Questions and answers about the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
What is the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law?
The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is an independent academic institution. In legal terms, the Institute is a charitable trust under Swedish Law. The Institute is named after Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat, in order to honour his work in the cause of humanity during the Second World War.
What distinguishes the Raoul Wallenberg Institute from other human rights institutes?
Our unique combination of theory and practice distinguish us from many other institutes. Being a research based institution our academic activities support our international programme work and vice versa.
Our activities do not involve monitoring of state compliance in the human rights field and we do not handle individual complaints regarding alleged human rights violations.
What is your mission?
Our mission is to promote universal respect for human rights and humanitarian law by means of research, academic education, dissemination and institutional development.
What is your vision?
Our vision is to be a centre of excellence in all fields of operation, contributing to the development of societies based on a human rights culture.
What are your core values?
Our core values are respect, integrity, inclusiveness and inspiration.
Is it true that you have one of Northern Europe’s biggest libraries in international human rights law?
Yes, the Institute’s library contains approximately 30.000 volumes in international law, with particular focus on international human rights law, humanitarian law, refugee law and related areas. Add to that the growing number of electronic resources made available through the library. The library has become an invaluable asset not only for the Institute’s staff but also for other institutions in Sweden and abroad as well as for the public at large.
The library staff is not only managing the Institute’s own library, but also contribute to the development of resource centres at institutions abroad, within the framework of the Institute’s human rights capacity development programmes for institutions in developing countries and transition economies.
How do you measure the result of your work?
The Institute works in a results based manner, meaning that our attention is focused on what we want to achieve, i.e. what changes that are expected to be created by and contributed to by our work to accomplish sustained improvements in the lives of people and their enjoyment of human rights, and not what has been done in form of activities. The results based approach permeates our work internally as well as externally and ensures that we structure our activities and programmes around a logical chain of results that includes indicators and targets to be able to measure the achievement of the expected results. We collect information on the situation before we initiate activities to measure the changes taking place over time, and try to integrate lessons learned from past performance for future work as well involve stakeholders and partners throughout the activities to share the work of getting information on what changes and results that have taken place. This is also done by having a monitoring plan that indicates what steps and measures are taken to find information to measure results. In the end, the results of our work are measured against relevant international human rights standards.
Give examples of what you have achieved during the past years
Over 150 students from developing countries have since 1991, with scholarships from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Swedish Institute, channeled via the Institute, graduated from the master programme on international human rights law that the Institute jointly organises with the Faculty of Law at Lund University. Most of the graduates are today actively working with human rights for government agencies, academic institutions, national human rights commissions, civil society organisations and international organisations.
We have contributed to developing academic human rights programmes at several universities in Africa and Asia. This has e.g. included:
- Active and systematic support, since 1992, to research and academic education at more than 30 institutions in 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe by making available and updating human rights collections at libraries and documentation centres, as well as training librarians and of academics in information retrieval
- Supporting the establishment of the first post-graduate programme in human rights in China with 160 students graduating with a human rights degree since 2004, and support in general to Chinese academic institutions over the last ten years which has contributed to the number of university human rights courses in China increasing from a handful to around 90 today
We have since 1995 contributed to strengthening the operational and human rights capacity of over 20 National Human Rights Institutions in Africa and Asia, to promote and protect human rights, by providing staff training, operational support and advice.
We have since 1991 contributed to more efficient administration of justice in many countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, through human rights support to courts, prosecution services, police and prisons. This has inter alia included supporting the adoption of international human rights standards into the standard curricula of the prison training academies in Kenya and Indonesia, allowing for all cadets to receive a thorough grounding in principles and practices of human rights in correctional services.
Why do you not publicly criticise governments violating human rights?
The activities of the Institute do not involve official reporting on state performance, monitoring of state compliance or other methods of work in the human rights field that could be considered confrontational in character. We are an academic institution and have chosen this approach as we believe that it fosters a constructive dialogue on human rights. Many other organisations are doing an excellent work in monitoring and reporting on human rights compliance and we complement each another.
With whom are you cooperating?
