Questions and Answers UHRSN
"Station" by Chris Murtagh (CC BY 2.0)

Q&A: Universal Human Rights Student Network

  • What is the Universal Human Rights Student Network?

The Universal Human Rights Student Network is a student-led umbrella organization which seeks to amplify the voices of the next human rights student generation. The initial content we provide are several papers of students from the Vienna Human Rights Master, the E.MA Master Venice and two master thesis, one of the M.A. in Human Rights and Conflict Management in Rome and one master thesis from the MSc. in International Development Studies in the Netherlands. Furthermore we will step by step publish exciting human rights articles in our Blog Section, provide a searchable Human Rights Master Browser Database, host a password protected section with studying material, a growing database of paid human rights internships, a set of human rights awareness raising clips (published step by step) and a field trip video of Kosovo.

  • What is the target of UHRSN?

To connect, encourage and empower visionary human rights students and alumni around the globe and give them a podium for what matters to them, to connect outstanding student initatives, to help those initatives to find more members worldwide, to promote a sense of global solidarity among human rights students and to advocate for various human rights issues through journalism, research and activism. In order to provide such a platform, our website maintains a blog section, in which we are looking for insightful articles especially but not limited to internship experiences, human rights observations, thoughts, ideas and opinions. Ideally think of our members as being correspondents with expertise in human rights from all around the globe.

  • Why do you promote Student Initatives?

Various student initatives lack the resources to build up big audiences and publish on a regular basis – no matter how great their ideas are, they often publish only once per month and don’t receive the attention they deserve. By connecting several of these student initatives, we help to build up a regular audience, to increase their outreach and to spread their actions and activism across borders to likeminded people. Furthermore student Initatives will be able to learn from each other, profit from each others’ experiences while increasing the effectivness of their projects. Ideally some of our members act as ambassadors of UHRSN and connect initatives to the platform from communities and countries they have access to.

  • What kind of feedback did you get so far?

Our members have received all kinds of reactions. Some believe it’s too huge, too encouraged, too ambitious. Some UN employees and one former UN ambassador congratulated us on the initative and expressed their support of the idea. Even tough we are honoured and thankful for such nice feedback, in reality the only thing that really matters is that we, our members, are convinced that such a platform is beneficial, necessary and that it will have sustainable positive impact on the academic human rights discourse.

  • What is the idea behind the Student Research database?

Most student research papers are read by one or two professors before they end up in the drawer forever. We consider this a waste of resources and time. These papers can be sources of new ideas, creative approaches and out-of-the-box-thoughts. We want to break through the contemporary habit that students write their papers exclusivly for grades, which causes the papers to be more conservative and less visionary. We do so by providing the papers to a broader audience,  by encouraging discussions between young scholars and by exposing the research to the (non-)academic public. The database is an useful source for other human rights students, it helps well established human rights institutions to identify trends and to determine which topics matter most to future human rights experts and it is a contribution to empowering students in countries with few educational resources but accessible internet.

  • Who are the students who submitted the papers in the UHRSN database?

The students, who yet submitted papers come from a broad variety of countries (e.g. Italy, Palestine, Austria, Netherlands, Nicaragua, United Kingdom, China, Latvia, Germany…) and disciplines reaching from humanities and arts, over law, political and social to forensic sciences. The exposure of these multidisciplinary approaches to each other and the common vision of human rights they share, makes such a database and our platform extraordinary exciting. So far we do have submissions from the Vienna Human Rights Master Program, the E.MA in Human Rights and Democratization in Venice, the M.A. in Human Rights and Conflict Management in Rome and a MSc. in Development Studies in Netherlands.

  • What are the quality criteria that you setup for the publication in the database?

All papers go through plagiarsm checks before we upload them into the database and further have to fulfill a set of basic scentific criteria. But we do not choose the papers because of their grading.  What if a student from a country with underwhelming academic facilities and therefore a lack of knowledge in scientific methods has brilliant ideas? Further academic grading systems strongly diver and a paper doing average in one country could be regarded outstanding somewhere else and the other way around.

  • Who can participate?

All students and alumni of human rights, but also students of other disciplines, who had their specialization in human rights and plan to work in this field. You can join our staff by writing a mail to and we will get in touch with you individually or you can enrich our databases by providing your research, articles, ideas, critics or recommendations here.


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