Wajiha Ahmed

Shirley Pouget

Human Rights Law Committee

The Human Rights Law Committee (HRLC) aims to promote human rights in all areas of the legal profession, as well as in the broader community. We welcome your contributions, either through newsletter article submissions, becoming an officer, or presenter at conferences. The value of membership is most enhanced through active participation, so please get involved.

NEW: Podcast series on torture

A new IBA Human Rights Law Committee podcast series looks at both obvious and overlooked aspects of litigating and documenting torture, in an ‘A-Z’ format. Although the obligations under the Convention against Torture are of a jus cogens nature, the scope of these obligations, and the range of physical and psychological torture/cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, tend to be understood or construed narrowly.

Episode 4 is now available and covers H-I: the juxtaposition of human rights and humanitarian law (‘H’) and Islamic law (‘I’).


Forthcoming conferences and webinars View All Conferences


Podcast: Torture D-F - Human Rights Law Committee

This is episode 2 of an IBA Human Rights Law Committee podcast series looking at both obvious and overlooked aspects of litigating and documenting torture, in an ‘A-Z’ format. This episode covers D-F.

Released on Apr 22, 2022

Film and media

The Committee's interview series with prominent human rights lawyers and advocates highlights the challenges of protecting human rights in the 21st century. Interviewees include former UN and ICC representatives among others. 

Projects and reports

Listed below are three top priorities of the IBA Human Rights Law Committee. Please review these priorities and if you wish to be involved in projects related to them, please reach out to the Committee chairs Alexa Koenig and David Pressman.

Priority 1

Evidence preservation The Committee's first work strand would advance a plan for preservation of information posted to social media that is at risk of removal from online platforms and has potential value as evidence of human rights atrocities or, violations of international criminal law. This project will be supported by an IBA grant (awarded by the PPID Fund) that will result in a report that outlines, inter alia, potential ways forward on an "evidence locker" for such content. The project will see the direct involvement of stakeholders from industry as well as public authorities.

The report will be jointly developed with the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley (which has been holding workshops on this topic and is about to release a general preliminary report on a broader set of related issues) and the Oxford Programme on International Peace and Security. Outputs for this project will be: a workshop that influences practice; a report laying out best practices and proposing a mechanism for preservation of potential social media evidence; potential webinar or series of webinars to share research findings with interested audiences.

Priority 2

Social media content moderation and international human rights law The Committee suggests bringing together a key representative from each major social media company to liaise with the IBA Human Rights Law Committee, including its working group on Technology and Human Rights, on major issues of human rights concern. A first issue to address would be thinking through policy and infrastructure with regards to what to do with information slated for removal from platforms that implicates human rights concerns. In keeping with the IBA's unique convening power, the proposed activity will consist of a series of conversations with social media company representatives to discuss issues of mutual concern (tentatively structured as one to two meetings a year).

The output for this project will be a white paper that memorializes takeaways from each discussion for future action, and an external facing paper designed to influence international law and policy practice. (The latter might also be conceived as one of the issues addressed in the report mentioned above, resulting from the PPID Activity Fund).

Priority 3

Corporate responsibility The Committee proposes a series of activities (informed by the conversations mentioned above) to help technology companies advance corporate social responsibility principles as detailed in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and in keeping with international human rights norms in general.

Many human rights policy officers at tech companies are working to gain internal traction on business and human rights corporate responsibility norms; the Committee would work in coordination with those officers to determine where research and outputs from the Committee and the IBA more generally could strengthen next steps.

Subcommittees and other groups

The Human Rights Law Committee also coordinates the activities of the following subcommittees/working groups.

  • Crimes Against Women Subcommittee
  • Human Rights Law Committee Advisory Board