"Austria`s International Human Rights Advocacy?" - Human Rights Fireside Chat with Ambassador Helmut Tichy

On Wednesday, January 17th, 2024 Ambassador Professor Dr Helmut Tichy, former legal adviser of the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (BMEIA), shared his broard expertise in the area of international law and diplomacy with the participants of the master program "Human Rights" during the Human Rights Fireside Chat.  Ambassador Tichy delved into the topics of the practice of international law and international organizations, in particular the Austrian state practice.

During the Human Rights Fireside Chat participants of the "Human Rights" master program get the opportunity to engage in discussions with exceptional experts and personalities on current topics in the field of human rights. Within this casual and informal setting, valuable insights, developments, and challenges of the discussed topics are shared.

You can find some impressions of the evening below.

Welcome Class of 2023/2024 of the Human Rights Master

We are very happy about the successful start of this year's Human Rights Master! On October 27th 2023, the scientific director, Professor Michael Lysander Fremuth, held his opening lecture on "Definition and Dimensions of Human Rights", which marks the start of the joint classes for non-lawyer and laywer participants of the program. After warmly welcoming all the 24 participants to this year’s program, and his lecture, Prof. Fremuth hosted an informal Welcome Event for the participants at Café Edison.

We wish the class of 2023/24 an excellent start into their Human Rights master program at the University of Vienna and an enriching academic year!

Congratulations to all the new Human Rights Master graduates!

On October, 25th of 2023 we had the pleasure to celebrate this year's graduates of our master program. The graduates, their guests, lecturers of the program, as well as University dignitaries commemorated this special occasion in the Main Ceremonial Hall of the University of Vienna. Studienpräses Prof Peter Lieberzeit opened the ceremony with his welcome address focusing on the accomplishment of the graduates of the postgraduate program. Due to health reasons, the scientific director of the master program, Prof Michael Lysander Fremuth, unfortunately could only deliver his ceremonial address via video, in which he particularly emphasized the hard work of the graduates during the past academic year and – referring to the Russian War of Aggression against Ukraine as well as the conflict between Israel and Hamas after the terrorist attacks – their opportunity and responsibility to be human rights advocates in times becoming more and more difficult. Last but not least, a representative of the graduates, Irem Edes-Haßl, delivered a heartfelt speech reflecting on the last joint year of the participants and their future. The ceremony was accompanied by brass band music. After the ceremony the graduates and their guests were invited to a reception.
We would like to once more congratulate all the graduates on their graduation and wish them all the best for their future and that you can use the profound knowledge gained to achieve all your future goals!

You can find some impressions of the evening below.

Moot Court Competition 2023

On June 10, 2023, the finalists of this year’s Moot Court Competition argued their cases in front of the President of the Regional Criminal Court, Mag Friedrich Forsthuber and Prof Ingeborg Zerbes, who served as judges of the bench, which was chaired by Prof Michael Lysander Fremuth. We would like to congratulate all participants of the Moot Court Competition 2023 for their accomplishments and dedication moving forward in the competition. In the course of the summer term, participants were able to enhance their advocacy, legal research, writing and oral pleading skills by engaging with the case presented to them, working closely with their peers. The finalists were able to shine with outstanding performances, demonstrating their excellent legal argumentation techniques and oral presentation skills. Please give a round of applause specifically to the four finalists, Tasnim Al-Rifai, Romina Lehki, Alexander Pöppel and Iain Stark!

Picture Gallery

Prison visit to JA Korneuburg

The Human Rights master program offered participants the rare opportunity to visit the prison of Korneuburg as part of their courses, providing them with valuable firsthand experiences and insights into the conditions of incarceration and the criminal justice system of Austria. During the half-day prison visit, the students were able to learn about the daily realities of the inmates, as well as the challenges and limitations of the prison staff. This exceptional experience, as a valuable component of the master program, allowed students to develop a deeper understanding of the issues and complexities of the Austrian criminal justice system, as well as to expand their awareness of the importance of respecting prisoner rights and thus to develop their skills as advocates for human rights. For more information on the importance of strengthening procedural rights of persons in police custody, visit the homepage of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Right at ‘From law to practice: Strengthening procedural rights in police custody (ProRPC)’.


UN DAY 2023

On March 17, 2023, the students of the Human Rights Master program of the University of Vienna again had the special opportunity to visit the UN Headquarters in Vienna as part of a half-day guided tour. In this setting, the students gained exciting insights into the work of the UN, their visions and goals and got to know the historic building, its architecture and extraordinary works of art that adorn its halls. The participants were allowed to visit the impressive conference rooms and various work areas and listen to fascinating presentations of two UN experts. Mr Schick, expert on crime prevention and criminal justice, human trafficking and smuggling, provided interesting insights into the work of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), followed by Ms Chung, Head of the Strategic Planning and Coordination Division at UNIDO, who informed the participants about the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). We are delighted about the lively participation of our students of this year’s Human Rights Master and about the possibility to offer the participants an exclusive look behind the scenes of the world’s leading organization for peace, security and human rights.


