Human rights and forced migration: policy and practice

Principal Investigator(s): Dr Richard Carver


About us

Our work concentrates on human rights research and forced migration research where policy, practice and experience are at the centre. We work in a number of countries across the world and study torture prevention, national human rights institutions, conflict induced displacement, the impact of global policies on national refugee responses, and the consequences of protracted refugee situations on different groups of people. We work with a number of organisations and institutions to explore how policy and practice can improve and be more efficient in addressing human rights and forced migration issues. 
Our research engages with: 

  • torture prevention
  • institutional protection of human rights
  • human rights practice
  • long term conflict-induced displacement 
  • refugee hosting
  • civic aid
  • global policies’  impact on national and local refugee responses

Group picture taken during field trip to Arba Minch

Research impact

CENDEP and Arba Minch students conduct legal aid interview

Our research in the human rights field mainly focuses on assessing the impact of various institutional protections of human rights. This includes the work of human rights commissions and Ombuds offices, and particularly the effectiveness of torture prevention measures. We aim to develop close partnerships and exchanges of information with practitioners and institutions at the both the national and international levels. 

Research on torture prevention has been particularly impactful, with several international and national NGOs adapting their strategic priorities in line with our research findings. (A multi-country research project led by CENDEP concluded that safeguards at the time of arrest were the most important factor in protecting people from torture).

The United Nations Committee Against Torture and SubCommittee on Prevention of Torture, as well as the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, have been in continuing consultation with CENDEP’s Richard Carver and Lisa Handley, and have incorporated their findings into their practice. Richard and Lisa have also worked with institutions at the national level, such as the Public Defender’s Office in the Republic of Georgia.


Richard Carver

Dr Richard Carver

Reader in Human Rights and Governance

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Name Role Email
Professor Cathrine Brun Director of CENDEP
Dr Zoe Jordan Senior Lecturer
Dr Farah Mihlar Senior Lecturer in Human Rights Policy and Practice


Name Thesis Title Supervisors Completed
Grace Khawams Assessing job readiness among Lebanese and Palestinian refugee youth with intellectual disabilities in Lebanon: An Action Research Framework Professor Cathrine Brun, Dr Supriya Akerkar


Kate McAuliff Deaf Refugees in Jordan and Lebanon: a conceptual framework of agency and double displacement Professor Cathrine Brun, Dr Supriya Akerkar


Aleyda Valdes Displacement due to gang violence in Latin America Dr Brigitte Piquard, Professor Cathrine Brun


Journal of Human Rights Practice (Oxford)

Richard Carver is co-editor of the Journal of Human Rights Practice (Oxford). This was co-founded by Dr Brian Phillips of CENDEP in 2009. The journal focuses on the impact of human rights practice and contemporary challenges. Over the past year, it has looked in particular at how human rights can help to understand responses to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as assessing the impact of Covid-19 on the work of human rights defenders. 

Journal of Human Rights Practice book cover

Oxford Human Rights Festival

CENDEP runs the Oxford Human Rights Festival. Founded in 2003, the Festival was initiated by postgraduates and staff at the Centre of Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP), the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford UK. The festival is run by Oxford Brookes students and a coordinator from CENDEP. We collaborate with the public including local community groups, educational institutes, NGOs/INGOs, organisations and individuals.


Image Credits: 

All images credited to CENDEP members:
  • Banner image: CENDEP alumni Jonny Willis (l) and Ben Teuten founded Refugee Youth Service
  • 'About us' image: CENDEP and Arba Minch students conduct legal aid interview
  • 'Research Impact' image: CENDEP field trip to Arba Minch