The Institute’s capacity development activities in Asia commenced in 1996 with human rights training courses for Chinese high-level 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 and Vietnam.
Currently 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 entails tailored capacity development interventions to this end 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, respectively, corresponding to the specific needs and functions of each. The provision of structured opportunities for peer exchange and peer learning is an important strategy in the programme’s regional and multi-institutional approach, and 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, among other things, contributed to enhancing the capacity of NHRIs to conduct National Inquiries on human rights issues of national concern, and also to the establishment of SEAHRN, as 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 helped enhance and maintain human rights expertise among staff as well as mandated institutional capacities of NHRIs. It has furthermore 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 the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
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: