Students Staff

Human Rights Centre projects

Our members are currently involved in a variety of projects examining a range of human rights related issues and focusing on translating academic expertise into practical results.

  • Essex Business and Human Rights Project

    Essex Business and Human Rights Project logo

    The demands of human rights are having an impact on businesses at a steadily increasing pace. This opens up a complex and fast-changing field of concerns, posing challenges to law and to many of the social and natural sciences.

    The Essex Business and Human Rights Project aims to encourage dialogue across these disciplines, and among actors from a broad range of backgrounds. It aims both to foster research and to bring the results of that research to bear on practical problems. It works on both national and international issues, and collaborates with partners in various parts of the world.

  • Essex Autonomy Project

    Essex Autonomy Project logo

    The Essex Autonomy Project is a research and knowledge-exchange initiative based in the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex.

    Our fundamental aim is to clarify the ideal of self-determination in history, theory and practice, both for its own sake, and in order to provide guidance to those who must apply this notion—whether as care workers, as medical practitioners, as legal professionals, or simply as citizens.

  • International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy

    International Centre of Human Rights and Drug Policy logo

    Established in 2009, the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy is dedicated to developing and promoting innovative and high quality legal and human rights research and teaching on issues related to drug laws, policy and enforcement.

    The Centre pursues this mandate by publishing original, peer-reviewed research on drug issues as they relate to international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and public international law.

    The Centre’s work supports policy development which reconciles the international narcotics control conventions with international human rights law. The Centre fosters research on drug policy issues among postgraduate law and human rights students through its engagement with universities and colleges around the world.

  • Essex Transitional Justice Network

    Essex Transitional Justice Network logo

    The Essex Transitional Justice Network brings together people from the University of Essex and collaborators from the UK and abroad. We are exploring issues faced by societies that are undergoing fundamental socio-political change, notably the transition from a repressive to a democratic or constitutional regime, or from a state of civil war and unrest to peace and prosperity.

    Our approach is transdisciplinary and broad – looking not only at traditional topics of transitional justice (such as criminal justice, reparations, vetting, or truth and reconciliation), but also at wider and previously neglected issues (such as poverty and development, and informal justice mechanisms). Our aim is to provide a platform for researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers to better understand transitional justice and thereby to improve the situation on the ground. We engage in research activities, teaching, and consultancy, and welcome collaboration and requests for advice from everyone on the globe.

  • Detention, Rights and Social Justice Programme

    Director: Lorna McGregor

    The Detention, Rights and Social Justice Programme is an interdisciplinary programme that aims to identify the parameters of legal and legitimate detention and the social forces that give shape to it. It also focuses on treatment in detention and seeks to develop an understanding of the experiences and lived reality of detainees.

    The Programme works on all types of detention, including in prisons, pre-trial detention and administrative detention (security, immigration and on grounds of mental health) as well as groups in a position of vulnerability such as children and juveniles and persons with disabilities.

    Recent activities include the Programme’s work on the review on the UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners. The Programme has brought together a range of experts on detention who have met at Essex in 2012 and 2013 to produce an analysis on the ways in which the areas under consideration for revision could come into line with current international norms and standards.

  • Digital Verification Unit

    Director: Daragh Murray

    Recent advances in digital communications technology – and in particular social media and the spread of the smartphone – have revolutionized the practice of human rights. Victims of, and witnesses to, human rights abuses can now document their experiences, and share them directly with the world. This information can then contribute to broader human rights documentation and accountability mechanisms. Indeed, the recent International Criminal Court arrest warrant issued against Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli was based entirely on open source digital information.

    The Digital Verification Unit works to document and verify digital evidence pertaining to human rights abuses, and to use open source investigative techniques in the pursuit of accountability. It is run by Daragh Murray and Sam Dubberley. Our principal partner is Amnesty International, and the Essex Digital Verification Unit forms part of Amnesty’s digital verification corps (for info, click here). We welcome student volunteers from across the University, so if you are interested in joining, do get in touch, and send an email to Daragh Murray.


  • Human Rights, Big Data and Technology

    Are big data and technology threats to human rights?