Human Rights

Chatham House research examines contemporary human rights issues, human rights law and corporate responsibility for human rights violations.

Our work considers developments in international human rights standards as well as challenges in ensuring compliance with these principles.

Chatham House research into contempary issues in international human rights law examines China’s engagement in the UN human rights system, the European Court of Human Rights and its impact on improving human rights records of European states, and considers how to balance sovereignty and collective enforcement.

Human rights in armed conflict is another key focus, including the context of counter-terrorism operations, as is the examination of UN Guiding Principles in relation to fundamental questions about state obligations and corporate responsibility.

And our "statelessness" work considers how existing tools in both international human rights law and the two UN statelessness conventions can provide the basis for concerted action in addressing the plight of individuals who have no nationality.

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Explore Human Rights

Latest (249)
Photo: Ed Kashi/National Geographic/Getty Images.
Chatham House Briefing

Business and Human Rights: Emerging Challenges to Consensus and Coherence

Research Event

Refuge from Inhumanity? War Refugees at the Intersection of IHL and Refugee Law

Sexual Violence in Conflict: What Use is the Law?
Research Event

Sexual Violence in Conflict: What Use is the Law?

Director of CIA, John Brennan, takes questions from reporters during a press conference at CIA headquarters, December 11, 2014. Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images.
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Senate Report on Torture Seems Unlikely to Lead to Greater Accountability

Members

FGM: Building an International Response

China and the International Human Rights System
Research Event

Chinese Approaches to Public International Law and the Rights of Individuals - Part Two

Research Event

Statelessness: The Impact of International Law and Current Challenges

Unregistered stateless Rohingya refugees from Myanmar at an unofficial camp in Bangladesh. Photo: UNHCR /S. Kritsanavarin / November 2008.
Chatham House Briefing

Out of the Shadows: The Treatment of Statelessness Under International Law

Research Event

The European Court of Human Rights: Anti-Democratic or a Guardian of Fundamental Values?

The Rise of Violence Against Women and Girls Since the Arab Spring
Research Event

The Rise of Violence Against Women and Girls Since the Arab Spring

International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde sits near Syrian refugee girls as she visits Alimat School in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria on 11 May, 2014. Photo by Ali Jarekji/AFP/Getty Images.
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Syrian Women Continue to Battle Against Sexual Violence

Leaving Them to It? Women’s Rights in Transitioning Afghanistan
Chatham House Briefing

Leaving Them to It? Women’s Rights in Transitioning Afghanistan

The Representative of China at the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council, Palais des Nations, Geneva. 27 February 2012. Photo: UN Photo Geneva/Violaine Martin.
Research Event

Chinese Approaches to Public International Law and the Rights of Individuals

Research Event

Prospects and Challenges for Yemen After the National Dialogue

Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris speaks during a press conference in the southern district of Hambantota 27 March 2014, after the UN Human Rights council adopted a resolution calling for an international war crimes investigation into the country.
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A Serious Chance to Support Human Rights in Sri Lanka

Tunisian women take part in a rally marking International Women's Day 8 March 8 2014, Tunis. Photo by Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images.
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Voices to Be Heard: The Role of Social Media in Preventing Violence Against Women in the Middle East

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Life in the Hermit Kingdom

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni signs the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 24 February 2014, Entebbe, Uganda. The bill will see offenders, when convicted, serve a life imprisonment. Photo by Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images.
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The Politics of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Legislation

The World Today

Open letter to the UN Security Council appealing for Resolution on aid for starving Syrians

The World Today

Lola Shoneyin

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Expert comment (31)
A Saudi woman puts on her seat belt during a driving lesson in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 7 March 2018.  Photo: AMER HILABI/AFP/Getty Images.
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The Arrests of Saudi Women’s Driving Activists Underlines the Limits of Reforms

A boat carrying migrants approaches shore after making the crossing from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos in November 2015. Photo: Getty Images.
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Migration Deals Risk Undermining Global Refugee Protection

