Tara J. Melish

woman smiling, standing outside wearing green top.

Professor; Director of the Buffalo Human Rights Center

Research Focus: Public International Law, International Human Rights Law, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Comparative Constitutional Law, Comparative Adjudication Standards
Curriculum VitaeSSRN

Contact Information

525 O'Brian Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100

Faculty Assistant:   

Biography Publications

Tara J. Melish teaches, writes and practices in the areas of human rights and public international law. Active in advocacy and litigation initiatives before United Nations and Inter-American human rights bodies, she has worked as associate social affairs officer in the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, as United Nations representative of Disability Rights International in the drafting negotiations of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as staff attorney at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), researcher to the South African Land Claims Court and Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, and legal adviser or consultant to a range of national and international human rights organizations. A specialist in comparative approaches to the protection of socio-economic and cultural rights, she has given human rights training programs across the world, including in Argentina, Finland, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe, and has received professional fellowships and research awards from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and Yale Law School.

Melish sits on the faculty of the Global School on Socio-Economic Rights, and has taught as a visiting professor at Notre Dame, Oxford, George Washington, Georgia, St. Thomas, and Virginia schools of law. She has written numerous books, articles, and chapters on economic, social and cultural rights, human rights enforcement strategies, disability rights, transitional justice, the inter-American human rights system, and participatory approaches to bridging the governance gaps in the business and human rights context.

Melish graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1996 and from Yale Law School in 2000, where she served as editor-in-chief of theYale Human Rights and Development Law Journal and book reviews editor for the Yale Journal of International Law. Following graduation, she served as law clerk to the Honorable James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.