For Rajat Khosla, Essex will always hold a special place in his heart.

He has spent more than 20 years upholding the principles of human rights around the world while working with the likes of Amnesty International, the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO).

He began his journey into law at the University of Delhi where he went onto research the relationship between law, poverty and inequalities.

Rajat turned to Essex’s prestigious Human Rights Centre to deepen his understanding of international human rights law and how it can help address issues at the national level.

“The LLM programme offered a unique mix of in-depth teaching based on the curriculum; combined with practice-based learning opportunities." says Rajat while looking back on his time studying LLM International Human Rights Law between 2004 and 2005.

Rajat Khosla

“The fact that majority of faculty were advisors to UN and regional mechanisms and also noted advocates in the field increased the richness of my experience as a student enormously.”

Rajat is currently the Director of the International Institute on Global Health at the United Nations University in Kuala Lumpur, where he works on global health and inequalities through the intersections of research, policy and practice.

It is just one of a number of roles he has filled in the past 20 years, along with his work as a Senior Director for Research, Advocacy and Policy at Amnesty International, and posts with WHO and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

His research work during his career has revolved around normative development for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals related to health - in particular on issues related to sexual and reproductive health; develop and guide policy and legal analysis; and develop policy frameworks on the integration of women’s rights in humanitarian emergencies. 

Along with providing consultative support for global charities like UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA, he is an Adjunct Research Professor and Fellow at the University of Southern California Institute on Inequalities in Global Health.

'How Essex helped me on my journey'

Rajat has also retained his links with Essex through his role as a Visiting Fellow for the Human Rights Centre.

And he admits his close ties with the centre have been crucial for him, particularly when he was learning there as a student.

He continued: “Firstly, it was through deepening my understanding of international law and research methods that the centre really helped me.

“And secondly, it helped me find my own direction for my work on economic and social rights and health and human rights in particular.

“Whether it was the theoretical and philosophical foundations of human rights or deep insights into the work of UN special procedures the programme helped shaped my understanding of international human rights law and its applications in a variety of ways.

“I would say the Human Rights Centre is a great place to study, it helps you ground as a researcher, activist and a thinker on human rights.”

This blog forms part of a special series celebrating the Human Rights Centre's 40th anniversary. We are catching up with members of our prestigious alumni who are reflecting on their time at Essex and how it helped launch their successful careers in human rights.