state and on allegations of suspicion of terrorism based on secret information and intelligence.

        The Essex Human Rights Clinic will significantly contribute to an ICJ publication on the human rights issues of targeted killings; specifically addressing the parameters under which a targeted killing, or a policy of targeted killings, may be lawful.

        Project output

        The purpose of this project is to contribute towards the next report of the SR on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, due to be delivered in Sept/Oct 2013. An approximately 50-page publication will be published by the ICJ, in partnership with the Essex Human Rights Centre Clinic; this report may also form the basis of written statements to be presented to the General Assembly, and Human Rights Council.

        Project outline

        This project is centred around three key deliverables:

        Deliverable 1: background paper

        The purpose of this deliverable was to bring the students up-to-speed regarding the quite complex issues to be addressed in the course of this project. As such a number of preliminary issues were addressed, including:

        • what is an armed conflict
        • what are the criteria relating to direct participation in hostilities
        • how and when do states’ human rights obligations apply extraterritorially
        • background research on state practice
        • background research on accountability and transparency issues

        Deliverable 2: the global battlefield and targeted killings under IHRL

        Research to focus on:

        • the geographical scope of a non-international armed conflict
        • the concept of a belligerent nexus for the purposes of targeting
        • the legality of targeted killing under IHRL
        • what extra-territorial human rights obligations exist both inside and outside of an armed conflict

        Deliverable 3: transparency and state practice

        Research to focus on state policy review and legal analysis of transparency in targeted killing operations. Relevant issues include:

        • the concept of signature strikes
        • the use of kill lists
        • assessing civilian impact
        • legal standards for transparency and investigations
        • target acquisition

      • Akunov case

        Torture and death in detention in Kyrgyzstan

        The HR Clinic works in cooperation with the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) on the preparation of a communication to the UN Human Rights Committee alleging violations of articles 6, 7, 9, and 2 (3) of the ICCPR by Kyrgyzstan.

        In April 2007, Mr Akunov was arrested after attending anti-government protests. He was detained overnight on an administrative charge of public nuisance during which time he was allegedly abused and tortured by police, and the following day was found dead while still in custody. The police alleged that Mr Akunov killed himself in his cell, however, this is contested by the family. OSJI and the HR Clinic argue that the state is responsible for his death in custody and that the subsequent prosecutorial investigation of the events was ineffective.

        Clinic activities

        The team has undertaken the following tasks:

        • review of existing evidence and the drafting of a memo to OSJI/lawyers in Kyrgyzstan requesting additional evidence/translations
        • drafting of a memo to OSJI/lawyers in Kyrgyzstan on admissibility issues to be addressed as part of the communication
        • preparation of summaries of the key right to life, prohibition against torture, and prohibition against arbitrary detention cases
        • preparation and updating the draft of the communication

        The team also assisted in drafting the request to the Physicians for Human Rights to undertake an independent analysis of all medical evidence involved in the case.

        Partner organisation

        The team

        • Gabriela Echeverria, Academic Supervisor
        • Professor Francois Hampson, Academic Supervisor
        • David Scarnell, Project Coordinator
        • Maria Suchkova, Project Coordinator

      • Dale Farm project

        Forced eviction of a gypsy and traveller community in the UK

        The Dale Farm encampment, which is home to one of the largest gypsy and traveller communities in the UK, was subject to planned eviction by the Basildon Borough Council in Essex. The community bought the land in the green belt area of the encampment yet was not granted planning permission to stay. Enforcement notices were issued and the community could not overturn the judicial decision.

        Nationally, the case was led by the Dale Farm Housing Association and, internationally, by the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, with the aim to stop the planned eviction and/or find an acceptable and adequate alternative for resettlement with full respect of the community's human rights.

        Clinic activities

        The Human Rights Centre Clinic has carried out a variety of activities to assist the community in their endeavours to halt the planned eviction since 2009. On the legal side, the team prepared and submitted petitions to Basildon Borough Council, the UK Information Commissioner Office, the Essex Police Authority, Council of Europe, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing.

        The Clinic also produced an inventory of all material properties to serve as evidence in case the eviction resulted in the destruction of private property. Additionally, it assisted the Dale Farm Housing Association with editing and designing the Dale Farm e-bulletin, which serves as a vehicle for circulating information on the planned eviction.

        During the academic year of 2011-12, the Clinic worked on a comprehensive report for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to analyse the right to culturally appropriate housing for persons with nomadic habits of life, with a focus on the Dale Farm community.

