American Bar Association
International Human Rights Committee (IHRC)

International Human Rights Committee (IHRC)

Mission Statement

The International Human Rights Committee (IHRC) is concerned with all matters involving the response to and amelioration of instances of assaults on human dignity through the oppression of civil and political rights, as well as efforts to create and foster legal, business, and cultural systems and institutions that give meaningful protection to human rights.

More specifically, the ABA-SIL IHRC:

  • Monitors the drafting and adoption of international covenants;
  • Advocates for foreign human rights lawyers persecuted for their work;
  • Investigates cases of alleged human rights abuses throughout the world;
  • Educates the bar, policy makers, and the public at large about human rights issues.

IHRC Social Media Presence:


Welcome to the International Human Rights Committee!

The IHRC is a Committee that operates within the ABA Section of International Law (ABA/SIL). The IHRC is led by ABA Members of the SIL who are interested in monitoring and reporting on human rights issues throughout the world. The Committee monitors, examines and reports on the oppression of civil and political rights and the efforts to create and foster legal, business, and cultural systems and institutions that protect human rights.

The Committee:

- Monitors the drafting and adoption of international covenants;

- Advocates for foreign human rights lawyers;

- Investigates alleged human rights abuses; and

- Educates the bar, policy makers, and the public about human rights issues.

IHRC leaders are appointed annually by the ABA, Section of International Law and are charged with the day-to-day business of the committee, which includes, but is not limited to: drafting and publishing relevant material pertaining to human rights; the coordination of programs, projects, events and teleconferences; and the promotion of human rights through advocacy, education, communication and social media. All IHRC Vice Chairs are assigned portfolios, which delineate each leaders primary area of focus and activity.


The Committee periodically submits proposals to the ABA President for the issuance of "Rule of Law" letters to governments accused of harassing human rights lawyers and advocates globally. For more information on the ABA Section's policy procedure and usage guideline, please read Human Rights Policy or contact IHRC Co-Chairs, Elizabeth Turchi or Joe Federici, with questions and suggestions.


The Committee organizes Continuing Legal Education program and Teleconferences at little or no cost to educate participants on human rights issues globally. It also organizes seminars on human rights for annual and mid-year ABA meetings to familiarize attendees with current global human rights trends. For Teleconferences please contact Committee Vice-Chairs Tammie Smith, Theresa Harris or Co- Chair Elizabeth Turchi. For Programs, please contact Committee Vice-Chairs Hong Tang or Joseph F Jacob.


The Committee collects submissions from members on important legal developments for a "Year-in-Review" article which is customarily submitted for publication to "The International Lawyer" - a publication of the ABA. In addition, the Committee proposes themes for books published by the ABA on international human rights issues. Please contact Vice-Chair Cleveland Ferguson III regarding proposed submissions or any suggestion.

The ABA-SIL/Center for Human Rights publishes a weekly eBrief Newsletter. Please contact the Editor, Russell Kerr for any suggestion or submission.


The Committee is involved in numerous ventures, including the weekly publication of "International Human Rights eBrief"; Rule of Law letters; Standalone programs; Human Rights Lobby Day, organized by IHRC Member Gregory Mackenzie, etc… Please contact Committee Vice-Chairs Natalie R Williams or Osas Justy Erhabor with any suggestion.


IHRC makes every effort to network and collaborate with other ABA sections and committees as well as with non-ABA entities and organizations that support its mission. To this end, the Committee is involved in numerous “Special Projects” that raise awareness about human rights issues, educate the global community and promote human rights. IHRC’s Special Projects include, but are not limited to, the Russian Law Student Skype Program; Human Rights Lobby Day; special programs & panel discussions coordinated by IHRC Member Gregory MacKenzie on human rights violations in North Korea and North Korean detention centers; Rule of Law letters; standalone programs. Please contact Vice-Chair Osas Justy Erhabor with any suggestion.


The Committee strives to keep its members informed of internal operations. We accordingly circulate minutes of our Steering Group and Committee leadership conference calls, post audio files of teleconferences on this site and maintain a blog. The International Human Rights Committee's IHRC Forum is available to Committee members to post and discuss timely human rights issues. Please contact Vice-Chair for Communications Stephanie Williams or Joseph F Jacob if you have information that you would like to share with the Committee.

We appreciate your participation and look forward to working with you on significant international human rights concerns - with a view to impacting our world positively.

We cordially invite you to participate in the activities above and to propose initiatives that are consistent with our Mission Statement.


Elizabeth Turchi or Joe Federici, Co-Chairs,

International Human Rights Committee,

Section of International Law, American Bar Association

Upcoming Section and Committee Events

Committee Events
Holding Up Half the Sky: The Role of Women’s Human Rights in International Investment and Development
April 4, 2014
Section of International Law 2014 Spring Meeting;
Date: Friday, 4 April;
Time: 2:00-3:15 PM EST;
Location: ABA Section on International Law Spring Meeting at the Waldorf, New York City
Notes: This is a panel that the IHRC is co-sponsoring.
Section Events
April 25, 2014
China World Hotel
Beijing ,
Format: Webinar/Teleconference

April 25, 2014
Location: N/A
Format: Webinar/Teleconference

April 29, 2014
Location: N/A
Format: Webinar/Teleconference

International Human Rights Job Listing

Human Rights e-Brief Archive

E-Briefs 2008-2012

Committee Leadership

Co-Chairs:  Joseph P Federici III, Elizabeth Ann Turchi
IHRC Receives Four Committee Awards from Section

Vice-Chairs:  Osas Justy Erhabor, Joseph F Jacob, Tammie Smith, Hong Tang, Stephanie L Williams, Natalie R Williams

Committee Roster (552 total members)

Committee Listserve

International Human Rights Committee
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Modified by Joseph F Jacob on April 21, 2014

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