Apart from the close cooperation that the Institute has with Lund University, the Institute maintains extensive relationships with several other academic institutions as well as international organisations, non-governmental organisations and government institutions worldwide. The Institute also participates in various networks of Nordic, European and international institutions, within the framework of its mandate, such as the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network of Institutes, which the Institute belongs to since 1994. The international activities of the Institute involve strong partnerships with important institutions in the countries and regions where the Institute is active, including in particular cooperation with justice sector institutions, academic institutions and national human rights institutions.
What issues are you currently focusing on?
We have a broad mandate in the field of international human rights law and related areas, and examples of issues we are currently working on are human rights in the field of administration of justice, the role of national human rights institutions, the links between human rights and peace and security, corporate social responsibility, refugee law, human rights in the fight against terrorism and the human rights based approach to development.
What is your research focusing on?
We pursue academic as well as applied research and we have several researchers attached to the institute either as employees or visiting researches. The research spans over a vast area of topics, such as
- Human Rights in the prevention of terrorism
- Sexual and Gender based violence in conflicts and post-conflict situations
- Human Rights and Social Corporate Responsibility
- Human Rights Based Approaches
- Immigration Law
- European Legal Cultures
- Intellectual Property Rights and Human Rights
Could you give some examples of research your activities?
“Weaknesses in the international legal protection against sexual and gender-based violence under and after armed conflict, including a case study on national implementation in Liberia”.
“Detection Technologies, Counter-Terrorism, Ethics and Human Rights”, with the objective to identify human rights and other legal and moral standards that detection technologies in counter-terrorism must meet.
The Human Rights State – in Theory and Practice, a project investigating what requirements in the form of legislation, policies, state organistion etc, that are necessary in order for a state to live up to its international human rights obligations.
What research grants do you offer?
Currently we do not offer any general research grants, but we are welcoming visiting researchers with external funding who wish to be attached to the Institute, provided that we have the capacity to receive them.
Within our Sida financed international human rights capacity development programmes, the support to academic institutions in developing countries and countries in transition often allows for researchers to spend shorter or longer time at the Institute.
What type of publications do you produce?
We maintain an extensive publications programme, mainly in cooperation with the Dutch Publishing House Brill. Within this programme we publish five series containing inter alia monographs, doctoral dissertations, documentation from international organisations, compilations of human rights instruments and training manuals. Within this programme we also edit two academic journals; the Nordic Journal of International Law and the International Journal on Minority and Group Rights.
What kind of academic education do you offer?
In cooperation with the Institute, the Faculty of Law at Lund University has for more than 20 years been organising a master’s programme on international human rights law. The Institute also contributes to other academic programmes at universities in Sweden and abroad, inter alia the European Commission coordinated programme ”European Master of Arts in Human Rights and Democratization”, in Venice.
What does the Masters Programme at the Law Faculty in Lund include?
The programme runs over two years providing the students with in-depth knowledge in international human rights law and humanitarian law. Within the framework of this programme, students who so wish, are provided with the opportunity to specialise in intellectual property rights law or international labour law.
Describe the cooperation between the academic programmes and the international programmes. In what way do they support each other?
As our mandate allows for a combination of theory and practice, we can offer an environment where researchers, teachers and practitioners can meet in order to exchange views and experiences and jointly contribute to the development of human rights in different spheres. Initiatives of this kind include exchange of experiences during seminars, curricula development, and joint publications on human rights theory as well as on the practical application of human rights in different sectors. The different programmes support each other in linking theory and practice. Our diversity is our strength and close interaction between the different parts of the organisation, contributes to the delivery of high quality products in all fields of activity, making the Institute into a first-choice partner organisation
What are the future opportunities for the graduates at your master programmes and undergraduate level programme?
Results from reviews and evaluations have shown that the many of the international students are today working with human rights at different levels within government agencies, academic institutions, NGOs and international organisations.
What is the objective of the international programmes of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute?
The general aim of Institute’s international programme work is to advance the practical application of human rights and humanitarian law through human rights based capacity development programmes for institutions, organisations and individuals world-wide.
In which areas are you working with the international programmes?
Based on our added value and comparative strengths, our international programmes prioritises cooperation with National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), Academic Institutions, and Institutions in the field of Administration of Justice. These core work areas seek to ensure a strategically focused approach in the Institutes’ international programmes. In addition to programmes and initiatives in these prioritised areas, provision is made for undertaking other strategic initiatives due to which the Institute can contribute the most to advancing the practical application of human rights and humanitarian law.
What activities do you mainly carry out within the international programmes?
The support we can offer to develop institutional capacity in prioritised areas of operation, includes, in particular, tailored training and advisory services, in relation to:
- Exercising key institutional functions (e.g. human rights education, awareness-raising and research; monitoring human rights; conducting inquiries and investigations; case handling);
- Human rights knowledge development (core and specialised human rights topics);
- Human rights teaching and research methodologies;
- Means and strategies for efficient cooperation with other institutions in society;
- Development and acquisition of human rights publications, manuals and material;
- Modern library and information resources management;
- Strategic planning and management of institutions and programmes;
- Assessment of legislative and policy frameworks;
- Results based management and use of human rights based approaches;
- Effective internal monitoring and evaluation initiatives;
- The establishment of national, regional and international learning networks and platforms; and
- Provision of scholarship and other schemes for staff mobility and exchange.
What type of training do you carry out?
The training activities are usually targeting carefully selected key decision- and policy makers with a mandate for change at human rights institutions. The training involves adult learning and experience-based techniques, group work, case studies, and peer education. Training is also provided to trainers at institutions to institutionalise human rights and enhance multiplier effects.
Where are the programmes carried out?
They are mainly carried out mainly in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe. The Institute has offices in different partner countries to strengthen the implementation of the programmes and facilitate coordination.
Where does the Institute have field presences?
We established our first field presence in Beijing in 2001 and have thereafter established presences in Nairobi, Jakarta, Istanbul and Amman.
What is the purpose of the field presences?
To be able to have closer relationship with partners and follow country/regional developments more closely so as to facilitate the implementation of large scale programmes in the respective countries.
Describe how your operations are financed
We are mainly project funded and the main part of our funding comes from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The Institute also receives funding from inter alia the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the European Commission, the Swedish Research Council some private foundations, such as the Söderberg Foundations and the Justa Gardi Foundation.
What is your annual turnover?
Our turnover for 2010 was about SEK 64 million.
Are you profitable?
No, the Institute is a non-profit organisation. Normally revenues and costs are balanced.
Is your balance sheet strong?
We have sound finances. For the latest annual report our equity/assets ratio was 28 percent.
You are very dependent on the financing from Sida. How can you balance off this dependency?
We are aware of this financial dependence and our goal is to consolidate and diverse our funding. We are currently working actively to achieve this.
How are you going to attract more diversified funding?
Overall we are in a process of developing our fundraising activities in order to reach out to the right funders. This applies to general funding and core needs as well as to other needs which are more project related.
The Raoul Wallenberg Institute as an employer
What type of competence do the employees have at the Institute?
We have a wide range of competences at the Institute and the requested competence depends on the position. We have everything from academic researchers and teachers to practitioners and administrators with expertise in office management, strategic planning, financial administration, programme management, etc.
How many employees do you have in total?
We have about 45 employees.
What type of people are you looking for -from a competence and working experience point of view?
The Institute is an equal opportunities employer and our positions are with some exceptions always advertised internationally. It is important that those who apply to the Institute have a deep interest in and strong commitment to international human rights law and related areas, and that they believe in our mission, vision and value foundation.
As to the competences and experiences requested by the Institute, our ambition to be a centre of excellence in all fields of operation is reflected in all vacancies advertised by the Institute. We encourage applications from those with work experience from our field of activities, whether they have been with another academic institution, national human rights institution, civil society organisation, international organisation or government agency. In this respect, we also seek people with very high competence and deep understanding of international human rights law, both with regard to its theoretical and normative foundation and its practical implementation.
What kind of career possibilities do you offer your employees?
We try to offer all staff members a stimulating work environment based on inspiration, continuous learning and inclusiveness. One way of doing this is to provide opportunities for and to encourage staff members to develop their skills and competences in various ways. Staff members are also encouraged to apply for all vacancies that are advertised by the Institute and that are in line with their competences.