A Unique Collection of Human Rights Literature

The Raoul Wallenberg Library for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law was founded in 1984 in Lund, Sweden. Today, the library offers one of Europe’s largest and most accessible collections for literature on human rights and humanitarian law. It is the only library of its kind in Sweden. The library has become a base for human rights in Lund. It is an important resource for people around the world who study and work for human rights.

A beacon for democracy

The democratic principles and guiding knowledge the students gain during their studies and in the library play a fundamental part in their future practices. Many of the students working in and
engaging with the library, will become tomorrow’s leaders and hold important positions all over the
world. At the library they acquire and develop human rights based approaches and perspectives.

In addition, they make invaluable connections adding to their future networks. The library serves as a meeting place where researchers and students engage in fruitful dialogue.

Moreover, researchers from all over the world use the library resources to deepen and strengthen theirs and the world’s aggregated knowledge of human rights.

Supporting libraries around the world

Since its founding, the library supports partner universities and other partners around the world.

In collaboration with local actors, we contribute to and support the development of teaching and learning at
human rights libraries in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, and Belarus, amongst others. Thus, the library has for decades worked to implement what we refer to as a ‘human rights library concept’.

Among other things it, consists of advice on the choice of relevant and appropriate literature, as well as trainings of local librarians in the best practices for running human rights libraries. For countries with shrinking democratic space, the support is vital.

librarian lena tips on human rights booksLibrary Activities During 2020

“Librarians play an important role in advising and supporting students and researchers with updated
and accurate literature. As librarian, I get a good overview of what is published and the content between the book spines”, says Lena Olsson, Librarian at RWI.

During the year, the library purchased and shipped more than 2000 books to university libraries Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe. Users contribute with suggestions Lena Olsson constantly receives long ‘wish lists’ with suggested titles from students and researchers.

Even though topics differ from country to country, many students and researchers are looking for titles covering the same human rights challenges and issues: climate change, equality, poverty. Local topic requests can be on federalism, mining, post colonialism, taxation and human rights, land grabbing and land rights.

“A few titles that give you a hint on what our local partner researchers are looking for: ’Surrendering to Utopia: An Anthropology of Human Rights’, ’Negotiating Culture and Human Rights, The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law’, ’Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress’,

“All of the titles have recently been published and are up to date! When you are writing a thesis or conducting research, lack of accurate literature is often an obstacle that hinders you in taking part in important ongoing discussions. Also, recent literature and recent articles in international journals, guide students in finding relevant topics for their theses.”
Lena Olsson, Librarian at RWI

The library:

The library…:
• Makes over 20 000 titles in several languages available for everyone
• Provides resources, subscriptions, and access to specialist databases
• Supports and develops libraries around the world
• Is staffed with an experienced and a specialised librarian with a great network
• Is part of the library network at Lund University and works in close collaboration with the faculty of law at Lund University
• Is an important meeting place for those that study and work with Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
• Is open to everyone and accessible to libraries all over the world

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