Human Rights Centre
Established in 2011 as an organic consequence of the international recognition of Brunel Law School as a hub for human rights, the Human Rights Centre enjoys close links with the two university centres of the Brunel Law School, the CIPL and the SHRM. At the same time, it has a distinct position as the only centre at Brunel University that focuses on international human rights. It is committed to the advancement of human rights as potential tools for reform, empowerment of marginalised groups, the pursuit of environmental sustainability and the achieving of social justice. It conducts research, produces publications and engages with organisations, academics, students and civil society.
The current expertise of the Centre includes
human rights in criminal justice;
human rights, family and children;
minority and indigenous rights;
values, cultural rights and heritage;
debt relief and human rights;
corporate social responsibility and human rights;
environmental issues relating to human rights.
Its members are really prolific and publish regularly at the top human rights journals around the world. The breadth of individual research interests and the diversity of research methodologies is one of the strengths of the Centre. The work of the centre’s members is well-known among academics and practitioners. Bantekas’ papers have been cited among others by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (2009) and in various briefs before national courts. Professor Chigara has worked with the ILO, the OSCE as an independent expert, while he addressed in 2012 the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner’s Inter-governmental working party on the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action on the combating of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance. Xanthaki’s work on indigenous rights has been repeatedly cited in UN documents, and in African Union documents; her collection was cited in the Endorois case (African Commission on Peoples’ and Human Rights).
The Human Rights Centre enjoys close links with international human rights organisations. Notably, in 2012, the Centre was chosen by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights as the first academic platform to host a United Nations workshop to help the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous peoples to complete their Annual Study submitted to the General Assembly. The workshop on Indigenous Languages and Cultures attracted academics, practitioners, indigenous peoples from all over the world and UN civil servants and was cited in the subsequent UN study submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (UN Doc. A/HRC/21/53).
The Human Rights Centre also acts as a group for discussion and encouragement among members of staff. Todate, several members of staff (Dimopoulos, Ghazaryan, Polymenopoulou) have presented their work in progress to the group.
Finally, the Human Rights Centre regularly organises well-attended film series as part of its extra-curricular activities. In the current academic term, a number of films are being screened as part of the series on ‘Live under Totalitarian Regimes’, including ‘The Lives of Others’ 2006, ‘Persepolis’ 2007, and ‘4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days’ 2007.
Alexandra Xanthaki trained last week European civil servants on human rights issues. Participants from Great Britain, Austria and Georgia updated their knowledge on current standards of human rights and discussed the importance of strategic plans for the promotion and protection of human rights.