Human Rights Centre projects

Our members are currently involved in a variety of projects examining a range of human rights related issues and focusing on translating academic expertise into practical results.

  • The Role of National Human Rights Institutions in Providing Access to Justice

    The Role of National Human Rights Institutions in Providing Access to Justice project examines the roles that National Human Rights Institutions in Europe do, and should, play in dispute resolution. The project is funded by the Nuffield foundation.

    • UN Mandate on the Right to Health

      Enhancing civil society engagement and the research capacity of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health

      • Essex Business and Human Rights Project

        Essex Business and Human Rights Project logo

        The demands of human rights are having an impact on businesses at a steadily increasing pace. This opens up a complex and fast-changing field of concerns, posing challenges to law and to many of the social and natural sciences.

        The Essex Business and Human Rights Project aims to encourage dialogue across these disciplines, and among actors from a broad range of backgrounds. It aims both to foster research and to bring the results of that research to bear on practical problems. It works on both national and international issues, and collaborates with partners in various parts of the world.

      • Essex Autonomy Project

        Essex Autonomy Project logo

        The Essex Autonomy Project is a research and knowledge-exchange initiative based in the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex.

        Our fundamental aim is to clarify the ideal of self-determination in history, theory and practice, both for its own sake, and in order to provide guidance to those who must apply this notion—whether as care workers, as medical practitioners, as legal professionals, or simply as citizens.

      • International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy

        International Centre of Human Rights and Drug Policy logo

        Established in 2009, the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy is dedicated to developing and promoting innovative and high quality legal and human rights research and teaching on issues related to drug laws, policy and enforcement.

        The Centre pursues this mandate by publishing original, peer-reviewed research on drug issues as they relate to international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and public international law.

        The Centre’s work supports policy development which reconciles the international narcotics control conventions with international human rights law. The Centre fosters research on drug policy issues among postgraduate law and human rights students through its engagement with universities and colleges around the world.

      • Essex Transitional Justice Network

        Essex Transitional Justice Network logo

        The Essex Transitional Justice Network brings together people from the University of Essex and collaborators from the UK and abroad. We are exploring issues faced by societies that are undergoing fundamental socio-political change, notably the transition from a repressive to a democratic or constitutional regime, or from a state of civil war and unrest to peace and prosperity.

        Our approach is transdisciplinary and broad – looking not only at traditional topics of transitional justice (such as criminal justice, reparations, vetting, or truth and reconciliation), but also at wider and previously neglected issues (such as poverty and development, and informal justice mechanisms). Our aim is to provide a platform for researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers to better understand transitional justice and thereby to improve the situation on the ground. We engage in research activities, teaching, and consultancy, and welcome collaboration and requests for advice from everyone on the globe.

      • Human Rights in Iran Unit

        Human Rights in Iran Unit logo

        The Human Rights in Iran Unit was established with three main objectives:

        • to provide assistance to the UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights Situation in Iran, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, building on the experience of the University in supporting other Special Rapporteurs
        • to carry out collaborative research and deeper analysis on human rights in Iran which combines international human rights law and UN and special procedures expertise with Iranian legal expertise
        • to provide support and a forum for discussion with Iranian human rights defenders and the organizations and individuals working on these issues

      • Detention, Rights and Social Justice Programme

        Director: Lorna McGregor

        The Detention, Rights and Social Justice Programme is an interdisciplinary programme that aims to identify the parameters of legal and legitimate detention and the social forces that give shape to it. It also focuses on treatment in detention and seeks to develop an understanding of the experiences and lived reality of detainees.

        The Programme works on all types of detention, including in prisons, pre-trial detention and administrative detention (security, immigration and on grounds of mental health) as well as groups in a position of vulnerability such as children and juveniles and persons with disabilities.

        Recent activities include the Programme’s work on the review on the UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners. The Programme has brought together a range of experts on detention who have met at Essex in 2012 and 2013 to produce an analysis on the ways in which the areas under consideration for revision could come into line with current international norms and standards.

        Torture Reporting Handbook Second Edition

        The Human Rights Centre has launched the second edition of its Torture Reporting Handbook. The Handbook is an important resource in efforts to prevent and ensure accountability for torture and other ill-treatment in its guidance and best practice on how to effectively and ethically document allegations of torture.


      • Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA)

        Japan Federation of Bar Associations logo

        During his visit to Tokyo in January 2011, our former director, Professor John Packer, met with the JFBA President, Mr Kenji Utsunomiya, to conclude an agreement by which Japan Federation of Bar Associations will each year support one Japanese practising lawyer to come to Essex to pursue LLM International Human Rights Law and one practising lawyer to spend a term or two as a visiting scholar conducting individual research.

        This agreement was established with the initiative of Mr Toshiteru Shibaike (LLM International Human Rights Law alumnus and practising Japanese lawyer) and Dr Sanae Fujita (LLM and PhD alumna and Associate of HRC).

        Our agreement is only the fourth of its kind with JFBA, with Essex joining three American Schools of Law (NYU, U Cal at Berkeley, and University of Illinois). The JFBA scholarships are exclusively to study human rights law at Essex, and have been effective since 2012. While visiting JFBA, Professor Packer delivered a talk for Japanese lawyers about the increasing importance of international human rights law for Japan and for Japanese interests in the world.

      • Health and Human Rights Project

        The Health and Human Rights Project aims to accelerate the operationalisation of health-rights through multi-disciplinary collaboration. The project continues work carried out by Professor Paul Hunt, firstly as a member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and later as the first UN Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of heatlh, as well as the Right to Health Unit, a team of Essex-based researchers who worked on related health-rights projects.

        Since stepping down as UN Special Rapporteur, Professor Hunt continues to work on health-rights with Essex colleagues, such as Dr Linsey McGoey and Genevieve Sander.