Interview with Prof Fremuth

You can view an interview with Prof Michael Lysander Fremuth in which he explains the importance of freedom of assembly in the Demokratikum, the new visitor centre of the Austrian Parliament (in German).


„Current Issues of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law from the Perspective of the Austrian Foreign Ministry” - Human Rights Fireside Chat with Ambassador Helmut Tichy

On Wednesday, November 16, Ambassador Prof Dr Helmut Tichy, Head of the International Law Office at the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (BMEIA) and Legal Adviser of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, shared his broad expertise and perspective on current issues of human rights and international humanitarian law with this year's Human Rights Master participants and interested guests at the first Human Rights Fireside Chat.

What's a Human Rights Fireside Chat? This format continuously provides participants of the Human Rights Master program with the opportunity to directly engage in the discussion with leading human rights experts and outstanding personalities on pressing topics in the field of human rights and to gain valuable insights in up-to­date practice, its developments and challenges.

Following the instructive input of Ambassador Prof Dr Helmut Tichy on international and regional mechanisms of human rights protection and the principles of international humanitarian law, a variety of issues were addressed in the course of the discussion: The topics reached from remaining shortcomings of and obstacles for the system of human rights protection, Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine and the idea of an international tribunal specifically established to convict perpetrators of war crimes, as well as the work of the Human Rights Council and current and future challenges for human rights around the world upto the day-to-day work of a diplomate in Austria.


Start of the master program in 2022/2023

Welcome to the 2022/23 Human Rights Master! We are delighted about the successful launch of this year's Human Rights Master. To mark the occasion, the Postgraduate Center and the Scientific Director of the program, Prof Michael Lysander Fremuth, hosted a Welcome Event at Café Edison on the 22nd of October, 2022. It was a great pleasure to welcome many of this year's participants and lecturers of the Human Rights Master and to have a casual and enjoyable get-to-know-you evening at Edison! We want to take this opportunity to wish the participants exciting upcoming lectures and all the best and much success for this year's Human Rights Master!  


Graduation Ceremony 2022

Con-grad-ulations!  It was a pleasure to celebrate this year's graduates of the first Human Rights Master for their achievements and accomplishments in the course of the last academic year and the successful defense of their Master's theses! On this festive occasion, the graduates, their families and friends, as well as teachers of the program gathered for the Graduation Ceremony on the 10th of October at the Great Ceremonial Hall of the University of Vienna to celebrate the graduates' success and the ceremonial referral of the graduation certificates. Accompanied by a string quartet, the individual achievements of the students and their importance for human rights science and practice were particularly emphasized by the ceremonial speeches of the Studienpräses, Prof Peter Lieberzeit, the Scientific Director of the Master program, Prof Michael Lysander Fremuth, and a representative of the graduates, Miriam Soldan.

We wish the graduates all the best for their future and hope the valuable knowledge the program has provided you with during the last academic year will assist you in your goal of becoming dedicated future human rights advocates! 

You can find some impressions of the ceremony below.

Picture gallery graduation ceremony 2022

Moot Court Competition 2022

Please rise for this year's Human Rights Moot Court winners!  We congratulate the participants of the 2021/2022 Human Rights Master's Moot Court Competition for their outstanding performances! They were able to demonstrate their excellent rhetorical skills and shine through their technique of legal argumentation and solidity of content. In particular, we want to emphasize and congratulate this year's winners of the Moot Court, who were able to successfully face the already advanced pleadings of their opponents and finally convince the judges through their remarkable performance at the large jury court room of the Regional Court for Criminal Matters Vienna. In this regard, we want to particularly thank the President of the Regional Criminal Court, Mag. Friedrich Forsthuber, and Dr Ingrid Siess-Scherz (constitutional judge), for their participation in the Moot Court Competition in the function of the judges of the bench, which was chaired by the Scientific Director of the program, Prof Michael Lysander Fremuth.


Article by Michael Mair - Salzburger Nachrichten

You can read the article (in German) in the Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten from March 26th 2022, on the topic of human rights violations authored by one of our current participants, Michael Mair, here.


30 years of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute - Human Rights Talk

High-profile experts discussed cultural appropriation at the Volkskundemuseum Wien on December 1, 2022. The event marked 30 years of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Fundamental and Human Rights. Please see a synopsis of the event here.


Start of the joint sessions of the master program "Human Rights"

"Human rights are the birth-rights of all human beings, founded on the idea of equality and pre-state recognition, directed towards states and other bearers of public authorities, containing an obligation to respect, to protect and to fulfill, while claiming to be universal, inalienable, indivisible and interdependent."

On October 23rd Prof Dr Michael Lysander Fremuth, warmly welcomed the 26 participants (9 of them in the MLS program, 17 in the LL.M. program).

