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

Human Rights as a Career

Manu Singh

In the previous part of this article there was a brief introduction of Human Rights.The following part deals with the Human Rights issues, skills required to work in this field, the organisations dealing with the Human Rights issues and some of the educational institutions offering courses in this area of study.

Human Rights Issues

Adequate Housing

  • Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context

Business and Human Rights

  • Business and Human Rights


  • Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
  • OHCHR Study on children working and/or living on the street
  • Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography
  • United Nations Study on Violence against Children

Civil and Political Rights

  • Human Rights Committee (HRC)

Climate change

  • Human Rights and climate Change


  • Working Group on Communications

Cultural rights

  • Independent Expert in the field of cultural rights


  • Rule of Law - Democracy and Human Rights


  • Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

Development (Good Gover-nance and Debt)

  • Development - Good gover-nance
  • Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights
  • Open-ended working group on the right to development
  • Right to development

Disability and Human Rights

  • Human Rights of persons with disabilities


  • Committee on Enforced Disappearance (CED)
  • Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances


  • A special focus on discrimination

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

  • Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - General information and resources
  • Open-ended Working Group on an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights


  • Human rights education and training
  • Special Rapporteur on the right to education


  • Special Rapporteur on Adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights


  • Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions


  • Special Rapporteur on the right to food

Freedom of Opinion and Expression

  • Freedom of expression and advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence
  • Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Freedom of Religion and Belief

  • Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief


  • Women’s Rights and Gender

Globalization (Business, Trade and Investment)

  • Business and human rights
  • Globalization - Trade and investment


  • Consultation on Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members
  • Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health


  • HIV/AIDS and Human Rights

Human Rights and Interna-tional Solidarity

  • Independent expert on human rights and international solidarity

Human Rights Defenders

  • Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders

Human Rights Education and Training

  • Human rights education and training
  • United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training
  • World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005-ongoing)

Human Rights Indicators

  • Human Rights Indicators


  • Independent Expert to update the Set of Principles for the protection and the promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity

Independence of Judiciary

  • Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers

Indigenous Peoples

  • Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Fellowship programme
  • Main page Indigenous
  • Open-ended inter-sessional Working Group on the draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples
  • Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
  • United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations
  • Working group on indigenous populations

Internal Displacement

  • Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons

International Solidarity

  • Independent expert on human rights and international solidarity


  • Special Rapporteur on use of mercenaries as a means of impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination
  • Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination


  • Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW)
  • Migration and Human Rights
  • Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants

Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights

  • Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights


  • Fellowship programme
  • Independent Expert on minority issues
  • Main page Minorities

Older persons

  • Older persons

Plans of Action for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

  • National Plans of Action for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights


  • Consultation on the draft of the guiding principles: “Extreme poverty and human rights: the rights of the poor”
  • Human rights dimension of poverty
  • Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights


  • Ad-Hoc Committee on the elaboration of complementary standards
  • Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • Durban Review Conference (2009)
  • Group of Independent Eminent Experts
  • Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism
  • Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent
  • Working Group on the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
  • World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimi-nation, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban (2001)

Rule of Law

  • Rule of Law


  • Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of slavery
  • Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery
  • Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery


  • Independent expert on Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
  • Special Rapporteur on human rights and terrorism of the Sub-Commission on the promotion and protection of human rights (Reports)
  • Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism


  • Committee against Torture (CAT)
  • Special Rapporteur on torture
  • Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture
  • United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture


Trafficking in Persons

  • Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children

Transnational Corporations

  • Special Representative of the SG on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises

Water and sanitation

  • Consultations on human rights and access to Water
  • Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation
  • Stakeholder’s views for the study on human rights obligations related to equitable access to safe drinking Water and sanitation


  • Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
  • Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
  • Women’s Rights and Gender main page
  • Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice

Required Skills

  • Communication
  • Writing
  • Reporting
  • Research
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Management
  • Legal
  • Advocacy
  • Teamwork
  • Analytical and Critical Thinking

Organizations Working in the Field of Human Rights
Human rights is still in its budding stage in India yet there are many avenues open for a student specializing in this field. Career Opportunities are available with social services organizations and NGOs working with disabled, orphans, destitute, refugees, mentally retarded and drug addicted. Human rights professionals can also work with established NGOs who operate in the field of Human rights and civil liberties in general. Such NGOs also functions in the area of human rights activism, disaster and emergency relief, humanitarian assistance, child and bonded labour, displaced people, conflict resolution and public interest litigation among others.

International organizations and NGOs are constantly looking for people specializing in human rights. These include the United Nations Organizations.

Statutory government bodies and cooperation in India like the National and State Commissions (on Women, Children, Human rights, Labour, Welfare, Minorities, SC and ST) Military, Paramilitary and Police Departments, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Schools, Colleges and Universities including research bodies and Centre for Excellence, District rural development agencies and district urban development agencies, Human rights consultancy organizations run by lawyers and legal experts are some other places to tap for career openings. Also one can work with correctional institutions working in field of Juvenile delinquency and child abuse as well as in women reformation centers, prisons and homes for the homeless.

The demand for human rights experts in the field of academics is also likely to increase.



Some Universities offering courses in Human Rights are:

  • Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
  • Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  • Devi Ahilya Viswavidhyala, Indore
  • Dr. B R Ambedkar Central University, Lucknow
  • Indian Institute of Human Rights, New Delhi
  • Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
  • Indian Law Institute, New Delhi
  • Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi
  • National Law School, Bangalore
  • University of Madras, Chennai
  • University of Mumbai, Mumbai

(The list is indicative only)

Course Duration

Most of the universities offer Masters or Post graduate programmes having human rights as one of their main subjects. Some Universities, Institutions and colleges also offer Diploma and Certificate. The eligibility to take admission in these courses is generally Bachelor’s Degree in any stream.


The salary in the field depends upon the nature of Job. However, the higher remuneration and various other benefits depend upon which sector one is working for like government, non government organizations, International Organizations and whether person is working in India or abroad.

The Author is associated with Faculty of Law, Amity University, Lucknow, email: manumanieche


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