Research institutes

Maastricht Centre for Human Rights

The Maastricht Centre for Human Rights facilitates and supports research in the field of human rights at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Law. Research conducted at the centre is interdisciplinary, with a focus on public international law, criminal law, criminology and other relevant social sciences. The centre favours research themes that contribute to a better society within the context of the process of globalisation and that raise fundamental questions about human rights (as opposed to mere technicalities).


The centre has two research programmes: Globalisation and Human Rights and Criminal Law and Criminology in an International Context. Research conducted within the centre takes a normative approach, reflecting an integrated view of economic, social and cultural rights on the one hand and civil and political rights on the other, with close attention being given to gender issues and rights of persons with disabilities.


Members of the centre teach in three master’s programmes: Master's Degree in Globalisation and Law (Human Rights Specialisation), the European Master's Degree in Human Rights and Democratization in Venice and the Master’s Degree in Forensics, Criminology and Law. Students from both the bachelor’s and the master’s level are offered a position as student fellow, which enhance their research capabilities.

Law Blogs Maastricht
Would you like to know more about our research? Visit Law Blogs Maastricht and find more information about the Faculty of Law's research output.



  • Human Rights Beyond Borders: The Maastricht Principles Turn Five

    Tuesday, September 27, 2016

    Are human rights obligations breached by an intergovernmental organization or its governing States, when it tells a government to cut its public services? Can the obligations under the right to food be left completely to a State that is adversely affected by the climate impact of other countries?


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  • Utrecht Declaration on Academic Freedom

    Tuesday, September 13, 2016

    The General Assembly of the Assiociation of Human Rights Institutes has adopted a new statement on academic freedom during a meeting in Utrecht on Saturday.

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Theo van Boven lecture

Lecture, 1 December 2016
Each year, the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights organises a lecture to honour one of the centre's co-founders and former Director of the United Nations Division of Human Rights (1977-1982) Theo van Boven. This year's lecture will be combined with the conference (1-2 December 2016) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Limburg Principles. Prof. Philip Alston will deliver a keynote speech on 1st December '16. 

More information and registration

The Subversives: Van Boven at the UN

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


30 Years Limburg Principles and Migration

Conference, 1-2 December 2016
In June 1986 a group of distinguished experts in int. (human rights) law convened in Maastricht, to deliberate the nature and scope of state parties’ obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). This meeting resulted in the agreement and adoption of the so-called Limburg Principles. In light of the 30th anniversary of these, the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights is organising a conference in the area of ESC rights and migration.

  More information and registration

Photo: keynote speaker Prof. Philip Alston

    • Theo van Boven Lecture on 23 Nov: What does Justice mean in a country where there is no rule of law? Challenges to human rights in South Sudan by the South Sudanese Lawyer, Anuol Deng Kuoreng.

      1 month 4 weeks ago
    • Photo by Maastricht Centre for Human Rights

      On Friday, 17 November at 16:00, Mayor Annemarie Penn-te Strake opens the exhibition SHELTER CITY MAASTRICHT - Portraits of Human Rights Defenders, in the Maastricht Center Céramique.
      The opening ends at 17:00 with a drink and/or a visit to the exhibition. Admission is free.

      2 months 1 week ago
    • European Conference of the ETO Consortium (Financialisation, Eco-Destruction & Human Rights beyond borders) on 28 & 29 September 2017 at Maastricht University Campus Brussels

      3 months 3 weeks ago
    • Photo by Maastricht Centre for Human Rights

      An article co-authored by Maastricht Centre for Human Rights member Professor Lisa Waddington has recently been published in the Australian Journal of Human Rights!

      The article, co-authored with Professor Bernadette McSherry of Melbourne University, is entitled: “Treat with Care: The Right to Informed Consent for Medical Treatment of Persons with Mental Impairments in Australia”, and is published in 23 Australian Journal of Human Rights 1 (2017), 109-129.

      The article is available via open access at:

      This is the second article Professors Waddington and McSherry have authored on this topic. A previous article, entitled, “Exceptions and Exclusions: The Right to Informed Consent for Medical Treatment of People with Psychosocial Disabilities in Europe”, was published in: 23 European Journal of Health Law (2016), 1-26.

      Treat with care: the right to informed consent for medical treatment of persons with mental impairments in Australia
      6 months 3 weeks ago
    • Maastricht Centre for Human Rights member, Professor Lisa Waddington, recently gave a presentation at the Berkeley Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law Conference which was held at Trinity College Dublin on 15 and 16 June. Professor Waddington gave a presentation entitled: The Use and Interpretation of the Equality Provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Comparative Analysis of the Role of Courts. The presentation was based on research Professor Waddington is carrying out for a book which is to be published by Oxford University Press next year.

      6 months 4 weeks ago
    • Maastricht Centre for Human Rights member, Dr. Andrea Broderick recently spent several days in Georgia, where she was appointed as an international expert on disability rights and non-discrimination law to the Promoting Rule of Law in Georgia Activity (PROLoG), funded by the United States Agency for International Development. During her trip, she worked with the Public Defender’s Office to train various stakeholders. She provided training sessions to lawyers, judges and NGOs on the relevant issues, specifically Georgia’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities regarding adoption of a reasonable accommodation duty in Georgian legislation. Andrea also met with various members of the Georgian Parliament and will complete her report on the trip shortly. The report will contain information about states' obligations under the Convention, the experience of European Union countries in this regard and will put forward recommendations for the adoption of new provisions in the relevant Georgian legislation.

      7 months 1 week ago
    • Photo by Maastricht Centre for Human Rights

      Maastricht Centre for Human Rights member quoted in judgment of Irish Supreme Court

      The Irish Supreme Court has quoted Maastricht Centre for Human Rights member Professor Lisa Waddington in a recent judgment. The case, Cahill v Minister of Education and Science, concerned disability discrimination and the duty to provide a reasonable accommodation to benefit a person with a disability. The case concerned a dyslexic student who had her Leaving Certificate (school leaving exams) annotated in language modules to indicate that she had not been assessed on spelling/grammar. She had argued that this disclosed her disability to any future employer who would see the certificate and constituted discrimination in various ways.

      The Court cited a report which Professor Waddington co-authored as part of a European Commission funded project (International Perspectives on Positive Action Measures: A Comparative Analysis in the European Union, Canada, the United States and South Africa” (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities)). The report was cited in the context of the Government's argument that the accommodation that the Minister of Education provided was a form of positive action and was covered by a separate statutory exception protecting bone fide positive action measures. The Government argued that this excluded the measure from being challenged as discriminatory.

      The Supreme Court lent towards the view that positive action is different from reasonable accommodation and so this exception did not apply. In that context they quoted the explanation of the difference between positive action and reasonable accommodation written by Professor Waddington in the report:

      “At first glance it may seem that the obligation to provide for a ‘reasonable accommodation’ is a particular form of positive action, as it provides for ‘advantages’ to individuals who fall within the group of persons with a disability. However, this impression is misleading and the obligation to provide for a reasonable accommodation can better be characterised as a particular kind of non-discrimination legislative provision, related to, but not synonymous with, the established forms of direct and indirect discrimination . . .”.

      Para 57 in the judgment by Ms Justice Laffoy, Cahill v Minister of Education and Science:

      Cahill -v- The Minister for Education and Science [2017] IESC 29 (24 May 2017)
      7 months 2 weeks ago


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Maastricht Centre for Human Rights