Center for Human RIghts & Global Justice (CHR&GJ)



The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHR&GJ) at New York University School of Law aims to generate substantive, sophisticated contributions to human rights research and legal scholarship, and to actively engage in public affairs by making original contributions to policy debates.

It achieves these aims by undertaking rigorous legal analysis and disseminating studies in several key research and project areas, including: business and human rights, detainees and counter-terrorism; racial profiling and counterterrorism; gender and counter-terrorism; caste discrimination; economic, social, and cultural rights; extrajudicial executions; and transitional justice.

The CHR&GJ was established in 2002 to bring together the law school’s teaching, research, clinical, internship, and publishing activities around issues of international human rights law. Through its litigation, advocacy, and research work, CHRGJ plays a critical role in identifying, denouncing, and fighting human rights abuses in several key areas of focus, including: Business and Human Rights; Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Caste Discrimination; Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism; Extrajudicial Executions; and Transitional Justice. Philip Alston and Ryan Goodman are the Center’s Faculty Chairs; Smita Narula and Margaret Satterthwaite are Faculty Directors; and Veerle Opgenhaffen is Senior Program Director.

Our February 2008 reportOn the Margins of Profit: Rights at Risk in the Global Economy, which we co-produced with Human Rights Watch, draws on more than a decade of Human Rights Watch reporting to illustrate how everyday business decisionshave significant implications for the human rights of workers, local communities, suppliers, and consumers.

Our October 2010 report,Foreign Land Deals and Human Rights: Case Studies on Agricultural and Biofuel Investment, presents four case studies examining the human rights impact of land investments in biofuels, food crops, timber production, and carbon offsets in African and South Asian nations. Written in support of the mandate of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, the report finds that these deals often lack transparency and take place in environments that lack oversight and regulation, with potentially grave consequences on food security and human rights. The report calls for greater transparency and a human rights-based approach to regulating these deals.

In May 2011 we published the reportEvery Thirty Minutes: Farmer Suicides, Human Rights, and the Agrarian Crisis in India. An estimated quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide since 1995. On average, one farmer commits suicide every thirty minutes. Over the past two decades, economic reforms and the opening of Indian agriculture to the global market and agribusiness firms have increased costs, while reducing yields and profits for many farmers, to the point of great financial and emotional distress. As a result, smallholder farmers are often trapped in a cycle of insurmountable debt, leading many to take their own lives. The report focuses on the impact of the crisis on the human rights of cotton farmers in India and calls on the government to act immediately to respect, protect, and fulfill farmers’ human rights, and to ensure that agribusinesses are not interfering with the enjoyment of these rights.