Association of Human Rights Institutes


The Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI), is a network of over 60 member institutions that carries out research and educational activities in the field of human rights. The member institutions are from 33 different countries. AHRI's objective is to bring together human rights researchers from across the disciplines, to facilitate the exchange of ideas and collaboration, and to promote research, education and discussion in the field of human rights. AHRI is supportive of PhD researchers and the facilitation of exchange between the different member institutions.



Registration opens 30 March 2018 

 AHRI Conference 2018 Renewing Rights in Times of Transition: 

70 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
7-8 September 2018 Edinburgh, Scotland


Visit the conference website here



Lunch Lecture

Kindly invite you to a lunch lecture and debate on

The European Union and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

by Ms. Mercedes García Pérez
European External Action Service

Chair: Dr. Kasey McCall-Smith, Chair of AHRI and
Lecturer in Public International Law, University of Edinburgh

Followed by a panel discussion with senior human rights experts
from the Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI):
Dr. Hans-Otto Sano (Danish Institute of Human Rights), Dr. Elaine Webster (University of Strathclyde), Prof. Dr. Jan Wouters (Leuven Centre for Global Governance)

Friday 23 February 2018, 12:15 - 14:15 h
Scotland House
Robert Schumanplein 6, 1040 Brussel

Participation is free, but we ask you to register by Tuesday 20 February at the latest. 



2018 AHRI Conference



7-8 September 2018 
University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Old College


This year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). At the time of its adoption, none of the drafters nor the UN General Assembly could have calculated the movement, norms, and practice relating to human rights for people across the globe that would grow from the document. Across every country, grassroots campaigners and civil society work to combat inequality across a host of civil, political, social, economic and cultural fronts. All 193 Members States of the United Nations are examined periodically with reference to the UDHR. Nine core human rights treaties and a number of further optional protocols have been agreed to give legal force to the promises set out in the UDHR. Governance of the international human rights system is overseen by treaty bodies, national human rights institutions, and other UN bodies. Each of these aspects of the grand human rights system has met unrelenting challenges and the 70th anniversary of the UDHR presents a perfect opportunity to take stock of how far we have come and how far we have to go.

See the call for papers


The EU and Human Rights
Click here to watch the trailer

Learn how the EU affects your human rights and gain insights into the ways the EU can enhance its positive impact on human rights worldwide in this FREE Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on The EU and Human Rights, available on the edX platform.

Whether you are an EU citizen or not, this course concerns you! The EU is a major global actor in the field of human rights. EU Treaties state that human rights are a fundamental value of the Union, which must be a silver thread in all its policies. The EU now acts within an impressive array of competences, and therefore has the potential to impact – positively or negatively – anyone’s human rights. This EU and Human Rights course teaches the basics of human rights, placing the EU at the centre of investigation. 

For more information on how to register, follow this link.


 MOOC logo neg

18 September 2017 - MOOC Launch: Mass Migration & Human Rights

The Norweigan Centre for Human Rights, in collaboration with AHRI, launches its 5 week MOOC on Mass Migration & Human Rights on Monday, 18 September 2017. The course is delivered in English on a masters level and is free to all. For more information or to register, follow this link



AHRI 2017 adopts the Leuven Declaration on the Backlash Against Independent Human Rights Mechanisms.

At the 2017 AHRI Conference in Leuven, Belgium, the General Assembly adopted the Leuven Declaration on the Backlash Against Independent Human Rights Mechanisms. Translations are available here.


AHRI letter of support for Central European University, Hungary

On behalf of the AHRI Association, on 3 April 2017 the AHRI Chair sent a letter of support for Central European University in Hungary to the Hungarian Minister of Human Capacities. Please find the letter here


AHRI conference 2017

The 2017 AHRI conference took place in Leuven 27 and 28 April 2017.

The theme for the conference was “The Promotion and Enforcement of Human Rights by International and Regional Organizations: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities”.

For more information please go to AHRI Conference 2017.


