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Human rights and social justice

Human Rights and Social Justice are central to the interests of the Global Justice Academy, and are key themes in our rapid reaction events series addressing current global challenges.

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Renewing our Commitment to Human Rights

08 September 2018

As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, we, the Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI), meeting at the University of Edinburgh on 8 September 2018, call for firm and unreserved human rights engagement in times of turmoil. We need to confront and to respond to the wave of racism, populism and violent language we see in politics, the media and society. We reject the anti-human rights ideas which have entered mainstream political discourse. Humanity should always trump nationality. We strongly reaffirm the universality and indivisibility of all human rights as the foundation of international peace, sustainable development and human dignity.  

We should engage with today’s rather than yesterday’s battles. But, are the challenges truly different than they were 70 years ago?  

The drafters of the Universal Declaration found that ‘disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind.’ In response to the genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica, world leaders in 2005 unanimously decided that governments and the international community have a responsibility to protect populations against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Today, we are appalled by the fact that the international community again is allowing gross and systematic human rights violations,including genocide, to happen before our eyes. We are also deeply disturbed by the attacks against human rights defenders in Colombia, Venezuela and countless other countries. As we meet, we cannot fail to be shocked by the outrageous war crimes in Syria, South Sudan and Yemen and the ongoing genocide of the Rohingyas. We call upon States Parties to the Genocide Convention to hold both individual perpetrators and States responsible for violations with a view to preventing and stopping them and to seek accountability and reparation.

In line with the Universal Declaration we, as a global network of academic human rights institutes, call on every individual and every organ of society to stand up for a new social and international order in which all human rights can be fully and effectively realized. 

Comparative Anthropology of Conscience, Ethics and Human Rights

This project is a comparative anthropology of conscience, ethics and human rights. Numerous international human rights documents formally declare their commitment to protect freedom of conscience. But, what is conscience and how do we know it when we see it?

Learn more about A Comparative Anthropology of Conscience, Ethics and Human Rights

The Documentation of Torture and Ill-Treatment

The Documentation of Torture and Ill-Treatment is a comparative analysis of the challenges faced by those attempting to document torture and ill-treatment in Low-Income Countries, focusing on Nepal, Bangladesh and Kenya.

Learn more about The Documentation of Torture and Ill-Treatment

Minority Women, Activism and Austerity

'Minority Women, Activism and Austerity' was a comparative study that examined minority women’s experiences of, and activism against, austerity in Scotland, England and France. This project finished in 2016.

Peace and Conflict Resolution Evidence Platform

PeaceRep re-thinks peace and transition processes in light of changing conflict dynamics, changing demands of inclusion, and changes in patterns of global intervention in conflict and peace/mediation/transition management processes.

Learn more about PeaceRep

Realising Justice? Land Reform in Southern Africa

'Realising Justice? Land Reform in Southern Africa' is a collaborative programme of workshops, research and training, addressing the critical issues of land rights and reform in southern Africa.

Learn more about the workshops 

LLM in Human Rights

The LLM in Human Rights at Edinburgh Law School is an interdisciplinary programme providing a theoretical and practical understanding of international human rights law in its broader political context.

Learn more about the LLM in Human Rights at Edinburgh Law School

Social Justice and Community Action - Online Learning

This part-time and fully online Masters programme at the Moray House School of Education and Sport offers you the opportunity to critically engage with foundational ideas and debates about equality, fairness, power, democracy and citizenship and to consider a range of actions in communities, in public and third sector organisations, and in policy and legislation processes, for the real world application of these ideas.

Learn more about the Social Justice and Community Action programme

MSc Carbon Management

The MSc Carbon Management is an interdisciplinary programme which focuses on the response to the challenge of climate change and decarbonising the economy. Drawing upon business studies, climate science, economics and the social sciences, it is delivered by the School of GeoSciences and the Business School at the University of Edinburgh.

Learn more about the MSc Carbon Management