Together, the group explored the definition and essence of human rights during the first joint course session. Corresponding with the program´s motto "Where Science Meets Practice" our participants will not only study theoretical foundations and explore specialized human rights issues, such as Business and Human Rights, New Technologies and Human Rights, or Environmental Protection and Human Rights, but will also strengthen their practical skills important for human rights work.

 


Start of the master program

On October 1st 2021, our MLS students started their master program with an "Introduction to Legal Studies". Scientific director, Prof Michael Lysander Fremuth, welcomed the participants and held the first lecture on the topic of "What is law?".


Interview with Prof Dr Michael Lysander Fremuth

We interviewed the designated scientific director of the new postgraduate program, Prof Michael Lysander Fremuth, about his academic and professional background, as well as research focus areas, and more. 

Despite my passion for teaching human rights, I am convinced that this postgraduate program is unique as it combines the theoretical understanding of human rights with a practical approach to human rights work." - Michael Lysander Fremuth


Prof Dr Michael Lysander Fremuth

What is your academic/professional background?

I studied law at the University of Cologne, Germany, with a focus on human rights, public international law, EU law and constitutional law, as well as on legal philosophy and theories on statehood. I successfully participated in the Telders International Law Moot Court Competition and, later, became a Moot Court coach. In my PhD thesis I analysed the conception of supranationality exemplified by the European Union. My habilitation thesis deals with globalisation in relation to the conceptions of statehood and sovereignty. Human rights-related aspects played an important role in both works. As a visiting scholar or associated professor, I taught human rights at various universities, i. a. in the US, Russia, Turkey, South Africa and in Germany. Furthermore, I have tried to utilize my expertise and skills to support Amnesty International, as well as to contribute to the work of the United Nations Association of Germany, being a board member of the federal branch for a couple of years and as a co-founder and long-term president of the branch in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In April 2019, I was appointed Professor of Fundamental and Human Rights at the University of Vienna (Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law) and Scientific Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights.

 

What are your research focus areas?

Upon becoming a Professor of Fundamental and Human Rights at the University of Vienna and Scientific Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights, I focused my research activities on human rights and human rights-related questions under constitutional, EU- and Public International Law. Among others, I address topics such as the general theory of human rights; human rights and the environment (climate change), artificial intelligence, international criminal law; as well as human rights and minorities.  

 

What is your motivation for taking on the scientific leadership of the postgraduate program “Human Rights”?

Despite my passion for teaching human rights, I am convinced that this postgraduate program is unique as it combines the theoretical understanding of human rights with a practical approach to human rights work. The involvement of highly motivated lecturers from all fields of human rights will offer an exceptional means to explore current and new challenges in the field of human rights. In this respect, the program will be the platform for meaningful and animated debate as participants and instructors come from diverse backgrounds and are, thus, able to share different points of view. At the same time, this postgraduate program will allow participants to acquire and improve practical skills that are beneficial when working in the human rights sector.

 

What can you recommend for people wanting to start getting educated in the field of human rights?

Let us start with raising awareness: Human Rights are truly everywhere! Think about the rights and freedoms that you enjoy on a daily basis, be it freedom of expression, the right to education or free movement. Understand and appreciate the privileges you enjoy in these times and in particular in Western Europe. Be sensitized with regard to the fragility of human rights and their protection and consider the situation in different parts of the world. In a next step, try to better understand the basic idea of human rights, look at and try to understand their history and genesis. Then, detect current challenges human rights face and consider what might be a potential solution. Finally, go to a library, browse some textbooks and read a couple of those that look attractive to you.


Interview with Prof Fremuth

Prof Michael Lysander Fremuth was interviewed with regards to his research and focus areas for the occasion of his inaugural lecture "Solidarität und Menschenrechte – Von Rechten und Pflichten. Und Tugenden." on October 20th 2021. Prof Fremuth is Professor for Fundamental and Human Rights at the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law at the University of Vienna since 2019. You can read the complete interview (in German) here.


Prof Fremuth - inaugural lecture

You can watch a video of the inaugural lecture on October 20th 2021, "Solidarität und Menschenrechte – Von Rechten und Pflichten. Und Tugenden.", of Prof Fremuth, the scientific director of the master program "Human Rights", here


HUMAN RIGHTS TALK: "In Würde sterben? Suizidhilfe zwischen Lebensschutz und Autonomie"

If you missed the HUMAN RIGHTS TALK: "In Würde sterben? Suizidhilfe zwischen Lebensschutz und Autonomie" (in German) on April 22nd 2021 you can watch the online discussion with our scientific director, Prof Fremuth, here.


Discussing consequences of the COVID-19 crisis

On December 10th 2020 there was a HUMAN RIGHTS TALK on the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis on human rights. After a keynote speeach by Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, high-level experts participated in the panel discussion and answered questions from the audience. You can watch the video here.


Prof Fremuth on the relevance of human rights during this time

Read an interview (in German) with Prof Fremuth from December 10th, Human Rights Day, regarding the current relevance of human rights in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic here.