Lisa Davis is a Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic (formerly named International Women’s Human Rights Clinic). She has written and reported extensively on human rights and gender issues, including on women’s rights and LGBTIQ rights, with a focus on peace building and security issues in conflict and disaster settings. She has testified before U.S. Congress, U.K. Parliament, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and various international human rights bodies. In 2016, Professor Davis was elected by her peers to deliver the civil society statement for the U.N. Security Council’s open debate on the use of sexual violence in conflict situations.

In the case Karen Atala and Daughters v Chile, Professor Davis co-authored the only amicus curiae brief to argue that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes under international law. Among others, the brief was also co-authored by attorneys at the law firm Morrison & Foerster, who focused on the custody issue at hand, arguing that sexual orientation and gender identity should not be factors in custody determinations. In 2012, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a groundbreaking decision, providing for an explicit prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

In 2010, Professor Davis served as lead counsel for the Inter-American Commission petition on behalf of displaced Haitian women and girls, which resulted in the Commission’s first-ever precautionary measures decision recognizing state responsibility to prevent third-party gender-based violence. She was subsequently awarded the 2011 People’s Choice Gavel Award by her peers for the decision.

Professor Davis is an alumna of CUNY Law School and joined the faculty in 2010. She currently serves as a board member of the LGBT Social Science and Public Policy Center at Roosevelt House. She is a faculty advisor for the Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice, faculty advisor to the CUNY Law Review and faculty board member of the CUNY Law Foundation. Prior to joining CUNY Law, she established the advocacy department at MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, where she developed the legal advocacy platform to advance women’s human rights in peace-building and security issues.

In the News


    Book chapters

  • The Gendered Dimensions of Torture: Rape and other Forms of Gender-Based Violence as Torture under International Law, chapter in, TORTURE AND ITS DEFINITION IN INTERNATIONAL LAW: AN INTER-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH, Oxford University Press, (forthcoming 2016)
  • Lisa Davis & Cassandra Atlas, Grassroots Women’s Participation in Addressing Conflict and Genocide: Case Studies from the MENA Region and Latin America, chapter in, WOMEN AND GENOCIDE, Indiana University Press, (forthcoming 2016)
  • MADRE et al, Our Bodies Are Still Trembling, chapter in, TECTONIC SHIFTS: HAITI SINCE THE EARTHQUAKE, Kumarian Press, North American Congress on Latin America (Jan. 2012)
  • Julie Mertus & Lisa Davis, Women’s Connectivity Across Borders in a Time of Globalization and Democratization, in Women’s Worlds 2005: 9TH Int’l. Interdisc. Congress on Women: Remembering the Earth 22 (2005)

    Scholarly Publications

  • ISIL, Sexual Violence, the Syrian Conflict and the Way Forward: Women’s Inclusion in the Peace Process, 47 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 1, (2016)
  • Lisa Davis & Blaine Bookey, Fanm Ayisyen Pap Kase: Respecting the Right to Health of Haitian Women and Girls, Harvard Health & Hum. Rts. J., 13.1 (2011)
  • Legal Breakthrough in Sexual Violence Protection Rights, Haiti, Monday Developments, (Mar. 2011)
  • Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Responds to Demand for Action to End Sexual Violence in Haiti, Periodico Al Derecho (Mar. 2012)
  • Preventing Torture at Home and Abroad: Utilizing General Comment 2 of the UN Convention Against Torture in the Post-Bush Era, Twelve Ten, (Dec. 2008)

CUNY Law Professor Lisa Davis

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