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About Human Rights

The interdisciplinary research and teaching at the School of Global Studies are emphasising the importance of human rights issues within a broad spectrum of areas and on the basis of a range of subject perspectives research. While Human Rights is not a discipline per se, the academic research (and teaching) of human rights is proliferating. The following disciplines, amongst others, are represented in the research on Human Rights at the School of Global Studies: Peace and Development Studies, Political Science, Law, Anthropology, History and History of Ideas.

Research focus is on rights-based policies and the implementation of human rights - with a special focus on marginalized groups such as children, indigenous peoples, refugees, women and the poor and the human rights of these groups. Even though rights-based development, which emphasise the importance of empowerment, equality, accountability and popular participation, is on the agenda in both developing and developed countries, studies concentrating on the actual implementation of human rights-based policies are in short supply. The route from international legal frameworks to practical rights-based action plans that influence people’s local reality is highly complicated and more knowledge is therefore required about the growth, development and implementation of rights-based development.

The core issue - whose rights? - is of the utmost importance in all rights-based policies, which makes ISHR's focus on marginalised groups especially interesting. Even though marginalised groups in need of special protection are emphasised in a large number of human rights conventions and in the UN Millennium Declaration, there is a tendency to interpret the subject of rights as an anonymous citizen with no special characteristics, needs or demands. This means that marginalised groups, such as children, refugees and indigenous peoples risk being made invisible, even in rights-based development. A focus on marginalised groups therefore provides us with valuable knowledge on how rights-based politics and policies should be formulated so as to be able to deal with diversity, i.e. an inclusive, rights-based politics.

Another research topic has been the political conditionality clauses that the European Union (EU) uses in relation to third countries; any and all external agreements, no matter what they concern, are supposed to include a clause permitting the parties to suspend, and in some cases terminate, the agreement should the other party violate human rights, democratic principles or the rule of law.

Another, more recently developed, research area focuses the clash between human rights and state sovereignty, clearly illustrated by the controversial doctrine of humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect (R2P). This research emphasis the close relationship between international law and international politics and is carried out within a theoretical framework departing from International Society (Rationalism), Social Constructivism and Scandinavian Legal Realism.

Page Manager: Deputy Head of Department Isabell Schierenbeck|Last update: 7/6/2010

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