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Pro Bono Projects

IHRA partners with non-governmental organizations and international organizations to give students the opportunity to conduct human rights-related research worldwide.

IHRA Partnerships and Research Projects



Current Projects:


Refugee Rights | Greece

NOT accepting new volunteers.

In conjunction with IHRA’s 2016 Service Trip to Greece, we will be conducting legal research on the human rights implications facing refugees and migrants arriving in Greece, as well as researching the international, Greek, EU, US and other relevant states’ laws that apply. This research will both be used in Greece as well as in a report that will be published after on-th-ground research takes place this March.

Interested Penn volunteers, please contact Allison Kowalski ( for more information. 


Land Rights | Namati, International

NOT accepting new volunteers.

Namati’s Community Land Protection Program supports communities to use national legislation and legal procedures to protect their land claims. The Program uses an integrated community land documentation process that secures legal protections, strengthens local land governance, and leverages the process to create positive intra-community change. As part of its Community Land Protection strategy, Namati is compiling a database of national court cases involving dispossession and disenfranchisement of community lands. The Casebase will be a resource for community land rights advocates and lawyers crafting litigation strategies to fight community land dispossession. IHRA will partner with Namati to help grow the Community Land Rights Casebase.

For a primer on land rights check out: Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - a human rights analysis of land-related issues 

Interested Penn volunteers, please contact Alyssa Pehmoeller ( for more information. 



Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Deportation Case | Haiti

NOT accepting new volunteers.

Pending Inter-American Commission on Human Rights​ (IACHR)​ case approval, we will assist the Penn Law Transnational Legal Clinic in researching the limits of sovereignty’s reach over a government’s ability to determine who can be deported from a country. The Transnational Legal Clinic is co-counsel for the pending case and argues that the United States violated its obligations under the American Declaration of Human Rights by deporting certain Haitians back to Haiti following the earthquake and cholera outbreak. .

Interested Penn volunteers, please contact Alyssa Pehmoeller (  for more information. 


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Advocacy in the US

NOT accepting new volunteers.

In collaboration with the Penn Law Transnational Legal Clinic and with Drexel Law School students, we will assist in researching how other states and cities have incorporated the CERD into their laws and regulations. We will research how other international treaties (i.e. CEDAW, CRC) have been incorporated into the laws of various localities in the past and how the CERD differentiates from and aligns with present law in Philadelphia. The research will be used to create legal briefing pamphlets that aim to educate local politicians on the need to adopt CERD’s principles into Philadelphia’s laws.

Interested Penn volunteers, please contact Alyssa Pehmoeller (  for more information. 


Labor Rights | Costa Rica

NOT accepting new volunteers.

We are assisting the local National Human Rights Institute​​ in Costa Rica in their research on labor rights in an informal economy. Specifically we will be researching how other countries have conferred legal benefits and rights to self-employed workers in unregulated industries. This research will be used to aid the Institute in its mission to secure rights and benefits to a class of unrecognized workers who gather and sell mollusks along the side of the road to survive.

Interested Penn volunteers, please contact Allison Kowalski ( for more information. 


United Nations UPR Advocacy | Moldova

NOT accepting new volunteers.

Building upon our work in Moldova, we will be collaborating with Moldovan NGOs to prepare alternative reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council in advance of Moldova’s Universal Periodic Review scheduled for May 2016.

Interested Penn volunteers, please contact Natasha Arnpriester at for more information. 

2014-2015 Partnerships and Projects


U.S. Department of Justice

Lawyers Collective

U.S. Peace Corps

International Refugee Rights Initiative