Human Rights Education

... the academically based human rights education as applied in RWI programmes has emerged as a comprehensive area that seems to have added value to the global human rights environment: from a 2017 external evaluation.

HRE highlights 2020: Year in Review 

Human rights education and training are of fundamental importance 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 possess the attitude and skills to claim them, and 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 and it retains a unique position in the human rights education field.

Since then, more than 1,000 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.

Our take on Clinical Legal Education

Interview with student [legal clinics] 'Opening the Doors to the Academic Castle'

Read more about the Master's programme in international human rights law


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.

For example, the Institute played an instrumental role in the creation of a human rights degree – the first of its kind – for master-level students at Peking University in China in 2004, and in the development of a LLM programme in human rights at Panassastra University in Cambodia (2013).

In 2014, we moreover assisted the establishment of a regional Master’s Degree in Human Rights, Peace and Development for students from Africa at the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University in Zimbabwe.

We also contributed to the development of a course on human rights at the National University of Lao PDR (2012) as well as at the Belarusian State University (2014), and to the development of a Masters Programme in Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University, Thailand, in 1999.

These initiatives have led to more teachers and scholars working with the promotion of human rights and many more students gaining knowledge and skills for contributing to the effective realisation of human rights.