HEDG project

Human rights, Economic Development and Globalization

This program focuses on accountability for private and public actors of globalization and economic development, the protection, promotion and realization of human rights, and equitable and sustainable development. In partnership with institutional and non-governmental organizations, HEDG students design and conduct multi-level advocacy strategies that aim to remedy human rights violations and engage with global justice issues.

In 2014-2015, six projects are underway

Project "Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Abuses: A Guide for Victims and NGOs on Recourse Mechanisms"

Context: While human rights violations are growing as a result or the direct or indirect action of corporations, FIDH has published in 2012 a guide on recourse mechanisms to corporate human rights abuses. Its objective is to provide practical guidance for victims and their representatives, NGOs and other civil society groups (unions, peasant associations, social movements, activists) to seek justice and obtain reparation for victims of human rights abuses involving multinational corporations.

Role of the clinic, objectives and methodology: Corporate accountability is a field in constant evolution and some new mechanisms and jurisprudences are being developed that can be relevant for victims of corporate abuses. The role of the clinic will be to lead the update of the guide: this will involvement some research on intergovernmental mechanisms, legal options, mediation mechanisms such as the OECD national contact points, complaints mechanisms stemming from financial support received by companies and mechanisms that can be explored according to voluntary commitments taken by companies. Students might also focus on specific case studies and contact relevant stakeholders to document these case studies for the guide. The clinic might eventually be involved in the operationalization of the guide.

Project "Advancing International Human Rights Advocacy on Privatization in Education and its Impact on the Right to Education"

Context: Privatization in education is a growing global trend, particularly in developing countries, however limited attention is paid to its impact on the right to education and specifically the achievement of quality and accessible education for all. The general principle of the project is to intensively support a set number of national education coalitions to repeatedly bring the issue of privatization in education with international human rights mechanisms, while conducting continuous advocacy at the international level based on the evidence collected at the national level. This exercise will also allow to build the capacities of the actors involved in a practical way in order to ensure the sustainability of the project, to be able to replicate it later, and to apply the methodology on other education issues, beyond privatization.

Role of the clinic, objectives and methodology: Students will focus their research on two countries (Nepal and Chile), documenting the impact of privatization of education on the right to education. In close collaboration with local partners and the GI-ESCR, students will develop a research methodology, contact relevant stakeholders (the UN special rapporteur on the right to education, meeting with Chilean students' leaders etc.) and present their findings in parallel reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in Geneva. The work of the clinic might also include some contributions to additional advocacy efforts such as the participation in a side-event in Geneva, the development of a set of international standards on privatization in education or the creation of a database.

Project "Extra-Financial-reporting"

Context: Adoptée le 15 avril 2014 par le Parlement européen, une directive européenne ouvre la voie à l'adoption de mesures instaurant l'obligation pour certaines grandes sociétés de publier des informations sur leurs impacts extra-financiers. Rappelons que, d'une part, une plus grande transparence peut aider les entreprises à mieux gérer les opportunités et les risques non financiers et à améliorer ainsi leur performance non financière. D'autre part, les informations non financières sont utilisées par les organisations de la société civile et par les communautés locales pour apprécier l'incidence des activités d'une entreprise et les risques qui leur sont associés. 

Role of the clinic, objectives and methodology: L'objectif de ce projet, qui s'étalera sur les deux semestres de l'année 2014-2015, est triple : (1) comprendre et transmettre les enjeux autour de la question du reporting extra-financier, (2) mener une concertation avec les acteurs impliqués (entreprises, cabinets d'audit, ONG) sur la meilleure manière de transposer la future directive en France , et enfin (3) établir des recommandations précises à destination de l'Etat quant à la transposition de la directive, en particulier sur la question des droits humains.

Project "Mining governance and human rights advocacy in the Democratic Republic of Congo"

Context / Background: The Carter Center's project focuses on building the capacity of local civil society organizations (CSOs) to demand transparency, accountability and human rights in the industrial mining sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). During the academic year 2012-2013, the Carter Center and Sciences Po human rights clinic have partnered up to improve governance in the DRC mining sector. The scope of the work has initially focused on the development of a resource guide about the DRC mining sector and has continued on the following year with some support to Center's local research partners in conducting Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) of a specific mining investment in the DRC. The proposed collaboration builds on the work achieved between the Center and Sciences Po over the last two years. 

Role of the clinic, objectives and methodology: The primary activity of the Clinic team will be to provide technical assistance to the Center's local research partner (Cadre de Concertation de l'Ituri) on research methodologies, legal analysis, data collection, report writing and advocacy strategy relating to a human rights impact study of Ashanti Goldfields Kilo (AGK), an industrial gold mining operation located in Province Orientale (Mongwalu). The work might eventually lead to a field mission in DRC to facilitate a workshop with the local research team (TBC). In addition, the Clinic will also provide assistance to the Center in the development of modules and tools aimed at developing the HRIA research capacity of local partners. Building on an earlier roundtable organized last Spring at Columbia University on HRIA practices, the students might also get involved in the planning, organization and coordination of a follow-up event with the objective to build an HRIA multi-stakeholder initiative. 

Project"Immigration and asylum"

Role of the clinic, objectives and methodology: 

  • Project 1: Legal advice: providing legal aid to asylum "seekers" at the Service d'assistance social et administrative ("SASA") of France terre d'asile.
  • Project 2: Empirical research: designing and/or implementing a research project under the supervision of France terre d'asile or one of its partner NGOs.

Read the report (in French)

Project "Public interest/ Private Dispute"

Context: The global success of international investor-State and commercial arbitration has led to the unprecedented expansion of the use of arbitration as a method of dispute resolution in recent times. There has also been a firestorm of criticism in recent years over the need for increased transparency and public interest access in this traditionally confidential practice area. Many have called for full realization of human rights advocacy in the hope of obtaining human rights-based arbitral awards that are enforceable under such international legal instruments as the New York Convention or bilateral investment treaties. This project recognizes the potential of international arbitration to provide a forum for human rights advocacy, and students will be an integral part to building this important advocacy work. 

Role of the clinic, objectives and methodology: The objective of this project is to develop a symposium at Sciences Po to foster a public discussion over the appropriate role of the public interest within the private dispute resolution mechanism of international arbitration as one step in longer-term advocacy, ultimately geared toward realizing the full human rights advocacy potential of international arbitration. Students will prepare both sides of the public interest/private dispute debate and deliver their refined arguments in a mock arbitration organized as an advocacy exercise at Sciences Po to introduce the topic for public discussion among an esteemed group of panelists. The semester will further explore other potential avenues for follow-up advocacy to realize the potential of human rights advocacy in the world of international arbitration. 

As part of the HEDG project, selected students take the Clinic course consisting of intensive theoretical and practical training. In groups, students attend 24 hours of class per semester and carry out half a day of teamwork on their project per week. The HEDG project is open to students in their second year of the Master in Economic Law or at PSIA (Paris School of International Affairs). Professors and associate professors at Sciences Po as well as practitioners, lawyers, and legal experts at NGOs and businesses accompany the HEDG projects throughout the fall and spring semesters.

These stakeholders, as well as the PhD students at the Sciences Po Law School and the Clinic's alumni, are invested in the HEDG project as tutors participating pro bono in their specific project. The development of the curriculum and the teaching method of the RISE and HEDG projects are under supervision of professors Jeremy Perelman and Horatia Muir-Watt and entrusted beginning  2014-2015  to Manon Aubry.

Former projects