Teaching Law Students to Advocate for Human Rights and Global Justice through the UPR Project at BCU

Storey, Alice (2024) Teaching Law Students to Advocate for Human Rights and Global Justice through the UPR Project at BCU. In: Teaching of Rights and Justice in the Law School: Challenges and Opportunities for Research Led Teaching. Routledge. (In Press)

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Today, the need for clinical human rights teaching and advocacy within higher education institutions is vital for law students (and their teachers and wider communities). Students often leave university to enter the workplace and do so in an increasingly internationalised context. Clinical legal education (CLE) provides the ideal space to support students to navigate a globalised world, whilst providing them with transferrable employability skills. The chapter focuses on using extra-curricular opportunities as a vehicle to provide such opportunities, specifically to teach our law students to advocate for human rights and global social justice, through the UPR Project at BCU.

Under the auspice of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is an intergovernmental process providing a review of the human rights record of all UN Member States. Crucially, it involves the participation of civil society organisations (CSOs) of all shapes and sizes acting as ‘stakeholders’. The UPR Project at BCU engages with the UPR mechanism through three intersecting streams: (1) research, (2) education, and (3) practice, providing CLE opportunities through extra-curricular activities.

In 2012, Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum, Esteban Hoyos-Ceballos and Melissa C. Del Aguila Talvadkar published their article, ‘Catalysts for Change: A Proposed Framework for Human Rights Clinical Teaching and Advocacy’ (‘Catalysts for Change’). They provide six distinct components to this framework, arguing that ‘rethinking roles and adopting certain models for clinical legal education and advocacy can successfully realize both the pedagogical and advocacy goals of [human rights clinics]’.

This chapter applies the six framework components to the UPR Project at BCU in terms of its ability to teach law students to advocate for human rights and global justice. Section 2 introduces the UPR Project at BCU, its aims, and work to date. Section 3 situates the UPR Project within the existing literature on CLE. Section 4 then analyses the UPR Project at BCU’s operation through the framework set out in Catalysts for Change, identifying the positives and challenges, along with providing suggestions for further developing clinical human rights teaching in relation to advocating for human rights and global justice. Section 5 concludes with broader proposals for engaging, supporting, and celebrating law students in international human rights CLE.

Item Type: Book Section
1 May 2024Accepted
Subjects: CAH16 - law > CAH16-01 - law > CAH16-01-01 - law
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Alice Storey
Date Deposited: 08 May 2024 13:50
Last Modified: 08 May 2024 13:51
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15456

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