Logo der Universität Wien

About the Initiativkolleg/Doctoral College

The development of human rights promotion and protection has in recent years given rise to an understanding that human rights issues cannot be regarded a legal matter only. Against this background, the Initiativkolleg "Empowerment through Human Rights" is comprised of four disciplines, namely, Law, Sociology, Psychology, and Development Studies. The focus lies on the protection of members of vulnerable groups, such as persons affected by poverty, migrants, refugees, minorities, persons with disabilities but also victims of gross human rights violations. "Empowerment" of these groups constitutes a key element in this regard.

The four main topics covered by the doctoral programme are:

  • The Protection and Empowerment of Vulnerable and Discriminated Groups
  • Poverty
  • Migration and Asylum
  • Consequences of Gross Human Rights Violations, in particular, Torture

The Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) builds the bridge between the different disciplines involved. It offers the possibility to consider certain phenomena, such as migration, poverty or the consequences on the individual of gross human rights violations from a rights-based perspective. Fundamental to this approach is the empowerment of persons to exercise their rights; obligations on the part of others, in particular States; a system of effective accountability; and the principles of equality and non-discrimination.

The IK "Empowerment through Human Rights" started in January 2010.


Forschungszentrum Menschenrechte
Universität Wien

Hörlgasse 6/9
A-1090 Wien

Universität Wien | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Wien | T +43-1-4277-0