The Human Rights Program students, faculty and staff engage in a number of projects, on and off campus, in support of human rights issues both domestic and international.
Human Rights Curriculum Development Project
The Human Rights Program of the University of Chicago, in conjunction with Macalester College and the Midwest Faculty Seminar, has been awarded a grant from the Teagle Foundation to determine how human rights education can advance answers to the “Big Question”: What can I
do to right the wrongs of the world? A grant from the Teagle Foundation will support a
Working Group of faculty members who will meet over a two year period to address this
question in an on-going discussion of and research into contemporary human rights problems as
well as comparative pedagogy and curriculum development.
Human Rights At Home: the Chicago Police Torture Archive
This archive presents information and documents about the torture of
African-American men and women by Chicago police officers which occurred
between 1972 and 1991. Jon Burge, the commander of the notorious Area 2 (the
district headquarters) where these events took place, was ultimately fired
by the Chicago Police Department. In 2008, the U.S. attorney's office
charged Burge with perjury and obstruction of justice, since the statute of
limitations had passed for charges related to committing the acts of
torture. In 2010, Burge was convicted and, in 2011, sentenced to four and one half years in prison. While some Area 2 victims have won civil rights verdicts against the torturers and others won criminal appeals or were
pardoned, some still languish in Illinois state prisons.
This archive (last updated in 2007) is the result of a joint effort by Human Rights Program faculty and staff, Students for Human Rights, the MacArthur Justice Center, the Peoples Law Office, and attorneys who have contributed their time and energy to working on these cases. The archive is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Robert Kirschner (1940-2002), an internationally recognized forensic pathologist, a founder of the University of Chicago Human Rights Program and faculty member of the Medical School. Dr. Kirschner played an essential role in the documentation of torture in these cases.
The Human Rights Program supports Pro-Busqueda in their mission to reunite Salvadorean families with the children who disappeared during that country's civil war. Because many of these children were adopted into families in the United States, the Human Rights Program assists Pro-Busqueda in their ongoing effort to track them down and initiate contact once found.