SOAS University of London

Centre for Human Rights Law

About the Centre for Human Rights Law

The Centre for Human Rights Law aims to provide a space for scholarship and cooperative approaches on human rights law in practice. Building on SOAS’ unique focus and experience, it seeks to advance research and the teaching of human rights law and related areas with particular reference to Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

As a member of the academic and broader community, the Centre aspires to act as a forum for debate on human rights law and developments of interest for staff and students within SOAS, for scholars and practitioners from other institutions and organisations and for the general public. To this end, it regularly holds events on a range of issues, which have included constitutional reform and human rights in Sudan, the struggle for human rights in South Asia, global perspectives on justice for torture, and the Court of Justice of the European Union’s jurisprudence on refugee protection. The Centre also works closely with the SOAS International Human Rights Clinic, encouraging and facilitating students’ engagement and research projects with NGOs and practitioners in the field.

Reflecting the multitude of actors and dynamic nature of the field of human rights law, the Centre is committed to promoting cooperation between academics and practitioners worldwide. This includes fostering links between those working in the field of human rights, including scholars in law and other relevant disciplines, members of civil society, governmental and intergovernmental experts, members of the judiciary and the legal profession. The 2013: 'Human Rights Forum: Developing Practice-led Research to Meet Contemporary Challenges', organised jointly with the Human Rights Consortium, was the Centre’s first major initiative in this regard. In 2017, the Centre co-founded the UK Prohibition of Torture network together with the UCL Institute of the Americas, the UCL Global Governance Institute, and UCL Laws, with the aim of creating a key platform that will foster cross-disciplinary and cross-sectorial exchange and cooperation among different actors working on the prohibition of torture in the UK and beyond.

The Centre engages in standard setting and policy making processes concerning the protection of human rights, with a particular focus on issues and areas forming the subject of its members’ expertise and research interests. This includes submissions to regional and international human rights treaty bodies as well as parliamentary bodies on thematic and national/regional human rights issues. Examples are a submission to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the right to redress for victims of torture, a submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Violence against Women on gender-based violence, and written evidence submitted to the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Sudan and South Sudan Inquiry on UK-Sudan relations. Submissions are available at Reports, Research Projects and Submissions.