Outstanding IHRP Volunteer Opportunities

The International Human Rights Program (“IHRP”) welcomes law student volunteers through our working group program. Working groups are student-led initiatives that bring together 10-15 students to enhance knowledge exchange between students, academics, civil society and the private sector on current, emerging, or contentious international human rights law issues.  IHRP working groups are eligible to receive a small budget, will be profiled on the IHRP website and in Rights Review, and will receive support and guidance from the Director.


 Impact of the IHRP Working Groups

Photo of Rebecca Sutton, IHRP Working Group Leader"I have a background in international development and humanitarian work, and the IHRP became an immediate home for me when I arrived at law school. With the support of faculy, I had the opportunity to start an IHRP working group in IHL in my third year of studies. We formed a partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), working with their law library in Geneva. Once the group was formed, I conducted a seminar in the basics of IHL and they were also trained in legal research methods. The group went on to contribute to an annotated bibliography for the ICRC, summarizing and synthesizing important literature being published in this area of law. The project was concrete and manageable, allowing brand new law students to use their legal skills to assist the world’s most prominent organization working on IHL. In my capacity as student leader, I had the marvelous experience of training and mentoring younger law students, and then passing the baton on to new student leaders who took over the group. I continue to advise the group today as an Alumni Advisor, and it is amazing to see the quality of work students are producing. It is because of this experience with the IHRP that I was encouraged to pursue doctoral studies in this area of law and I hope to teach it someday."

- Rebecca Sutton, J.D. 2014


Photo of Michele Hou"The online catalog and bibliography published by the library at the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) is a key reference for professionals and researchers. One of the unique and distinguishing features of these resources that is that we provide summaries of each item, so that readers quickly see if the document is relevant; very few libraries offer this kind of additional information.

That said, summarizing a 30 pages chapter in only 200 words demands time and a good grasp of a complex subject. IHRP students and working group leaders have done an incredible job. No matter the difficulty of the pieces we have assigned them to summarize, they managed to produce high quality abstracts. Their work not only helps our legal advisors, it also indirectly contributes to the dissemination of international humanitarian law worldwide. . I can only hope that this partnership is as useful to the IHRP students as it is for us and hope to work with IHRP for a long time to come."

- Michele Hou, Librarian, International Committee for the Red Cross


Photo of Susan Barker, reference librarian at University of Toronto Law"It has been wonderful having the IHRP Working Group involved with updating the Women's Human Rights Resources (WHRR) database at the Bora Laskin Law Library.  Since the WHRR was first conceived in 1995, it has been a leading and respected resource on the women’s rights but unfortunately it had not been updated since 2006.  In 2011, I was pleased to be approached by students working with the IHRP who proposed forming a working group specifically with the intent of bringing the WHRR database up to date.  Each year since then,  I have been lucky enough to have an excellent and enthusiastic group of students working to make sure the database is current.   Students have had the opportunity to become well versed in issues surrounding Women’s human rights and have used that knowledge to provide excellent annotations and to select the best of resources to be included in the database. The assistance from the IHRP working group has revitalized the database and made it  once again relevant to researchers and those interested in women’s human rights worldwide."

- Susan Barker, Reference and Digital Services Librarian, University of Toronto Faculty of Law