Current Projects

Venezuela Accountability Project (VAP) 

Student Leader: Samantha Misner (2L) 

Partner Organization: Global Accountability Network (GAN) 

Building off the work that commenced in 2020, this Working Group continues its partnership with the Global Accountability Network (GAN) on the Venezuela Accountability Project (VAP) to collect, compile, and analyse evidence of crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela. In partnership with GAN, VAP aims to gather evidence that can help form the basis of prosecutions before competent international, regional, or domestic tribunals. 

GAN is a group of international criminal prosecutors and practitioners who supervise law students working on specific atrocity projects. GAN currently operates four accountability projects: Syria, Yemen, Ukrainian, and Venezuela. GAN lawyers collaborate with local partners in each conflict region to determine research aims and priorities. Working Group members learn how to engage in open-source investigations, research, and legal analysis regarding alleged war crimes and/or crimes against humanity.  


Cameroon Atrocities Project 

Student Leaders: Julia Cappellaci (2L), Eric Li (2L) 

Members of the IHRP Cameroon Atrocities Project Working Group contribute to the Cameroon Anglophone Crisis Database of Atrocities, which seeks to securely store and verify digital evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses committed by all parties during the ongoing conflict in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions. The Database is hosted at the University of Toronto and in addition to the IHRP, works with research teams from several universities around the world including Leiden University, the Edinburgh International Justice Initiative, and the University of Exeter. The Database was established in 2019 and thus far has recorded over 800 incidents, securely storing over 2000+ pieces of digital evidence and published a number of verification reports documenting specific atrocities, which can be publicly accessed here. A brief overview of the conflict is available here

Incidents investigated by the Database and its researchers are forming part of efforts for justice, both domestically in Cameroon and internationally. More specifically, by compiling and investigating such evidence of atrocities, the Database aims to: 

  1. Secure evidence for future domestic and international accountability procedures and potentially for a national truth, justice, and reconciliation process;
  2. Counter the culture of impunity that has pervaded this crisis since it began in 2016;
  3. Assist in advocating for human rights in Cameroon (the Database’s most recent cases were published by CHRDA and the Cameroonian press); 
  4. Constitute an archive for scholarly research on Cameroon and the Anglophone Crisis and conflict;
  5. Serve as a deterrence to warring parties from engaging in further atrocities, including genocide.

The Database works with rights-advocacy organizations such as the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (2022, 2021 Press Releases), the Human Rights Center at the University of California – Berkeley, Bellingcat (2021 article), Human Rights Watch (2022 article), and Amnesty International. 

Please find media reports on the Database here: Forbes (2020), RFI (2020), DW (2019).

Members of the Working Group contribute to the Database by using open-source intelligence (OSINT) methods to verify photo and video evidence submitted to the Database. Through their work, students work with satellite imagery, weather data, solar positioning data, social media, and other online tools to verify that submitted evidence indeed depict real atrocities being committed at the alleged times and locations. The students then compile their findings into reports, which are intended to be used as evidence in any future legal proceedings that may occur after the cessation of the conflict. 


Women’s Human Rights Resources (WHRR) 

Student Leaders: Aliya Hemani (2L), Megan Peters (2L) 

Partner Organization: Bora Laskin Law Library, University of Toronto Faculty of Law 

In 1995, the University of Toronto Faculty of Law created the Women’s Human Rights Resources (WHRR) database, now available on the Bora Laskin Law Library website (here). The database is a tool used by academics and human rights defenders across the globe to access research that was previously only available in law libraries. The goal of this database is to make these sources more accessible to scholars, activists, and other stakeholders around the world. University of Toronto Professor Rebecca Cook, a women’s rights pioneer and founder of the database, drove the creation the WHRR. In her words, the WHRR “is such an important way for students to advance the field of women’s rights.”

The database provides annotations for key UN documents and leading scholarly articles on a range of topics including armed conflict, the CEDAW Convention, economic globalization, Indigenous women, key treaties and texts, marriage, migration, property law and housing rights, race and gender, reproductive rights, social and economic rights, violence against women, and the World Conference on Women’s Rights. The WHRR database receives more than 15,000 hits per month, with diverse users from over 100 countries. This year’s group, comprised of 10 Faculty of Law students and two working group leaders, continues to add new content to the database, from leading academics, NGOs, and other sources. 


Advancing Global Health and Human Rights 

Student Leaders: Erin Kim and Aimee Veiner  

Partner Organization: O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University 

The Global Health and Human Rights Database is a universally accessible online database of case law, national constitutions, and international and regional instruments relating to health and human rights. The database was developed in 2013 by Lawyers Collective, a leading public interest legal organization in India, and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. The database is currently managed by the O’Neill Institute and received a Jus Gentium Award from the American Society of International Law in 2016.  

The aim of the database is to promote the right to health and provide a resource for civil society, NGOs, lawyers, and governments engaging in health rights litigation or comparative legal analysis on issues related to global health and human rights. This Working Group aims to improve the accessibility of international jurisprudence on the right to health and other health-related rights. Students engage with jurisprudence through research and analysis to summarize relevant cases and expand the resources available on the database. 


Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) 

Student Leaders: Gursheen Cheema (3L), Mishail Adeel (3L) 

The IHRP’s SOGI Working Group continues to expand the IHRP's database on country-conditions, housed at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, detailing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity worldwide. The resources are invaluable to refugee lawyers around the world who advance claims based on LGBTQIA2s+ persecution and to organizations supporting LGBTQIA2s+ communities.  

The Working Group prepares written country conditions reports that evaluate existing legislation, case law, international reports, and media reports around the world to describe country conditions.  

SOGI Working Group members learn the skills of legal research and writing and connect with a community of law students interested in SOGI issues; they also learn about world conditions in this space and how to analyze legal issues through a broader lens of awareness. 

Should lawyers and organizations in this space wish to partner with the IHRP, the Working Group would be happy to engage directly to respond to their particular needs.