        The team

        • Aoife Daly, Academic Supervisor
        • Leah Mansfield, Project Coordinator
        • Mor Efrath, Research Volunteer
        • Kathryn Bell, Research Volunteer
        • Laura M Dowds, Research Volunteer
        • Rachel Borrell, Research Volunteer
        • Rose Booker, Research Volunteer
        • Tifany Tryon, Research Volunteer
        • Pia Ucar, Research Volunteer
        • Siebrich Visser, Research Volunteer
        • Bob Watt, Academic Supervisor
        • John Pack, Academic Supervisor
        • Leticia Marques Osorio, Project Coordinator
        • Sarah Booth, Research Volunteer
        • Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Research Volunteer
        • Tamar Dekanosidze, Research Volunteer
        • Benoit W.G. Dhondt, Research Volunteer
        • Ines Groesel, Research Volunteer
        • Alejandra Morena, Research Volunteer
        • Ryosuke Muramatsu, Research Volunteer
        • Letizia Polizzi, Research Volunteer
        • Abigail Sloan, Research Volunteer

      • Legality of restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and association in the context of counter-terrorism

        The project involves a comprehensive research report analysing the legality of restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and association in the context of national security or counter-terrorism under international and regional human rights law.

        The research also includes a comparative analysis of domestic laws from approximately 25 countries from all regions around the world to identify areas where there are concerns with the legality of counter-terrorism laws as applied to cases involving freedom of expression, assembly and association, and where strategic litigation may be appropriate.

        Partner organisation

        The team

        • Noam Lubell, Academic Supervisor
        • Christina Beninger, Project Coordinator
        • Ronnate Asirwatham, Research Volunteer
        • Jonathan Worgan, Research Volunteer
        • Isaline Wittorski, Research Volunteer
        • Mariam Asada, Research Volunteer
        • Tanima Bansal, Research Volunteer
        • Marina Themistocleous, Research Volunteer
        • Pascal Hubatka, Research Volunteer
        • Charlotte Pier, Research Volunteer
        • Firuza Khamdamova, Research Volunteer
        • John Holschuh, Research Volunteer
        • Lorna McGregor, Academic Supervisor
        • Francis Mo Roberts, Project Coordinator
        • Veronika D'Anna, Research Volunteer
        • Anna Bulzomi, Research Volunteer
        • Mai Kaizawa, Research Volunteer
        • Lilibeth Ladaga, Research Volunteer
        • Angela Pires Pinto, Research Volunteer
        • Kaija Skaare Lier, Research Volunteer

      • Radilla project

        Enforcing Radilla-Pacheo v Mexico

        Since early 2010, the Human Rights Centre Clinic has been involved in the enforcement of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights' judgment in the case of Radilla-Pacheco v Mexico. The case concerns the enforced disappearance of Mr. Rosendo Radilla Pacheco which took place in the hands of Mexican authorities in 1974, during the so called 'Dirty War'.

        It was decided by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on 23 November 2009. In its judgement, the Court condemned Mexico for various breaches of the American Convention of Human Rights with respect to the enforced disappearance itself and also to the denial of due process and access to justice for the victim and his family.

        The state was sentenced to provide reparation to the family in the form of pecuniary compensation, as well as to investigate, prosecute, and punish those responsible. It was also ordered to amend its military and criminal code so as to make them compatible with international human rights standards.

        However, Mexico’s implementation of the Court’s orders was incomplete. The Human Rights Centre Clinic has taken a special interest in this particular case because Mrs Tita Radilla, daughter of Mr. Rosendo Radilla Pacheco, has personally visited the University of Essex twice, in November 2009 and again in November 2011, to give her personal account of the case to human rights students.

        Clinic activities

        In May 2010, under the academic supervision of Professor Clara Sandoval, the Clinic sent out letters to Mexican and British authorities urging the State of Mexico to comply with the Court's decision and to provide the reparation measures that were ordered. The letters were intended to demonstrate that international stakeholders are following the implementation of the judgement. Their receipt was acknowledged and they were made public through the Clinic website.

        More recently, in June 2012, and under the academic supervision of Diana Guarnizo Peralta, these letters were reformulated and reiterated. With support from the legal representative of Mrs Tita Radilla, Juan Carlos Gutierrez from Mexican NGO CMDPDH ('Mexican Commission of Defense and Human Rights Promotion'), a number of strategic letters were again sent out to influential Mexican and UK authorities, including the President of Mexico himself and to UK Parliamentarians involved in human rights issues.

