Symposium: „Human rights in the face of the climate crisis“

Xplanatorium Castle Herrenhausen, Hanover, November 6-8, 2023

Funded by the VolkswagenStiftung

Find the full programme here.

Preliminary Programme:

Monday, 6 November

13:00: Introduction to the symposium – Prof. Dr. Michael Krennerich

Climate Crisis

13:15: What you always wanted to know about climate change (Keynote and discussion) – Prof. Dr. Almut Arneth

Climate Crisis and Human Rights

14:45: Climate-induce migration/mobilization. The need for new standards? Questions for experts on migration/refugee (fishbowl method) – Hannes Einsporn, Dr. Marie Mualem-Schröder, Dr. Janina Stürner-Stivoitz, Dr. Kira Vinke; Moderation: Prof. Dr. Petra Bendel

16:15:  Panel discussion: The climate crisis impacting on human rights – Christoph Bals, Dr. Megan Donald, Sébastien Duyck, Kristina Hatas, Rina Kuusipalo; Moderation: Michael Windfuhr

Evening lecture

19:00:  The “Greening” of human rights? The climate crisis: responses of human rights institutions – Dr. Megan Donald ; Comment: Michael Windfuhr; Moderation: Prof. Dr. Michael Krennerich

Tuesday, 7 November

Human rights obligations

9:15:      Climate change and human rights responsibilities – Perspectives from the OHCHR Rina Kuusipalo (OHCHR)

10:30:    State obligations and the role of private companies with regard to human rights and climate justice – Questions for experts – Prof. Dr. Christina Binder, Prof. Dr. Laura Clérico, Prof. Dr. Fons Coomans, Prof. Dr. Marie-Therese Gustafsson, Dr. Chiara Macchi; Moderation: Prof. Markus Krajewski

New subjects of human rights?

13:00:  Short input: Justifying an enlightened anthropocentrism – Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Heiner Bielefeldt

13:15:  Short input: Human rights of future generations – Prof. Dr. Sandra Liebenberg (online)

13:30:  Short input: Animal rights – Prof. Dr. Bernd Ladwig

13:45: Short input: Rights of nature – Prof. Dr. Laura Clérico

14:30: Panel/Plenary discussion: New subjects of human rights? – Dr. John Adenitire, Prof. Dr. Laura Clérico, Prof. Dr. Fons Coomans, Prof. Dr. Bernd Ladwig, Prof. Dr. Patricia Wiater-Hellgardt; Moderation: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Heiner Bielefeldt

Wednesday, 8 November

Fighting for human rights and climate justice

9:15:    Keynote: Shrinking political spaces for human rights defenders and climate activists – Guadelupe Marengo; Moderation: Prof. Dr. Katrin Kinzelbach

10:15: Panel discussion with activists: How to enhance cooperation between human rights defenders and climate activists? How can they be protected? – Nina Eschke, Guadalupe Marengo, Carla Reemtsma, Raphael Thelen, Barbara Unmüßig, Karin Zennig, Paula Zimmermann; Moderation: Prof. Dr. Katrin Kinzelbach


Past Events

Please find here a selection of past conferences.

Business and Human Rights Governance Challenges in Times of Complexity and Crisis - 2023

International Conference “Business and Human Rights Governance Challenges in Times of Complexity and Crisis?”

We are very pleased to announce our International Conference on “Business and Human Rights Governance Challenges in Times of Complexity and Crisis?” in Nuremberg from 24 to 26 September 2023.

Venues are the International Nuremberg Principles Academy and the Heilig-Geist-Saal.


International Nuremberg Principles Academy, Bärenschanzstraße 72, 90429 Nürnberg.

Heilig-Geist-Saal, Hans-Sachs-Platz 2, 90403 Nürnberg.

You can find the Conference programme below.

There will be a live stream of the conference. The video will start, once the conference has begun.

The online access is open to everyone.

You can also access the live stream here.

You can find the latest version of the Conference Programme and a list of the speakers and their affiliations here.

