Statue of John Carlos and Tommie Smith.
Statue of John Carlos and Tommie Smith commemorating the olympic project for human rights and Olympic protest in 1968.

A World-Class Research and Policy Institute

Located in the heart of San José, the SJSU Human Rights Institute [HRI] provides research and policy analysis guided by the highest standards and principles of international human rights law. You can help the HRI to address the most pressing social problems facing our communities by donating today!

Give and Invest

SAMI Students and Dr. Edith Kinney
Students Against Mass Incarceration [SAMI] joined by Dr. Edith Kinney addressing the press on cannabis record clearance in Santa Clara County.

HRI in the news

Follow the research, reporting, and news analysis of the SJSU HRI. The SJSU HRI Calendar provides a schedule of events, the live Twitter feed and Facebook page provide news and updates, and the emergent Human Rights News Network (coming soon!) will be an international source for Human Rights reporting, scholarship, and curated news.

Follow Our Social Media Accounts!

Silicon Valley Pain Index Press Conference
Silicon Valley Pain Index Press Conference

Silicon Valley Pain Index

An annual report on the state of inequality and quality of life for San José and Silicon Valley residents. Its inspiration can be found in Professor Bill Quigley's Katrina Pain Index following the devastating 2005 storm. The SVPI measures are meant to reflect fundamental (IBHR) International Human Rights and to serve as one of many potential illustrations of Santa Clara County’s [SCC] performance as a “human rights county.”

Full Report 2022

Afghan women with signs

Visiting Scholars Program

Initiated as part of an effort to evacuate and place Afghan scholars, journalists, and artists following the departure of U.S. forces in 2021, the Visiting Scholars Program [VSP] provides academic and research opportunities for scholars while providing collaborative educational opportunities for SJSU students, faculty, and community members. The HRI is currently hosting two Afghan scholar-journalists who will be reporting on conditions in Afghanistan and for the Afghan diaspora throughout the 2022-23 AY. Their critically important reporting—notably as widespread poverty and famine grip Afghanistan in one of the largest humanitarian disasters on Earth—will be updated on our website and presented in multiple forums.

Dr. Angela Davis
Dr. Angela Davis gives the Keynote Human Rights Lecture in 2015, joined by #BLM organizers from across the U.S.

2023 Human Right Lecture Series

Please check back in with us soon for information on our 2023 Annual Human Rights Lecture Series! Registration will open late Fall for the Spring 2023 event!

See Our Previous Lecture Series Here

Director W. Armaline and student team, legal aid workshop for undocumented community members in Santa Clara County.

Meet Our Team

The HRI faculty include award-winning authors, educators, and journalists who partner with one of the most diverse student bodies in the country and some of the most impressive organizations in the region to inform policy and practice according to international human rights law, standards, and scholarship.

Student speaking and gesturing with his hands towards other students.

Programs and Scholarships

In partnership with the SJSU Human Rights Minor Program, students gain access to a wealth of applied and scholarly experience in human rights law, philosophy, advocacy, policy design, and reporting.

NAACP Die In protest at San Jose City Hall

Policy and Praxis

A central goal of the SJSU HRI is to demonstrate the potential for critical scholarship and human rights frameworks to address the many challenges that confront our local and global communities. The HRI creates and engages policy at the local, state, and federal level, working with stakeholders and policy makers to craft effective policy solutions.

Guest speaker from "We Change Genocide" speaking behind a podium.


The SJSU HRI facilitates and supports groundbreaking scholarship that continues to shape the broader field of Human Rights. Beyond traditional publications, research is often conducted in partnership with students and community organizations to create, improve, and inform policy solutions to pressing social problems. 

2022 HRI Lecture Series Panel


The Annual Human Rights Lecture Series and other co-sponsored events bring the community and university together to examine our mutual challenges and build cooperative solutions. Look out for the next Annual Human Rights Lecture.