Human Rights & International Law

Among scholars, the question of when and why international laws work has triggered a lively debate that the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation strives to settle with better theories and research findings. Emilie Hafner-Burton, professor and co-director of the lab, is the author of “Making Human Rights a Reality” that looks at the emergence of a massive body of legal norms and procedures aimed at protecting human rights. The book explores why it has been so hard for these international laws to have much of an impact in parts of the world where human rights are most at risk.

In the News

Justice can be beautiful
Feb. 25, 2019 | By Rachel Hommel | GPS News
In its San Diego film premiere, THE JUDGE celebrates stunning perseverance and bravery for women in Islamic law 

A marriage of policy and advocacy
Oct. 28, 2019 | By Rachel Hommel | GPS News
A Q&A with fellows and human rights advocates Bennett Freeman and Rebecca MacKinnon during their residency at the Center on Global Transformation

Read additional stories


Faculty and Research

Related Faculty

  • Emilie Hafner-Burton

    Emilie Hafner-Burton

    John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of International Justice and Human Rights
    Co-director, Laboratory on International Law and Regulation

    Research Fields: international law and regulation, human rights, election violence, trade and investment, behavioral economics, political psychology, and social networks

  • Zoltan L. Hajnal

    Zoltan L. Hajnal


    Research Fields: racial and ethnic politics, urban politics, immigration, election administration, voting rights, American politics, political behavior

  • David Victor

    David Victor

    Professor; Co-director, Laboratory on International Law and Regulation; Center for Global Transformation Endowed Chair in Innovation and Public Policy 

    Research Fields: human rights, international law, energy policy, climate change policy

  • Barbara F. Walter

    Barbara F. Walter


    Research Fields: international security, civil wars, terrorism/counter-terrorism

Related Research Centers and Programs

  • Center on Global Transformation

    Center on Global Transformation

    Examining central questions about economic growth, equality and market change in the Pacific, this center brings together the worlds of academic inquiry and policy analysis.
  • Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation

    Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation

    Facilitating innovative research on the causes of international conflict and cooperation, this institute serves the entire UC system and is committed to educating the next generation of problem solvers and peacemakers.
  • Laboratory on International Law and Regulation

    Laboratory on International Law and Regulation

    Exploring when and why laws actually work, this living laboratory looks across an array of issues from environment and energy to human rights, trade and security.

Learn more about our degree programs

The School of Global Policy and Strategy understands collaboration across disciplines is increasingly important to solve the world’s most pressing problems. Discover our degrees today!