In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professor. This project-based practicum course will focus on the interaction between international human rights law and sexual and reproductive health. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out 10 hours/week of project work under the direction of the course professor.
SEMINAR: The seminar will begin by providing an overview of international human rights law as it pertains to sexual and reproductive rights. The course will then focus on access to reproductive health from an international perspective, examining States’ obligations on a variety of issues, such as maternal mortality. Finally, students will learn through coursework about other sexual and reproductive health issues linked to the right to dignity, autonomy and bodily integrity, such as rape as a means of torture and forced sterilization. Analyzing recent decisions emerging from regional and international human rights bodies, such as the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission and Court on Human Rights and the CEDAW Committee (UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women), the seminar component will provide a solid legal foundation for students to develop their experiential/field placement projects.
PROJECT WORK: Students will work with external partners on legal and policy projects related to sexual and reproductive health. Some of the projects may include drafting amicus briefs for cases currently pending before international bodies, and drafting briefs assessing a particular State's compliance with human rights law regarding sexual and reproductive rights to be filed in front of UN bodies (shadow reports). Through these projects, students will learn how to conduct an analysis of existing legal and regulatory frameworks for sexual and reproductive health from a human rights perspective. Students will also learn how to use epidemiological data to support and craft compelling human rights law arguments for advancing public policy on, for example, maternal mortality and sexual violence prevention and eradication. By working with external civil society organizations, the course will give students the opportunity to develop practical projects using international human rights law to advocate for the advancement of sexual and reproductive health rights. In the past, external partners have included: the Center for Reproductive Rights, Women’s Link Worldwide, Human Rights Watch (Women’s Rights Division), IPAS, and Southern Africa Litigation Centre, among others.