The Master's Program in Human Rights, created with the support of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, is the only program of its kind in Russia, which is being implemented within the framework of the Consortium of leading Russian universities in accordance with the conceptual framework of cooperation for 2007 and beyond between the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Russian Federation, and with the Plan of Action for the Second Phase of the World Program for Human Rights Education. The support of the Consortium by OHCHR and its Human Rights Resource Centre at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia was reflected in the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Report. 2012. UN Doc. A/HRC/21/20).
The uniqueness of this project lies in the joint implementation of the Program by nine leading Russian universities-partners of the Consortium, as well as in the interdisciplinary nature of its content. More than 70 people graduate from the Consortium every year. Upon completion of the program, students are awarded a master's degree, verified by the state diploma of the respective partner university, as well as the Consortium Certificate, signed by the Director of the Department of Work with Field Offices of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the rectors of the Consortium partner universities.
The Consortium of Russian universities, which are implementing the Master's program, currently includes nine leading Russia universities: RUDN, MGIMO, RGGU, KFU, PSNRU, VSU, UrSLU, UrFU and SU.
OHCHR provides immeasurable assistance in the implementation of the Program, including arrangement of effective management of the Program and access of partner universities to best academic practice, international expertise and resources in human rights. Five resource centres have been established in five partner universities, through the technical assistance of OHCHR, thanks to which Consortium students can participate in lectures by foreign lecturers and human rights defenders via live broadcast.
The consortium closely cooperates with the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratization (EIUC) - the Venice Consortium (Italy), that unites 41 universities in Europe. The EIUC and the Consortium exchange experiences and support the academic mobility. The program receives broad support from the Ombudsman Institution in the Russian Federation, which cooperates on an ongoing basis with the Consortium, providing valuable knowledge about the functioning of the national human rights protection system.
Based on an interdisciplinary approach, the Program consists of two areas: international law and political sciences. International human rights law, its mechanisms and special procedures constitute both, the main and the legal components of the Program. The Consortium has developed over 20 courses, 20 textbooks and 13 distance courses on human rights within the framework of the Program, including: economic, social and cultural rights; human rights in the context of conflicts and post-conflict situations; human rights and business; and the rights of vulnerable groups such as: migrants, refugees, indigenous peoples, women, children, persons with disabilities. Additionally, the Program annually organizes an average of six thematic modules covering a wide range of issues from legal, political and historical to philosophical modules with visiting professors from EIUC and UN experts (in including experts from the UN human rights treaty bodies) as speakers. The Office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights in the Russian Federation organizes monthly educational lectures for the students of the Program on topical issues of human rights protection. The Program is being implemented with the use of advanced technologies and methods of distance learning.
Within the framework of academic mobility students of the Program are able to study at the Venice Summer School on Human Rights, annually organized by the Venice Consortium. Through the support of the Venice Consortium, students prepare their master’s theses (final qualification works) under double supervision with the opportunity to attend the relevant European universities-partners to the Venice Consortium. An obligatory component of the program is the annual Summer Schools on Human Rights, which is the main human rights event in Russia, organized with the support of the OHCHR.
Students of the undertake internships in Russian governmental institutions, including the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, offices of federal and regional ombudsmen, and international organizations such as OHCHR, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and non-governmental organizations. International mobility provides a wide range of opportunities for students of the Program. More than 100 students have completed internships in 20 universities of the EIUC since the beginning of the Program in 2009, which allowed them to prepare master’s theses under the guidance of internationally recognized human rights experts. Additionally, more than 150 students have taken part in the nine annual Summer Schools for Human Rights in Venice, organized by the EIUC, through the entire duration of the Program.
After completing the Program, graduates have the opportunity to apply the valuable knowledge they have acquired in the field of international protection of human rights in their professional activities in governmental institutions of the Russian Federation (Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, etc.), the Office of the Ombudsman in the Russian Federation and in the regions, the Russian Red Cross, international governmental and non-governmental organizations and national human rights organizations.
The brochure of the Master’s Program can be downloaded here.