This is How We Actually Work with Human Rights

Curious about what we were up to over the year?

Every year, RWI does its best at summarising the institute’s work for each calendar year. In our Year in Review 2017 (former Annual Report), we report on our programmes in Regional Asia, Regional Africa and Cambodia, our work with gender equality, organised seminars, attended conferences, published reports and much more.

Read a teaser of the report through the lens of our Director, Morten Kjaerum’s personal statement for the Year in Review 2017 below, or click here to read the full report straight away.

Year in Review 2017



2017 will forever be associated with the #MeToo movement. It has exposed beyond any doubt that violence against women is an issue that needs to be addressed at all levels in all societies.

In that light, it makes me happy to see our specific projects that have been addressing different aspects of gender equality including violence, and how this work is increasingly mainstreamed into other parts of our work.

One part of our programme in Cambodia supports women from disadvantaged backgrounds to become lawyers. The idea is that they, in their professional lives, will be equipped to support, among other things, women’s access to justice.

In the MENA region we have collected jurisprudence from seven countries addressing different aspects of gender equality rights with the goal to provide women with the necessary protection in cases of violence, honor crimes and sexual harassment.

In Belarus the programme contributes to gender equality being mainstreamed into the universities, and a local structure is now established, appropriately equipped for research and project work in the academic sector for the advan­ce­ment of gender equality in the Belarusian society.

All of this work will be continued in 2018 and hopefully raised to a new level, when we together with the American University in Washington, the ALAS network and Pretoria University will convene a global conference in Mexico City. The aim is to harvest promising practices from different regions in order to explore how the work can be strengthened for the future. The outset will be on violence, however the perspective will be wider. In this way we hope that the #MeToo push will leave lasting imprints and not only be a flash.

In 2017 we began a new 5-year programme with funding from Swedish Development Cooperation in Asia. It will be implemented from our office in Jakarta.

We also have a focus on our People on the Move thematic area in this Regional Asia Programme. The insti­tute has launched a ten-country research initiative studying displacement in the context of disasters and climate change from a human rights perspective. The initiative came about in recognition that the Asia Pacific is a hotspot of displacement, representing 83% of all peo­ple displaced internally in the context of sudden onset disasters in 2016.

Despite the fact that millions of people are displaced every year, regional and national disaster risk management and climate change adaptation laws and policies tend not to focus on this reality. With this project in Asia, we hope to contribute to a change in this regard. The Institute has assembled a group of the best researchers working in universities across the region. Many of the scholars have prior affiliation with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute as a result of participation in our blended learn­ing initiative on environment and human rights as well as other activities the Institute has been involved in over the years. This is what a long-term commitment brings about.

The work on climate and environment will have many off-springs in the shape of seminars for judges to make them more alert to these linkages, as well as with officials and NGOs.

Another important next step for this Institute is to explore further the linkage between human rights and corrup­tion, including in the realm of environ­mental and clim­ate challenges. This was inspired by a workshop in November in Lund where participants from UN agencies, priv­ate sector, national and local authori­ties, experts and NGOs met to discuss how human rights can contribute to the fight against corruption. In so many attempts to strengthen human rights performance, corrup­tion is often a key impediment. The 29 conclusions from the workshop con­firmed that human rights have an important and under­exploited role to play in this regard.

One of the areas that was highlighted at the workshop was how corruption often leads to a situation where the most vulnerable in our societies and in particular persons with disabilities are severely affected by corruption. This will be included in our rapidly expanding work on the rights of persons with disabilities. In 2017 we man­ag­ed to strengthen our team working on this issue both in our international programs as well as in Sweden.

Our Institute has important work ahead, and 2018 will to a large extent be devoted to making the organization even more robust to be able to deliver at the highest attain­able level on all our promises. The Raoul Wallenberg Institute has over 30 years of experience working for positive human rights change. I’m confident that we have an agile and relevant institution working in close partnerships with others in continuing this work. All this is possible thanks to a highly dedicated and professional staff and Board of Trustees that provide excellent guid­ance and support.

Morten Kjaerum, Director

Share with your friends
Scroll to top