“Displacement, Immobility and Human Rights” 2021

CHREN/FFVT Online Workshop: “Displacement, Immobility and Human Rights” 2021″  

Find the full program here.


Prohibition, Prosecution, and Prevention of Enforced Disappearances

The International Nuremberg Principles Academy and the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg are organising an international conference entitled “Prohibition, Prosecution and Prevention of Enforced Disappearances” from 7 to 8 May 2021. Originally planned for May 2020, the institutions decided to postpone the conference due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and to hold an online conference this year.

Given the harm and the structural disruption that so many societies have suffered due to enforced disappearances, the traumatic consequences of the uncertain destiny of many persons are still present every day. The concept of enforced disappearances has been reflected in different fields of study, including in history, law and political science. This conference will provide the opportunity to reflect on the importance of preventing, investigating and repairing the systematic use of arrests, detentions, kidnapping and other forms of deprivation of liberty without revealing the fate and the whereabouts of the disappeared persons.

The international conference will provide an overview of the concept of enforced disappearances and its origins, then focus on three key topics in the current debate about this issue: new forms of commission of enforced disappearances, State duties regarding the investigation and prevention of enforced disappearances, and prosecution of the crime at the international and national levels: new forms of commission of enforced disappearances, State duties regarding the investigation and prevention of enforced disappearances, and prosecution of the crime at the international and national levels.

The keynote address will be delivered by Prof. Olivier de Frouville, Professor of Public Law, Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II); Director, Paris Research Centre for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law; Vice President, United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

Following the keynote address, these topics will be tackled in the following four panels:

  • Panel I: Historical Origins of the Crime of Enforced Disappearances and Its Legal Concept
  • Panel II: Disappearances of Migrants as a Challenge for International Human Rights Law and Humanitarian Action
  • Panel III: Determining the Fate of the Disappeared and Investigating Perpetrators
  • Panel IV: Prosecuting Enforced Disappearances at the National and International Levels

In order to reflect on the importance of sanctioning and criminalising enforced disappearances, the speakers and chairs of the panels will address the concept of enforced disappearance as a human rights violation and as a crime. The conference will provide a forum for leading international experts and practitioners to critically discuss what lessons can be learned from the origins, evolution and practical experience of the concept of enforced disappearances for the advancement of the fields of human rights law and international criminal law.

Confirmed speakers are Verónica Hinestroza (Independent Expert); Prof. Emilio Crenzel (Universidad de Buenos Aires); Ana Lorena Delgadillo Pérez (Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho); Eric Stover (University of California at Berkeley); Andreas Schüller (European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights); Dr. Dilek Kurban (Hertie School); Prof. Gabriella Citroni (University of Milano-Bicocca); Luciano Hazan (United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances); Dr. Rainer Huhle (formerly United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances); Barbara Lochbihler (United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances); Dr. Grazyna Baranowska (Polish Academy of Sciences).

The international conference “Prohibition, Prosecution and Prevention of Enforced Disappearances” will consist of a series of sessions in Zoom webinar format to bring together communities virtually to explore possible responses to enforced disappearances. All the sessions will be accessible to registered participants and will be recorded and made available on the Nuremberg Academy YouTube channel.

Prior registration is required.

Please register using this link

Please find the program of the conference here (Download pdf).

Nuremberg at 75: Launching the Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigation

Nuremberg at 75: Launching the Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigations and the Future of Visual Evidence in International Accountability

1st of December 2020


Photo Credit: National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.


The celebration will be held virtually with an introduction to the event from Courtroom 600, the site of the Nuremberg Trials in the city’s Palace of Justice. Register in advance for the Zoom link here. 

This event commemorates the first use of film as evidence in an international trial and discusses the future of digital evidence to foster accountability for violations of international criminal, humanitarian, and human rights law.

The event will feature a welcome from the Mayor of Nuremberg, Marcus König, and a statement from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. We will hear from scholars and advocates at the intersection of human rights, technology, and legal accountability.

Find the full program here.


