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As a growing number of social justice lawyers employ human rights standards and strategies to advocate for their clients. human rights mechanisms of the United Nations have become a promising way for lawyers to work toward economic justice. These mechanisms are not only an alternative to traditional litigation and administrative advocacy but also unique opportunities for collaboration among U.S. civil society groups and engagement with policymakers. Because they are grounded in international human 1ights norms. human rights mechanisms have the potential to deal with social and economic issues beyond the reach of traditional domestic protections. By strategically using these mechanisms. legal aid lawyers can make a larger case within local communities, with government officials, and on the international stage for their clients' concerns.

Building upon previous Clearinghouse Review articles and several appearing in this issue, we draw a primer on the U.N. human rights system as a means of complementing domestic advocacy efforts on behalf of low-income and poor communities and individuals.' First, we give an overview of the U.N. mechanisms that monitor and promote human rights compliance in the United States. Second, we cite examples of how social justice organizations have engaged these mechanisms to broaden access to justice and deter violence against women, and we suggest opportunities for future engagement on a range of issues confronting clients of legal aid programs.