Human Rights Centre

Part of Essex Law School

Chalking of the steps, University of Essex

40 years pioneering the theory and practice of human rights from the local to the global

The Human Rights Centre at Essex boasts a global reputation for excellence in the promotion of world-leading interdisciplinary human rights education, research and practice. At the heart of our work is the interface between the theory and practice of human rights, conflict and acute crises.
Cutting edge research and practice

We influence and set human rights agendas. We make concrete differences around the globe, and we are a dominant voice for change. Through our research, impact and educational activities, at Essex, not only do we lead the way in identifying, enduring and responding to human rights challenges, it's the way we apply this which defines us.


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Trailblazing in human rights education

We have been delivering the Essex human rights education since 1983, and we're proud to produce the next generation of human rights defenders around the world. As seen by many within the global human rights community, we have carved out an identity at Essex which promotes a prestige standard for human rights education across the world.


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Our community

As one of the world's largest single academic human rights communities, we are vibrant, diverse and multicultural at our heart. With over 200 members comprising of staff, students and Fellow, our community are actively involved in a hub which facilitates interaction across the University, online, and through networks we've established across the world.


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Celebrating 40 years of the Human Rights Centre

"Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were in office when the Human Rights Centre (HRC) first opened its doors to students on the LLM International Human Rights Law in 1982. The digital revolution had yet to occur. Facebook and Twitter were still many years away. Lauded by such figures as Nelson Mandela, the HRC went on to establish itself as one of the world’s leading academic centres for human rights. Many people in the global human rights community know of our Centre and hold us in the highest regard."

Dr Andrew Fagan, Director of the HRC


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Protest on campus
Human Rights Centre PhD Scholarship

If you're a potential PhD student wishing to research the area of human rights, take part in the globally recognised work of the University of Essex Human Rights Centre and study for a postgraduate research degree in relevant departments, you could be eligible to receive a full PhD scholarship to support you, including full tuition fee discount for three years of study, a stipend payment towards your living costs and Proficio funding towards training, conferences, and travel.

Find out more about the scholarship

Human Rights at Essex?

Excellence in human rights theory and practice through multi and interdisciplinary research and education
Awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2010 in recognition of our work in advancing global human rights
Join our Human Rights Centre Clinic, develop practical skills, work with world-renowned human rights organisations
Benefit from a range of career events organised throughout the year to give you an insight into specific areas of human rights
Take part in highly rewarding human rights competitions that provide invaluable practical experience on a wide range of issues
We offer a range of opportunities for working with projects associated with our Centre that focus on human rights in practice
Two students talking in Library
Student chalking the steps during Human Rights week
Two members of the Human Rights Centre
Four students faces during lecture
Student drawing on a mirror
Two students standing against Human Rights week poster
Portrait of Lorna McGregor
"The Essex Human Rights Centre is recognised throughout the world for the vital and enduring contributions our staff and students have made and will continue to make to the global defence of human rights."
Dr Andrew Fagan Director Human Rights centre

Kevin Boyle

Professor Kevin Boyle was the longest serving director or the Human Rights Centre. He led the Centre from 1990 to 2003 and again in 2006 to 2007. Throughout his time at Essex, Kevin played a pivotal role in developing the Centre into the multidisciplinary powerhouse it is today. Learn more through his archive.

Contact the Human Rights Centre
5s.5.5 Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: +44 (0)1206 874810