Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research


Since launching in August 2015, the Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research has fostered a vibrant research culture in human rights and related areas within and beyond Sussex Law School.

Our work has a global as well as national focus and our members engage with policy and practice as well as theory, adopting a range of legal, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary approaches to human rights research.

In addition to offering a programme of events focusing on research and knowledge exchange, the LLM in International Human Rights Law is linked to the Centre, we host the sector-leading Human Rights Law Clinic, and a vibrant community of doctoral researchers.

For more information about the Centre and its future events, please contact Dr Stephanie Berry or Dr Matthew Evans  or Dr Aisling O'Sullivan


Invitation for abstracts - Topic of REFORM of the UN minority rights regime

Following on from discussions at a scoping session held in September 2022, the Minority Rights Solidarity Network in conjunction with the Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research invites abstracts for a workshop to be held on 11 May 2023 at the University of Sussex on the topic of REFORM of the UN minority rights regime.

There may also be small bursaries available to cover train travel for PhD students and others without institutional support.

On the 30th anniversary year of the UN Declaration on Minorities, this is a pertinent time to undertake a stocktaking exercise of the current UN framework for the protection of minorities and explore whether now is the time to pursue the adoption of a treaty for the protection of minorities or whether other options for reform can serve the same purpose. Significantly, the option of a UN treaty has been put back on the table by the current UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues.

The workshop will be interdisciplinary and engage with both academic and practitioner perspectives. As a result, academics and practitioners, at all stages of their careers, are encouraged to submit abstracts (200 words) with a short CV, by 31st March 2023 to We will not ask for written papers and works in progress are very much welcome. This event is intended to be the beginning of a conversation with the initial aim of feeding into discussions in the UN. We may ask participants at a later stage if they would like to develop their ideas for a policy document and/or academic publication, but this will be optional.

We invite participants to look back, in order to inform discussion on how the current regime can be reformed to better protect the rights of minorities. Participants may wish to explore one or several of the following themes:

1) Stocktaking: Does the current international human rights law framework adequately protect the rights of persons belonging to minorities? Are persons belonging to minorities sufficiently heard within this system? Are the rights contained within the UN Declaration appropriate for the needs of minorities? To what extent is the current framework relevant to all regions of the world? Are minority rights sufficiently mainstreamed within the work of UN bodies?

2) Ways Forward (Architecture): Is a UN treaty for the protection of minorities desirable? OR would improved mainstreaming serve the same purpose? What would a minority rights treaty look like? Which or all minorities? Is current terminology (ethnic or national, religious and linguistic minorities) appropriate? Would a treaty have enforcement/complaints mechanisms/is this desirable? What rights should it contain?

3) Ways Forward (Inclusion): How can (and should) representatives of minorities be integrated into treaty drafting processes? Can/should minority representatives be better integrated into (or able to shape the agendas of) other UN mechanisms (e.g. the UN Forum on Minority Issues)? Who represents minorities in formal processes? How can broader engagement of minorities with UN mechanisms be facilitated? How can the framework avoid being Western-centric?



Dr Stephanie Berry, Co-Director
T +44 (0)1273 678459

Dr Matthew Evans, Co-Director
T +44 (0)1273 873045

Dr Aisling O'Sullivan, Co-Director
 +44 (0)1273 877991

Hannah Blitzer, PhD Co-representative

Christina Miliou Theocharaki, PhD Co-representative

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