Call for papers for The Universal – Vol 2

The Universal – Annual Human Rights Review is looking for papers for its 2017 volume. The Universal is a multidisciplinary journal that accepts papers from all academic disciplines with a focus on human rights. In doing so, The Universal endeavors to foster interdisciplinary debate and as such gives priority to articles with an interdisciplinary scope.

The theme of volume two is “Human Rights Challenges in a Transforming Europe – Perspectives from Then and Now”. Priority will be given to articles related to this theme.

Articles may deal with – but are by no means limited to – the following questions:

  • Is the EU able to continue to live up to its reputation as a leading beacon of human rights? Does the EU promote human rights in the rest of the world?
  • How do large European enterprises that produce goods in developing countries manage human rights issues?
  • How does the growing pessimism towards the EU project affect human rights issues?
  • Should European countries work towards more open or closed borders in the light of human rights issues? How have these borders developed over time?
  • How and to what extent does the EU approach migration, refugees and asylum seekers? What are the human rights implications of this for displaced peoples?
  • How to promote human rights in European refugee camps?
  • How and to what extent do individual European countries handle their internal human rights issues? What are the greater implications of these approaches for the expansion of human rights?
  • How do new nationalist tendencies affect human rights issues in Europe?
  • How does the EU and European countries manage increasing islamophobic tendencies? How to best protect religious minorities?
  • How have European identities changed through time?
  • In what ways is European history used strategically today as e.g. invented traditions? How are e.g. Viking symbols used in nationalist movements?
  • How do individual countries handle EU law? What are the implications?
  • How can EU and European countries protect LGBT people?

The Universal primarily aims to publish research-based articles by students and recent graduates at BA, MA and PhD level. To be considered for publication, research-based papers need to be within the topic of human rights and comply with The Universal’s submission guidelines. Papers that are initially approved will go through a double-blind peer review by two reviewers, after which the editors will select the papers to be included in the volume. Authors are expected to edit their articles in accordance with the advice from the two peer reviewers before publication.

It is also possible to contribute with smaller pieces such as literary reviews, responses to articles, book reviews, opinion pieces and field notes. These do not need to comply with the submission guidelines. For more information, contact the editorial team

All contributions must be original, not previously or simultaneously published elsewhere.

How to apply
First step is to submit an abstract describing the theme, methods, empirical material and theoretical framework of the article. The abstract must be no more than 250 words and should be emailed to no later than November 1st 2016. Before December 1st the authors will receive notification of whether or not they are invited to submit an article. Complete articles should be handed in before February 1st 2017.
Publication of volume 2 is scheduled for fall 2017.

The Universal is non-profit and is available for free at
Papers will also be indexed at major academic databases. To submit a paper, please send an email to There is no fee for submission or publication.

Crossing Borders #2: Understanding Human Trafficking

This is our second event in the “Crossing Border” series exploring trans-national human rights issues. Human trafficking is an issue that affects women, men and children and exploits human beings for different purposes, mainly labour and sex. This event will look into the magnitude of the issues as well as its causes and consequences.

Time: Saturday the 6th of February 14-17

Place: Studenterhuset, Købmagergade 52

14:00-14:10 Intro on Think Rights
14:10-14:40 Documentary screening: “Affected for Life”
14:40-15:00 “What is human trafficking?” by Line Møller Christiansen, MSc in Political Science and vice-chairman of Think Rights
15:00-15:30 coffee and cake break
15:30-16:00 “The Causes of Human Trafficking” by Christian Groes, anthropologist, PhD in public health and associate professor at Roskilde University
16:00-16:30 “Human Trafficking and Forced Labour – Trends, Challenges & Responses” by Anders Lisborg, senior advisor at Center Mod Menneskehandel
16:30-17:00 Q&A

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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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Stay tuned: We’ll launch The Universal soon

The Universal is Think Rights’ new annual human rights journal with an interdisciplinary scope publishing research by students (BA, MA and Ph.D.) and recent graduates. Read more about The Universal.

The compilation of the inaugural issue is well underway. The editorial board has received 15 manuscripts covering a variety of human rights topics, of which, 5 have been deemed suitable for publication. We have finished the peer review stage and we’re almost done with the final editing of the articles.

We have conducted an interview with Anthony Chase, Professor at Occidental College, exploring the different themes of the articles of the first issue. An edited version of this interview will be published in the journal. The editorial board is currently finalizing an editorial, touching upon the interdisciplinary nature of the inaugural issue and introducing the different articles. Finally, Marie Juul Petersen, postdoc at the Danish Institute for Human Rights, has written a forward, providing a solid introduction to the field of human rights.

We expect the launch date of the first issue will be in February 2016.

Updates on the Human Trafficking event

We’re planning a one-day event in February about the different facets of human trafficking. At our last meeting, we agreed on the following outlook:

Location and Time:

  • Where- Studenterhuset
  • When- 6th of February
  • Time- still to decide


  • screening of a few short documentaries that present different aspects of the human trafficking
  • an introduction on human trafficking given by Linne Møller Christiansen
  • a presentation given by Christian Groes, researcher at RUC
  • Center mod Menneskehandel

Possible documentaries

Coffee & Cake Break

Our next meeting will be held soon, so stay tuned and joins us!

