In celebration of the 20 year anniversary of the founding of the Association of Human Rights Institutes, the AHRI 2020 conference will take place in a virtual format on 4-5 September 2020.

While the general conference theme originally planned for the Pretoria conference will be maintained (see below), additional panels related to the current pandemic and the role of AHRI as it enters its third decade will feature on the programme.

The Future of Human Rights: Socio-Economic Rights, Equality and Development

We live in a deeply divided world. While there has never been a better opportunity to finally rid the world of extreme poverty, the great divide between the haves and the have-nots seems to be here to stay. Technological developments will change everyone’s lives, both rich and poor. The future will bring opportunities that were previously unheard of. Access to electricity and connectivity is already improving and with that come improved economic opportunities and hopefully improved health and education. The future also brings many challenges. Some of these challenges are already well known, such as climate change. Others are as yet unknown.

How can we move to a more equal world without environmental degradation on a scale that would threaten our very existence? How can the playing field be levelled so that migration comes to mean ‘opportunity’ and not ‘threat’? What do the challenges and opportunities of the future mean for human rights, in particular socio-economic rights?

Socio-economic rights are recognised in international treaties and in many national constitutions. Even where they have not been included in constitutions they have been recognised as fundamental by courts and other actors. The right to life is increasingly understood as not only meaning a right to physical existence but also the right to live life in dignity.  How can we ensure that these rights. can be claimed by all without discrimination? What is the role of various actors to ensure the actual implementation of these rights (by governments, parliaments, courts, traditional and social media, corporations, NGOs etc) now and in the future.

Closing Panel: 20 Years of AHRI – Looking Back and Moving Forward

Details: The Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI) was founded in 2000 with the idea of networking human rights research institutes to promote research, education and discussions in the field of human rights. Over the past 20 years, there have been inter-institutional projects developed, annual conferences bringing together hundreds of researchers to explore the pressing issues in human rights and opportunities to develop stronger relationships across institutes, countries and continents. AHRI has grown to include over 70 member institutes across every continent and the next era must be shaped by the collective voices of all AHRI members institutes and the individuals that are developing the next generation of human rights research and advocacy. As AHRI enters its 3rd decade, the final panel will take the opportunity to reflect on AHRI’s role in the human rights community thus far and the direction of travel for the organisation’s future. This panel will hear from one of the original AHRI institute representatives, Professor Manfred Nowak (Global Campus of Human Rights), regarding the original aspirations of AHRI followed by two newer academic voices, Ms Yvonne Oyieke (Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Nairobi Office) and Ms Paloma Cobo (Alfredo Vázquez Carrizosa Institute for Human Rights and Peacebuilding, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana), on what AHRI could and should be going forward. The panel will be chaired by Dr Kasey McCall-Smith (University of Edinburgh), Executive Chair of AHRI. 

Check out the AHRI2020 programme.