The Human Rights Centre is internationally recognised for the breadth and depth of its research projects.
The projects hosted by the centre operate at the interface between the theory and practice of human rights, bringing together experts from different disciplines and making concrete differences at the international, national, and local level.
Our research addresses a comprehensive range of pressing and important human rights challenges, including the right to health; freedom of religion; armed conflict and humanitarian issues; business and human rights; transitional justice; digital verifications and big data; local human rights challenges; issues surrounding mental health and autonomy.
Director of the Human Rights Centre, Andrew Fagan, has emphasized how crucial human rights are in the global challenges our world is facing and stresses how vital our role in research, practice and education is going to be in the coming years.
"This is a very famous university that has been involved in the fight for human rights around the world"
These interdisciplinary research clusters enable academic research staff with shared research interests, but working across different departments and faculties, to come together to share and receive feedback on research, as well as to develop shared research activities.
The clusters aim to support:
The Human Rights Centre is proud to be home to a variety of incredible research projects. Our inspiring and dedicated academics cover a breadth of human rights issues from investigating in situations of armed conflict, to the role of national human rights institutions.
The Center for Global Public Law at Koc University and the Human Right Centre of the University of Essex are very pleased to publish an Annotated Compilation of Case Law surveying the effects of international human rights law on other branches of public international law alongside a bibliography focusing on the relationship between human rights and international law.
The Unit examines various aspects related to the implementation of international standards on freedom of religion or belief including research into intersections between freedom of religion or belief and other human rights, especially freedom of expression and gender equality
Established in 2009, the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy is dedicated to developing and promoting innovative and high quality legal and human rights research and teaching on issues related to drug laws, policy and enforcement.
The Human Rights in Iran Unit focuses on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s compliance with international human rights law. Based in the School of Law, we are building upon our University’s proud tradition of supporting UN Special Rapporteurs and of human rights expertise that reaches back to 1982.
Human Rights Centre Members also conduct country- and region-specific human rights work, and possess particular expertise with respect to the United Nations mechanisms, including the UN Special Procedures.
Some of the prominent human rights-related positions held by our members include: Chairperson of the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion or Belief, member of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, member of UN’s Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, Legal Advisor to the UK House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution, Rapporteur to the International Law Association’s Committee on the Use of Force, Law Commissioner in Jersey, and Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law.
Our members are also involved in the work of various NGOs and international organisations including Amnesty International, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Oxfam, REDRESS, the Euro-Med Human Rights Network, Child Soldiers International, the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, and the AIRE Centre.
Essex is also one of only four universities with a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a development that recognises the breadth of education that Essex provides in relation to the protection of refugees.
Our members are also extensively involved in litigation, particularly before the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and actively engage with the major UN human rights institutions.
Past activities undertaken by our members include litigating the case of Garcia Lucero and others v Chile before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, submitting comments to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in relation to the draft general comment on Article 12 of the Covenant, and submitting an amicus curae brief to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hassan v United Kingdom and Georgia v Russia cases.
As the leading centre for the interdisciplinary study of human rights, we have extensive experience providing advice and consultancy services to national and international governmental agencies including:
We have also provided similar consultancy services to numerous non-governmental organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Article 19, Minority Rights Group, the Consortium for Street Children, and Interights.
“We’re finding ourselves shaping the global discussion on mental health reform. There is an international debate happening about law reform and how to achieve compliance with the UN Convention and we’re helping people chart a course through the issues they are facing.”