We are an experienced research and academic institution that has offices, programmes, and convening power covering 40 countries.
We combine evidence-based human rights research with direct engagement with international organisations, governments, national human rights institutions, the justice sector, local and regional authorities, universities, and the business sector to bring about human rights change for all.
We are named after Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews and other people at risk in Hungary at the end of World War II.
- To contribute to a wider understanding of, and respect for, human rights and international humanitarian law.
- Just and inclusive societies with the effective realisation of human rights for all.
To ensure that a gender equality perspective is integrated into all of our work, we apply a cross-cutting approach to gender equality so . We achieve this through both targeted activities, such as training courses focusing on gender equality, and through integrating gender equality considerations into all of our work even when the primary objective is something else.
Our Focus Areas
We have set out to focus our work on a number of the major human rights challenges where we can do the most good.
- We work to enhance the rights and protection of the millions of refugees and migrants at risk. Read more.
- We work to secure that justice is accessible and administered to all equally. Read more.
- We work to ensure that societies are open and inclusive to all. Read more.
- We work towards a fair and socially sustainable global economy where human rights are a key building block for development, business and environmental governance. Read more.
How We Work
To advance human rights, we:
- develop cutting edge and policy-oriented research and analysis
- provide human rights education
- directly engage in the implementation of human rights together with our partners around the world to improve the practical application of human rights.
- bring together policy-makers, experts and civil society to engage in solution-oriented dialogue to advance human rights. Together we bring about change.
Research & Analysis
We have advanced the field of human rights and humanitarian law by generating innovative and policy-oriented research for over 30 years.
Our research, analysis and policy have, to mention a few achievements, contributed to:
- the development of international refugee law
- improving the effective participation of national minorities in public life
- the understanding and practical implementation of human rights and business.
Human Rights Education
Many of the more than 1,000 graduated students from the Master’s Programme in International Human Rights Law at Lund University have gone on to work with human rights and international humanitarian law in key positions as ambassadors, judges, prosecutors and in foreign ministries. Others have established human rights institutes, work for intergovernmental organisations like the UNHCR, and in the private sector.
We supported the establishment of the first master’s programme in human rights in China in 2004 with more than 200 students graduating and going on to work as judges and prosecutors, in the private sector, or in the human rights development field.
Since our first human rights education training in Windhoek, Namibia in 1991, it is estimated that more than 14,000 students, academics, judges, prosecutors, police officers, librarians, members of national human rights institutions and members of civil society have improved their capacity to promote, protect, and fulfill human rights by attending one of our trainings.
We have changed the way human rights are protected and promoted by contributing to the global rise of the number of national human rights institutions from a handful in the early 1990s to over 100 today.
We’ve worked with development and capacity building with over 20 national human rights institutions throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
We have directly engaged with more than 50 justice institutions around the globe to strengthen their work.
Human Rights Forums
We have contributed to developing unique solutions to human rights challenges by convening different actors in over 60 countries throughout our history.
A roundtable discussion in 2016 on integration and inclusion in the Nordics and Baltics resulted in a new initiative aimed to help community-based organizations increase political participation of refugees and marginalized groups in Norway, Finland, and Sweden.
A high-level workshop in Zimbabwe in 2016 brought together a broad spectrum of participants as part of our work to contribute to enhanced enjoyment of constitutional rights there.
We work closely with our dedicated funding partners who help make our work a reality.
- The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC)
- Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation
- The Swedish Research Council
- Torsten Söderbergs stiftelse
- The Faculty of Law at Lund University
- The Open Society Initiative for Europe
- Fulbright Sweden
As a network-based organisation, we cooperate with many partners around the world to bring about real human rights improvements. This includes partnerships with academic institutions, international organisations, government agencies and civil society organisations in different parts of the world.
Examples of such networks, just to mention a few, are:
- The United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network of Institutes
- The Lund Human Rights Research Hub (LHRRH)
- The Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI)
The Institute has sometimes also taken the initiative to establish networks between cooperation partners, such as the Southeast Asian Human Rights Studies Network (SEAHRN) and contributed with support to or otherwise cooperated closely with others, such as the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) and the Asia Pacific Forum on National Human Rights Institutions (APF).
- We believe that respect for the inherent dignity of the human being is fundamental and this permeates all our behaviour.
- We are committed to our mission and values and we are not going to compromise in respect of independence, trust and quality. Our work is transparent and performed with accountability.
- We are a learning institution and encourage everybody to participate by expressing their views and sharing their knowledge. We value all input and viewpoints and are open to constructive dialogue and co-operation with all in order to fulfil our mission.
- We continuously strive at maintaining a creative, dynamic and supportive work- and learning environment, so as to inspire others as well as each other to work in line with our mission – to promote universal respect for human rights and humanitarian law.