Seminar Series: Atrocities and The Development of Human Rights

How has historic events shaped the international human rights regime as we know it today? Think Rights is launching “Atrocities and the History of Human Rights”, a series of seminars where researchers and practitioners will present their insights into historical atrocities and how they have shaped the international human rights regime.


Human Dignity and Human Rights” by Morten Dige

February 10th at 16.30

In this lecture Morten Dige will discuss the concepts of humanity and human rights. This lecture aims to make the participants investigate what human rights are and acts as the introduction to a series of lectures on the Development of Human Rights.

Morten Dige is Associate Professor of Philosophy, Culture and Society at Aarhus University.

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“What Is the Colour of Human Dignity?” by Steven L. B. Jensen

March 9th at 16.30

This lecture will be about the development of Human Rights since 1945 focusing on the UN Race convention and the concept of dignity. Drawing on historical examples such as the Apartheid-regime, Steven Jensen will examine the role of the race question in the area of international policy.

Steven L. B. Jensen is a PhD in history and a researcher at Danish Institute for Human Rights.


“Why Do States Commit Torture?” by Ahlam Chemlali

March 16th at 16.30

The UN Torture Convention came into force in 1987 and has since been ratified by 158 states. However, torture is still a widespread human rights viloation. This lecture will examine the central questions: Why do states commit torture? How is it legitimised? And what has the Torture Convention actually achieved?

Ahlam Chemlali is a Program Manager at DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture.

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“Sexual Violence in Conflict” by Robin May Schott

April 13th at 16.30

This lecture focuses on sexual violence in conflict with a specific focus on armed conflict in Bosnia and Rwanda. In continuation, Robin May Schott will examine the international response to sexual violence and track the development of a UN Resolution on sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Robin May Schott is a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies and an international expert on sexual violence perpetrated during conflict.


Prevention and Reconciliation – International Responses to Atrocities” by Troels Gauslå Engell and Jakob v. H. Holtermann

April 27th at 16.30

This lecture will examine the responsibility of the state before and after mass atrocity looking at the concepts of Responsibility to Protect and Transitional Justice. The historical background for both concepts will be examined and different aspects of transitional justice will be addressed.

Troels Gauslå Engell is PhD fellow at Centre for Military Studies, Institute for Political Science, University of Copenhagen.

Jakob v. H. Holtermann is Associate Professor in Legal Philosophy at Centre of Excellence for International Courts, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen.


“New frontiers of Human Rights” by Mette Nørgaard Dissing-Spandet

May, 4th at 16.30

In the final lecture of the series Mette Nørgaard Dissing-Spandet will discuss the new frontiers of human rights and describe the developments which are currently taking place in human rights at the global political scene.

Mette Nørgaard Dissing-Spandet is head of the Human Rights Department at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


All events are held at Studenterhuset, Købmagergade 52, Copenhagen.

If you have any questions, please contact project manager Anne-Mai Flyvholm at

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