The Raoul Wallenberg Institute is looking back at the highlights of 2019 in these special times. We are proud of the achievements that our staff and partners have accomplished.
Democracy and human rights is what the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI) has focused on for more than 35 years in our research, education, and direct engagement activities, says Morten Kjaerum, Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.
2019 was a fruitful year during which we moved ahead within our four thematic areas in cooperation with our partners:
Inclusive Societies means embracing difference and diversity, based on human rights. Apart from looking at the legislation, the best place to start is where people live: at the local level. This is why RWI assists local authorities in implementing their human rights obligations. During 2019, we deepened this work by being involved at the international, regional, and local levels with cities. The development is promising. We sense a strong engagement and commitment from local actors in Sweden and throughout the other countries where we work. Local authorities are key in building back better.
People on the Move
Enhancing rights and protecting People on the Move, we work to protect refugees and migrants at risk. In 2019, the EU got a new Commission and Parliament. We closely followed the policy developments in relation to refugee protection in Europe as well as the externalization policies. We do this primarily from our active participation in the European Council on Refugees and Exiles. Last year, we also had a breakthrough in our work on forced displacement due to climate and environmental disasters. Today, 23 million people are displaced due to disasters and climate change. This may only be the beginning.
Therefore, the innovative tool assessing legislation and policies relating to disaster displacement that we and our partners have developed is of high importance. With that, our local and international partners are in a good position to advise governments and regional institutions on how to construct human rights based legislation and policies in order to leave no one behind. Displaced persons and refugees are particularly vulnerable in a time of crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fair and Efficient Justice
A precondition for bringing about Fair and Efficient Justice, is to bring about gender sensitive, non-biased and accountable justice sector actors. These must provide access to justice for all, efficient and effective redress for violations of human rights, and treat persons in contact with the justice system with dignity and respect for their fundamental rights and freedoms. Having worked for many years improving the respect for human rights in the prison system, RWI published a study on ”the role of social work in juvenile justice” in 2019. Children do not belong in prisons. Therefore, we work to find alternatives and this has yielded results.
Societies increasingly realize the extreme vulnerability of not only children, but all persons deprived of their liberty during the Covid-19 crisis, this may generate a renewed sensitivity to improve prison conditions as well as questioning the high number of prisoners in many countries.
Economic Globalization and Human Rights
Finally, our work and research within Economic Globalization and Human Rights, contributes to stronger regulatory frameworks and economic decision-making taking human rights into account. As Economic Globalization and Human Rights is rapidly developing in many countries, our senior expert on human rights and business was on a high demand teaching in our programs and attending meetings. The Covid-19 crisis has brought to the fore the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in a new way that can open up for an important step forward.
Read about our results and download our Year in Review here.