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Leiden Law hosted the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Toogdag

The Effective Protection of Fundamental Rights Research Programme at Leiden Law School had the honor to organise the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research Annual Conference.

Human rights in (times of) crisis

The theme referred to multiple crises we face in the contemporary world: the Russian invasion of Ukraine, pollution and climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, growing inequality, the rise of authoritarian regimes in many countries, and what we could call an information crisis, i.e. the manipulation by powerful State and non-State actors of access to information to create whatever ‘facts’ and ‘truths’ are deemed useful. While human rights should be central in addressing such crises, they have been losing ground. Major world powers have been showing increasing disdain for human rights and often do so openly, and many countries seem to follow this trend. As such, human rights as a broadly accepted, global frame of reference seem in crisis. In addition, within academia, human rights have also come under increasing attack.

Therefore, the NNHRR Toogdag explored together with representatives of all Dutch universities what role a human rights-based approach can play in confronting and overcoming the above types of crises from a multidisciplinary human rights perspective.

The NNHRR Toogdag

The conference started with a PhD Workshop which aimed to explore ways to manage a research project in times of crisis. PhD students from across the Netherlands came to learn how to answer questions like ‘how to deal with sudden change’ and ‘how to remain committed to and motivated in your research in times of crisis’ all having the opportunity to exchange their own experiences and ideas.

The second day kicked off with Professor Yvonne Donders, the NNHRR Chair and recently elected to the UN Human Rights Committee and a fascinating panel discussion on the theme by Karin Arts, Antoine Buyse, Jennifer Sellin, Tarlach McGonagle, and Ingrid Leijten. During the afternoon, the NNHRR Working Groups Business and Human Rights, Migration and Borders and Human Rights in the Digital Age organised their parallel sessions.

The event finished with a Keynote from Dunja Mijatović, Commissioner of Human Rights of the Council of Europe.  During her speech, Ms Mijatović touched on lessons drawn from previous human rights crises prior to the beginning of her mandate in 2018, the war in Ukraine, women’s rights and the challenges of ensuring human rights protection for migrants. Milatović shared valuable insights on her work as Commissioner to ensure that States uphold their obligations to protect, respect and fulfill human rights. To watch the video recording of the keynote, click here.

Want to learn more?

If you want to see the programme and the presentations that were given during the conference, you can do so following this link.

Join the NNHRR network

The Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research (NNHRR) was established in 2017 to sustain and further strengthen cooperation in the field of human rights research. If you are interested in it and want to join it, you can do so via the form that you can find on this website.

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