LL.M. in International Human Rights Law

Llm Class Of 2024
Class of 2024


More than 500 lawyers from over 100 countries have graduated from our LL.M. Program in International Human Rights Law — a joint program of Notre Dame Law School and the Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights. Our graduates’ commitment to human rights, as well as the rigor and richness of their academic life at Notre Dame Law School, has established our LL.M. program as among the most prominent in the world. Our graduates are regularly selected to clerk for regional human rights courts as well as to work at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, among other important global appointments.

Applicants to our LL.M. are inspired by their compassion for victims of human rights violations, but often lack the technical skills and theoretical grounding required for strategic human rights lawyering. Ensuring that our students gain competency in the substantive and procedural aspects of international human rights law is our first priority. As the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., said of lawyers during the dedication of the Notre Dame Law School library, “compassion without competence would be a cruel hoax upon those they serve.”

Dianedesierto Teaching 2018
Professor of Law & Global Affairs Diane Desierto serves as faculty director of the LL.M. in International Human Rights Law.

Professor Diane Desierto, faculty director of the program, says, “The Notre Dame human rights lawyer is everywhere in the world, defending human dignity and working for the common good. For half a century now, the LL.M. in International Human Rights Law program has cultivated and supported its global network of human rights lawyers, deepening expertise in international, regional, and national courts; advocacy and policy-making at parliaments and legislatures, in governments and the private sector; and leadership in human rights education worldwide.”

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Program News

Llm Clerks Ngwallo Suarez
Recent graduates Angella Ngwalo, left, and Angélica Suárez Torres are clerking at influential international courts.
  • Four LL.M. in International Human Rights Law students named Rita Bahr Cari Scholars by Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights. Read the story.
  • Angella Ngwalo ’22 LL.M. is clerking for the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in the United Republic of Tanzania, and Angélica Suárez Torres ’22 LL.M. is clerking for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica. Read the story.
  • Professor Diane Desierto named chair-rapporteur of UN expert group finalizing first human rights treaty in nearly a decade. Read the story.
  • Notre Dame International’s Women Who Empower: Regina Castro Traulsen ’16 LL.M. Read the story.
  • Rosette Muzigo ’94 LL.M. fights for human rights at International Criminal Court. Read the story.

Read our newsletter: Fall 2021 | Spring 2022 | Fall 2022 | Spring 2023

Spotlight: Grace Oladipo ’22 LL.M.

Graceoladipo Icc

Grace Oladipo pursued the LL.M. in International Human Rights Law as the recipient of the Fulbright Ireland Student Award, a full tuition scholarship. After graduating from Notre Dame, she proceeded to internships at The Hague Academy of International Law and then the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Read her reflection

Program Events

Panel Discussion: Exorcising the Demons of Labour Externalization

Nd Club Of East Africa 19th September

Date: September 19, 2023
Time: 12:30 p.m. EST

Labour externalisation from East Africa has emerged as a critical yet contentious practice, raising concerns over human rights, economic implications, and governmental interests. This panel brings together experts from Uganda and Kenya to explore multifaceted dimensions of labor externalisation, its challenges, and possible solutions. Unemployment and underemployment are top push migration factors for migrant workers, many of whom, are young women. The discussion will touch on various aspects:

  1. Tightening Legal Mechanisms and Adopting Victim-Centred Approaches: The importance of robust legal frameworks that prioritise the protection and well-being of migrant workers. They will highlight the significance of victim-centred policies in ensuring fair treatment and safeguarding against exploitation.
  2.  Balancing Conflicting Interests: The intricate balance between the pursuit of employment and freedom of movement by workers versus revenue generation for governments will be discussed. How do we reconcile these conflicting interests, ensuring the welfare of migrant workers and the economic benefits of labor externalisation?
  3. Kenyan Case Study: Mechanisms Driving Labor Externalisation: Drawing from a examples in Kenya, and the factors that drive labor externalisation this will explore economic, social, and policy factors that influence the decision to seek work opportunities abroad. 

The insights shared by the panelists will contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the  challenges and potential solutions related to labour externalisation. By examining the interplay of legal, economic, and societal factors, the discussion aims to foster informed dialogue for a more ethical and equitable approach to labour migration.

Register here

Graduate Seminar Speaker Series

The annual Graduate Seminar Speaker Series, organized by Graduate Programs Manager Jean Marc Brissau, continues to draw Notre Dame Human Rights alumni and external partners to campus for practice and theory discussions on the evolving profession of international human rights law. This year, the seminar also features a live practice-based component in which students work on the United Nations Universal Periodic Review Tracking Project with alumnus Jean-Marie Kamatali ’04 LL.M., a professor of law at Ohio Northern University and former dean of the University of Rwanda Law School.