Human Rights Education

Human rights education and training are key in contributing to the promotion, protection and effective realisation of all human rights.

For human rights to be implemented as a practice in day-to-day life, individuals need to know their rights and have the attitude and skills to claim them. Duty-bearers need to know their human rights obligations and possess the attitude and skills to respect, protect and fulfil human rights.

Since our founding in 1984, we have been dedicated to developing and offering human rights education together with universities, governments, justice sector institutions, and others, to prepare decision-makers and future leaders to take on the human rights challenges of today and tomorrow.

Having the unique opportunity to study both human rights law and international humanitarian law at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute has been absolutely crucial for me in the work that I’ve gone on to do in Colombia, Latin America, the Balkans, and now as the first Fundamental Rights Officer at Frontex, says Immaculuda Arnaez, Frontex’s Fundamental Rights Officer since 2012. She has also worked for the OSCE and the United Nations Development Program.

Immaculuda is one of the more than 14,000 students, academics, judges, prosecutors, police and prison officers, librarians, members of National Human Rights Institutions and civil society who have attended one of our master programmes or training activities and later pursued a career as a human rights professional.

How We Work

Human rights education encompasses all educational, training, information, awareness-raising and learning activities in our work aimed at promoting respect for and observance of human rights.

We work with human rights education as both a means and goal in itself. In our work, human rights education encompasses:

  • Education about human rights, which includes providing knowledge and understanding of human rights norms and principles, the values that underpin them and the mechanisms for their protection
  • Education through human rights, which includes learning and teaching in a way that respects the rights of both educators and learners
  • Education for human rights, which includes empowering persons to enjoy and exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others

Master's Programme in International Human Rights Law at Lund University

In 1991, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute and the Faculty of Law at Lund University began to offer the Master in International Human Rights Law programme for Swedish and foreign students. This was one of the first international law programmes of its kind. It retains a unique position in the human rights education field.

Since then, more than 2,000 students have graduated from this programme. Most of these graduates are today working with human rights and international humanitarian law in key positions in civil society as well as academia, and as diplomats, judges, and prosecutors and government officials.

Master’s Programme in International Human Rights Law

Clinical Legal Education

Clinical Legal Education (CLE) is a legal teaching method that uses practical-oriented, studentcentred and problem-based interactive learning methods. This includes, but is not limited to, the practical work of students on real cases and social issues supervised by academics and professionals. RWI has been working with CLE since 2011, initially through its academic cooperation programme in Turkey, and since then also in countries including Belarus, Cambodia, Cuba, Zimbabwe and Sweden.

CLE comes in many forms, ranging from ‘street law’ public awareness raising on relevant legal issues, through cooperating with civil society organisations on strategic litigation, to direct provision of legal advice to actual clients.

The Institute places a premium on exchange of information and experiences between Legal Clinics and other CLE-related initiatives within and beyond the countries where we work, creating spaces for clinicians to share good practices in this fast-evolving field.

“Our own programming encompasses all of these forms and more, with the RWI approach not focused on any one particular methodology. Instead, we put an emphasis on assessing needs and context in order to support CLE initiatives that will be most effective in developing the capacity of students, whilst also bringing about social change.”
Josh Ounsted, Head of the Thematic Area ‘Access to Justice'

In 2020, we established a new programme in Armenia that includes cooperation on CLE with Yerevan State University and the American University of Armenia.

Clinical Legal Education: ‘It is concrete, hands-on, and useful’

Sadly, our cooperation on CLE in Belarus ended in 2020.  Nevertheless, substantial results were achieved over six years, as documented in a major closing report on the Experience of Legal Clinics in Belarus. Read more.

Legal Clinics

The Lund Disability Human Rights Clinic was started by RWI in 2019, together with the Faculty of Law at Lund University and two disability rights organisations, the Independent Living Institute and the Swedish Disability Rights Federation.

The Clinic in Lund has been shaped by the RWI’s spirit of cooperation. Learning from the legal clinic at Uppsala University, the clinic has also benefitted from the knowledge and experience from RWI’s global partners. These partners have decades of experience of Clinical Legal Education (CLE), which is a hands-on and problem-based legal teaching and learning method that puts the student at the center. It also includes the practical work of students on real cases and social issues.

Working on a case study with human rights organisations

The clinic now runs as an elective specialisation course for a limited number of students at the Master of Laws in International Human Rights Law at the Faculty of Law, Lund University. Eight students – divided into two groups – get the opportunity to carry out a case study, based on a real legal case in a period of eight to ten weeks. Read more:

The Legal Clinic: ‘Opening the ‘Doors of the Academic Castle’

RWIs Global Clinical Legal Education Work: Now also in Lund, Sweden

Human Rights Education Around the World

With our roots firmly in academia and our feet on the ground around the world, we occupy a unique place in our work with human rights education.

Read more about how we work with human rights education in:

Our comprehensive work with human rights education in particular involves supporting the development of capacity with academic institutions and independent human rights centres to plan, implement and deliver human rights education and contribute to its institutionalisation.

We have been involved in the creation of numerous human rights courses, programmes, research and resource centres, and academic networks around the world.


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