        The letters focused on different aspects of the judgement’s implementation and issued specific calls for action and recommendations concerning Mexico’s compliance. The Clinic received positive acknowledgement of their receipt and was informed by the authorities that they would pursue compliance.

        2011-12 team

        • Diana Guarnizo Peralta, Academic Supervisor
        • Gabriela Barros De Luca, Project Coordinator
        • Michael Tamblyn, Research Volunteer
        • Marianne Bertrand Lamour, Research Volunteer
        • Erick Monterrosas, Research Volunteer
        • Elena Soto Chico, Research Volunteer

      • The right to water and sanitation

        Partner organisation

        Project overview

        The Special Rapporteur is producing a handbook providing practical guidance to states and other stakeholders on their duties in the realisation of the rights to water and sanitation. The focus will be how these rights can be implemented and examples of good practice will be included wherever possible. The handbook is for any stakeholder who has responsibilities relating to these rights from governments, local authorities and other actors.

        Project output

        This project will produce two papers addressing:

        • human rights obligations relating to disconnections of water and sanitation services
        • human rights obligations on local authorities in relation to water and sanitation services

        In addition, case studies which highlight relevant issues for these two topics will be compiled.

        Project outline

        • International law and standards on disconnections
        • When can disconnections occur? Addressing:
          • core obligations to provide water and sanitation
          • non-discrimination
        • Impact of disconnections
        • Procedural requirements in performing disconnections

      • Roma rights project

        The Roma People in Europe

        The Human Rights Centre Clinic’s Roma Rights Project was initiated with the purpose of collecting information on the situation of Roma people in Europe, with a specific focus on the countries of the European Union.

        In recognition of the widespread marginalisation and discrimination that this minority group faces, and the difficulties encountered by NGOs working for the protection and advancement of their rights, the purpose of this project was to fill gaps in the existing research on Roma rights in Europe. The Clinic also sought to raise awareness on the issue through the dissemination of information.

        Clinic activities

        During the academic year of 2011-12, the Human Rights Centre Clinic prepared a comprehensive report analysing the respect and protection of the rights of Roma people in Europe, focusing on the trafficking of Roma children into the UK.

        The report covers various important subjects, among which are the particular vulnerability factors of Roma, trafficking statistics, the international legal framework, the European legal framework, and the UK legislation on trafficking. It concludes with important recommendations for the future.

        The team

        • Rainer Schulze, Academic Supervisor
        • Giulia Testa, Project Coordinator
        • Ozlem Hangul, Research Volunteer
        • Nicole Richard, Research Volunteer
        • Diana Roberts, Research Volunteer
        • Jennifer Smith, Research Volunteer
        • Kristen Wiliams, Research Volunteer
        • Aliya Zahin, Research Volunteer

      • Torture in Asia

        During the academic year of 2010-11, the Clinic assisted OSJI in background research for litigating torture cases before the Human Rights Committee (HRC) and the Committee against Torture (CAT).

        OSJI’s litigation was focused on the five central Asian countries as defined by the United Nations, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The Clinic prepared an extensive report compiling recent views from both the HRC and the CAT, with a specific focus on the countries of central Asia and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, articles 6(1) and 7, and the Convention against Torture, Articles 1 and 16.

        Partner organisation

        • Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI)

        The team

        • Noam Lubell, Academic Supervisor
        • Christina Beninger, Project Coordinator
        • Ronnate Asirwatham, Research Volunteer
        • Jonathan Worgan, Research Volunteer
        • Isaline Wittorski, Research Volunteer
        • Mariam Asada, Research Volunteer
        • Tanima Bansal, Research Volunteer
        • Marina Themistocleous, Research Volunteer
        • Pascal Hubatka, Research Volunteer
        • Charlotte Pier, Research Volunteer
        • Firuza Khamdamova, Research Volunteer
        • John Holschuh, Research Volunteer
        • Lorna McGregor, Academic Supervisor
        • Francis Mo Roberts, Project Coordinator
        • Veronika D'Anna, Research Volunteer
        • Anna Bulzomi, Research Volunteer
        • Mai Kaizawa, Research Volunteer
        • Lilibeth Ladaga, Research Volunteer
        • Angela Pires Pinto, Research Volunteer
        • Kaija Skaare Lier, Research Volunteer