“On November 29, 1945, only a week into the trial, the . . . prosecution introduced an hour-long film titled “The Nazi Concentration Camps.” When the lights came up in the Palace of Justice all assembled sat in silence. The human impact of this visual evidence was a turning point in the Nuremberg trial. It brought the Holocaust into the courtroom.”  United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

We cooparete with: 


Online Workshop: Flight, Governance, Human Rights 2020

As part of the FFVT project, the CHREN is organizing a first workshop on July 9th and 10th. In this workshop, distinguished scientists and politicians will address current challenges at the global, European and national levels of asylum, migration, governance and human rights: “Where do the Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees lead to?” “What ought to be done about the Common European Asylum system?” “What can reasonably be expected from the German EU Council Presidency, starting in July, in the area of migration and refugees – and in view of Corona?”

To receive further information and register for the workshop, please follow this link.

Online Workshop: Human Rights Overreach 2020

The CHREN members Ingrid Leijten and Anuscheh Farahat will be hosting the conference “Human Rights Overreach” from 1 to 2 July 2020 in Erlangen.

Human rights are everywhere. They range from the right to free speech – even if this speech offensive – to the right to equal pay and the right to environmental protection, in some jurisdictions granted to the environment itself. Human rights entail negative and positive obligations for States, but also for business enterprises. They can be found in numerous covenants and conventions, while their increasingly binding character and possibilities for adjudication illustrate that human rights are a matter not just of politics but of law. But is ‘more’ always better – is there such a thing as human rights overreach and how should we assess this?The topic of human rights overreach is linked to rights’ proliferation. Overreach may take many forms: First, there is a continuing increase in the number of rights norms with a growing number of topics labelled as a matter of human rights law. Austerity, social security and labour-rights have long been an issue of political struggle, but only later gained attention as a matter of individual human rights. Similarly, environmental issues have only recently been framed as human rights issues. Second, rights proliferate in the sense that existing norms are given a broad, e.g. purposive or indivisible, interpretation. Examples may include the extensive interpretation of the protection of property and private life, particularly, but not exclusively, in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. This way civil rights norms can be employed to ensure social protection, the group of addressees of a particular norm can be extended and the type of conducts protected by a right may be expanded. This is often the result of judicial interpretation but can also be triggered by work of committees or other actors dealing with human rights. Third, as human rights proliferation often comes with stronger courts, overreach may also refer to issues of separation of powers and take the form of institutional overreach. Finally, we also witness instances of enforcement overreach where human rights provide the justification (or pretext) for military or other forms of intervention.Proliferation of human rights is not an a priori good or bad thing. It can be argued that human rights’ omnipresence strengthens the case for implementation or expands protection to those persons and situations previously marginalized and overlooked. Arguably, proliferation of human rights is also a reaction to the increasing power of private actors combined with an ever-weaker position of the state in effectively regulating power relations. Against this background, human rights often serve as a leverage to give those a voice that do not have the power to raise their interests otherwise. On the other hand, there may be a risk that proliferation results in the devaluation of human rights – when no longer limited to a specified group of particularly important interests, human rights might be take less serious by those expected to guarantee them. They might overreach – in an effort to expand their benefits and effects, human rights could arguably lose some of the normative force they are praised for. On a more theoretical level, it is asked whether we need human rights that are aspirational rather than mirrored in feasible obligations, or whether too much of an emphasis on rights may be detrimental to other legal doctrines and (international) practices that contribute to our peaceful living together.
Human rights overreach can also be viewed in relation to the populist backlash against human rights. Coupled with a general scepticism towards globalization and international lawmaking, human rights are presented as foremost protecting the interests of immigrants, as well as those of detainees and marginalized groups such as the LGBT. This is well illustrated by Donald Trump’s announcement of a new Commission on unalienable rights that seeks to re-define the content of human rights in order to exclude LGBTI, women’s and migrants’ rights. Another example is the strong opposition by right-wing populist governments against the Global Compact for orderly, safe and regular migration, that to a large extent reaffirms existing human rights positions. While on the one hand viewing human rights as only protecting marginalized minorities, right-wing populists simultaneously picture human rights proliferation as an elite-driven project against the majority. Human rights overreach is therefore interrelated to broader developments in international and domestic decision-making.The topic of human rights overreach deserves close attention. In this workshop, we aim to bring together scholars from various (legal and other) fields who in one way or another investigate issues related to rights proliferation, the reasons and effects thereof. Questions we aim to address include, but are not limited to, whether there is such a thing as human rights overreach, and if so, whether this is problematic and for what reasons. Contributions could discuss theoretical perspectives as well as practical outlooks focussing on human rights generally or on specific jurisdictions or rights. We explicitly welcome both contributions that are critical of rights proliferation and contributions supporting or defending this development. We strive for including various views while providing plenty of space for discussion.We are happy that Prof. John Tasioulas (King’s College London) and Prof. Sarah Joseph (Monash University, Melbourne) will be joining us and hold a keynote lecture to kick off and end the workshop.

