Human Rights in the Americas

The Centre for American Legal Studies (CALS) has a developing interest in human rights issues in the wider Americas. CALS has identified environmental justice as an issue of particular concern both for the United States and for the Americas generally.

The Human Rights in the Americas research cluster at BCU


The Centre has established research partnerships with universities in Brazil (Estácio de Sá and Fluminense Universities, Rio de Janeiro) and works collaboratively with a network of scholars in Brazil, Mexico and other countries in Latin America.

This partnership uses BCU’s expertise with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to prepare stakeholder submissions for reviews as they become due.

The review of Brazil, due in 2021 but now put back to 2022 is currently in preparation. CALS is seeking to become a member of the Registry of Civil Society Organizations in the OAS with the aim of working with our partners on thematic areas of interest for members states of the OAS.

CALS’ research interests consider the interaction between the human right to a healthy environment, the attempts to confer rights on nature and the litigation that can follow.

In Ecuador in 2011, a court ruling recognizing that road construction undertakings had violated the Vilcabamba River's constitutionally protected rights became the first legal ruling in favour of Rights of Nature in the world.

CALS researchers monitor these developments and track the connection with community attempts to assert rights of local democracy against corporations which use their power to influence policy direction and manipulate the decision-making process in their favour.

Current projects include:

  • UPR Human Rights monitoring
  • OAS environment safeguarding mechanisms
  • Tracking the assertion of rights for nature and subsequent legal challenges

PhD opportunities

PhD applications are welcomed across all areas of human rights in the Americas, particularly in our areas of key activity.