The Institute’s capacity development activities in Asia commenced in 1996 with human rights training courses for high-level Chinese officials within the administration of justice. During the following years, programmes were expanded to include cooperation initiatives in Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, the Maldives, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.
Today, the Institute runs bilateral cooperation programmes in China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar, as well as a regional programme (2010-2015) focusing on capacity development for National Human Rights Institutions and academic institutions in Southeast Asia.
The regional programme aims to contribute to enhanced practical implementation of international human rights standards in Asia through effective NHRIs and academic institutions. The programme delivers tailored capacity development interventions on regional, sub-regional and national levels, including regional joint “blended learning” courses for NHRIs and academia on issues of common concern, as well as separate courses for NHRIs and academia.
The Institute believes offering a structured opportunity for peer exchange and peer learning is an important strategy in the programme’s regional and multi-institutional approach. A regional Raoul Wallenberg Institute alumni forum complements the programmes institutional focus to ensure sustainable outcomes and continuous learning and networking.
Since 2013, the Institute is enhancing its focus on supporting under-resourced countries and institutions in the region, promoting regional voice, participation and access through increased institutional capacities. The Institute also builds extensively on partnerships and coordination with key regional actors and experts in relevant fields, including the Asia Pacific Forum for National Human Rights Institutions (APF) and the Southeast Asian Human Rights Studies Network (SEAHRN).
While politically independent, the Institute is also involved in the organization of informal seminars on human rights within the framework of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).
The Institute’s long-term relations and cooperation with NHRIs and academic institutions in Asia have contributed to enhancing the capacity of NHRIs to conduct National Inquiries on human rights issues of national concern. The cooperation has also led to the establishment of SEAHRN, one of the first and most important academic networks on human rights in the region. Although SEAHRN as of 2013 functions independently from the Institute, the network and its member institutions still constitute an important resource and ally for the Institute in the regional programme.
Since the 1990’s, the Institute’s work in Asia has contributed to strengthening human rights programmes at a variety of universities in various countries in terms of course curricula, teaching methodologies and course literature. It has also helped enhance and maintain human rights expertise among staff as well as institutional capacities of NHRIs.
The Institute has also supported the set-up and development of human rights libraries and resource centers with the Institute’s publications and other literature and provided quality human rights trainings to professionals from targeted institutions throughout the region. RWI’s regional programme is funded by Swedish Development Cooperation.
In 2014, the Institute began working on juvenile justice within the ASEAN region. The Institute will carry out a desk study on juvenile justice legislation and practice in the region this year. The work is run from the Jakarta office.
For more information on the Institute’s regional cooperation in Asia, please contact:
For more information on the Institute’s cooperation with NHRIs regionally in Asia, please contact: