Current Issue 13thFebruary 2016 - 19 February 2016, i.e. No. 45


- Dr. Kamlesh Kumar

The experience of past two decades has demonstrated thecrucial importance of human rights. Traditionally, the human rights violation occurred due to State or its actors, however, the contemporary time has witnessed human rights violations by individuals, institutions and at societal levels. Over the years, the National Human Rights Commissions of India has been recording and reporting a number of human rights violations including civil, political, social and economic rights. These violations and victimizations are with regard to the issues concerning right to food, right to health, right to education, rights of women against violence and exploitation, rights of Children against abuse and exploitation, rights of migrants and their violation based on caste, creed, region and region.

Nature of Job

The human rights field has huge potential and need for multiple professionals. Work in human rights can be challenging and intense. Organizations use a variety of disciplines in their approach to Social Justice, Juvenile Justice, Gender Justice, Custodial Justice, and now emerging area of Climate Justice including direct service, monitoring & evaluation, lobbying and networking, advocacy, policy development, documenting and research. Activities include research focusing on preventing and ending human rights abuses in all regions of the world, monitoring human rights development, conducting on-site fact finding and investigations, writing case studies and reports on human rights conditions, engaging in advocacy to publicize and curtail human rights violations, litigation, lobbying, and promoting human rights practices in social and political structures. In addition, human rights professionals provide advisory and educational services, refugee assistance, victim’s rehabilitation, policy analysis for national and international institutions, assistance in institution building and project development and management in the field of human rights based civil society organizations.

The human rights based job includes;

1.  Human rights activist,
2.  Human rights defender,
3.  Human rights analyst,
4.  Human rights professional,
5.  Human rights researcher,
6.  Human rights programmer,
7.  Human rights advocate,
8.  Human rights worker,
9.  Human rights teacher,
10. Human rights consultant,
11. Human rights campaigner,
12. Human right fundraiser
13. Human rights manager.

Skills required

  1. Writing skills
  2. Management skills
  3. Legal skills
  4. Communication Skills
  5. Reporting skills
  6. Research Skills
  7. Interviewing skills
  8. Language skill
  9. Inter-personal communication skills
  10. Documenting skills
  11. Fundraising skills
  12. Crisis Response Skills
  13. Advocacy Skills
  14. Active Listening and questioning Skills
  15. Teamwork skills
  16. Analytical and critical thinking skills
  17. Negotiating and Mediating Skills
  18. Conflict Resolution Skills
  19. Networking Skills

Organizations working in Human Rights

     Having a Degree or Diploma or Certificate in Human Rights, one can work in the human rights field with a broad spectrum. There are governmental (National and State Human Rights Bodies), intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (Amnesty International, CRY, Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiatives, Asian Centre for Human Rights, South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre, PUCL and PUDR etc). Besides, a number of UN agencies working on the human rights issues might be useful for human rights, based employments in India and overseas as UNDP ((United Nations Development Programme), UNDESA (UN Department of Economic & Social Affairs), World Bank,  UNICEF (UN Children Fund), UNEP( UN Environment Programme), UNFPA (UN Population Fund), WHO (World Health Organization), IMF (International Monetary Fund), UN- HABITAT (UN Human Settlements Programme), FAO (Food & Agriculture Organization),  IFAD  (International Fund for Agricultural Development), ILO(International Labour Organization), ITU(International Telecom Union), UNAIDS (Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS), UNCTAD (UN Conference on Trade and Development), UNDG (UN Development Group), UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ), UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency), UNIDO (UN Industrial Development Organization),  UNIFEM (UN Development Fund for Women), OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights ), UNRWA(UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East ), WFP (World Food Programme).


     The salary in the field of human rights depend upon the nature of job such as permanent, temporary, ad-hoc and project based assignments. However, the higher remuneration and various other benefits depend upon which sector one is working like government, non-government organization, corporate houses or International Organization and even whether person is working in India or abroad.

Where to Study and Eligibility

     Most of the University Departments offering a Post-Graduate or Under-Graduate programs have Human Rights as one of their main subjects. Some Universities, Colleges, Institutions and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) also offer Diploma and Certificate.  The Eligibility to take admission in these courses is generally a Bachelor’s degree in any stream having some understanding of human rights issues.


     A number of Universities/Institutes offer certificate, diploma and degree courses in Human Rights.

Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
Andhra University, Visakhapatnam
Cochin University of Science & Technology, Kochi
Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
M.S. University of Baroda,Vadodara
Sri Venkatesswara University, Tirupati
M.D. University, Rohtak     
Berhampur University, Berhampur
Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam
Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

University of Mumbai, Mumbai
Nagpur University, Nagpur
Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
Saurashtra University, Rajkot
University of Madras, Chennai
University of Jammu, Jammu Tawi
Pondicherry University, Pondicherry
University of Mysore, Mysore
J.N. Vyas University, Jodhpur
Mohanlal Sukhadia, Udaipur
University of Kalyani, Kolhapur
Madurai Kamraj University, Maduari
H.P. University, Simla
University of Kashmir, Srinagar
Indian Law Institute, New Delhi
Indian Institute of Human Rights, New Delhi

Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore
National Law School of India University, Bangalore
Berhampur University, Berhampur
S.N.D.T. Womens University, Mumbai
Arunachal University
Manipur University
Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University, Nanded
Lamka Govt. College, Manipur
Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi

(The above lists are indicative only)
(The Author is Research Officer Centre for Socio-Legal Studies              and Human Rights, School of            Social Sciences, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, Mumbai-400088 : e-mail  :

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