Read more about the Events group and contact Larisa Andrei for more information at

Think Rights is looking for a project manager

Think Rights is looking for a volunteer project manager for a seminar series exploring the historical events that has shaped the international human rights regime.

About Think Rights

Founded in 2013, Think Rights is a non-profit human rights organization that seeks to facilitate the debate and exchange between Danish students, researchers and practitioners in human rights. The organization is comprised of independent working groups that deal with specific projects, including human trafficking, business and human rights, women’s rights, and The Universal – an annual human rights journal with an interdisciplinary scope publishing research by students, recent graduates and researchers.

About “Atrocities and the History of Human Rights”

“Atrocities and the History of Human Rights” is the working title for a proposed series of seminars where researchers will present their insights into historical atrocities and how such events shape the international human rights regime.

The seminars will run from February to June 2016.

The seminars will be interdisciplinary in scope and combine insights from history, law, political science and sociology. Possible cases to be explored include: the Holocaust, the Apartheid regime and the response of the international community, the Rwanda Genocide, the Bosnian genocide, ethnic cleansing in Darfur, and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

About the volunteering opportunity

You will be working with a team of volunteers with different backgrounds. You will be responsible for planning and organizing the seminar series, which will include background research into the proposed topics, securing partnerships with other relevant organizations and experts, booking speakers and venues etc. Finally, you will work in conjunction with our intern on promoting the seminar series.

About you

  • are a university graduate or a student in social science or humanities
  • are fluent in English
  • have good oral and written communication
  • have good administrative skills
  • are interested in human rights

It is an advantage if you

  • have experience with volunteer work
  • have experience with project management
  • have experience with fundraising
  • have experience with education, teaching or curriculum planning
  • have knowledge within one or more of the following subjects: international relations, world history, political history, human rights, international criminal law, peace and conflict studies
Send your CV and application to not later than August 30th.

Business Human Rights – Start up meeting

August 19th at 15.00

At Levende Menneskerettigheder – Human Rights in Action, Nyhavn

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International human rights standards have traditionally been the responsibility of governments, aimed at regulating relations between the State and individuals and groups. But with the increased role of corporate actors, nationally and internationally, the issue of business’ impact on the enjoyment of human rights has been placed on the agenda of the United Nations.
Think Rights supports this agenda. We are having a start up meeting to establish the new working group for all who are interested in business human rights.

Thomas Trier, external consultant for Deloitte and lawyer specializing in human rights

Representative from Danish Institute for Human Rights (more information will be posted soon)

We want you to bring your curiosity and input. We are open to all ideas and we look forward to dicuss the need for action on this topic with you.

If you want to know more about human rights in a business perspective see the UN Guiding Principles.

15.00 – 15.20
Welcome: ”Think Rights & Business Human Rights”
By Jakob Lindmark Frier and Alexander Andersson

15.20 – 16.00
Presentation: “Human Rights Management in Nordic Businesses”
By Thomas Trier, external consultant at Deloitte and lawyer specialising in human rights

16.00 – 16.45
Case: ”Business Human Rights in a Danish Context”
By Danish Institute for Human Rights

16.45 – 17.00

Brainstorming: new focus area



Crossing Borders: New Perspectives on the Roma Population in Denmark

This event is part of a series of debate meetings (Crossing Borders) regarding sensitive issues in today’s society. The first in the series concerns the issues surrounding the Roma population in Denmark. As one of the largest minority groups in Europe, the Roma and their status is a hotly-debated topic in the EU, and one that is often accompanied by negative connotations. By providing an impartial and discernible arena from which to debate these issues, we hope to move away from the limitations of isolated events reporting favored by the media and more towards an inclusive understanding of the bigger picture.

Time: April 27th at 18.30
Place: Studenterhuset, Købmagergade, Copenhagen

The Speakers:
– Ioana Bunescu, Postdoctoral researcher in migration and inter-ethnic relations
– Jonas Pors, anthropologist and Roma rights specialist
– Benedicte Eichen, sociologist/criminologist and human rights activist

18:30- 18:45 Introduction – What is Think Rights?
18:45-19:00 Ioana Bunescu on Roma Identities
19:00-19:15 Break
19:15- 19:30 Jonas Pors on EU legislation on the Roma
19:30-19:45 Benedicte Eichen on the stigmatization and prejudice and the Roma
19:45-20:00 Q&A session

We also invite you to join us for some beers after the event.

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Film Club start-up meeting


So many good human rights documentaries are out there just waiting to be watched – be it about women’s rights in India, civil rights in Bahrain or surveillance in the States. Think Rights wants to bring these documentaries to a Copenhagen audience.

The plan is to host a monthly human rights film club where we screen a documentary about some kind of current event/topic followed by a debate/panel discussion with interesting people.

We are currently looking at venues and the first volume of the film club is (hopefully) going to happen in late May, so we are putting together a film club team right now.

Why should you join us?
– You will gain experience in organising events from idea to result
– You can get a lot of influence on how the film club is going to be in the future as the event in May is going to be a kind of prototype
– You will meet other people with the same passion for human rights and documentaries as you
– It is going to be fun

If you aren’t 100 percent sure that this is for you but still interested in hearing more – then don’t be shy, join the meeting. Everyone is welcome!

Time: April 16th at 19.00
Place: Sofiegården, Sofiegade 1, 1418 Christianshavn, Copenhagen

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