Maastricht Centre for Human Rights
Research institutes

Maastricht Centre for Human Rights

The Maastricht Centre for Human Rights brings together researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds from law and other academic fields, to conduct cutting edge human rights research. The Centre focuses on research themes that contribute to a fair and equitable society, and that raise fundamental questions about human rights. Human rights research carried out within the Centre takes a normative approach, reflecting an integrated view of both economic, social and cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights. Research conducted by Centre members incorporates doctrinal and applied methodologies, and is sometimes interdisciplinary in nature. The main focus of the Centre’s research lies in the legal field (including public international law and criminal law), but this research is combined with research from the social sciences (including criminology, political science, international relations) and at times philosophy and history (the humanities). The research conducted within the Centre covers the following themes.

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Regional human rights systems and comparative human rights law

The members of the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights share a strong interest in comparative research and the examination of human rights issues arising in domestic, regional and international legal systems. This interest is reflected in the Centre’s research, which explores the intersections between jurisprudential developments emerging from various national and supranational courts as well as bodies involved in interpreting and implementing human rights norms.

Human rights, non-discrimination and inclusion

The theme ‘’human rights, non-discrimination and inclusion’’ brings together research on groups or individuals suffering from unjustifiable differential treatment and ingrained patterns of discrimination in society. Members investigate how legal rules and instruments can be used to address political, economic, criminal, environmental and social challenges by promoting equality and inclusion in society. Some of the research under this theme also tends to be comparative in nature, focusing on the integration and interaction between different legal orders operating at the national, supranational (European Union) and international levels.

Human rights, conflict and transitional justice

The perpetration of international crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression usually cause extensive harm to individuals, communities and societies more broadly.  Such crimes have occurred in different parts of the world since time immemorial, and they are likely to reoccur. Therefore, research on the relations and interplay between human rights, conflict and transitional justice (i.e., the full range of processes and mechanisms associated with society’s attempts to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses) is crucial to achieving accountability, promoting reconciliation and preventing future harm.

 Visit MCfHR's research

MCfHR’s research mainly takes place
in the following Faculty research pillar:

1. Global Justice

Let's talk human rights

Human rights issues affect us all. But sometimes there can be an unfortunate disconnect between the human rights research that goes on in universities, and the rest of the world. Let’s Talk Human Rights is a video and podcast series which aims to bridge that gap. We interview human rights experts at one of the primary hubs of human rights research in the Netherlands, the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights, in order to open a window to show what is actually happening in human rights research today. We discuss pressing issues, from human rights and social media to the rights of disabled persons.

We also talk to the researchers about themselves, their projects, and their research journey. Focusing mainly on early career researchers, we cast a light not only on human rights law and how it works, but also on what it means to be a human rights researcher. ​

 Read more about our Let's Talk Human Rights initiative

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  You can find our episodes on:



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  • 06 Dec
    15:30 - 17:00

    Book Discussion: Research Handbook on Soft Law

    The Research Handbook on Soft Law seeks to provide a comprehensive and in-depth scholarly overview of the field of soft law, exploring the scope of current thinking in the field as well as proposing future pathways for soft law research.

  • 07 Dec

    Environmental Law Lecture Series

    This lecture series provides a set of important insights from environmental law scholars on how EU environmental law helps to achieve the aim of a high level of environmental protection in the European Union and across the world.

  • 08 Dec
    10:45 - 16:00

    Meeloopdag | Rechtsgeleerdheid & Fiscaal Recht

    Tijdens de Meeloopdag ervaar je hoe het is om rechtenstudent te zijn. Dit betekent dat je een échte onderwijsgroep gaat observeren*. Deze onderwijsgroep bestaat uit huidige rechtenstudenten die over een actueel juridisch onderwerp discussiëren onder leiding van een tutor. Zo krijg je een goed beeld...

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  • 12 Dec
    14:00 - 15:30

    MCEL Seminars

    The activities of the centre include regular organisation of academic conferences and workshops, as well as monthly research seminars to which high-level speakers are invited to discuss a specific topic in the field of EU law. 

  • 13 Dec
    16:00 - 18:00

    Maastricht Foundations of Law Colloquia

    Michele Ubertone, Maastricht University - Questions of Application

  • 14 Dec
    18:00 - 20:00

    Extracurricular course - Introduction to Chinese Law

    Are you enthusiastic about broadening your global outlook and expanding your knowledge of foreign legal systems? Are you interested in learning the basics of the Chinese legal system? Do you wish to enrich your curriculum by demonstrating that you are an active student who takes part in...

  • 18 Dec 20 Dec

    JURIX 2023

    36th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems.


  • 29 Jan
    13:15 - 18:00

    13e Pensioenseminar Maastricht – Outside in solidariteit

    The 13th Pension Seminar provides guidance on how to implement the WTP and make pension agreements adequate and fair at the social partners' negotiating table. A compass for those involved to find their way together in this terra incognita.

  • 02 Feb
    15:00 - 17:00

    Guest lecture and panel discussion on ‘The Polish Constitutional Tribunal and the Rule of Law: Theoretical and Practical Reflections

    A lecture-discussion in a panel setting will take place to stimulate the debate on this important topic by bringing together distinguished experts from both legal practice and academia. The invited and confirmed speakers are Marcin Matczak (Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Warsaw)...

  • 24 Feb
    09:30 - 16:30

    Bachelor's Open Day

    Find out more about one of the most international universities in Europe, experience our unique approach to teaching and immerse yourself in your programme of choice.

Maastricht Centre for Human Rights​ introduction

This short introduction tells about the interdisciplinary character of the centre for human rights​.



The Subversives

Documentary about the life of one of the most important advocates of human rights. Theo van Boven, a former Director of the United Nations Division of Human Rights (1977-1982), was among the first to defend international human rights responsibilities with courage and openness. He came face-to-face with some of the most repressive regimes of the 20th century. This documentary details the dramatic journey of Theo van Boven and his team, and their struggle to bring justice and change to the UN.


Video: Trailer for The Subversives, a documentary about van Theo van Boven's time at the UN.