Human dignity recognizes the equal and inalienable value of every member of the human family. It is recognized in the International Bill of Rights, and in most Human Rights Instruments, including the Sustainable Development Goals. It is incorporated in more than 160 constitutions and courts around the world are increasingly vindicating dignity rights in civil, political, social, economic, cultural and environmental contexts. Dignity Law is an emerging, global, and foundational area of law and Delaware Law’s Dignity Rights Institute is the first program in the nation dedicated to the advancement of human dignity through law.
The Dignity Rights Institute is the only law school program dedicated to expanding the legal right to live with dignity. It offers students opportunities for experiential learning and practical applications works with legal, academic, non-profit, community-based organizations in all parts of the world as well as national and international advocacy groups to advance the human right to dignity. The Institute houses the Dignity Rights Clinic, sponsors research opportunities, and develops working partnerships. For more information and for opportunities to get involved, please email [email protected]
The Dignity Rights Institute works with partners locally and around the world to advance knowledge and capacity-building around the right to human dignity.
Recent projects include:
This year, students are working with the National Lawyers’ Guild Prisoner Advocacy Network to develop a Handbook for Dignity in the Criminal Justice System aimed at jailhouse lawyers, and other advocates, reformers, and policy makers.
Erin Daly is Professor of Law, Widener University Delaware Law School (USA), and Vice President, Institutional Development, UNIFA (Université de la Fondation Aristide) in Haiti. She is the author of Dignity Rights: Courts, Constitutions, and the Worth of the Human Person (Penn Constitution and Democracy Series) and the co-author of Reconciliation in Divided Societies: Finding Common Ground (Penn Series on Human Rights). She also directs the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment. She was interim dean of the Law School 2013-2015.The Dignity Rights Project is co-directed by Erin Daly and James R. May.
James R. May is Distinguished Professor of Law, Widener University Delaware Law School (USA). He is the author or co-author and editor or co-editor of 10 books and more than 100 articles and chapters, including Standards of Environmental Rights (Cambridge University Press), Principles of Constitutional Environmental Law (American Bar Association) and co-editor of Shale Gas and the Future of Energy (Edward Elgar). May has been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi and the American College of Environmental Lawyers. His work focuses on comparative environmental constitutionalism and dignity rights.
Together, they have written and edited numerous books including:
Jointly and separately, they have also written numerous articles and chapters on environmental law, comparative constitutional and international law, and transitional justice.
SELECTED PAST AND PRESENT PARTNERS of the Dignity Rights Institute (Project) at Delaware Law
American Bar Association Center for Human Rights, Dignity Rights Initiative (current)
Business and Human Rights Resource Center
Center for Applied Legal Studies, University of Witswatersrand, South Africa
Chester Environmental Partnership, Chester, U.S.
Coming Clean, Delaware
Dignity Media, Nepal
Delaware Concerned Residents 4 Environmental Justice
Environmental Law Institute
Lenape Indian Tribe, Delaware, U.S.
Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti/Bureau des Avocats Internationales, Boston, U.S. and Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Institute of Romani Culture in Albania (IRCA)
Jigme Singjigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, Bhutan
National Lawyers’ Guild Prisoners Legal Advocacy Network (current)
Pakistan College of Law Dignity Rights Center (current)
Pakistan Supreme Court (current) and High Court of Lahore, Pakistan
PILnet, New York, U.S.
Refugee Legal Support – UK and Greece
SOMRAR – Human Rights in Somaliland
United Nations Environment (formerly UNEP)
United Nations International Organization for Migration
Universidad del Norte, Baranquilla, Colombia
Université de la Fondation Aristide, Haiti