Indonesian PM Joko Widodo. Photo: Getty Images.
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Recommitting to International Criminal Justice and Human Rights in Indonesia

A Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Photo: Getty Images.
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The Global Compact on Refugees Offers an Opportunity to Revive Responsibility Sharing

Women admitted to the maternity ward at Roi Baudoin hospital in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, are counselled by a staff member on 3 March 2010, after having been detained at the hospital for non-payment of medical fees. Photo: AFP/Getty.
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Hospitals That Act as Modern-day Debtor Prisons Deny Rights and Dignity

A woman attends a broadcast of the live speech of Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi in front of City Hall in Yangon on September 19, 2017. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/AFP/Getty Images)
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Root Causes of Rohingya Crisis Must Not be Ignored

Activist Manal Al Sharif, who has long campaigned for Saudi women's right to drive. Photo by Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images
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End of Saudi Women Driving Ban Reflects Deep Changes in Society

Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. Photo: Getty Images.
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It’s Far Too Early to Talk of Return for Syrian Refugees

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has recognized the societal value of empowering women in the past. Photo: Getty Images.
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For the UK, a Feminist Foreign Policy Is Both the Right Thing to Do and Smart Strategy

A picture of Liu Xiaobo inside the Nobel Peace Centre on the day of his Peace Prize ceremony, 10 December 2010. Photo: Getty Images.
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China, Liu Xiaobo and the New Reality of Human Rights

Resting aboard the Topaz Responder ship run by Maltese NGO Moas and the Italian Red Cross after a rescue operation off the coast of Libya. Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images
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Refugee Crisis: Europe Must Find a Humane and Dignified Response

White Helmets search for victims amid the rubble of a destroyed building in Aleppo. Photo by Getty Images.
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Standing Up for Justice in War

Yemenis who have fled their homes in Saada live in makeshift tents near the city of Amran. Photo by Getty Images.
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Saudi Pressure on Child Rights Report Undermines UN's Credibility

Ensaf Haidar holds a picture of her husband Raif Badawi after accepting the European Parliament's Sakharov human rights prize on behalf of her husband on 16 December 2015. Photo by Getty Images.
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The UK Needs a Smarter Approach to Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa

The European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg. Photo via Getty Images.
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UK Election Notes: Foreign Policy Opportunities – Supporting the European Court of Human Rights

Director of CIA, John Brennan, takes questions from reporters during a press conference at CIA headquarters, December 11, 2014. Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images.
Expert comment

Senate Report on Torture Seems Unlikely to Lead to Greater Accountability

International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde sits near Syrian refugee girls as she visits Alimat School in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria on 11 May, 2014. Photo by Ali Jarekji/AFP/Getty Images.
Expert comment

Syrian Women Continue to Battle Against Sexual Violence

Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris speaks during a press conference in the southern district of Hambantota 27 March 2014, after the UN Human Rights council adopted a resolution calling for an international war crimes investigation into the country.
Expert comment

A Serious Chance to Support Human Rights in Sri Lanka

Tunisian women take part in a rally marking International Women's Day 8 March 8 2014, Tunis. Photo by Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images.
Expert comment

Voices to Be Heard: The Role of Social Media in Preventing Violence Against Women in the Middle East

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni signs the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 24 February 2014, Entebbe, Uganda. The bill will see offenders, when convicted, serve a life imprisonment. Photo by Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images.
Expert comment

The Politics of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Legislation

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Research & Publications (67)
China's Regions in an Era of Globalization
Book

China's Regions in an Era of Globalization

Women admitted to the maternity ward at Roi Baudoin hospital in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, are counselled by a staff member on 3 March 2010, after having been detained at the hospital for non-payment of medical fees. Photo: AFP/Getty.
Research paper

Hospital Detentions for Non-payment of Fees: A Denial of Rights and Dignity

Practitioners’ Guide to Human Rights Law in Armed Conflict
Book

Practitioners’ Guide to Human Rights Law in Armed Conflict

Members of the Iraqi police forces stand next to their vehicle in front of damaged buildings in Fallujah on 28 June 2016. Photo: HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images.
Chatham House Briefing

Promoting Compliance with International Humanitarian Law

public health poster warning against mosquitos with out of focus woman in the background
International Affairs

A gendered human rights analysis of Ebola and Zika: locating gender in global health emergencies

A displaced Iraqi woman, who fled her home due to attacks by ISIS, sits holding prayer beads at the Harsham refugee camp in the autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq on 22 October 2014. Photo by Getty Images.
Research paper

Humanitarian Engagement with Non-state Armed Groups

A rebel fighter searches Syrian Arab Red Crescent members before they are sent to deliver food aid to Aleppo Central Prison, 11 May 2014. Photo: Ammar Abdullah/Reuters/Corbis.
Chatham House Briefing

Towards a Principled Approach to Engagement with Non-state Armed Groups for Humanitarian Purposes

The dilapidated premises of the Union Carbide plant stand as a reminder of the night in 1984, when the plant began to leak 27 tons of toxic methyl isocyanate. Bhopal, India. Photo: Giles Clarke/Getty Images.
Research paper

Business and Human Rights: Bridging the Governance Gap

Refugees sit near the border in Horgos, Serbia after it was closed by Hungary on 15 September 2015. Photo by Getty Images.
Project

The Refugee Crisis

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International Affairs

When a gamekeeper turns poacher: torture, diplomatic assurances and the politics of trust

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International Affairs

Review article: 'The tyranny of experts' and the denial of inconvenient truths

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International Affairs

Ending sexual violence in conflict: the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and its critics

Photo: Ed Kashi/National Geographic/Getty Images.
Chatham House Briefing

Business and Human Rights: Emerging Challenges to Consensus and Coherence

Unregistered stateless Rohingya refugees from Myanmar at an unofficial camp in Bangladesh. Photo: UNHCR /S. Kritsanavarin / November 2008.
Chatham House Briefing

Out of the Shadows: The Treatment of Statelessness Under International Law

Leaving Them to It? Women’s Rights in Transitioning Afghanistan
Chatham House Briefing

Leaving Them to It? Women’s Rights in Transitioning Afghanistan

The World Today

Open letter to the UN Security Council appealing for Resolution on aid for starving Syrians

The World Today

Lola Shoneyin

The World Today

Caribbean: racism in the trenches

Other resource

Too Many to Count? Human Rights, Justice and Accountability in Nigeria: 2013 Country Visit Report of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Nigeria

The World Today

Human Rights activists don't deserve this diatribe

Pages

Past events (151)
Research Event

Self-Determination and International Law

Research Event

Access to Remedies in Business and Human Rights: The Role of National Human Rights Institutions

Research Event

Experts Meeting: Human Rights Impact Assessment of Trade Agreements

Research Event

Strategic Litigation for Social Justice: Lessons Learned

Research Event

CANCELLED: Self-Determination and International Law

Research Event

Forum on Refugee and Migration Policy - Roundtable 2

Research Event

Investment Treaties: A Debate over Sovereignty, Trade, Development and Human Rights

Research Event

Balancing Security and Human Rights: How Does the Law Apply to Social Media in the GCC?

Research Event

Waiting to Disappear: International Standards for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Albinism

Members

Freedom of the Media: Censorship, Imprisonment and Torture

Research Event

Practitioners’ Guide to Human Rights in Armed Conflict

Research Event

Brexit, Trade Agreements, the US and the Law

Research Event

Aiding and Assisting: Challenges in Armed Conflict and Counterterrorism

Research Event

Vision Europe Summit 2016

Research Event

Civil Liberties in Uganda: Rights and Responsibilities

Members

Behind the Label: Companies, Supply Chains and Human Rights

Research Event

The Refugee Crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean: What Can We Learn from Lesbos?

Research Event

Wrongful Convictions and Judicial Reform in China

Research Event

Women’s Economic Empowerment: A Conversation with President Michelle Bachelet

Members

Humanitarians at War

Pages