Additional information can be found here.

Human Rights in Times of Contestation 2019

The CHREN, in cooperation with the Nürnberger Menschenrechtszentrum (NMRZ), the city of Nuremberg and the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, organized the international conference “Human Rights in Times of Contestation” that took place in Nuremberg from 27 to 28 June 2019.

We would like to thank all speakers and participants for their vivid participation and exciting discussions!


The aim of this conference is to assess recent political, economic and social crises, which seem to increasingly challenge the normative value and practical relevance of human rights. These crises – the raise of (neo-)nationalist populist politics, increased authoritarian rules, challenges to international law and multilateralism to name but a few – have caused some to fundamentally question the current value of human rights. In their view, the liberal agenda of ever-expanding international human rights is no longer a viable solution to the problems of the contemporary world, in fact, it may be part of these problems. Others maintain that current crises call for more and better human rights implementation not less. Both perspectives seem to address human rights from a perspective of contestation: Human rights being contested and human rights as contestation of illiberal movements.
The conference will bring leading international scholars of human rights to Nuremberg – a city that has seen both: Human rights being contested through their complete annihilation by the Nazi regime and human rights as source of contestation of the most barbarous acts during the trials bringing the leading figures of the Nazi regime to justice. The conference is hosted jointly by the Centre for Human Rights Erlangen-Nürnberg of Friedrich-Alexander-University (FAU), the City of Nuremberg and the Nuremberg Human Rights Centre (NMRZ).

The full program can be accessed here.


Our students’ thoughts about the conference:

The Human Rights in Times of Contestation Conference was inspiring on many levels. First, it was impressive to see such a high caliber group of academics assembled together and, despite the troubling times alluded to by the title of the conference, express deep hope and optimism for the future. Second, the conference afforded an opportunity for thoughtful dialogue for researchers from many different disciplines, from political scientists to economists and philosophers, sharing their perspectives in an atmosphere that was attentive and respectful. I am always happy to see how human rights defenders truly practice what they preach, showing respect and admiration not only for their peers, but also to the younger students and interested audience members who attended the event. Events like these give aspiring academics and practitioners a strong foundation and reasons to remain actively engaged in the pursuit of dignity for all.

– Camila, Studentin des Masters Human Rights

I’m very grateful for the CHREN giving us students the opportunity to listen to so many excellent and inspiring scholars and activists

– Hanna, Studentin der Rechtswissenschaften


Opening Lecture: Human Rights in Crisis – New Developments, Old Challenges?

Closing Lecture: Re-thinking Human Rights

Political Contestation of Human Rights and Liberal Democracy

Religious Freedom and Gender Equality Conflicts, Controversies, Potential Synergies

Universal Human Rights for Migrants and Refugees: Challenge or Chance?

Universal Human Rights for Migrants and Refugees: Challenge or Chance? / Part II

Do We Live in a Post-Human Rights Era?

Do We Live in a Post-Human Rights Era? / Part II

Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution? Business and Human Rights

Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution? Business and Human Rights / Part II

Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution? Business and Human Rights / Comment

Round Table Discussion: Lessons from and for Europe

Panel 5: Challenges for Human Rights Courts and Institutions

Please follow this link for more video options.