Human Rights in Iran Unit

In 2012, the Masters Program in International Affairs at Brooklyn College CUNY established the Human Rights in Iran Unit (HRIU) to provide research support to United Nations’ Special Rapporteur (SR) on human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, an who investigates human rights conditions in the Iran in and to report findings to the UN.  This project includes the following efforts:

▪ Investigation of Iran’s human rights practices on rights specified in existing national laws and ratified international treaties. Monitoring rights in Iran through news reports, blogs, and other social media;

▪ Scholarly research on topics like Iran’s criminal justice system, gender equality, the treatment of minority groups, and the impacts of economic sanctions

▪ Coordination with non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders to monitor human rights developments in the country

▪ Conducting interviews with individuals with first-hand knowledge of rights abuses

▪ Contribution to and maintenance of the project website

The project now includes Impact Iran (, composed of 14 organizations, based in seven countries, working to promote civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights in our country through engagement with United Nations member states, the UN mechanisms, and through participation in intergovernmental processes. Some of our member organizations include Centre for Supporters of Human Rights, founded by Noble Peace Laureate, Shirin Ebadi; Article 19; Center for Human Rights in Iran; and Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM), founders of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

Internships: We are always on the look out for student interns  at the graduate and undergraduate level, especially from Brooklyn College. Applicants should have a strong interest in some combination of international human rights, international relations, and engaging with civil society for social change. Applicants should demonstrate precise attention to detail, the ability to follow instructions, conscientiousness about checking one’s own work, a positive attitude, a proactive approach, and good judgment. French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, or Persian language skills a plus but not required.

To apply, please send 1) letter of interest, 2) resume, and 3) writing sample to Prof. Janet Elise Johnson, who is the faculty coordinator, at  The internship is unpaid but can be done for Brooklyn College credit.


Background Information

Past Events

Mini-Clinic with the Human Rights in Iran Unit:  21st Century Tricks of the Trade for Running a Human Rights Campaign, February 24, 2015

Please join us for an invaluable opportunity to learn about international human rights in practice.  Brooklyn College’s Human Rights in Iran Unit (HRIU), which provides support for the United Nations, will be providing invaluable insight for anyone interested in a career in international politics and human rights.  February 24, 2015 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.  City University of New York – 25 Broadway, New York, 7th Floor Auditorium

Almost everyone these days seems to be behind the idea of human rights.  But how can advocates move human rights issues to the front and center of policy debates?  How can advocates get states and international organizations to promote and enforce rights?

This three-hour mini-clinic–by human rights professionals with years of experience working for the United Nations, governments, and top human rights NGOs–is a practicum on how advocates can set their goals, frame their messages, and spread the word, especially through online campaigning using diaspora communities.  At the practicum, you will help craft and translate policy ideas for different target audiences, from journalists to lawmakers to the general public. And then you will walk through the process of structuring a human rights campaign.

By the end of the clinic, you will be able to:  Formulate a policy objective for any human rights issue; Locate stakeholders and points of influence; Choose your advocacy strategy and activities to further your objectives; Use media and social media to amplify your message.  This practicum will provide you with the practical aspects of human rights work that major human rights and international organizations value.  If you are studying international affairs or are planning a career that promotes human rights, this clinic is for you.

The event will be conducted by the Human Rights in Iran unit, which provides research support for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran.  The unit is affiliated with the International Affairs Masters Program at the Department of Political Science at Brooklyn College.  The clinic is open to advanced undergraduates, MA, and PhD students or professionals at any NYC-metro areas institutions or organization.


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