AHRI adopts Utrecht Declaration on Academic Freedom

At the 2016 AHRI Conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands 2-3 September 2016 the Utrecht Declaration on Academic Freedom was adopted. Translations into other languages can be found here.





Mass Migration and Human Rights

Mass Migration and Human Rights – Legal and ethical dilemmas

A course for all, on Master’s level, a course that’s absolutely free, web based and available for completion on your own PC, a course that takes max two hours of your time weekly, for four weeks, highly relevant topic: Mass Migration and Human Rights – Legal and ethical dilemmas, world class scholars, short lectures, 40 different steps, videos and texts, all in English.

The MOOC is a collaboration between the Norweigan Centre for Human Rights and AHRI. 

Launches 18 September 2017!

About AHRI

The Association of Human Rights Institutes - AHRI, consists of over 60 member institutions that carry out research and education in the field of human rights. The objective of AHRI is to promote research, education and discussion in the field of human rights.


AHRI Co-operation Agreement

The AHRI Co-operation Agreement (pdf) was signed in Reykjavik 22 September 2000. Bjarney Friðriksdóttir, former Director of the Icelandic Human Rights Center, was elected as AHRI's first Chair. The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights accepted to host the Secretariat with Peter Malcontent as Executive Secretary.

The Constitution for the Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI) was amended by the AHRI Assembly 21 September 2015.


The Secretariat is elected for a three-year period. The current Secretariat's mandate expires September 2020.

  • Chair, Dr. Kasey McCall-Smith, The Global Justice Academy, University of Edinburgh.
  • Executive Secretary, Dr. Elaine Webster, Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law, University of Strathclyde.

Executive Committee

The member institutes of the Executive Committee are elected in staggered three-year periods and their designated representatives act on behalf of the institutes while on the committee. The current Executive Committee includes:

  • Antoine Buyse, AHRI Vice-Chair (Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, SIM)
  • Elizabeth Salmón (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru)
  • Manfred Nowak (University of Vienna)
  • Hans-Otto Sano (Danish Institute for Human Rights)
  • Felipe Gómez Isa (University of Deusto)
  • Roman Wieruszewski (Poznan Human Rights Centre)
  • Vesna Petrovic (Belgrade Centre for Human Rights)
  • Ingrid Westendorp (Maastrich Centre for Human Rights)
  • TBC (University of Oslo)
  • Ray Murphy (Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway)
  • Jan Wouters (Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies)

Founding history

AHRI was established in 2000 at a founding meeting in Iceland hosted by the Icelandic Human Rights Centre.

All active European academic human rights institutes were invited to join and the following founding members met in Iceland:

  • Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (NCHR), Faculty of Law, University of Oslo
  • Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University
  • Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
  • Danish Institute for Human Rights
  • Icelandic Human Rights Center
  • Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM)
  • Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights


Other AHRI activities

COST Action participation

Two COST Actions have enabled AHRI members to co-operate on research topics of common interest. COST is one of the longest-running European instruments supporting cooperation among scientists and researchers across Europe. It is supported by the EU RTD Framework Programme. Read more about previous COST Action participatons here.

Member institution events & calls for participation

Conferences, seminars, and lectures held at AHRI member institutions. This list represents a selection of events based on input from the member institutions. Read more about the member institution events here.

  • Call to convene an International Tribunal of Conscience regarding crimes against humanity in Mexico. No experience required. For more information and to read the call click here. Issued on behalf of AHRI Member Institute the Human Rights Center at the University of Dayton, April 2017.


Contact us

AHRI Secretariat

The AHRI Secretariat is hosted in Scotland by the Global Justice Academy at the University of Edinburgh working together with the Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law at the University of Strathclyde.

Chair: Kasey McCall-Smith

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Postal address:

The Global Justice Academy  

Law School, University of Edinburgh

Old College, B18                                                                                          

Edinburgh EH8 9YL                                                                                        

Scotland, UK


Executive Secretary: Elaine Webster

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional information