Centre for Human Rights
The Centre for Human Rights (CHR) at Birmingham City University promotes the protection of human rights, access to justice and the rule of law, around the world.
We undertake advisory roles in the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe, the African Union, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region. We provide consultancy services to governments and nongovernmental organisations, and in selected individual cases we draft legal opinions and file legal briefs in domestic courts and in international human rights courts.
Since the creation of the CHR in 2014, we have been either the lead implementer or partners on externally funded projects through the European Union’s Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights, and the UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Human Rights and Democracy Program, and we have been awarded two Midlands3Cities and one Midlands4Cities studentship provided by the Arts and Humanities Council. Our funded projects and studentships have generated £400,000 for our human rights work and pedagogy.
The work from the CHR significantly informs the School of Law’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission, in providing key publications, and for contributing to the School’s case studies. We have also created high-level human rights simulated exercises, including a UN Security Council “Model United Nations,” to contribute to the School of Law’s submission in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). In our work with international organisations, governments, and nongovernmental organisations, we engage effective and efficient processes to further the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).
The CHR has a successful PhD programme. We have been awarded three AHRC-funded studentships within the Midlands3Cities and Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnerships. In 2018 Dr Alice Storey completed her M3C PhD entitled, “Facilitating the Abolition of the Death Penalty in the United States: The Effectiveness of the UN Universal Periodic Review,” and she has now used her research and experience in the United Nations to create the UPR Project in the CHR. Dr Storey led on the filing of the first CHR Stakeholder Report in the United States’ UPR in the Human Rights Council in 2019.
In 2019 Dr Amna Nazir completed her joint M3C PhD undertaking interdisciplinary research across Birmingham City's School of Law and the University of Birmingham's School of Theology and Religion. Her thesis entitled, “Islamic Member States and the Scrutiny of the Death Penalty in the Universal Periodic Review” was selected by the AHRC as part of their impact study. Her work on Islam and the death penalty led to the UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office inviting Dr Nazir to advise them on Islamic Law, and to contribute to an advisory Ministerial Report on this subject. Dr Nazir will be collaborating with the Research Society on International Law in Pakistan, to work on filing a Stakeholder Report in Pakistan’s UPR.
In 2019, Mr Michael Lane was awarded an M4C studentship under the supervision of Professor Yorke, and Professor Liz Wicks (School of Law, University of Leicester), to research the United Kingdom’s implementation of the recommendations of the UPR. He is investigating the extent to which the UK’s acceptance of international commitments at the UN’s Human Rights Council translate into domestic legal change to protect the human rights of those within the UK.
CHR Members provide the following to PhD students:
•Key access to the relevant international stakeholders
•A holistic approach to career development
•A wonderful collegiate environment
For more information please contact:
Professor Jon Yorke
Director and Professor of Human Rights
Dr Alice Storey
Associate Director (Clinic and Consultancy)
Dr Amna Nazir
Associate Director (Partners, and Research and Education)
Mrs Chipo Mwale
Associate Director (Education)