What We Believe

The University Network for Human Rights is committed to defending and promoting human rights in their broadest sense, supporting people’s movements at home and abroad, following the lead of communities directly affected or threatened by rights abuse, and practicing an interdisciplinary approach to human rights advocacy.  

We believe in the fundamental dignity of all human beings.

We believe that human rights are interrelated and interdependent. We defend and promote economic and social rights, including the right to be free from poverty and the right to a sustainable environment, as vigorously as civil and political rights.

We believe that the individuals, groups, and communities affected by actual or threatened rights abuse must be at the center of any and all advocacy efforts. The role of those not directly affected is necessarily derivative and subsidiary.

We believe that social change happens when people’s movements succeed in shifting power. Legal victories can assist social movements but should neither replace them nor seize their agency.

We believe that our role is to build the power of democratic movements led by directly affected people.

We believe that we are most effective as human rights advocates when we target and/or leverage our own institutions, government bodies, and other home-based actors to achieve change.

We believe that the human rights field is excessively legalized, that expertise from a range of disciplines is necessary to enhance the reach and effectiveness of human rights advocacy, and that young people do not need years of formal legal or academic training to be effective human rights advocates.